Bespoke v Made-to-Measure: Eduardo de Simone jackets
When Eduardo de Simone and I met at his factory last year, we spent a long time talking about the advantages and disadvantages of bespoke and made-to-measure (MTM) tailoring.
As a result of them, Eduardo proposed an experiment. He offered to make me two jackets in the same cloth - one bespoke and one MTM - in order to physically compare the differences between them.
Those two jackets are shown here, side by side.
Before going on to discuss the differences, though, I feel I should repeat my standard warning about reading too much into photos.
Static imagery can be misleading. You only have to see a model in a freshly pressed RTW suit to realise that. It looks sharp and clean, but the fit is still poor: just wait til he turns or raises his arms.
This issue is more acute when comparing bespoke and MTM, given that so many of the advantages of bespoke (curved neck-hugging collar, small armhole with big sleeve) are not visible in photos.
Nevertheless, imagery is useful to illustrate some points. So here it is.
The first thing to note - and discount - is that there are style differences between the two jackets.
The bespoke (on the left) has curved tops to its hip pockets and a curved 'barchetta' breast pocket. The MTM (on the right) does not.
There's no reason you can't have those style points on an MTM jacket, it's just that Eduardo doesn't do it as standard.
The bespoke also has hand-swelled edges, most visible around those hip pockets. This is something you can also get on MTM, though it's not common. It is more likely to get as standard on bespoke.
Also, I feel a quick definition would be helpful.
The major differences between these two jackets are that the bespoke was cut using a unique paper pattern, extensively refined during the fitting process, and had structural handwork such as a hand-padded chest, lapel and collar.
The MTM, on the other hand, was made to a standard pattern with only small subsequent changes. It has none of the handwork.
Those are the most important differences between bespoke and MTM, and they are what separate these two jackets.
As mentioned, the bespoke jacket's small armhole and large sleeve affords much greater freedom of movement. And although you can't see the size of the armholes in these images, you can see the sleeves.
The top of the sleeve is noticeably larger in the bespoke jacket (left) than in the MTM one (right). This is partly because a bespoke jacket can afford to have a larger sleeve here, as it makes less of a difference to the resulting armhole size. All that excess can just be worked in.
The bespoke jacket is also evenly proportioned in its fullness around the sleevehead (where it joins the shoulder), while the MTM one is tight on the back side.
However that point, and the fact the MTM sleeve is a little too tight for my arm along the whole length, is more down to lack of fittings and adjustments with MTM, rather than anything structural.
Because the bespoke jacket has a hand-padded chest and lapel, it also has more shape in the top half - a curvature caused by that hand sewing creating a slightly domed effect.
This can't really be seen in the photos, but you can see how long and smooth the roll of the lapel is on the bespoke jacket (above).
The MTM version lies a little flatter, and the edge of the lapel angles into the waist button rather than running smoothly down to it.
The collar on the jacket also hugs the neck a little better on the bespoke version, partly due to its shaping.
However, I must say that it is not perfect on the bespoke one, and it does sometimes stand away a little.
This perhaps illustrates another point about bespoke: it creates greater potential for a perfectly fitting jacket, but doesn't guarantee it.
The fit is very dependent on the cutter - more so than with MTM, where the system tends to be set up to ensure consistency, and be less reliant on the fitter or salesman.
This is a good bespoke jacket from Eduardo, but it's not the best I've had made. There is also a small (impossible to see) issue with the balance.
Which of course illustrates one more point about bespoke: that the second jacket will often be better than the first, and the greatest benefits of it come over time as a relationship and the pattern develops.
Looking at the back of the jacket, the bespoke (left) is certainly cleaner than the MTM version (right).
But even the MTM is pretty good. This is a very soft cloth (quite loosely woven cashmere) and it is always going to wrinkle, never hanging as smoothly as a tight worsted, for example.
Most of the wrinkles on the MTM should be ignored, save for that tightness under the arms mentioned earlier.
Equally, the pitch and position of the sleeves is identical, despite the appearance of more wrinkling on the bespoke version.
Overall, I'd say this a good MTM product, which perhaps reflects Eduardo's focus on RTW and MTM in his factory. And it's an OK bespoke piece, with potential to improve in subsequent commissions.
