The end of April and the beginning of May are dedicated to custom clothing! Both our Sartoria Castangia trunk show (April 21-22) and our Coppley Custom event (May 1-6) give guys the opportunity to have a one-of-a-kind sartorial creation made for them…but what sort of questions need to be asked going into this process? Our MTM specialist Kent Rogers wrote this article for the uninitiated – check it out, and then come in and check out the incredible selection of options.
Custom clothing has rapidly grown from a rarified luxury available to a select few, to an affordable and easily accessible option. In today’s market, Made-to-Measure (or MTM) typically costs about the same as an off-the-rack garment of the same quality – usually no more than 10-15% more. Actually purchasing a custom garment, however, is a very different experience than buying a new pair of jeans or shoes. If you’ve never purchased this kind of clothing before, the dizzying range of options probably feel a little intimidating. Come armed with questions about your garment, and there’s a significantly better chance you will love the results.
1. What kind of construction is this? Is the suit full canvas? Half canvas? Fusible interfacing? All of Butch Blum’s custom garments feature full canvas or half canvas construction; canvassed garments have an interior structure that gives the suit shape, while ‘fused’ construction relies on adhesives. The ‘fused’ garments are much less expensive and look similar when new, but are stiffer and after several cleanings can come apart and create air bubbles underneath the fabric.
2. What kind of fit is best for you? With custom clothing, you can get whatever kind of fit you want – and there are no wrong answers. If you prefer a garment with a soft, easy fit, or if you want an ultra-sharp slim fit, tell your tailor or sales associate in advance. Our experts will always be able to make the finished product look appropriate for you, regardless of your taste – and be able to put multiple garments on you for fit comparison.
3. What do I need this garment for? Do you have a casual life, with the occasional need for something a little dressy? Do you dress to the nines every day, and want something a little different from your usual? Your garment should fit your lifestyle. If you’re a casual guy, you may choose a softer construction with a slimmer fit – something that feels more like sportswear, with a jacket and pant that function well as separates. If you’re dressy, you might choose to snazz it up a little bit and have a vest made, or choose a stylish peak lapel over a traditional notch.
4. How often can I wear this garment?If you’re in love with a gorgeous Super 150’s wool/cashmere blend, great – it’s probably a fabulous fabric…but it’s not a very practical choice for daily wear. Some materials are super luxe, but aren’t designed to withstand frequent use. If this is the only suit in your wardrobe and you need to wear it fairly often, you’re going to need a gabardine or worsted broadcloth that can take a beating.
5. What time of year is this going to be most comfortable? If you live in Seattle like we do, you get a pretty mixed bag of temperatures. 20 degree temperature shifts aren’t uncommon at all, and the temperature inside the office is likely to be very different from the temperature outside. Consider the environment you spend the most time in, and pick a fabric weight and weave that works for it. Don’t forget to factor in whether you run hot, whether you’ll wear your garment with a sweater or vest, and what kind of outerwear you own.
With the right attitude and the right knowledge, having your clothes made for you can be a fun, memorable experience – an extremely practical luxury. Make your next tailored clothing purchase a custom one, and find out for yourself!