When it comes to our shaving habits, whether they are obsessive or just “doing what needs to be done”, there is a common factor – we shave (or don’t, as my beard attests) to have an impact on our appearance. Whether or not we think about shaving in those terms, it is a truth. Our choice in clothing has a rather similar effect. As they say, “the clothes make the man”. Well, that particular gem may be overstating things a bit, but clothing can certainly help things along. For myself, I find myself in a suit once or twice a week, so I have more than a few hanging in my closet. In the past, these have come from larger department stores, and places that guarantee that I’ll “like the way I look”. These have been serviceable suits, especially once they were tailored.
A Made-To-Measurements (MTM) Suit Online?
I have always had it in the back of my head, though, that I wanted to try out a custom suit at some point. Just the ability to get into the details of what is being put together, as well as having the suit made to my specific measurements and body type, was appealing. That sort of thing can also be costly, which is why I never pursued this idea any further. At least, a custom, made-to-measure suit was a costly endeavor until a little thing called the Internet came along. Now, we have access to a wide variety of online shops that want to make your clothing, be it a shirt, suit, or even shoes. This article is not intended to be a rundown of the various options. For those, there are plenty of mens fashion blogs that can give you information to decide where to go.
Frankly, that’s how I came across the company I went with – KnotStandard. From some reading I did, it seemed like they were pulling together a nice product, and after perusing their pages, I knew the suit that was going to be the starting point for me – the Baltic Twill. That is the benefit of going to a place like KnotStandard, especially if you are starting out into your first custom suit (like I was), and may not be versed in the materials and all the terminology.
With them, you get a starting point – be it a suit, jacket, or any of the other items they sell – that becomes your template for what is going to become yours. In this case, I rather liked the color of the cloth, and it seemed that there was a subtle texture to it in the pictures (and now that I have it, there is indeed one) – two big items on how I was looking for a suit. Once you get past that sort of “analysis paralysis”, then the fun really starts to up. This is due to the sheer number of customization options that you have on the basic pattern. You can decide details like the lapel width, if the pockets should be angled or straight, what sort of vent you want on the back of the jacket, and even how the jacket is lined – among other options.
So, at this point, we have someone “on the inside” helping us out, and we have a suit with all of our customization options in the cart. Once we’ve paid for it all, we are left with the 900-lb elephant in the room that I mentioned before – getting the measurements done. With KnotStandard, you actually have a few different options. The have an online application (that uses a webcam) to measure you, you can send in a favorite suit for them to match, or you can go through a detailed measurement checklist (mine had 16) measurements to note down.
At first, this may seem a bit like overkill, especially if you’re used to finding a suit off the rack (say, a 42L) and then having it altered as the suit is on your body. With the extensive measurements you provide, KnotStandard is actually building up a pattern for your body (that can subsequently be used on other purchases as well). All of these details in the numbers help them to have a better chance of getting you a suit that fits right out of the box.For me, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the process. While the KnotStandard options are fairly affordable (as far as MTM suits go), it’s not like it’s a cheap proposition either. What if I mess up a number? Or, more accurately, what if my tailor (yes, I had my local tailor knock the numbers out for me) did not get something quite right, and the suit was a disaster?
I am told (and fortunately did not have to experience this) if something ends up looking sort of wonky with the numbers when they build the pattern, they will double check things. There were also a few of the measurements that I had my wife help with to double-check as well. As my sheet was more detailed than what you can enter online, I filled in the online numbers, and then passed along the remainder of the measurements to my advisor. He got those entered in on my account, so they are filed away.
The Waiting And Delivery
Then, it was just a matter of waiting. Zack kept me in the loop with how things were going, and let me know when it was shipped out (along with the tracking information). The suit arrived in a simple but protective box, with the separates folded neatly and waiting to be tried on. It was time for the moment of truth – how well did I get those measurements done, and how did the tailors do following them to build my suit? I went for the jacket first, well, because it was the simplest to try on.
While this sort of custom-made clothing is not something you and I likely are springing for all the time, I do feel it is a worthwhile investment. Having clothing that fits to your body is not only comfortable, it just plain looks good. With some of the inclusions KnotStandard has (such as reinforcement in the pants hem at the heel) and optional upgrades (half- and full-canvas options), you can end up with a suit that should last for a good long time. I am interested to watch how it holds up over time, but for now, I am happy with the purchase. Since KnotStandard also has all my measurements built in, it should be a simple matter to pick up a different jacket, or even a pair of pants, some time down the road – yet another big plus over your local department store.
I cannot use this article to recommend KnotStandard over any other MTM suit company that you may find out there, as this is the only exposure I have had to this world. If you are starting out like I did, however, I think they are a great option to consider, and based on my experience, I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. If you have already jumped into the custom suit game, let us know in the comments who you went with, and how your experience was. For myself, I was rather pleasantly surprised with how this initial foray went, and I certainly look forward to exploring the custom suit world more as time (and budget) allows.