However, Eduardo is probably not the first person readers would think of for bespoke tailoring anyway. MTM is perhaps therefore the better call here - even though the bespoke is definitely a better product in terms of fit, make and finish.
Eduardo's factory largely makes its MTM and RTW for other brands (which he would rather are not named) but he does also offer a little of his own tailoring under the brand Edesim.
Bespoke tailoring is in a small section of the Naples factory, but is available to anyone that wants to travel there (it is also a little out of town in an industrial zone - not like other Neapolitan tailors).
You can read about the overall outfit I am wearing - and why I think this is such a great jacket with jeans - in our previous post here.
Photography James Holborow
What were the costs of both jackets please?
Bespoke starts from 1500 euros for a jacket. MTM varies depending on which brand Eduardo is making for
Sorry, should have said – MTM is also available at the factory, 900 euros for a jacket without fabric. But you have to go to the factory. The vast majority of what Eduardo does is make for other brands.
Articles like this are very informative and useful, Simon though I anticipate its of comments containing the qualification “But….”. This particular example creates a dilemma though given that many good quality RTW jackets are priced not far below the bespoke cost and then if you add the cost of getting a tailor to tweak the fit you really do have to consider whether to bear that little bit extra for the individual fit. Unless of course you go to higher end bespoke. For those not wanting to or cannot afford full bespoke this move toward better MTM is welcome, in my view and thank you for raising it as a topic.
Hi Simon, comparison posts are always a good read. Would you consider some detailed comparisons on different shoemakers maybe? Some side by side shots on different approaches from bespoke makers to toe shapes, waist finishing etc. would be interesting.
Nice idea Sam, yes
Given your comment on the light fabric and the wrinkling in the back – how are these lined, and would different lining alternatives have a notable impact here? I’ve now heard from more than one tailor that they would generally advise to have lining in the back for that very reason (i.e. less wrinkling). They were certainly capable to execute clean visible seams in an unlined jacket, so their recommendation was not for that often cited reason. Looking at e.g. Drake’s and their range of RTW jackets their is no lining whatsoever, but I wonder about the relative merits, especially in non-open weaves such as the current winter fabrics where the case for breathability should be minor. Thanks much!
They are both lined, but the lining wouldn’t have made much difference. The cloth isn’t that light – just soft and open.
When you’re having very lightweight summer jackets or suits made, this should be a consideration. Breathability vs clean fit.
But with heavier fabrics, it won’t make much difference to the cleanliness. It will mostly be noticeable in being easier to get on and off (which I actually value more the more things I have made)
Crucially – where can we buy MTM?
Just through visiting him at the factory. He does MTM through brands, but can’t talk about which ones those are.
For anyone who ever says this blog is too commercial, consider I’m consistenty writing here about jackets you can only buy by going to an obscure factory in one city! And in a vintage cloth that is no longer available…
No – I sometimes wish it were easier to have access to all of these people! As ever well done
You’ve explained in one article what many struggle (including yourself) to explain over many years …. … the difference between bespoke and MTM.
In fact this is such a good way of illustrating the difference that you should undertake another exercise like this .
It’s interesting how the pictures tell one story but the writing another .
I purposefully looked at the pictures and tried to guess (rightly, thanks to reading your articles over several years) which jacket was which .
And then their was the obvious question “So why pay a lot more for bespoke when the MTM is so good !?”
I think a cost comparison is needed now for these two jackets .
P.S. you could take the exercise further by buying a RTW then having an exact MTM and bespoke made .
It’s the ONLY way to really get across the differences .
Nice point Robin. I guess perhaps a RTW that you then had altered slightly? I’d always recommend that, just to get the sleeve length and waist/shoulder ratio right
The answer to the question “why pay a lot more for bespoke when MTM is so good?” Goes a long way beyond how they appear to compare from the point of view of fit.
Wear both regularly for 6 months and the answer will become obvious. The bespoke will fit, mould, loosen, and generally feel much nicer to wear. The MTM will start to look a bit tired.
