Archives: Myths of custom

What’s the difference between Bespoke and MTM?

stay cool in a suit

As a custom clothing provider we are often asked about the difference between bespoke and made to measure (MTM) clothing. And while they may seem to be synonymous, there really are some big differences.

Let’s start with made-to-measure.

What is made-to-measure?

When a suit is described as made-to-measure, or MTM, it means that some number of your measurements have been taken and that the garment will be cut from a pre-existing, standard pattern that is then altered to roughly fit your measurements. The key term here is pre-existing, which simply implies that the pattern used to make your clothes is not unique. Instead, your vendor is beginning with an approximate pattern and going from there.

bespoke suits are different from made to measure

Generally speaking, a large amount of machine work is involved in made-to-measure garments with a limited amount of hand work. What does this mean regarding the construction of your suit? Machine sewing usually results in a relatively lifeless coat – it’s not going to have a very good drape. Whereas hand-sewn jackets will look and feel better, moving as if they are a part of you.

In summation…

Made-to-measure suiting:

  • Only a handful of basic measurements are taken: Sleeve length, jacket sides, pant waist size, etc.
  • A standard suit size is selected and then altered to generally fit you

That being said, let’s take a look at what bespoke clothing is.


Bespoke, or custom garments, are a different story altogether. All of your required measurements are taken (20) and then a pattern is fashioned from scratch specifically for you.

The word bespoke is derived from the verb to bespeak or to “speak for something.” When one would choose a length of material, it was said to have been spoken for. Therefore, a tailor who makes your clothes individually, to your specific personal requirements, is said to be using a bespoke method.

Using your individual pattern, the cloth is then cut and trimmed and the appropriate parts of the garment sewn together.

Simply put, what makes a bespoke suit so unique, is that it’s the result of skills that only a trained hand can perform.

working buttons on bespoke suit

What this means to you is really two things:

Firstly, that the fit of your suit will be completely unique to you and your contour. It will fit exactly as you want it to. For some men this is a very slim and modern fit. For others, they take advantage of the bespoke process to subtly conceal certain areas and accentuate others.

Secondly, bespoke clothing offers a man full control over a long list of details and customizations: Lapel width, thread color, pick stitching, working button holes, button selection, lining selection, and so on.

Your list of options can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

Bespoke suiting:

  • A large amount of hand work
  • 20 measurements go into the making of each suit
  • Suits are created without the use of a pre-existing pattern. Bespoke clothing is traditionally cut from a pattern that is drafted from scratch for each client.
  • Complete customization regarding lining, fabric, thread color, etc.

accent button holes

Wrap up

I hope this article helped to shed some light on the difference between bespoke and made to measure clothing. And most importantly, now you can be educated in your search for your next suit. Whether it’s with us or someone else, we want you to be well informed.

Men who try bespoke tailoring often become lifetime advocates, simply because no off-the-rack garment or made to measure suit can even come close.

And remember, when you work with Ron, you are working with a man whose experience in menswear is pushing 40 years. You’ll also receive some scrap fabric with your suit to prove that it was cut from a unique pattern.

The biggest difference between bespoke and made to measure is that the former is really an art form. And proven experience is really the only way to get it right.

Dress sharp, guys.

By Ryan Wagner

Unique linings on a bespoke suit

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Why we don’t sell suits online

custom wedding suit your new style

We don’t compromise.

That’s what makes BE, BE.

It’s a lesson my father taught Brett and I when were were still young.

We could sell suits online, but…

We would not be able to stand behind the fit.

And that’s very important to us. Our reputation is built on great fitting clothes.

Sure, we could put in the time and energy to build out an online customization process for ordering suits. We could build in options for surgeon cuffs and lapel options, and so on. And we could make videos to teach a friend how to measure you.

But we just don’t think that the finished product would fit you like you had imaged.

To better understand our reluctance to sell suits online, consider a typical BE appointment:

Ron meets with you in your home or office and gets an idea for what it is you’re looking to accomplish. And the occasion. Once you decide on a fabric and appropriate style details, then Ron pulls out the tape measure. For the shirt, the process is relatively straight forward.

However, a suit can get a whole lot more complicated. Ron takes 21 measurements. The whole time he’s pulling the tape measure across you, he’s applying “the art form.”

A little tolerance here, a little tolerance there…

All a function of your posture and the line of your shoulders.

It all adds up in a way that will meet (or exceed) your expectations in fit. These tolerances are based on your conversation with Ron – the occasion, your sense of style, your goals – all integrated together to constitute your measurement profile, one as individual as your own signature.

