Online Made-to-Measure vs. Suit Supply

March 25th, 2014

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Following up on our Online Made-to-Measure Suit Review, one of the most common questions we received was: how do suits from e-tailors like Indochino, Knot Standard and Black Lapel stack up against Suit Supply?

To compare, I picked out and ordered a suit from SuitSupply.com in my size. This is what came in the mail 3 days later (it hasn’t been altered in any way).

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Firstly, I’ve worn Suit Supply product before, but I must say that I was really impressed by this particular suit.

I’m gonna cut right to the chase here.

Online made-to-measure clothiers fulfill a necessity. They offer a solution for guys looking to play designer and create one-of-a-kind pieces (whether that’s a good idea or not). More importantly, they offer a custom answer for guys who don’t meet the standards of traditional off-the-rack suit sizes. Not every guys’ body is as simple as 38, 40, 42, or 44 “Regular”.

However, if you are lucky enough to fit off-the-rack sizing (with some minor alterations, as always) Suit Supply is where you should be looking for anything in the $400-$800 tailoredwear market.

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Under the hood (fabric & fabrication quality) the garments aren’t extraordinarily different. The major difference, in my opinion, comes down to the core value of the brand(s). It’s suit manufacturing versus fashion design.

The number one priority of a good online made-to-measure suit business, like Indohcino, Knot Standard, or Black Lapel, is to manufacture a suit that fits the client as close to perfectly as possible (according to his measurements), has all the correct details as chosen by the client, and is delivered as quickly as possible. The success of the company ultimately comes down to order processing, workshop execution, and customer service. Tailoring is a service business, after all.

The number one priority for a fashion brand like Suit Supply, on the other hand, is to create beautifully designed garments that are on-trend and reminiscent of expensive high-fashion Italian suits. And they do this very well. This unstructured double-breasted pure linen windowpane suit illustrates my point perfectly. Notice the balanced proportions and the subtle design elements; soft unpadded shoulders, high armholes with trim sleeves, subtle “bow” shape to the extra-wide peak lapels, etc. The pants also came with an oversized 3″ cuff on a very tapered no-break hemline. Very European and very chic.

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There is plenty more we could dive into here about made-to-order vs retail menswear, but I wanted to keep this piece simple.

Perhaps we can discuss in the comments.

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Do you have any experience with Suit Supply? Or Made-to-Measure? Or Both?

Please share in the comments below!

 

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

TSBmen

 

Photography by Alex Crawford. 

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  • ZachPack

    Suit Supply was by far the best experience (in stores). They actually know what they are talking about and are willing to stay with you for the whole day. High quality suits for an incredible price, with a cozy atmosphere. If they do not have the color in a specific fit you can always customize your order.

  • Kerric Kynard

    I am 6’6″ and 245 pounds, and the 46L off the rack from Suitsupply is the best off the rack option I’ve found in that price range. I used to primarily wear Hugo Boss James/Sharp fit, and often had to do a good deal of tailoring. And the prices were $800 – $1200. I’ve since switched to Armani Collezioni and Suitsupply, and am as happy with Suitsupply as I am with Armani. Great fabrics for the price range as well

  • Ossian Nordgren

    Just ordered a SS suit yesterday, it’s coming tomorrow can’t wait too se how it fits

  • Khalid

    Dan, out of curiosity: what would you get altered on this suit, if anything? In particular, does it feel right in the chest and waist or would you have those taken in a bit?

  • http://www.joshua-gold.com Josh

    I think that Suit Supply has found the perfect gap in the market. They make the “cool kids’ clothes. Slim Italian cuts, sexy fabrics, etc. They’ve nailed the look that young guys strive for. In order to get their price so low, they must settle somewhere. The fabric. They are visually appealing. But try pulling one out of your closet 5 years from now after 200+ wears. Don’t think so. Just like with everything, you get exactly what you pay for.

  • Thomas

    Hi,

    I recently bought a SuitSupply Napoli Suit. I have the advantage of having a store in town here in Hamburg, Germany. After previously owning cheap suits made from artificial fabrics and mixes, the feel and quality blew my mind immediately. Although I know very little about tailoring, I could tell right away that this was a very good level of quality.

    I was also very impressed with the experience of buying a suit at that store. The advice from the store assistant(s) (it wasn’t very busy so I was tended to by 2 employees) seemed very competent. Instead of trying to make the most money off of me, they steered me away from one of the more expensive lines and recommended a cheaper suit because the more robust fabric was better suited for frequent use at the office.

