How to choose your tailored suit

August 13, 2013 | Posted in Bespoke Tailoring, Suits | Leave a Comment   (0) | Jasper
Bespoke tailored suit

Bespoke tailored suit at baste fitting stage (right side)

 

Trying to choose the right tailored suit can be very confusing. The main reason for this confusion is that various tailors choose to label their products in so many different ways. For example one tailor may offer you a ‘made-to-measure’ service while another one offers a ‘personal tailoring’ service for the same price.

Another tailor will then talk about ‘entry-level’ bespoke and we of course offer ‘semi-bespoke’. So how can potential clients possibly compare these products when they don’t really understand the differences between them?

It doesn’t help that there are no industry standard definitions for these terms. A ‘made-to-measure’ service offered by one tailor could be radically more advanced than a ‘made-to-measure’ service offered by another. Unfortunately in the world of tailoring there are no regulations to govern how retailers describe their products (a source of great irritation for most Savile Row tailors).

This means that any company can label their tailoring product in any way they see fit without fear of falling foul of the Trades Descriptions Act (1968). There are tailors using the word ‘bespoke’ to describe a product that is certainly not bespoke in the true sense. Often it’s a version of made-to-measure.

So all I can do in this section is attempt to describe what these terms usually refer to, but in reality they could vary significantly from the label they’re given by the tailors. The only real way to tell is to talk to the tailor themselves.

 

These are the most commonly found types, ranked in order of approximate price:

 

 

Internet self-measuring systems

 

These are web sites that encourage you to take your own measurements and submit them via an online form.

The supposed advantage of these sites is that without tailors they save on overheads so they charge very little for the suits. However, as usual in the tailoring trade you get what you pay for.

I would strongly advise against trying this kind of tailoring.  Having an expert to take the measurements is obviously a crucial part of the process and removing them can have disastrous consequences.

The fit of a suit is only as good as the person who measures it so unless you’ve been trained to measure, expect the worst.

After the suit is made there is no final fitting stage so you don’t come into contact with a tailor at any point during the process.

 

Estimated price £200 – £350

 

 

Stock Special

 

This service is most useful when a customer has seen a suit he likes in an off-the-peg store but due to his height/weight he can’t fit in to the stock sizes. The retailer will then ask their off-the-peg suppliers to make a ‘stock special’ which is almost identical to the stock size (say, 42 regular) apart from 3 or 4 small differences.

Not too many companies still offer this service, I believe Aquascutum used to offer it many years ago. It’s essentially an off-the-peg with very limited alterations to the measurements. For example you might lengthen the sleeves an inch in comparison to a normal 42 regular.

The fabric used is usually one that has already been used to make a range of off-the-peg suits.

In the case of a stock special there are often less than five measurements taken so it’s certainly not as individual as made-to-measure.

 

Estimated price £250 – £600

 

 

Made-to-measure

 

This is a very broad category as there are so many different types of made-to-measure suits offered by so many different retailers.

Generally speaking you’re more likely to find this product offered in a department store than you would in Savile Row or at a local tailors.

Often the measuring process is designed to be fool-proof so that untrained retail assistants can still sell the product. This means that the style and measurements will always be based on a very rigid template which means less freedom for you to express your own individual style. On average around 10-15 measurements are taken.

There are a far wider range of fabrics to choose from than are available with a stock special or a self-measured suit but often all of those fabrics will be sourced from the same merchant.

This product should include alterations at the first fitting (second appointment) but if you had been told that this suit was ‘bespoke’ you would be very disappointed.

 

Average price £300 – £800

 

 

Semi-bespoke/entry-level bespoke/personal tailoring etc.

 

Again the types of this product can vary as much as the name but they all have one thing in common: They’re better quality than a made-to-measure suit but not quite as good as a fully bespoke.

Generally they fit into this gap between the two products and that’s often indicated in the price. What makes them more expensive than made to measure? It can be more hand-stitching, more measurements taken or more highly skilled tailors and fitters. You will often find a wider selection of suit styles available.

The internal construction should be higher quality than a basic made-to-measure suit and therefore last longer.

This product tends to be offered by tailors who also offer a fully bespoke service so you’re unlikely to find it in department stores. There are several tailors on Savile Row who offer this service in one form or another.

