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Differences Between “Off-the-Rack” Suits and Bespoke Suits

It takes less of a trained eye than you would think to tell if a suit is well-fitted or not. There are many things that set our bespoke suits aside from suits bought off of racks at department stores.

This should come as no surprise, either. Our highest-end of suits—our signature Purple Label, take in excess of 50 hours of hands-on work from a master tailor. There are a lot of things to consider when constructing a suit of this level.

–    Careful attention is paid to the detail of the entire canvas of the suit.

–    The lapels and collars are carefully shaped, crafted and contoured to the size and preferred style of the wearer.

–    Sleeves and buttonholes are constructed and hung by hand and made the appropriate size for the person that will be donning the attire.

With this careful attention to detail in mind, there are many little features that a master tailor will fine-tune for someone purchasing a bespoke suit. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not you want a truly custom tailored suit:


When someone purchases a suit from a standard designer or a rack in a department store, these cheaper versions of suits typically incorporate blends with synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers are made with a cost efficiency in mind, and are not as strong and do not breathe as well as natural fibers. Many of these suits are being made by the hundreds in a period of a few hours. These fabrics are purchased at low prices, in bulk.

High-end suits will be made of quality natural fibers with intricate weaving processes. They typically feature fabrics like merino wool, cashmere, mohair, silks and high-quality cottons. You will never you see cheaper synthetic materials like polyester or viscose in a quality bespoke suit.

Custom Fitting & Tailoring

When a Master Tailor is custom-designing a suit for their client, they will note small details that work together to create a great garment.

Custom Tailors will give special attention to a suit’s shoulders, ensuring the fabric is cut for that person’s body type, carefully designing the shoulder slopes and posture and discerning the dimensions of the shoulder-pads.

Tailors will also carefully design the sleeves of a suit or customized shirt. Everything down to the button style is considered, not to mention the sleeves being custom-measured to the wearer’s arm lengths and hung perfectly to the pitch of their arms.

Another thing that bespoke suits are known for is the carefully constructed front-plate and midsection areas. The front chest area will be carefully sized to contour to the wearer’s body type. Additionally, the armholes, collar rolls and upper body/neck areas will be shaped to the wearer’s body type to avoid rolling, wrinkling and other fit problems. The hand-work in these areas causes the canvas pieces to mold to the wearer, making the suit fit perfectly and adding comfort for the wearer the more he wears it.

Quality bespoke suits are also tailored to the wearer, which means that each piece of fabric is carefully cut and stitched together. Preferences regarding lapels, pockets and vents are all carefully determined before the suit is constructed. These suits are durable and have a drastically longer lifespan than mass-produced or cheaply crafted garments. As mentioned, bespoke suits can be broken in like a good pair of shoes and will fit the wearer better over time.


The trims are some of the best benefits to wearing bespoke suits. Cheaper suits can have tell-tale shortcomings, including fake pockets, unnecessary or unusable button-holes, buttons made from plastic or other cheap materials, linings made from acetate or other cheap threads, and cheap zippers.

Good, responsible tailors know the importance of quality trim – zippers and buttons that accommodate the style and color of the suit and incorporate high-quality materials like semi-precious gems, horn or mother of pearl.   The linings and threading will be tight and from high-quality fabric that matches the rest of the garment. Finally, the pockets will never be fake, and can often be specially designed for accessories and other specific needs.


When you purchase a suit off of a rack at a store, without consulting an image consulting firm or a master tailor like ours, you are buying a suit that has probably been made multiple times for multiple different stores – in other words, you are getting a suit that is unoriginal, for lack of a better word. These suits have no style that sets them aside from other suits in that market.

When you get a bespoke suit or other custom garments from places like ours, you are getting a piece of attire that will make you stand out in a crowd or during job interviews.   The trims, style and cuts will be unique and the fabrics will have people asking questions about your garments.

For a suit that truly stands out in a crowd and hasn’t been done before, bespoke suits are the way to go.

The Customer Service Experience

When you get a suit from Henry A. Davidsen, you are getting more than just a custom-tailored garment. You are paying for an experience. We not only know how to fit you with the perfect suit, we can link you up with whatever you might need to grow.

We help our guests out with networking events and more. We have our own barber that we can link you up with. We have our client’s best interest in mind at all times and we can’t emphasize enough that Image Consulting has to do with your self-image as well as the one you put forward through your clothing.

We advise you to keep these things in mind the next time you are shopping for suits and other attire. Let your clothing make a positive statement about yourself, and let us help you figure out all the details to do so.

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