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The majority of today’s men wear ready-to-wear or made-to-measure clothes produced in factories. Only a very small minority of gentleman dress in bespoke clothes made by tailors, but 200 years ago every garment was made by hand. This article explains how clothes handmade by tailors have evolved from being an everyday product available in various price and quality categories to something exclusive and expensive.

Menswear Illustration c 1840
Menswear Illustration c. 1840, an era in which every garment was handmade

A Brief History of Bespoke Tailoring
Before the advent of sewing machines in the 18th century, all clothes were cut and sewn by hand similar to the way modern-day bespoke tailors work. However, the desired fit was achieved in a way very different to our times. From the middle ages to the 18th-century, tailors created their patterns with methods that were their trade secret. They were not shared with apprentices until a master tailor handed over his business to someone who had bought it. Many more fittings than today were necessary. Nevertheless, the quality of the handwork was amazing and the fit often very close to the body.

Victorian era tailoring shop

HAVE YOU WATCHED THIS VIDEO YET?
19th century London must have been like one big tailor shop serving gentlemen from the whole Empire. The West End was crowded with bespoke tailors, shirtmakers and cloth merchants, huge numbers of coat makers, pant makers, vest makers and finishers worked directly from their poor and overcrowded homes in the east end. London was the capital of the first world at the time, and English style and British cloth were internationally considered to be the height of elegance. Even so, tailors prospered across in the world, and their products were available in almost every price bracket, as every man, woman, and child needed clothing. For the mass market, ready-to-wear clothes were not yet available in great numbers, and the poorest citizens often depended on the secondhand sale of worn clothing or clothing that was made at home. Department stores catered to the middle classes. Rich men’s valets often received worn clothes from their employers as a gift or an incentive, some of which was then sold for extra income. In the countryside and the living quarters of the working class, tailors made clothes by hand at affordable prices using cheap cloth, and even then purchasing clothes was relatively expensive compared to the average income of a poor person. Very often these tailors got their main income from making clothes for bigger tailoring houses that had outsourced some of the work to external tailors.

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Cutting Systems, Sewing Machines and the Birth of Ready-To-Wear Clothes
In the 18th century, tailors started to think about ways to reduce the number of fittings and so they started to create cutting systems. These systems, in combination with the invention of the sewing machine in 1790, changed the process of garment construction forever. By 1830, the first machine-based clothing manufacturer opened in France to supply uniforms to the French army, and civilian clothing manufacturers were soon to follow.

Ready-to-wear clothes were made in great numbers because military and civil uniforms likewise had to be made at low cost in huge numbers. The ready-to-wear industry applied their knowledge of making uniforms in different sizes to civilian clothes and managed to achieve a very good quality and fit in the late 19th century. Bespoke tailoring was still the first choice for anyone who could afford it and also for some who wanted it but couldn’t afford it. The appeal of bespoke tailoring remained the same: each garment was unique in terms of style and fit to its owner.

Fusing Changed the Industry Forever
A fundamental difference between factory-made garments and the handmade bespoke product emerged when fusing became standard in the ready-to-wear industry in the 1960s. Fusing is a method that joins the interlining with the outer fabric using an adhesive. This adhesive is applied to the interlining. When heat and pressure are applied the adhesive melts and bonds the interlining to the outer fabric. Heat and pressure may come from an iron if you or from a machine. The latter is used by the industry. Fusing saved a lot of time and thus became standard procedure, though it initially resulted in a much stiffer garment. An interlining that is not fused is often termed “free-floating” because it is sewn to the outer fabric at the shoulder seam and with small stitches behind the lapels, which maintained a soft look and feel to the final garment.

Since the 1960s, bespoke tailors have used the term “fusing” in a condescending way to describe the difference between ready-to-wear and bespoke tailoring. The quality of fusing has improved dramatically and nowadays even fused lightweight suits are not necessarily stiff. In fact, fusing may sometimes create a suit that is softer and lighter than the suits that some tailors still produce using fairly heavy interlinings. Prejudice aside, the bespoke suit with handsewn interlinings can be shaped more precisely to the figure and the lapels will have the typical roll of the tailored suit.

Bespoke Tailoring Today
In the modern day, the craft of making clothes by hand appears to be a folly in the sense that the quality of RTW clothes and the availability of made-to-measure garments in all price levels seem to make the traditional tailor superfluous. Bespoke tailoring declined rapidly in volume with the rise of factory-made clothing, but a small coterie of high-end tailors were able to maintain their operations as the last stewards of the craft. Beginning in the 1970s, what remained of bespoke tailoring further declined as tastes in clothing became increasingly casual, lower prices increased the accessibility of clothing, and styles turned away from using traditional fabrics. In the 1980s it seemed that this craft wouldn’t survive, but today the situation is different. It seems that more and more young men are interested in handmade clothes and some even want to learn the trade. Today, dressing in a classic way has found a new audience among men who want to look good while investing in a wardrobe that will stand the test of time. For those men, owning a bespoke tailored garment is still a wardrobe goal.