    Sadly, I need what they called a “broken suit”. While the 46 Jacket fits me well, the matching pants are to tight in the thighs and seat, so I have to wear the 48 pants. SuitSupply offers the mixing of sizes only in the Napoli Line and only with certain fabrics. That makes my options of buying another suit there very limited. I thought about trying their MTM service but I think its above my budget.

    For my next suit I think I’ll try one of the three companies you tested after seeing that they ship worldwide. If I do, this site will offer some valuable pointers. Thanks!

    Greetings from Hamburg,
    Thomas

  • G. Sweet

    Long time reader, first time poster here. Always love the articles on your site and it’s awesome to see how you and the team have grown and developed over the years. Kudos on staying relevant and fresh without losing the spirit of the original site!

    To bring you in about my point of view on MTM and SS it’s important to tell you about my measurements and fit issues. I check in about 6′ 3″, 275lbs. (former college rugby player). I have extremely broad shoulders that are on the square side, a thick torso (no belly bulge), and wide hips/seat. Thank you Dan, for bringing me into the light about an “athletic seat” vs. a “big ass”. I normally look for a 48L or 50L (sometimes R) in retail shops. Even then I do need some serious tailoring to fit my unique frame. The problem with starting with such a boxy and loose garment means the end result, while close, will never give me that truly flattering fit I’m looking for. Not many fabric/pattern/cut options for us larger guys out there which is a shame as many of us are menswear fiends just like our more “off the rack” brothers.

    This is where MTM has been a savior. I own one Indochino suit (Essential Navy) and one Black Lapel (Tailored Fit in a rich chocolate brown) and both are far superior than anything I can buy from the store, Suit Supply included. Not due to fabric (SS has them beat, at least on the “basic” lines), not due to finish (again, SS takes the lead), but simply due to FIT. Time and time again on this site the importance of fit is made paramount and I am living breathing proof that is the case. MTM for me has always been about compromises at least at the $400-$700 price point (ie. Indochino, Black Lapel, etc.) but you can’t put a value on a well fitting suit. I’m not trying to open a MTM vs. higher-end accessible suit retailer debate, just give a real life perspective on what can be a tough decision on how to spend our hard earned dollars.

    I will say this, the customer service at the Suit Supply store in Seattle was on point. Very friendly, very knowledgeable, very willing to get me set up with a suit that works for me. Even though I didn’t end up with a garment from their brand they offered lots of suggestions and took the time to actually LISTEN to my fit issues. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a city with a physical SS location I strongly encourage you to pop in and have a look around. Worst case scenario you’ll end up meeting some serious menswear professionals who are passionate about suiting and might give you a few pointers/suggestions. In city like mine where the 9-5 dress code for even C-level executives is dark wash jeans, button down shirt, and an Arcteryx 1/4 zip sweater that might even be more valuable than actually finding a new suit to wear. Cheers gents.

  • Vince Granado

    I have a simple navy blue suit from them in the Napoli cut and it is excellent. They also have navy suits in the Washington, Jort, Sienna and La Spalla.

  • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

    If you sit in the fat part of the bell curve, yes, it would seem SS is the way to go and for the reasons you put forward. But after checking their website I can’t find anything with the measurements that would suit me. I do love the look of their gear and from what I have read the fabrics are top notch. The advantage of MTM for me is I can dial in a size that would fit and if they don’t get it right the first time I have their perfect fit guarantee to fall back on. SS doesn’t offer that.

  • Changingman

    Ever heard of Burlington Coat Factory? The outlet at Jersey Gardens in NJ has name brand suits at steep discounts. I havent bought any from there, but do you think there is anything wrong with those suits my sister claims those kind of stores merchadise is somehow defective.

  • Daniel Moretz

    Great article! I think MTM is a great avenue for more affordable menswear especially if you are able to get precise measurements. As with anything, you only get what you put in to it. Even if that just means measurements. Are you still planning to do a part two to the MTM article with the dissection of the suits? Cheers, DM

