Henry Poole fitting 3 

Tailors have lower margins than other retailers. Customers of bespoke accept that, and appreciate it. But how much lower are they? 

In order to answer that question as much as I could, I got four London tailors – two on Savile Row, one off Savile Row and one in the City – to give me their costs anonymously. By comparing that to the retail price, we were able to come up with a basic production cost, as a percentage.

I focused on the cost of production because it is the most important, transparent and – crucially – consistent aspect. With tailoring, it is simply the total of cloth, trimmings, coat maker, trouser maker and cutter. This does vary between tailors, and certainly varies between countries, but it can be sensibly examined.

The full costs of a suit vary much more. Rent, most notably, from zero to three floors on Savile Row. Plus sales staff, travel, marketing, insurance, administration and so on.

So what is this production cost of a suit? For a house on or around Savile Row it breaks down as (on average):

Coat making: £700-£800

  • This is just the cost of the labour, but includes making, finishing and pressing, which might be done by three different people
  • This is an average of houses, coat makers they use, and difficulties of job

Trouser making: £220-£260

  • For simplicity, we get it to a two-piece suit

Cloth: £200-£240

  • This can go up very fast, but we looked at fairly standard suiting bunches

Trimmings: £100-£110

  • This is canvas, lining, silk thread, horn buttons etc

Cutting: £200-£300

  • This is the hardest to calculate, as it is based on annual salaries, divided by the number of suits cut (and fitted, re-cut and so on)
  • A cutter that is seeing customers might be earning £30k-£40k. An experienced cutter perhaps 40k-50k; a bigger name something over £60k. But then that has to be averaged with the under-cutter, or anyone re-cutting for fittings
  • One of those people might be responsible for, on average, 180 to 300 suits a year. There’s a lot of variation here. The figure above is an average wage divided by an average volume
  • We also reduced the number slightly to account for the time spent by a cutter selling rather than just ‘making’ the suit

So the total is £1420 to £1710, average £1565. If an average Savile Row suit costs £4800, then the production cost is 33% of the retail price you pay.

Compare that to the average production cost in retail, which is 13% to 20%, and you can see the basic value of bespoke tailoring. (Numbers based on three different retail sources). A lot more of your money – twice as much in fact – goes into making the goods than with most things you buy elsewhere.

Interestingly, I also asked some City tailors about similar numbers, and their costs were lower as compound result of lower salaries, bulk deals on cloth, and particularly cheaper making. But as a percentage their production costs were also 30%-80% higher than Savile Row tailors. A precarious business to be in.

All the numbers above obviously contain potential for variation. You can see that even in the final cost, which varies by 20%. I also only focused on Savile Row, and only on the UK. But there is actually more transparency in bespoke tailoring than many other businesses, given the known costs of cloth and coat/trouser-makers. So we can get a better idea than in most industries.   

Photo: Andy Barnham

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andy

so how do the makers who charge ~£2500 off the row manage to survive?

kmartin

An excellent post which reminds me of a question I have had for several years. If a Savile Row suit costs about 4800 pounds, then it is in the same price range (if not cheaper) than an off the peg Kiton or Brioni. However, bespoke shoes (e.g. Cleverley, Foster, etc.) cost substantially more than the highest end off the peg such as John Lobb Prestige or Edward Green top drawer. Why this huge price differential for shoes but not suits?

Thanks

James Marwood

Fascinating Simon – it does make it apparent the city tailors are really relying on volume to keep things flowing.

I have always had the impression there is more vertical integration in the city side, than the west end. If true, I imagine this helps manage some of the costs.

Anonymous

isn’t £4800 at the top end of the price range [Huntsman], rather than the average?