The Different Schools of Tailoring
Although tailors tend to stress that the tradition of their own country is very unique they do in fact work in a similar way no matter if they work in London, Vienna, Milan or New York City. The basic process of cutting and making garments by hand hasn’t changed much since the beginning of the 20th century. A few machines have been added to the workrooms but it still takes around 60 hours to make a suit.

London Tailoring vs. “La Sartoria Italiana”
From the 18th century until the 1920s, English tailoring was considered to be top quality, just as French fashion led in the world of women’s wear. Nevertheless, tailoring was a very local business with craftsmen offering their particular skills in each country. Every capital of the western world was home to hundreds of tailors and dozens of firms that offered premium quality. After the second World War, the slow demise of tailoring led to a concentration of men’s tailoring in London and Italy. You could still find good bespoke tailors in any European capital and most American cities but with regards to style, the world of menswear became a matter of choosing between English or Italian provenance.

The differences that we see between a suit from London and from Naples are rather the result of different approaches about how a man looks best than the result of different methods. A very popular explanation says that London tailoring is influenced by military tailoring, which results in a more waisted silhouette and pronounced shoulders. Tailors in Italy, on the other hand, are credited with soft tailoring and more flattering shapes. Both assumptions are not correct because London tailors always offered very diverse silhouettes and Italy is home to very different styles too.


The biggest difference between London tailoring and Italian tailoring, in general, is that a British tailor will usually want to create a suit that gives the wearer the appearance of a gentleman from the British upper classes. An Italian tailor strives for an attractive appearance that is not based on a class association; it is more about appearances for appearance’s sake. The Italian male is typically very conscious of his looks; he doesn’t want to look like an Earl, he wants to look like an attractive man.

Thus, Italian tailors focus on creating a cut that flatters the figure with a pronounced waist, a rather short jacket and narrow trousers creating the impression of a slim figure with long legs. Speaking of Italian tailoring in general terms is nevertheless difficult because almost every region offers a slightly different silhouette.

Tailors in the North usually cut a jacket with squarer shoulders, similar to tailors in Rome. Tailors from Southern Italy prefer a natural shoulder with a set-in sleeve similar to the sleeve of a shirt. In general, Italian tailors tend to make a very soft garment with a lot of attention to handwork. Italian customers appreciate good tailoring more than any other nationality on the whole.

Austrian and German Tailoring
Observers from English speaking countries tend to assume that the tailoring traditions of Germany and Austria are similar, which is not the case at all. Despite sharing the same language Germany and Austria are two separate and different nations since the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a twin monarchy consisting of Austria and Hungary. Both kingdoms were home to several nationalities. Tailoring in Vienna was strongly influenced by Czech and Hungarian tailors and by tailors from Triest, while Berlin had developed into the center of German tailoring since the foundation of the Empire in 1871.

Tailors from England, France, and Italy love to refer to the 1930s as the golden age of men’s tailoring, which is not possible in Germany. When Hitler seized power after he was elected Chancellor in 1933 the Nazis wanted to drive out foreign influences from public culture, but they didn’t really succeed. Until the start of the war in 1939, products from all around the world were still popular in Germany and tailors still used a lot of fabrics from England. Despite many Germans being Anglophiles, Great Britain was seen as the major rival and enemy in Europe since the end of WW1 so dressing the English way was not all that popular. The cut of the suits from the 1930s was similar to those made by tailors in most European countries. The lounge suit had become very popular while older gentleman still liked to wear frock coats for formal occasions.

Viennese tailoring was very popular with the rich and famous in the 1930s. German movie stars like to be dressed by Knize in Vienna, the most famous and expensive tailoring house at the time. Marlene Dietrich used to have her famous tailcoats, lounge suits and overcoats made by Knize too. When the Jewish owner fled Austria and reopened in New York City, Dietrich was eager to support him and encouraged friends to follow suit. Austrian society had changed on the outside after the abolition of Monarchy in 1918, the court and his rules of dresses no longer dictated menswear. Fashion became more egalitarian but men from the upper and middle classes still dressed elegantly in lounge suits during daytime and dinner suits in the evening. Morning coats were worn for formal occasions during the day and evening tails for dances and dinners.

Austrian tailors still like to hint at the traditions of their Monarchy although it has not existed for nearly 100 years. In fact, it is difficult to spot the differences between suits made in Austria or Germany because of the dominating Italian influence and the fact that most tailors of both countries use a German cutting system taught by M. Müller & Son in Munich. Only very few tailors from Vienna still keep up a tradition that includes a very rounded, natural shoulder with minimal padding. They will tailor very softly in general with a slightly lower notch and lapels that are narrower than those from southern Italy. Still, these differences will only be perceived by an experienced observer and only a very small number of gentlemen will appreciate the traditional Viennese look and make.

America has been a world of its own with a huge independent textile and fashion sector until manufacturers started using factories in South America and Asia to cut costs. Tailors were inspired by Savile Row or made suits the Italian way that they had learned at home or from their Italian born fathers or grandfathers. The most famous All American tailoring school is the Ivy League Style which was created and cultivated by of a huge number of tailors at the East Coast. These tailors have mostly gone out of business.

