Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the process work?
- What’s the difference between bespoke and semi-bespoke suits?
- Why should I pay £800 for a suit?
- What is Savile Row tailoring?
- How much does a Savile Row suit cost?
- How do I check that my bespoke tailor is qualified?
- How can I make my suits last longer?
- How long should a good suit last?
- What is the hardest wearing fabric that you have?
- What makes a suit look worn out?
- Why do suits go shiny?
- Where’s the best place to get suits dry cleaned?
- Is it acceptable to wear the same suit twice in one week?
- How should I care for my suit when travelling?
- How do you recognise a badly made suit?
- What is the value of a personally tailored (semi bespoke) suit as opposed to an off the peg?
- Do you do alterations?
A visiting tailor will come to your home or office (or meet you in Savile Row) with a wide selection of fabrics and linings. At the first appointment you’ll choose the fabric, the lining, the style and fit of your suit with the guidance of one of our tailors.
At this point you’ll have the opportunity to try on a sample garment so that you can examine our cut and the quality of our construction. A 50% deposit is placed on the order.
Approximately 6-7 weeks later the suit will be ready for the first fitting so the visiting tailor will arrange another meeting with you. At this stage the tailor will pin or mark up the suit to prepare it for adjustment.
Approximately 10-14 days later your tailor will contact you for the final fitting. The suit will be tried on again just to ensure that the adjustments were carried out correctly. If so the balance on the order is paid.
The process for fully bespoke suits is similar to the above but there are around 5 appointments needed rather than 3. Click here to read a step by step guide to the making of a fully bespoke suit.
What’s the difference between bespoke and semi-bespoke suits?
In short, a fully bespoke suit involves a baste stage (half-made suit) and is 100% hand-made and as a result costs around £3500 when ordered from other tailors on Savile Row.
A fully bespoke suit requires a minimum of 3 fittings and around 80 hours of manual work.
A semi-bespoke suit is not 100% hand-made and is made to a straight finish (no baste, half-made stage) and then altered afterwards and costs anything from £500 to £1300 depending on the quality of the tailor.
A Jasper Littman semi-bespoke suit starts from £799. The average price is about £849-£1099.
A fully bespoke suit starts from £2900.
For a full explanation of how bespoke suits are made see the bespoke page.
If you’re unclear on the differences between semi-bespoke, made to measure and bespoke you may find it useful to read this blog article on exactly that subject: How to choose your tailored suit
Many people view their suits simply as a uniform, something they wear because it’s the company policy. This attitude will not further their careers. First impressions really do count. Wearing a sharp suit will significantly improve your chances of promotion.
It’s also important to bear in mind that you get a lot more for your £800 than you would elsewhere (see the About Us page).
So what do you actually get for your £800 anyway?
Firstly, you get to buy a suit without leaving your office (work out the cost of taking the morning off to travel to Savile Row three times). Secondly you get a suit that fits you significantly better than anything else in your wardrobe, and lasts longer. You also get after sales service from your dedicated visiting tailor just in case any problems should arise with your suits.
Savile Row (commonly misspelled as ‘Saville Row’) is the home of high quality tailoring and it has been for over a hundred and fifty years. It has a reputation internationally as the benchmark for well-made suits.
A bespoke suit ordered from Savile Row can cost £4,500 for a 2-piece suit in an ordinary fabric.
Savile Row has its own style of suit and it can be identified by these features: a soft (but straight) shoulder line, high front-buttoning position, a curved waist and a high and prominent sleeve crown. These are some of the hallmarks that make it the quintessential English suit.
It is extremely difficult to become a Savile Row tailor, cutter or finisher and competition is fierce. The result is an extremely high standard of tailoring and an expectation of 15 years before experience is recognised.
Click here to read more on the history of Savile Row.