Paul Weide

This is pure gold, Simon.

stephen

Great article (as was the piece on shoes). I commented on costs within the Gieves MTM article, this gives further weight to the value of bespoke. Whilst fashion retail markup can be 250% plus, the cost of production for non tailored goods can be lower than 5% of ticket price – hence the massive discounts at sale time. As a business imperative luxury brands (the majority of which sit in a small number of holding companies) have been increasing prices at a rate of 10% p.a. over the last decade. Which now sees items such as luxury brand overcoats being priced close to or above bespoke (check prices on Mr Porter), something many tailors could be highlighting i.e. bespoke can actually be cheaper than off the rack. The other point about bespoke, as many of your own items attest, is the component of personal design – getting something made that no one else has – especially so when considering items other than a suit.

Rabster

More of this , please , more!

I think this article needs a sort of spreadsheet type accompaniment to get across the cost of bespoke, ‘designer’ brand and high street clothing.

In an era of literally throwaway clothes we need to understand the price of quality.

Given your calculations it’s no wonder that a shop discounts an Italian designer suit from £800 to £400 and stills turns over a tidy profit.

Anonymous

Would be interesting to know how many man hours go into to making a jacket. £700 for coat making would imply 70 hours guesstimating a salary £10 per hour. Seems a lot. One coat maker only being able two turn out 2-3 coats a month.

Hristo

Great article, thank you very much for sharing this information!
In the last 1,5 years I use only bespoke services for suits and jackets because I am fed up of paying to fashion labels for expensive marketing, expensive stores and crowds of incompetent salesmen. With bespoke you know that your money go for the work and for the materials. Especially when you use less famous tailors in countries like Italy that do not pay the rents for a Savile Row shops.

S

Very interesting Simon, thank you.

Not sure I understood what the City tailor calculation would look like. How many percent of the price you pay to the City tailor was production cost? Also could you do the same breakdown of costs for the City tailor as you did for the SR?

Thanks,
S

S

Thanks. So in the case where the cutter owns the shop the margin would not be half bad as he would get the cutter part of the costs plus the margin then.

S

Matt Spaiser

Do cutters like Stephen Hitchcock and Richard Anderson own their shops, at least partially?

Matt Spaiser

I thought by owning their own shop you meant the business. I wouldn’t expect many, if any, to own the actual property.

Astonished

What shocked me is to ascertain that the travelling representatives of one of the Savile Row establishments named above do not themselves wear clothes made by their employer! I asked them why, and they said they could not afford them.

Astonished

One suit a year would make me very happy. But it’s so strange to meet the Savile Row salesmen in the best hotels and see how they dressed i.e., not wearing what they sell!

S

Thanks Simon. Both off-Row (think Steed or Mahon) and in the City (think Graham Browne) it is not unusual for the cutters to own the shop is it?

Thanks,
S

Freddy

Simon.
As promised. I have collected my valeted suits from Crowe’s. They are fantastic!!
Freddy.

J

Interesting post, and I mean this in a curious way but I really don’t understand why people have this question about the value?

Let me caveat this point by saying, at this point in my life, I do not see myself spending nearly 5k on a suit anytime soon. I use ‘off row’ tailors and am more than happy with them.

However, I recognise that to buy ‘on row’ is in part, a psychological thing in that you are basically buying a “brand name” …. Of course you are, otherwise you would use an ex row cutter, of which there are many.

Furthermore, on this assumption that you basically know you are paying for a branded experience in part, it becomes pointless to try and justify and rationalise this type of spending by breaking down costs… In simplistic terms, “it is what it is” as the saying goes.

I also don’t mean this in a sniping way, as to reiterate, I am not in a financial position to buy a 5k suit anyway, but there is an argument to say that if one is needing/wanting to rationalise where the costs come from in this way to ‘justify’ the purchase, you probably do not have the real disposable income to be buying a suit ‘on row’ anyway in all seriousness.

