The London Made-to-Measure Suit Review has been created for two main reasons; to help first time made-to-measure (MTM) customers navigate their purchase and to shine a light on MTM tailoring and help customers choose the right tailor for them. The review is broken up into three main parts: Introduction, Guide and Method. The Introduction covers everything from the history of MTM to fabric and suit construction. The Guide is a tailor-by-tailor review using a common set of metrics so customers can compare tailors. The Method explains the review’s thinking and methodology for the guide so readers can better understand all the metrics. The LMTMSR has only reviewed tailors in London that have a retail presence.
Whether you’re stepping into the corporate world for the first time or updating your professional wardrobe, investing in a perfect made to measure work suit or business suit is essential. A well-fitted custom made suit not only enhances your appearance but also boosts your confidence and leaves a lasting impression on clients, colleagues, and superiors. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when buying the ideal work suit, that is practical, sharp, well fitted and long lasting.
Before you hit the stores, define the purpose of the suit. Consider the typical dress code of your workplace, the industries you interact with, and the occasions you may need to attend. Typically in the Law/Finance world of London dark navy, gray or charcoal suits are the most appropriate with very little or no visible stripe or check.
The fit is the most crucial aspect of a perfect work suit. An ill-fitted suit can ruin even the most expensive fabric and design. When getting fitted for a custom made work suit three key elements need to be considered: comfort, appropriateness and personal preference. One of the main points of getting a custom work suit is so that it is perfectly tailored to your body, providing a clean look as well as being very comfortable through long work days.
Selecting the Right Fabric:
Choosing the right fabric is pivotal for both comfort and style. For most professional settings, wool is an excellent choice as it is breathable, drapes well, and resists wrinkles. Look for Super 100s to 130s as this wool will be fine enough without being too fine, anything over Super 130s typically wears quite quickly and isn’t practical for a day to day work suit. Wool blends are also worth considering, especially for added durability and ease of maintenance, we only recommend natural fibers for suits so the mohair blend is our recommendation for a work suit. Additionally, consider the weight of the fabric, opting for lighter fabrics for warmer climates and heavier ones for cooler weather. A minimum of 250g/sm and a maximum of 400g/sm is recommended.
Picking the Appropriate Style:
The classic single-breasted, two-button tailor made suit is a safe bet for business settings. However, depending on your body type and personal style, you might explore various lapel styles, such as notched or peaked lapels. LMtMSR recommends double vents at the back for the cleanest look. Experiment, but remember to maintain a professional look that aligns with your workplace culture.
Pay Attention to Details:
The devil is in the details, they say, and this holds true for work suits. Look for suits with functional buttons on the sleeves, as this indicates a higher quality suit. Check the stitching for precision and consistency. A well-constructed bespoke suit will have clean, even seams. Assess the lining material, and opt for breathable ones to avoid discomfort during hot days.
A “full canvas” construction for a custom work suit is almost a must as it provides durability, flexibility and superior drape compared to “half canvassed” and “fused” constructions. You can read more about suit construction here as well as a helpful guide to london tailors here.
A perfect MTM work suit doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive one. It’s about finding the right balance between quality and cost. Set a budget that allows you to purchase a suit made from quality materials and skilled craftsmanship without breaking the bank. LMtMSR recommends spending £800-1000 for a durable, professional looking working suit; it is always better to invest in construction rather than fabric! A guide to London tailor can be found here Remember that a well-maintained suit will last longer, so it’s an investment in your professional image.
Choosing the perfect work suit or business suit involves careful consideration of the fit, fabric, style, construction and details. It’s an investment in your professional image and can boost your confidence in any business setting. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to owning a work suit that not only fits you like a glove but also makes a lasting impression on your colleagues and clients, ultimately enhancing your career prospects.
There are a variety of Made to Measure / Bespoke suit operators that sell suits online. The attempt at innovating by bringing Made to Measure / Bespoke suits online is admirable, but unfortunately at this stage the product, process and offering isn’t there, below we will explain why.
There are various operators out there from Hockerty.uk to the more premium Lanieri, these services have varying levels of fit, product and customer service available. Our main disagreements with online Made to Measure suiting are threefold; large margins, poor fit and the lack of advice that a usual made to measure fitter / tailor would provide.
The dirty secret of mass online shopping is that no one knows or talks about the large return rates that exist with online e-commerce, especially in apparel. E-commerce apparel return rates sit at 30-40% in western markets, fuelled by “free & easy” returns policies. The effect of this varies from segment to segment, with large swaths of bought and returned apparel having to be disposed of. This return rate from industry reporting holds up with the online Made to Measure / Bespoke suiting segment. With such large return rates these suiting companies have to have much larger margins than exist in traditional retail based Bespoke / Made to Measure suiting companies. Online based Made to Made suiting companies are estimated to have to charge 7-8x the cost of making the product to get their model to work, while traditional retail based made to measure bespoke suit companies charge 2-4 times the cost of making the product. So what does this mean for you as the consumer? It means you get a lot less value for your £££ with an inferior price/quality ratio.
One of the other main reasons consumers buy Made to Measure / Bespoke suiting is because they are looking for a superior fit to what they can find off the rack. Although online made to measure / bespoke suit companies allow you to enter your measurements and some figuration observations (posture) online these rarely properly capture your shape and posture correctly. The result is a high return rate of orders (wasted product that often ends up in landfills) and poor customer satisfaction.
