#Styletips

How to buy a tailored suit: The definitive guide to buying a perfectly fitting suit


Tailored suit - Detailed guide | Patrick & Co

If you are reading these lines, you have probably already decided not to buy a suit off the rack, but rather invest into something bespoke and tailor-made just for you. We would like to congratulate you on entrusting yourself into the hands of professional stylists and tailors and help you get rid of any uncertainty and last questions by providing an insight into the intricacies of getting your perfectly tailored suit.

Reading this in-depth guide should help you become familiar (and comfortable) with the steps of the bespoke process, get to know the variety of customisable options and give you confidence in your choice and decision. And as a bonus, we have included a few tips for getting your suit specifically in Thailand. Let’s begin!

1. Determining the style and fit
of your tailored suit

Getting a perfectly tailored bespoke suit starts with determining the right style and fit of your new suit. Here you will need to ask yourself what occasion you need the suit for – work, play, social or perhaps a wedding? A suit meant for business meetings will need to check different boxes than a suit for a countryside wedding, as far as the style goes.

Another thing to consider before buying a tailored suit is the intended message you are trying to communicate with your outfit. Are you trying to stand out in your workplace or merely look contemporary at a social event? Lastly, you will also need to consider your climate conditions – this will largely dictate your choice of fabric down the road.

All of the above are important indicators that will steer the production of your new tailored bespoke suit in a specific direction. You don’t have have to be an expert in style, however. Skilled stylists will seamlessly walk you through this decision-making step and help you determine the right style for you.

1.1 Main suit styles

Based on your needs and requirements, you may want to opt in for one of the two basic styles for your tailored suit:

Single-breasted suit

A single-breasted suit comes with a single column of buttons and narrow overlapping of the fabric. It results in a more conservative and versatile look, meaning it can work in business as well as social environments.

Double-breasted suit

In contrast, a double-breasted suit features two columns of buttons, spanned by a large overlap of the left and right sides. It’s the option you will see most men wear in their suits and it’s great for achieving a formal and business look. As a result, however, it’s less versatile than its single-breasted counterpart. This cut may sometimes also come with extra two buttons on the top, one on each side of the lapels.

Tailored suit - Single-breasted suit | Patrick & Co
Single-breasted suit (1, 2 or 3 buttons)
Tailored suit - Double-breasted suit | Patrick & Co
Double-breasted (4,6 or 8 buttons)

1.2 How should a well-tailored suit fit?

Even though the fit is an extremely rare or nonexistent issue with a tailored bespoke suit, it’s useful to know how the suit should fit and feel, nonetheless. A well-tailored suit is characterised by strongly tapered sides and minimal shoulders – an exact opposite from the off-the-rack suits that often come with generous shoulder padding as a means of reducing labour.

As a rule of thumb, keep in mind the following during the fitting process:

  • Aim for a slim, flattering, fit with clean lines that accentuate your body shape
  • You shouldn’t feel any restriction in movement in any way
  • If you need to create a powerful image in the business environment, you may want to ask for slight padding in your shoulders. Otherwise, shoulders without extra support offer much more comfort and ease of movement and are perfect for warmer climates.
  • Jacket sleeve length – the sleeve should show about 1/2–3/4 of an inch of a shirt sleeve (or 1.2–1.9 cm)
  • Jackets should be long enough to cover your bottom but short enough to give as long a leg line as possible.

A good stylist will confidently take care of the entire fitting both during the initial measurement and at the subsequent fittings, resulting in a perfect fit of your new tailored suit.

Bespoke tailored suit| Patrick & Co

2. Choosing the right suit construction and fabric

With style and fit out of the way, it’s time to make some of the most important decisions regarding your new tailored suit – selecting the jacket construction and suit fabric.

