Skip to main content

Bespoke vs made-to-measure vs off-the-rack suits

You have probably often come across many terms in regards to tailoring and how clothing is made, such as bespoke, made-to-measure and off-the-rack, but do you know what they all mean? If not, you are in the right place. In this article, we will take a look at each of these methods, explain what they mean and show how they compare to each other.
suits construction e08fd97e

4Q5A0019 0bf27c08

Patrick & Co – Bespoke tailor in Thailand

Patrick & Co is bespoke tailoring company and formal wear consultancy. Get in touch with us or visit our store in Bangkok. We are ready to serve you.

Off-the-rack suits

Let’s start at the bottom of the chain – off-the-rack or ready-to-wear suits. As the name implies, these are suits that have been pre-made and displayed on the rack in department stores and small garment shops. They are highly standardised, come in several sizes and fits and only fabrics and styles ordered by the store.

There’s little to no customisation available and oftentimes, they don’t fit perfectly, which is where to store’s tailor can help. Minor alterations usually involve shortening the hems of the pants or shirt sleeves. Since off-the-rack suits are the most affordable option, they are usually the go-to option for first-time suit buyers and younger men (most of us have probably been there).

off the rack suit 5d309370

Made-to-measure suit

Made-to-measure suits are a healthy middle ground between off-the-rack and bespoke suits. On the one hand, they allow for more customisation and are better tailored to the wearer, but on the other hand, they involve some form of standardisation in the pattern and manufacturing, which is machine-operated.

The fit of a made-to-measure suit is superior to that of an off-the-rack suit because they are constructed to fit each customer individually based on a few body measurements to customise the pre-existing pattern. Crafted from a basic pattern and modified based on a handful of measurements, these suits take time to be made. You will still have to try them on when they arrive to make final adjustments. Made-to-measure is more expensive than the most off-the-rack suit and less expensive than bespoke.

made to measure suit 1268bb3b

Bespoke suits

Bespoke suits are made specifically for you (from scratch) with a high level of expertise and hand construction. Bespoke tailoring involves paying far more attention to minute fit details than, for example, you would find in a made-to-measure suit.

Typically, the tailor will set up multiple fittings during the construction process to achieve the ultimate fit for the customer. An extreme example, a bespoke suit is a fully hand-stitched suit that can have more than 1,000 hand stitches in the lapel and results in a perfect hand-rolled lapel that stays in place, hugs the body and never needs to be pressed. Overall, bespoke suits are the most expensive option, as the craftsmanship requires a very high level of skill and the attention of hand sewers.

bespoke suit 1cfc3482

Bonus: Custom-made suits

There’s one more term you might have heard as well – custom-made. This is more of a general term that’s used to describe anything that has been modified to fit you based on your measurements and style options. It can mean a variety of things and doesn’t refer to any specific manufacturing method.

Final thoughts

There you have it. Now you should have a good idea of what each of these terms means and what method you might want to go for when getting your next suit. As bespoke tailors, we naturally recommend opting for a bespoke suit as it offers a superior fit and endless customisation. This way, you can make your suit your own and present yourself with confidence.

Travelling to Thailand?

Book an appointment in our store in Bangkok

Meet us around the world

Get notified when we host a trunk show in your country