I always tell my clients that the distinguishing factors between off the rack and Made to Measure or Bespoke come down to three important elements: fit, fabric and construction. A made to measure suit is made for you and only you. Nobody else will ever own that garment. Fit is always the first thing that I notice when looking at a suit. Are the shoulders aligned properly, are the sleeves cut at your wrist bone or do they fall to your knuckles, are the pants breaking three times before they touch the tongue of your shoe or is there a single clean break before where the hem kisses the shoe.
Fabric is as important. I believe that your everyday suiting wardrobe should consist of Super 120’s to Super 130’s wool. These numbers correspond to the amount of times the wool thread is twisted. The more the yarn is twisted, the finer the fabric is and thus the more expensive. Now, even though higher numbers equate to finer wools, you don’t want your everyday business suit to be made out of Super 180’s because finer also means thinner and more prone to wear and tear. You should always have that one suit in your wardrobe that you pull out for special occasions, which should be made in finer wool.
The last is construction. A suit or jacket can be fused, half canvassed or full canvassed. Fusing is the most inexpensive way to make a suit. It involves pressing and glue, which holds the fabric and interlining together. A well-crafted jacket has a chest canvas that is hand-sewn between the front panel and the lapel facing. This form of tailoring is more expensive because it requires many more hours of labor and handwork but it also adds countless years to the garments lifetime.
Jeremy Wallace is the owner and founder of BeN by Jeremy Wallace, a custom clothier based in New York City. All of their garments are handmade with close attention to detail by Italian tailors in Montreal, Canada.