The cost of a Savile Row suit is calculated using the price per metre of the fabric and it varies dramatically between tailors. Some Savile Row tailoring houses charge a minimum of £4,500 for their fully bespoke suits whereas others will start at around £3,000. Many people believe that £3,000 is too much to pay for a suit but when you consider that some brands charge £3,500 for an off-the-peg suit you begin to appreciate the value for money inherent in fully bespoke suits. The huge amount of hand work and skill that goes into them is reflected in the price, however they could last as much as twenty times longer than an off-the-peg suit.
The cost of semi-bespoke or made to measure suits on Savile Row can also vary considerably. Some start at around £800 – £900 and others start at £2,500. Most Savile Row tailors use the same fabric merchants to supply the fabric for their suits so the variation in price is either down to the construction quality or the overheads.
Our low overheads mean that we can start our fully bespoke suits at £2,900 and our semi bespoke suits at £799.
Ask your tailor the following questions to check his credentials:
a) Where are the bespoke suits made?
This is a crucial question. Be wary of anything bespoke that isn’t made in England (or Italy). England would be preferable, Savile Row would be even better.
b) How long have you been measuring bespoke suits?
Also an important question. Anything less than 5 years is not nearly enough. Anything less than 8 years is mildly questionable. A tailor who’s been trained on Savile Row should (in theory) know what he’s doing.
One: The number of suits you own
This factor has the most significant effect on durability by far. If we assume you have to wear a suit 5 days a week, if you only own three suits, two of them are going to be worn twice every week, assuming you’re rotating them correctly.
Furthermore if only one of those suits is light enough to be worn in the hottest summer months, you are going to end up wearing it every day for up to 2 months. This can mean that the suit is worn out after one summer.
Ideally anyone who wears a suit 5 times a week should have at least seven suits: 1 winter weight for those ‘below zero’ days, 4 year-round medium weights that will be worn the majority of the time and 2 summer weight suits that can be rotated during July and August.
Anyone who flies to hot countries extensively on business will need more than 2 lightweight suits.
One way of improving durability without buying so many suits is to buy an extra pair of trousers. Typically the trousers will tend to wear out first as the jacket is often removed at work. If the trousers are rotated then the suit will take far longer to wear out.
Two: Where and how often you have them cleaned
Suits do not benefit from being cleaned and it does shorten their life. As a result they should be cleaned as seldom as possible.
Dry cleaning can seriously affect the life of a suit; therefore, if the suit is to last, it must be done properly.
High Street dry cleaners will clean your suit with other garments that could include riveted jeans, studded leather jackets etc. that can damage the fabric. The suit may also suffer if pressed at too high a temperature.
To ensure your suit is dry cleaned carefully we would recommend specialist dry cleaners. As the garments are sponged and spot-cleaned individually rather than thrown into a drum. Staff in these establishments are also well trained and know how to handle and press a suit correctly.
Three: How you look after your suits
You have invested in your suit so if you want your suit to last you must treat it with respect. Do not put heavy items in the jacket pockets, as it will pull the suit out of shape. Why not put your Blackberry, wallet, chequebook etc. in your brief case or trouser pockets? If you ride a motorbike or push bike this will also reduce the life of your suit.
This an impossible question to answer as it depends on how many suits you own and how well you look after them but as a general guide, anything between 3 and 8 years.
The most durable fabrics are the heavier ones, preferably without cashmere or any other softeners in them.
The Holland & Sherry ‘Classic Worsteds’ collection is a suitable bunch. 13oz hard-wearing wool. If you are looking for a lightweight suit then anything with mohair would be best. Mohair as a fibre is harder wearing than wool but is not generally found in heavy weight fabrics. The ‘English Mohairs’ collection would definitely be appropriate.
What makes a suit look worn out?
Take a close look at the suits in your wardrobe. Do they still have a shape or do they hang like an old sack? Are they starting to go shiny or threadbare in certain places?
These are the usual signs that a suit is worn out.
If any of your suits look like this they are probably more comfortable than career enhancing.
It is important to examine how suits wear out in order to avoid it happening.
When a soft fabric like wool is constantly rubbed against a hard surface, the fibres break and this shows visibly. Eventually a suit will just look too worn out to wear.