That’s tough to do in an online store.

We won’t ship unless we are sure the fit is correct

Sometimes, we’ll ship your shirts to you. But only if you’ve purchased clothes from us before. Why? Because we want to be sure that the fit is perfect.

That’s why for new clients, Ron will always personally deliver the suit, shirt, pants – whatever it may be – so he can be sure you’re happy with what you ordered. The second time around, if it’s more convenient for you, we can ship your order via FedEx.

But for suits, they just aren’t something we are willing to ship. Instead, we take the time to freshly steam your suit purchase and make sure it’s looking like a million bucks. Then, Ron will deliver it to you in a valet cover and you’ll get to see it in all its glory.

Other ways that we refuse to compromise

  • Ron could end the appointment the moment his parking meter expires, but that would be compromising your experience.
  • We could save some money by not offering any further tailoring, but that would be compromising.
  • We could offer you fewer fabrics, but that would be compromising.
  • We could tell you that we’re only available for appointments Monday through Friday, but that would be compromising.
  • We could choose to partner with any vendor we wanted to – including those that may not reflect our same level of quality in their product – but that too, would be compromising.

And you could shop at the mall for your suit, but we know you don’t want to compromise either….!


From all of us at The Bespoke Edge, we want to remind you that we are in it for the long haul.

You’ve put your trust in us, and so it is our duty to you to never compromise. To keep exceeding your expectations, day after day.

By Ryan Wagner

Featured image credit: Ash Imagery

Why men don’t like buying suits

Buying a suit, whether it’s custom, made to measure, or off-the-rack, can be rather intimidating. After all, it’s not something that happens very often. Even those of us that own more than one suit aren’t buying one every month – certainly not when the Colorado cycling season is upon us!

As you may expect, I’ve spent some time thinking about this topic. And, no surprise here :), but I’ve managed to come up with a number of theories. Really, I think it boils down to two reasons.

1. Guys don’t know what they’re doing.

The first reason is a little tough for us to admit. After all, as all guys know, we never need to ask for directions because we always know exactly where we are, it just may not be as obvious to others.

That being said, a lot of guys looking to buy a new suit may feel as though they have no clue what’s going on. But we think that knowing how to shop for and wear a suit is something that we SHOULD know all about.

But don’t be too hard on yourself. Soft skills like knowing how a suit should fit and when you can pull off a velvet blazer aren’t the hard skills coded onto the Y chromosome of every man – ones like knowing how to grill a T-bone and understanding exactly how much you can tie to the roof of your car.

No point is more central than this:

Knowing how to dress well is something you have to learn.

(I’m sure even James Bond had a mentor that showed him the ropes at one point.)

In the old days, most guys did have a tailor. Just like they had a trusted barber and a butcher that knew them by name.

When you buy a custom shirt or suit, you aren’t just buying the product, you are also buying the service. This should be true no matter where you do your shopping.

If you have questions, you should be able to ask them. Are you curious what Super 110s are? Ask! Have you heard that there is a special way to fold a pocket square? Ask you tailor about it. By the way, there is no ‘right’ way to fold a pocket square, just better ways :).

In any case, your tailor should be your mentor and your source for education. If they can’t provide personalized service and teach you something each time you work with them, then you better find yourself another tailor.

And as you start to learn more about suits and dressing like a real man, you begin to realize that this sort of thing is nothing new at all. Men have had working relationships with their tailors for hundreds of years, so why stop now?

If education is one roadblock for the modern man when it comes to shopping for a suit, that can’t be the only reason, right? This leads us to my number two reason men don’t like buying suits:

2. I don’t have the right physique for a custom suit!

Now, us guys are going to feel one of two things. Either we think we will look awesome in a custom tailored suit, or, well, maybe not so awesome. In the case of the latter, guys may be a little concerned that maybe their less than perfect features will be brought into focus (beer belly, not-so-athletic butt, etc).

This is completely understandable. After all, what’s the point of buying a nice suit if you aren’t going to feel confident wearing it?

Here’s what you need to know:

A custom suit can show off your best assets AND hide those that aren’t.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are currently working on building a nice solid pair of shoulders. You’re busy putting in the requisite time in the gym, but it’s going to take some time. In the interim, your suit can help out. Investing in a full canvas suit with a peaked lapel style will help to create the image that your shoulders are wider than they really are.

