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What is the difference between bespoke and made-to-measure?

‘Aren’t they the same thing?’ Go into almost any store these days and you’ll find signs advertising their bespoke range of paints, bicycles, advice, etc…but the service is rarely truly bespoke. So what is the definition of bespoke and how does it differ from made-to-measure?

Definition of bespoke

“Made for a particular customer or user.”

A bespoke suit begins with the process of carefully measuring and assessing a customer’s body. More than 30 detailed measurements are required in order to draft a pattern. The pattern is created from scratch for that unique body shape and cannot be used for any other person. The construction and finish of the garment involve the highest quality of craftsmanship with at least 50 hours of hand stitching going into each bespoke suit. In fact everything about a bespoke suit is designed to last – from the generous inlays (seam allowances) to the hand stitched lapels and buttonholes. In order to achieve a perfect fit a minimum of 3-4 fittings will be required throughout the construction process. A suit also needs time to settle and will usually be assessed after it has been worn for a couple of weeks. Any alterations needed will then be taken care of and notes kept on record for future orders.


By contrast a made-to-measure suit starts from an existing pattern and only a handful of measurements are taken. The design and style are not unique but will be one of a range that you can choose from. Construction methods may also involve hand stitching, but not to the extent of a bespoke suit. Depending on your body shape and skill of your tailor a very good result can be achieved. For a made-to-measure suit you will probably have between 1-2 fittings. Another way to think of made-to-measure is as a customised suit where you can give it a unique look, but it started off from a pre-existing design and pattern.


Which tailoring service is right for me?

When it comes to choosing between bespoke and made-to-measure there is no right and wrong choice, nor is bespoke necessarily better for you. What is right will depend on a variety of factors: your budget, your shape, the available options and your needs. A good tailor will listen to your needs and requirements first before advising you on what the best choice is for you.

I hope you find the above information useful and that the terms are now clearer. Do let me know in the comments if you have any questions and please get in touch to find out more about my tailoring services.

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