An interesting article, though I would saythat your physique being fairly “standard” may result in the two results being closer (in static photos at least) than if you deviated further from the average proportions. The benefit looks clear in the shoulders and upper back but would probably be questionable on a “value” basis.
Whilst I’ve never compared MTM with bespoke from the same tailor/manufacturer there are worlds of difference in fit between the two for me, even when the MTM is more expensive than the bespoke but then I’ve reached my ideal weight but not my ideal height yet and MTM cannot deal with the waist to shoulder ratio in the same way as bepoke can so always ends up being too broad.
Really interesting – I would have thought MTM could cope with anything as long as it’s two-dimensional. I guess maybe it also requires some 3D curve etc as well?
You’re right, my experience is pretty narrow given body shape.
The couple of experience I had with MTM (both in terms of actual items made and discussions about potential jackets) they pretty much universally stated they can only deal with a size or two’s difference (in RTW parlence) and not anything more than that. They did often say they could do post production alterations but that then defied the purpose of MTM to me.
Now I know not all MTM are equal and so it may simply be that my choice of companies have less flexibility than others but its been my experience to date.
Yes I think this is perhaps the biggest issue with MTM – the amount it varies in terms of what is offered and the experience of those operating it
Hitting upon my issue. I am 5’8″ 260lbs–thick from both lifting and eating–with fairly short arms/legs (29″ inseam) but a positive ape index due to being wide shouldered. I don’t fit into anything off the shelf and the MTM folks laugh. It would be nice to know what house styles would be most flattering to try without having to figure it out at a few grand a pop. “Permanently Stumpy” ?
If you’re aiming to not emphasise the shoulders too much, and look longer and leaner, then generally a soft-shouldered style like Neapolitan or, for a smarter suit, drape cut in England, will be best.
Style makes a bigger difference though: lapels that are moderate, not too wide; high trousers ideally to make the legs look longer; and as little interrupting the style as possible, so slit pockets, plain dark suits, no turn-ups/cuffs.
Interesting! A photo with raised arms would have been good, to show the effect of higher armholes.
I was thinking recently that a similar experiment could be very insightful: for example, to have a certain number of Neapolitan tailors make the same jacket (say, SB with patch pockets) from the same cloth (say, navy hopsack), for the same person (if you’re busy, I’m available!). Then the differences between house styles could be seen very clearly.
Good point Sam.
I’ll be doing that with my Neapolitan jackets soon as part of the Finest Tailors series – not all in the same cloth, but that doesn’t make much difference.
I was gonna say, wouldn’t some pictures of raised arms help show this?
I have no experience with bespoke jackets, but I’m curious of the differences in 3D you mention. Is the difference as noticable in MTM with hand padded canvas like say Saman Amel neopolitan line? As I read this article, this MTM jacket doesn’t have that?
Raised arms would help, yes. And different positions would help show the neck. But in the end I think you’re trying to show something in 2D photos which is really only going to come across fully in person?
This MTM doesn’t have a hand-padded canvas, no. The Saman Amel jacket is better in that respect, but still not the armhole/sleeve movement
No of course, photos will never do any garment full justice.
Ok, clear, thanks for clarifying.
Given bespoke starts at 1500 whilst MTM at 900 (without cloth) is it generally a case of 2 MTM = 1 bespoke
It varies too much between brands to say really. And very few tailors do both
Steed do both
Excellent post, on a topic written much about on the internet, but never illustrated so well.
Looking at the jackets, I think there are some bigger design (almost fit) issues that you didn’t mention. Perhaps these are a function of photos being inaccurate representations, but I think not.
First, I think you look a little shorter and stockier in the MTM compared to the bespoke. Not hugely, but slightly. To me the higher buttoning point and lower gorge does this, though its effect on the lapel line. I also wonder if the width of the lapel is slightly wider in the MTM, but it may just be the effect of the above that I’m seeing. The pocket shapes also likely add to the stockier appearance of the MTM jacket.
Second, and this is perhaps just the photos and chance, it appears to me that the bespoke jacket has cleaner sleeves, particularly near the sleeve head, and slightly shorter sleeves than the MTM, where less shirt cuff is showing.
Overall, these two jackets are a great illustration of how subtle differences/improvements in bespoke have an effect.