Johann Perzi

you are talking 50.000 pound’s it shows you have not been talking to the Cutters

Johann Perzi

it does not take longer to CUT a Suit – if you pay 2000 or 10000
Johann

Johann Perzi

Dear Simon, I will not try to win this as it would take to much time and lenghtly e-mails, only a fully Handmade Suit takes 35/42 hours with cutting, Taylors and Cutters have never been Paid well in Great Britain.
Lets stay Friends

Johann

Johann Perzi

Simon,Please let me one thing clear to your readers as weel, you Simon Crompton doing super work for Textil and Style esspacially for Italien and British Taylors they should be very crateful too you and this is the more important thing,
Wishing you all the best
Johann from a Raining and windy Vienna

S

Simon,

Sorry if I was unclear, but what I meant by “the cutters owning the shop” was that the cutters own the business, ie they are not employees (not a reference to whether they own the premises they operate from, which of course in london nearly no one does for obvious reasons). By owning the business, like steed and gb, the owners basically get the profit and the cutter’s cost could be removed from the calculation. That improves their margin doesn’t it?

BB

Néstor

Very interesting topic Simon. Actually, the cost of a Row suit is so high in the same way other luxury products are. The most % of the price goes in paying the diabolic rents on prime zones of the city. The same In Barcelona, Milan or Tokyo.

I think we shall think about it, that when we are purchasing a luxury item we are paying landlords more than tailors.

Dan

This is a really interesting topic but I fear it possibly raises more questions than it answers. In particular it implies that the devils share of your products costs are actually going to some third party ~£950 for jacket and trouser construction -v- ~£250 for the tailors/cutters input. Clearly get the cut wrong and the down stream is never going to be perfect but should there be more interest in who these other companies are? I have to say for the Row I assumed that these tasks were done in house.

This obviously leads to the next question…. what is the difference between the third parties the SR tailors are using compared to the City? From your numbers these external firms are charging SR more than what the City are charging their end customers. Assuming that City are having to pay broadly similar rates for cloth, trimmings and a cutter then they must be paying a small fraction of what the row are even if they are operating smaller margins.

Given the increasing amount of handwork the City suites are offering it seems hard to believe this alone is explaining the differences. Are SR and City using the same companies but just different “grades” of service? Are they normally different companies? Are City firms getting massive volume discounts or are SR just seen as high end clients who can afford to pay a premium? Certainly elsewhere in the fashion trade this happens.

Dan

Out of curiosity, why do the bigger houses with big rooms of them have them all as freelancers? In other industries you’d normally have the minimum number you need as staff and just use freelancers to deal with peaks in demand.

Do the freelancers rent their space from the house or are their charges to the house simply reduced to reflect it?

TAG

While I appreciate the gist of this article, I think the focus on gross margin is taking away a little bit from the fact that, in absolute terms, you’re paying 3,000 quid above the direct cost price.

Unless the price of their food, gas, education and other necessities somehow scale with the price of their suits, these guys are obviously making pretty good wages, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many people who could afford a 5k suit prefer not to hand over 3,000.

Mac

Simon,

As someone who has worked in Savile Row for 15 years, I can honestly say that the biggest factor in the price of a bespoke suit is the quality. If you pay a low price, you get lower quality. There are many good coatmakers and trouser-makers working for the West End firms. Then, there are the best c/makers and t/makers. The difference between a good one and a great one is noticeable in the final suit.

A great cutter is paid a premium salary as he is a draw to clients. He uses the best workmen because he’s focused on quality, whatever the cost. A mediocre cutter will not be too fussed who he uses and will use a cheaper workman to save money. Unfortunately, a great suit requires a great cutter and some great workmen.

The rents will inevitably go up 10% annually if you are based in the West End. Who wants to go to a retail unit in Croydon for a fitting? Not wealthy bespoke clients. They want to be central.

Wealthy New Yorkers order and try-on their suits in hotel rooms on the upper east side in Manhatten. They are not paying for chandeliers and Chesterfield sofas across the pond. They are paying for a suit that is better than anything they’ve had in their lives.

They pay it happily.

Mac

Simon,

I’m sure neither one of us intends to slight any lower-priced tailors. They will still give you a much better suit than any RTW suit, designer or otherwise. I actually used to work for one firm who charged two different prices – the higher price was because one cutter was amazing and he used fantastic coat-makers. Their price reflected the cost of the better workmen etc. Two prices in one shop! As you must know, you don’t go to a company you go to a particular cutter within that company. Much like going to the barbers!