Or, say you are looking to add a few virtual inches to your height. You can choose a suit with a subtle pinstripe pattern to help elongate your figure. The stripes help to create the perception of length and slimness.

The takeaway

Buying a suit can seem like an intimidating task. You may feel that as a man you are supposed to understand all the nuances of menswear and style. But the truth is that you just need to start somewhere. And finding a trusted tailor that can help guide you is key.

The right menswear expert can be someone that can answer your questions, help to guide you and most importantly, give you a great looking set of clothes that will help you to define your own personal brand.

Wearing a nicely tailored suit is just one of the perks of being a guy. It’s right up there with being able to write your name in the snow and the privilege to recline in your chair and thoughtfully stroke your beard.

If you chose to read this blog then I’m guessing your closet is devoid of a suit that you are proud to call your own. Perhaps now is the time to join the ranks of men around the world and see how easy it is to be the best dressed guy around.

By Ryan Wagner

Do you find tailored suits intimidating for a different reason? Let us know what we’re missing.

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4 myths about buying custom clothes

When I was just a young (although still very well dressed) little boy, I had absolutely no chance of wearing custom clothes. You see, custom was something only for James Bond who would shop on Savile Row as casually as I’d imagine him picking up his dry cleaning.

Whether it was a cultural roadblock or purely the economics of getting tailored clothes across the Atlantic, men’s custom clothing in the United States just wasn’t popular among folks like you and I.

But in the past 10 years, and really in just the last 5 years I would argue, the scene has dramatically changed.

Bottom line: It has become less expensive to build fine clothing in the USA.

What this means for you, the modern man, is that you can now enjoy wearing a custom dress shirt or suit that fits you and you alone. If you work out and want to show off your physique, then go ahead, show it off. And if you want a fit that’s a little more relaxed yet won’t act as a sail on a windy day and lift you right off the street, you can do that too.

Admittedly, this is a new world for most men who are used to buying off the rack clothing. Many guys have questions about the process and what to expect when working with Ron. So, we at BE have taken it upon ourselves to squash some of the more common myths about buying custom clothes.

So here they are, the 4 myths about buying custom clothes:

1) Is my appointment going to take half a day?!

Most appointments are generally in the neighborhood of 1 hour for a custom dress shirt or pair of pants and closer to two hours for a suit.

But it really depends on the individual. There is obviously a lot of opportunity for a guy to have fun and design his own shirt or suit. So the length of an appointment will really be determined by how decisive you are. Do you know what shirt you are looking for? Piece of cake. Schedule an appointment for your lunch hour and let’s make it happen. Or maybe you think you’ll need to take your time? That’s fine too. Ron can help guide you in this process and so can this fine blog :).

Regardless, Ron is here to help. He’s always committed to getting the job done – no matter how long it takes.

2) There are only a couple measurements involved.

The BE measurement process is very thorough and detailed and includes up to 20 measurements for a suit.

“I take photos of each customer for reference and I examine his profile, posture and overall body shape to determine other fit allowances that are important,” says Ron.

Whether it’s a suit, pair of pants or shirt, building an article of clothing isn’t easy. It takes experience and attention to detail. There are no shortcuts. That’s why we are committed to getting your measurements just right.


3) Ron is just like the salesman at the store, right?

Nope. Ron is not just working with you to sell you a shirt or suit. He’s there to help you look your very best and help you with your own personal brand.

This involves evaluating your sense of style. What kind of fit do you want? Slim and modern (think: Madmen) or more relaxed? It’s entirely up to you. And whether you are looking for something casual or dressed up. There are so many things that go into Ron’s guidance – 37 years worth – that you really need to just dive in to see just how Ron can help you out.

“My passion in menswear has always been getting to know the individual. I have been so fortunate in my career that I have clients from decades ago that still seek me out for my services. That’s something really special,” according to Ron.


4) So I get to choose from a couple dozen fabrics?

Not even close. Our shirt fabrics are in the hundreds, but don’t worry, Ron will quickly guide you to what is right for you. For instance, a white shirt is not just a white shirt. We have 42 different styles of white to choose from.

Suit are a another story all their own. Fabrics range from Australian and New Zealand merino wools to linens and superfine cottons. Pretty much every style and weight you can imagine.


There you have it. Four myths busted.

Before you know it, you’ll be decked out in all custom and look as comfortable as James Bond drinking a mint julep on Kentucky Derby day.

Did we miss something? Myth #5? Send us an email and let us know what’s on your mind.

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By Ryan Wagner