Good point on the buttoning point and gorge height, yes.
The bespoke has cleaner sleeves, but as mentioned mostly from it being slim at the top and a little too slim through the rest of the arm as well.
The lenght is pretty much the same
In your post on the bespoke jacket you mentioned that the jacket was rather short, is it shorter than Solito and Caliendo? When would you consider a jacket too short?
It is a touch, yes. Not as short as Solito does by default, but around the same as Elia.
Guidelines on length include being half your height from neck to foot, curling your fingers just underneath it, reaching the second joint of the thumb, and covering your seat. The latter is the most important in my book. Having it an inch longer or shorter is largely a question of style though, and I’m generally happy having more casual jackets (like this one) a little shorter than smart ones.
Great article Simon, and Eduardo should be commended for his role in this project.
Also, congrats on the diversity the list of most recent articles is showing – tailoring, workwear and maintenance. All helpful.
My own sartorial experiments include bespoke from several makers and mtm from others. I ultimately settled on a traveling Neapolitan that also offers mtm. They were adamant at the first meeting that my frame would work perfectly for mtm jackets, but that trousers wouldn’t work. And that proved out in the finished product. I’ve probably commissioned a dozen jackets since then and the consistency is great, the ease/timeliness, as is the fit. I have asked a few times, what would be better if I went bespoke and the answer is always “nothing”. Which is great to hear and I treasure their honesty in not upselling me. I still order bespoke trousers with them and am taking delivery of a bespoke overcoat in a few weeks. Just mention all this as a point of reference for others.
For me, the reduced time commitment and cost in mtm is well worth the types of fit tradeoffs that are mentioned above (and I can move button point, gorge height, and other details as needed in my situation). This is a great article for there certainly must be others like me in your readership that simply don’t have the time to build a wardrobe of bespoke, with each piece requiring multiple trips/fittings. Part of my enjoyment of menswear is that it isn’t as time consuming as it might otherwise be with bespoke.
The back of the bespoke jacket is obviously cleaner; otherwise, for my money, the MTM actually looks a little better in the photographs (cleaner torso, less puckering around the sleevehead.) As you often point out, however, a photograph cannot convey what a garment actually feels like on one’s body or how well it moves WITH the body.
Great and informative article – as I generally wonder is the difference between bespoke and MTM – and is it worth it to pony up the extra money for bespoke, if the MTM is just as comparable.
Would be a fun series to do similar compare/contrasts with other pieces (shirts, trousers etc.,).
Yes, good idea
I think this is a very informative article, thank you Simon!
Having said that, I think it’s worth acknowledging there are some RTW and MTM options nowadays that approach in terms of fit and handwork, Orazio being a notable example. I ordered a navy sc through the Armoury, and after wearing it for a couple of months I can appreciate some of the finer handwork that is usually seen only in bespoke and its functionality:
– a hand padded chest that has a wonderful shape
– a hand padded collar that hugs the neck very well
– extremely fine finishing
Sartoria Formosa is a brand that offers bespoke-level functional handwork – the sc I bought off the rack at NMWA frankly fits and feels a lot better than other custom options.
I just ordered a MTM sc through Bryceland’s – made by Dalcuore to an exceptionally high standard as well – which I hope will exhibit the same benefits of MTM options that incorporate more handwork. This is an excellent choice for those of us who due to geography or costs cannot order bespoke regularly.
Very good points, yes. Just like shoes, the two are merging together in some offerings.
Why is it that a MTM jacket cannot provide the same small armhole and large sleeve head that bespoke does? Is it a limitation of machine sewing?
You have to work a large sleevehead into a small armhole, which is painstaking and time-consuming. You could do it as part of an MTM jacket (as you could indeed do a hand-padded chest too – as Saman Amel do) but the vast majority do not
Massimo Pasinato can do the hand-inserted sleeves as well in his MTM line. He would be another good one for an MTM to bespoke comparison.
