Bespoke vs. Made to Measure

When you are starting to look into tailoring, the lingo can get a little confusing. To most people ‘bespoke’ and ‘made to measure’ would mean the same thing. Even within the tailoring industry, these terms can be used incorrectly and often ‘bespoke’ is used when ‘made to measure’ should be.

In reality, these two methods are very different. Depending on how you want your suit designed, it’s likely that one of these would be a better fit than the other for you. At ‘The Tailory’, we offer both bespoke and made to measure services to give you every option for your custom suit.

To help you decide if bespoke or made to measure is right for you, we’re going to give you an in-depth comparison of the two. While both of these methods will help you achieve a tailored look, they each have their benefits that might fit better with your specific needs.

What is Bespoke?
A bespoke garment is one of a kind and made from scratch with every element designed for you, down to the smallest detail. A design can be created specifically for you, although you may want to take inspiration from an existing garment by that designer or another. This pattern will be made by hand by your tailor to meet all your needs. Bespoke suit making is one of the oldest trades in the modern fashion industry, as it was seen as a sign of wealth and power to have a garment created just for you.

Bespoke is the opposite of ‘off-the-rack’ or ‘ready-to-wear’ as these garments are what you will find in any fashion store and that you can literally take off the rack and bring it home with you.

While a bespoke garment is being designed and made, there is a much higher level of detail worked on. As well as creating a unique garment, every aspect of the design is specific to suit your measurements. You’ll have multiple fittings with your tailor throughout the process to make sure that the design translates into a perfectly fitting garment.

With each fitting, your tailor can achieve a more precise fit that considers every nuance in your shape. This hands-on approach means that a bespoke garment will have a more tailored fit than a made to measure garment. At ‘The Tailory’, we take over 35 measurements to achieve the most flattering fit.

As well as being able to create a design from scratch, you will have a library of fabrics to choose from. The options are wide-ranging with different fabric finishes and compositions to choose from. Depending on the mills that the tailor works with, you may be able to request a custom dye for an existing fabric. At The Tailory, your bespoke suit will be with you within 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the fabric that you choose.

With bespoke orders, the sky is the limit. You can let your imagination run wild and create the suit of your dreams.

When creating a bespoke garment, you’ll work in partnership with the tailor to bring your vision to life. They’ll offer advice on which structure and shape will match your body type, as well as which colour palette will work for your complexion. This collaboration is more personal than made to measure, and you’ll benefit from the craftsmanship and knowledge of your tailor throughout the process.

What is Made to Measure?
While bespoke involves the creation of a one-of-a-kind garment, a made to measure piece is not. This process involves taking an existing design and altering it to fit the exact measurements of a client. You can think of this as taking a ready-to-wear piece and modifying it to achieve a tailored fit for your measurements.

The standard pattern for the garment is modified to consider your specific need. You might need the sleeve to be shortened, or extra space in the shoulders to accommodate your build. Made to measure is a more affordable – and quicker – way to achieve a tailored look than a bespoke order.

As well as being able to achieve a more tailored fit, you may also have the option of choosing your fabric, although the options will be more limited than you would have with a bespoke order. While the design won’t change, this is one way to give a personal touch to your garment. You can also make minor changes to the garment that won’t alter its overall design, such as changing the buttons on a jacket or adjusting the cuffs.

With a made to measure order, you’ll likely work with a member of staff as opposed to the actual tailor. The front of house staff will take your measurements and note any minor changes that you would like made.

Your consultation will be the only time that your measurements will be taken, and these will be used to make your garment. Made to measure orders have a much quicker turnaround than bespoke garments, meaning that they’re an ideal choice if you need a tailored outfit last-minute or at relatively short notice.

So Do I Choose Bespoke or Made to Measure?

If there is an existing design that matches your aesthetic, then a made to measure order is probably the best fit for you. If you want a one-of-a-kind garment for a monumental occasion like a wedding or a special event, then a bespoke order will be right up your street.

As the bespoke process is hands-on and involves the creation of a new design and multiple fitting appointments, you will pay a premium price for the service. If you want a tailored look at a slightly more affordable price, then a made to measure order is perfect for you.
Bespoke suits are one way to invest in your wardrobe and to create a unique piece that becomes part of your identity.

A well-tailored, custom suit can take you from the boardroom through to some of the most important days of your life.

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