A man’s suit reflects one’s taste. Hence a well-made suit that contours flawlessly on your body, in our opinion, is an investment worth making. Whether it’s your first venture into the world of tailored garments or you’re simply confused and feeling overwhelmed on whether you need a Made-To-Measure (MTM) suit or a bespoke suit, this post will answer the most common doubts so that you can choose the most suitable option for yourself.
In this post, we will be focusing on three main differences between MTM and bespoke.
There are typically no basted fittings during the process of a MTM suit. However, there will be an initial measurement session to get your body measurements and select the customisable options. Typically the next fitting will be conducted after the suit is fully created. There may be further alterations to the suit depending on the measurement accuracy and your preference which may lead to one more final fitting.
MTM uses an existing pattern and make basic modifications that is closest to the wearer’s dimensions. Hence it is generally a more superior option as compared to ready-to-wear, or off-the-rack that might not fit you as well, leaving certain parts of the suit too loose/tight or long/short for you.
(Bespoke tailoring, image by Common Suits)
Bespoke suits require multiple fittings as it takes into account the small nuances of the wearer’s body. Some of these nuances includes – uneven shoulder slope, uneven trap height, scoliosis, uneven hip height, etc. As we have mentioned before in this post, a bespoke suit at Common Suits typically requires at least 3-4 fittings.
In the first fitting, otherwise known as the basted or skeleton fitting, you will get to try on the first draft of your garment. The fitting garment be further fine-tuned so it can drape over your body naturally while addressing the peculiar elements of the body. You may also provide feedback to your tailor to modify the fit/silhouette to your liking.
The subsequent fittings will depend on the first fitting. These fittings do more than just verify the accuracy of the original measurements in the beginning – the improvements will be built on top each fitting, achieving a more precise fit along the way.
As more rounds of fittings are conducted for better precision, a longer lead time will be needed.
Patterns in suit-making refers to the draft of the suit. Patterns are usually drafted on either paper or fabric.
MTM uses a pre-made pattern that can be altered to a wearer’s measurements using a standard-sized base pattern such as jacket or sleeve length, chest, waist, or shoulder width. While the process for MTM is more individualised than ready-to-wear, it overlooks nuances that a bespoke tailor will account for such as a personalised pattern. However, MTM relies on conventional measurements, whereas bespoke requires more than simple measurements such as the slope of the shoulders and the arch of the back.
Additionally, not all tailors who specialise in MTM have the same level of threshold when it comes to adjustments. Thus, better tailors will have a higher level of threshold.
Bespoke tailoring is custom-made exclusively for you – this means no two bespoke garments are the same. A bespoke suit is the most luxurious option for a tailored suit due to its premium quality and craftsmanship. The process of customisation for bespoke suits differs from MTM suits. Firstly, bespoke suits require more measurements to be captured to create a precise pattern for each wearer.
Rather than using a pre-made pattern, a new pattern is created for each individual in the bespoke process. There may be more measurements taken here so as to capture as much nuances as possible while drafting a fresh new pattern for the wearer. The fitter will also take note of peculiar body characteristics – shoulder slope, arch of the back, protruding shoulder bone, forward twisting shoulders, erect/slouching posture etc. All these characteristics will be taken into account when a bespoke pattern is being created. Both left and right panels of the garment may have to be drafted individually to account for the above nuances. If you’ve read until this part, take a pause and look at your shoulder levels in the mirror – are they equal? Based on our data points collected, most men have a lower drop in their right shoulder.
3. Customisation options
A Made-To-Measure (MTM) suit’s customisation options are standard. This consists of buttons, lining, lapel shape, jacket style – single breasted or double breasted, pocket style – flap, patch, jetted, center vents/side vents or no vents. MTM mostly focuses on standard two-dimensional measurements.