Archives: Suits

Fused versus canvas construction – what’s the difference?

fused construction sport coat

There’s a horse in your suit jacket, did you know that?

Well, if your suit jacket is constructed with what’s called canvas, then the statement above is true to an extent.

But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

This week, we’re talking suit construction. More specifically, we’re talking about what I would call the very foundation of a suit jacket – whether the suit has a fused or canvas-style construction.

This is important because the drape and “hang” of your suit will be directly impacted by its construction technique. This includes how the suit conforms to your body over time and how it will stand up to dry cleaning.

Is one method inherently better than the other? Well, it really depends on what your needs are.

Canvas construction

On our suits webpage you may have noticed that we offer what is called canvas horse hair construction. So, what exactly is that?

Horse hair canvas is springy, but strong and resilient, and is used to develop that “soft roll” when shaping garments. This is in stark contrast to a crease – something that is common in off-the-rack suits.

It’s actually made from horse hair that has been fused together to create a thin sheet. Much like your suit fabric, it’s cut to the appropriate pattern and then stitched with the fabric. Since we are a Colorado company, allow me to explain this further in terms of cold weather coats. When you buy a warm ski jacket, you’re generally going to have two parts – the outer shell (water and tear resistant) and the inner layer that is more about keeping you warm via insulation. Similarly, men’s suits typically have two layers – the outer wool fabric and the inner canvas. The job of the canvas is to keep the shape of the suit.

horse hair canvas suiting

The takeaway is that horsehair canvas has some integrity. That it stands up on its own (say, when folded over) and will help give your suit jacket some life.

And at BE, our canvas construction is always treated with cold water to keep the canvas from shrinking.

Fused construction

Many manufacturers have gone the way of fused construction. This method involves fusing an interlining to the woolen shell. Early industry attempts at fused construction have led to mixed results. Critics like to point to “bubbling” in jackets – a phenomenon that occurs after repeated dry-cleaning where the fused material will delaminate (the glue losing its adhesion) resulting in an unsightly rippling of the fabric.

But like so many things in life, a fused jacket is not just a fused jacket. That is, some manufacturers have developed very adequate techniques for manufacturing fused jackets.

At BE, we are very pleased to say that our fused jackets have never shown any signs of bubbling. They have shown excellent shape and contour.

The difference

So, what does all of this really mean? If you’re in the market for a suit, you’re going to need to make a decision. If you’re on a budget, then a fused construction will save you some money and still serve as a great introduction to bespoke suiting.

However, to get the real experience of what a fine suit can be, we recommend opting for a full-canvas construction. The coat will have life, hold its shape superbly, and best of all, it will conform to your body after repeated wearings.

Wrap up

If you’re looking for the best looking suit available, one that will conform to your body and last a very long time, then there’s no doubt that a full canvas suit is the best pick. There’s a lot of history behind horse hair canvas construction, and the fact that industry is still manufacturing men’s suits in this way, is a testament to the inherent quality behind a canvassed suit jacket.

Have more questions on this topic? Here’s how to get in touch with us.

Further reading

Fused vs. canvas suits – The Art of Manliness

Trend report: The new suit culture

working buttons on bespoke suit

“I didn’t sell a single suit all last week.”

That’s what I overhead at a department store last month from the menswear salesman. Apparently, no one bought a new suit that week.

Just reading that quote, you’re probably thinking one of two things:

  1. Can that be true? Can a big department store with luxury items really not move a single men’s suit in a week?
  2. And what was Ryan doing there in the first place?!

In reference to the first item, I can’t say for sure. Two salespeople were gossiping and I happened to hear the banter. So take that quote with a grain of salt.

And in reference to what I was doing there, well, I happen to have a need to buy underpants from time to time, just like any other guy.

Regardless of the accuracy of this quote, the takeaway is that business wasn’t good on the men’s side for this popular department store.

So then, where are guys buying suits these days? How has suit culture changed in recent years?

And don’t tell me that nobody wears suits anymore, because lots of men still do.

In the years since BE has been in business, we have seen many competitors come and go. Some local, but many national. Some bootstrapped, some VC-funded. I think that the simple existence of so many businesses geared towards offering custom suits is strong evidence for the growing market and the trend.

The simple truth is that men are shopping differently. They don’t want to go to a store.

They want to buy clothes that have a story behind them.

Now, I know what you’re saying, “Of course Ryan would write about this, it’s his business!” And that’s completely true, custom suiting is my business and I have a bias on this subject. However, I encourage you to take a look around and perform an informal survey.

Ask your friends and colleagues where they purchased their suit or shirt. Was it from one of the big national brands? An online provider? Local place?

Regardless of their answer, follow up by asking where they will purchase their next suit or shirt.

I think you’ll begin to paint a picture similar to what I’ve written above and see that there really is a change in our suit culture.