Bespoke Tailoring Today: From Trendy to Timeless

Though the industry of bespoke tailoring has declined to a mere fraction of what it used to be, the remaining tailors are the keepers of a venerated craft. In a world in which so few things are truly unique, bespoke tailoring offers the dapper man a chance to own not only something that fits him perfectly but also something that is exclusive unto his wardrobe alone. It’s a way to reproduce the elegant styles and patterns of the past which are impractical for mass manufacturers to use.

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Custom Suits sewn in NYC is our specialty. Made To Measure Suits, Bespoke suits or any other euphemism. We are the premier Bespoke Tailors in New York City. Our Custom Made Shirts that will accompany your Suits are the most well made in New York. We have hundreds of imported cotton fabrics that we can craft into beautiful Custom Tailored Shirts. Wedding Suits and Wedding Tuxedos are specialties of ours and in our long history we have made thousands.

Whatever your style, desired look, fit and cut, We have the experience and knowledge to create and satisfy you. Our selection of fabrics is second to none features fabrics from Loro Piana, Holland&Sherry, Scabal, Dormeuil, Vitale Barberis, Harrisons, Albini, Thomas Mason and more!
We have expertise in all types of fit, even though the slim and trim suit with high armholes and snug trousers are the most popular, this may not be for everyone and we will listen to your request and include any details or requests you may have. ~ Scott Wasserberger SewBespokeClothingNYC

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👔 And Now For a GOOD Article… By Simon Crompton for Permanent Style Newsletter

What’s the difference between bespoke, MTM and RTW?
The revival of menswear in recent years, driven by a combination of enthusiasts, innovative menswear companies and internet communication, has meant that whether a man is looking to buy a single suit or an entire wardrobe, he has never had so many options.

Unfortunately, that choice is often obscured by brands and their marketing – particularly when it comes to differentiating between bespoke, made-to-measure and ready-to-wear suiting.

This difference is neither incidental nor arbitrary. It is crucial to the consideration that goes into buying a new suit, and can be tightly defined.

What is ready to wear (RTW)?
A RTW suit is bought off the rack, in a cut and style determined by the designer. The development of the RTW suit was pioneered in the 1950s, when manufacturers segmented the male form into different sizes for mass production. The vast majority of the world’s suits are now made this way.

What are the benefits of RTW?
Immediacy: Each RTW suit is pre-made to a generic size and specification. So as long as you are happy with the size and style, you can purchase a suit off the rack that fits and take it home that day. No need to wait; no need for multiple fittings over several weeks; no need to imagine what the suit might look like.

Relative affordability: The nature of mass production means RTW suits are usually the most affordable, and the growth of menswear also means there are a lot of RTW choices.The increased quality of construction, use of details once reserved for bespoke, and large range of fabrics means RTW is no longer limited to trendy suits with glued lapels made up in drab, cheap fabrics. Better RTW suitmakers tend to be differentiated by the time they put into their suits. Indeed the very best (eg Kiton or Cesare Attolini) are largely handmade, although the extra work tends to go into finishing that the customer can immediately see and appreciate (hand-sewn buttonholes) rather than more fundamental structuring (hand-padded chest).

What are the drawbacks of ready to wear?
A pre-defined fit: Despite these benefits and the advancement in quality, detail and construction, most men run into the inevitable issue of fit.Even a rudimentary list of measurements such as chest, shoulder, sleeve length, waist (for both jacket and trousers) and trouser length, illustrates that few men are likely to possess the dimensions to fit a RTW suit size exactly. So while a suit may fit well in some areas, it may be too long, short, loose or tight in others.

For this reason, we would always recommend having a RTW suit altered, if only slightly.

Little personal expression: Another aspect of RTW is that the suit is imagined for you, so if a store doesn’t have the colour, cut or fabric you’re looking for, you’ll need to look elsewhere.This won’t be an issue for some – indeed many like having the shape and cut led by an experienced designer – but those interested in menswear will over time want to start making their own sartorial choices around cloth, cut and finishing. Which brings us to made to measure…

What is made to measure (MTM)?
The MTM suit is like RTW, but with the benefit of an altered fit. You visit the store, but instead of taking a suit of your choice away that day, the salesman takes a few measurements and choices in cloth and style, they are sent to a factory (usually the same factory where the RTW is made) and the result after a few weeks’ wait is a suit cut to your personal dimensions. The chest, waist, sleeve length, trouser length and trouser waist are all yours.

What are the benefits of made to measure?
Greater scope for personal expression: One interesting aspect of MTM is the cloth, buttons and other trimmings available. In some ways, the offering can be wider than bespoke. The cloths are often more original than most of the bunches cloth mills supply to bespoke, because the MTM brand is closer to RTW, where cloths are usually more experimental. They are also often exclusive to that brand, again as with RTW.

With the resurgence of interest in personalisation, high-end MTM has also become more widely available in recent years, particularly among Italian brands that don’t do bespoke (Brioni, Caruso, Pal Zileri, Canali, Cucinelli etc).

