Us Husky Executives, be it portly or big and tall, often have an impossible time finding a suit that fits well right off the rack. But everyone knows the secret to feeling good is looking good. Does our body type mean we’re destined for ill-fitting sack-like suits or stretchy, no-style athletic gear? We’ve probably all felt that frustration at one time or another, but meet your new best friend! Who’s that, you ask? That would be a tailor you can get to know and trust, who will alter your wardrobe to ensure you look your best and feel your most confident, whether you buy ready-to-wear and have it altered or commission something made just for you.
Before you run off to order a whole new wardrobe, there are a few things you should know. When working with a tailor, there are several options available depending on your budget. A more cost-conscious option is called Made to Measure. While Made to Measure produces an item of clothing made for just for you, it begins with a block pattern, which means the pattern already existed and was not cut exclusively for your body type. A sales associate/tailor should take a number of measurements before the item is made to ensure correct sizing. There are no further fittings until the item is finished. You get to choose from a few fabrics and customization options, but they will be limited. The cost of a Made to Measure item will be more budget-friendly than a bespoke item as you may not get to work with the head tailor himself (depending on the shop you go to.)
Bespoke, a term that has garnered much popularity in recent years, literally means made to order.
Purchasing a bespoke suit means that everything about the suit is customized to your body type, your size, and your specifications. This occurs because a pattern is created from scratch, exactly to your specifications. Extensive measurements are taken and you are fitted throughout each step of the process. Fabric and customization options will be practically limitless. This is YOUR suit. You get it the way you want it. Because of the amount of time and degree of detail that go into a bespoke suit, you work directly with the head tailor himself to create exactly what you are looking for. The cost of a Bespoke suit will be higher than a Made to Measure suit due to its intricacy.
To find out more, I talked to Nick Torres of Beyond Bespoke in New York City to ask what Husky Executives should look out for when building their wardrobe.
What are common mistakes big & tall/husky men make when buying clothing?
Poor fit is the most common mistake Husky Executives make. Oftentimes, they don’t know their size so they buy clothes that are too big or too small. If you can’t have your pieces made custom, spend a day trying on different things and search for pieces that make you comfortable. When you find a designer or brand that works for you, buying off-the-rack will no longer be such a chore. When looking for a jacket, the edges should fit just flush to your natural shoulder. The rest can be adjusted. When looking for pants, if the rise, crotch area, is too long or too short, it is very hard to fix. Fabrics with elastane have great stretch but don’t neglect style.
If a Husky Executive were to have just one item of clothing custom-made, what should it be?
Custom-made two or three-piece suits are great options. They offer lots of mix and match variety. You can wear all three pieces or you can remove the vest and you have a two-piece suit. Style the pants with a sweater or button-down shirt. Wear the jacket as a blazer with different slacks or jeans when you need a more casual look. How about pairing the vest with a button-down, jeans, and a trendy pair of shoes? A custom-made suit in a solid color has lots of outfit possibilities. It’s worth the investment.
What can a Husky Executive expect when he goes into your shop looking to have a custom piece made?
At Beyond Bespoke, our number one priority is full service. You will have the option of thousands of fabrics so there is something for every personality. You will choose the garment style as well as linings and buttons. Once we finalize your style, I focus on fit. I take over 25 different measurements to make sure your garment fits you exactly. I also pay attention to your posture. Shoulder slope and head position affect garment fit so I make a note of those things to incorporate them into my garment adjustments.
If a Husky Executive can’t afford to get something custom-made or made to measure, what are some easy fixes that can be made to off-the-rack purchases that will make a big difference to his wardrobe?
A suit jacket should be tapered on the sides to make it fit closer to the body. This will give a slimming look. Tapering the sleeves will pare down their width and give a cleaner look. Sleeves should also be shortened to the correct length. These three changes will make a huge impact in a jacket’s appearance. Waist is most important for suit pants. If your pants are not sitting at the proper position on the waist, everything else will look wrong. Pants should be neither too long nor too short because it will make you look sloppy. If there is a little extra money in the budget, tapering the pant legs will bring the look together.
When buying off-the-rack, what should be avoided at all costs for big & tall/husky men?
Sleeve length is always a problem if you are tall. Jacket sleeves are too short, no matter how long a jacket is. If there are already buttonholes in the jacket, it’s hard to lengthen sleeves. An option would be adding a fifth buttonhole. If you are on the huskier side, the fit is a problem. Sometimes a bigger man will try to hide his weight with a larger garment. This accentuates size. Fitted is what a Husky Executive should be aiming for.
What if a Husky Executive fluctuates in weight, what’s your advice for getting a piece of clothing tailored or custom-made?
If you fluctuate in weight, make sure you go to a tailor who does not cut the fabric left inside a garment. At Beyond Bespoke Tailors, we never cut all the fabric. This ensures if a customer’s weight changes, he can still have adjustments made to his garment. We cannot guarantee how much fabric the manufacturer leaves inside, but when it comes to our alterations, we always leave the fabric for fluctuation.
- There are some online shops that offer custom clothing. What are the pros & cons to doing this process online?
A lot of people think Made to Measure, Bespoke, and custom are all the same, but they aren’t. There are companies that offer Made to Measure services online. You can order from them and your garment will fit well, but because your order will be made using a pre-existing pattern based off chest width, there will always be flaws in the fit. When you order a Bespoke item, this cannot be done online, because it is made for your body and posture so your exact measurements must be used. The process for making these garments is very different. If you come across a website offering bespoke garments via online services, these garments aren’t actually bespoke. A Bespoke fitting must take place in person.
What is the average cost for a Made to Measure suit?
A Made to Measure suit averages about $500-$1,200, depending on construction and fabrics.
What is the average cost for a Bespoke suit?
A Bespoke suit would cost no less than $3,500 for two pieces. This will vary depending on construction and fabrics. Beyond Bespoke offers a Semi Bespoke option which is a combination of Made to Measure and Bespoke, which starts at $1,495.
Hopefully, you now have enough information and confidence to be fashion-forward, even if you previously thought you couldn’t pull it off. Spend a day at the shops, have fun trying things on, and find a tailor you can trust. Looking your best is never something you regret.
Thinking about upgrading your wardrobe? Here are some resources to help you find that perfect fit.
- NYC: Beyond Bespoke
- NYC: Alan Flusser
- NYC: La Rukico
- FORT LAUDERDALE: Fitwell Custom Tailors
- MIAMI: Massimo Roma
- CORAL GABLES: Pepi Bertini
- LOS ANGELES: Art Lewin Bespoke
- Hall Madden: Hall Madden has locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Palo Alto, Portland, San Francisco, & Washington, D.C. They also have a Traveling Tailor service. The tailor will go to you at your home or office. This service is available in the greater New York, Washington, D.C., and Northern & Southern California areas.
Not ready to make the leap to a tailor’s shop? Too busy to leave the office? No worries! You can get custom clothing online as well!
- Apposta: Custom dress shirts
- Indochino: Custom everything! Shirts, suits, even outerwear!
- Woodie’s Clothing: Custom jeans and denim jackets