  • d4nimal

    Just wanted to share my own experience. I own two SS suits – a 3 piece light grey Washington and a plain navy Napoli. For those wondering, the sizes of the suits vary pretty significantly between different fits. For the most part, I couldn’t be happier with the purchases (though my arms are too long for the standard cuff length by a bit). If you live anywhere close to NY, Chicago, PA, ?other physical shop locations I’d highly recommend going in person, as I am about 6 foot, 150 lbs and I am a size 35 there (and can fit into many 34s, depending on the line). For reference in a Ralph Lauren Black Label I would be a 36R, Kent Wang MTM 38R. There’s a lot to be said for being able to try on a suit before you buy it.
    As Dan said, I would have been happy to use them again for a tuxedo, but their classic peak lapel didn’t work for me in terms of all the styling (I wanted to have a shawl one button grosgrain w/ a low formal waistcoat, no vents, etc.) so customization was a big factor there. A thing I’ve seem to run across on multiple forums and discussions also is that a lot of guys get trigger happy with the ability to change and pick every little thing on their suits – and putting someone behind the wheel with that kind of power and limited experience can be a dangerous combo. So many MTMs I’ve seen have accent stitching at random buttonholes + pick stitching everywhere + ticket pockets + red lining + hacking pockets etc and the end result is insanity — not to mention our/general public’s lack of understanding regarding measurement and fit (this applies to me as well).
    SS had an outlet open online for about a month or so, and had many suits for sale initially at around $199-250. I ordered a size too big (tried 36R) and had to return mine – then they shut the outlet down. Don’t know if/when this is coming back, but I’d keep your eyes/ears open.
    Awesome post, and something I’ve been looking forward to in addition to the MTM feature you’ve done. I went with Black Lapel for my tuxedo in their tailored fit (used your grograin shawl as one of my references to work off of), and the article was really helpful determining fit etc. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

      Good response but in praising SS you’ve hit the nail on the head why for people like me MTM is the better option. You say you are 6′ tall and usually wear a 34 or 36. I usually wear a size 36 (sometimes even a 38) yet I’m half a foot shorter! The problem with many (close to all) OTR brands is that while I can find a size that fits me in the shoulders and chest, the length, even for a short size, is typically too long.

      • d4nimal

        You make a good point that I think has more wide-reaching scope for a lot of guys – whether it be pants, shirts, suits, etc. a lot of us are on the hunt for an OTR version of a brand that can hit all the fit points exactly for our specific bodies. Different labels (depending on their target audience) will make clothes targeting either their ideal consumer type or conversely what they think would fit the middle of the bell curve. I used to be 6 foot and 130 lbs (20 lbs lighter), so finding a men’s label who made OTR clothes that fit a spider monkey was very difficult. In any case, I can empathize with you.

        • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

          Men like Dan who can take an OTR suit and have it fit like that – well I can only dream. As I said, length – jacket and sleeves – is my main problem and it doesn’t help that nowadays many makers (including low-end ones, H&M even!) are putting out jackets with functional sleeve buttons. What’s that all about!?

          • d4nimal

            Functional sleeve buttons are the new ticket pocket

  • Miguel

    Dan, great post and the suit rocks, SS make a lot of suit that I can see myself wearing.

    Dan, you said you order the suit online, did you had to do any alterations like the other three in the previous article?

    I’m a 38reg 34in waist but I found myself having to order a 40 blazer because when they are slim they don’t fit right, thanks.

  • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

    Hmm. Did they not have a simple navy blue suit? There are several available on their website. This one is pretty minimal:

    http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/suits/napoli-navy-plain/P2778I.html?start=13&cgid=Suits&prefn1=collection&prefv1=Spring%2FSummer

    Cheers MS!

    • MS

      Hmm, yeah, perhaps their in-store selection isn’t as strong as their website inventory-wise. Good looking out, TSB.

  • Lothar

    I’ll be really glad when the double-breasted look starts to fade again. I know everybody’s crazy about it these days, but I just don’t like it. (I really never have cared much for it, and its ubiquity these days is turning me even more against it. But that’s just my opinion. I know MANY would disagree with me.)

    Also I’ll be glad to see the monk straps take a breather. I like them as a once-in-a-while thing, a change-of-pace kind of shoe. But now it seems like they’re everywhere all the time. A pair of oxfords still looks more attractive to me — classic, and even though technically more formal, somehow more humble and down-to-earth because they’re not the thing that everybody’s going crazy for right now.

    Sorry, Dan. Those comments aren’t directed at you specifically. You’re a stylish dude, no doubt.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      No disrespect at all brother. My only question is: do you see these things (slim double-breasted suits, double monkstrap loafers) too often in real life? or too often on the internet?

      We shouldn’t dress for our fellow online menswear enthusiasts, we should dress to help ourselves achieve our goals in life.

      • Lothar

        I think you’re probably right: probably I see them more online than I do walking around.

      • Miguel

        Well I do love DB Blazers and Double Monks Shoes, I hope they don’t fade, specially the blazers, they give you a more classy look, however they’re hard to find unless you go through the rout of ordering online.

  • Akil McLeod

    I am a huge fan of Suit Supply. The Madison jackets fits me perfectly and after opting for a 1.5 inch cuff and a more aggressive taper, I couldn’t be happier. I will definitely be getting a couple more for this season. Hopefully, they open their outlet again soon .