My tailor actually does most of the bespoke style bells and whistles for me in my MTM orders, including high and tight arm holes with roomier sleeves and sleeve heads, that are still properly tapered to my wrist, button set and placement on the body, shoulder angle and construction, trouser rise and width and taper, even fish tail back on the trousers if I so wish. The work that I’ve gotten from him has been very handsome and well made and has molded to me quite well. The finishing has also been satisfactory and to my standards for what it is. I think in the end it is a matter of the quality of the craftsmen in the employ of the MTM tailor or bespoke tailor in question, and of the skill and ability to effectively understand and communicate which the tailor personally has. If you two cannot convey what is intended, then short falls and dissatisfaction will follow.
That said, most of what I have made are reproductions or variations on clothing from the 1880s up to the 1950s, so I simply bring in quality illustrations of what I want, and discuss my own variations that I want input into the garment and he makes it happen. I also know exactly what I like with regard to all of the little details that go into styling the garment though, and that certainly has helped the end results. I leave the print out illustrations with my tailor when I order, as a reference for him, and I also typically email digital copies for his reference. I do know that my tailor has made actual patterns as stand alone variations for some of my orders, so perhaps a half step between MTM and bespoke?
I’ll be ordering a new DB suit quite soon, come this October 6th! Quite excited! I will update! 😀
Yes, this sounds like it’s not really MTM as we discuss here – which is factory-made variations on ready to wear. It’s one of the problems with MTM – it’s quality varies hugely, more than the other categories
To me this article and pics do not make a convincing case for bespoke. Maybe comparing a good MtM with an ok bespoke maker have disturbed the results.
What may be also interesting is having a jacket made in your favorite top quality rtw or mtm shop and getting your top tailor to do a similar cut (without producing the jacket or a jacket picture). It would capture the differences in making but also the real challenge in describing your tailor what you exactly want. You never really get what you wanted.
I did try TF rtw, then tried to have something similar in Grande Mesure and a) the cut was not as nice b) the structure in the chest or other 3D volumes where not obvious at all in Grande Mesure. It took a third jacket to reach a cut that I prefer to the TF cut (mainly because I could ask for a few adjustments to the TF cut). I will continue to go bespoke because I am maniac about the cut and enjoy choosing fabrics out of thousands not dozens.
Net net I think the advantages of bespoke are real but not as important as one reads, and only worth it to a few among us (put aside the irrational elements such as the nostalgy of traditions,…).
” you can only buy by going to an obscure factory in one city! And in a vintage cloth that is no longer available…”
So Simon you are saying you are a hipster!
« hand-swelled edges« : are you referring to the 8mm band all around hip pockets, between edge and top stitch? If so, that is of interest as my tailor is struggling to make it swell.
One of the most interesting posts ever. The comparison pictures not only show the superiority of bespoke but also of the barchetta pocket for a jacket like this. Could the mtm arms be let out enough to resemble the bespoke ones?
In most of the sleeve, yes, but harder at the sleevehead given the point about the armhole
It’s really amazing what a huge impact that barchetta pocket has on the overall style of the jacket. I find that a curved breast pocket makes it so much easier to wear a jacket in a casual way, i.e. with a crewneck sweater and sneakers. 1500€ doesn’t sound too bad, either.
Fantastic post. It really highlights the difference between MTM and bespoke.
One of the best articles on the definition of bespoke vs MTM I’ve read, excellent, almost forensic, detail. The descriptions re. extra work, particularly in the arm/shoulder are very informative. In looking at the images, accepting the caveats, the back and sleeves are clearly superior in the bespoke images, but, strangely, the MTM shows a cleaner front – the button position particularly helps emphasise the chest and waist – the bespoke comes in second in this regard (despite rolled lapel, handworked chest etc.)? Also is the balance issue that you mention the padding between l. vs r. shoulder (your left looks a little out)? I second future articles of a similar nature featuring other garments. As with Sam I’d love to see a comparison of suits (by SR) cut from the same cloth to gauge house and cutting style (same cloth for a uniformty of approach to drape and the ability to take on shaping, finishing etc.).
The button position on the MTM is purely a standard style – it’s something you could easily have on bespoke.
No, you can’t see the balance issue. You’d need to undo the jacket and then see it from the same angles to see that.
