Custom suit - for a woman
October 18, 2011 12:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about having a suit custom-made. I have read the AskMe archives (and the English Cut website) on custom-made clothes, but most of them refer to men's suits. What should I look for (and ask for) in a woman's suit?

I have found a tailor I really like, and his alteration work has been top-notch so far. He is quoting me $700 for a two-piece suit (either skirt or pants) in a 130 weight Italian wool. Does that sound accurate for Melbourne, Australia?

What are some details I should insist on? Where can I find inspiration for jackets that will look good on me? I mostly wear skirts, but I'm wondering if I should also have a pair of pants made in the same fabric.

I'd love to hear about your experience in getting a woman's suit made, or even shopping for one!
posted by OLechat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I knew someone who paid good money to get a suit made. He later found out they outsourced the work to peru, and they f'd it up for his big event. So just know who plans to touch your suit before you get it.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:03 AM on October 18, 2011

Best answer: Pockets! Don't forget to get pockets. For some reason, suitmakers seem to assume that us ladies don't need functional pockets, but for goodness SAKE, where are we supposed to put our shiny things?
posted by greenish at 1:35 AM on October 18, 2011

Definitely get the trousers, too, if you will wear them.

Presumably you own some suit jackets? Put on your favourite jacket and work out what you like about it. Likewise the least favourite. Look for a few similar styles to your favourite and talk to the tailor about your likes and dislikes. They should be able to help you settle on a style and cut that works well for you.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:02 AM on October 18, 2011

When I got suits made, each one was a jacket plus either two pairs of paints or a skirt and a pair of pants. But that was in Bangkok.

Buttons! I discovered that I look stunning in 2-button suit jackets - they highlight my waist perfectly. More buttons, and I look as square as a man. Fewer, and it looks like it's pulling even when it's not. These are the sorts of details you'll want to think about. Your tailor should have samples of different styles for you to try on and think about.

Test sitting down in them before okaying completion of the pants.

Consider taking a nice trip to Thailand instead - I got two suits, with two pairs of pants each, for about $500. (Yes, you pay more for the trip, but it's a really fantastic vacation!) They look stunning on me. And now that the dude there knows my size, I can order more from home any time.
posted by Eshkol at 6:26 AM on October 18, 2011

Best answer: Seconding getting trousers. Better to get them in matching fabric now than to try to match a different dye lot later.

I bought a suit when I graduated from university years ago just the other day, and I tried on dozens and dozens at every price point until I found one that fit and I could afford. You could do the same and take photos of the ones you like best, or the details of the ones you like best.

I personally would want to know that the tailor had done a women's suit before, because it seems to me that the tailoring would be quite different. This is totally anecdotal, but when I bought my suit, I also looked into getting custom-made shirts because there was a place near me that made shirts to measure; you could pick from a menu of cuffs, collars, fabrics, etc and they were really affordable. Except they pretty much straight-up refused to do a shirt for me because they said the shape and cut for a women's shirt is entirely a different thing.

I'm sure you probably googled the same as I did and found this, but the thing about the jackets having 8 panels instead of 4-6 is interesting.

I would insist on a really rich, beautiful, colourful lining, nice buttons, and pockets for sure.
posted by looli at 6:37 AM on October 18, 2011

Oh, one other thing that I hope isn't too obvious: pick a classic shape rather than one that has temporarily stylish detailing. The pants of my post-grad suit would look way out of style now (if it still fit).
posted by looli at 6:39 AM on October 18, 2011

Best answer: You might find useful info at Tailoring for Women (blog by a woman who is a tailor).
posted by platypus of the universe at 2:20 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might be interested in this NYT article about a woman having a suit made in Hong Kong. Has a ton of details, including phrases like "hair canvas interfacing" and "six-gore skirt" which might be worth looking into.
posted by junques at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2011

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