If you’re shopping for a new suit, you have a few options: Off-the-rack (also called ready-to-wear), made-to-measure, and fully custom or bespoke.
Made-to-measure suiting has become very popular over the past decade or so, and there are plenty of companies online offering this service.
So I started this series, MTM Showdown, to highlight my experiences with every custom online suit maker I test out.
For this review article, I’ll be trying SuitSupply’s newly revamped Custom Made program, which is their made-to-measure service.
In MTM Showdown, I pay extra attention to fit: How my made-to-measure suit fits right out of the box, what turned out perfectly, and what I need to alter to get to 100%.
But since my overall process ordering this suit was a bit different (in that it wasn’t done 100% online), I’m going to approach this article a bit differently. In fact, I’ll be breaking down:
- my entire experience
- my own thoughts as I went through it
- the outcome of the final garment (with photos), and
- my overall opinion about whether or not going through SuitSupply’s Custom program is worth it
Hopefully this gives you more confidence in ordering made-to-measure suiting in the future, especially with SuitSupply’s Custom Made program.
And if you have any questions along the way, let me know!
SuitSupply’s New Custom Made program
A few months ago, my friends at SuitSupply invited me to their SoHo NYC location to give their new custom program a try.
They call this service “SuitSupply Custom Made”, which as I mentioned, is similar to a made-to-measure experience.
SuitSupply Custom Made vs Custom Made To Measure
SuitSupply is the first company I’ve tried who already has
- a popular ready-to-wear line (obviously),
- multiple physical locations, and
- offers both made-to-measure and fully custom options (they call their fully custom option “Custom Made to Measure”… I know, it gets confusing)
So what’s the difference between SuitSupply’s Custom Made program and their Custom Made To Measure program?
You can think of it as 3 separate categories:
1. In-store suiting = Off-the-rack / Ready-to-wear
These suits are available to try on and buy right now, in stores and online. Most SuitSupply locations also offer in-store tailoring, which is super convenient.
You’re already in the shop buying the suit, might as well get it altered perfectly so you don’t have to worry about it later.
2. Custom Made → similar to Made-to-Measure
You choose the model, fit, fabric, and certain details of the suit, you get measured up, you place the order, and bam, you’re done.
The suit you receive is based off an already-existing pattern that is customized to fit your body.
So my suit, for example, is the Havana double-breasted model. My measurements were based off the 40S they had in-store. I chose the cloth (among what they had available in their fabric books, about 90 different options according to the website) and the details (lapels, buttons, etc.)
I’ll get into the details of my specific suit shortly… so keep reading.
3. Custom Made To Measure = Fully Custom
I don’t have firsthand experience with SuitSupply’s Custom Made To Measure program, but what it sounds like is a fully custom experience.
They take all your measurements and (again, I assume) create a fully unique pattern based off those measurements. So the pattern the cutters and sewers use to make your suit is 100% based off your body, not off an existing pattern.
These suits are full canvas and you have over 1000 fabrics to choose from, plus a “broad range” of unique design options (as the website states).
SuitSupply’s old MTM program didn’t make sense…
SuitSupply’s Custom Made program is relatively new. They had a program in place before, but it was a bit different, and frankly, kind of difficult.
Well for one, they had many different silhouettes (around 12). They also had a bunch of fabric to choose from.
The problem was, depending on the suit silhouette you chose, you only had a specific set of fabrics to choose from that corresponded with that specific silhouette.
I always found that kinda weird. Why can’t I just pick the silhouette I want with whatever fabric I want?
I witnessed this earlier in the year when my buddy was planning on ordering a custom suit. He chose to customize a Washington fit SuitSupply suit, but the particular fabric he wanted (a brighter navy) was only available for Havana models…
This was all before the changes SuitSupply made to its Custom Made program.
The New and Improved SuitSupply Custom Made program
SuitSupply shrank the variety of silhouettes they offer, from around 12 to 5, which I personally think is much better and far less confusing.
For the record, my favorite model is the Havana.
The Havana is considered a slim cut and has a soft shoulder, patch pockets, and a substantial yet balanced lapel… perfect for dressing up or down (versatility level 1000, Lean Wardrobe FTW)
This model comes in single- and double-breasted versions, as well as options for slit, flap, or patch pockets.
There are subtle variations in fit and detail for each of the models available in the Custom Made program, and on top of that, you can customize practically all aspects of the suit you’re designing. (I’ll get to that in a minute)
SuitSupply’s Custom Made program can be done in-store or online
There are a few benefits of going through the Custom Made process in a SuitSupply store.
- Their consultants are at your disposal and can help dial in on fit so you get it right the first time
- You can touch and feel the fabric, buttons, and lining in person
- You can nail all those little adjustments like sleeve length, trouser hem, jacket fit, etc.