Perhaps there is too much emphasis on ‘Savile Row’ itself. A couple of years ago, Hayward (despite its problems) had some very good cutters and the best line-up of coat-makers anywhere in the West End. They were largely ignored by the name-dropping crowd.

The other firms in Sackville Street and George Street are equal to some of the SR firms. People don’t give them a chance. I know you’ve covered a few off-Row tailors though. Credit where it’s due!

Mac

Simon, if I may reply to ‘Tag’ here I’d like to outline a few cost factors. He’s perfectly entitled to ask why you pay £3ooo over the cost price of a SR suit.

Savile Row’s tailors are considered the best in the world. Men travel from every corner of the earth to buy a suit there. It’s the Premier League, sartorially. The Italians have their own style of making as do the French, but, nothing can make you look so good as a bespoke SR suit. If the French or Italians were better, we’d be discussing their prices instead.

No offence, but bespoke tailoring is a rich man’s game. It takes weeks of painstaking skill and labour to craft a suit which is beautifully fitted and precisely-made. If you have to save up to buy one single suit then it is beyond your financial means. I, personally, have never complained that I can’t afford a Bentley.

Have you ever made a pattern? It’s not just about joining the dots. It’s very hard to do it well. It’s actually very complicated to make an elegant, coherent line from a person’s lumpy, uneven, slouchy form.

The fitting process is not billed but any top lawyer who makes a 10 minute phone call will bill the client (correct me if I’m wrong, Simon). The fitting room is where the real magic takes place. This is also where it gets really difficult. That amount of skill, know-how and diligence costs money.

A £3000 designer suit takes maybe a few days to make? (You might answer that, Simon?). A Savile Row suit takes 3months and looks 100 times better. Complaining cannot change the hard facts.

joe

Why are there such differences in quoted prices from bespoke tailors in the same city/region? Are the more expensive tailors better or do they see themselves as some sort of star tailors? A very good article I must say.

Lonsdale

Dear Simon,

A Brioni suit or a Kiton at 4800 pounds, in your opinion, what is the average cost of production of that kind of suit ?

Yours

zatara wood

Hi Simon, are you able to advise on the range of prices for different cloth bunches? I seem to get wildly different prices for a suit or jacket depending on type of cloth selected.

I’m interested in having a Mohair blend suit made soon … any idea on pricing of these cloth bunches? I checked William Halstead and saw their Mohair Wool cloth being sold at £56 a metre which sounded v cheap (and they are supposed to produce some of the best Mohair) … while Harrisons a merchant is selling their Mohair Wool blend at a multiple of this! What’s going on!

Stefan

Simon, hi.
This might sound like a silly post here as you write so much about bespoke, but I think it could still be useful.
I plan to have my first bespoke suit made soon and I was unable to find an article here (or a good one elsewhere) offering guidance on how to talk to tailors and have the best possible experience in commissioning a bespoke suit.
I imagine it is expected that readers of this site will have a good grasp on what they need to do to have a fruitful conversation with their tailor about making a suit, and I’ve put up a good fight in flexing my talking points, but I still think myself and other readers would benefit from an in-depth guide on commissioning a bespoke suit.
Thanks!
Stefan

Ollie

Hey Simon, So would you say that the margin varies massively between an off row tailor such as Thom Sweeney and and on Row such as Chittleborough and Morgan. Theres a large price difference, and Im trying to understand specifically what makes up this large disparity.

Gonzague

What would you reckon these margins may be like in the case of Italy and France?

Gonzague

So provided that the workforce capacity is matched by demand, this is not such a bad/low margin business, despite what one often reads, or is it?

