Made to Measure vs. Bespoke vs. Custom Made

February 16, 2010

Often times, words are misused to describe custom made suits. It never fails to make me flinch. Here is rundown of often misused terms:


It means a suit that has “been spoken for”. Bespoke is when one tailor creates a suit from scratch for one person. This usually takes multiple fittings as the pattern is drafted directly on the person. This art arises from Savile Row (UK) and is the most traditional way a suit is made.

Made to Measure

This is a completely different process than bespoke as it does not involve one on one tailors fitting you personally. Made to measure is based on pre-set patterns. The pre-set pattern is scaled up or down based on your measurements. This process is machine operated so mass orders are taken.

Main differences between each method:

  • full bespoke starts at $2000, made to measure usually starts at $800
  • nothing will fit you better than bespoke – everything is accounted for, made to measure is based on pre-set patterns and the cutting is automated, so it may still fit like an off the rack suit
  • bespoke is mostly hand sewn using high quality construction, made to measure is a machine made garment

Nowadays there is much overlap as technology, and globalization have evened the playing field so obtaining suits that are bespoke quality at a lower price is possible. Much to the dismay of Savile Row tailors who have lost much business to this new way of suiting.

Custom Made is a very forgiving term that can be used to describe anything that has been tweaked to fit you based on your measurements and style options. When this term is used, it can mean a variety of things or a combination of methods.

What is a Savillian suit?

Our process is based on the Savile Row tradition as third generation tailors who studied in Savile Row create the suits from scratch. It is a hand crafted garment made of high quality construction. It is not drafted directly on the intended person and multiple experienced hands pass over the garment in two countries. Therefore it is not bespoke, yet since it is handcrafted and individually made, it is not made to measure. We simply refer to our suits as custom made.



2 Responses to “Made to Measure vs. Bespoke vs. Custom Made”

  1. Norm Marks Says:

    Just a quick note. I am the third generation owner of a made to measure manufacturer of made to measure suits and uniforms.

    Here in Canada we have to manufacture our clothing to the clients exact specifications and measurements. We can do this with a slip-on or in the case of a uniform a straight finish.
    The fit of a suit depends on thing comunication. The client must comunicate with the person measuring what they like and how they wear their cloths and this person must relate this to the person cutting the suit.

    I have made over 8,000 people including both men and women made to measure suits and uniforms and I can tell you this it doesn’t matter what you call it if it does not fit you can call it garbage

    Norm Marks
    Marks Men’s Wear
    established 1910

    • savillian Says:

      Hi Norm,
      Thank you for your comment – it is an honour to have you read this blog.

      The point of this post was to point out the difference between bespoke and made to measure. They are two different things and are often confused. I do stand by my point that fit is better in bespoke than made to measure – but that doesn’t mean that made to measure will not fit.

      I do not doubt the fit of your suits or uniforms. Thanks again for your comment and all the best to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s