Consequently it’s a good idea to look at the kind of seat you’re sitting on. Many office chairs have hard polyester meshing upholstery, which isn’t all that good for wool.
Remember that many people spend most of their day sitting on the same chair putting the trousers of a suit under extreme pressure.
If you take a cigarette break three times a day and you always rest on the wall outside your office, the seat of your trousers will wear through quickly.If you tend to wear your trousers out faster than normal it is advisable to order an extra pair of trousers to extend the life of your suit.
Try to avoid loading up the jacket of your suit with too much clutter. This pulls it out of shape and spoils the silhouette.
That shiny look that usually appears on the seat of a pair of trousers is caused by the dry cleaners pressing the garment too hot and drying out the natural oils inherent in wool. A bad dry cleaner can also turn your suit shiny by mixing the chemicals badly.
Where’s the best place to get suits dry cleaned?
Rather than using the usual high street cleaners we recommend specialist dry cleaners as the garments are sponged and spot-cleaned individually.
Staff in these establishments are also well trained and know how to handle and press a suit correctly. We would recommend Jeeves of Belgravia or Lewis & Wayne. Call us and we’ll provide you with their telephone numbers.
There is nothing wrong with a suit being worn twice in the same week, especially if those days are a few days apart, but obviously the more often a suit is worn, the shorter its life span. Try to avoid wearing a suit two days in a row. If you own at least 5 suits and you rotate them properly, they should last a decent length of time.
A badly made suit – whether bespoke or off-the-peg will often crease in places where there shouldn’t be any.
One quick way to spot a badly made suit is to have a look at the sleeves and the lapels. The top of the sleeve where it meets the shoulder is called the crown. A well tailored crown will sit up proudly at the head of the sleeve and have a generous roundness to it, whereas on a cheap suit the crowns tend to be rather flat and lifeless.
The finishing on the lapels can also be a give-away as they tend to curl forward away from the body on a cheap suit. Often they appear puckered and wrinkled as if shrunk in the wash. Any well-made bespoke suit will have lapels that lie flat and even.
They should feature hand-stitching down the edges of the lapel but the stitches should not be too tight so as to pucker them.
What about the fit? If you have had a suit made, but it feels tight, don’t accept it. Ask your tailor to adjust it for you, and keep adjusting it until it’s comfortable.
Look at the cut, does it actually flatter the wearer or just fit them?
Does the suit convey personality or is it just bland and shapeless? Well made suits will be curved to flatter your shape and convey a defined silhouette.
Off-the-peg suits are designed to fit as many potential customers as possible and are therefore very often faceless, generic, all-purpose and not closely fitting. Selling off the peg suits is about ‘shifting units’ rather than building long-term relationships which explains why customers can be confronted with untrained staff who are on commission.
They are designed and chosen by retail buyers 18 months before they actually hit the shelves. These buyers have to try and predict what the fashion is going to be a year and-a-half before it happens and they don’t always get it right.
They are also more focused on profit margins and may travel to places such as Israel to buy fabric direct from the mill in large quantities.
In effect, this means that fabric used for off the peg suits (especially below the £500 mark) cannot be as high quality as choosing an English made piece of fabric and simply buying enough for one person, as a client of bespoke or semi-bespoke would.
Similarly the factory that the buyer chooses would have to be capable of churning out hundreds of off the peg suits every week in order to maximise profits. This means that they cannot afford to take the time or the effort needed to make a suit as well as it should be made.
Furthermore with an off the peg suit your choices are limited. Whereas with a made to measure suit, obviously the styling and the fabric is up to you down to the last detail.
Finally, the level of service, expertise and after-sales service differs radically between these two products. Customers of Savile Row bespoke suits are always placed in the care of an expert who has an in-depth understanding of style, fit, construction and maintenance of a top quality suit.
We will alter garments that are not Jasper Littman suits however as our tailors are Savile Row trained; we are not the cheapest option for this. This service is only available to people who are already Jasper Littman clients.