Gonzague

With production costs equal to a third of the retail price, I can’t see how margins may end up low, even with expensive Savile row rents, advertising and trunks shows. Am I forgetting about some major expenses?
When I look at Camps or Cifo P&L, their gross profit (or valued added, i.e. before labour costs) is about 2/3 but most of is then consumed by labour costs and indirect costs.

A young tailor

Yes Simon, I am a tailor. I do feel that our profit margin is very low compared to other business. Our job takes whole lots of time and passion. How I wish my customers understand our costing of fabrics and workmanships. Yearly costs like Accounting fees, audits fees is killing me in my opinion. Been working in this line for 10 years since 17. Starting to Lose hope for this wonderful passion.

David Ward

Dear Simon

It has been brought to my attention by my clients and colleagues on Savile Row that you have made several negative remarks about me on your website relating to a shooting suit that was made for you during my time as the senior cutter at Huntsman. Your comments, not your original article, that actually complimented your experience, are sadly devoid of technical accuracy and instead offer misleading information.

For the avoidance of doubt and clarity, when you were given the free suit back in 2010 you were specifically and correctly asked by myself, on more than one occasion in the presence of Peter Smith, the general manager and Jonnie Alan the sales manager, if you would be using the garment for shooting. The role of the cutter is to gather as much information as he can prior to the commencement of cutting a suit, especially a shooting suit. You responded to say you would indeed be using the suit for shooting. A shooting suit is a highly technical, functioning, garment and my record for cutting them is exemplary. Additionally the tailor who made the piece is one of the best on Savile Row and is a highly respected individual.

In relation to the check at the half belt that didn’t match, you actually correctly pointed out the following in your original article, dated 30th March 2011.

“On stock examples of this cloth in the Huntsman shop the collar matches but the belt does not – indeed, the difference at the belt is even more pronounced than on my version, as they are made with a greater drop between chest and waist”.

Yet you unfortunately persisted with the following remark at a later date on your website?

“I finally had my Huntsman jacket fixed last week, after David Ward had failed to match the checks originally, either at the belt or collar”.

In spite of your own observations about (no) half belts matching on stock items in the front shop at Huntsman, you continued in making false and inaccurate remarks about my failure to attend to this aspect of the shooting jacket. For the sake of clarity to you and your readers, it is impossible to match a half belt with a bold check at the small of the back when a centre seem is present, as the suppression in the centre back seam distorts the pattern. You might get away with adding a seam in the belt or shrinking or stretching the cloth, but that’s not the correct way of doing things on Savile Row. That’s factual information.

During the fittings you commented on several occasions that you additionally wanted shape to be present in the garment. Therefore, under your instruction, the garment was also cut with the Huntsman silhouette for your aesthetic requirements. This is something rarely asked by a client intending to use such a garment for the purposes of shooting. Your comments in the same original article corroborate my execution of your style requests and even reference the mismatch of the check.

“It was certainly right to improve the fit at the expense of the pattern matching. The fit of a bespoke jacket should always be the priority, and I think you can see from the clean finish to the back that the fit was very good”.

Regarding the collar not fitting. You were informed by me during the final fitting, that as you had clarified your intent to actually shoot with the suit and felt you wanted a slightly bigger cross back, I explained I would need to let out the centre back to solve this, rather than cut a new back, which we would normally do for a paying client if requested. Therefore, the check on the top collar and back neck were slightly out to accommodate this. You then used my words as part of your article as if to imply it was your feedback.

“The only way to avoid this difference would be to cut an entirely new back, which perhaps David could have done”.

There are many nuances of a shooting garments aesthetic and fit that are sometimes overlooked to enhance functionality when used in synergy with a loaded rifle. When a client has paid in excess of a £100,000 for a gun at Purdy’s or Boss, they value function over style and shooting suits are fitted accordingly. Therefore, It was decided by the then owners of Huntsman that we would not cut a new back to a free suit that would normally cost close to £10,000 on completion. If you felt that this was unfair then it would have been maybe constructive if you had made your reservations with the Huntsman management, who also felt that I had carried out my work to my usual exceptional standards. The photographs of the finished suit in your original article show this. The fact that you have then chosen to personally defame my reputation years later with spurious wording due to their inaccuracies, is, I feel, incredibly poor.

