Good Experience, Confusing Naming
I got a Love/Hate relationship with Suitsupply. Their products are pretty good value for your money but I can’t look at them the same way after working there. Nonetheless after testing both RTW and Made to Measure from Suitsupply I had the chance to check out their Custom Made Program.
It was not really by choice since I wanted a specific suit that disappeared from the website not so long ago. However the price of the Custom Made was actually cheaper than the Ready-To-Wear plus alterations making it a good deal.
Today I will Review the Suitsupply Custom Made Program in full. This includes not only the suit I received but also walk you through the entire process. Shall we?
Previous Suitsupply Articles
Unless you live under a rock or don’t wear suits at all, Suitsupply is a very familiar name. A Dutch company nearing 20 years of experience and rapidly expanding globally with over 130 Stores. They offer an extensive selection of RTW Suits, Jackets and Trousers as well as shoes, knitwear, outerwear and accessories. You can find them all here but these are the major ones:
- Suitsupply Made to Measure Review Part 1 and Part 2
- Suitsupply Made to Measure Trousers Review
- Cashmere Overcoat Review
- Pinstripe RTW Suit
- Emerald Green Flannel Suit Review
- Houndstooth 3-Piece RTW
- Suitsupply Fits Guide
These cover most of the offerings they have but there is much more coming that we will explore in the following weeks.
Three Types Of Customization
Suitsupply’s weakest points at this moment in time are the lack of consistency in pricing around the world and the naming of different services. There are 4 different ways to shop a Suit (or Blazer & Pants): Ready-To-Wear, Custom Made (Online), Custom Made and Custom Made Plus (also known as Custom Made from Scratch or Made to Measure). Confused? You should be! Don’t worry I am here to explain everything as we check each one of them individually.
Suitsupply Ready-To Wear
Very self-explanatory, Ready-To-Wear (commonly referred to as RTW or Off-The-Rack) is any suit you find in the shop or online. You simply browse the available suits, pick the size you like and voila. If you buy it in-store you have the option for in-house alterations which can skyrocket the price sometimes. The good news is that if you can get a decent fit you are ready to go in 2-3 business days.
Suitsupply has a very good variety on offer, replenished every few months for each season. All suits are at least half-canvas from good material and there are many fits to choose from. However the problem with RTW garments is that they are based on the average-fits-all body archetype. You get a ready suit that you can alter only so much.
Additionally, you generally cannot mix and match different sizes on pants and jackets so if you have a 38 chest but 42 thighs it is not going to fit. This is where you begin to consider more custom options.
Suitsupply Custom Made (Online)
This is where everything becomes incredibly convoluted for many. Why? Because Custom Made (Online) and Custom Made In-Store are the same but they are not. Let me explain.
On the website you can select Custom Made from the top menu and choose from a plethora of options. Suits, separates, shirts and tuxedos among others. What this does is give you the option to choose a fabric, fit and different sizing for each article along with some customization.
Currently there are about 90 or so fabrics to choose from 12 different models based on the Havana, Lazio, Sienna, Washington and Napoli fits. All of them are half-canvas and fully lined. Afterwards you select things like buttons, lining and side adjusters. We will look at them closely later on.
The problem with this service is that it offers limited customization, fabrics and no alterations online. You will have to go to the store to do them anyways, so why bother? I guess it allows for easier online shopping for some. Another difficult thing is to visualize the fabric since the 3D render is not helpful at all.
Suitsupply Custom Made (In-Store)
I am annoyed simply writing about all this. Custom Made In-Store is EXACTLY the same as the previous section however it offers much more customization. You can select way more fabrics than the online version and lately some fabrics from the Made to Measure Program.
Most importantly you try on the suits yourself and do alterations on the spot, allowing you to get the best possible fit. Essentially, Custom Made is a more customized RTW with some added benefits. Those include the ability to adjust sleeve or jacket length much more than the RTW counterparts. The price includes alterations.
Today’s Review is from a Custom Made In-Store.