2.1 Jacket construction

How your jacket is made plays a huge role in determining the overall quality of a men’s suit and how well it drapes around your body. And not just that, a better construction also directly translates into greater longevity of your suit, albeit at a higher cost and workmanship time. Let’s take a look at the three basic constructions:

Fused suit jacket

A fused, non-canvassed jacket, features fusible interlining that’s glued to the visible outer fabric of the suit, both in the front panels and in the lapels. While it’s fast and inexpensive to make, a jacket made this way doesn’t conform to the men’s body as well as the following two constructions and can be rather stiff.

Half-canvassed suit jacket

A step above the fused construction is a half-canvassed construction. A half-canvassed jacket is made up of a thin fused layer covering the entire area of the front panel of the jacket as well as a piece of canvassing material stitched to the upper half of the jacket – from your shoulders down to the chest.

Because it combines the best of both worlds – cost and labour savings from the fused method and a natural drape and shape in the chest and lapel area thanks to half-canvassing – it may be the preferred option for those who want to maximise the quality of their suit while not breaking the bank.

Full-canvassed suit jacket

The pinnacle of tailoring is a full-canvassed construction. In this method, the canvass comprised of wool and horse or camel hair spans across the entire area of the front panel of the suit jacket, including lapels. It is typically hand-stitched to the outer fabric in a loose manner, allowing you greater mobility and range of movement. While full-canvassing brings a superior drape and looks, it comes at a significant cost – both in terms of money and construction time.

If money is not an issue, the full-canvassed construction is the way to go, otherwise half-canvassing will suffice for most men.

Tailored suit – Suit construction | Patrick & Co

2.2 Suit fabric

While the suit jacket construction forms the invisible foundations to a great-conforming suit, it’s the outer fabric visible to the world that completes its looks and also determines how it performs in various weather conditions. Without exaggeration, it can mean the difference between a boiling hot suit and one that’s breathable and comfortable to wear.

Material

As far as suit fabric is concerned, you need to consider two layers – the outer fabric and the one on the inside, the so-called inner lining fabric. The former is most commonly made up of wool, cotton, linen or microfibre, or their combination, while the lining is usually composed of either silk or Bemberg. Each fabric then offers multiple levels of quality and performance, and they all come with different properties, such as breathability, proneness to wrinkling, durability, formality and price. We have a written a standalone guide on selecting the most suitable fabric for hot climates, but it contains useful information for those who live in the northern hemisphere, too.

Colour

The colours of your new suit will depend on the occasion as well as how often you actually wear a suit. If you own only one suit and wear it occasionally, then black is probably your safest choice.

However, if you wear your suit regularly, such as to work every day, then charcoal grey and navy blue are the superior choices. Why? They are the most versatile and useful suit colours that provide a great value for those who have to wear formal suits regularly and look for a classic and timeless option.

Once you have covered the basics colours, you can then start experimenting with different colours and patterns, such as windowpane, checks, stripes, herringbone and many others.

Tailored suit – Charcoal grey | Patrick & Co
Charcoal grey suit
Tailored suit – Navy-blue suit | Patrick & Co
Navy blue suit

3. Selecting suit composition & customisations

By now, you should have a good idea about what you need your tailored suit for, its style, construction and colour. Now let’s look into the small details that make up a suit and the list of customisable options – there are many to cover!

3.1 Suit jacket

Front and sleeve buttons

You have full control over the quantity and quality of buttons on the front of your jacket as well as its sleeves. On the front, you can choose to have only one or as many as eight buttons, whereas, you can have three to five buttons on your sleeves. Moreover, those can be laid out in a variety of arrangements – spaced, kissing and stacked.

As for the button quality, you can generally choose from basic synthetic material, corozo, mother of pearl or horn – all of which beside plastic are natural and durable materials.

1 button
2 button
3 Button
Stacked
Kissing
Spaced

Lapel

Lapels – the folded flaps of cloth on the front of a jacket sown to the collar – come in three basic forms: notched, peaked and shawl. Notched lapels, the most common type, are usually seen on business suits, and on more casual jackets like blazers and sport coats. Peaked lapels are more formal, and nearly always used on double-breasted jackets, but also frequently appear on single-breasted ones. Shawl lapels are usually carried by tuxedos.

