A common misconception is that having your clothing made for you will be a very expensive investment and will cost upwards of $3,000+. While you can spend this and then some on luxury custom made garments, there are several custom experiences with options starting as low as $400.
Having your garments made for you has become affordable to most that wear tailored clothing on a regular basis. There are also plenty of readily available options in different experiences within your city or even fully online.
First, let’s explore the different levels of custom-made clothing and determine if investing in custom clothing is worth it or not.
HOW MUCH DOES A MADE-TO-MEASURE SUIT COST?
The entry-level to the custom clothing space is called Made-To-Measure. Made-To-Measure clothing, or MTM for short, can be found in big-box retail and chain specialty stores, such as Joseph A. Banks and Suit Supply. This is the most common type of custom-made program that powers most online clothing experiences.
Most custom-made solutions you will see are forms of MTM are due to the simplicity of implementation by the store and training of the staff that supports it. Typically, they will have a custom specialist that you work with who has been trained to take some basic custom measurements and help you through your selections.
If it is an online experience, they will go through a tutorial with you on how to take your measurements virtually, and you will have someone such as your spouse or roommate take the necessary measurements.
What happens after you leave the store is the stylist will enter your measurements into software that will produce a common block pattern closest to your size and alter that pattern to adjust for some basic things such as sleeve length, minor posture settings, jacket length, etc. MTM will allow you to choose some basic styling options for you but are very limited in their capabilities.
There are several advantages to MTM clothing, such as that it is readily available in most major markets. It has an affordable opening price point to most, and It will solve some common fit issues you may have with off-the-rack garments.
The minuses of made-to-measure clothing is that it is a very cookie-cutter custom experience. Achieving a great custom-fit is limited. A good analogy of made-to-measure custom clothing would be building a custom house in a planned community where the builder lets you choose from a set number of house plans and let you select some décor options. Yes, it’s a custom house, but only to a point. This is why when you drive through these communities, every 5th house looks the same.
MADE-TO-MEASURE ONLINE EXPERIENCE MINUSES
Online custom clothing experiences do not have a good return rate as feedback from many customers who have tried these services realized that you have a lot of personal time invested into the process, including learning and taking measurements to select all the styling options. Even if the process is simplified, it is still time-consuming.
Due to the high customer acquisition cost with a low return rate, online custom experiences have gone to launching traditional brick and mortar experiences in major markets.
When it’s all over, most prefer human interaction and styling advice from industry professionals in person.
Lead times can vary with Made-to-Measure, but 2-3 weeks is regularly quoted. Prices can vary but start at roughly $400 and go up from there.
HOW MUCH DOES A FULL CUSTOM SUIT COST?
A Full Custom clothing experience means that your pattern is cut by hand by a master cutter. This differs from MTM in that everything is done in-person while meeting with your Full Custom specialist. There is no computerized cookie-cutter approach used in full custom experiences.
A Full Custom specialist is highly trained and is generally tenured in their profession. For example, Chicago based Balani Custom boasts an average of 12 years in Full-Custom experience for each of their Full Custom specialists.
Each Full Custom experience may differ slightly; however, at Jaxson Maximus, our secret sauce is the creation of your unique individual pattern from which your garments are made from. Your pattern is created in three different steps:
STEP 1: BODY PICTURES
We take a 365 degree pictorial of you. We call them your tailor mugshots. Your pictures are super important as our team, including our pattern cutter, is looking at how you hold yourself in a relaxed position when standing.
For example, some of our clients have bodybuilder frames that typically hold their arms in front with wider rounded backs while others hold their arms backwards. You might have a low left or right shoulder or stand naturally with your head forward. You may stand with your hips forward or backward. All of these plus many more will affect how a jacket, pant, or shirt ill fit on you and can be adjusted for in the creation of your unique pattern.
STEP 2: BODY MEASUREMENTS
We take over 30 body measurements with a measurement tape and specially calibrated devices that measure your shoulder slope and standing posture. Measurements such as your skin bicep when flexed, thigh and calf are recorded and used to create your one-of-a-kind pattern.
STEP 3: INTERACTIVE TRY-ON PER ITEM TYPE
At Jaxson Maximus, we will have you put on one of our proprietary try-ons for a jacket, pants, shirt and jean. We will then go over each fit consideration per item type. For example, when you put on our try-on shirt, we will pin the shirt down the arms to make sure you have the allowance over your skin when relaxed and when flexed to ensure you have the exact amount you prefer. We will pin the sides of the shirt to fit your torso’s contour and make sure you have the precise amount over the sides needed when standing and when sitting, where you are naturally at your fullest point of expansion of your torso.
All three of these steps combine together to create your unique pattern, which is cut by hand, taking information from each step in the Full Custom process.
Here is a quick video by Christian Boehm, Founder, and CEO of Jaxson Maximus, which explains an initial appointment consultation at Jaxson Maximus, Miami’s Full Custom experience.
Lead times are generally 4-6 weeks. Prices can vary but start at under $1,000 for a full custom suit. At Jaxson Maximus, see our pricing options.
HOW MUCH DOES A TRUE BESPOKE SUIT COST?
The word “Bespoke” has origins in England during the 18th century. During that time, you did not have outdoor shopping malls to peruse or large chain men’s specialty shops. You had a tailor who made the entire town’s clothing. The tailor would be visited by cloth merchants who would sell them bolts of cloth.
The tailor would typically display the bolts of cloth in his windows and throughout his shop. When you saw a cloth you liked, you would tell the tailor, and they would construct the garments for you. This is considered to be “bespoken for.” The tailor would hang the “bespoken for” tags of their prominent clients in their windows as an early form of advertisement. Once your bespoke piece of cloth is chosen, your garment will be added to the tailor’s queue to be made for you.
Today, the word bespoke has been generalized by almost everyone in the custom clothing space as another way to say custom made. True bespoke, however, is defined as having your garment’s measured, your pattern is cut, and garments made all in one location by a master tailor and pattern cutter. Be prepared to return for several fittings during the true bespoke process as your garments are made.
It is a considerable time commitment on the client’s side as well as the tailor’s side.
True Bespoke experiences are rare and hard to find. On Savile Row in London, the birthplace of bespoke clothing, you still have some of the most famous true bespoke custom experiences, such as Henry Poole & Co & the Huntsman. Interestingly, most offer a made-to-measure experience as well as a true custom experience due to the King’s Ransom you will pay for a true bespoke suit.
A true bespoke suit is the most expensive option out of the three, so be prepared for the high price tag.
True bespoke lead times can vary but expect 12- 16 weeks before delivery. The cost of a true bespoke suit typically starts at 5,000 pounds or roughly $6,200.