There are several factors you need to consider when shopping for a new suit. What material is it made of? What colors and/or patterns does it feature? Is it made using high-quality craftsmanship? These are all questions that you should try to answer. However, you should also consider whether it’s an off-the-rack, made-to-measure or bespoke. These are three different ways in which suits are made, and each style has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The most common type of men’s suit is off-the-rack. When shopping at retail stores, department stores and suit warehouses, you’ll come across this style more than made-to-measure and bespoke.
Off-the-rack suits live up to their namesake in the sense that they are sold “off the rack,” without any customization or personalized tailoring. As such, you can expect to pay less for an off-the-rack suit as opposed to other styles, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious consumers. However, it’s nearly impossible to find an off-the-rack suit that fits perfectly. So even if you pay less for it, you may still have to pay for professional tailoring services.
A step up from off-the-rack is made-to-measure. This term is somewhat confusing, however, as made-to-measure suits aren’t necessarily made from scratch using a customer’s specified measurements. Rather, they are customized from a pre-made pattern. This allows for a deeper level of customization than off-the-rack, yet still not quite on the level of bespoke (we’ll get to that soon).
The third way in which men’s suits are made and sold is bespoke. Bespoke refers to a personally tailored suit that’s made from scratch. There are no pre-made patterns or cut-outs used in its production. A bespoke suit is made from scratch using the customer’s specified measurements. When you find a bespoke suit you want, you provide the vendor with your measurements, at which point he or she will make it from the ground-up.
The obvious benefit of choosing a bespoke suit is the ability to get the perfect fit. On the flipside, however, you’ll pay more for a bespoke suit that made-to-measure and off-the-rack.
So, which style of suit should you choose? Many men prefer made-to-measure, as it offers the perfect balance of customization and affordability. Made-to-measure suits are cheaper than bespoke, yet they still allow for a custom measurements. Of course, you could always choose an off-the-rack suit and have it tailored. But if you want a suit that fits perfectly, there’s no substation for bespoke. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of made-to-measure, off-the-rack and bespoke suits.