Shopping for your first bespoke suit can be intimidating. There are so many places to go, and so many options it can seem quite daunting. Here is a simple guideline to make it a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Know your budget and don't be afraid to discuss it
Asking how much a bespoke suit is like asking how much a car is. There are lots of variables, the paint job/the fabric, the engine/the construction of the suit, and so it goes on. Be realistic, it’s a luxury product and it’s never going to be cheap, but be clear on what you’re looking to spend from the start. Do some research and find a tailor that fits the budget you have. Make sure they don’t spend ages showing you fabrics out of your budget; the last thing you want is to fall in love with a cloth that trebles the price of the suit.
2) Don't peacock
If you’re looking for a work suit and you know that you’re going to wear it a lot, don't get over-excited and go for something too bold. As a general rule of thumb, start with a classic navy. Then as you get more familiar with the process of picking cloths you can be more daring. A Prince of Wales suit will look amazing, but you probably won’t want to wear it to every meeting.
3) Keep it simple
There are lots of additional features you can add to a bespoke suit, different colour buttons, buttonholes, stitching etc but don’t get carried away! If the suit is cut well it will be obvious you are wearing a suit that’s made for you, you don’t need to add lots of bells and whistles. Keep it subtle, go for a single-breasted, 2 button to start with. This will flatter any body shape. Ask about horn buttons and hand-stitching buttons holes, these are the features that will stand out to anyone who knows a bespoke suit.
4) Fit of the trousers
Think about your body shape. If you’re tall and slim, don’t go too skinny, as this will over-accentuate your long body. Equally if you’re shorter, opt for a slim trouser leg and a short break on the trouser leg, not too long. Remember this is a bespoke suit, not a pair of skin-tight jeans. Don’t be tempted to go ultra-slim, as it will distort the way the pockets lie at the side and may cause them to stick out as soon as you put anything in them. You will also stretch the crease down the front of the trousers, ruining the crisp, clean look you want to create.
5) Fit of the Jacket
Start with the shoulders. There are lots of options here so don’t get overwhelmed. Padded shoulders are quite traditional and very English. They will create a powerful, formal image. Softer shoulders are more Italian, and work well for summer suits or casual jackets and blazers. If unsure, ask advice from the tailor.
Think about the lapel width. This can make a big difference to the overall look of the suit. If you have broad shoulders don’t go too slim, as this will make the jacket look out of proportion. A classic suit would have 3.5” lapels, if you want to make it a bit more modern without going to crazy, opt for the 3” lapel.
And remember, being measured for a bespoke suit is a wonderful experience. Don’t rush it, relax, enjoy it, and see true British craftsmanship at work!