Shawl
Peaked
Notched

Vents

When it comes to the vent at the back of your suit jacket, you have three choices – none, one or two vents. There are functional features that are there to provide men with more room, flexibility, to move. If unsure, opt for double-vent jacket unless you are buying a tuxedo or a black tie attire – these come with no vents.

No vents
1 vent
2 vents

Side & ticket pockets

Although they don’t get too much use nowadays, side pockets are an essential feature of a men’s suit. The most common type is a flap or standard pocket. As the name implies, it’s a pocket with a rectangular flap covering the opening. It’s ubiquitous and will work with any suit.

If you are aiming for an ultra-formal look, however, look no further than piped/jetted pockets. These pockets are identical to the flap pockets, just without the flap. With ultra-clean lines and minimal visual bulk, this is inherently the most formal of the suit jacket pocket types.

On the contrary, a casual suit look can be achieved by opting for patch pockets. Patch pockets are made from separate pieces of fabric stitched directly onto the suit jacket. Their casual character comes from their full visibility on the front.

The last type of pocket is a hacking pocket. It’s an otherwise flap pocket that’s slightly slanted. They can be a great option if you want to stand out.

Ticket pocket is a secondary pocket placed right above the main pocket and is optional.

Flap/standard
Piped/jetted
Patch
Hacking
Ticket

Lining

The inner lining fabric is just as important as the outer one as it comes with contact with your body. Its purpose is to add structure and weight to your suit.

There are three options: unlined, half-lined and fully-lined.

You may want to make your choice based on the climate of where you live. The main benefits of a full-lined suit jacket are greater insulation and thickness. That can come useful in colder climates, whereas in warmer countries half-lined or unlined suit may be more breathable and thus cooler.

Even though many people may not see the lining of your suit jacket, having the colour or pattern of your choice is a fun and unique way of making the suit stand out.

The most common material for the lining is either silk or Bemberg.

Tailored suit – Inner lining with monogram | Patrick & Co
Tailored suit – Inner lining with brand label | Patrick & Co

Other customisable options

Besides the above options, you can also customise pick stitching – small and unobtrusive stitching that runs along the lapel – button stitching or even add your monogram. As you can see, the options are almost limitless.

3.2 Waistcoats

Waistcoats are largely optional pieces of suits although can they still find their use even in modern days, particularly when you want to make an impression. You may want to wear it at significant events, such as important presentations, job interviews or formal events. It looks put-together, elegant and powerful and together with jacket and trousers, it forms a traditional three-piece suit.

Tailored suit – Optional waistcoat | Patrick & Co

3.3 Trousers

Front style

Front style of your trousers will stay largely hidden while wearing a jacket, however, that shouldn’t dissuade you from paying attention to them. There are generally three front styles to choose from: flat, single pleats and double pleats.

The use of pleats is grounded in functionality more than their aesthetic appeal. They allow for a greater range of movement in men and accommodate the widening of hips when you sit down. Men with bigger build may want to opt for a flat front style, whereas the rest of us will be better off with double pleats.

Flat
1 pleat
2 pleats

Waistband

Suit trousers most commonly sport a waistband – a thin strip of fabric that wraps around the waist and features some of the securing mechanisms needed to hold them on the body, namely a button or hooks.

When speaking of making your trousers stay put, you may want to opt for belt loops. Once installed, it’s recommended to wear the belt at all times, however, going beltless is becoming a popular look.

Another way to hold your trousers in place is by using side adjusters. These are small buckles, one at each hip, attached to cloth tab or strap that enable you to tighten the waist an inch or so on each side.

Alternatively, you can also use suspenders (these attach to the buttons on the inside of the waistband).

