So you’ve decided to invest in a new suit, but now you’re faced with a decision – made to measure or off the rack. 

Whether you’re buying a suit for a special occasion or regular wear, we’ll review the difference between made to measure and off the rack suits so you can make the best choice for you. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What is a made to measure suit?
  • Benefits and disadvantages of made to measure suits
  • What is an off the rack suit?
  • How well do suits fit off the rack?
  • Benefits and disadvantages of off the rack suits

Made to measure tailored suits

What is a made to measure suit?

A made to measure or custom suit is made according to your exact measurements and specifications. The process typically involves at least one fitting and consultation where you can customise your suit from a huge range of styles, fabrics, cuts and finishes. They often combine machine work and handcraft to produce a high-quality, perfectly fitting suit that surpasses your expectations!

Benefits of made to measure suits

  • Fit – Numerous measurements are taken during your fit throughout the fitting process so the finished garment fits your body shape perfectly. Measurements taken include your shoulder width, arm length and chest circumference.
  • Customisation – Choosing a made to measure suit means you can fully customise the style and type of suit. You can choose from the tailor’s range of fabrics and finishing touches. 
  • Quality – A made to measure suit is always constructed from high-quality material using expert craftsmanship and manufacturing techniques. 
  • Expertise – When you buy a made to measure suit, you’ll benefit from styling advice and guidance from your tailors to ensure you look stunning and elegant, whatever occasion your suit is for!

Disadvantages of made to measure suits

  • Price – Of course, the quality of a made to measure suit generally comes at a higher price tag than an off the rack suit. You should expect to pay around £1500 for a made to measure suit from a good tailor. 

Off the rack suits

What is an off the rack suit?

Off the rack (also called off-the-peg or ready-to-wear) suits are premade in standard sizes and available online, from high-street brands or specialist suit shops. They’re generally mass-produced and are designed around standard measurements. 

How well do suits fit off the rack?

Put simply, even an expensive and high-quality off the rack suit will never fit as well as a made to measure tailored suit. They’re made for typical body types and shapes, which means the fit is less than ideal for most men. Finding an off the rack suit that fits well without further tailoring and alterations is extremely rare. 

Benefits of off the rack suits

  • Quick to purchase – One of the main reasons why off the rack suits are so popular is their convenience. Unlike made to measure suits, which take around two months from the initial consultation, off the rack suits are an instant purchase. So, if you need a suit immediately, this might be the better choice. 
  • Cheapest option – Typically off the rack suits are cheaper than made to measure. However, the price of one can vary wildly depending on the brand and quality. You can purchase one from as low as £100 for a basic suit up to over £1000 for a premium or designer suit. 

Disadvantages of off the rack suits

  • Lower quality – As a general rule, off the rack suits will be of lower quality than made to measure suits due to the use of cheaper materials and poor manufacturing methods.
  • Poor fit – Because off the rack suits are only available in standard sizes, they won’t fit as well as a tailored suit. 
  • Need for alterations – If you purchase an ill-fitting off-the-peg suit, you’ll need to pay extra for alterations so that it’s adjusted to your measurements.
  • No customisation – Off the rack suits are only available in a limited selection of fabrics, colours, and styles. You’ll be restricted by what a particular retailer offers when purchasing your suit.

Stunning made to measure suits by Phillip Alexander 

At Phillip Alexander, we’ve been dressing gentlemen for over 150 years. We specialise in crafting beautiful made to measure and bespoke suits at our Savile Row and Cheshire locations. 

Our tailored suits include almost limitless options for customisation, so we can work with you to design your dream suit. Choosing one of our tailored suits means you’re guaranteed an impeccable suit that fits you perfectly!

Made to measure suits 

Our made to measure suits are a much better alternative to off the rack suits. Our expert tailors use a mixture of machine work and handcraft to create a stunning and perfectly fitting suit. A made to measure suit is ready in less than two months, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re planning to wear it to an upcoming event. 

Bespoke suits 

We also offer a bespoke tailoring service if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime tailoring experience. Our master tailor will handcraft your bespoke garment with numerous fittings and consultations to ensure the final result surpasses your expectations!

This service is recommended for grooms who want to look stunning on their big day. Check out our range of tailored wedding suits

Luxury tailored suit hire

If you’d like the quality of a made to measure suit for a formal event but don’t have the budget or time for one, our luxury tailored suit hire is the ideal solution. We include several fittings to ensure your hire suit fits perfectly for the occasion, and you’ll still get guidance from our master tailor to help you style your suit.

To find out more about our tailored suits or to get started on your journey to a beautiful suit,  book an in-person or telephone consultation!