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  • Ray Peck

Bespoke, Made to Measure, Made to Order, Custom Made, Hand made and Personally Tailored explained!

If you're thinking of having a suit made for the first time you may be totally confused by the choices and options and even more bemused at the terminology used.

So let's try and simplify it for you and explain the main differences.

Hopefully this will allow you to make an informed decision.

Let's start with the most commonly used (and often misused) phrase, Bespoke tailoring:


"Specially made for a particular person, organisation or purpose" - Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus and Cambridge Business English Dictionary.

"(esp of clothing or a website, computer programme, etc) made to the customer's specifications" - Collins Dictionary.

In short, any garment that has been specially made to your individual requirements and size, fit and shape can be classed as bespoke tailored:


When you visit Savile Row or your local independent Traditional Bespoke Tailor he will sit with you and help you select your fabric, lining and trim details. He will help you design the suit so that you are choosing the correct style to suit your shape and size and you will be able to choose everything from pocket flap design and waistband options down to lapel style and button hole design, in fact almost every aspect of your suit will be to your unique design.

You will be getting a garment that (in most cases) is made on the premises, mostly by hand. The Tailor will carefully measure you, take note of your body shape and posture and will cut an individual paper pattern which is unique to you, which he will keep on the premises for future orders.

He will cut the cloth by hand and construct your garment. During the process you will have several fittings whilst the garment is in varying stages of construction, and he will pin, chalk and note any adjustments that need to be made to the garment which will then be applied prior to the final fitting.

At the final fitting you will be presented with a garment that will fit you perfectly.

For this wonderful service you will pay anything from (£1500 local tailor), (£4000 Savile Row), up to £15,000, depending upon the fabric selection for a two piece suit.


Whilst Savile Row and some Traditional Tailors can seem expensive, there is a less expensive alternative that more and more people are turning to.

Throughout the UK and in the cities in particular there are now many independent tailors who can offer a bespoke tailoring service but with a few differences:

Firstly they will still offer you everything that the Savile Row and Traditional Tailor offers in terms of fabric choice, style and design options, measuring and catering for your unique body shape and posture.

The main differences are that they then send your order to workrooms elsewhere, who cut your pattern and make your garment according to the instructions that the 'tailor' has given them.

Your garment is cut and constructed using state of the art technology and is finished by hand, reducing labour costs and increasing accuracy. This reduces the need for several fittings during the process and therefore reduces the cost to the customer.

The finished suit is then presented to the customer and a fitting takes place. If there are any fine tune adjustments required, the tailor will take the garment away to get these completed before a final fitting takes place and the customer takes delivery of his bespoke garment.

In the case of a visiting tailor this takes place at a location and time decided by the customer and provides a convenient and cheaper way of having a bespoke garment personally tailored.

For this fabulous service you will pay £700 - £1800 *approx for a two piece suit and will have all the options and fabric choices as before.


Many High Street stores will offer a made to measure service which is another way of obtaining a better fitting suit and one with more options than when buying one 'off the peg'.

The way these are made is by getting you to try on a regular fitting model suit and then taking note of adjustments that need to be made to it in order to get an optimum fit. These adjustments are then applied prior to your garment being manufactured.

Whilst you may end up with a suit that is fairly close to your actual measurements, it doesn't take into account your body shape and posture. So if, for example you have one shoulder that slopes slightly more than the other (as most people do) the made to measure option cannot account for that and you may end up with a jacket that collapses on that shoulder.

*Not to be confused with the traditional and visiting tailor, who may ask you to try on or wear one of your own suits so that he can assess how it sits and hangs on you to highlight any posture and body shape anomalies*

The thing to remember here is that whilst it gives you more style options, you are basically getting an 'off the peg' garment with adjustments made prior to manufacture.

Prices for this option are usually from £400 - £600 *approx.


These are phrases and terminology that can and are often used to describe any of the above options and it is always wise to ask specifically what they are referring to.

I hope this answers most of your questions and you now have a clearer understanding of the processes used to make your suit.

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