As recently as April 2016 you offered the following in response to someone on your forum asking what I was like, but instead your reply referenced the shooting jacket once again?

“I haven’t seen him for years, but I can’t really recommend him given his cutting of my Huntsman tweed jacket (see posts on that)”.

I’m sure you are aware of the problems the industry has in trying to keep traditional tailors within its boundaries and the natural environment of Savile Row. Therefore, the presence of myself as an independent tailor, who is part of an unnoticeable trend at the moment, should be endorsed rather referred to with specious remarks. It is also a shame that you have offered your inaccuracies on a site that is noted as a resource for sound information about menswear. You have noted there were a few things that needed looking at on one of the gun pleats. As you are aware, with every bespoke order a client is encouraged to wear a garment and bring it back if need be. Your experience of bringing the garment back to Huntsman for tweaking at a later date was the norm, rather than the exception. My contact details are published online and I would have been happy to discuss the issues with you over a coffee (or something stronger), which might have helped to resolve or maybe even enhance your review.

Respectfully

David Ward

rups

Simon did you say you wanted this for hunting? Cant help laughing! Did you fall into some kind of stupor in Huntsman’s shop with those stag heads looking down upon you? I have to say sitting there myself I have fancied myself as an old country gent too 😉 I at least stopped myself going down that route which is more than can be said for poor Pierre who vacillates between English squire and Hells Angel on his motorbike hahaha. Anyway Simon we won’t believe you saying you didnt ask for a shooting suit as why would you get breeks made for gods sake? 😉 To walk your dog? Rupy 🙂

Paul

Dear Simon,

I must say that Mr. Ward’s words are interesting to read and certainly give an angle that men of the craft rarely take the time to do. Often because there is too much trolling on the internet (not your case obviously). But it is interesting to hear his point of view.
I just wanted to say that I applaud the fact that you have published his comment despite it being harsh on you.

David Ward

Simon

Thanks for your comments. I think for the reader and its author, I believe it is right for me to explain further. When you initially came into Huntsman after being introduced to me by the PR person, our discussion was based around the use of a gun, rather than questions pertaining to Hunting. I never enquire with any clients about the intended target for their cartridges, whether they are for a live animal or clay pigeon. The question in relation gun use is generally the first thing a client is asked when ordering such a garment. The completed garment was a shooting jacket, gun pleats, bellows pockets and britches, it’s all there? That was the order. As you say it’s a long time ago, but for the avoidance of any doubt, a cutters role is to ask relevant questions to each order and gather information, which is what I did.

Thank you for acknowledging your mistake in the checks. It’s not only subjective to the cutter how a client might translate comfort over aesthetic, but even more subjective to the individual client themselves. As explained, some people would indeed want a new back cut if the checks were even a 1/16” out, while others couldn’t care less and want maximum comfort for the garments use and might over look this. This is where you’ll have the discussion with the client and amend or leave as they see fit, its all about communication. So in spite of your grievances raised here in public, it is a shame we couldn’t have had a chat at the time, as this is the general procedure to resolve any niggling idiosyncrasies that may be present in an order.

Re the gun pleat opening post collection and popping it back into Huntsman. This has happened many times before and as I’ve mentioned it’s the norm rather than the exception on the Row and happens daily. Yes, I’ve witnessed many cutters I’ve worked with use elastic to remedy this problem, it just helps the pleats to turn. Sometimes it’s needed, sometimes it’s not, as no two suits are the same. As the fresh canvasses settle in the foreparts (fronts) of a new coat, armholes give and stretch and can alter a variety of things on a coat. Therefore, the encouragement for clients to give new purchases a once around the block. Whether I was there to greet you or someone else, I’m glad it was corrected.