The best of both worlds, right? So in MTM we have the (near) immediacy of RTW, especially in contrast to the months taken for bespoke. Similar (if not greater) options for cloth and finishing, at a price point closer to RTW than bespoke. And personalised measurements. It sounds like the best of both worlds.

Better fit…to a point: Even MTM suits that take into account a dozen or more measurements rarely fit as well as bespoke. Imagine the long, S-shaped curve of your back (image below). How many measurements does it take to recreate that?

MTM only really deals in simple, flat, two-dimensional measurements. It can make the length of sleeves correct, but it cannot account for how much you stoop or which shoulder is lower than the other.

A salesman can be good…but he’s not a tailor: The other problem with MTM is that the fitting is done by a salesman, not a tailor. So while the potential of MTM is quite large, the result often doesn’t fulfil it. Unless you are an unusual size (eg tall with very long arms), a RTW suit altered by a good tailor will often fit as well as a MTM suit of the same price. The only remaining advantage of MTM is that you can pick your material, lining and style. For some, that is significant.

What is bespoke?

Bespoke, as regular readers will know, involves creating a suit from the ground up. It can take any form, any shape, any material, and is usually handmade by two or three tailors.

The process begins with an initial discussion as to your needs (what type of suit you are after, your ideas on the style and cloth if any, and the ways and occasions you may have to wear it).

The tailor then takes your measurements – a seemingly endless number, with detailed notes that take into account aspects of posture and body shape that only a trained eye could notice.

A set of bespoke paper patterns is then drawn and cut (some elements by eye), with the cutter using his measurements and notes as a guide.

The cloth you’ve chosen is then cut using these patterns, and over the course of several fittings the fit is refined to the final product (usually between two and three, but potentially more until things are right).

What are the benefits of bespoke?
Superior fit: Clearly, the biggest benefit of bespoke is the fit. While there is enough detail on fit to write another whole guide, suffice to say that a good bespoke suit should fit like nothing else. It should hug your shoulders, create a clean back, and run in a sharp, flattering line from shoulder to waist. It will also often be more comfortable.

Longevity: The work that goes into everything from the lining of the waistband to the stitching of the pockets means the suit should last longer than anything mass-produced.

That handwork also makes it easier to adjust over time, and it will be adjusted by someone that has served you before and is familiar with your body and your style. Unlike a salesman who is likely to change every year.

Total creative control: Bespoke also offers the opportunity to develop a truly individual garment, not just in shape but in material, detail and finishing.

While your imagination is the only theoretical limit, a good tailor will also use their experience and sense of style to help guide you in pushing those boundaries without going too far. First-timers often make very showy suits, and then barely wear them (despite it being their highest quality and best-fitting).

What are the drawbacks of bespoke?
Timing and expense: Bespoke takes time. Typically a first suit from a tailor will require three fittings, each a few weeks apart. Some positively enjoy this process, but it’s not for the impatient. And it’s expensive: a bespoke suit can cost anywhere from £1000 to £6000. It won’t be perfect the first time: Some people have their first bespoke suit made and think that, because they can change everything, it will be perfect. But there is such a thing as too much freedom.

You’re opening the creative floodgates, stepping outside the mathematical rigour of mass production. It’s great fun, but there will always be things that you want to change six months later, if only because you only slowly realise what you wanted in the first place.

Tailors also refine their pattern over time. So there’s a good chance your second suit with a tailor will fit ever-so-slightly better than the first one. The first will still be better than RTW or MTM, but in that sense too it won’t necessarily be perfect.

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We are SEW, Manhattans most experienced and savvy custom tailors. We have been building custom suits, tuxedos, shirts and pants as a family run business for all New Yorkers for almost 100 years. From white glove attorneys to rock stars and actors we are experience in all areas, cuts, styles, fabrics and sizes. Bespoke is literally our middle name, go with experience when choosing your custom tailor. We will listen to your every request and desire until we deliver the perfect garment to you. Our suits start at a very reasonable $995, fully bespoke and completely canvassed fronts, No glue here!

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The proof is in the pudding, for the best and finest in custom Suits in NYC head to SEW Bespoke Clothing! For more reviews of the best custom suits in New York City, just rad further!best SEW is by far the best clothing experience I have ever had. I first met Scott 4 years ago when I was beginning a new career, and needed to vastly improve the quality of my business attire. Since that time my relationship with SEW has expanded broadly into all areas of my wardrobe. My relationship with Scott goes far beyond that of a tailor. I consider him a consultant. He is someone who takes the time to listen to your needs, and takes as much time is needed in order to get it right. He has never tried to “sell” me on anything. I am very picky about how my clothing fits, and how it looks. He has spent the last 4 years fine tuning my items in order to make sure they are exactly what I want. The bottom line is that when you spend a good deal of money for fine clothing, you are paying for the expertise and service as well as the product, and that is what distinguishes SEW from any other bespoke establishment I have patronized. I refer SEW to everyone who is looking to take the next step in improving their attire, and would not think about ever going anywhere else.Ryan M – (5 Stars)

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Want to manage a new project or move into a leadership role at work? Consider slipping into a suit — or at least more formal clothing. A recent study cited in The Atlantic finds that people who don formal business attire think differently than those dressed in jeans and flip-flops.

