What is a Custom Suit and is it the Best Option for You?

The words “custom” and “bespoke” are often misused by people working in the clothing industry. Many suits for men are sold as “custom” when in reality they are Made-To-Measure (MTM). Some custom suit companies would even refer them as ‘custom’ when they were just altered from Off-The-Rack (OTR) suits. This could be the most deliberate violation of custom suits for men.

What is a Custom Men’s Suit?

To consider a suit “custom” or “fully custom”, it should meet the following criteria:
  1. The suit is made from the pattern exclusively created for the client
  2. The client has personally chosen the details of the suit, from the fabric to the buttons to the thread.
  3. There’s at least one intermediary fitting, usually a scrap fitting, between the initial measurements and final garment delivery.
In theory, a custom suit doesn’t have to be meticulous but it would be pointless to do anything else given the average price point.

It is important to remember that in making a custom suit, it is not necessary to have it machine-sewed or hand-worked or with how many hours required to create the suit as compared to the requirements in making a ‘bespoke suit’. A custom suit can be made by a machine throughout.
A bespoke suit requires that everything must be sewn by hand, even the “non-critical” areas such as buttonholes and lapels.
With this it can be considered safe to say that all bespoke suits are custom but not all custom suits are bespoke.
Furthermore, Made-to-Measure Suits neither are NOT custom made mens suits nor are altered to fit Off-The-Rack Suits considered custom.
People in the clothing industry misuse these terms interchangeably sometimes intentionally, others may not be aware of the true meaning of each term. That is why consumers need to know the meaning about these terms. A custom suit is considered customized when it meets all the criteria mentioned earlier in this article.

Bespoke vs Full Custom: Which is better?

Most suit lovers will say yes to bespoke. Majority of tailors would say yes to bespoke suit but only gradually and it doesn’t certainly validate the extra cost.

The fit

Additional fittings in making a bespoke suit make it more superior when it comes to the perfect fit. It is not to say that custom suits don’t deliver the perfect fit too. In fact, having an intermediate fitting in making a custom suit can deliver a superior fit just as well. If it needs further adjustments, it can be done on the finished garment as they can be very trivial and minor.


The Handwork

One great difference between a bespoke and a custom suit is the handwork. A stitched lapel that is evident on both bespoke and custom suit will give it a more superior look and set it apart from fused lapels you can see in cheaper suits.   

Hand-stitched vs Machine-stitched Lapels

Some aficionados will consider hand-stitched lapel in bespoke suits as more personalized as the tailor has given it extra effort in shaping it accurately and giving it a superior roll thus making the wearer’s appeal more extravagant.
Although in custom made suits, there is a very slight difference in the effect of the machine-stitched custom suits for men. A machine-stitched lapel may not be considered as ’perfect’ but it will still look exceptional especially with appropriate ironing press.

Hand-stitched vs Machine-stitched Buttonholes

There is essentially no functional difference between hand-stitched and machine-stitched buttonholes. In terms of the time spent in stitching the buttonholes, it is obvious that hand-stitch would take a longer time to finish the buttonholes compared to the machine-stitched. It usually takes hours to finish eight buttonholes by hand while it only takes about 20 minutes when it is done through the machine. Machine-stitched will also look cleaner than the hand-stitched especially the underside. Economically, hand-stitching buttonholes may not be a good option to go but for a man who admires a handmade suit, it can be necessary to do so.


Custom Suit Costs

A custom tailored suit is much less expensive than a bespoke suit. You can expect to pay around $1000 to $3000 for an American-made suit depending on the materials you choose and the frequency of fittings needed to finish the suit. Custom made suits require less manpower and less time in making them compared to bespoke suits that entail hands on sewing and long hours of work to finish it.

Is a Custom Suit the Best Option for You?

If your budget allows for it, a custom tailored suit is the best option you need to get! There can be many reasons why you need custom made suits but it can be particularly the best idea for a man who wants a more personalized and customized to his style kind of suit. It can also be an alternative to a bespoke suit when you have a smaller budget or don’t have access to a bespoke tailoring in his area.  
You can visit more options for custom suits for men here.

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