It’s a shame that other cutters were approached. Cutting any garment is a subjective affair and someone as yourself, who has had many suits made from a variety of tailors, I’m sure you would agree, that they are different in so many ways. So in spite of what I think looks aesthetically correct, it’s a subjective interpretation. An Anderson and Shepard suit will be nothing like a Huntsman suit, for so many technical and aesthetic points. Which one is better? But as you correctly point out, the issues you sort to discuss with these individuals was miscommunication on your part rather than them being actual issues. Sadly a very long tradition on the row, where you would (never) comment on the work of another house seems lost.

I feel that there are fewer gentlemen working on Savile Row.

Kind regards

David Ward

rups

I just find it hilarious that anyone would actually pay £10k to look like an extra in a PG Woodhouse adaptation. When you go shooting there are light waterproof clothes which most rational people wear today. In 1850 tweed suit might have been the smart choice but today its utterly barmy. I suspect its just Russian and American oligarchs who want to recreate the lifestyle of a Victorian English gentlemen (& good old Pierre). Wonder if these are the sort who read PS?

If you actually wore a suit like this the pleats not closing or checks not lining up are the LAST thing anyone you meet would notice! They would just be left wondering if you were an enthusiastic member of an amateur dramatic society who forgot to change back into your normal clothes. Seriously, ‘clothing enthusiasts’ need to get out of this playing dress up stuff. Its totally crackers. Maybe you should give David another go at making a (normal) suit for you Simon? If he’s independent then a lot of readers would be interested to hear what he’s like, especially if he’s cheaper than a house on the row, most of which have priced themselves out of making anything for most even well off ‘regular’ people. Perhaps stick to a navy suit or something like that this time though 😉

David

Hi Simon, I was thinking it might be interesting to have a piece about pricing: how much do your readers actually spend per annum on clothes. It would be highly personal, of course, and perhaps too private for some, but since money is foundational in terms of what we can and can’t afford – and think we can’t afford – it could be an insightful piece. For example, as someone with a baby on the way, I can’t afford to spend too much. On a pretax annual salary of $40K, I am saving $25 per week for clothes. It seems quite little at first glance. That’s $1,300 per year. So far, a $600 pair of Alden shoes has taken a chunk; a black grenadine Drake’s tie too, and I’m planning on getting a pair of Armoury chinos, and maybe a pair of Drake’s charcoal flannels (from a lovely flannel charcoal suit on sale), or a pair of Armoury jeans. (I’ll probably spend the year’s budget by the end of January.) I already have enough shirts and the suits (all good RTW). The change is: less pieces, but more quality, with greater longevity. If I earned more, and weren’t otherwise saving, I would probably spend $2,500 – $3,000 annually. I don’t think you’ve covered this elsewhere, but apologies if you have.

David

Thanks, Simon, much appreciated. I’m already seeing the value in the shoes, quite special. The Armoury’s version of the Teba looks great, also, wonderfully adaptive. There’s also great value in looking through one’s wardrobe and rediscovering pieces. I have, for example, several tweed sports jackets inherited from a relative. Very tweedy, Donegal tweed from the 60s or 70s but – I notice that Drake’s is doing a reinterpretation of that heavy tweed. I’ll see, with time, if I can get a tailor to gently adapt them for my purposes.

David

Budget of $1300 was blown slightly – $500 over budget. Yield of quality purchases was 1 pair Alden black dress shoes, two Drake’s ties (one soft blue wool, speckled; one black grenadine, silk), 1 pair navy Armoury chinos, and the reason for blowing the budget: Drake’s lovely charcoal-grey flannel suit. Drake’s was on 50% off for ties and the suit. No more shopping until January of next year!

Emilio

Great article! One question:
As the skilled labor seems to make up for a big portion of the final price, I was wondering what is the labour price for a bespoke suit in a developed country? I read somewhere between 25 and 30 € per hour. If we consider the 200+ passages and the 50+ hours of work, the price of labour is between €1,250 and €1,500. Being this lower than your extimations, do you think it’s due to the exchange rate between Euros and British Pounds or maybe due to the location of the tailors you took into consideration?

