Buying a bespoke or made-to-measure suit can be a daunting experience – particularly if it’s the first time you’ve rejected off-the-peg options. The price of such a suit is perhaps several times more than a garment you’d buy on the high street, so it’s understandable to be nervous about the fitting and consultation processes. You want to be sure that you’re one hundred per cent happy with the finished result. Asking the right questions at suit fittings and consultations is likely to put your mind at rest and allow you to fully trust in the tailor’s expert skills. So, what should you ask at fittings and consultations?
Your first appointment with a tailor should be a consultation. Here you discuss your requirements, likes and dislikes, and the tailor explains your options and makes recommendations. The tailor will bring along sample fabrics for you to try, and photos of various different suit styles and design elements. The more information you are able to give your tailor, the better. This prevents any misunderstandings and leads to a quicker consultation. What questions should you ask during this stage?
- Will it be fully canvassed? Canvas holds the lining and outer fabric of the suit together and helps it keep its shape over time. Not all suits are fully canvassed, but the vast majority of made-to-measure suits will at least be partially canvassed.
- Is this the best material for the occasion? Double check that your tailor fully understands your needs. Ask your tailor to explain why the fabric or cloth would be suited to the occasion, and if there are any other options available to you.
- What would you recommend? If you aren’t sure which design choice is best for you, ask the tailor. They’ll take into account everything you’ve told them in the consultation so far, in addition to your manner, gait and build.
- What happens next? The bespoke tailoring process is lengthy. Some tailors will take longer than others to complete certain processes. Ensure that you have at least an approximate timeline of when your fittings will be, and when you can get hold of the finished product.
If you decide to go ahead with the suit following the consultation, you will then receive a fitting. Your measurements will be taken. Later fittings will involve you trying on the incomplete suit. The tailor will check the fit, make notes, and explain where adjustments are needed.
- What are signs of a good fit? Ask you tailor about the telltale signs of a good fit, so you know what you’re looking for and understand what the tailor means when he explains which areas need alteration.
- What still needs to be added? During early fittings, key parts of the suit will still be missing. If you’re struggling to visualise what the suit will look like when it’s finished, ask the tailor to run through what needs to be done before its completed.
- Can we still change this? If you aren’t happy with something – such as the sleeve length or trouser length – don’t be afraid to ask the tailor to change it. Tailors certainly prefer you to raise issues about the suit at this stage rather than complaining loudly once you receive the finished product!