  • http://fromsqualortoballer.com/ From Squalor to Baller

    Great post!

    As someone who has owned several items from inexpensive MTM companies ($400-600 suits) and pieces from SuitSupply in the same price range, I think that SuitSupply is a much better option for 95% of men.

    I think that many men just getting in to the tailored clothing game (myself included) feel that they “need” a MTM garment – this is usually not the case. It’s better to leave the design to the professionals until you really know what you want (and this takes a lot longer than you might think). Also, with an off-the-rack garment you know exactly what you’re getting, whereas MTM suits will almost always fall short of the “perfection” they advertise.

    I have a few old MTM suits from a few years back, and if I could trade them in for something from SuitSupply I would do it in a heartbeat. Unless you’re a sizing anomaly you’re probably better off going OTR with minor alterations, at least initially.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Agreed, although I think your 95% number is grossly exaggerated. There are men of all shapes and sizes out there.

      Nevertheless, ironically, the Suit Supply suits fit me better off-the-rack than all three of the MTM suits.

      But like you said, it’s important to know your body and your fit issues.

      Thanks for a great comment mate.

      • http://fromsqualortoballer.com/ From Squalor to Baller

        Ok you caught me – I made that number up! There are certainly good reasons to go MTM, having a unique size probably being the best. If you’re only drawn to it for the idea of “customization” and “perfect fit”, like I was at first, to me it’s probably better to go for OTR – at least to start. And of course, SuSu certainly won’t work for everyone, so with that off the table there are not tons of good OTR options for the same price. Like you said, it comes down to knowing your body and knowing what you want. Thanks for the reply!

  • Juan

    Weird, this looks exactly like the Madison you linked, but from the fit I can definitely tell it’s a Soho (jetted pockets, not patch, and narrower lapels).

    Anyway, the jacket could be a tad longer and the trousers a bit looser, but it’s nonetheless a spotless fit for an off-the-rack suit, and if you’re going for that (like many guys are), you could definitely get away with no alterations (or make them at another time).

    And that’s exactly the experience I’ve had with them. Their 38R Washingtons and 36R Yorks fit me like a glove (I only had to get the trousers hemmed as I have particularly short legs for a 6’0″ guy), although I’ll admit some of their fits don’t really work for me (the Napoli’s too wide in the shoulders, the Copenhagen’s pretty tight everywhere). It’s all about finding the fit that works for you.

    My 2 cents: they use premium Italian fabrics from VBC, Barbera, EThomas, Ormezzano etc (and I’ve seen Milanese tailors charge 300 euros just for these exact same fabrics) and their suits are half-canvassed (full-canvassed on their La Spalla/Jort fits), so I’ll always try them first before I try anything else, because comparable options, quality-wise, run way more expensive, at least here in Italy. For instance, Boggi suits, which are fused and use lower-quality fabrics than SS, retail at 600 euro (vs the typical 350 at SS). Not to mention Hugo Boss and the like, with their fused, razor-thin lapel, 1200 euro crap.

    Also, if you’re particularly hard to fit off-the-rack and live near one of their stores, just book an appointment and try their MTM service. 600 premium fabrics to choose from and you can personalize pretty much everything, down to lapel width, pockets, lining, etc. for a mere 550-850 dollars (370-600 euro).

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      You’re right. It is a Soho model! I guess the one I chose is no longer on their website…

      Great feedback. Thanks Juan!

  • John B

    Never tried them, but I like a lot of the stuff they make. I was about to get a Washington suit, but at the last moment I thought I may be hard to wear the jacket as a separate. I’ll probably give them a try sooner or later though. Worst case scenario, I’ll have to return it. What size did you get? 40 I guess?

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      That’s what returns are for!

      Yup. I’m a fairly true size 40/34 off-the-rack. Part luck, part staying in shape to maintain the fit.

      Cheers John B.

  • Joshua

    Something is off with this suit. You looked better in other double-breasted shots, but this one…coat too short? Taper too aggresive?

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      It’s shorter and more tapered than my typical fit, but I don’t mind a slightly more fashion-forward suit from time to time. Makes sense given my career choice.

  • Harrison G

    With suit supply have you found there to be a lot of variation between their various cuts? Do their suits have a standard drop? I am close to off the rack for some 46L suits but have found I tend to need a more athletic or european cut generally. Thanks for the quick, to the point post. Good work as usual Dan.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Yes, there is certainly variation between model styles. They have different cuts for different body shapes, essentially. I would start by trying on a few different styles/sizes, to find the cut that suits you best.

