Custom Suits

By Jack Newcombe

July 19, 2012 5 min read

"You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."

George Zimmer, a 63-year-old man whose net worth is well over $100 million, is the founder of Men's Wearhouse, a men's retail clothing chain. On all of his commercials, Zimmer famously ends each spot guaranteeing his customers' satisfaction with the above quote.

However, the reality is that Zimmer has no clue whether you are actually going to like the way you look in his clothes. Not even Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour can guarantee that people will like all of her recommendations.

How people feel about their clothes is a difficult thing to predict, and guaranteeing that they'll like the way they look, contrary to Zimmer's affirmation, is impossible.

A third party may not be able to control how you feel in a new suit, but you can, by buying a bespoke, or custom-tailored, suit.

Before you roll your eyes and think that there is no way you ever would buy a custom suit and that it is a colossal waste of money, please perform an experiment. Go to your local mall or a comparable crowded area. Have a seat in a highly trafficked zone, and watch people. That's it.

You do not need to spend a lot of time before you realize that there are a lot of different body sizes out there and that there's likely not a single one that matches yours exactly.

The big retail chains, such as Men's Wearhouse, have to manufacture clothes for all body types. As a result, they need to add some room in some areas, take fewer risks with design and make a relatively generic product that can fit the masses. This is your only shot at life, and you are too good for generic.

Furthermore, there is nothing like the fit of a custom suit. Everyone's chest, shoulders, waist and arms are unique. Wearing a suit that is made to your exact specifications makes you feel not as if you're wearing clothing but rather as if the suit were part of you, like a superhero's costume. Confidence is everything, and a suit that fits well will make your confidence skyrocket.

In addition to the fit, getting a suit custom-made allows you to be able to select everything -- color, fabric, lapel size, pockets, vents, hand-stitching, lining, etc. Control is important in life, and being able to control every aspect of your suit is empowering.

Assuming you're sold as to the value and confidence boost that a custom suit gives you, the final hurdle for most people is the cost. You could walk into a Loro Piana, Brooks Brothers or Ermenegildo Zegna and pay thousands of dollars for a custom suit, but that's not practical.

When it comes to custom suits, the two biggest costs are fabric and brand. If you walk into the retail store of a luxury brand, such as Zegna, you're going to have to pay a premium, but that's not necessary.

A custom suit does not have to be from a luxury brand. In fact, there are suit-makers -- Raja Fashions, for example -- that travel from big city to big city, set up shop in a hotel room and meet with clients. Other makers of custom suits, such as Tom James, will actually come to you. You get all the benefits of a luxury-brand suit without having to pay the premium for the brand.

In terms of cost, you definitely will pay less than you would if you were to buy from a store, but again, the biggest driving factor is going to be your fabric selection; the higher the quality the higher the cost. But you could get a nice fabric, a suit that fits you perfectly and all of your exact style specifications for about $700.

Assuming a comparable suit off the rack could cost $400, that jump in price might cause sticker shock for some, but the benefits will dwarf the increase in cost. Think about how you will feel on your next job interview or hot date or at your next big meeting. A custom suit will make you feel unstoppable.

We spend our entire lives searching for happiness. You absolutely cannot buy happiness, but by spending a little bit extra on yourself, your confidence will increase, and as a result, you might walk a little taller.

When you buy a custom suit, you are going to like the way you look. I'm pretty sure.

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