Suitsupply Made To Measure
What’s the difference between Made to Measure, Custom Made Plus and Custom Made from Scratch? Absolutely none. It is the same exact thing which underwent a lot of naming changes confusing everyone in the process.
A few months ago Suitsupply changed their MTM service to in-house allowing them to cut on production times and cost. It takes now 2-3 weeks (down from 4-6) for a custom suit with much more flexibility.
You can choose so much more like Full Canvas, lapels, small details and stitching and hundreds of fabrics. The price includes alterations and there is usually a second fitting to ensure the best fit. The only downside is that you have to get an appointment with the tailor but it offers a much better personal fit.
You can alter things like collar gap, shoulder slant and bigger chest issues among others. If you have the time this is by far the best option and renders Custom Made obsolete.
The Custom Made Process
I always promise myself I will not write too much yet I do it time and again. It was impossible not to mention each option but hopefully it is more clear now. Regardless today’s review is about the Custom Made In-Store experience. I will walk you through it all from choosing a fabric to the final product. Here are the final Specifications of my suit:
- Style: Double Breasted 6 x 2
- Model: Havana Jetted
- Fit: Slim
- Construction: Half Canvas
- Color: Light Grey
- Mill: Vitale Barberis Canonico
- Fabric Code: 595.4012
- Size: Jacket 38R, Trousers 38R
- Buttons: Black Horn
- Pockets: Jetted
- Lapels: Peak Curved
- Trousers: Brescia Fit
- Turn Up: 5 cm
- Lining: Blue/Purple Dots
- Origin: China
- Price: 4099 SEK (~ $410/ €377/ £335) at the time of purchase
Pretty good features but price is one very important topic we will discuss later on.
Step 1: Choose Your Fabric
There is a wide variety of fabrics to choose from. From S110 to S150 and Traveller fabrics all the way to cotton, linen and flannel. It is worth repeating that there are much more to select from compared to the online version.
More often than note there will be a RTW suit that will have the same fabric and it helps a lot to visualize how it looks. For example I knew exactly what I wanted. An RTW Light Grey Havana Double Breasted Suit but with side adjusters.
A very important thing to note is the fabric code. If you see something in the swatches MAKE SURE to check with the sales rep if the fabric is in stock. You would be pretty annoyed if you went through 30 minutes of fittings to find out it is not available. More often than not fabrics are out of stock and you have no idea of knowing when and if they will be back.
Step 2: Choose Your Fit
The fits you can choose have their RTW counterparts as a basis. As soon as you decide on a fabric you need to figure out which style suits you best. As aforementioned there are 12 models to choose from and 5 different fits. Those are Havana, Lazio, Napoli, Sienna and Washington. Refer to the Fit Guide for the detailed differences between all of them.
I personally love the Havana’s natural shoulders but most importantly it is the only available as Double Breasted. That made my choice much easier of course. My advisor (Ludwig) helped me put on a RTW Havana Double Breasted to check out the fit and prepare for any alterations. Suitsupply uses those garments and adjusts them to specification afterwards.
In my case, I am generally a perfect 38R with the only required adjustments shortening the trousers and the sleeve. If I remember correctly it was around -10 cm for the former and -1.5 cm for the latter. Sales reps are generally quite competent but always let them know about your preferences.
Step 3: Choose Your Lining
The next 3 steps are generally interchangeable as you can go for the buttons first for example. Choosing a lining has no effect in the quality of your suit and is just a personal touch. Suitsupply uses Viscose/Polyester for its lining which is kind of meh but it works. Spier & Mackay and Black Lapel for example use Bemberg which is a superior lining.
I do not care too much about the lining but it was a nice opportunity to make it more personal. I found a lovely Blue lining with a Purple tint and dots which I like very much.
A pretty good selection I must admit with something like 30-40 to choose from. Nothing to complain about as It looks nice! The only issue is that unless they changed that, you cannot choose half or unlined jackets. I will take a point off for that even though I wanted mine fully lined.
Update: Looks like you can order some semi-lined jackets and for example the Solaro fabric.
