The problems with shopping off the rack

20 April 2017

They’re cheap and readily available, but they rarely fit without some type of tailoring and they won’t last.

Made-to-measure suiting was created as a more effective alternative to buying suits off-the-rack. Off-the-rack is a general term describing the practice of buying ready-made suits from department stores or specialty boutiques without any alterations. In terms of convenience, off-the-rack shopping is great. You can invest a small amount of time and walk away with a complete suit the same day. However, not only are your design options greatly reduced, it’s nearly impossible to find an off-the-rack suit that fits your body correctly, and hence why made-to-measure is the superior option.

Standardised Sizing
The biggest issue with off-the-rack suiting is sizing. For the sake of simplifying your shopping experience, the entire department store suiting assortment has been reduced to a handful of sizes. To do this, the manufacturer assumes that all men who wear suits are exactly the same. Of course, this overgeneralisation seems silly. No two men are built the same. One man could wear a particular fit, but need longer sleeves. Another could require a shorter torso. It’s rare that multiple men can perfectly fit a standardised suit. However, these off-the-rack suits are crafted from a generic suiting pattern that’s based on the measurements of a fit model or, even worse, a computer-generated ideal. When you work with a tailor, the suit will be created around your specific measurements, ensuring a perfect fit.

Construction
Most off-the-rack suits are constructed by gluing the suit fabric to the canvas. In higher quality suiting, canvassing involves more complicated processes in which the canvas is hand stitched to the fabric. The benefit of a canvassed jacket is longevity and fit. Gluing, or fusing, the fabric to the canvas results in a stiff suit. Over time, the suit may experience bubbling as the glue comes undone. Off-the-rack suits might fit your needs at the time but don’t expect longevity.

Limited Choices
When you settle for off-the-rack suits, you’re forced to choose from a pre-existing selection. You might have a preference of colour, design, lapel or vent in mind, but you’re highly unlikely to find the perfect combination. You’ll have to try on dozens of options until you find the one that’s closest to what you desire. With a tailor, you can clearly outline your preferences at the start of the process. You won’t have to settle.

Off-the-rack suits are a fast fashion answer for dressing up. They’re cheap and readily available, but they rarely fit without some type of tailoring and they won’t last. Choose made-to-measure and experience the difference at Oscar Hunt.

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