The way a suit looks and fits speaks volumes about the man who wears it. Tailoring a suit from off the rack is possible, but nothing fits, feels and makes you feel as good as a suit made only for your body. Although you might balk at the price of a high-end custom-tailored product, the effect on others -- in terms of their impression of your look and attention to detail -- carries the very real potential to pay itself back numerous times over.
An experienced tailor has seen -- and fitted you -- a thousand times before you ever walked through the door. His experience in fitting and matching appropriate fabrics to your body is worth the price and wait when compared to a basic, off-the-rack suit anyone can buy. He can and will ask you numerous questions about your work and play habits to ensure the finished product suits your lifestyle. An experienced tailor addresses color selections as well; certain colors work well in certain work environments and with certain skin tones, something that may not be apparent to you but is to the tailor, and is all part of getting exactly the right suit for your station and look. The overall experience is completely personalized, far different than buying a suit from a department store.
Tailored Off-the-Rack Suits
Off-the-rack suits are typically designed to fit a generic size, accommodating any man provided they fit roughly within those constraints. A tailored suit fits your physique in a way that a cookie cutter suit cannot. For example, a 48 long is a cut for a taller, bigger man, but that doesn't take into account important aspects such as differences in overall length or the need for waist suppression or even adjusting the shoulders so you don't look like a linebacker. One not terribly well-known fact is that 70 percent of individuals have one arm about 1/4 inch longer than the other. A tailor finds such anomalies on your body and fits your suit to deal with them and additional nonstandard characteristics. High-end retailers often feature in-house tailoring services, acknowledging the realities of the varying needs of men with multiple differentiating body types and features. Tailoring in these cases is often free or for a small additional fee -- well worth it if you care about how the suit looks when you're in it.
Although it is indeed possible to purchase a well-made -- and expensive -- mass-produced suit, it still won't be built specifically for you and won't offer the perfect fit a custom-made suit does. Although it's a common and acceptable practice to tailor relatively costly off-the-rack suits, those additional costs might make the overall price tag close to a suit that has been designed just for you, and the quality may just not be able to match that of a custom-made suit. A custom suit is cut to your shape from the outset; not modified to work as well as it can as when the item is tailored. In terms of build quality, mass-produced suits commonly feature fused -- or glued -- pieces as opposed to stitching, which looks and feels cheaper and typically doesn't last as long.
The additional confidence instilled by a perfectly fitted suit can be viewed as part of the value in getting it tailored or custom-made. The swagger you can have in a room full of other men with various degrees of ill-fitting garb might hold significant value to you, which can reflect in your demeanor. The cut of your suit -- depending on your audience -- can also help create a more positive first impression. Having a suit fitted just for you demonstrates you care about the details -- or you probably wouldn't have bothered to perfect the fit to begin with.