So the long and short of it: buy off the rack if you have to buy online and get it altered by an alterations tailor, if you can get into a made to measure or bespoke suiting house, use our easy made to measure guide to help find a local tailor
When it comes to choosing a wedding suit, there are a few things to consider:
Formality: The formality of the wedding will dictate the style of suit you should wear. There are roughly three main types of formality levels when it comes to wedding suits; Tails, Black Tie, Lounge suits
- Tails: tails are a traditional form of wedding attire and involves wearing a top hat, longer jacket, waistcoat and trousers.
- Black Tie: Are a more modern but still quite formal form
- Lounge Suits: Lounge suits usually consist of matching Jacket & Trousers with a shirt. This can be dressed up or down depending on the formality of the wedding, it can be worn with a traditional navy merino suiting cloth or a more casual and textured linen or linen bled.
Fit: A well-fitting suit is essential. It should be tailored to your body, with a snug but not tight fit that allows free movement while also creating shape that accentuates the best parts of your body.
Colour: Traditional wedding suit colours include navy, charcoal, and black. However, lighter colours such as light grey and beige can also work, especially for a summer wedding. Colour choice is very dependent on wedding colour themes, formality as well as personal preference, a good tailor should be able to help you navigate these decisions.
Fabric: Wool and wool-blend suits are the most common choice for weddings, but you can also consider linen, cotton or a mix of fabric for summer weddings. Again formality comes into play a lot here as different suit material fibres create different effects, please read more about this in our – introduction to custom made suiting
Accessories: A tie, pocket square, and dress shoes will complete your look .
In terms of styles, here are a few options to consider:
Single-breasted suit: This classic style has a single row of buttons and a notch lapel.
Double-breasted suit: A more formal option with two rows of buttons and peaked lapels.
Three-piece suit: A suit with a vest adds an extra element of sophistication and can be especially appropriate for a more formal event.
Remember that your wedding suit should reflect your personal style and make you feel confident on your big day, so remember to work closely with your tailor to help you imprint your style on your made to measure or bespoke commission.
There is a lot of contention these days about the difference between Made to Measure & Bespoking suiting. The Savile Row Bespoke association even went as far as legally challenging the use of “Bespoke” in regards to suiting to safeguard its use when referring to clothing in the UK. This challenge was unsuccessful and the result has been a lot of Made to Measure suiting operators branding themselves as bespoke while only using a Made to Measure system.
So let’s start with what “Bespoke” actually means in its traditional form. The term is used to define the process in which a “cutter” and “maker” work in unison to create a one of one garment for a client. It begins with the cutter having a consultation with a client, taking measurements, figuration notes (posture of the body), preferences for style and cloth choice. The cutter then proceeds to “draft” a pattern (blueprint for the garment) and cut the cloth accordingly. The client then returns for a “forward fitting” in which the garment has been “basted” together (this is the loose stitching together of the garment) so the cutter and client can get a look and feel of the garment before any final decisions are made. The pattern is then refined by the cutter and sent to a maker, this can be a trouser or coat maker where a bulk of the construction work is done. The client then comes in for another fitting in which final adjustments are made and noted. The garment then goes to a “finisher” where final stitching and finishing is performed. Lastly the client comes in to pick up the final garment. The purpose of this process is so a client’s body and preferences are met as closely as possible. A final bespoke garment made by a good cutter and maker is in another league to a Made to Measure suit, although the differences can often only be seen and felt by an experienced eye/wearer.
Made to measure employs many elements of bespoke; choice of fabric, design options as well as fit and feel preferences. The fitting process is different however, firstly an existing “try on size” is used during the initial consultation with the client, this removes the need for a “forward fitting”. Measurements are taken off these try on sizes and the existing pattern is adapted by selecting options within a preset system. This preset system varies between Made to Measure tailors, so different made to measure tailors have differing levels of their ability to adapt their pattern to your body. The garment order then goes off to the Made to Measure tailors factory with fit preferences, style choices and cloth choice. The garment then arrives back in fully finished and a fitting is conducted to determine if adjustments are needed. A final fitting is then conducted and the client is ready to pick up the garment. A good made to measure “fitter” using a well designed pattern can often achieve a near identical level of fit and quality to your average London bespoke tailor at a much more affordable price, but like in bespoke there is a massive difference between the great, good and bottom of the stack. We at LMtMSR have personally seen MTM suits that clearly beat bespoke suits in quality and fit, but ultimately a very good bespoke suit cannot be beaten.
When searching for a bespoke or Made to Measure suit there are a few things to look out for. Firstly, true bespoke costs a minimum of £3500: this is the minimum price a company could sell for given the cost of British made bespoke suiting. A good bespoke suit requires a minimum of 80 hours of labor + £500 – £750+ in materials. Meaning anyone selling bespoke for below £3500 are using many if not all elements of Made to Measure. A prime example of this is Cad & The Dandy, they sell “bespoke” for £1500, this is not a viable price for bespoke, they basically use a Made to Measure system and advertise as bespoke. If your budget is limited to £1500 casual fitters have a great MTM offering (£895) and would have a comparable outcome at half the price. If you are looking for something more premium Tailor Made have a hand made in italy option at £2000ish which you would get as close to good bespoke as you can for £2000 or under. If you prefer true bespoke Holly Robins Bespoke in East London is a great option, we believe her pricing sits at £3500-4000 for a suit, here you will get a good true blue bespoke experience without paying the “Savile Row” premium.
In Conclusion: price is a really good indicator of true Bespoke vs Made to measure: don’t be fooled by clever branding, ask questions and challenge your potential tailor, ask where the suit is made and how it is made (cad & the dandy fain England but admit India when pushed), ask who is “drafting” the pattern and enjoy the process!