In the case of Jasper Littman semi-bespoke suits, we take far more measurements than your average made-to-measure suit. Consequently the fit is more personal to you and we can cater for a wider variety of shapes and sizes. For example, we can make suits for all sizes from a 2 year-old toddler up to a man with an eighty inch chest.

We can also take into account what I call ‘postural idiosyncrasies’. These are individual features of your posture like dropped shoulders, a stooping stance, prominent shoulder blades, flat seat, etc. etc. All features that are part and parcel of any fully bespoke tailored suit but not often found when using made to measure services.

Unlike made-to-measure systems we are also able to change the cut, occasionally designing and introducing new styles – each one more flattering than the last.

If you have an unusual shape we can also offer a baste fitting, this helps us to achieve a more accurate fit with challenging physiques.

 

Average price £800 – £2000

 

 

Fully bespoke

 

When it comes to fully bespoke there is simply nothing better. No tailoring process takes more measurements than fully bespoke, no construction quality is higher and no other method of tailoring involves more specialist tailors.

Bespoke in the true Savile Row sense involves around 80 hours of hand tailoring and is the worldwide benchmark for quality.

– see our bespoke page for an explanation of the bespoke tailoring process.

 

Average price £2500 – £5000

 

Confused? Call us on 08456 121 220 for a more detailed explanation of the various tailoring methods. We’ll try to find the right suit for your needs.

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Summer suit

July 17, 2013 | Posted in Blog, Suits | Leave a Comment   (0) | Jasper

 

 

Now that we have caught our breath after Wimbledon and are already reveling in another glorious Ashes series, you may well be considering suits suitable for The Great British Summer.

This fickle season has already left many of us perspiring in suits too heavy for the warmer days we have experienced of late, so what constitutes the perfect summer suit?

If the suit fits properly – a given with Jasper Littman – you will feel much cooler and better able to move. Single-breasted one or two button suits are ideal for both work and smart events during the season.

But the key to a summer suit is choosing a fabric that ‘breathes’. Whilst it is tempting to look at cottons & linens, the level of creasing and lack of durability may well be too great a price to pay. Instead we would recommend mohair & wool blends – perfect for summer as they are so much cooler to wear.

For those who travel, the real beauty of Mohair blends are that they will also help your suit to retain its shape and remain crisp. You can find more detail about these summer suit Mohair blends in a blog post from last year.

Choosing a lightweight lining will make a considerable difference, whilst we can also accommodate a half suit lining, or for fully bespoke suits, even no lining at all. We will naturally avoid excessive canvas and haircloth in the construction, making the suit feel both lighter and cooler.

Lighter colours than you would usually choose for Autumn/Winter will immediately make you feel that you are wearing a cooler suit. Greys and petrol blues are always smart colours for the season, whilst creams and stone colours are perfect for more relaxed social events – but do keep in mind that they will not look so good when you are caught in the inevitable summer downpour!

Please make sure that once you have worn your suit it is aired properly before putting it away, as a damp suit will quickly lose its shape. Dry-cleaning too often will also seriously reduce the life of your suit, so try to build up a selection of summer outfits that you can rotate.

Finally, do remember that bespoke suits in particular do take time to make – so if you want something special for that event in late-August, best talk to us now!

For more information or to book an appointment please call us on 08456 121 220 (24 hours).

 

 

 

Dinner Jackets and Tuxedos

January 20, 2012 | Posted in Suits | Leave a Comment   (0) | freshadmin

What is a Dinner Jacket and what is a Tuxedo? The two terms are used for the same type of Jacket, depending on which side of the Atlantic you come from, a Dinner Jacket is normally distinguished by having the lapels finished in satin and can either have a notched lapel or more traditionally would have been seen with shawl collars (without a notch). The origin of the Dinner Jacket was when the Prince of Wales wanted something less formal designed for him in 1860 by Savile row tailors Henry Poole & Co.

When visiting the Prince in 1886 Mr James Potter an American of Tuxedo Park New York had a Dinner Jacket made for him and took it back with him to his club, the Tuxedo club and the rest as they say is history…

In the past Dinner Jackets would have been single breasted with one button and no vents, having evolved from the tail coat the Dinner Jacket was designed to be less formal. It’s interesting to note that the Dinner Suit is now considered one of the most formal suits to wear. Current fashion has changed and Dinner Jackets are now seen with vents and additional buttons.