What is a Bespoke suit? How much does a custom suit cost?
Custom Suits vary greatly in what they offer. A basic idea is your choose a trending
design displayed in-store or online, and instead of picking it off the shelf, the shop
orders it for you from the manufacturer. You get to choose separate jacket and
trousers sizes, length of the sleeves, and, perhaps, the fit (loose, classic or fitted).
When the manufacturer (or even the retailer themselves if large enough) receives
your order, they already have a huge stock of this item in various sizes, pre-made.
All they do is slightly tweak it to fit you better, or simply select the best matching
sizes (if measurements were taken) from the available stock.
Bespoke is quite another animal whatsoever. The suit does not get maid until the
order is received. If this is your first time with a given tailor, the process is quite
elaborate. They will be drafting a pattern for the garments from scratch, using
algorithms derived from your measurements (for example, they will make a waist belt
pattern by adding 2.5 cm to your waist measurement and so on). The pattern, then,
gets stored for your future orders, and can serve as a basis even if you choose a
different design or fit.
Once the pattern is made, the fabric is chosen based on your preference. Often, the
lining fabric for the blazer is also chosen to contrast or match the blazer fabric and
design. Once your garment is made, the tailor will add your initials or monogram for a
Custom made-to-measure is a blended category between custom and bespoke.
Your measurements are matched with the best existing size and fit, and the suit is
often further altered to match the measurements. It may be made prior to your order,
or made from scratch. Either way, your fit is going to be a bit of a gamble, as
different providers offer a different service in this category. Your often limited with
choices of fabrics, reflecting the current seasonal offerings. This is done so that the
manufacturer can make hundreds or thousands of suits from the same fabrics, with
small deviations in sizes, styles and finishes. You may see someone else wearing
the same suit one day, but it was made to his measurements, to a degree.
What it all costs!
With mainstream online/retail chains, Custom Made to Measure starts at ($CAD):
Alterations in stores:
Shirt Shorten sleeves $19.00 CAD
Body darts $8.00 CAD
Take in original seams $28.00 CAD
Shorten body $15.00 CAD
Shorten/lengthen $13.00 CAD
Take in/let out seat $10.00 CAD
Take in/let out waistband $14.00 CAD
Take in waist over 3 seams $28.00 CAD
Tapering upper-leg $22.00 CAD
Tapering lower-leg $17.00 CAD
Lower waistband $21.00 CAD
Since retailers cannot alter your online purchases before shipping them, to ensure the perfect fit, they advise you to come back to the stores for alterations. If you are not close to the retail store you ordered from, you may alternatively take your garment to your personal tailor. Some retailers compensate a small portion of these alterations, but mainly you are on your own once your suit arrives.
An example of these limits is below:
Complete suit - $120
Separate jacket - $80
Separate trousers - $40
Shirt - $25
Any costs exceeding these must be paid by the customer.
If your suit is a total flop, a retailer may remake a suit for you. This option is only
The smaller mobile shops (i.e. www.suit-n-tie.com) may be able to save you upward
of 50% of the above costs, since they don’t have to pay storefront leases and
employee salaries. You get a more individualized one-on-one service, same, if not
greater, selection of options, and all this at a fraction of the cost of the large retailers.