Bespoke vs Made To Measure & Ready To Wear – Suits, Shirts, Shoes Explained

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In
today’s video, I discuss the differences between ready to wear, off the rack, made to order,
made to measure, and bespoke. Are you confused yet? There are so many terms in classic men’s clothing
and most men get confused so let’s start with ready to wear and off the rack. Ready to wear is a garment that you can buy
in a shop, it just hangs there, and you could buy it as it is. It’s intended to be worn
immediately and hence, also called off the rack or ready to wear. A huge advantage of
ready to wear clothing is that what you see is what you get. It hangs there, you can touch
it, you can feel it, you can see it, try it on, and you know exactly what you get. Sometimes,
ready to wear is abbreviated to RTW and off the rack to OTR, so keep that in mind. It’s
all the same thing. When you’re at the store, you should always
try it on simply to see if it needs minor alterations such as in the waist or if it
has something that can be very difficult to alter such as shoulders that are too wide.
You also don’t have to wait, you just buy it, get home, wear it and enjoy it. It’s certainly
the easiest way to shop. On the flipside, it will never fit you perfectly
even if it’s altered afterwards. Most are designed as mass market garments. At least
for garments, you can make alterations. You buy a pair of shoes; you can’t. Another disadvantage
of ready to wear clothing is that you usually don’t find special things such as special
fabrics, like Solaro, fresco, or Donegal tweed. Since it is made on a standard pattern, it’s
only good for people with a very symmetrical body. Bare in mind, no human being has a truly
symmetrical body. Personally, my right shoulder is much lower than my left one and so every
ready to wear garment I have will have to be altered or just looks wrinkled in the back.
Personally, I’ve never seen a ready to wear, off the rack garment that fit perfectly a
100% even after alterations. Some people think it does, but usually, what it means, they’re
just not educated enough to see the flaws of the garment. That being said, heavier,
thicker fabrics such as tweed, drape much better and much better for ready to wear than
a thin fabric. Apart from tweed garments or thick fabrics, one garment that’s really great
to buy ready to wear is the vest and the waistcoat. It doesn’t have any sleeve length that needs
to be altered, and you only need a chest measurement because the waist can also be adapted to your
size. Next up, let’s discuss made to order, also
known as MTO. Made to order is basically a ready to wear garment that introduces customization
options. It’s very popular for shoes, not so much for garments. What that means is that
you pick a standard last, and you decide what leather you want, what colors, and what sole
you want. For more high-end providers, they even offer you an option to adapt your last
and customize the fit, but that’s the exception to the rule. The advantage is, you know exactly
what you get in terms of fit and you get the exact color, shape and style you want. The disadvantage is that you pay a higher
price, you have to wait longer because it has to be made for you yet, you don’t really
get a better fit than an off the rack pair of shoes. Next up is made to measure also known as MTM.
This term is now used for anything under the sun that includes some form of measurement.
In its pure form, made to measure is a step up from ready to wear. Basically, you take
a standard pattern, take the person’s measurements, and you adopt that pattern to those measurements.
Many people confuse made to measure with bespoke but bespoke is more than made to measure and
later, I’ll explain why. Made to measure is very popular with garments,
not shoes, and most of the time when someone tells you it’s a custom garment, it likely
is made to measure. Works particularly well if your body is not very asymmetrical and
you don’t have many major issues because it’s simply ana adaptation of the standard pattern,
so the fit will rarely be a 100% but you have all the customization options that you can
possibly think of. The shape of your lapels, the fabric, the interlining, the buttons,
everything you want to choose, you can. The advantage of a made to measure suit or garment
is that it’s less expensive than a bespoke garment, it’s usually more expensive than
off the rack because it includes customization but at the same time, you can really choose
and get something that you want with an improved fit. The problem of made to measure is that there
are so many different providers and programs really vary in quality. Sometimes you get
a made to measure suit that looks great when you stand, but as soon as you move, you’re
limited because it just isn’t a well-designed pattern. You can also spend anything from
$300 – $3000 for made to measure and obviously, there is a difference in the amount of hand-sewing
and the quality that goes into the garment, the fabrics, and the trimming. Whenever you
see an online custom suit, it’s likely a made to measure suit. Results really vary depending
on the company, measurements that were taken and the pictures you can provide. So be cautious
and don’t expect perfection. Overall, made to measure is great for people who want to
customize garments, the fabric of their choice, they’re easy to fit and don’t want to spend
thousands of dollars in a garment. Next, let’s discuss bespoke. The term bespoke
is derived from the word bespeak which means, to speak for something. It’s a very British
term and just describes a customized process where one individual can really decide exactly
what they want. One garment, pair of shoes, or anything else in terms of clothing made
exclusively for them. The big difference to made to measure is that a pattern is created
from scratch, usually involves more handwork and there are no options. You can basically
choose any detail you want, any shape or form whereas, made to measure usually means you
pick from a catalog. Unfortunately, bespoke is not a protected
term and people use it for all kinds of things. Sometimes, even for ready to wear, made to
order and made to measure. On Savile Row, bespoke means that it has to be cut by an
individual on the premises and at least 50 hours need to go into it. But, that’s just
limited to Savile Row. For shoes, it means that a
last will be created for you, and it’s one
of a kind because your feet are different, they’re never a 100% the same and you can
choose the styling, the leather, and any detail you want. As you can see, wearing a bespoke
garment requires knowledge on your behalf because a tailor can ask you “How would you
like your shoulders?”, “How should it be done?”, And you can be easily overwhelmed once you
don’t know what you want. Of course, a good tailor can also guide you but at the end of
the day, you shouldn’t order a bespoke if you don’t have a basic understanding of what
it is that you seek. The big advantage of bespoke is the superb fit and limitless options.
A disadvantage is it’s usually the most expensive, it takes the longest, and it has fittings,
so it takes more time. Now, in theory, bespoke garment should always fit perfectly. Unfortunately,
in reality, that’s not always the case. When you start out, your first bespoke suit is
probably never going to be the best when it comes to fit. However, subsequent ones should
be, and the fit should improve with every suit. However, since it’s a hand-made garment,
no suit will ever be exactly alike. Larger houses like Brioni oftentimes can reproduce
garment in a better way because they have individual people just work on the pants,
just on the jacket, just on the sleeve. An individual tailor will always have variation
and that;s just the beauty of a hand-made garment. Now that you know the differences between
ready to wear, off the rack, made to order, made to measure, and bespoke, stay tuned for
another video where I discuss custom made, hand made, and all the other confusing terms
that are out there. So what do you prefer? Let me know in the comments and make sure
you like this video and sign up to our email newsletter, here.