Wrap up

As department stores become more and more quiet in the men’s section, where will you shop? Are you ready to work one-on-one with an expert and build a sartorial relationship? Obviously, we’d be honored if it was with us, but above all else, we want you to look your best. Find someone you trust, choose fabrics based on your instinct, and have fun.

By Ryan Wagner

Thoughts? Did I hit the nail on the head? What’s the suit culture like in your community, or better yet, how have you seen it change over the past 5 – 10 years? Sound off in the comment s below.

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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

Questions? We’re always here to help. Contact Ron today at 970-231-4588 or

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Everything he needs to know about finding the right wedding suit


Originally published on

Recently engaged? Congratulations! As you dive into the wedding planning, you’ll probably begin with the big ticket items — the venue, the photographer, the caterer, etc. But one item that is often left until the very end is finding the right wedding suit or tuxedo. What will he wear? Will he be pulling something from his closet or renting or buying? And what’s appropriate? A suit, a tuxedo, a vest with tie, something else entirely?!

Don’t worry. When it comes to finding the right wedding suit or tuxedo for your groom, it can be relatively straightforward. However, there are some things that you will want to keep in mind. And the earlier you begin this process the better.

All you need to remember going into this is that your groom’s wedding suit is going to be something very special. The following tips are some of the most useful tidbits of advice that I can provide to give you some practical guidance. So, read this article carefully, share it with your fiance, and you’ll be well on your way to having a sharply dressed groom waiting for you down the aisle.

How formal will your wedding be?

Black tie or country casual? Beach or ballroom? These are some of the venue questions that you’ll be asking yourself (or maybe you already have!). It should come as no surprise that the level of formality of your venue will go hand in hand with your wedding day attire. What this means for your fiance is that he will need to consider the wedding’s level of formality when choosing what he will wear.

As you may expect, a very formal wedding will likely equate to a black tie event, but what about a very casual wedding? Or someplace between the two extremes? Let’s go over a few examples.


For discussion’s sake, let’s take a look at a beach wedding.

Your groom will need a breathable fabric to keep him comfortable; something like a linen or a cotton. And his shoes will probably be relatively casual as well — after all, the two of you may be standing in the sand! Also, I’d recommend opting for a tan or some other light colored fabric to refer to the beach theme.


But what if you’re someplace between a formal, black tie event, and the beach? You’re probably not going to be wearing a tuxedo. And maybe you’re considering a venue outside. It could be a grassy open space — a ranch, a chic barn, etc.

In this instance, something that I see quite often is a groom choosing a 3-piece wedding suit. Now this may seem quite formal, but not if he chooses a softer shade in something like a gray tone or navy. And steer clear of pin stripes; they belong in the office.


This is the look that you’re probably most familiar with. It’s what you see at a lot of weddings and has become a standard. On one end of the spectrum, you have a full tuxedo with a black bow tie, and on the other end, a dark suit.

A tuxedo is probably self explanatory, but what about the dark suit? A dark wedding suit will be pretty special. Go for one with peaked lapels, which will give the jacket a formal and confident look. In addition, it will be made with a very fine and soft fabric — something smooth to the touch, almost like silk.

Sample attire for a black tie event

Fit is the most important thing

It doesn’t matter whether your groom wears a suit, tuxedo, vest, or even a t-shirt — the fit must be right. Sloppy clothes — baggy shirts, short sleeves, pants that are too long, etc — don’t just look bad, they obscure the man wearing them! You want people to see your groom on your wedding day, not him in a suit that doesn’t fit well. And when clothes appear a bit sloppy looking, it can be very noticeable and distracting both in person, and in the photos afterwards.

So, what can you do? When it comes to wedding suits and tuxedos, it’s best to consult with an expert. Regardless of where you end up shopping, make sure you can find someone who can help your groom get an amazing fit. And if you’re reusing something that’s already in the closet, the same advice applies. Sometimes some careful tailoring can update an older suit, but always be honest with yourself — if it just doesn’t look right, then it may be time to go shopping.

Splurge, just a little

Almost all couples have to stick to a wedding budget, but one area that I can justify spending a little more in is the clothing, be it your wedding gown or your groom’s suit. In the years after your wedding, you probably won’t remember much about the food you served your guests or the table settings, but you will remember what you wore because you’ll have so many wonderful photos.

Personally, I think that a very special day calls for special clothing. This doesn’t mean that your groom needs to wear a ridiculously expensive suit, but spending a bit more than you would on a day-to-day basis is part of what makes your wedding special for you as well as for your future husband.

A great watch and cufflinks will elevate your wedding day attire

Finding the right wedding suit

I hope this post gets you thinking a bit about your groom’s outfit on the big day and helps you in finding the right wedding suit. Tailoring of store-bought suits can take upwards of a week, and custom suiting can take up to 6 weeks. So, the sooner you start thinking about menswear the better. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to send your questions my way!

Did you enjoy this post? Then you may also enjoy reading about some of the easy ways that your groom can look his best on the big day.

By Ryan Wagner

Photo credit: Emily Sacco Photography