The problem with made-to-measure suits in most of Europe is that they are an afterthought.

Most of the high-street brands offer made-to-measure, where a tailor takes somewhere between eight and twenty measurements and creates a block for the factory to make your suit by. Hackett offers it, Austin Reed offers it. So do Aquascutum and foreign chains such as Massimo Dutti, or American chains such as Brooks Brothers.

But they are all afterthoughts – a desk and book of swatches lies at the back of the store, waiting without much anticipation for that customer who wants something a little more personal.

And that is how it is often sold, as the opportunity to customise your suit or shirt. Pick your lining, pick your buttons, have your initials sown into the cuff. Well if that’s all you want, it would be a lot easier to take your shirts to a tailor willing to sow something onto them for you. Or even to replace the lining.

The real selling point of made-to-measure (one that is rarely used in these high street stores – as they rarely try to sell the service at all) is that the suit actually fits. Few people can pick up a suit which is measured by one thing – your chest size – and have it fit them well. Even if you pay for a few alterations here and there.

As the subject of my last posting, Hardy Amies has it: “Normal figure: There is no such animal. You may be ‘stock’ size so far as chest and leg measurements are concerned, but it is 99% certain that you will have some idiosyncrasy of figure that makes you not abnormal but simply individual.”

Everyone should buy made-to-measure if they can. And they may be able to, thanks to the launch of Suit Supply in the UK. This Dutch brand launched on December 12 last year, setting up shop at 9 Vigo Street – at the head of Savile Row. It offers made-to-measure from £300 for its English wools and £600 for the Italians.

It can be that cheap because everything is geared to economies of scale. It has its own factory. It can mass-order fabrics. It offers the three most popular colours (mid-grey, charcoal, navy) at the cheapest price, because these are ordered in the greatest volume. As made-to-measure is its main business, there is someone on the shop floor dedicated to that service.

A computerised ordering system tells the factory immediately whether your stance is stooped or straight, whether your right arm is a little shorter than your left, and how high up you like the waist of your trousers. It is made-to-measure, made efficient.

(Have a look at www.suitsupply.co.uk. The website is pretty fun as well – try dragging the pictures around! Those in the US, you may have to wait a while for this to come your way. It’s only Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK so far.)

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kyle

Love this article Simon! Really appreciate the comments on making tailor-made suits more accessible.

James Allison

Dredging up a decade old article as I’m struggling to find answers to some questions….

I’m stuck between price ranges, I’ve got a 3 entry suitsupply
Suits (£350) and a couple of made to measure suit supply suits (£650). They are all ok, the cheaper ones have worn ok but not great and the last made to measure suit was ok the first one good all from Vigo St.

I need to replace a plain navy £350 suit due to wear, want to spend £600 to £800 but it seems that’s more than most high street options and half of the price of a decent made to measure or RTW…
I was at a local store that sells Armani Collezioni around £800 for a navy wool suit but not sure on the quality for daily wear. Also looking at a suit supply la spalla, I couldn’t find your review of suitsupply that was referenced elsewhere on your site.

I’m often in London but stumped for other options probably due to my ignorance. Do you have any suggestions for neapolitan-esque options?

Cheers ✌🏻

James Allison

Hi Simon

Thanks for the honest response. Also thanks to the others.

I ended up going for a Suitsupply La Spalla plain navy for £699 plus alterations. I went for it as off the peg it fit well with only alterations to the sleeve length and slight slimming of the trousers. As I only needed minor alterations and wanted something very straightforward for the money it worked out well compared to the made to measure option.

Cheers,

James

CDBPP

Try Luxire. The process will be a bit painful and iterative.
But you can get something hand made, or close to handmade ( you can pay for different levels of make ), and entirely measured for you, at a very good price. Again, the process will likely be iterative and involve photos, email etc.
But you can get a very good outcome if you invest the time.

Martins

I started a process for Luxire vbc ghurkha pants. Got my first test trousers that is almost unwearable (90$).. I hope that next ones will be half price, and final trousers for 200usd… so that’s 335usd. Makes me think I should have paid a bit more and went bespoke from the start…