The cast of “How I Met Your Mother” perform the musical number Girls Vs. Suits, on the 100th episode.

“We usually think about how what we wear affects how other people perceive us, so the first interesting thing is that our clothing affects us as well,” writes Abraham Rutchick, an author of the paper and an associate professor of psychology at California State University, Northridge, via email.

Rutchick and his colleagues conducted six experiments where they looked at how clothing impacted how the wearers felt and thought. In four experiments, subjects reported how the clothing they wore made them feel; they then participated in a cognitive task. People who felt they were dressed more formally demonstrated an increased ability to think abstractly.

“Wearing formal clothing makes us feel more powerful, which brings with it a sense of more social distance from other people. Power and abstract processing have been repeated linked to one another in literature,” says Rutchick.

There’s little evidence in the literature about why power and abstract thinking are linked. Rutchick speculates that people who run businesses, for example, might need to think abstractly while employees who need to carry out the day-to-day work need to focus on the details.

“Keep in mind it’s not necessarily ‘better’ to think more abstractly. It means more broadly, creatively … but also in a less detail-oriented way,” he says.

In the other two studies, Rutchick asked students to bring two sets of clothes to a lab — a set to wear to class and a set to wear to a job interview. Interview attire varied greatly with women most often wearing dress pants and blouses and men wearing ties or full suits. The researchers randomly directed students to wear one set of clothing and participate in cognitive tests. Again the more formal the clothing, the more a person thought abstractly.

“The clothing we wear really can influence what we think and even the way we think,” says Josh Davis, author of the forthcoming book “Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done” and director of research and lead professor at NeuroLeadership Institute, who was not involved in the study. “It does lend some support to dress for success”

While Davis believes that the paper shows that an outfit can change a person’s thought process, he agrees with the authors that dress isn’t a magic bullet.

“It can do that. It doesn’t mean that it will do that,” he says.

Davis says there aren’t many studies on how clothing primes thought, but it is an emerging area of research. Interestingly, a 2012 study found that when people wear a white coat associated with doctor’s they pay more attention to detail.

Rutchcick also looked at whether formal wear became less powerful if people wore it regularly. No matter the frequency, wearing a suit fostered a particular way of thinking.

“Putting on a suit (even if habitual or routine) brings with it the adoption of a certain mindset,” he says.

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The Complete Guide To Bespoke Suits
Bespoke, like luxury, is a word that is often abused, misused to give something that is neither ‘bespoke’ nor ‘luxury’ a gloss of sophistication or justify a high price tag. The truth is that bespoke – exclusively something made just for you – is arguably the greatest luxury. And perhaps no more.

While a bespoke kitchen unit or even a fragrance is nice, a bespoke suit is a second skin, a garment that best reflects who you are because it was made just to fit you, in taste as much as in proportions.

Yes, it costs (a lot in most cases), but done right it’s an investment that will last a lifetime and mean you’ll rarely have to buy off-the-peg again. To that end, here is the complete guide to buying a bespoke suit.

The History Of Bespoke Suits
Up until less than a century ago, all men wore bespoke. Clothes were hand-made for the individual who could afford it, and those who couldn’t wore bespoke cast-offs.

It was in the late 1500s that Robert Baker set up the first tailoring business in London’s Piccadilly area – named after the ‘pickadill’, an Elizabethan term for a shirt collar – becoming suit-maker to the court of King James I in the process. As was commonplace then, like craftspeople flocked together – and soon the area, from Jermyn Street to Savile Row, became the epicentre of England’s menswear trade.

Henry Poole Bespoke Tailors
An old workshop at Henry Poole & Co, 1944

Tailoring may never have been quintessentially English – ‘tailor’ probably derives from ‘tailler’, the Medieval French for ‘to cut’ – but Savile Row, and its environs, came to be associated with the world’s best, winning a global influence such that the Japanese word for a suit, ‘sabburu’, is a corruption of the famed street’s name.

It was only in the 1950s, when manufacturing technology allowed the production of more affordable ready-to-wear clothes, that the tables were turned. Bespoke became the exception rather than the norm: for this we can thank off-the-peg pioneer Montague Burton, founder of the eponymous high-street chain and provider of many a World War Two soldier’s ‘de-mob’ attire.

With the arrival of off-the-peg clothing – getting ever more sophisticated by the season, free to follow this crazy phenomenon called fashion – Savile Row became more of an establishment calling card, where the great and good, but not necessarily the most stylish, acquired their clothing. It would take the periodic pioneer – a Tommy Nutter, a Hardy Amies, a Douglas Hayward – to shake things up and remind the wider trade that a bespoke suit wasn’t just for lawyers, bankers and business-types.

While much of ‘the Row’, as its inhabitants refer to it, still caters to those who have to wear suits, in the last two decades it has learnt to also cater to those who may just want to. There’s always been the substance. Now there’s more style.