    • Esosa

      I have a couple SS’s and I feel I have an athletic physique..only the Napoli for me was true to size.. (due to my broad shoulders and chest).. I had to taper the sides of the jacket a bit and the legs (skinny legs and all).. the Washington I had to size up one..the Sienna was true to size but was cut pretty short as well as the La Spalla..They all are a drop 7 I believe as well..hope this helps…

      • Harrison G

        It is good to hear they all have at least a 7 inch drop. I am a 46 chest but a 37 inch waist. Looks like I am heading to their shop in georgetown this weekend.

  • Joshkins

    I think online made-to-measure also fill in a niche for people who don’t have access to a tailor, or a decent one. Sure there are “tailors” where I’m at, but I’d only trust them with simple things like hemming a pants leg, and shortening a sleeve, things I would and could do myself. On top of that, a good cobbler is even harder to find.

    Online brings the kind of service allot of people in cities like New York have at their fingertips(budget permitting) to everyone. I had an Indochino tux for my prom, and frankly was one of the best dressed guys there, The suit fit fairly well, a bit restrictive, but since I got it on a special, along with being extremely skinny and short, it didn’t matter, it worked better than anything else I could get at the time. Though I wonder, if I could find a tailor if suit supply wouldn’t be the better option in the future?

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Good point. I actually met a guy the other day who pitched me on a mail-your-alterations-to-our-tailors business. Sounds like there’s a market for the small town tailored gents…

      With free returns, you always have the low-risk option of trying them out!

  • Harrison

    Dan or has anyone had experience with Suit Supplies custom line / made to measure? At 5’3 off the rack does not work most always. It seems like they have a nice selection of fabrics including Artison.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      I don’t have any experience with their MTM program but I’ve heard it’s solid, if you can get to a SS store in your location.

      I hope all is well Harrison!

      • Harrison

        Thanks Dan! They recently opened a Suit Supply in Atlanta and I think I am going to try out their MTM program for a summer suit and some shirts.

  • Shoefan

    Is it just the photo or are the shoulders a little ‘bubbly’? I’m reading this on a phone and I can’t quite tell

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Shoulders fit fairly well for an OTR, in my opinion.

  • cam

    Dan, the suit looks very nice for the price. A few questions 1) let’s say I wear this suit once a week…how long would it hold up 2) what size did you take from Suit Supply? Thanks

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      1) That depends entirely on how hard you wear your suits, and how well they’re adjusted for your body. Suits tend to wear down most at points of stress and/or friction (like the crotch of pants – which is often too tight on slim OTR trousers and spends the day rubbing up and down against chair cushions).

      2) 40

    • Esosa

      Hey Cam.. my old SS is a Napoli that Ive had 3 years and I wear it 2-3 times a month..(actually wearing it on my pro pic) and its held up remarkably .well.. no shiny fabric, no lumpy shoulders, no loss of shape.. nothing.. the roll on the lapel is still there.. hope that helps..

  • Shawn

    One thing that bugs me though. You said the suit came with 3″ cuffs? But on Suit Supply’s website, the same suit (Madison in Ormezzano linen, right?) isn’t pictured with cuffs. Cuffs aren’t mentioned either in the description. I’m not against them per se, but how can we know what we’re getting then?

    • Brent

      I think they’re left long for alterations.

    • Shawn

      Never mind, I thought it was a Madison but it seems to be a Soho, indeed (no patch pockets, buttoniere only on the left lapel, etc). The suit you’re wearing mustn’t be available on Suit Supply Canada.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      You can always let them down, I think that’s why they’re kept so large, to give you options.

  • Rob

    I went with Suit Supply for my wedding suit, a three piece that I absolutely love. The fabric was beautiful and draped very well over my body. They definitely trend towards European inspiration, as they cut tight (Dan’s photos evidence this) and thin. I loved the suit I own and I would not hesitate to go back.

  • Shawn

    I’m still on the verge trying to choose between Suit Supply and Knot Standard for my wedding tuxedo. I’m unfortunately the kind of guy who’se proportions do not always fit right in OTR and I’m drifting toward MTM but I still hope Suit Supply could be my answer. I don’t own suits from any of them.

    Sure, Suit Supply offers free shipping (over 500$ I think) and free returns (I don’t know if being in Canada complicates this) but Knot Standard also offers 75$ in alterations or a free remake if they mess up bad. The only non-covered remakes are if you screw up bad the measuring process.

    All in all, I feel like I’m pretty safe ordering with both companies.

    Has anyone in Canada ever tested Suit Supply returns? I’m too far away from the Toronto store to make the drive!