Difference between Bespoke, Made to Measure & Off the Rack!

If you have read our previous articles most likely you have come across these words- Bespoke, Made to Order and Off the rack. And for sure you have wondered, but what do they mean? What’s the difference?

It’s about an art form vs. factory efficiency.  It’s about something being hand-made and 100% unique vs another piece of clothing being uniform, mass produced, and economically affordable for even the poorest student. It is widely said that as a man moves up in the world and evolves his personal style, he climbs the ladder from suits that are off the rack to made-to-measure to bespoke.

In this article I’ll help you understand the main differences between these types of menswear and why knowing these details is important while buying a suit.

1. Off the Rack or Ready to Wear

The vast majority of clothing made and worn in the world fits within this category. Ready to wear clothing is factory made in finished condition and standardized sizes, and has a wide range in quality standards depending on manufacturer.  Of the three types, ready to wear has the least control.

2. Made To Measure

Menswear produced to order from an adjusted block pattern.  Usually a paper pattern is not built; rather pieces that match those needed are collected and assembled. It is differentiated from bespoke in that Men who choose to buy made to measure have some, but not complete control over the process.  The degree of control varies considerably – expect more control to cost more.  However, it is very possible to get a perfect fit – the same as in bespoke, from a made to measure garment.

3. Bespoke

The word bespoke itself is derived from the verb to bespeak or to “speak for something”.  Specifically it means “to give an order for it to be made. Bespoke suiting is the ultimate experience in menswear.

Bespoke clothing offers a man full control. Everything in bespoke suiting is made from scratch by hand for the first time to conform exactly to the wearer’s body. Specific measurements are taken from head to toe and in between by a master tailor. An individual pattern is then made from the measurements for the first time. This pattern will be the guide for all future suits. The options available in bespoke suiting are endless. Fabrics, cuts, details, colours, etc. are all requested by the wearer and/or suggested by the tailor. There are several fittings from the first measurements to the completion of the suit creating a superior fit.

The cost of a bespoke suit is only limited by the imagination of the wearer. It can cost anywhere from 3 to 5 times as much as an OTR suit. Aside from a superior fit, the experience of having a suit created specifically for you and made to your expectations that shows your personality and will be part of your wardrobe for years to come is worth the cost.

If Summer Is Here, Can Summer Suits Be Far Behind

Summers in India are completely different than the western countries where it is considered to be pleasant. Summers at times are unbearable where it is associated with heat waves and humidity, but that necessarily doesn’t mean that we stop dressing like a gentleman.  There are lot of situations and events that calls for a formal dressing, and it is a nightmare to think about the thick, double breasted suit. You will not only be sweltering and reeling under the heat also you will stick out like a sore thumb.

So what can Indian men do, give in to the heat? Well summer is definitely not an excuse to sport your ratty Metallica T-shirts and ripped denim shorts with floaters. Have a little class people!

Sometimes, all that’s needed is a bit of perspective and searching and voila you will have that perfect bespoke suit that will easily carry you through the summer. There are two important things to look for in a suit for the summer.

Firstly the suit should be ideally of lighter fabrics such as silk, tropical wool, linen, poplin or even good quality cotton. Such weaves helps air pass through the cloth and stops the suit from feeling like a walking heat trap.

Second most important factor in choosing the right suit for summers is colour, unless your job entails you going from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office and back again, you can get away with wearing dark suits straight through Dusshera. Light hue always reflects back heat and keeps you cool but that doesn’t mean you wear an all white suit which will only make you look like a wannabe Mithun Chakraborty. For the most part, white suits should be avoided. They tend to be impractical—because they get dirty so easily—and foppish, and sends the signal that you are as lightweight as the material.

There are other more everyday tips for suit wearers. Don’t treat the lunch hour like it’s a mini-holiday, keep out of the sun and stay in the shade. Wear shirts with a buttoned cuff, so there’s less fabric at the wrist and it’s easier to roll up the sleeves. Whenever possible, take off the jacket to try and keep cool.  And you will have the last laugh saying “Look at me! I have the discipline, good taste, and money to be able to laugh at the heat and look pretty damn good doing it, too.”

A bow tie says a man has a sense of humour!!

After years under the chins of the pocket-protector crowd, the bow tie is cool. It now appears on “Gossip Girl” characters, fashion runways and sports stars – as well as young urban metro sexual men. Forgotten by fashion for years, a bow tie today is both nostalgic and new.

Bow ties have remained one of the most classic and elegant piece of clothing since a long time. Like bitters in cocktails, bow ties are a particular taste that ebbs and flows, Bow ties are believed to have predated long ties. The real origin of the bow ties and wearing them with the formal suit dates back to 1700 era. It is perhaps the simplicity and elegance of bow ties that has made it so well renowned on all sorts of formal functions and parties.

Traditionally the bow tie is self tied, although many men nowadays prefer pre-tied bow ties. The classic bow tie is black in colour and is worn with a tuxedo jacket, and pleated tuxedo dress shirt. Not formal enough? Then the white bow tie will be your choice. White bow ties are rarely worn and usually reserved for so called “White Tie Affair”. The white bow tie is then matched with a tailcoat jacket, wing tip collar dress shirt, and a white vest instead of a cummerbund. White tie attire is usually associated with height political functions that most men will never get invited to.

Bow ties are not always for black tie events. In fact many professions are associated with wearing bow ties. The most common professions people think of are Professors, Architects and Designers. These bow ties are usually much more playful in colour and pattern. Stripes, checks and polka dots are quite common. Winston Churchill for example was known for wearing a polka dot bow tie. In Recent times David Beckham has been snapped in a bow tie with a vest but no jacket – formally informal. Increasingly, teens love them, too. Kevin Jonas, the eldest of the Jonas Brothers pop trio, wears bow ties with the top button of his casual shirt unbuttoned.

Most of all, wearing neck ties has become the most important style statement and fashion sense for men. Today, you will find men accessorizing their neck and adding this extra special piece of apparel to their dress for the royal look.