  • do you have a guide on watches?

  • Thanks for clarifying that because I have always thought made to measure was bespoke.

  • ??

  • Great stuff man!

  • Very informative. Thank you, sir!

  • Do you have truly bespoke suits?

  • I prefer MTM, what do you think about OliverWicks? I am just about to order a suit from them.

  • Great video! I have the same issue that You have. One of my shoulders is slightly lower than the other. Fortunately, I happened to meet a great tailor in my city.

  • waiting for more)

  • Until I can afford bespoke suits from Napoli or Savile Row, I get by on off the rack suits with several alterations to improve their fit. It's become harder to find satisfying options though, since I am gaining a growing appreciation of quality fabrics and like my suits with as little lining as possible.

  • Hey Raphael,
    Do you have any experience with: Tailor4less? If so, what do you think about them?

  • Hey Raphael,
    Do you have any experience with: Tailor4less? If so, what do you think about them?

  • good to know im not the only one with asymetrical shoulder or body. so now i know what mtm is

  • Amazing video sir, waiting for a video on monk straps types and history 😀

  • Very informative. thanks

  • At last you've got a suit that fits you fairly well.

  • I recently decided to buy a MTM suit because of my athletic body with a small waist and broad shoulders. They had huge problems taking measures to avoid wrinkles and as a result it even got too wide in the shoulder area, so I look like some kind of block. As this was my first suit I was very unhappy about it and don't know if the only solution will be a bespoke one or if I should try another tailor.

