Ballpark estimate: $500 to 10,000
Do you pride yourself on your impeccable taste? Are you obsessed with detail and fabric when it comes to your wardrobe? Or do you have a hard-to-fit shape? In any of these scenarios, a custom-tailored suit may be worth the expense. In fact, once you don a custom suit, you may never wear a suit off-the-rack again.
The Custom Suit Difference
While the wealthy often have their clothing custom made, many “regular” people shy away from this option, assuming it’s well beyond their means. Custom tailored clothing, including custom-made suits, can indeed be an investment, but if you have a high-powered job or find yourself in the limelight quite often, or just prefer the feel and fit of finely tailored clothes, then a custom suit could be in your future. The reality is that today, custom-made suits are more accessible than ever before and they can also be found in all price points, so you don’t have to forego the option just because you can’t swing the priciest tailors and most expensive workmanship. If you find the right tailor who can work with moderately-priced fabrics and can stick within your budget, you can get high-priced results without spending a fortune.
What You’ll Get
When you invest in a custom-tailored suit, you can expect it to fit exactly right since it has been especially made for your measurements and proportions and will be more comfortable than off-the-rack clothing that may pull or gape in the wrong places.
Ordering a custom-made suit also allows you to select your fabrics, your patterns, and your design so you can get a final product you’ll feel proud to wear. Some of the details you can expect in a custom-made suit that it set it apart from off-the-rack items include high-quality buttons and zipper, reinforced seams, high-quality lining, special attention to detail on the button holes and cuffs, lined pockets and collar, and an extra button hole that is added to the collar that signifies that the suit has been especially made-to-order.
It’s also important to note that many custom-tailored suits are not quite the same as a true bespoke suit, which is a suit that has been especially made for the wearer using exclusive fabrics. Bespoke suits typically involve more fittings and finer materials than a regular custom-made suit, and as such, they also come with a bigger price tag.
Where to Shop
To find a tailor who can make you a custom suit, you can do a search online for options or look in the newspaper for ads. Many old-world tailors offer men’s custom-made clothing and you may find some of them through an internet search. Typically, tailors will require you to come into their shop for fittings. If you don’t have any tailors that offer this level of work in your area, you can look online to find online men’s clothing shops that are willing to make clothes to match your measurements. They make it easy for you to enter your specifications and select fabrics, colors, and cuts to help design the final product. Some better men’s clothing sellers and chain stores will make their clothing to match the measurements you provide.
If you’ll be traveling outside of the United States any time soon, you may be able to take advantage of the fact that many other countries boost an array of tailors that make custom suits and other clothing items for a fraction of what you would pay in most areas in the U.S. This is because materials and labor are much less expensive in other parts of the world.
If you don’t have any plans to travel, you could be happy to know that some tailors who have a lot of American clients plan occasional trips to the U.S. to serve serve their customers and you might be able to be measured during one of these trips. In addition, some American-based tailors will outsource their custom work to other countries where labor is much cheaper. This will take a lot longer to get your suit but could bring you a significant cost savings.
What to Expect
When you decide you want a custom-made suit, the first step will be to meet with the tailor to discuss what you would like in the finished product. It can also help to have photographs of styles you like. Most tailors will also have books with samples that you can use to select the features and styles you desire.
You’ll be able to choose the material, the color, the pattern, the cut, and the details that you like. The width of the pants, shape of the jacket, and cuffs, number of buttons, and pleated or flat front will also be up to your preferences.
The tailor will take extensive measurements and will make a custom pattern that he will use to cut your suit once you agree on all of these variables that will make your suit distinctly meet your tastes and style. If your measurements remain consistent, he can make multiple items of clothing for you using this guide. (Therefore, if you plan to order other items, always opt for the most fitting sessions you can get so the tailor has the exact size, shape, and details to use for each piece.)
The process for a suit you order online will be quite similar, except instead of the tailoring taking your measurements you will need to provide them.
Note that the tailor’s background may have an influence on the final product. British tailors tend to do more conservative work, while Italian tailors are known for sometimes having a trendier vibe. But any tailor should be able to work with you closely to get something you’ll like.
Most custom tailored suit take an average of about 40 hours to complete. But since the tailor is working on multiple jobs at a time, you can’t expect to receive the final product that quickly. Generally, the timeframe to get your custom tailored suit can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on what you order and who creates it.
Cost for a Custom Suit
What you will pay for a custom suit depends on what you select and where you have it made. If you order the suit outside of the United States, you will probably be able to get a bargain. But if you get if from a good custom tailor in this country, the price may span a range of between $1,000 and $4,000. However, if you prefer a bespoke suit, meaning a custom suit that is done by a very exclusive tailor with many fittings and customizations using very expensive fabrics and detailing, the price can be as high as $10,000 or even much, much more.
If you opt to order a custom suit from an online tailoring shop or department store, you may be able to spend less. In either of these options, the price may start at about $500+ for the most basic suit design but can quickly become more expensive when you get into the custom detailing.
Cost Saving Options
If you desire a custom suit but don’t have the budget to support your tastes, you might be able to find a low-cost tailor who will make you a custom suit to your measurements using less expensive fabric choices. Because the suit will be so well fitted to your build, it can still give off the impression of being more expensive than something that you would buy right off the rack.
Another option is to buy a mass marketed suit from a clothing shop and then take it to a tailor and have it custom fitted. This can also make the suit look more expensive than it is.
A Word of Warning
When a deal on a custom suit seems to good to be true, it probably is. There are many tailors who advertise custom work who use inferior materials. If you’re making such a large investment, you’ll want to be sure your custom suit will be made from high quality fabric from a reputable mill in order to get comfortable and durable results.