Step 4: Choose Your Buttons
Hot off the heels of the lining it is time to talk buttons. Each model limits you to its own selection when it comes to the number of buttons. For example the Havana has 4 kissing buttons but the Washington has 5 and you cannot change that.
There is a satisfactory amount of buttons available but with some truly horrible ones too such as those gold terrible ones. Mine were simple Black with some charcoal hues matching Light Grey perfectly.
These are fully functional but the advantage over the RTW version is that you can lengthen and shorten more than the +/- 1.5 cm limit. If I remember right it was 4 or 8 maximum? Doesn’t matter, all you need to know it is sufficient.
Quality wise they are fine and don’t feel cheap. One of my main annoyances with Suitsupply is that often they sew the buttons rather lightly and they can come off.
Step 5: Choose Your Trouser Fit
Since the last time they added a few more fits to the mix of Custom Made. There are currently 5 to choose from:
- Brescia: Slim fit, flat front & mid rise
- Braddon: Double pleats, slim fit & side adjusters
- Brentwood: Pleats, side adjusters, slim fit & coin pocket (what a luxury)
- Soho: Slimmer than Brescia, flat front & mid rise
- Washington: High rise, slim fit & straight leg
You can immediately see a small problem here. Everything is slim fit and while Suitsupply labels it “comfortable slim fit” it is generally rather slim. If you have wider thighs or bigger calf you are likely to run into a problem. I see very often people on Styleforum complain about how slim the trousers are. Luckily for me I fit perfectly in the 38R with only hemming needed.
Another thing I recently discovered is the alleged mid-rise. I don’t know how you feel about it, but for my body they are low-rise and it is rather annoying. This can mean that when you pull them all the way up it can feel uncomfortable in the crotch area. As far as I am aware you cannot add or remove pleats to the models.
The Brescia fits good on me and that was my model of choice. I might be harsh on the grading but I consider Made to Measure far superior for the same price.
Grade: 5/5 (Personal Fit), 3/5 Overall Flexibility
Step 6: Customize Your Trousers
We are getting closer to the end. There are 2 things you can customize in your pants. The addition of a 4 or 5 cm Turn Up and the choice of Side Adjusters instead of Belt Loops. If I could I would always choose side adjusters and that was an easy pick for me. Worth noting they come with Brace Buttons.
They are not customizable however it is not something that deters from the experience. My suit is slightly more casual in color so a turn up looks great with it.
Step 7: Additional Items
Just before the Sales rep punches in the size info and the alterations they will ask you two things. If you want additional trousers or a waistcoat. The first is always a good thing to have to prolong the life of your trousers but not necessary unless you intend to use it heavily. I would say it is a better option for Flannel since it wears out faster.
As far as the waistcoat goes, very rarely people chose that unless they wanted specifically a 3 piece suit. Worth mentioning that Custom Made allows you to make just a waistcoat if you want.
Step 8: Verify All Information
This is the final step where you go through the summary of your choices. Always make sure to double check the fabric code and your sizing selections as well as notice the Sales rep measuring them correctly. As soon as everything is complete you proceed with your payment and you will receive your garment in 2-3 weeks.
You pay in advance and they store your order information in their system, making it easier to reorder the next time.
Receiving The Suit
I ordered my Suit on the 29th of March 2020. I received a notification on the 14th of April that it was ready however we ran into logistics problems. The suit stuck in processing and after calling the Stockholm store Adam very kindly helped me track it down. Turns out it got stuck in the Netherlands warehouse for some reason.
It arrived a few days later after that in my house in a suit bag folded nicely. It was a little annoying I had to deal with this and nobody would let me know, but they resolved it very fast. My only pet peeve (and not Suitsupply’s fault) is the UPS Delivery. Every time the Swedish UPS drops the packages outside my house and leaves without even a note.
Quality Of The Garment
Honestly I knew what to expect as I touched the same identical cloth in the store. This fabric by VBC has a very slight texture to it and is not as soft as ultra fine worsted wool but it feels very good to the touch. There was a finer version but the cost was 180$ more or so and I was very happy with this.
