What’s the difference between Bespoke and MTM?

By on February 4th, 2016

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.

Unique linings on a bespoke suit

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

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