While the term “bespoke” has come to describe any piece of clothing that underwent some degree of personalisation and alteration, it is actually a very loose definition of the word. Savile Row bespoke tailors in London like the Hidalgo Brothers would probably object to anyone other than actual bespoke craftsmen using the term to describe their products. To understand their point of view, Modern Gentleman published an article on the differences between the various types of suits available, emphasising the hard work and high quality that goes into a real bespoke suit:
Ultimate tailoring experience is a bespoke suit. This experience will cost you a lot but you will get a suit that is one of a kind and if done right and with high quality materials it can last you a lifetime.
These suits are designed and made by hand by experienced cutters and tailors. You will have to go through 4 fittings where your measurements will be taken and the suit will be altered until if fits you like a glove.
Creating bespoke suits for London customers takes skill and experience, something one does not simply get from any tailor. There are a few things you can expect when you’re planning to buy a bespoke suit. First, you will be asked about every aspect of the suit, starting from fabrics down to the buttons you want. Fortunately, the number of fabric suppliers for men’s suits is a small one; there are several brands that you should look into like Dormeuil and Zegna to ensure you make an informed decision. Some shops even have display books that have sections of fabric for your inspection. Moreover, the tailor will also be able to advise you on considerations like the cut and style that the suit can incorporate.
Second, measurements will take time. You want a suit that makes you look good, and this would require accurate measuring. The normal number of measurements is 30, while those with larger frames will need 50 measurements. After the suit is completed, you’ll be doing some fittings for any needed alterations. All of this ensures that when you walk out of a bespoke tailor’s shop, the suit will flatter your figure and make you look good.
Finally, perfection takes a while. Don’t come into a shop expecting your suit to be done in a week. It takes over 75 man-hours to finish a suit. Combine that with the other orders that a tailor has, you can expect a six-week turnaround on your order. This means that if you plan to wear that suit to a wedding, you have to order several months ahead.
(Source: Differences Between off the Rack, Made to Measure and Bespoke Suits, Modern Gentleman)