Henry Herbert’s tailors have come up with the five “F’s” to consider when choosing a bespoke suit: function, fabric, fit, finance and fashion.
Consider what you will be using a bespoke suit for. Is it for everyday business formal use? Casual wear? Evening formal or black tie? Is it for a special event such as a wedding – and is it your own wedding or one you are attending as a guest? The modern day gentleman has a wealth of social events that he is required to attend, or perhaps we should say, desires to attend.
For evening formal events, we are often requested to make a bespoke dinner suit with matching dinner shirt and dinner trousers (also known as the tuxedo). For day formal events and weddings, we are often commissioned to make morning coats, with bespoke waistcoats and trousers to complement. For day to day wear, and business formal use, our most popular styles include the classic single breasted two or three button bespoke suit where customers will choose a variety of pocket styles depending on their preference. For casual wear, we are often asked to make a bespoke sports jacket – this can be in any variety of fabrics and can be matched with many trouser types including jeans and chinos.
Consider the seasons. Did you want a bespoke suit that can be worn year round? Or something specifically suited to the cooler months of autumn/winter or the warmer months of spring/summer. Or perhaps, there are not four seasons to contend with where you live – perhaps there is only consistent cold or consistent heat. If so, it will be essential to consider your choice of fabric for your bespoke suit carefully. Good choices for cold climates include wools of all kinds (from the daily hardworking Super 80s-100s, to the finer wools with Super numbers in the high 100s – 200s), tweeds, flannels (hardworking and hardwearing), and cashmere. Good choices for warmer climates include cottons, linens, seersucker, lighter weight wools and wool silk blends. For multi-purpose year round use, our customers report that you can’t beat a navy mid-weight wool suit.
An experienced tailor will be able to judge the most flattering fit and advise as to what the current trends may be. With that said each tailoring firm usually has something known as a “house style”. At Henry Herbert for example, as a contemporary tailor working to the highest standards and traditions of the of Savile Row, distinguishing features of its house style include an English cut with a slim silhouette, a strong and naturally rolled lapel (achieved through hand stitching), a natural roped shoulder proportionate to each customer, slim tailored trousers and robust but lightweight fully canvassed coats.
Many customers consider the bespoke suit an investment. However, initial cost is of course a consideration, as is return on your investment. There are many tailors to choose from, and some of them will likely have a price range that is suited to you, and some may be less suited! Many tailors work to the highest standards, cutting bespoke suits by hand, and offering “service as bespoke as the suit” (something that we believe in at Henry Herbert). Speak to or visit as many tailors as you like – it must ultimately be a relationship that is comfortable for you. Do note that VAT is charged and quoted separately with all bespoke tailors, and that the kind of cloth you choose will determine the final price.
Consider that a bespoke suit may last anywhere from half a decade to many decades, and will see anything from frequent to even daily wear. (In fact: if you turn out the inside pocket on all Henry Herbert suits, there will be written the owner’s name, and the date of the suit’s making). We were recently asked to conduct alterations on a suit whose “birth” date was in the 1960s, on behalf of a father who wished to pass his suit down to his son.
This is entirely up to you. With a bespoke suit, the wearer or customer is ultimately a designer. The beauty of bespoke is that you can follow a fashion if you wish, or choose a bespoke suit in a cut that surpasses any of the fleeting notions of what is fashionable at the moment, and moves more into the era of timeless style. At Henry Herbert, we always say there are no rules in bespoke suit tailoring, only preferences.
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