Q+A: Bespoke or Made-To-Measure (or Off The Rack)?

by Barron Cuadro  |  in Style Tips

I came across this question in the archives that should clear up any concerns about whether to go for off-the-rack, made-to-measure, or bespoke suiting.

I’ve been reading more and more about suits that are made-to-measure versus those that are true bespoke. The price difference between the two categories can be quite staggering as well, with true bespoke selling for more than twice the price of MTM.

I was wondering if you could clear up what exactly the difference is there, and whether you think that a true bespoke suit is worth the investment relative to MTM.

True bespoke can be worth it for a person who can afford the cost, but certainly not necessary for a great fit.

suits (and all clothing, for that matter) are made from patterns. Bespoke suiting involves having a suit pattern made specifically for you. It also requires multiple in-person measurements and fittings. Every step of the process is fully customized.

Made-to-measure is the middle ground between bespoke and “off the rack”. MTM has a few pre-made patterns, but you can customize it according to your specifications (wide chest but narrow torso, one shoulder higher than the other) and preferences (extra wide lapels, functioning button cuffs, tapered pants).

It’s not fully custom, but close enough for most guys.

If you’re an average-sized guy of normal means and you’re looking at buying a new suit, I’d definitely go MTM over bespoke.

But wait!

Don’t discount off-the-rack suiting, though. Again, assuming you’re an average-sized guy with regular proportions, most of the time, you can find a well-fitting, ready-made suit.

(There’s a good chance you fall into this “average size and proportions” categorization.)

It’s mostly about finding the brands that work for you, your body type, and your personal preferences.

So, final answer

Try on ready-made suits from different stores. Get a feel for the variance in fits across brands. Land on a few that fit you best (see this article and this one for more fit details).

Second, if you want special customizations or have certain preferences, check out MTM.

If money ain’t a thang, you have fine taste, and are able to find a great tailor, explore bespoke.