On comparisons of other tailors, you’ve seen what we’ve done so far comparing Huntsman, A&S, Chittleborough, Richard Anderson etc? All on this page and expanding every couple of weeks.
Excellent post. Really makes me appreciate how a curved breast pocket makes for a more prominent-looking chest. There’s no distinction in formality between a curved and straight breast pocket is there?
You could argue a curve is more casual, but it’s a small point
Extremely interesting. Don`t think I`ve ever seen an article like this before. I understand, as a journalist myself, that it`s time consuming journalism. But it would be interesting to see this done with a full suit as well. Thanks for a great article (and web site).
No worries, cheers Arnie. Nice to have a fellow hack involved!
Simon…so much to comment on with this piece…I was going to say strictly from the photos, the only view where bespoke has the clean advantage, was the back of the jacket…and of course, you suggested it isn’t all about photos anyway.
One of the key things missing from this discussion is basic construction…I would suggest that off the rack from a pinnacle maker – one that uses full lining with no fusion among other details – is much better than some of the lower end Made To Measure that features fusing (and yes, it does exist). Chain store clothiers offer this – and it isn’t inexpensive….
In addition, something the wearer can control – their own posture, and health/fitness. Someone in good shape, and gets their OTR tailored properly is more likely to look better than a person terrible shape getting the finest bespoke…although many would likely say the person in terrible shape would look much worse if they didn’t have a bespoke garment….(US President trump apparently favors Brioni – an excellent OTR make, yet looks awful for all the reasons cited – health, posture, etc.)
Re. suit comparisons: yes I’ve followed the suit comparison series, it’s very interesting and informative. I was simply laying out a ‘fantasy’ contrast and compare article that would show, within a similar fabric, the differing house styles (SR or Italian) that might match our personal ambitions for cut, style etc. Unrealistic perhaps, as there are probably more similarities than differences but it would be interesting nonetheless. In fairness (and perhaps also in reality) your series of articles are probably the closest to this aim anywhere.
Thanks for this head to head! Would you be so kind as to include some pictures of the finishing on the jackets, please?
Sometimes I have to shake my my head and laugh. You’ve brought me a long way Simon. Raised my consciousness (about menswear) so to speak. I know that sounds obsequious but I say it sincerely. I thank you. My bank account does not.
As the armholes is the central part of a bespoke suit, It will be a good idea if you show it in your suits.
The armholes are not the central part of a bespoke coat; the neck and shoulders are.
SC- the bespoke version is so very much more satisfying, in my view.
The effort you went to here is extraordinary. Thank you!
The Edesim project is quite good for a MTM jacket in a such loose fabric. I understand you finally gave up with Formosa’s bespoke? It seemed catastrophic last time…
Yes, I’ve given up.
They did make an attempt to re-fit the jacket at Pitti in the summer, but I haven’t heard anything since.
Very informative, thanks Simon. Would love to know your opinion on Edward Sexton’s MTM vs Bespoke as it is more “easily accessible” for me – based in London.
It isn’t something I’ve reviewed I’m afraid, but what I’ve seen looks very good
Thank you. I for one would love to see a “car review” type video on different bespoke/MTM tailors.
All the best,
How would you rate the quality compared to other tailors from Naples, like Solito, Caliendo, Panico, dalcuore etc.
Good, towards the to end of those
Thank you very much for your article. Would be interesting to hear your views on high-end RTW and MTM. I’m looking for a workhorse suit for work and I’m considering MTM, however, I’m slightly worried that in the end I won’t get what I want, after all it’s not bespoke so they’re not going to cut a pattern for me. At least with RTW you know from the start what you will be getting, but alas I do not like most of the styles offered by RTW brands.
I have a couple of bespoke pieces so I know I won’t be getting that level with MTM, however, overall, do you think MTM is worth it it terms of fit vs RTW?
Most of the time, MTM is an extension of RTW. So you try on a RTW suit, like it, and then get various aspects of style and fit changed. This is by far the safest way. MTM is very unpredictable otherwise.
Whether it is worth it for fit over RTW, depends largely on your body shape, so whether the arms are always going to be too long/short for you, for example. You can alter the waist of RTW quite easily, so get the shoulders OK in what you buy, and then alter the waist to fit. But the other things are harder to change, like length and fit against the neck etc. Perhaps try RTW and see how hard it is to find these things to your satisfaction?