Bespoke vs Made-To-Measure
Ask most men the difference between a ‘made-to-measure’ and ‘bespoke’ suit and the odds are that they’ll be unable to distinguish between the two. It doesn’t help that on occasion the terms are muddled deliberately to dress up a product. A lack of industry regulations regarding definitions has left a grey area that the Advertising Standards Association has addressed, somewhat inclusively. “Customers would expect a bespoke suit to be tailored to their measurements and specifications [but] would not expect that suit to be fully hand-made with the pattern cut from scratch,” it stated.

Adding to the confusion: fittings are increasingly required for both bespoke and made-to-measure. A bespoke service may require an individually-cut pattern, which is then kept on file should further suits be required. But often made-to-measure measurements are now stored, too. And cloths are chosen for bespoke and made-to-measure garments alike, with only the breadth of choice differing. Even hand-making, often cited as a benchmark of bespoke, is now increasingly found in made-to-measure garments, while machine-making plays some part in the creation of most bespoke suits, especially in the creation of trousers.

These days, the simplest distinction lies in the degree of personal service you receive. If you get to select any cloth, must decide on smaller details such as buttons, and if the suit requires a hand-cut, one-off pattern ‘bespoken’ specifically for your body before being made under the supervision of a master cutter – then you are paying for bespoke.

If you get to choose from a limited selection of cloths, and your suit takes an existing pattern (or ‘block’) but adjustments are added in to better fit you – then you’re paying for made-to-measure.

Then there’s ‘made-to-order’ or ‘personal tailoring’, which are lesser than made-to-measure and ever closer to off-the-peg. It’s little wonder that some are calling for the use of new terminology altogether, to make the distinction crystal clear. “The fact is that the terminology of tailoring can be used as a marketing gimmick, depending on who’s using it,” explains tailor Tony Lutwyche, of Lutwyche. “The bottom line is that you want a suit that fits you well.”

Why Buy Bespoke?
“Ultimately there are only two reasons to buy bespoke: for the fit and for the quality,” says Savile Row tailor Steven Hitchcock. “If they’re not things that interest you, or you want something instantaneously, bespoke isn’t for you. But if they are, you won’t be disappointed. You can just tell a bespoke suit, even if, on the surface, it’s just a plain blue suit. That’s because it’s been made for you and not for 50,000 people kind of like you.”

While many men can look passable in an off-the-peg suit, there’s no such thing as a standardised, symmetrical body. Bespoke aims to even out all personal quirks of stature and posture to improve your overall appearance. “Even with the most standard of bodies, there is something bespoke can improve on,” Hitchcock adds.

Bespoke also offers longevity. There’s a hefty outlay for sure, but also value for money in the long run. “Everything about the way a bespoke suit is made leans towards the idea that it will be worn for a long time,” says David Taub, head cutter at Gieves & Hawkes.

Indeed, a bespoke suit requires the skills of several experts – a cutter, tailor, trouser maker, finisher, presser and so on – which goes some way to explaining both the cost of bespoke and its longevity.

Much of the detail that makes the expense worthwhile will be hidden under the bonnet. The canvas inter-lining, which gives the bespoke suit its form, will be free-floating rather than fused into the garment to better mould to your body shape with wear. And there will also be some excess fabric, so the suit can be altered as your body fills out over the years.

Perhaps just as important to the appeal of bespoke is the simple pleasure of having bought into the wider experience. To have a bespoke suit made is also to take part in history and to be part of a culture. Admittedly, says Hitchcock, “some men buy a Savile Row suit out of snobbishness”, but those who invest in the experience are, says Taub, “taking part in something that is greater than just the suit”.

The Bespoke Suit Process
“The most important part of the process is what we start with: a chat,” says Ben Clarke, head cutter at Richard James. “Bespoke is a collaborative process, it doesn’t work if either side throws its weight around. Besides, many people still find the idea of having something made intimidating. But it shouldn’t be. It should be relaxed.”

Those new to bespoke may find the quiet examination of their posture, walk, sitting position and anatomy somewhat disconcerting, but it’s necessary for the tailor to make the best suit for you. Matters of taste, however, are largely the individual’s call – though Clarke advises first-time customers aim towards the classic, not least because it makes getting the perfect fit easier.

The process requires you to decide on every aspect of the suit, from cut to fabric, pocket type to position. But you’ll be wisely advised, both because each tailor has a house style – not imposed but favoured – and because that’s what tailors do: make an assessment of your lifestyle and needs and help you eliminate options and ideas and pinpoint what’s best.

In order to achieve the glove-like fit, you’ll be measured up – there are some 20 or so figures to collate for the jacket (known in the trade as the ‘coat’) and five for the trousers – by the cutter, the man who will cut the fabric for your suit. A basic form of the suit will then be made and tried on at the first fitting. It’s here that the tailor will make the all-important adjustments to get the suit right before a second (and sometimes even third) fitting is carried out.

Then comes the wait. From first meeting to finished garment takes anywhere between two and four months, all factors considered. So it goes without saying that bespoke is not for those in a hurry.

