Tailor-made style

Your guide to buying bespoke suits.

Money may not be able to buy you class or happiness, but it can buy you style – if you know where to look, that is.

I’m not talking about getting hoodwinked by the sales staff of designer stores or having access to a good stylist, no, all you need to get ahead in the corporate world, in a sartorial sense, is the number of a bespoke tailor.

Just because you’ve gotten to the point in your life where you can afford to indulge in the finer things doesn’t mean you automatically know where to start. And, if you can afford to splash out on high-quality off-the-rack or made-to-measure suits then it’s worthwhile looking into the old-school luxury afforded by bespoke tailoring.

Put simply, bespoke puts the buyer in the driver’s seat in terms of fabric and fit, and allows you to dictate what you want in a dream suit. All provided under the watchful eye of a tailor with years of experience under their Savile Row belt.

Here are some simple steps to follow if you’re in the market for the best suit you’ll ever own.

Step one: Research
In keeping with the understated tradition of bespoke tailoring, most of the reputable providers rely on word of mouth when it comes to advertising. With numbers steadily decreasing as the years roll on, it can be tricky to find a genuine craftsperson.

Here you must rely on the advice of colleagues, or visit a couple of the iconic firms in person to get a feel for them. You’ll be paying a pretty penny so you want to find a trustworthy tailor.

Step two: Fabric
Now, this is the stage that will dictate the overall cost of the garment. Starting from around $1,500 and heading upwards of $27,000, a large part of the final price tag depends on the grade of the fabric.


With a range between a low-quality 80 and a high-end 180, most designers of decent off-the-rack suits settle at about 100-110. For a bespoke number you’re going to want to start at 110 and then climb as high as your budget will allow.

Step three: Style
While your tailor can make suggestions about what he or she thinks will be the best long-lasting option for you new suit, the choice is ultimately up to you.

There’s single versus double breast, two or three piece, single or double vent, natural or padded shoulders, peaked or notched lapels, the list goes on. Don’t be afraid to ask your craftsperson to explain anything you don’t understand and feel free to suggest any personal touches you think might work. Though, at the end of the day, listen to them as chances are high they know what they’re talking about.

Step four: Fit
If you’ve gotten the first step right then this next stage should be a cinch – an experienced tailor should know exactly what’s going to work well and what’s not when it comes to your body type.

Again, don’t be afraid to speak up. If it feels uncomfortable then let your tailor know. Also voice your preferences when it comes to the fall on your waist, shoulders and shoes. The best thing about going bespoke is that a quality tailor has a few tricks up their expert sleeves that can make you look taller or slimmer.

Step five: Final touches
The final fitting is crucial. If you’re the kind of person who smiles and nods after receiving a bad haircut and then rushes home to try and fix it in the bathroom mirror you need to snap out of it – this is a far more expensive endeavour.

As long as you’re as polite as you are firm your tailor won’t mind if you ask for small adjustments. Lastly, pay cash if possible. In this gentlemanly world you never know what last-minute bargain you can bag.

Do you have any other tips for men considering going bespoke?