There seems to be a huge rise of bespoke tailors popping up every five minutes. Some of them are fantastic and have years of training and experience, whereas others have less skills and can supply cheap alternatives to a fine bespoke or made to measure suit. This guide will try and help you decide how to choose your bespoke suit.

Get to know your tailor

Before instructing your tailor, you should always try and get to know them – ask your tailor about their background and experience. It’s important to get a good understanding of their capabilities.

Where your suit is made?

There are many tailors to choose from these days, however it’s difficult to decide which one is right for you? Many people consider price to be an important factor, but are you really getting the best deal? There are growing numbers of high-street and internet based tailorsthat provide cheap bespoke suits. However is this always the best option for you? Often a cheap bespoke or made-to-measure suit will substitute on quality in either fabric or manufacturing.

It’s vitally important to know where your suit is being made!  India, Thailand and China have a wealth of fantastic tailors, whose families have passed down years of experience. There is a growing trend for tailors in the UK, to have their suits made overseas. This is often done to reduce expensive manufacturing costs. However, this comes with a big risk – unless the overseas factory is owned by your tailor or they have direct supervision with the manufacturing process, often these suits will be mass-produced and will often be of lesser quality.

Your bespoke tailor should have either skilled pattern cutting experience – to understand the contours of your body, for the perfect fit, and key manufacturing experience.  A good tailor that you can trust will have either full supervision or will cut and make your suit themselves. This way you can have complete faith that that the person you meet for your fitting is involved at every step, throughout the entire tailoring process, to ensure you receive the perfect fitted and well-made suit. Additionally, if there are any alterations during your fitting, your tailor will have first-hand-knowledge of how your suit was sewn together and will ensure your suit remains the perfect fit, even after it’s been changed.

Savile Row’s reputation was forged from making the best tailored suits in the world. From presidents to kings, Hollywood to international sports stars, Savile Row continues to dress the world’s elite. Savile Row is credited for making the world’s finest suits. It’s not a coincidence that the best tailored suits are made in local studios or workshops, where the tailor has full access to the manufacturing process. The quality of a local made suit can never be underestimated. If the whole manufacturing process is carried out and supervised by the tailor, you can guarantee that your suit is a high-end product. Your suit doesn’t necessarily have to be made on Savile Row or cost a fortune, however try and find tailors who makes your suit themselves or either has full supervision of the manufacturing process in a local studio. This option will ensure that you receive the perfect fitted suit.

Choosing Fabrics

There are so many fabrics to choose from, it’s difficult to decide what’s right for you! The most obvious answer is either choosing which colour or pattern  suits you. You’ll probably know already what works for you, and what doesn’t, but choosing the right colours for your skin tone will make a big difference to your appearance.

Which colours suits me?

Choosing the right colour for you is mainly down to your skin, hair and eye colour. An easy way to break this down, is to think – you’re either going to be ‘warm or cool’

Warm Colouring: These people tend to have the following skin, hair and eye combinations:

SKIN: freckles, tan quickly and successfully, golden brown, cream or peach.
EYES: hazel, brown, light green, light bue.
HAIR: Tones of brown – chestnut, light brown, dark, red or dark, ash blond.

Think Daniel Craig or Chris Evans

Warm colouring should match: yellow undertone, brown green, camel, gold, deep orange and red

Cool Colouring:These people tend to have the following skin, hair and eye combinations:

HAIR: Black, dark brown, brunette, silver/grey, black and white (going grey)
EYES: dark green, dark brown, dark hazel, dark blue
SKIN: Black, Olive, pale, rosy

Think Tyson Beckford or David Beckham for example

Cool colouring should match: blue undertone, purple, pink, grey and black, lilac.

The perfect fabric choice

Now that you have chosen the right colour, you must decide on a fabric. Choosing the fabric is one of the most important aspects when choosing the perfect suit for you. Fabrics come in different weights and textures. Certain fabrics are heavier than others and this should determine which season you’ll be wearing your suit. You’ll want to ensure that the right fabric is selected to ensure that your body breaths easily, which will provide you with comfort. Additionally there are some fabrics that are finer, and often softer this will determine the price of your suit. The better fabrics come at a higher price.