Bespoke Tailored Custom Suits NYC

Everything you need to know about the sartorial gold standard CUSTOM BESPOKE SUITS $995

Bespoke, like luxury, is a word that is often abused, misused to give something that is neither ‘bespoke’ nor ‘luxury’ a gloss of sophistication or justify a high price tag. The truth is that bespoke – exclusively something made just for you – is arguably the greatest luxury. And perhaps no more so than when it comes to a suit.

While a bespoke kitchen unit or even a fragrance is nice, a bespoke suit is a second skin, a garment that best reflects who you are because it was made just to fit you, in taste as much as in proportions

Yes, it costs (a lot in most cases), but done right it’s an investment that will last a lifetime and mean you’ll rarely have to buy off-the-peg again. To that end, here is the complete guide to buying a bespoke suit.

The History Of Bespoke Suits

Up until less than a century ago, all men wore bespoke. Clothes were hand-made for the individual who could afford it, and those who couldn’t wore bespoke cast-offs. It was in the late 1500s that Robert Baker set up the first tailoring business in London’s Piccadilly area – named after the ‘pickadill’, an Elizabethan term for a shirt collar – becoming suit-maker to the court of King James I in the process. As was commonplace then, like craftspeople flocked together – and soon the area, from Jermyn Street to Savile Row, became the epicentre of England’s menswear trade. Tailoring may never have been quintessentially English – ‘tailor’ probably derives from ‘tailler’, the Medieval French for ‘to cut’ – but Savile Row, and its environs, came to be associated with the world’s best, winning a global influence such that the Japanese word for a suit, ‘sabburu’, is a corruption of the famed street’s name. It was only in the 1950s, when manufacturing technology allowed the production of more affordable ready-to-wear clothes, that the tables were turned. Bespoke became the exception rather than the norm: for this we can thank off-the-peg pioneer Montague Burton, founder of the eponymous high-street chain and provider of many a World War Two soldier’s ‘de-mob’ attire.With the arrival of off-the-peg clothing – getting ever more sophisticated by the season, free to follow this crazy phenomenon called fashion – Savile Row became more of an establishment calling card, where the great and good, but not necessarily the most stylish, acquired their clothing.

It would take the periodic pioneer – a Tommy Nutter, a Hardy Amies, a Douglas Hayward – to shake things up and remind the wider trade that a bespoke suit wasn’t just for lawyers, bankers and business-types.While much of ‘the Row’, as its inhabitants refer to it, still caters to those who have to wear suits, in the last two decades it has learnt to also cater to those who may just want to. There’s always been the substance. Now there’s more style.

Genaro Anthony Sirico Jr. In NYC wearing a Sew Bespoke Clothing of NYC Suit Tailor Scott Wasserberger fitted Genaro Anthony Sirico Jr. for a bespoke suit. Genaro Anthony Sirico Jr. is an American actor, best known for his role as Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Soprano.

Bespoke vs Made-To-Measure Ask most men the difference between a ‘made-to-measure’ and ‘bespoke’ suit and the odds are that they’ll be unable to distinguish between the two. It doesn’t help that on occasion the terms are muddled deliberately to dress up a product. A lack of industry regulations regarding definitions has left a grey area that the Advertising Standards Association has addressed, somewhat inclusively. “Customers would expect a bespoke suit to be tailored to their measurements and specifications [but] would not expect that suit to be fully hand-made with the pattern cut from scratch,” it stated.

Adding to the confusion: fittings are increasingly required for both bespoke and made-to-measure. A bespoke service may require an individually-cut pattern, which is then kept on file should further suits be required. But often made-to-measure measurements are now stored, too. And cloths are chosen for bespoke and made-to-measure garments alike, with only the breadth of choice differing. Even hand-making, often cited as a benchmark of bespoke, is now increasingly found in made-to-measure garments, while machine-making plays some part in the creation of most bespoke suits, especially in the creation of trousers.

Sew Bespoke Clothing

These days, the simplest distinction lies in the degree of personal service you receive. If you get to select any cloth, must decide on smaller details such as buttons, and if the suit requires a hand-cut, one-off pattern ‘bespoken’ specifically for your body before being made under the supervision of a master cutter – then you are paying for bespoke.

Artie Wasserberger, Scott’s Father Sew Bespoke Clothing since New York · Since 1948

If you get to choose from a limited selection of cloths, and your suit takes an existing pattern (or ‘block’) but adjustments are added in to better fit you – then you’re paying for made-to-measure. Then there’s ‘made-to-order’ or ‘personal tailoring’, which are lesser than made-to-measure and ever closer to off-the-peg. It’s little wonder that some are calling for the use of new terminology altogether, to make the distinction crystal clear. “The fact is that the terminology of tailoring can be used as a marketing gimmick, depending on who’s using it,” explains tailor Tony Lutwyche, of Lutwyche. “The bottom line is that you want a suit that fits you well.”

Why Buy Bespoke? “Ultimately there are only two reasons to buy bespoke: for the fit and for the quality,” says Savile Row tailor Steven Hitchcock. “If they’re not things that interest you, or you want something instantaneously, bespoke isn’t for you. But if they are, you won’t be disappointed. You can just tell a bespoke suit, even if, on the surface, it’s just a plain blue suit. That’s because it’s been made for you and not for 50,000 people kind of like you.”

