custom suit

Tips to Choose Custom Made Suits for Men and Women

Trying to buy a new custom suit in New York? It’s hard to know where to turn these days, there are so many options out there. To make things more difficult, all of these companies seem to be offering similar things: custom or bespoke suits perfectly tailored to your body, along with design options personalized to your particular style.


I thought it might be helpful to fill you in on a few things you should be looking out for if you are shopping around for a custom suit.
First off, take a look at the price tag, to be blunt. We see lots of ads these days for $400 or $500 ‘custom’ suits. The bottom line here is that they’re not actually custom or bespoke. These suits are more than likely factory-line made instead, piece by piece, by many sets of hands. They’re made-to-measure suits, not custom. In all likelihood, the quality won’t hold up over time.


Second, you need to be looking out for design limitations during the fitting/styling process. True custom suiting means that everything is on the table in terms of design. If you want an absurdly wide peak lapel that reaches all the way to the edges of your shoulders, or a ridiculously exaggerated drop-crotch in your tuxedo pants, then you should be allowed to have it. The designer and / or tailor you’re working with might (and possibly should??) advise against such choices, but the point is that under the rules of bespoke you should be able to do whatever you like with your garments.

If it’s a flat no to your design ideas for a suit, then you probably need to question whether it’s actually a true custom process.

Third, buying a custom suit requires an in-person fitting process. It also usually requires a muslin, or test, garment to be made before the real thing is produced. There should be several steps (multiple appointments) to this fitting process as well.

To break it down, the customs process means a tailor will be fussing around you while you stand in your test garment. They’ll be taking measurements, securing pins where alterations need to be made, jotting down notes. After alterations are made you’ll go back and see the tailor again, and you’ll keep going back until everything is perfect and no more changes need to be made, at which point you’ll take the garment home.

If all you’re doing is entering a series of measurements into an online form, then it’s not bespoke/custom. Or if your fit specialist is simply putting you in the closest fitting template without noting or making any adjustments and / or alterations to the fit before the order is submitted, then it’s not bespoke / custom either. Or if it’s just a one-and-done fit session, followed by the final delivery of your garment/s, then it’s not bespoke or custom.

These are just a few things to look out for in shopping for a custom suit in New York. At Watson Ellis, we offer true custom suits and garments. We work with the world’s best mills and manufacturers to bring you handmade luxury custom clothing. That’s what we do. No half measures. We also offer the most modern and fashion-forward approaches to the design of your custom suit, overcoat, shirt, and blazer. Learn More