"The terms are often used interchangeably, and there’s a general lack of understanding in how they differ."
To the untrained eye, made-to-measure and bespoke may seem like the same process. The terms are often used interchangeably, and there’s a general lack of understanding in how they differ. Though the greatest differences may be subtle, they are very different processes. If you’re hoping to dive into the world of custom suiting, it’s crucial that you understand the comparison.
In terms of pattern making, a standardised pattern is adjusted to match the measurements of the wearer. For example, if you wear a size 44 blazer but you need a longer sleeve, the suit maker will adjust the size 44 pattern to account for your individual needs. To achieve the desired fit, the wearer will only need to be fitted for measurements once and a final time once the suit is complete. On top of adjusting measurements, the fitter will take into account the client's posture and the balance of the jacket and trouser.
During the selection process, the client will select fabrics from a curated range of offerings. Additionally, when it comes to other details like pocket style or cuffing, the client will make these personalisation selections from a specific list. Also during this process, you work with a trained fitter who is well versed in the available options. This person will then communicate with the tailor who’s crafting your garment.
Bespoke, like made-to-measure, involves customisation and design based on your personal preferences.
Unlike made-to-measure, the patterns are made from scratch for every client. On the surface, this sounds great because it will be completely tailored to your body. However, if you aren’t working with an incredibly skilled tailor, several unique aspects of your frame could be missed. Also, you’ll be required to participate in several fittings through the process to get the most perfect fit possible.
During the construction process, it is the tailor that the client met during the fitting that crafts the suit. The tailor may draw in the help of cutters however it is the tailor that oversees the construction from end-to-end.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of bespoke is that you work directly with the tailor. You can voice your concerns and desires, but you’ll need to study to ensure you’re speaking your tailor’s language.
Made-to-measure and bespoke are both effective customisation methods. Whilst bespoke can be the ultimate in terms of personalised craftwork, made-to-measure achieves an incredible result without the price tag of the former. Our final thought: be cautious of any tailor or clothier that offers a bespoke suit for under $2,000. If so, it is unlikely they are using the term bespoke, when it comes to tailored suiting, correctly.