Thank you for this excellent comparison article.
You mention that the MTM jacket has none of the handwork—the hand-padded chest, lapel and collar—of the bespoke version.
Could you outline how these aspects of the MTM jacket are executed, particularly the lapels?
Are there special sewing machines that are able to pad stitch the canvas to the lapel without showing through the cloth on the underside? (I assume that it’s not fused…) Idem for the collar.
Thanks. No, the canvas is not fused, it’s what’s called ‘floating’ – like most good RTW garments. So it’s stitched along the edges.
Hard to describe how that’s done really, without a lot of photos. But it’s not pad stitched, and no special machines are required
Thanks for the information, but I have to disagree to just a degree with some of the points that you made in your article MTM vs. Bespoke. I have had two bespoke suits made from a high-end label and two MTM from the same company, same fabric manufacturer and I bought both suits from what others have referred to as a high-end small boutique type shop.
The Bespoke suits I had made never had enough fabric left in them for when I would have to have changes made for weight gain and loss, whereas the MTM did. In so far as the fitting, it depends on just how knowledgeable the person is who is selling you the MTM suit with the making of the suit, and taking all of the right measurements. As you mentioned, in comparing the MTM vs. Bespoke, the size of the armhole in the pictures above show to me that not enough time was given to measuring the armhole, hence the misfit in the picture of the MTM. In my case, I bought both the MTM and Bespoke suits from the same person, who had years in the business and had a thirty year business background knowing his tailor’s work. My MTM suit armholes look more like the Bespoke as does the hang of the jacket, sleeve length (and one of my arms is longer than the other) and I have the need for a little bit higher collar on the jacket. All of these measurements were entered into the manufacturer’s notes. When the MTM suit came back, there was just the need to put the cuffs on the pants. When I gained and lost weight, there was enough fabric in the seat and crotch to let the pants out, and in the lapel vest which I had ordered with this suit. When, I got the Bespoke suit, it fit the same as the MTM, but I had spent a surcharge of 45% over the RTW, but there was no extra fabric in case I gained or lost weight. They both had the same fabric, lining, buttons, functional cuff buttonholes, etc. vs. the 15-20% surcharge for the MTM, which I am more happy with because I can have future alterations and know that if my body changes slightly I am not out $2800-$3000 for a Bespoke suit when I could have gotten the same fabric, buttons, full body canvas,functioning coat sleeve buttons and it will last me a lot longer.
I do agree 100% with you that RTW is taking the mfg’s opinion of what fashion should be for people on the street who want a suit and they’ve appointed themselves as the righteous dictators of fashion and have decided on the fashion idea for the year. I have passed by GQ, Maxim, etc. while at the barber and I look into those pages and I wonder what planet some of these people are planning to visit. I know that before I retired had one of my younger male staff members (even the females) came in looking like they were dressed for carnival than a business meeting, I sent them home and suggested they change.
So, my advice to anyone who is going to be making a long term investment and not just this year’s “in idea”, is to talk to someone who has had both Bespoke and MTM suits done for them in their city. Go into various shops where they do both and do it on a busy weekend when men are getting either their MTM or Bespoke suit sent out for them to try on, and don’t be afraid to go back more than once if just to get a pair of socks so you will get a chance to know what their end product looks like. And, remember there are in large metropolitan areas the small boutique style shop where you can go down to the next clothing store on the list. On a personal note, having either a MTM or Bespoke done at a large department store is a bad idea. It is my belief that you will be happier with a smaller, men’s specialty clothing store. And remember, that the maker of the fabric is the most important things when buying either a MTM or Bespoke suit. So, choose your fabric and style wisely. I recommend Loro Piana, Holland & Sherry or for top dollar…a Scabal fabric.
Thank you Jack, that experience comparing MTM and bespoke is very valuable. Do you mind if I ask where the bespoke was from? I only wonder because you talked about it being a high-end label, and most bespoke we’d discuss I guess isn’t from a label.
