A Short Guide to Your Next MTM Commission
Let's start with saying it loud and clear - having your clothes tailor-made should be fun! However, for this to always be the case, there are some important things to remember.
Author: Mateusz Tryjanowski
To simplify things a little bit, let's assume that we are already past the stage of choosing a tailor/company that will be responsible for your bespoke/MTM projects. Sure, this is a very important stage, but my task today is not to write a complex guide for you covering all the process, etc. I just want to convince you that commissioning a piece should be fun and the end result should always please the owner.
...so you are already about to place an order and start a commission which will end up being your new jacket or suit. You are most likely doing this for one of two reasons:
- a) you need a very specific garment for a very specific occasion (work/wedding/other celebration),
- b) you are a hobbyist, loving clothes and you just need a nice addition to your wardrobe.
(I am deliberately omitting non-standard dimensions, body shape etc. here - all the factors that first push you into bespoke/MTM tailoring, ultimately can be still classified as one of the above.)
The main difference between the two is the range of available options - quite limited (focused on a specific effect) versus very broad (unspecified).
However, ultimately you still commission things and dress for yourself. Sure, in the first case dressing for the occasion (other people, that is) and adjusting your look to the circumstances plays a role, but the outfit itself means nothing without the owner.
What I'm trying to convey is that when placing a bespoke or MTM order, you have to make sure that the final decision is yours alone. Do not be deceived by the voices around you, telling you to commission this and not that, "because this is where you have to start". It seems to me that we have already grown out of the stage where everyone on the internet believes that everyone needs a navy blue suit and it should mark the beginning of anyone’s path.
I have already written an article telling you that you don't have to start with a navy suit (but it's easier to). I stand by everything I said then - yes, it is often more convenient to start with the classics, but it’s absolutely not necessary... especially not when going custom!
Except for general advice regarding one’s wardrobe, I have heard some people saying that if you go custom, you should definitely start with the so-called essentials (navy suit, gray suit, blazer etc.) “because otherwise you will regret it later” - that before you order some nice things that you really want to, you should elevate the basics.
Frankly, I could not disagree more. With today’s range of availabilities on the market, getting a well-made, simple and classic suit off-the-rack is (almost) easier than ever. Really, I see only one exception - if you are sure that this navy suit will be the most worn thing (or at least, let’s say, one of three) in your wardrobe, go for it, you will appreciate the comfort. Otherwise, just choose something cut from a good fabric, with proper details, that fits you well enough, improve it with some alterations, put it in your closet and take it out on those 3-5 days a year when you really need it.
When going bespoke/MTM, in addition to improved fit, use the personalization possibilities offered by it. Do you really need a work suit? Maybe think about a jacket and some pants instead, a coordinates set that you will be able to use separately. Ok, sticking to the suit? Maybe go with the one in your favorite, subdued color - e.g. chocolate brown or one of the many shades of gray - or just other cloth than your regular worsted wool? Think about airy fresco, fuzzy flannel or crumbly cotton. Often no one that you don’t want to will truly notice the difference - but you and your #menswear friends will. Don't be afraid to stretch the boundaries, a safe choice is not necessarily the best choice.
Simply put, commission those pieces that you are sure you will enjoy wearing - not those that you think that should be needed.
Personally, I would rather have a brilliantly fitting, 100% mine, tailored tweed jacket in my favorite color, which I will wear throughout the winter season 2-3 times a week, than a formal suit that I take out of the closet 5 times a year or the navy blue hopsack blazer the blogger convinced me to.
Trust me, you too.
P.S. Just remember one thing - packing all the sartorial features you have always dreamed of into one (especially the first) tailored jacket is definitely not a good idea. No, ultra-wide lapels combined with an absolute lack of canvas and padding, no lining, spalla camicia, con rollino, 2.5 button closure and triple patch pockets, all in one, most likely won't look good and won't give you more respect points. Calm down!