I’m interested as I’m writing my master thesis on bespoke tailoring, and I’m kind of stuck on the price breakdown.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Emilio

I understand. I was wandering whether you could be more specific about the Savile Row houses you took into consideration, as I’fd have to be as thorough as possible when citing my sources (including this very post). It would be of great help, if you can’t post it here it would be awesome if you could contact me via email.

Thank you for your time!

Anonymous

I understand, thank you anyways. Keep up the good work, I love reading your articles

Emilio

One last thing. Why is the cost of cutting not included in coat and trousers making? costs

CMICHAEL

Simon

I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon this thread, yet it’s unfortunate to stumble upon some of it’s content. I remember your original article about the shooting suit you had made at Huntsman and it was interesting to read about some of the nuances involved in making one. The corresponding images, especially the end result, was truly a thing of beauty and gave the reader another perspective to this garment as it was also a well written piece.

On the strength of your article I did actually order a suit at Huntsman and specified that David Ward be my cutter. Without resorting to overindulgence in admiration, the amount professionalism, meticulousness and execution to detail I experienced from David throughout the creation of my first order at Huntsman, (not my first bespoke order on Savile Row, just Huntsman) was exemplary. The finished article was the best suit and experience I’d had on Savile Row……. and that’s saying something.

So it was a shame that you maybe lowered, not David’s reputation, but maybe the reputation of your website which I generally feel is of sound information. It is unfortunate and confusing that given the amount of commendation in your original article relating to your experience with David and satisfaction with the garment, you followed these up some time later with remarks that were lacking in finesse and consistency with your first appraisal?

It is a shame that an individual of Davids pedigree needed to contact you here and clear a few matters up. As Savile Row companies are watered down through costs and a shortage of true expertise with new owners changing their innards irreparably, the exceptional independent Savile Row tailors, like David (and a few others), should be endorsed, rather than have to deal with cheap remarks that clearly had very little refinement given your original article. David is a charming man who has a following solely on the strength of his aptitude, ability and passion for an industry that is sadly receding. I couldn’t recommend him enough.

My comments here are solely for balance and moderation.

Respectfully.

CMICHAEL

Simon,

Thank you for the reply.

My post was actually referencing there being little balance and moderation to (your) words and their disconnect with your initial article. The article was informative and cultivated over a duration of time with a word count, first hand experience and photography that seemed to express satisfaction? My frustration with your comments as a reader and paying client of Savile Row relate to the audience that interpret these remarks and how careers can be potentially harmed by inconsistent assessment as exhibited by you, (currently live on this website). You would find very few cutters executing the level of craftsmanship I experienced with my suit at Huntsman. I’ve been to all of the houses with pedigree on the meterage of the Row and David’s work has either rivalled or surpassed my purchases. Therefore to read your quite capricious feedback that is levied against such a truly wonderful cutter, I felt the need for genuine moderation and balance to be presented.

Respectfully.

Peter

Obviously, this become favorite thread for most people since we talking about money 🙂
Hi Simon, thank you for all the contributions. I enjoy your article and would like to contribute with some information from other side of the world. I live in Shanghai, as you may know there are established Tailors whom inherit traditional British tailoring since 1920s. To give some information about the price range, a true bespoke house will charge roughly £600 for local wool fabric, and £1,500 for made in England cloth. I’m confused why the price gap is extremely high, the cloth cost per suit doesn’t differ that much though. Simply put, do you think they ripping off people who want to buy imported fabric?

I hope you would respond to my question. Cheers!

Peter

Bernie

Hi Simon,

I am in the process of having my first bespoke sports coat made, and would like to get your thoughts on the pricing. The base cost for the jacket is $1,511, and the H&S Crispaire fabric is $600, adding up to a grand total of a little over $2,100. For a fabric to be 40% of the base price is high quite in my opinion, especially when the cloth is not cashmere or from a premium brand like Zegna, Scabal, or Loro Piana. What are your thoughts?