Tailored suit – Trouser waistband | Patrick & Co

Hem and cuffs

Dress pants are finished with a hem or a cuff. A hem means a plain bottom where the fabric is folded up inside the pant leg at the desired length. A cuff, on the other hand, will have the fabric at the bottom folded up on the outside, then be pressed or sewn in place to create the cuff.

You will find hemmed bottoms most frequently on flat-front trousers (although there’s nothing wrong with wearing a cuffed flat-front pant). They are considered a more casual choice. On the other hand, cuffs are widely considered to be the dressier option.

Related to the bottom of the trousers is also the trouser length and trouser break – a point at the bottom of your leg where your trousers meet the shoe. It determines the length of men’s trousers and can greatly affect your overall appearance.

You can choose from five different types of trouser breaks – cropped pants, no break, quarter/slight break, half/medium break and full break. We go into details about their practical use in our article on trouser length.

Hem
Cuff

Other customisable options

Further customisation options include selecting the presence and material of inner lining, heel guard and pocket fabric.

3.4 Accessories

Devil is in the details even in case of men’s suits. While two- (or three) piece suit forms the basis of a well-dressed gentleman’s wardrobe, the creativity, doesn’t stop there. Men can choose from many accessories to liven up and personalise their outfit. Those include but are not limited to: neckties, dress shoes, wrist and pocket watches, pocket squares, cufflinks, tie clips, tie tacks, tie bars, bow ties, lapel pins and hats.

Tailored suit – Accessories | Patrick & Co

4. Conclusion

By now, you should have a good idea about what you need your tailored suit for, its style, construction and colour. Now let’s look into the small details that make up a suit and the list of customisable options – there are many to cover!

5. Bonus – tips for buying a tailored suit in Bangkok

Because our tailor shop is based in Bangkok, Thailand, we would like to conclude our guide by addressing some of the most common questions you may have about getting a high quality suit in Thailand.

Where to buy a tailored suit in Bangkok?

Bangkok has over 1,000 tailor shops, so it may be understandably hard to make a decision about which shop to visit. Fortunately, there are a few easy signs you can look out during your research process. You can read about them in our comprehensive blog post on how to choose the right tailor in Bangkok.

If you value tailoring experience just as much as product quality, we recommend visiting us at Patrick & Co in Bangkok, near BTS Thonglor. As tailors and stylists with more than 60 years of tailoring experience and 800 positive reviews on social media, we are proud to be creating perfectly fitting bespoke clothing & shoes for men, all wrapped in superior customer experience.

Tailored suit | Patrick & Co

How much does a tailored suit cost in Thailand?

Men’s suit prices will vary based on the store location, selected fabrics and quality of workmanship. As a rule of thumb, if the price is too good to be true, the tailor shop is likely compromising on fabric and/or workmanship, and your new tailored suit may not the have best chances to stand the test of time (an example of a this would be a full suit in an Italian fabric for $199 – too good to be true).

You should expect a quality tailored bespoke suit to cost anywhere from $400 on the low end and as much as $2,000+ on the high end. Besides fabric, another determining factor is also the jacket construction, with the full-canvassed constructing being the most time consuming and expensive.

How long does it take to tailor a men’s suit in Bangkok?

Quality takes time. The process of creating a bespoke suit requires experienced workmanship and consists of shaping, pressing, reshaping, stitching, measuring etc., until your suit is perfect. Moreover, there can be anywhere from 3-5 fittings required before a final product can be confidently handed over.

If you are looking for quality, forget about 24-hour delivery. Minimum turnaround time at a quality tailor shop is going to be about 3-5 working days for a standard wool blend fabric suit and 6-12 working days for a high end one. The time will further depend on the construction you choose – a full-canvas suit may take up 6 six weeks to make.


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About Patrick & Co

Bangkok, Thailand

Patrick & Co is world-renowned bespoke tailoring company and formal wear consultancy providing classy options for classy customers. Need help with looking your best at your next business or social occasion? Get in touch with us or visit our store in Thonglor, Bangkok. We are ready to serve you.