  • Since you say a bespoke suit requires quite a bit of knowledge on the customer's part, what do you think is the best way to acquire such knowledge? Do you suggest to slowly build it up as you go along and invest in a MTM suit first as to know better what you want in the future? So far, my suits (I only have two) have only been of the RTW category, mostly because I'm a student with limited budgets. However, in the future I might save up to purchase a suit that will last me a lifetime and in the meantime fits pretty close to perfect. I just started to watch your video's by the way and they're really helpful!

  • What's your opinion on MTM sites such as Suitopia?

  • you said bespoke has to have at least 50 hours of work on it… what about these bespoke tailors in bangkok that do them in 24 hours or this rajawongse or raja that I have heard Centeno mentioned on his videos a few times (also from bangkok)?

  • #Mandeep Baweja Hey Raphael,
    Do you have any experience with: Tailor4less? If so, what do you think about them? @Sonny Jacob Lee

  • #Mandeep Baweja It depends on your body shape @Paul Schimmel

  • love the setup @ 2:35 looking boss

  • In INDIA there are so many tailors who were established in early 20th century…..who know the ART of making full canvas suits at VERY LOW PRICES …..they have skills…but…the only thing in which they lack is EDUCATION….they are unaware of the fact that they could charge much more In exchange of there skill and expertise…… u know a full canvas 2 piece suit will cost you around $100 – $350 and more only if the quality of fabric is higher… I know that its not true bespoke but still it is better than made to measure……they charge only $50 as a fee and give amazing Fitting….and I have seen tailors of other country having the same skills and expertise and charging thousands of dollars for it….

  • I just told some family members of the beauty of bespoke suiting, the quality, details and possibilities for alterations, and they basically laughed at me. They thought styles would constantly change, questioned the quality of fabrics, saying any suit would wear out after less than a decade, completely disregarded the perfect fit and superior comfort (from having high armcyes and such) and basically called it a waste of money. I feel like their ignorance and preconceived notions are an insult to the history and craftmanship of menswear, but who am I to try and change their mind…

  • Ive seen different types of shawl lapels on different tuxedos. Can you choose the type of shawl lapel when getting a MTM tuxedo?

  • What's the point of MTM if it requires tailoring after the fact? Is tailoring usually included in the MTM price?

  • I also have a shoulder that's lower–also my right. I got my first suit from Men's Warehouse and the experience was pretty good, but that was before I started watching your videos and others like them. Would you say Men's Warehouse is more if an OTR or MTM store? My jacket and pants were taken off the rack and tailored in-house.

  • The thing about a bespoke suit is that not only do you get a lifetime classic piece of clothing out of the end, you get the experience and the advice from it. Every year for my birthday, for the last few years anyway, I have treated myself to a bespoke suit – the whole process, soup to nuts, is immersive and you really learn a lot about yourself, your sense of style and how you want to carry yourself in the world from the process. It's a living example of how clothes can maketh the man.

  • Bespoke is my absolute favorite, but I haven't gotten to experience it quite yet.

  • How can one really improve ones chances to have a great suit from an online made to order (i.e Suit Supply and Articles of Style)?

  • It’s sad after I got ripped and buff my suit is hard to fit in.

  • Hi Raphael, can you recommend an online MTM shop?

  • Good tailor is the key, can adapt RTW to MTM. Be prepared to pay for it, worth every penny

  • I am looking for a navy suit, for war

  • Hi Sven I really enjoyed your program. Would you mind have a seesion on fabrics please? Would like to know about Dormeuil, Loro piana, VBC etc. Thanks.

  • There's a site from italy which sells made to measure garments and it's more expensive than bespoke tailor shops in Greece.

  • Great info, bad videography

  • You should come to New Delhi India and try Vaish at Rivoli master tailors..u will forget saville row..bespoke suit with 1st fitting of twal i.e. full suit made of cheaper fabric ment to be discarded..dont think anyone in saville row does this now..and at fraction of the prices

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