Given that fit is more important than anything in men’s style (at least according to me), an online service that can provide you with bespoke clothes – even made to measure – has to be a good idea.

Not everyone has a high-quality tailor around the corner, and so access to bespoke is limited. Perhaps more importantly, the lack of tailors at the lower end of the price scale has moved bespoke out of the range of most men.
Indochino
aims to correct both of these problems, by providing bespoke tailoring at reasonable prices over the internet. The suits range from around $250 to $400, which is cheaper than you can get made to measure pretty much anywhere, and shipping is free. Suits are shipped within two weeks and can be altered for $25.

I was invited by Indochino to try out its service and agreed to give it a go. The first thing I noticed was that it offers three different ways to get your measurements. You can measure yourself with a tape measure, measure a suit that fits you well or take instructions to a tailor and ask him to measure you.

This is an improvement on the offerings of most online suit or shirt stores, many of which invite you just to measure yourself – I’ve tried that and it can be tricky. So I went for the second option, to see if this was a viable alternative that might work online. It certainly makes more sense, and seems to offer less room for error.

There are quite professional videos demonstrating how to take the measurements, and the number asked for is impressive. However, the instructions are not necessarily clear. You are asked to lay your jacket flat. But does that mean with the side seams at the edges? Or with the jacket buttoned? Or should their be no overlap of the front panels?

These little points make a big difference – buttoning the jacket reduces your waist measurement by at least an inch, and so it is unlikely to fit. After watching the video several times, and trying to make out how the tailor had his jacket laid, I decided the jacket was buttoned.

Which was the right decision, for when the jacket arrived the waist fit perfectly, as did the arms and the waist of the trousers.

Unfortunately, that was all. The jacket was too small across the chest and the shoulders, and the collar stood away from my neck by about an inch. The trousers were also too short, almost comically so, not even touching my shoes.

Now the length of trousers is easy to alter – I can do that myself. But as I have written in previous posts, the neck is the hardest thing to change and the shoulders the second hardest. It will be expensive to correct and take time.

I have to say I wasn’t that impressed with the quality of the material either, despite it being the most expensive in the range ($400). There were signs of quality elsewhere – the jacket was canvassed, not fused. And it came with a free tie, tie bar and cufflinks.

But I’m afraid it was a disappointment. A service that sells itself on a great fit needs to get that right and it was wrong in many ways. Perhaps I should have gone for the tailor-measured option, for this route obviously didn’t work for me.
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frederick kambo

I have also had an experience with an internet service although they had the option of going to their store to be measured by them for an extra fee. I took this option and yet the results were quite comical. Jacket sleeves absurdly long, trouser length short, and waist too big. I doubt I’ll ever shop from one of these outfits again. Once bitten twice shy!

Dan

Simon, do you think the results would have been better if you had gone to a tailor to be measured, rather than measuring an existing suit?

Arctic Penguin

I also wonder how different the result would be if you had gotten the measurements from a tailor.. but frankly I see so much in terms of tiny differences from tailor to tailor and from brand to brand that I simply don’t trust anything besides the dressing room to determine a good fit. Please do another post if you have some future success.

Pedro

If you’re in the UK there is a made-to-measure service called http://www.asuitthatfits.com. We provide the option of both home measurement and an in-store, tailor taken measurement. The Indochine example is typical. Home measurement can be acheived, however, a first fitting does tend to be the best way to ensure that a made-to-measure suit is just how you like it.

Anonymous

I have performed what amounts to second and third fittings for an Indochino customer and taken the measuurements for another. The company has limitations on what measurements they will accept, for example you can only provide a single sleeve length. The customer’s arms had a disparity of over an inch. Because the client was so excited about working button holes, we had to average the sleeves. We also had to remake the waistband due to the lack of an opportunity to change front to back waistband height. I know that Indochino is not trying to make a bespoke suit in the literal sense, but their customers don’t know that.