Hi Simon, I have a couple of jackets bespoke from WW Chan – when moving in them the 3D aspect of bespoke fit really comes across compared to a couple of RTW Ring Jacket and a semi-bespoke jacket from Prologue that I also have.
I particularly like the Brycelands house style, with these jackets also made by WW Chan but as MTM. The price is more or less the same as WW Chan bespoke.
Any advice on whether or not it might be worth trading bespoke fit for a style/cut that particularly appeals? Thanks.
I think it just depends on your priorities AJ. You know what bespoke feels like, but you can see the style.
Do you have any experience with Norton and Sons MTM? Either way, do you have a perspective on who offers the best quality / value for MTM of the traditional bespoke Savile Row houses?
No I don’t, and I’m afraid I haven’t tried any of the Row MTM, no. Not many offer it and it’s not something I’d generally recommend – if you’re looking at MTM, I wouldn’t zero in on Savile Row. Consider everything.
You mention that the bespoke jacket’s collar sometimes stands away from the neck a little. Is this something that can be fixed on a finished jacket and if so how complex of a job is it?
It’s not easy, but not that hard either. I believe the collar usually has to be taken off, the top of the back seam closed a little more, and then the collar replaced.
As long as it’s not a big gap it is usually fixable
Simon would it be possible with MTM to make the jacket looser through the sides, curve in toward the body higher on the waist (not as much as a Huntsman or such like) but a bit higher?
Yes, certainly. You just want the waist a little suppressed, and that a little higher on the body.
It’s a two-dimensional change, so pretty easy with most MTM.
I have two pending W Bill fabric tweed jacket commissions with my local tailor. Plan is casual neapolitan with spalla camicia shoulders etc.
Does the gorge line need to be curved to stay pure to style ? I have a narrow face and usually request a 3 1/4 inch lapel. I am concerned how this curved gorge line will look with a narrow lapel.
Does the free lapel edge beyond where it meets the collar then also follow this curve or is this just an illusion and it actually straightens out ?
Finally, how far below the shoulder seam do you recommend the gorge for a neapolitan jacket? 4.5 inches? 5 inches? Is there a standard ?
Can you offer some thoughts? I can’t begin to tell you what a fabulous resource this is for bespoke. Thanks.
I wouldn’t worry about the gorge line, it’s a tiny detail and pretty much unnoticeable.
On the height of the gorge, perhaps have a look at the Neapolitan jackets in our Style Breakdown series?
To be honest, my biggest concern with what you’re saying is that it sounds like you’re trying to specify every detail of a Neapolitan-style jacket, to a tailor that doesn’t normally make that style. If that’s the case, I think you’ll find there will always be something that’s not quite right, as everything can’t be put in numbers. The curve of the lapel or front edge, for example.
The important thing, as ever, is that you’ve seen something the tailor has made in that style, and you’ll be happy with that result.
Also, don’t do two at once! Make one first, in case there’s anything you’d change.
Thank you. Good suggestions. Especially regarding only one at a time since Neapolitan is definitely not his house style. I guess I am trying to get him to stretch a little as he attempts to attract a younger clientele. He is open to change which is good. And I will refer to the Style Breakdown series and also share it with him.
Good to hear it Robert.
I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to set your expectations at what he can produce, rather than a real Neapolitan cut. And to take it very slowly. The last thing you want is two jackets which aren’t right, you don’t wear, and you’ve wasted money on.
Would you be able to share how to contact Eduardo de Simone? I wanted to made a bespoke jacket with him, given the apparent high value of his bespoke offering, even if it is more incovinient to reach him.
However, I didn’t find easily a way to contact him.
I suggest trying Instagram, Tamaki. That’s probably most direct
Thanks, Simon, will do
You notice the tightness in the back of the left sleeve on the MTM jacket. How can this issue be rectified on a RTW jacket? I often have this pulling on one side only (usually right). Can it help if it is let out a bit in the back? Or would the sleeve need to be taken out and re-positioned to follow the pitch of the arm more closely if this is a posture issue?
It’s a difficult one to diagnose Stephan, I wouldn’t like to suggest what’s causing it on yours. Probably letting out, but I think you need to find a good alterations tailor and ask them