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Bespoke Suits – All You Need to Know

14 Sep 2021

A bespoke suit has the power to inspire a sense of confidence and distinction in any man who wears it. When you wear a bespoke suit, you will instantly feel like a king in the sea of men. However, becoming king doesn’t just happen with the flick of a few stitches. Creating a bespoke suit takes meticulous care, precise craftsmanship, and time-honored knowledge and traditions to turn your vision into a tangible reality.

What is a Bespoke Suit?

True bespoke tailoring is the pinnacle of men’s attire. To be a proper bespoke suit, the garment must be made with the highest level of quality in regard to materials, construction, and skilled craftsmanship. Unlike off-rack suits, bespoke suit patterns are individually created every time a garment is made by a skilled cutter.

During your consultation for a bespoke suit, your master tailor will take upwards of 40 measurements to ensure the perfect fit to accentuate your features and hide your flaws. From your measurements, your tailor will construct a pattern that is used as the framework for each of the various sections of the garment during construction.

Suit Tailoring

Not all suits are tailored the same. Generally, there are three distinct styles of suits:

Ready-to-wear suit

A made in a factory, mass-produced suit, that you can purchase in a department store. Although ready to wear as soon as you buy them, these suits are made with general measurements and typically require additional tailoring to meet the requirements of your body. Additionally, a ready to wear suit is limited in the types of alterations that can be made, which make a custom fit near impossible.

Made-to-measure suit

A standard suit pattern is produced and tweaked to fit your precise measurements. Factory made, this suit comes from a pre-existing design and is not one of a kind. Compared to a bespoke suit, made-to-measure suits do not provide an accurate fit. Ultimately, modifying existing patterns vs creating a pattern from scratch are not the same thing.

Bespoke suit

The entire suit is created without a pre-existing pattern or design. From the pattern, fit, and fabric to buttons, threading, and style, you have a say in the unique creation that will become your bespoke suit. You can even choose the type of cut and fit you are looking for! Authentic bespoke suits produce a marvel of quality and craftsmanship. Handmade, a bespoke suit takes upwards of 50 hours and a minimum of 2-3 weeks to complete. During this time, the client will be invited for fittings where he will try on the suit while it’s being made.
Unlike off-the-rack and made-to-measure suits, which are prefabricated using general measurements, bespoke suits are designed to create handcrafted tailored suits that fit your exact measurements, physique, and personal tastes. From the style and materials to the stitch, buttons, and monogramming, bespoke tailoring ensures a custom-design to perfectly accentuate your physical features while hiding any imperfections. It’s truly an experience you will never forget.

Fabric Types

There are so many fabrics to choose from. However, there are a few key fabrics most people stick to when it comes time to design their bespoke suit. Ideally, your suit could be worn in all four seasons. As you choose the fabric(s) for your bespoke suit, it’s important to choose a fabric weight based on the time of year you will be wearing the suit.

Common suit fabrics include:

Bespoke suit fabric types

Wool

  • The most popular fabric used for suits
  • Antibacterial properties that keeps it fresh after repeated use
  • Exceptionally soft and gentle on your skin due to it’s thin fine strands of fabric
  • Extremely lightweight, wool weights less than other fabrics
  • Highly versatile for changes in temperature
  • Excellent for a variety of solid-colored and patterned suits alike

 

Linen

  • Ideal for hot climates, linen is extremely breathable and the low thread count makes it cooler for warm months
  • One of the strongest natural fibers
  • Lightweight and comfortable, the hollow fibers allow more airflow compared to other materials
  • Perfect for informal and warm-weather events
  • Prone to creasing and wrinkling, linen suits are typically word to casual and informal events

 

Cotton

  • Offer unique style, as cotton suits are not very common
  • Highly versatile for casual occasions and different body types
  • Comfortably soft, move and breath well but are more prone to creasing
  • Flexible material makes cotton ideal for all body types
  • Excellent for solid-colored and patterned suits alike

 

Flannel

  • Soft-woven, flannel is made with an emphasis on softness and comfort
  • Wide selection of colors and weights
  • The ideal fabric to wear to events held during cooler temperatures

 

Once you have selected your fabric, it’s time to select your fabric weight. Fabric weight range will be largely determined by the temperature you will be wearing your suit in. Fabric weights, also known as fabric GSM (grams per square metre), come in a wide range of weights. For more information on fabric weight, be sure to check out this article.

Fabric Pattern

Regardless of the fabric type you select, during the bespoke suit process you will have the opportunity to choose your color and patterns to suit your event needs and personal tastes. Whether you prefer to select a classic color, such as black, gray, or navy blue, or you prefer a bold color, such as red, baby blue, or burnt orange, or you opt to mix and match colors and prints, the possibilities are endless.

Men's bespoke suit fabric patterns

Styles

With three great fit options, your bespoke suit will fit better than a glove! 

