Off The Rack vs. Bespoke

Photos by Peter D. Brown

When you hear the word bespoke what is the first thought that comes to mind? In fact, some of you gentlemen may be saying to yourselves, “I have never heard that term before.” Let’s start by defining Bespoke, (pronounced bee-SPOHK) is a term used in the United Kingdom as well as other places for custom made product(s) or service(s).

How many times have you been out and noticed a gentleman in a very well-tailored, precise fitting suit? And you thin, that suit looks like it was made just for him. Right, the gentleman had his suit custom made an exceptional tailor or artisan with the skill to tailor make product specific  for an individual. In contrast,  there are countless times that you have seen men wearing a suit that makes you think, that he just walked into a store and bought the first suit he saw.

Guys, a perfect fit is something that should be taken seriously. Granted, not every guy can afford a bespoke suit primarily because they range in the thousands. To prepare to purchase a bespoke suit, you must select your fabric, get a full body measurement, have a pattern designed specifically for you and met with your tailor for several fittings. The beauty of the bespoke suit is Inside each jacket is your name or monogram.

At the end of the day, whether it is bespoke, designer or off the rack it’s important to be strategic in your purchase. Below are a few tips and tools that may be of value:

1. Know your budget. How much are you willing to spend for an off the rack suit?

2. Consider the purpose and/or occasion in which the suit will be worn.

3. Know what type of suit works for your body type. (i.e. Single breasted suit vs double breasted suit, two button suit vs three button suit, slim fit suit vs classic fit)

4. Choose an all year around fabric

5. Make sure you own a black, navy or gray before purchasing a pinstripe, plaid or any other fashionable printed suit.

6. Consider stores like Zara, J. Crew Men’s Shop, Club Monaco and TopMan just to name a few.

7. Find a local tailor to make any necessary adjustments to the suit. Remember, you want it to look like it was made just for you.

Hopefully, you find this useful and for more insight on menswear and everyday lifestyle tips go to my blog:

The Style Maverick, “I Say Yes!”

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