In the realm of suits and tuxedos, the words custom and bespoke are often misused—either incidentally or deliberately—by people working in the clothing industry. Some custom suit companies sell their products as custom when in reality they are made-to-measure or simply off-the-rack suits that have been altered by a tailor. Unfortunately, this deceptive practice is quite common, and there is little that the customer can do about it, other than to stay informed and only buy a custom suit from a reputable tailor.
What Is A Custom Men's Suit?
In order for a suit to be considered custom, it should meet the following criteria:
- The suit is made from the pattern exclusively selected by and created for the client.
- The client has personally chosen the details of the suit, from the threads of the fabric to the buttons on the jacket.
- There is at least one intermediary fitting, usually a scrap fitting, between the initial measurements and the final garment delivery.
In theory, a custom suit doesn't have to be overly detailed, but anything short of precise specifications to your body measurements and personal style would be pointless, considering the average price point of a tailored custom suit.
Bespoke vs. Custom
It is important to remember that a custom suit isn't determined by how many hours it took to fabricate it, nor is it always sewn by hand. A custom suit can be made by a machine throughout its every stitch.
A bespoke suit, in contrast, requires that everything must be sewn by hand, even the non-critical areas such as buttonholes and lapels. In short, all bespoke suits are custom suits but not all custom suits are bespoke. Furthermore, neither made-to-measure suits nor altered off-the-rack suits are considered custom-made by any industry standard.
Which Is Better?
Most people who have experience in buying several suits will prefer bespoke, and the majority of tailors will have this same mindset as well. The extra cost, however, is something to keep in mind, and a custom suit that is not bespoke may be the better option.
When it comes to the perfect fit, the additional fittings required to make a bespoke suit will ultimately render this type of custom suit as the superior one in most cases. But a custom suit that is not bespoke can often deliver an equally pristine and ideal fit, as any adjustments and alterations on the finished garment are usually very trivial and minor.
One great difference between a bespoke or custom suit and an off-the-rack option is the handwork. A stitched lapel that is evident on both bespoke and custom suits will give them a more superior look and set them apart from fused lapels you can see on cheaper suits.
Hand-Stitched Vs. Machine-Stitched Lapels
Some suit aficionados will consider hand-stitched lapels in bespoke suits as more personalized and hence superior, as the tailor has put in the extra effort in shaping it accurately to your body dimensions. While there is a very slight difference in the effect and appearance of a machine-stitched custom suit, these can still look exceptionally superb, especially with an appropriate ironing press.
Hand-Stitched Vs. Machine-Stitched Buttonholes
There is essentially no functional difference between hand-stitched and machine-stitched buttonholes. The only real difference is the time it takes for the stitching. While a hand-stitched buttonhole takes hours to complete, a machine can accomplish the same task in about 20 minutes. Machine-stitched buttonholes may be more beneficial, as they tend to look cleaner than hand-stitched ones, especially on the underside. Economically, hand-stitching may not be the best option, but for a man who admires a handmade suit, the extra cost and effort may be worth it.
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 and the frequency of fittings needed to finish the final garment. Custom suits require less manpower and less time compared to bespoke ones that require 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. While everyone may have different reasons for acquiring a particular suit type, many men want a more personalized and customized style, and ordering a custom suit is the best way to achieve this. A custom suit is also a perfect alternative to a bespoke suit if your budget isn't extravagant or you don't have access to bespoke tailoring in your area. At Enzo Custom, our expert clothiers will help you get fitted into a custom suit that you will be proud to show off at any event. In addition to our Web site, you can also visit one of our showrooms in person.