Brides aren’t the only ones who might need to get something custom made for the big day.
That’s right, spare a thought for their grooms. The idea of organising a tailor-made suit can be as intimidating as looking for a couture wedding dress, especially when you start throwing around phrases like ‘fittings’, ‘off the rack’ and ‘made to measure’. And while there might be a lot of information available to help brides navigate the made-to-measure dress process, that isn't always the case with tailor-made suits. Unless grooms have done it themselves or know someone who has had a suit made, they're really left to their own devices. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but to help grooms brush up on their made-to-measure know-how, we're stepping in. We chatted to a bonafide suit expert and asked them to spill on all things tailor-made, covering everything from the differences between ready-to-wear and made-to-measure to the kind of advice a groom can expect from a top-notch tailor.
Off-the-rack versus tailor-made
So what's the difference between a suit you’d pick up from a shopping centre and one that’s been specially made just for you? It all comes down to fit, explains suit guru Oscar Hunt. “The first difference, which is largely indisputable, is that custom suits fit so much better than off-the-rack suits. This is because a tailored suit is made for the individual, with every important consideration taken into account. Posture, for example, is a crucial element to consider when creating the perfect suit. Off-the-rack suits do not consider different postures.”
The next big difference is the individuality of the suit. A tailor-made suit is totally unique, both in its fit and its style. From fabric and cut to lapel size and cuffs, a custom suit is guaranteed to be a reflection of its wearer’s style – not the style of a far-flung designer. For weddings, that means a groom’s get-up will perfectly suit the look and feel of the big day.
“Finally (and this is a generalisation, because some ready-made suits are very good) off-the-rack suits are of an inferior quality to made-to-measure suits,” shares Oscar. “When you purchase a suit off the rack, you are generally paying for high marketing costs and prime retail rent. With made-to-measure, you pay for the fabric and the labour to construct that suit.”
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What's involved in the process of having a custom suit made?
It’s more straightforward than some might think. There are three main steps, with the first being an initial fitting (which definitely isn't as intimidating as it may sound). “During the first fitting, our team will work with a groom to understand his unique requirements. It’s during this stage that they’ll be shown and recommended a wide range of fabrics, taking into account any specific needs,” says Oscar. “They’ll also be guided through various styles, design options and finishings. Finally, fitters will physically take their measurements. Everything will be taken into account – a sloping shoulder, a larger cuff for an heirloom watch or a little extra room for a well-enjoyed holiday season. All of this takes place in the comfort of our first fitting room, over a couple of drinks from the bar.”
The second fitting is where a groom tries on the suit, shirt or overcoat. A fitter will go over the garment, from top to bottom, and make sure everything is just so. Any adjustments or changes are made in-house by a team of tailors. In one or two weeks, grooms are then invited back to the showroom for the final fitting and to ensure the suit is absolutely perfect. See, we told you it was easy! If groomsmen are having a suit made, they might also tag along to fittings. Brides can get in on the action, too. “We encourage brides to come along. With the bride involved we can gain their insights and thoughts, and craft the perfect wedding suit.”
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What are the other perks of tailor-made suits?
Grooms will have the expert guidance of seasoned tailors for the entire process, and it's this expertise that will come in handy when it's time to decide between things like shape and design. Knowing which fabrics suit certain wedding styles can be especially valuable. “Fabric choice is key,” Oscar advises. “If you are having a summer wedding you would want something light and breathable. You might also tailor the suit specifically to take out some weight in the jacket. For a winter wedding, you could choose heavier wool or a warmer fabric; you might also tailor a three-piece suit.” Another advantage offered by a tailor-made suit is the confidence it gives the wearer. “When you put on a suit that fits correctly, you don’t need to worry about it for the rest of the day. It will perform exactly as it should, it will be comfortable and you will enjoy wearing it.”
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