Mistakes Men Make Buying Custom Clothing (II) | Men’s Clothing Style Guides

Men’s Clothing Style Guides

So you’re considering buying custom clothing – Congratulations!

A tailored suit, shirt, or coat can be one of the best investments a man makes. Done right, a good piece of tailored clothing will last for years or even decades, fit like a dream, and make the wearer look great. There are, however, pitfalls that even an experienced clothing buyer can stumble into along the way to a great custom outfit.

Mistake #5: Trying the New Clothes On Once | Men’s Clothing Style Guides

Here’s  something  tailors  don’t  like  to  admit:  even  the  most  detailed  measurements aren’t precise.
They  can  get  very  close.  But  numbers  on  paper  are still only going to be an  approximation of the body the clothing eventually has to go on.
Expect  that your custom tailored clothing will require adjustments after the  first version is “finished.” Count on it, in fact.

Typically,  you’ll  be  measured  in  detail once, and then the tailor will make your clothing. After that, you come  in,  try  the  clothing  on,  discuss the fit, and have it adjusted as needed.
Check  ahead  of  time  and  make  sure your tailor is willing to repeat that  last  step  as  many  times  as  necessary.
This  alone  is  a  good  reason  to  choose – or not choose – a tailor; see  our  previous  point  on  not giving tailors a pass on customer service and  adjustments.
Once  you’ve  put  the  first  version  on  and  taken  care  of  any  immediately  obvious adjustments, take it home and wear it around for a while.
Try  it  on  that  day;  try  it  on  the  next  day.  Wear  it  at  different  times  and  in  different temperatures. Try the clothing out at different levels of physical activity.  Practically  sleep  in  it.  Then  go  back  and  tell  your  tailor  what’s  working and what’s not.

If you found a part that catches when you move, or a cuff that rides up when you sit, or anything else that isn’t entirely perfect – talk to your tailor about it! Get it fixed. That’s what custom clothing is all about.
If  you  pass  this  step  up  after  the  first  fitting,  it  could  be  weeks  until  the  clothing gets a real “trial by fire” out and about in the living, breathing world.
That’s not when you want to notice problems.

Spend  some  serious  time  trying  the  clothing  on  as  soon  as  you  get  it,  and  make sure your tailor is willing to make some final tweaks after a few days of test-wear.

Mistake #6: Missing the Break-Even | Men’s Clothing Style Guides

Not Wearing the New Clothes Enough. What is good clothing really worth?
That’s  not  entirely  a  philosophical  question.  You’ll  know,  at  the  very  least,  what you paid for a finished piece of custom clothing.
Ideally,  you  should  be  wearing  your  custom  clothing  (and  anything  you buy,  for that matter) often enough to “break even” on that price.
Think  of  it  in  terms  of  £/outing.  Wear a £1000 suit to a single gala  event, and that evening of looking good cost you £1000. But if you wear it to the gala and the wedding, it only cost you £500 to look good at each one. And so  on,  divided  by  however  many  useful  wears  you  get  out  of  your  piece  of  clothing.
This is where custom clothing – if it’s selected wisely – starts to earn its high price  tag.  Say  you’re  a  trial  lawyer  with  a  decent  number  of  court  appearances every year.


You  could  buy  a  mass-market,  off  the rack generic business suit for maybe  £250 on sale. That’d have you looking at least passable, and it’ll probably last you two or three years.
Alternatively,  you  could  have  a  tailor  hand-make  you  a  bespoke  suit  from  high-quality materials for £1000. If it lasts a decade, and you wear it as often as  you would have that cheaper, less sharp-looking suit, you’ve broken even  on cost alone, and you’ve looked better the whole time.
That said, if you’re not using your custom clothing regularly, it’s going to take you  a  long,  long  time  you  hit  that  break-even  point.  That’s  an argument for  being careful what you buy, and than you necessarily need to in a lot of situations.
Go ahead and break the suit out from time to time even when you could have gotten  away  with  a  blazer  and  slacks.  Wear the custom dress shirt casually  untucked with some jeans. Put the wardrobe to use. Don’t make the mistake of  tucking  your  best  clothing  away  in  a  sealed bag for most of the year and  only dusting it off for the most important occasions.
Clothing  was  meant  to  be  worn.  If  your  tailor  did  his  job  right  (and  if you’re  cleaning the clothes and doing preventive maintenance as needed), your custom-made items should hold up to plenty of hard wear.
Put them on your body where you belong. Otherwise, the  money  you  spent  is  just  hanging  in  the  closet  unused.
This, incidentally, is another reason to only buy a few pieces at a time, and to stick to classic styles at the start  –  you  don’t  want  to  overload  your  wardrobe  with so many flashy new pieces that each one only gets worn a couple of times.
Start  out  with  a  couple  really  great,  really  versatile  pieces and put them through their paces hard. It’ll tell  you  a  lot  about  the  quality  of  your  tailor’s work,  and it’ll get you to that break-even point much more quickly.

