The popularity of made-to-measure suit offerings has exploded, and while this is great news for leading more men down the rabbit hole of custom tailoring, there are simply too many confusing options that are riddled with misleading information. Made-to-measure isn’t ready-to-wear (RTW) and it isn’t bespoke; it sits somewhere in between, although I would argue closer on the spectrum to RTW.
The appeal is easy to see; for a slight price markup, the customer gets to choose from a vast selection of options including fabric, lining, pockets, lapels, buttons, stitching, trouser details, monograms and so on. For the suit maker, its offers a chance to leverage the existing supply chain and entice more customers with the allure of “personalization” to sell more suits slightly above full price – a win-win situation no doubt.
So in the interest of investing your tailoring money wisely, here are my top tips for going made-to-measure:
Anyone sensible should be cautious of a particular style when it becomes popularized, especially when celebrities jump on the band wagon. There are of course times when innovative ideas and approaches are catalysts for enriched culture and long lasting improvements – maybe even cementing themselves as milestones in fashion history. Consider the evolution of the Trench coat from its practical roots, or how a request for a shorter informal jacket by the Prince of Whales led the storied Savile Row tailor Henry Poole to invent the dinner jacket. Naturally the polar opposite of the spectrum would include perverse atrocities like parachute pants or the infamous “garbage bag” suit cut from the 90s; we can hang on to these for future photo album entertainment. One trend. This brings us to the point of this article, which is tonal dressing and what kind of trend it will turn out to be.
If the essence of Autumn style is dominated by subdued earthy tones and heavier textures, then shift into Spring and it’s all about brightening up your look with vibrant colours, striking patterns and lightweight fabrics. Chances are that by the time the sun comes out to shine, you’ll be itching to lighten things up.
I will be the first to admit that when I started seeing suits combined with sneakers I was a little slow to embrace the concept. Maybe the side of me that’s occasionally a bit over zealous when it comes to respecting the traditions of classic menswear raised alarms. But as we age, and hopefully become more in tune with how we express ourselves through clothing, I think we loosen up a bit and yearn for new ways to explore and individualize our style. Likewise, the last few years I’ve brushed aside some of those old stuffy pretenses and become a bit more easy going.
If sartorial history tells us anything it’s that dressing up a few hundred years ago must have been a lot easier. Not a lot of creativity was required when there were rules to dictate that a gentleman was to wear white tie to dinner, and so on. However, around the mid 17th century marked a major change when King Charles II actually imposed a subtler less conspicuous dress code for noblemen of the court, which started an evolution of men’s fashion toward a more common one size fits all uniform. This was the lounge suit, or the modern business suit as we know it today, which arrived in the late 1800s as the default casual garment for the upper class and formal attire for the lower class. It slowly replaced the casual but stuffy Victorian morning dress of tailcoats, which are still common today in British weddings.
You got your fresh new haircut, confirmed the dinner reservation and maybe even picked up some flowers. Yep, you have a date with someone special, and hopefully didn’t neglect the most important detail: what to wear? Sure, lots of men will tell you, “Oh she doesn’t care how I dress”, but rest assured she does. Sticking with the same old jeans and collared shirt is an easy and lazy habit to fall victim to. Fortunately, I have three foolproof strategies below that are sure to ease the process and guarantee some special attention.
One look at a trench coat and the unique details instantly reveals its military origins that date back to the first World War. The coats were created for officers in the British army and then modified to active combat use in the trenches. As to the original inventor of the trench, this is an ongoing debate, as both Aquascutum and Burberry claim this title.