By: Team RajaFashions, Hong Kong Bureau | Fashion
Transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.” And we wholeheartedly agree to him. Even if casual clothes currently dominate street style, when most people imagine the pinnacle of a truly stylish man, chances are he’s wearing a well-fitted suit. When it isn’t a man’s go-to piece, a bespoke suit becomes the secret weapon of his sartorial arsenal. To start, here’s 10 things you should know before buying a bespoke suit.
#1: Fabric Comes First
There are a thousand ways to sew a suit, but the garment is ultimately only as good as its raw ingredients. Fabric selection is the most important decision you will make when designing your new bespoke suit. Not only does it determine how your suit will look and feel, but also how it will perform and last over time.
#2: Understand the Style
Every bespoke shop has their own opinion on how a suit should be cut to best flatter a man’s body. The difference in cutting style can vary greatly from one tailor to the next, even in the same city. Understanding the style and strategy of the shop is important in order to achieve the fit you are seeking.
#3: Get to a stable body shape before ordering
If you plan on going through any major body transformations, you may wait until you reach a stable weight that you are happy with before investing in custom clothing. And make sure it’s a weight you can maintain. As an added bonus, an expensive custom suit will probably be your best motivation to stay in shape.
#4: Get the fit right, the first time
A good tailor shop will keep a paper (or digital) pattern on file for you, and tweak that pattern every time they make you a new garment or alter one of your old ones. If you have the option of paying more for a “higher level” that includes additional fittings, do it for your first suit. Once you have your pattern locked down, you shouldn’t have to do it again and your future orders will be a breeze.
#5: Understand that you’re (probably) not an expert
Most tailor shops have fashion consultants whose full-time job is to make their clients look their best. Listen to their advice and converse with them about your styling decisions rather than assuming you know better.
#6: Avoid trends like the plague
You want your new investment to last 5-10 years (depending on how hard you wear your clothing), so keep the proportions classic and avoid anything “of the moment”. I feel bad for guys who ordered cropped jackets with razor thin lapels years ago and are now afraid to wear them outside the house. The same will happen to the guys ordering super oversized lapels today.
#7: Don’t get caught up in thread counts
Some guys think the higher the thread count (or “super” number), the better the cloth. This is not necessarily true. This number – which represents the number of fibers spun into a unit measure of cloth – indicates only the “fineness” of the fibers. It can mean that a cloth will have a great “hand feel” and sheen, but what’s more important is its inverse relationship with durability.
#8: Get the basics first, then build from there
Think of your first visit to a bespoke shop as the first step in building your new wardrobe. Start with the versatile basics and slowly build out to seasonal fabrics with more personality. You can wear a solid blue or grey suit to the office three times a week and nobody will notice, but your co-workers will call you out if they keep seeing those purple pinstripes.
#9: Have realistic expectations
Unless you look like George Clooney, a new suit won’t make you look like George Clooney. Also, don’t be a wrinkle chaser. The suit is designed to look pristine on a still, standing body. As you start moving all bets are off and the suit will crease and wrinkle. It’s fabric, not magic.
#10: Take care of your investments
Ask your tailor for proper care instructions. Generally speaking, dry clean your suits as infrequently as possible (only when it’s physically dirty from spills or sweat). Otherwise, if the garment simply needs a “refresher”, have it steamed or pressed (which is much cheaper than dry cleaning and effectively cleans it using heat and steam anyway).
Have questions about buying a bespoke suit? Connect with us to organize an obligation-free consultation for an ultimate bespoke experience.