Bespoke vs. Made to Measure vs. Ready to Wear - A Hand Tailored Suit

Bespoke vs. Made to Measure vs. Ready to Wear

Do you want to learn more about the differences between bespoke, made to measure, and ready to wear suits?

Then, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will provide a detailed explanation of each process and even touch on “custom,” which is similar to made to measure, but with subtle differences.

Firstly, bespoke refers to any item, including clothing, shoes, furniture, cars, or equipment, that is made by hand on a one-off basis. Custom, on the other hand, refers to an item that can be personalized on a one-off basis. Made to measure (MTM) specifically refers to the garment industry and refers to pieces that are made from standard measurements and then adjusted to fit individual clients. Lastly, ready to wear (RTW) refers to pieces that are mass-produced in set sizes for clients to purchase off the rack.

Now that we have a basic understanding of each process, let us delve further into how suits are made.

Ready to wear suits, or RTW, are mass-produced based on current and upcoming trends, which are set a season or two ahead of time. These suits are made with cheap materials, such as polyester, rayon, nylon, and acetate, and are produced at an extremely low cost. As a result, they tend to be rigid and less breathable. Moreover, alterations to RTW suits can be difficult as there is very little fabric on the seams to allow for taking out.

In contrast, made to measure suits are typically seen in the market today from both large and small clothiers. These brands use standard size patterns, and the fabric is cut with industrial cutters, which are typically laser-precision devices. MTM suits can be produced out of a variety of fabrics, and the shoulder structure and first button stance can be identified to achieve a more natural fit than RTW pieces. These suits can be crafted with a fused or canvassed interlining, and the client can select their preferred lining as well as include a monogram on the interior.

Custom suits are made much the same way as made to measure suits, with a few key differences. With custom-crafted suits, a new pattern is created for each client, and depending on the clothier, tailor, or production house, the pattern and fabric can be cut by hand or machine. It is recommended that your suit be made with a half or full canvas when going custom, but there is still an option to craft with a fused interlining.

Lastly, bespoke suits are the most coveted of all the options due to the quality and craftsmanship. First and foremost, there are significantly more measurements captured to create a precise pattern for each client. For bespoke jackets, the interior is built with a handmade half or full canvas interlining. All seams are hand-stitched along with the buttonholes and collar. Before the completed suit is ready for the client, a second fitting must take place. The second fitting will be conducted with muslin fabric or the basted pieces to ensure proper drape. Once the ultimate fit and ideal lengths are confirmed, the tailor will move forward with completing the suit. Additional fittings may be required if minor tweaks are necessary.

In terms of pricing, it's challenging to provide exact price points as there are countless suit companies that may fall into one of these categories. A suit off the rack will be the least expensive, and a truly handmade bespoke suit will cost the most. It's important to note that many of these terms are used interchangeably, sometimes mistakenly and sometimes used to increase the perceived value of an item. Therefore, it's crucial to do your research before investing in a suit.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between bespoke, made to measure, and ready to wear suits can help ensure that you get the best value for your investment. Whether you're looking for a quick and inexpensive option or a truly handmade masterpiece, there is a suit out there for everyone.



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