Mistake #7: Forgetting to Upgrade Accessories | Men’s Clothing Style Guides

With a few oddball exceptions, no custom tailor will be providing your entire wardrobe.
Shirts,  suits,  jackets, trousers, and overcoats, yes. Those are the bread and  butter of your modern tailor (and, if we’re being honest, quite a few long-dead tailors, too – the job hasn’t changed all that much over the years).
You’ll  even  find  people  custom-making  things  like  jeans  and  tight-fitting  henley shirts, long-sleeved T-shirts, even plain old athletic tees, especially for  young,  fashion-conscious  consumers  with  lots  of money to spare (think  the movie and music industries).
But  for  the  most  part,  you’ll  only be wearing custom clothing for your “core”  items: your trousers and whatever sort of jacket you’re wearing, and maybe your  shirt.  That  means  the  rest  is  completely  up  to  your  discretion  –  and  that’s where a lot of people stumble.
Make  sure  you’re upgrading the rest of your wardrobe to look sharp if you’re  spending money on custom clothing. It doesn’t make sense to drop £1000 on a  suit  and  then  wear  it  with  a ratty pair of trainers (unless, of course, that’s  the look you’re going for, because there is a certain rock star appeal to a dark suit and colored canvas sneakers in the right setting).
Plan  on  pairing  custom  clothing,  for the most part, with good leather shoes  and belts, with long wool or cotton overcoats, and with accents like pocket squares and wristwatches. You need those finishing touches to complement the elegance of a perfect fit.

Conclusion: Spend Wisely, Spend Freely

For  the  first-timer,  custom  tailoring  can  seem  like  an  impenetrable  world  of  moneyed elites. But in reality, it’s a worthwhile and accessible investment for most people, rich or poor.
Choose  your first forays carefully. Shop around for a good tailor, and start with  one or two pieces along timeless, classic lines.
Have  a  clear  idea  what  you  want,  and  don’t  be  afraid to pay a decent chunk of  money once you find the man (or woman) who’s going to be able to produce it for you.
Be  bold  but  also  be  wise.  Remember  that  not  all  custom  clothing  is  good  clothing, and that even the best fit in the world won’t make you happy with a piece that doesn’t fit your personal style or your life needs.
Buy something that’s going to be one of the most-used pieces in your wardrobe, and then get out there and use it.
Because at the end of the day, that’s what custom tailored clothing is all about: giving you something you’ll use, over and over again, long past the point where a cheaper, off the rack option would have given out.

This is just the ​beginning of your style journey? Stay connected for the upcoming articles.

Please  note  that  much  of  this  publication  is  based  on  personal  experience  and anecdotal evidence.  
Although  the  author  and  publisher  have  made  every  reasonable  attempt  to  achieve complete accuracy of the content in this Guide, they assume no responsibility for errors or omissions.  
Also, you should use this information as you see fit, and at your own risk. 
Your  particular  situation  may  not  be  exactly  suited  to  the  examples  illustrated here; in fact, it’s likely that they won’t be the same, and you should adjust your use of the information and recommendations accordingly.
Finally,  use  your  head. Nothing in this Guide is intended to replace common  sense, legal, medical or other professional advice, and is meant to inform and entertain the reader.  
So have fun and learn to dress sharp! 

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