Tailored suit vs Ready to wear suit - which is better?

Posted by Joseph Jok on

Let's define what we mean by tailored suit and ready to wear suit.

Ready to wear suit

Ready to wear suits are machine made in batches and designed to fit a broad range of men and women.


Ready to wear

Tailored suit

A custom suit is made or adjusted to your measurements.


Tailored suit



Custom tailored suit | Made To Measure Suit

Usually, a machine cuts a made to measure suit from an existing pattern. It is then adjusted by the tailor your measurements.

Custom tailored suit | Bespoke Suit

The distinguish difference is between made to measure and bespoke is, bespoke suits are handmade from scratch. The process requires you to attend multiple fittings.

We associate bespoke suits with Savile Row – an area of London where traditional and modern bespoke suit tailoring takes place.

And finally, a tailor-made suit (or tailored suit) is any suit which has been altered to fit a customer. Tailored suits can be off the rack, made to measure or bespoke.

How should a suit fit?

Ready to wear suit

  • Comes in a range of sizes like Small, Medium, Large, Tall, slim, regular and Athletic. These sizes are based on predetermined measurements and differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Designed to fit the average male body. If your body type is close to the norm – great! You'll find a good overall fit.
  • You may be able to mix and match the jacket and trouser sizes to get a better fit (for example, a 42 regular jacket with 34 long trousers) but you should always expect to have an off the rack suit tailored.

Tailored Suit

  • Cut to fit your body, based on 10-15 measurements or more, such as shoulder width, arm length and chest size. This removes the need for suit alterations.
  • Bespoke suits are made by hand from scratch by a tailor who takes around 20 measurements in four fittings. The result is a suit which fits you like no other. Your suit is as unique as you are.

The price range

Your suit should be tailored to you and your budget. This simply means, you get what you pay for.

Off The Rack Suit

  • Low to medium price point ($100 – $1500) – there’s an off the rack suit for all budgets.
  • You may pay more for some off the rack suits because you are paying for the brand name (the most expensive off the rack suit does not mean you are getting the best off the rack suit).
  • Budget to have the suit tailored to fit your body shape. Suit alterations should cost no more than 30% of the suit's price – if it exceeds this, it's either time to find a different tailor or choose a suit which requires less adjusting.
  • Thrift stores and sales are a great way to find discounts if you are patient and flexible.


Tailored Suit

  • Here's the surprise: A made to measure suit generally costs the same as a mid-range off the rack suit. And you don't need to spend extra on alterations.
  • Some made to measure suits are available exclusively online. This brings the price down because the manufacturer doesn't have to pay for expensive high street stores.
  • Bespoke suits can start anywhere from $4000 and the price increases past $50,000 if you have very expensive tastes.
  • Bespoke suits can be adjusted over the course of your life, saving you money over an extended period.


The difference in patterns And colours

Ready to wear suit

  • Always available in a set choice , and of colours like black, navy, grey and blue to suit most tastes and social functions. Other colors are available on a seasonal basis.
  • Patterns like pinstripe and herringbone are available from certain suit brands and limited suit colors.
  • If you are willing to put in the time and search the high street, you can find a varied range of colors and patterns. You may be limited to a particular suit style or a brand's specific range.

Tailored Suit

  • Custom tailored suits come in a broad range of colours including those you wouldn’t normally find on ready to wear suits, with tailored suits you find often more options with colours like red, teal blue, mustard yellow, purple and gold.
  • You have the luxury of choice, choosing from a broader range of patterns such as windowpane, houndstooth, glen plaid, chalk stripe and many more.


 occasions to wear them

 Ready to wear suit

  • Ideal for the majority of social functions and events like office wear and social events.
  • Specific dress suits – such as morning dress or a traditional dress – are available from a men's suit hire store but obviously you will not be able to tailor them.
  • Hiring such a suit is a cost-effective way of attending an event where a dress code is specified.

Tailored Suit

  • If you don't traditionally dress on a regular basis made to measure suits. The cost per wear is lower than hiring a suit and the fit is superior.
  • It is important to note that in every situation a custom tailored suit will create an atmosphere of confidence, it feel like a shield, you know you look good and feel good, that is huge difference.
  • Other special occasions such as Black-tie events or those which call for a dinner suit may call for a custom suit. You want to ensure the fit is absolutely perfect and the materials are of the highest quality.


The difference in quality

Ready to wear suit

  • Normally made from blend fabrics but it could be cotton, wool or a synthetic blend and some are even machine washable, which is perfect if you have young children.
  • Expensive fabrics like linen can be limited to a particular season or a brand’s range.
  • The manufacturing process uses fusing instead of canvassing to save time. This can affect the longevity of the suit because glue degrades over time.
  • Off the rack suits mostly come with non-functioning sleeve buttons. This allows you to have the sleeves lengthened or shortened by a tailor.

Tailored Suit

  • Made to measure suits offer a greater choice of expensive fabrics like wool/silk, seersucker, silk,  linen and cashmere.
  • A tailored suit is typically half canvas to full canvas. The canvas lining allows the suit fabric to drape naturally from the body. The result is a clean and well put-together suit.
  • High-end suits are finished with expensive details like real horn buttons or mother of pearl buttons.
  • Bespoke suits offer even more luxury with fabrics like as silk and blends of the rarest fibers in the world like Guanashina, a blend of Guan and Baby Cashmere, suits made from this material start at $35,000 and onwards.

← Older Post



Three different suit styles and cuts

By Joseph Jok

Suit Styles 1: The British or English Suit We are now strolling in the street believed to have given birth to the traditional British suit....

Read more

9 Tips for Dressing with Style

By Joseph Jok

1 – Know Your Measurements Style requires a fair share of numbers and formulas. The most important of numbers being the ones that represent different...

Read more