What is the Difference Between a Custom Suit and a Bespoke Suit?

A custom tailor will often loosely use the term bespoke when referring to a custom garment. Although the two ways to create a garment are siimlar, there are some key differences you should note. It’s best to do your research and know what truly is the difference between custom and bespoke tailoring.

What exactly is a Custom Suit vs. a Bespoke Suit?

The custom suit process begins by having measurements taken of your body and deciding how you want your garments to fit. Each garment is created specifically to these body measurements taken by an expert tailor. The custom suit or custom garment arrives finished and any fit changes needed will be altered by a tailor.

So what is a Bespoke Suit?

Originating on Savile Row in London, Bespoke means “to be spoken for” and brings a whole new meaning to the Power Suit.

A truly made Bespoke suit is the best fitting garment you can get.   Multiple basted fittings are done with an unfinished garment to ensure that the it fits perfectly in every way.  A basted fitting is a fitting with a garment that is loosely stitched together with white basting thread. It is called the basted fitting because, at this point, the suit is temporarily stitched together with white basting thread.

Although measurements had previously been taken, the basted fitting will be the first time you actually get to try on your custom suit, fitting notes can be made, and the basting thread can be easily removed for adjustments prior to finishing the garment's seams for final delivery.

We Offer Both Custom Suits and Bespoke Suits Made in Chicago

Esquire magazine has recommended us exclusively in Chicago for Bespoke Suits in their Big Black Book of Style.  Once your fabric arrives from the mill in Italy, or other origin, the suit never leaves Chicago.  Our Chicago Master Tailor will create an exceptional and unique bespoke suit just for you that is hand cut, fitted, and sewn, right here in Chicago.  We actually have clients that fly in just for our bespoke service.

Besides making the bespoke suit in Chicago, the primary difference is that the fabric is cut by hand according to your body and measurements, and the garment arrives basted, or loosely sewn, together. At the fitting we assess and see if any adjustments need to be made and the tailor does this as he finishes the garment.  Certain body types may require more fittings than others, but it’s truly the best possible fit if you have a difficult body type.

Our custom suit tailors works exclusively for us since we started in 2005. His team of cutters and apprentices make the majority of our custom suits, in addition to all our true custom shirts. When the garment arrives for a fitting, it is fully made, but can be adjusted easily. If we need to make any adjustment to enhance the fit of the garment, our Master Tailor does that here in house and then a paper pattern is kept on file for easy re-order.

How much does a bespoke suit cost?

Our bespoke suits made in Chicago are our premier line and start at $2795.

Top 3 Benefits of Choosing our Bespoke Suits

1. Superior Fit:

Fittings are performed with unfinished basted garments, allowing our team to perfect your fit during the process.

2. Handmade to Your Body and Preferences:

Approximately 50 man hours go into each bespoke suit from our Chicago Master Tailor and his team of cutters, sewers, and buttonhole makers.  The team pays special attention to each of your measurements as well as your personal style appointments.

3. Increased Confidence:

When you look good, you feel good. Bespoke tailoring brings a man to his full potential and allows him to focus on the task at hand, knowing he is presenting his best self to his audience. 

Nicholas Joseph joins the Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Companies

Nicholas Joseph joins the Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Companies

We're honored and excited to be part of the 2016 Inc. Magazine 5000 fastest growing companies in America. 

The 2016 Inc. 5000 are the superheroes of the U.S. economy. America’s fastest-growing private companies wield powers like strategy, service, and innovation. On this list you’ll find businesses that exercise the body and the mind, push the boundaries of virtual reality and 3-D printing, and delight fans with rock concerts and (in the case of the No. 1 company, LootCrate) superheroes. Thrill to these companies' amazing exploits--and learn a thing or two about the hard, real work.  See the full article here, Introducing the Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Companies  See our listing here, Nicholas Joseph Custom Tailors - Chicago, IL

Congrats to all Chicago companies that made the list! See Chicago's other Inc 5000 companies here: http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2016/metro/chicago/


How much does a Custom Shirt cost?

Custom Shirt display at Nicholas Joseph in Chicago

Custom Shirt display at Nicholas Joseph in Chicago

How Much Does a Custom Shirt Cost?

Like custom suits & other custom clothing, the cost of a custom shirt varies depending upon fabric and craftmanship (labor & materials). When purchasing custom clothing, the adage, "You get what you pay for", certainly applies, but there are a full range of cost options available.

Who is Measuring, Cutting, Sewing, & Fitting?

If you are serious about your shirting, you'll quickly realize that it's about more than just the fabric and craftsmanship, it's also about the measurements, discussion about fit preference, and shirt tailor doing the cutting. After all, you could pay a thousand dollars for several custom shirts, but if the original measurements, the fit allowance, and the shirt tailor cutting the fabric doesn't have the experience, you will likely end up very frustrated - we hear these stories all the time from new clients' previous experiences with online, discount, or single salesperson custom shirt sellers.

Are they True Custom Shirts or factory made to measure?

There is a huge difference.  True custom shirts have specific measurements taken and a paper pattern is made specifically for each client.  Over time, multiple paper patterns are made a single client, for either different fit preferences or body change.  True custom shirts are hand cut by a shirt tailor, the fabric's design or pattern is lined up at the seams, and you'll notice by the small bump in the collar tip that they are folded, not cut, to create a luxurious appearance.  Made to measure is simply an existing size pattern that has small changes applied to it when the shirt is made in the factory.  All of our clients have noticed a huge difference between our True Custom Shirts and any factory made to measure shirts they have had in the past.

Are the Custom Shirts made with 100% cotton or better?

If you pay for a shirt to be custom made for you, it should be two ply 100% cotton at the very least - be sure to ask about fabric quality. Additionally, beware of many discount 'custom shirts' that are actually factory made to measure with poly-cotton blends or single ply cotton - they will look thin and inexpensive.  You can also tell the difference by checking the collars and cuffs for strong seams created by folded collar tips and strong interlining.

How much does a Custom Shirt cost?  Or how much should a Custom Shirt cost?

Our custom shirts start at $119 and go up to $450, depending on fabric selected. We have a dedicated family of shirt tailors that create individual paper patterns, cut the fabric, and sew exclusively for Nicholas Joseph custom shirts, and our clients come from around the world because they notice the difference - and value. Our custom shirts each require 12 hours of shirt tailor bench time, so in our opinion, a custom shirt that is decent should not cost less than $119 - and that's a tremendous value.

How can I learn more about Custom Shirts?

The best way to learn more is to make an appointment with a local custom tailor, or if you're in the Chicago area, Request an Appointment and meet with one of our Designers who will show you all finished shirts, fabrics, and design options.