I'm all grown up now, and I need to dress like a man
September 26, 2006 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Lemme axe you a question about custom made suits . . .

Do you have any experience ordering one online? Good or not? Where did you go? The advantages of getting one done in person are obvious. But other than not having a complete stranger check your inseam, what are the benefits to getting a suit on the web?
posted by Kibbutz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How in God's name can you get a custom suit on the web? It can only be terrible. The idea of paying money for a custom suit is to have it specifically tailored to your body. I don't see how that can be done effectively without an actual tailor. If it requires that you go to a tailor and then email the measurements in, than what's the point of buying it on the web anyway?
posted by spicynuts at 8:58 PM on September 26, 2006

I am with spicynuts. If there is one business that does not translate to the web, it is custom tailored clothing. I cannot think of a more difficult thing to do over the web than that (I am sure with some time I can come up with others if you wish).

WHo si doing the measuring and how? WHat about the first fitting? Who is doing that and how?

Good luck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2006

posted by luriete at 9:29 PM on September 26, 2006

The benefits to getting a suit on the web?
It might be cheaper than getting one made by your local tailor; or there might not be a local tailor in your area and the web is your only option (though if this was the case, you're probably better-off getting an off-the-rack, name-brand suit where you have some idea of the quality of the garment). You might have an aversion to making the sort of close physical contact that's required to get a "proper" bespoke garment made up (again, though, I'd buy ready-made rather than tailor-made off the web).

Outside of those (and others very similar to those), I can't think of any benefits at all.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:59 PM on September 26, 2006

i) If you have your measurements done by a tailor, then you can do online. But if not, then you'll be up shit creek.

ii) Go to bangkok or HK or singapore.

iii) These guys do city tours of the US and UK and have suits handmade in HK based on measurements.

I was very satisfied with mine - wool worstead 120 + 2 shirts for ca US$500. The trousers came with an imperfection (slight discoloring behind the knee) - so I sent them back and 3 weeks later new, perfect trousers came in the mail.
posted by lalochezia at 10:16 PM on September 26, 2006

I wish to emphasize that measurements done by a tailor in person, then you could send those measurements to an online service.
posted by lalochezia at 10:17 PM on September 26, 2006

If you are going to get a suit via web, i would suggest getting a ready-made suit. go to your local department store, try on a few brands, and get a feel for how the fits of various brands suit you. pick one, order it online on the cheap, and get the small alterations (sleeves, pants) at any local (possibly incompetent) tailor. He can't mess up those kind of alterations.

I find this is preferable to custom suits. Also, brands have cache with the chicks. Unless you have really wonky body proportions that go beyond short arms and legs, this is the way to go.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 10:17 PM on September 26, 2006

there was an article about this about a month ago in the wall street journal. they also tested -in a separate article- custom tailored shirts that they measured themselves and ordered off the web. the article would give you a decent idea of what you could expect in terms of service in this field.

wsj.com hides articles behind a paywall but I personally find it well worth the money. it's a better paper than many think.

(fargo: I do not own the wsj)
posted by krautland at 10:43 PM on September 26, 2006

whaddayaknow, here's one of the articles I mentioned:

Home & Family -- Cranky Consumer: Trying On Shirts Tailored Online
posted by krautland at 10:47 PM on September 26, 2006

The best part about getting a suit from a tailor in person is that they're not only measuring you, they're looking at how your body is shaped - what posture do you stand and sit with? How do you bend when you walk? Doing it online, you lose this.

I have, however, had luck with a "traveling tailor". Basically, the guy comes to the US and travels around to take measurements; he does the work in HK or India or something, then mails you the results. Note that you still have the advantage of having been seen in person. You can either do a followup fitting the next time he's in the area, or take it to a local tailor for alterations (I went to my local dry cleaner for this) and send him the bill.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:37 PM on September 26, 2006

I had some shirts custom made for me in Thailand. They turned out to be wonderful, perfect length sleeves, well fitting across my shoulders, perfect on the neck. I can't imagine how you could have this done accurately online.