Wool Suits

Choosing a 100% wool suit is a good option, it’s perhaps the safest and most sensible choice if you’re unsure of what to choose. Wool is the perfect choice for the British climate – a natural product, which means that it breaths well and ensures you stay comfortable even in warmer weather. In addition to this it’s also very practical on colder days too because of its insulating qualities.

There are many different wools:

Worsted: If you are choosing your first bespoke suit, this is a fantastic starter suit. Your suit will last for a long time and will be very durable. Therefore any suit that are well manufactured and made from worsted wool should last you a long time. Worsted wool is also perfect for both summer and winter, due to the weight ratio.
Tweed: Tweed has become very fashionable in the last year. It was announced at this year’s London Fashion Week by David Gandy that tweed would be the choice for every fashionista this year!
Tweed is a heavy fabric, which keeps the wearer warm, which is perfect for the English climate. The downside is that it’s not flattering.
Flannel: Flannel is a heavy wool and is perfect for a colder climate, it’s hard wearing and durable, it will last you a long time. Flannel looks best in shades of grey. A flannel suit is ideal for anyone wishing to build up their suit collection.

 Cotton Suit:

Cotton is a great choice of suit and breaths incredible well and it looks great. However cotton does come at a cost to your appearance, it loses shape and easily creases. 100% isn’t an ideal fabric if you travel on trains or in your car to and from work. You may leave in the morning looking like Gatsby and get to work looking a mess!

Silk Suits:

A silk suit might just be the finest suit you could buy! A 100% silk suit will help the wearer acclimate to a new environment, no matter how hot or cold it is! Silk suit come in various weights of fabric which means that you can choose which season is right for you.

Cashmere Suit:

Cashmere suits are beautiful, they are extremely soft, but also extremely expensive. Often with a lesser thread count to ensure its quality cashmere can often be brittle fabric that doesn’t last long. Many people choose a cashmere suit for their best outfit and will wear it once or twice a year. This is not a suit for everyday purposes.
Cashmere blend suits tend to be very popular. A cashmere that is blended with wool is a very good choice. It will alst longer and give a rigid feel. It will allow your tailor to sculpt the fabric around your body to give you a better drape and fit, which means a more flattering fit.

Where do my fabric come from?

The best fabrics to choose are either English, Italian or Australasian. Cheaper tailors will often supply their customers with fabrics made in China. Although there is nothing wrong with these fabrics, they won’t be of the same standard or quality. This determines what you look like, how you feel and the durability of the cloth.  To ensure top quality fabrics, it’s recommended to keep to Europe, Australia or New Zealand.

British Fabrics:

Yorkshire and Lancashire have become the centre of the universe for supplying the best fabrics in the world. Luxury brands such as Dormeuil, Hardy Minnis and Huddersfield Cloth are being used by Savile Row and other leading tailors to create the best suits available on the market. 100 years ago Yorkshire and Lancashire pioneered the industrial revolution in the UK and at it’s peak produced seven billion square yards of cloth in just one year! Although the region has declined in quantity values, the quality has remained the same and continues to set a standard for fabric manufacturers’ through-out the world. Additionally Scotland’s wet and damp climate has become the perfect breeding ground for the finest fabrics, look out for brands such as Holland and Sherry and Harrisons of Edinburgh.

Choosing your lining:

There’s thousands of linings to choose from, the key is to find a lining that’s good quality and long lasting. Lining ensures that the wearer feels comfortable, it protects the manufacturing of your garments and ensures it adds structure to your coat. Try and choose a silk lining as it breaths better than an acrylic like polyester.

You’ll find that the best bespoke suits are often made using a silk blend, whereas cheap suits will choose an acrylic like polyester, rayon or acetate; choosing these fabrics most likely make you feel hot and uncomfortable. To ensure you feel your best always ask your tailor for a quality lining a silk blend will offer you stylish looks, a comfortable wear and durability.

Now choose what suits your personality. There are thousands of lining choices from bold and brash, to plain and simple. Always go with your gut instinct. Don’t worry if you decide 6 months later that it’s not for you, If you have a good tailor they’ll be able to change your lining for you.

For more information and help choosing your bespoke suit visit www.thegentlemanstailor.com or call our tailors in Leeds, Harrogate or York on 0113 320 8900. The Gentleman’s Tailor make all their suits in their studio in England and fabric moto is ‘Yorkshire wool to suit!’. Our wool is raised and farmed in the Yorkshire Dales.

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