I went through the ordering process in person (but you don’t have to)
For the purposes of this review, I’ll tell you about my in-store experience, but if you don’t live near a SuitSupply location, just know you can easily complete this whole order process online as well.
First: Try on a bunch of RTW suits
So if you come in to a physical store for the custom program, a consultant will probably give you the lay of the land and show you RTW (ready-to-wear, aka off-the-rack) examples of the different silhouettes, fabrics, and styles they have.
You choose a style and try on a few jackets and trousers to get your basic size. Your Custom Made order will be based off this ready-to-wear size.
Second: Fabric selection
From there, it’s time to choose your cloth!
You have a chance to go through the fabric books, or you can simply pick a fabric you like from the selection of suiting you see on the racks. And if you’re ordering online, they have detailed photos of each fabric.
For this order, I went with a dark green check in a wool silk linen blend. The weight is perfect for the warmer months and transitional seasons, and the check pattern will work great for my preferred “smart sharp style”, which is casual yet polished and refined.
Third: Jacket fit and details
After fabric selection, we moved on to the jacket fit. I went with the Havana (my favorite silhouette) but in a double-breasted configuration. Double-breasted jackets can be considered a dressier style, but I toned it down with the choice of fabric which is inherently more casual.
Next, the lining. You have the option to go unlined or lined. I chose this grey lining with a slightly mint green hue; I thought it looked great with the green tones of the jacket’s cloth.
Fourth: Trouser details
The trousers came up next. There are two fits: Brescia and Washington. Brescia is their standard rise and cut, while the Washington sits up a bit higher on the waist and is a bit more formal.
I have a shorter torso, and so the Brescia (standard) trouser fits me like a higher-waisted trouser, with the waistband resting right under the belly button.
You also have the choice of standard belt loops or side adjusters + brace buttons (for braces, or suspenders).
My suggestion: If you plan on wearing this as a full suit, and especially if you want to wear it with a vest, go with side adjusters + brace buttons. It’s a much cleaner look (the presence of a belt breaks up the visual continuity of the suit).
I went with belt loops (plus brace buttons) because I personally plan on breaking this suit up more often than wearing it together.
This essentially means I’d wear the jacket with jeans or chinos, and the trousers with a sweater or more casual jacket. (This style is very much in line with our Lean Wardrobe + High Low style philosophy, in case you were wondering).
Finally, you have the choice of cuffs (aka “turn ups”) or no cuffs. I love cuffs, so naturally, I chose with. The standard SuitSupply cuff height is 2”. A little more stylistically aggressive, which I like, but you can always request 1.5″ if you’re trying to be more subtle.
Fifth: Choose your buttons
After that, you move on to button selection. This button style is used not only on your jacket, but also your trousers and vest (if you choose to go with a vest).
Optional: Vest style selection
Speaking of… the vest (or waistcoat) selection comes next, right after choosing your buttons.
You have three choices of waistcoat styles:
- single-breasted with lapel (called the “Capetown”)
- double-breasted with lapel (“Pierre”)
- and single-breasted with no lapel (“Ferrara”)
The single-breasted, no-lapel Ferrara would look great when wearing a full 3-piece suit, either single- or double-breasted jacket.
The Capetown—single-breasted waistcoat with lapel—would work great under a double-breasted Havana, and so I decided to go with this one for my order.
The Pierre—double-breasted waistcoat with lapel—would work under a single-breasted jacket (leave the jacket unbuttoned, always, when wearing a double-breasted waistcoat).
But, to be honest, I probably won’t wear this whole rig as a 3-piece. For the vest, I’d probably rock that with a different suit as an odd vest, which I always think looks great from a stylistic standpoint.
It would also look great on its own, styled, for example, with chinos, a dress shirt, and a military jacket.
If you wanted to add a waistcoat to your rotation, the Capetown and Pierre would be your jam. (By the way, SuitSupply sells these vests separately as well.)
Sixth: Another pair of pants?
OK, moving on to the next step in the Custom process: additional trousers.
Why would you need a second pair of trousers?
Well, if you wear suits a lot, and this one happens to be in your regular rotation, trousers tend to wear out much faster than jackets. So ordering a second pair would hedge against that (so you don’t wind up with an orphan jacket and no matching trousers).
Plus, if you are ordering a second pair, it’s always best to order everything together with the original suit, in case the fabric runs out, is no longer sold, or simply looks different.
Reason being, your entire suit is cut from one bolt of fabric, and if you order a second pair of pants, let’s say, a month later… they’ll be cutting from a different bolt, which means there could be a slight mismatch in color, pattern, or texture… even if it’s technically the same fabric.
