Bespoke vs Made-to-Measure vs Off-the-Rack – What’s the Difference?

Bespoke vs Made-to-Measure vs Off-the-Rack – What’s the Difference?

10 Nov 2020
With countless brands and tailors around the world, it can be overwhelming purchasing a suit. Before you make your purchase, it’s important that you understand the three categories of suit choices available. Depending on your individual needs and personal preferences, you can choose from off-the-rack suits, made-to-measure suits, and bespoke suits.
ready to wear off-the-rack suits

Ready to Wear (Off-the-Rack) Suits

Off-the-rack suits are mass-produced and designed based on standard general measurements, which lead to an average fit at best. These suits are predetermined in size and style, and ideally can be worn as soon as you purchase them. While off-the-rack suits are generally cheaper than other suit options, they lack the accuracy of tailor-made suits and usually require alterations. Even after being altered, they tend to be limited in their ability to perfectly fit the wearer.
Depending on the brand, the construction of ready-to-wear suits is usually held to a lower quality standard (as they are mass-produced by machines using faster construction techniques). Subsequently, this can result in a level of compromise when it comes to the finishing touches of the product.
The ethical and environmental impact of ready-to-wear clothing is also a drawback as there is enormous pressure for brands to continue producing new collections every season in large quantities, which usually results in the unethical production and disposal of the excess garments.

Off-the-rack pros

– Usually the cheapest option for a suit.
– Quickest and easiest to wear on a time crunch.

Off-the-rack cons

– Inferior quality compared to made-to-measure and bespoke suits.
– No customization options when picking the fabrics and designs.
– Usually does not fit properly and may lack finishing touches. 
– May require additional alterations.
– Harmful for the environment and usually produced unethically.

Made-to-Measure Suits

ready to wear off-the-rack suits

Made-to-measure suits start with a pattern that has already been cut and is ready to be customized according to your measurements and preferences. Like off-the-rack suits, made-to-measure suits are also predesigned but they’re altered to fit your measurements. Unlike bespoke suits, made-to-measure doesn’t take into account the minor nuances in your body structure and stance leading to a comparatively less accurate product in terms of fit. Although made-to-measure suits provide some degree of customization, you won’t have the ability to choose and customize all your suit features (such as the fabric, cut, design, fit, etc.) as you would with bespoke tailoring.
Made-to-measure suits also tend to be outsourced to a different country for production, which may lead to lengthier lead times and less accuracy in the finished product. Although more expensive and time-consuming, made-to-measure suits tend to fit much better than ready-to-wear suits.

Made-to-measure pros

– A more customized suit as compared to ready-to-wear.
– Tends to have a better fit and uses better fabrics and interlinings as compared to ready-to-wear.

Made-to-measure cons

– Takes time to complete, which may pose a problem for those on a time crunch.
– May require additional alterations upon completion.
– Fewer customization options and lesser accuracy in fit when compared to bespoke suits.

Bespoke Suits

ready to wear off-the-rack suits

An authentic bespoke suit is a marvel of quality and craftsmanship. Requiring up to 50 hours from start to finish, a fully bespoke suit is handmade and will take 2-3 weeks at minimum 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 that are prefabricated, bespoke suits are made from scratch, just for you. In other words, no fabric is cut until you’ve been measured; you can choose everything from materials, construction, and style to stitching, buttons, and monogramming. They are custom-designed to perfectly accentuate your physical features while hiding any imperfections.
While the bespoke process is not a rushed one, the garments are usually created in-house and made to last a much longer life than typical mass-produced fashion garments. In addition, the fashion industry is very wasteful and choosing bespoke garments over mass-produced ones reduces the ready-to-wear industry’s negative environmental impact by encouraging slow fashion and less wastage.

Bespoke suits pros

– A guaranteed perfect fit for the client.
– Only uses the finest fabrics available including pure wool, cotton, and linen.
– Superior and unparalleled craftsmanship with experienced master tailors.
– 100% customizable and unique to your tastes and preferences.
– Supports sustainability and the ethical production of garments.

Bespoke suits cons

– An investment in time as multiple fittings are required.
– More expensive than off-the-rack and sometimes made-to-measure options.

Collars & Cuff Bespoke Suits

Collars & Cuffs is a place where decades of craftsmanship can be observed and embraced in an extraordinary way. C&C is a sartorial experience, reflecting our legacy of the best bespoke tailoring imaginable. Our guests simply express their needs to their personal concierges without ever needing to open a single magazine or style guide. We offer our customers a sense of indulgence and the lifestyle that comes with custom suits in Dubai.
Designed and crafted by master tailors with over twenty years of experience, our bespoke suits are completely customizable to your personal taste, body, style, and personality. The result is an impeccable, truly one of a kind design. We take great pride in our ethical and sustainable business practices as we hand select only the world’s finest and most sustainable fabrics and produce every garment in-house while ensuring a comfortable working environment for our entire team.
At Collars & Cuffs, we aim to provide affordable luxury with our bespoke suits starting at only 2,300 AED. The process begins with our client concierge introducing you to the world of bespoke styles and fabrics. We also offer a traveling tailor service where we attend to all your wardrobe needs from the comfort of your home or office for your safety and convenience.
Contact a member of our team to schedule your complimentary appointment.