If you’ve been in the market for a new suit at least once in the past few years, you probably know your options: Fully custom (or bespoke), made-to-measure, or “off the rack”.
In this ongoing series, I won’t necessarily comment in depth about the particular company, or the details of the suit characteristics beyond what is necessary.
What I want to focus on in this series is fit: How it fits right out of the box, what turned out perfectly, and what I need to alter to get to 100%.
Hopefully this series gives you more confidence in ordering made-to-measure suiting in the future. And if you have any questions along the way, let me know.
Today, we’re checking out the Lanieri suit.
The Buying Experience
If you’ve ordered MTM before, you know the drill. First, you have to go through the usual process of measuring yourself (or, ideally, having a friend or loved one measure you).
This step freaks some guys out, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
While you should strive to be as accurate as possible, Lanieri has done this long enough and can tell if something is off; they have an algorithm in place to catch any outliers.
If it does look like something is off, they will reach out and ask you to double check. As long as you’re measuring thrice, recording once, you probably won’t have any outliers that signal the alarms over in Italy.
After you finish the measuring process, the fun part begins… actually customizing your suit!
You start by choosing your suiting fabric, either from their latest collection, or from the larger selection of swatches. There’s an option to have swatches sent to you, if you’d like to see and feel them in person first before placing an order.
By the way, the fabrics are exquisite and come from well-known, top notch mills in Italy such as Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis Canonico, and Reda, to name a few (shirting fabrics are from Albini).
Selecting all the little details of your suit is easy.
Your chosen fabric is displayed along with an example of each customization, from button color and style, to the piping and pick-stitching thread color, jacket lining (half or full), collar melton (the felt that lines the undercollar), inner waistband options… the list goes on and on.
All suits are half canvassed, and Lanieri will have a fully-canvassed option soon, if not already.
I placed the order on Lanieri’s site and received my suit four weeks later.
I went with a wool linen blend by Reda, in an unconventional color they called Marsala. I opted for the double-breasted style, double vents, peak lapels, and patch pockets.
Quick Tip: If you’re ordering a custom suit and you already have your basics covered, why not have a bit of fun with it?
This jacket also has functioning buttons on the sleeves. It’s a feature I love, but am always hesitant to get since it prevents most alterations to the sleeve length, should the suit maker not nail it the first time.
The guys at Lanieri assured me it would work out just fine. (It did.)
One thing I wanted to mention: If you have the choice, always opt for suspender (or brace) buttons. These are sewn on the inside of the waistband and allow for the use of suspenders / braces, in case you don’t want to wear a belt.
And if your size doesn’t change much, you could probably forgo belt loops completely, opting instead for said suspenders, or side tabs.
What Fits Well
You’ve heard me say this before: I want my jackets to fit like armor.
I’m happy with the fit in the shoulders, although as you can see, the jacket is slightly big in the waist, and a tad too big in the chest as well.
With a bit of waist suppression (and maybe a few cm taken from the chest), the jacket will have more of a V taper before the skirt—the part of the jacket that hangs below the waist—flares back out.
The pants fit exactly as I’d hoped; they have a higher rise and are meant to be worn above the hips, about a two- to three-finger width below the belly button. I opted for a noticeable taper and a larger cuff as well, 1.6″ (4cm).
What Needs Altering
Like I mentioned above, the jacket’s waist and chest could be taken in a bit. Luckily, these are alterations that don’t require much effort from a tailor.
I’m estimating 1–1.5″ (2.5–4cm) from both areas. Once alterations are made, the jacket will fit perfectly. I’ll update this post with fit pictures, post-tailor visit.
As always, my experience may be unique. Don’t assume you’ll run into the same issues I do right out of the box, no matter which company you go with.
Rule of thumb: If you over-communicate exactly what it is you’re looking for, and you measure three times / record once, you will have a very high chance of success the first time around.
Get One Of Your Own
While the particular fabric I chose is no longer available, there are many more (seasonally-appropriate) ones to choose from.
Lanieri suit pricing ranges from $590–$1090, with shipping and customs included (it is coming from Italy, after all.)
Lanieri also provides a $100 alterations credit, should anything need to be adjusted once you receive your suit.
What are your experiences with MTM suiting?
- Tried it once, loved it, never looked back?
- Bad first experience, never doing it again?
- Decent experience other than a few hiccups, willing to try once more?
Let me know in the comments below. And if there are other online MTM companies you are curious about and want to see, let me know about them as well.