In my case, I skipped this, because I don’t wear suits every day, and as I mentioned earlier, I’d probably be wearing these pieces separately more often than together.
Finally: Choosing your jacket and trouser size
When you’re ordering online, the last step would be choosing your jacket and waist size for your pants.
Since I was completing my order in the store, I was able to try on a few off-the-rack jackets. I put on this grey pinstripe; same exact model as I’m ordering, just in a different fabric.
Trying jackets and trousers on in-store is helpful if you don’t know your size.
The last time I was here ordering a suit, I was a size 42s. Over the past several months, I’ve dropped 25 lbs and on this visit, discovered that I now fit into a 40s!
So if you’re unsure, it definitely helps to visit your nearby store to try stuff on. But if you haven’t gone through any drastic body composition changes, and you know your suit size, you can be confident in ordering your size online.
By the way, I go with “short” over “regular” because the jacket fits me much more proportionally. I suggest the same for you if you’re under 5’8” or 5’9”.
Finally, trouser size! That’s pretty straightforward. The one thing worth mentioning is that the trouser sizes are more true to size than the vanity sizing most brands use. So for example, my SuitSupply trouser size is 34, but when I buy pants anywhere else, I’m a 31” or 32” waist.
From there, you tap Add to Bag, pay, and you’re done! Your suit should be delivered within 2-3 weeks.
The Custom Made program includes free alterations
Your Custom Made suit may not fit you 100% perfectly when it arrives. That should be expected.
I completed this whole process in-store with a consultant, and even I had to go back in and get a few things altered.
Speaking of… with adjustments such as taking in the waist, slimming the jacket, shortening the sleeves, and taking up the trouser hem… those are all included with the Custom Made program.
Once your order comes in, you can bring it to your closest SuitSupply store. They’ll help you with all those adjustments and they typically finish within a week (but usually it’s much quicker than that).
Worst case, you don’t live near a SuitSupply store, so you’ll have to take it to your local, trusted tailor so he/she can make adjustments for you. You’ll obviously have to pay for these alterations, but hey, it’ll be worth it when you get your suit back and it fits you perfectly 🙂
How did my suit turn out?
Pretty great, if you ask me!
As you can see, the fit was pretty much on point.
When the suit first arrived, the trousers were a bit too long—I was looking for no break, but they came in with a full break, which was an easy adjustment (better to be too long than too short).
After the hem was shortened, I got back to the studio to shoot photos and I noticed a few other things that needed adjustment.
This probably isn’t noticeable in the photos, but there’s a bit of extra fabric at the center back that needs to be pulled up under the lapel, and I need to let the left leg out ½” at the calf for a bit more room.
Is SuitSupply’s Custom Made program worth it?
I’d say so.
If you’re in the market for a sharp looking suit and considering SuitSupply anyway—I mean, why wouldn’t you be?—for just a bit more, you can get the perfect fit along with all the customizations your sartorial heart desires.
For example if you’re considering a Havana suit in a Super 120s mid-grey wool, you’re looking at $699 total.
If you go through the Custom Made program, you can find a similar S120s fabric (Custom Made has plenty more fabric options, but as I write this, I couldn’t find the exact fabric) for $170. Add that to the base price of $499 for a suit, and your total would be $669.
That miniscule savings in this one example isn’t the best part. The best part is…
You can fully customize your suit, and in-store alterations are included!
- You can go with the Havana model, or maybe you want to switch to the Washington Cut, or the Lazio cut. You can!
- Let’s say you stick with Havana—good choice, my friend—you can choose among flap pockets, or patch, or slit pockets.
- You can choose a single- or double-breasted style.
- You can customize your lining, your style of trousers, your cuffs, basically everything I already covered in this post.
And the price difference is negligible in most cases. Of course, if you choose premium cloth, your total price will be higher, but that’s to be expected.
Which is why I say that if you’re going for an off-the-rack SuitSupply suit, might as well spring for the Custom Made experience and really get a suit that’s uniquely yours.
That’s all I got for ya!
I hope you enjoyed this in-depth article about my experience with SuitSupply’s Custom Made program.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the folks at SuitSupply did invite me out to try the Custom Made program, and I was not charged for the suit I designed. But please know my thoughts and opinions are my own, and SuSu had no say in the final article. (This is true with every editorial review on Effortless Gent.)
I’ve also been a longtime fan and customer of SuitSupply; I’ve purchased my own suits and sport coats, as well as recommended them on this site, for many years, long before they ever knew of EG 😉
This article is #NOTsponsored, though I am a SuitSupply affiliate, which basically means if you use the links on Effortless Gent and happen to purchase a suit, I’ll earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).
So if you found my review, photos, and general thoughts regarding this program useful, I hope you’ll consider using my links and supporting this site. Thanks in advance!