Updated: Jan 13, 2019
There is a recurring question that I have received quite often from my readers that captivates me a lot -- 'How do you find a long-lasting and well-fitted suit when you have a limited budget to start off with?'
Indeed, as much as I would encourage you to go bespoke (not only because you are getting a garment which takes years of experience to make, but only due to the sustainability and longevity element which I always emphasize about); I have to admit that they are extremely costly, especially for people at around my age.
Having that in mind, I decided to go try out some Made-to-Measure (MTM) services, to see whether they are really being the nice middle-ground between RTW and bespoke which people often advocated about.
Being a long-time customer from my days of purchasing off-the-rack suits, I didn't think for long before I decided to visit the trusty Suit Supply to commission a MTM suit.
In this latest series of blog posts, I will be sharing with you all my experience of having a MTM suit made by Suit Supply, starting off with my first visit there.
Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by the MTM Specialist Fabio. (picture above) Since it usually requires more time to go through the fitting process for a three-piece suit, we went straight to what style of suits I was going to get commissioned.
Usually, the process of discussing ideas would be a rather long if the customer does not have any concrete ideas in mind. And this is absolutely normal; not only because not all of us are designers, but also it does take time to accumulate the experience of suit-designing.
Fortunately, I happened to know that I lack an all-season cream suit which I could substitute the double-breasted cream linen suit with, as well as having a sketch of a three-piece suit prepared; this really did make the whole process much faster.
What follows, usually, is that they would tell you whether the specific design elements could be made possible or not.
It is important to keep in mind that this is not bespoke after all, so although you are given more freedom to design your garment than RTW, there are still some parts that could not be achieved.
So in my case, I had to give up on the idea of having the second sleeve button-hole to be highlighted with a different color to reflect my color pallet; as well as not getting any lapels for my double-breasted waistcoat.
It is slightly disappointing, but it would all be compensated by what is coming next.
Next off is fabric-choosing. Usually this would be a lengthy process as well if you are uncertain about the type of pattern you are getting, especially giving the variety of fabrics a shop could offer.
Luckily, I went in with several swatches that I have previously collected through my visits to different textile merchants, so that narrowed down the amount of time required to find the right fabric.
On top of that, what makes it the whole process even better is that they actually have a fabric which I had in mind as the top choice for the suit, despite previously hearing from the merchant that they have none of that left in stock.
Thusly, although I was also provided with several other options, it was not hard for me to decide to go for the beautiful 9oz Super 140s cream fabric from the iconic Holland and Sherry Royal Mile 1976 bunch book.
What usually follows next is the remaining design elements that you would need to verify specifically with the shop.
Like any bespoke tailoring houses, you would be deciding multiple items from the choice of the buttons and the lining, to what monogramming you want to add to the suit to make it more personalized.
There are many ways to make the suit more distinctive and unique; giving the fact that you might be more restrained in designing the style of the garment for a MTM suit, this is the process which you would really make your suit stand out from the crowd.
The last step is really just to try on some dummy MTM suits to see how they could be altered to fit your body.
There are two things which I was not expecting that could be done to a MTM suit, but Fabio managed to allow both to happen.
Firstly, he adjusted the shoulder height for me in order to accommodate my shoulder imbalances. Secondly, he provided me with the option to choose between a more Milanese style extended shoulder or a more narrow shoulder. Wanting to get something more squared, I chose the former.
Aside from that, it is also quite interesting to see some type of adjustments which you could never be able to make with a RTW suit.
The picture above, for example, showcases how Fabio was able to take in some excess material front the front of the jacket to create a slimmer waist.
The depth of the armhole is another element which could be adjusted as well. (picture below) Taking this opportunity, I went for a higher armhole like the ones from Huntsman to allow more mobility.
By the look of it, this MTM suit from Suit Supply looks quite promising.
With that said, nothing is certain at the moment. More updates on the process in 4-8 weeks time after the garment is being produced. Please look forward.