Few things can identify you as an elite business professional quite like a custom tailored suit can. Tailor made suits, while often rather steep in price, can provide you with the ultimate in fit, comfort, and style. And the good news is that these suits may actually be dressing more and more of a budget-conscious clientele these days.

Thanks to great strides in technology, craftsmanship, and skilled labor, custom suit sales are actually on the rise, as more and more individuals find themselves able to afford such attire. Conversely, ready-made suit sales are actually on the decline.

There are three primary tiers of tailor-made suits. The two more basic, entry-level tiers include “custom” and “made to order.” The third tier, and often considered the top tier of tailor-made attire, are “bespoke” suits. Oftentimes, custom suit makers will tell folks that they’re suits are bespoke… when if fact, they’re not at all. This is especially common in the United States.

“Bespoke” is a word whose roots are steeped in 19th century English tradition. When custom suit makers spoke of items which were no longer in stock, they would use this term to convey the message that these things had already been spoken for. In modern culture, the term represents the pinnacle of quality craftsmanship. In certain European countries, it is illegal to claim that your merchandise is “bespoke,” unless it meets a set of very strict criteria.

So what are these criteria?

For starters, the actual master tailor is the individual who will take your measurements and craft your suit… from the ground up. This is a much different approach than other custom suit makers take. Moreover, if the artist does not take your measurements, you can be SURE that it’s NOT a bespoke suit!

Further, it will require more than one fitting. The tailor will craft your perfect suit over time, using a lightly sewn, or “baste” garment that is altered to create the best possible fit. If your suit is crafted without multiple fittings, then a bespoke suit it is not!

Finally, the suit will need to actually be stitched by the master tailor. The other two tiers of custom suits do not share this characteristic. In fact, oftentimes those suits are put together on factory assembly lines! If your tailor does not carefully and painstakingly craft, stitch, and deliver your handsome new suit to you, then you haven’t gone the bespoke route.

Accept no substitutes, and please avoid being taken advantage of. Too many good people are paying for bespoke suits, but not actually receiving bespoke suits. These suits adhere to the highest standards of detailed quality and professional craftsmanship. Use the information above to help you make the most informed purchasing decision you can.

Photo Credit: N. Feans | cc

Empire Customs