While many men can look passable in an off-the-peg suit, there’s no such thing as a standardised, symmetrical body. Bespoke aims to even out all personal quirks of stature and posture to improve your overall appearance. “Even with the most standard of bodies, there is something bespoke can improve on,” Hitchcock adds.

Scott Wasserberger of Sew Bespoke Clothing measuring for a bespoke suit

Bespoke also offers longevity. There’s a hefty outlay for sure, but also value for money in the long run. “Everything about the way a bespoke suit is made leans towards the idea that it will be worn for a long time,” says David Taub, head cutter at Gieves & Hawkes. Indeed, a bespoke suit requires the skills of several experts – a cutter, tailor, trouser maker, finisher, presser and so on – which goes some way to explaining both the cost of bespoke and its longevity.

Much of the detail that makes the expense worthwhile will be hidden under the bonnet. The canvas inter-lining, which gives the bespoke suit its form, will be free-floating rather than fused into the garment to better mould to your body shape with wear. And there will also be some excess fabric, so the suit can be altered as your body fills out over the years.

Perhaps just as important to the appeal of bespoke is the simple pleasure of having bought into the wider experience. To have a bespoke suit made is also to take part in history and to be part of a culture. Admittedly, says Hitchcock, “some men buy a Savile Row suit out of snobbishness”, but those who invest in the experience are, says Taub, “taking part in something that is greater than just the suit”.

The Bespoke Suit Process “The most important part of the process is what we start with: a chat,” says Ben Clarke, head cutter at Richard James. “Bespoke is a collaborative process, it doesn’t work if either side throws its weight around. Besides, many people still find the idea of having something made intimidating. But it shouldn’t be. It should be relaxed.” Those new to bespoke may find the quiet examination of their posture, walk, sitting position and anatomy somewhat disconcerting, but it’s necessary for the tailor to make the best suit for you. Matters of taste, however, are largely the individual’s call – though Clarke advises first-time customers aim towards the classic, not least because it makes getting the perfect fit easier.

The process requires you to decide on every aspect of the suit, from cut to fabric, pocket type to position. But you’ll be wisely advised, both because each tailor has a house style – not imposed but favoured – and because that’s what tailors do: make an assessment of your lifestyle and needs and help you eliminate options and ideas and pinpoint what’s best.

In order to achieve the glove-like fit, you’ll be measured up – there are some 20 or so figures to collate for the jacket (known in the trade as the ‘coat’) and five for the trousers – by the cutter, the man who will cut the fabric for your suit. A basic form of the suit will then be made and tried on at the first fitting. It’s here that the tailor will make the all-important adjustments to get the suit right before a second (and sometimes even third) fitting is carried out.

Then comes the wait. From first meeting to finished garment takes anywhere between two and four months, all factors considered. So it goes without saying that bespoke is not for those in a hurry.

Hope you enjoyed the read, we’d love to hear your comments.
Sew Bespoke Clothing New York’s most experienced custom suit and shirt tailor, hand sewn in NY since 1938.

Why Custom Suits In NYC

New York city is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Dressing well is part of the culture. Whether for business or pleasure it is custom to show off your best suits, shirts, tuxedos and coats.

For generations men ans women alike have expressed their individuality with custom clothing. This has never been more prevalent than now. Join us at Sew Bespoke Clothing. become one of our select clients and show off your best side.

We will consult with you on any segment of your wardrobe.

We tailor some very unique items: Golf pants Handmade tuxedos Bespoke shirts Custom ties Smoking jackets Pajamas Khakis

We use the very finest labor and fabrics available. All jackets and suits are fully canvased.

Best Custom Suits IN NYC?

Best Custom Suits In NYC? This is a very popular google search. You found us because we ARE among the best. Featured in NY Magazine in “The Best Of” edition. We can be counted on to consistently provide top notch service and clothing.

Since 1947 our family owned business has been providing custom suits, shirts and tuxedos to New Yorkers and tourists. We welcome you aboard!

Three generations of custom tailoring experience has taught us alot. Listen Respect Honesty

You will be guided through all the steps of bespoke tailoring. Fabric selection Measurements Discussion of fit and cut Pet peeves (everyone has them)

Weddings, Brides and Grooms

Custom Suit Sale NYC

Custom Suit Sale NYC – come visit our showroom in Midtown Manhattan. Conveniently located steps from grand Central and Rockefeller Center. Sit back in our large windowed showroom looking out into the ngrandeur of New York City. Enjoy a scotch, listen to your favorite music. BUT this is just the appetizer, the main course is our expertly tailored custom made suits, shirts, tuxedos, coats and blazers.

Since 1948 we have been engaged as a family business in constructing finely tailored clothing for all walks of New Yorkers. Our experience and taste level is without peer. Join us for a complimentary browse, we are sure you will tempted to place an order upon viewing our quality construction and vast selection of world famous fabrics.

CUSTOM SUITS START AT $995 AND SHIRTS AT $175