The lapels are excellent on the Double Breasted version and the fold is rather sexy. Natural and not flat. Stitching is usually very good and the same applies here. I checked everywhere for loose threads or inconsistencies and couldn’t find any.
Lastly, the trousers were also excellent and the turn up very well executed. I really don’t have anything to complain about. Those lapels man, they are massive and I love it.
Nothing matters more than fit. Even if everything I said before was great, if the final fit was terrible it would be a waste of my time. Suitsupply does give you free alterations or a full remake if the suit is not satisfactory. Luckily mine ended up perfect and exactly how I wanted it.
The unconstructed shoulders of the Havana fit my body very well and you can see how smooth they are.
The sleeve length was spot on as well. Exactly where I want them to be with just the right amount of cuff for my liking.
I already showed you the length of the pants which was also perfect for my liking.
On the front I also get a really nice fit with just a little pull at the button but an overall great waist shape.
When it comes to fit and what I expected from the Suitsupply Custom Made, this is as close as it gets. I want to thank Ludwig, a former colleague of mine that was on his last day at the job and did it professionally and with precision.
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Let’s Talk Pricing
This is another important topic of discussion. My purchase price was around $410 in Sweden. Right now when I am writing this text however the price for the base fabric is $470. The same exact suit would cost you $430 in Belgium, $489 in the UK and $499 in the US.
It is quite a price difference and even more evident when you move to more luxury fabrics. Let’s take a the Blue Plain Wool S130 fabric by VBC:
- Sweden: $580
- Belgium: $325 (?!)
- UK: $670
- USA: $799 (!)
Please note that this was at the time of writing and it might be different when you are reading it. Needless to say the price discrepancies are very big. Someone in the IT department must be slacking I cannot explain it otherwise.
Is It Worth My Money?
Ultimately the end product is a result of the Sales rep that helped you and his measurements. In an ideal scenario you will get something pretty good like I did.
However, there is no way I can endorse the Suitsupply Custom Made compared to Made to Measure for the same price. It is just not worth it apart from a small scenario I will talk about in the next paragraph.
The online version is definitely one I would never touch. Sure, you can order swatch samples at home now for a small fee but you still have to go to the shop to alter the suit.
The short answer for me personally is a clear no. And I will tell you why.
Update: After some discussions with people and some valid arguments, I can definitely see a bit more value. The quality of the Suitsupply MTM Service depends on the skill of your tailor. This means that the end result might not be (or be) perfect. Bear it in mind.
Well, Who Is It For Then?
If you are going towards custom made it is because you either want a different fit in a fabric you already like, you need mix and match or need more special alterations.
If you are happy with the fit and only need minor adjustments or special customizations like side adjusters on an existing RTW suit then Custom Made is worth it because you save some time. Pretty much why I chose this myself. It takes 15 to 30 minutes for a good Sales rep to complete the process for you, whereas you need 45-90 minutes in Made to Measure.
Of course, if you need the suit in the next few days RTW is your only option. On the same time you need the exact amount of waiting time for a better fitting suit in Made to Measure, for the exact same price. Why would you pick Custom Made? Only if you don’t want the hassle of an appointment or someone putting a bunch of needles on your back.
I think the Suitsupply Custom Made Program lost a lot of value when they reduced the MTM Pricing and stopped working with Munro Tailoring. Of course that is based on my experience in Sweden since prices might fluctuate wildly around the world as you saw.
I think this was a pretty interesting article to write. I could split it in two but I opted for the full package. Honestly I had a good experience apart from the shipping and I got exactly the type of suit I wanted. The pricing strategy is very confusing as is the naming but I hope this cleared up some things for you.
This brings us to the end of the Suitsupply Custom Made Review! Learned a few new things along the way and maybe you did too. I have a lot of content to cover in the following weeks and we will take a close look at the Sienna, the Jort and the La Spalla. Which is now called Lazio because why not.
Got any questions or comments? Leave a comment down below! Take care, be safe and don’t forget to dress up from time to time! Remember to Subscribe to not miss any new article.
Thank you for reading,