10 Distinguishing Qualities of a Tailored Suit

29 June 2018

Mens Tailored Clothing


It’s pretty obvious that by opting for a bespoke or made to measure suit, you are going to end up with something individual; made in the exact fabric and style you desire.  But what else are the benefits of going tailor-made? What really sets it apart from an off-the-peg option?
 
Here’s a list of 10 distinguishing qualities that you can expect from a tailored suit.


#1: Fabric Quality

Fabric is a key quality that most usually distinguishes a tailored suit from one that is off-the-peg. Made to measure and bespoke suits are only made from the finest natural fabrics, typically wool for the outer layer and silk or a good quality viscose twill for the lining whilst cheaper, ready-to-wear suits are usually made from cheaper synthetic fabrics that don’t have the same lustre and feel.
 
Luxury fabric


#2: Lining

Another mark of distinction of a tailor-made suit is that the entire garment will be lined. So in addition to the interior jacket lining you should expect to see high quality lining in the pockets and in the trousers, around the crotch area and into the seat.
 

#3: Superb Shoulders

If there’s one factor that really screams ‘this is a tailor-made suit’ it’s the fit achieved across the shoulders.
 
Individuals rarely conform to standard sizing and as a result, with off-the-peg jackets, you often see people wearing garments that are either too tight across the shoulder or too big.
 
With a tailored jacket you can expect to find an excellent fit. The shoulder seam should extend to the end of the shoulder, meaning that the suit will lie perfectly flat across this part of the body and won’t look baggy or pinched. Your tailor will also be able to incorporate any common physical configurations such as a drop shoulder into the sizing to ensure the perfect fit.

 

#4: Lovely lapels & Chest Area

Another distinguishing quality of a tailored suit is the fit achieved around the lapel and chest area. This is most commonly identified when a jacket button is fastened. If you see a distinctive ‘X’ shape and the lapels bulge outwards, this is a sure sign that a suit’s not fitted well and isn’t tailor-made. No creases should form when you do up one button on your suit jacket and the garment should sit flat against your form.
 
Another distinguishing quality of a tailored suit in the lapel area is that the lapels will roll gently, not be pressed into sharp folds.

 


#5: Smooth Collar

As with the shoulder and lapel areas, you can expect to notice and achieve a much better fit around the collar with a bespoke or made to measure suit. You should find a smooth collar with no folds or bunches and no gap between the collar and the neck which is likely to be supported by a felt lining to hold the shape.
 
If you lift the collar on a bespoke suit you will also be able to see that it is hand sewn to the garment which is a key sign of quality.  The stitches, whilst tiny and immaculate will be slightly irregular compared with machine sewn suits where the stitching will be very uniform or perhaps triangular.

 

#6: Rounded Corners

Obvious to only the most sartorially knowledgeable individuals, rounded corners at the hem, sleeve and lapel are a real mark of distinction between tailored and off-the-peg jackets.  For centuries tailors have taken great care to round the corners of their jackets to prevent premature wear and this has typically been a huge giveaway as to the quality of a suit.  Some ready-to-wear manufacturers do now also round the tips of jacket lapels but don’t tend to do it to the sleeves and jacket hems as tailors do.
 

 

#7: Canvassing

Speak to any tailor and he’ll mention that one of the key benefits of a tailor-made
suit is that the jacket will be canvassed. But what is so good about that?
 
A canvas layer in a suit jacket essentially acts as a middle structural layer between the outer jacket fabric and the lining. It is a classic sign of a well-made, quality suit and makes a real difference to the fit you achieve. Canvassed jackets last much longer than totally fused, off-the-peg garments and the fit improves over time as the canvas conforms to your body shape.
 
In regular, ready-to-wear jackets, there is no canvassing and the outer fabric and inner linings are simply glued together. Bespoke suits are usually fully canvassed whilst made to measure suits are half canvassed. 
 
To check if your suit is canvassed, gently pinch the fabric between the buttonholes. If you feel three layers, it’s canvassed.

 

#8: Pick-Stitching

Pick stitching is a classic feature of a tailor-made jacket. It is a small stitch that runs along the edge of the suit, around the lapel, pocket flaps and breast pocket. In bespoke clothing, pick stitching is done by hand and is a real indicator of a high quality suit.
 


#9 Buttonholes

Handmade buttonholes are found on all bespoke and many made to measure suits. Beautifully and finely stitched, this is one distinguishing feature that is easy to see. To identify, look at the reverse side.  If handmade, the stitching will be slightly irregular when compared with the front side. On ready-to-wear suits, machine made button holes are very regular and the stitching won’t be as fine. Handmade button holes are much harder wearing than machine made ones which also tend to fray more easily.
 


#10: Buttons

Forget cheap, identical plastic buttons, on a tailor made suit you will find only the highest quality buttons.  Usually made from horn, mother of pearl, precious metals or covered in fabric, buttons really distinguish bespoke and made to measure suits from their mass produced counterparts.
 
Luxury fabric and buttons

If you’d like to learn more about our tailoring service or to kick off the process and become the proud owner of your very own tailor-made suit, book an appointment with us online today or call 0113 2008775 or 0207 701 0595.
 
Written by your team of experts at Hemingway Tailors
Written by your team of experts at Hemingway Tailors
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