The Difference Between Bespoke, Made to Measure, and Off the Rack Suits


If you are looking for that special feeling you get from wearing a garment that has been tailored especially for you, then a well-made bespoke suit is for you. Today we are going to be discussing some of the major differences between an ‘off the rack’, a ‘made to measure’, and a ‘bespoke’ suit.

The average guy tends to often use these terms interchangeably and more often than not, incorrectly. The great thing is that the name of both styles of tailoring gives you the definition of what’s involved in each process.

Bespoke Suits – Top Quality for the Discerning Gentleman

Bespoke derives from the term ‘be speak’ which means to speak for something or someone. In tailoring, the term relates to a tailor literally creating a new suit specifically for you, therefore you have been ‘spoken’ for. Bespoke garment suppliers often take weeks to create their suits and involve a number of fittings to ensure that the piece is made to the customer’s exacting specifications.

The real value that comes with bespoke tailoring, and also the high price tag, is that the suit derives from a new pattern that is made from scratch, not from an existing pattern that’s been altered. With bespoke, you can alter the smallest of possible parameters, something that just isn’t possible with made to measure or off the rack suits. For example, some individuals have bowlegs which aren’t straight. Bespoke tailoring addresses all of these little nuances, and a good tailor can tailor a garment in a way that hides these imperfections and almost make it look like you are a perfectly proportionate being.

Made to Measure Suits

Made to measure in its most basic explanation is exactly that – made to measure. It means literally having a suit made to fit your exact body measurements. Maybe you need:

  • larger arm holes in your shirt and jacket
  • longer trouser length
  • A super slim trouser leg

With a made to measure suit, you can be sure your unique body shape is catered for.

Off-the-Rack Suits

Off the rack means that the suit is made to a standard pattern that represents the body shape of the majority of men of that particular size. Although you can get very high quality OTR suits, they will never be made to measure as they are produced to an existing pattern.

Whatever type of suit you purchase, remember this. You get what you pay for. Don’t be put off by the high price tag of bespoke tailoring. A well-made bespoke suit will last a lifetime.

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