SLIM FIT

Trendy look

  • Jacket: trim chest, shoulders, and waist; higher armholes; fitted sleeves
  • Pants: slim through seat and thigh; lower rise; narrow leg opening

 

MODERN FIT

Updated traditional look

  • Jacket: slightly trim through shoulder; closer fit to chest and body; slightly higher arm holes
  • Pants: slimmer fit though seat and thigh; waistband sits slightly below waist

 

CLASSIC FIT

Traditional fit

  • Jacket: more room in the chest and body; traditional armholes and sleeves
  • Pants: full room through seat and thigh; waistband sits at the waist

Cuts

There are three main cuts to consider for your bespoke suit: the British, the American, and the Italian. Regardless of your location or nationality, these three distinct suit cuts provide different looks depending on your personal preference and body type.

The British Cut

The British cut suit is the epitome of elegant style, functionality, and durability. Originally designed for the on-the-move lifestyle of British gentlemen, the British suit is designed to wear in any weather. With a cut that fits closer to the body, this style of suit is designed with tight-fitting sleeves ending with cuffs and a high armhole. The British suit trousers feature a higher cut compared to other suit styles and contain 2-3 pleats.

  • Waist: Slightly pinched waist
  • Vents: Double vents
  • Pockets: Flap pockets
  • Structure: Slightly structured
  • Look: Sophisticated

 

The American Cut

Developed in the early 19th century, the American suit rose to popularity with well-to-do ivy league college graduates. The American Cut distinguishes itself from other cuts with a single vent in the jacket, straight lines, higher armholes, flap pockets, with natural padding in the shoulders for a fuller silhouette. While the original suit trousers were designed baggy, over time, American suits have adapted and are now extremely comfortable and applicable for most body shapes. The American Cut jacket features a single-breasted jacket with two or three buttons.

  • Waist: Straight cut
  • Vents: Single back vent
  • Pockets: Flap pockets
  • Structure: Padded shoulders
  • Look: Classic and comfortable

 

The Italian Cut

The Italians developed the British Cut to support an evolution in stylish trends for warmer climates and slimmer body types. A popular suit choice amongst Europeans, the Italian Cut caters to the smaller waist of the average European resulting in a dramatic inverted triangle.

  • Waist: Fitted “tapered” cut
  • Vents: No vents
  • Pockets: “Slash” no flap pockets
  • Structure: Little to no padding
  • Look: Sleek and modern
No vents vs single vent vs double vents

Lapels

There are three common types of lapels.

Suit lapel styles

Notch Lapel

The top of the lapel and the bottom of the collar meet in a notch. This is the most common type of lapel and suits a single-breasted jacket.

Peak Lapel

: Has strong edges which point towards the shoulders. A peak lapel is more formal and is always found on suits with double breasted jackets. Although, peak lapels sometimes appear on single breasted suits, as well as tuxedos.

Shawl Lapel

The collar has a continuous curve without a break. Shawl lapels are usually reserved for tuxedos and worn at a black-tie event.

Buttons

You may have noticed different suit jackets have different amounts of buttons. The number of buttons on your bespoke suit will depend on whether you have a single breasted or double-breasted jacket.

Single vs double breasted jacket

Pant Break

The “break” of the pant is the creasing or fold of fabric that forms at the front of your pant leg while you’re standing (just above where it meets your shoe). Or rather, think of the pant break as the point where the suit pants break their silhouette against the shoe.

Pant break types

No break pants

means the hem of your pants will sit just above your shoe. No pant break pants provide a modern, minimalist, and sharp aesthetic from their slimmer, streamlined look. They are considered very trendy, youthful, and forward-thinking. These work best with pants that are cut slim or tapered and are ideal for slimmer/taller men.

Half break pants

means the hem of your suit pants will sit ½ – ¾” of the way down past the point where your pants first meet your shoes. This allows for the slight horizontal fold to make contact with the front of your shoes. Very versatile, the half break look can work with both slimmer pants and those that are less tapered and more straight leg. Ideal for men of any build, but particularly effective for shorter men.

Cuffed break pants

uffed trousers brush lightly against the shoe without creating any large creases. Additionally, when you iron a firm crease into the leg, they’ll rest in a pointed shape for a finished look that’s as appealing as an uncuffed trouser break.

Full break pants

means the hem of your pants makes substantial contact with your shoes to create an elegant looking ripple in the area above the hem. Typically found on straight-leg, less tapered pants.  

Collars & Cuff Bespoke Suits

At Collars & Cuffs, we take pride in combining decades of craftsmanship with a truly immersive and one-of-a-kind sartorial experience. Designed and crafted by master tailors with over twenty years of experience, our bespoke suits are entirely customizable to your personal taste, body, style, and personality. Requiring up to 50 hours from start to finish, a fully bespoke suit is handmade and takes a minimum of 4-6 weeks to complete.

For your safety and convenience, we also offer a traveling tailor service where we attend to all your wardrobe needs from the comfort of your home or office. Contact a member of our team to schedule your complimentary appointment.