How to Buy a Custom Suit

We’ve all seen a movie (or two) where the leading man is fitted for a custom suit. 1999’s Thomas Crown Affair comes to mind, showing Pierce Brosnan being fitted at this office - while he is conducting a meeting - giving the audience an inside look at what it means to be rich.

 As of recent, custom-suit makers travelling with swatches and measuring tapes are not only for the superrich. They are available to men (and women) or every age inside every tax bracket. But buyer beware: If you don’t know what you are doing, you will end up spending more money than you wanted, and end up with a custom disaster.

 At Shaw & Co. Tailors we have come up with a 3 Step Fail-Safe process to buying a custom suit. 

 1. Do your research. Hit the pavement and check out the custom-suit companies in your area. Or better yet, have them come to you. View fabric samples, ask about extra fees (alterations, shipping and duties) and make sure the company has a suit that matches your style. The worst mistake a first time custom-suit buy can make is being under-educated.

 2. Bring you style. Rip out magazine pictures or troll Pinterest for suits that catch your eye. You want to show your salesperson an idea of what you like so when he asks “what style of lapel do you want” you don’t stare blankly. If you are looking for a business suit, try sticking with grays or dark blues with the slightest patterns. Want to make a statement? The sky is the limit. Remember, you are getting a custom suit because off-the-rack suits are basic – something you most definitely are not.

 3. Stick to your guns. Come with a plan – black, peak lapel, 1-button – and leave with it. Don’t be up-sold to anything you don’t love or any other “you’ve got to have it” add-ons. Once the suit comes in, make sure you get as many tweaks and alterations as you need until you are happy. After all, you’re in charge. It’s your design. It’s your style.


Andy Huynh
Andy Huynh