They did try to tell me that synthetic material was silk though, so be wary of that. The nice thing is that once they have the measurements you can get more done just right for you.
posted by tomble at 11:41 PM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'll just say it because everyone was thinking it... why would you go out of your way to spell "ask" as "axe" when they're both three characters? Was it supposed to be a slick racial joke? It really came off like that to me.


I would second making an int'l trip sometime and getting a slew of them done. There's a shop in the markets outside Tiannanmen that will do an 80% kashmir suite for $40 in one week. I'm sure it's like that in a lot of developing countries closer to home.
posted by trinarian at 1:07 AM on September 27, 2006

Ask the same question (or better yet, read what's already been discussed) here and in the Men's Clothing forum here. Both places are full of sartorial bargain-hunters that really know what they're talking about, and one thing they talk about often is sourcing made-to-measure clothes online.

The folks on the forums probably tend to do more made-to-measure shirts than suits online, because shirts are less expensive if there's a screwup (or if your order simply goes missing, which is always a possibility). The most popular shirtmaker is Ricky at Jantzen in Hong Kong, and for suits I often see mentions of Baron Boutique in Nepal. Some of the forum members have dozens of Jantzen shirts.

And note that these aren't bespoke -- you won't find bespoke suits online, just made-to-measure. And you'll still need to take them to a good alterations tailor locally to get the fit just right. (You also won't find bespoke suits on your trip to Thailand or from a visiting Hong Kong tailor -- their turnaround times are simply too fast to be starting from scratch, so you know they're just using an appropriate pre-existing pattern modified to fit your measurements.)

Finally, I wouldn't recommend this for your first suit (or even a first shirt, for that matter). You really want to have some idea of what you want and what works well on you prior to engaging these guys, or else you won't know how to have the conversations with them that you need to have to get a suit that fits you well. It's not uncommon for people to send Ricky a shirt they like, not to copy, but just so he has some idea of what kind of shape they already prefer. If you have to, get a fused suit stateside to get a feel for what you want, and then use online tailors to make your next suit half- or fully-canvassed.

And regardless of whether you go or wait, don't do your own measurements or have your girlfriend/wife do them. Go to a tailor and pay them to measure you. The #1 problem I read about on the forums about Ricky's shirts is mismeasurement (although his habit of working at lightning speed for a while and then all but disappearing is popular too).
posted by mendel at 6:36 AM on September 27, 2006

I'll just say it because everyone was thinking it... why would you go out of your way to spell "ask" as "axe" when they're both three characters?
Actually, trinarian, I think it's so much a part of the popular lexicon now that it's quite possible to not to think of it racially... anyway, what if the writer had spelled it "ax"?
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:12 AM on September 27, 2006

I'll just say it because everyone was thinking it... why would you go out of your way to spell "ask" as "axe" when they're both three characters?

I just assumed he's from New Orleans.
posted by pyjammy at 8:29 AM on September 27, 2006

Trinarian, I'll just say it because everyone was thinking it ... why would you go out of your way to spell "80% cashmere suit" as "80% kashmir suite"?
/joke derail

Anyways, isn't it a Futurama reference? In the Futurama future that bit of ebonics has become part of the lexicon. Maybe it's happening. I think it but never say it.
/derail derail
posted by Flashman at 8:57 AM on September 27, 2006

But other than not having a complete stranger check your inseam

What is wrong with you?
posted by xmutex at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2006

i used baron boutique for a full suit last spring. it came out great, i did need to get a slight alteration on the fit of the pants (partly my fault because i felt it better to ask for it slightly looser fitting than i wanted and have it altered than get it made too small). it took literally a week for the suit to get here from when i sent in my order.

i fully recomend them and plan to get more suits from them in the future.

as to the reason for doing it, i was able to get a straight knock off of a $1500 designer suit for under $300 including shipping, and it came out pretty perfect when compared to the original which i had tried on and wanted but certianly couldn't afford.
posted by teishu at 9:45 AM on September 27, 2006

partly my fault because i felt it better to ask for it slightly looser fitting than i wanted and have it altered than get it made too small

For the record, and because I see this more often than I'd expect: Suits, and thus also dress pants, are designed to be altered in both directions -- let out or taken in.
posted by mendel at 1:44 PM on September 27, 2006

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