The custom buyer’s handbook

Buying anything custom made is an exciting prospect but it is also a costly business and requires as much involvement from the buyer as the designer/maker. We’re writing this article to shed some light and dispel some myths on the custom made buying process so that our customers can benefit from our decades of expertise in this area.

It’s a mistake to think that buying a custom made product  will guarantee the best quality and service..  There are lots of very good mass produced products and many very bad custom makers.  Mass production is usually carried out by large companies with a name to protect and a quality level that is acceptable to their core clientele.  It is when you are not in that core clientele circle that you should consider custom made.  Custom made can offer higher quality, or cater to demands that the mass producer does not consider is large enough for him to bother with.  You are an exception but you have to decide why you are exceptional in particular and what type of firm can cater for your needs.

Some of the common issues that bring people to a custom made suit or indeed any custom made product include:

1.    They don’t make a suit to fit you.
2.    They don’t make the style you want.
3.    You want to be individual.
4.    They don’t make the quality you want.

Here’s some advice based on our decades of experience and expertise to help you navigate your way through these issues to get the best custom suit possible.

(1)    Finding a suit that fits is the easiest and the hardest and the most common problem!  There are many people who can’t get readymade clothes that fit, they are too tall, too short too fat or too thin.  What you are looking for here is a competent tailor who can make a garment to virtually any size.  To a certain extent the “made to measure” tailors, who send their work to a central factory where they make what are in effect pre-altered readymade garments can deal with this problem satisfactorily if it’s a simple matter of girth or height.  This is the easy part, not so good when multiple combinations of corrections are required . This is where a reputable tailor will pay dividends.

(2)    They don’t make the style you want.  This is where you have to do the most work.  If it’s simply that you want a suit in the style of a given designer in a size or colour that the mass production manufacturer doesn’t make that’s not too difficult.  For this you really need a proper bespoke tailor who understands his patterns and can adapt them to any style and is not concerned with his own “House Style”.  For this approach to work though you really must make sure that the tailor understands precisely what you want.  This is not easy.  I once made some costumes for a National Theatre production where the designer told me what he wanted.  When I asked if he could give me a sketch he sent two photos, which were completely different from a cutting point of view, it took a lot of conversation to see what he thought were the common features and what he was looking for, and he was a professional designer.  The tailor would ideally need a sketch or a series of photos with elements from each of them that you want combined to make your customised garment..

(3)    You want to be individual.  This is much like (2) but you really must think carefully about how you want to express that individuality..  If it’s just choice and/or colour of fabric that is easier as most tailors have fairly large ranges and most, either made to measure or bespoke, will also make clothes using your own fabric.  But any custom made suit with the huge variety of cuts and cloth and having a suit that really really fits you is in itself a brilliant way to express your individuality.

(4)    They don’t make the quality you want.  Most mass produced work is made to a standard.  From respectable manufacturers it is usually all good, but it’s at different cost levels that naturally reflect different quality or fashion levels.  The difficulty comes when you want the highest quality goods.  If it’s simply quality you want you will need a bespoke tailor who has no other investment but his reputation and talent.  Recommendation is the safest way to find a tailor like this but you can find them through the web or by arranging a meeting with them.  You need to talk to them and see their work and fabrics to be in the best position to judge if it’s right for you.

In summary, bespoke custom made tailoring is a partnership between you the client and the craftsman or seller. You need to approach your tailoring journey in this spirit of partnership if you are to get the best possible product and value for your money.  Do look at the web site, do ring up and ask questions and do talk directly to the tailor about problems you may have had before with suits and other garments.  Do not try to stand tall, do not hold your shoulders back or your stomach in. You are going to your tailor to express the best possible you there is in a suit and he can only cut the cloth that fits – in every sense of the word.

For a free consultation on a bespoke suit and options please contact us today.

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