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The Man's Guide to Shopping for a Custom Suit

Made to Measure Suit, Menaswear

Image from Oscar Hunt Tailors


Suit shopping is often one of those irritating necessities that needs to be done for the corporate man. Sometimes it can be a men’s biggest style challenge. When buying off the rack this can usually be budget friendly if the suit fits well and is a suitable quality. The only challenge with off the rack is the cost of alterations that can blow the budget.

Hence why so many guys turn to custom suiting. Recently, more and more affordable options are popping up offering made-to-measure suits at a fraction of the cost it used to be. Even if you suit up only a couple times a year, it’s worth investing in a custom suit..and yourself.

A few things to consider when getting your first custom suit:

1. Get the measurements right.

you want your measurements as accurate as possible, tight fitting clothing is key. Empty your pockets and if you are measuring yourself it helps to have a friend do it for you. Always err on the side of caution if doing it yourself and ensure the tape measure is not held too closely to your body. If unsure always round up as you can always get the suit taken in but not let out!

2. Do your research!

Finding a tailor that you are confident with is important! You need to like your tailor and feel comfortable with them to know you can trust their judgement, if possible go with someone that is recommended. Also check there is no cost to alterations until you are happy with the suit, some tailors offer free alterations for the life of the suit this may be if it is needed to be taken in down the track.

3. Know the difference between half canvassed, fully canvassed and fused suits.

This is one thing to always find out when having a suit made. Most off the rack you will find are fused at a lower price point, this simply means the fabrics are fused (glued) together. The main difference here is going to be how long the suit lasts and how it lays on your body. Although more expensive, a canvassed suit is going to lay nicer on your body, allow for more movement, will last longer, and are less likely to deteriorate with dry cleaning or bubble when wet.

4. Know what to expect.

Don't think that the first fitting of the suit will be perfect. Most of the time you will need to have a few different fittings to make it perfect. Also be frank with what you want if you define slim fit as different to your tailor tell them as they are usually more than happy to fix it as they know their best form advertising is you feeling great in your new suit!

5. Keep track of all adjustments made to the suit.

If you intend on ordering another, it is wise to make note of anything you changed on the first so that your second has a higher chance of coming back perfect!

6. Go for versatile transeasonal style.

While you may be presented with an endless supply of fabrics, stick with simple for your first suit. Choose a fabric and colour that are classic and versatile. I’d recommend navy blue or dark grey in a medium weight fabric.

7. Go classic.

Not only stick with safe for fabric and weight but go with a classic cut and style. if unsure always go with sleek and simple!

8. Know your budget and stick to it.

Don't be pushed into spending more than you want. A lot of men get talked into things they don't need I work with clients during the process and make sure a budget is stuck too!

9. Always test the suit during fittings.

So many times I have had clients tell me on their final fitting they just pick up the suit without trying it on.....Biggest Mistake EVER! Always try on the suit in the final fitting, this is most crucial to you being completely happy with your new suit. Not only try the suit on but sit down in it, stretch in it, throw a punch in it if you need to just make sure it is right for your range of movement and the seams will not split on the first wear!

10. Have fun and enjoy the process!

Most tailors offer beer or a whisky while you get fittings so make the most of it and forge a good relationship with your tailor. If you enjoy the process it will make shopping that bit easier!

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