At some point in every man’s life, he should have the opportunity to have a suit that’s custom-made just for him. Off-the-rack suits can be tailored, true, but they just never replicate the perfect fit and personally chosen details of a made-to-measure piece. But when is the right time to buy a custom suit?
Of course, the short answer is always! But the more considered answer is that a custom suit is an investment, and the ideal times in one’s life to buy one are centred around making the most of that investment.
So what affects the lifespan of a suit?
The first thing is the quality of the construction and materials. 100% Merino wool suits will perform better over time—especially with heavier use—than polyester and be more comfortable to wear.
The second factor is how often the suit is worn. A suit worn 3-4 times a week for work will wear out faster than a tuxedo which is only revealed for special occasions.
The third thing that affects the return on your custom suit investment is the variation allowed in the measurements the suit is made to. That is to say, all suits have a certain seam allowance either way, to allow for alterations. But there are always hard limits in either direction, usually a few inches either way. To make a suit bigger, you would need material in the seam, and making a suit smaller will depend on the position of pockets and buttonholes. A suit custom-made for your body will always begin with the maximum allowance for alterations (as no initial tweaks are typically needed and key elements are positioned perfectly) but there’s still no doubt that over the course of our lives, our bodies change a bit over time.
Therefore, the best time to invest in a custom suit is during periods over which our bodies are likely to maintain reasonably similar proportions. We can also factor in the use the suit will see to determine the overall advantage. Below you’ll find examples of the typical life stages ripe for a custom suit purchase, and why they’re ideal times to make the leap into custom clothing—or add to your collection.
The Young Adult (24-26)
The key timing here is the end of that last growth spurt before you settle on your adult height. You’ve probably also settled into your lifestyle and habits, which also influence your overall proportions, so your overall frame is unlikely to change too significantly over the next decade or so. The suit you got for high school graduation is tight across the shoulders and you’ve let the hem out all the way but still can’t cover your socks, and you’re probably starting to take the first major steps in your career.
There are a few good reasons to save up for a custom-made suit, or at the very least, invest in a quality tailored suit at this stage. Having a well-fitted suit will serve you well for job interviews, formal events and dates. Especially in the corporate world, the edge it gives you in a presentation can be the difference between landing that promotion and being passed over, and the confidence boost of stepping out in a suit made especially for you could be the boost you need to go out and chase your dreams. As for timing around events, you might be graduating from university—a custom suit will serve you well both for the ceremony and future job interviews—or just moving up in the company you’ve been with in your early twenties. You may even anticipate a few weddings among family or friends, and having a well-fitted suit at the ready will take the stress out of planning your attire for those.
The suit you buy here is most likely going to be a tried-and-true staple like charcoal or navy, with no particular style quirks. There’s no reason you can’t opt for something more exciting, but keep in mind that this makes it more obvious if you only have the one. You can put a lot of variation into your styling in terms of shirts and accessories for a much lower cost than trying new suits, and experimenting with your style here is much easier. If you think you’ll be wearing your suit every week and can manage the extra cost, buying two pairs of pants can be a good idea here, but it is by no means compulsory. It’ll help your suit last that full decade by letting you rotate the most hard-working piece, getting as much value as possible from your made-to-measure suit.
Wedding Ready (28-36)
It’s no coincidence that this life stage coincides with the peak marrying age. Even if you’re not personally expecting to tie the knot, you may see many friends and acquaintances engaged, and a good custom suit will get you to all of those weddings without a worry.
If it is for your own wedding, there’s no better time to go custom. It’s your day, after all, and you want to look perfect in all of those photos! The best part? You can wear your wedding suit again to other weddings and events, especially if you wear a three-piece on the big day. This is usually the first—and often last—time many people invest in a custom garment, so take the opportunity!
Often people still opt for versatile options here, but don’t be afraid to go for the green tweed suit or grey check three-piece you’ve always dreamed of! Make full use of the ‘custom’ in a custom suit and play with the details to express your personality and make your wedding photos something to remember.
The Established Man (35-38)
We don’t all move through life at the same pace, so the age range widens here. Whether it’s the dad bod, hard work at the gym or a decade at a desk that’s starting to put a strain on your wedding suit, this is the stage where lifestyle factors catch up to you but you typically still have a good decade or two before the next major changes.
You can opt to have your wedding suit altered if you had one (and if you’re just wearing a suit to the occasional event, you may be able to get away with it) but if you wear suits regularly or haven’t had one made yet, it’s a great time to go custom. You probably know what you like by this point, and have gone through the staple navies and charcoals, so it could be an opportunity to branch into a subtle—or not-so-subtle—pattern or a new colour like brown, light grey, or brighter blues.
The Older Gent (45-55)
Ah, middle age. Once you hit second, or even third puberty, you may find that the custom suit you purchased in your younger years no longer affords the same dignity it once did. The slim fit just cuts you in all the wrong places or the brighter shade of blue draws attention you’d rather pass on. Maybe you have children getting married, or you just want to treat yourself to a nice suit for any milestone birthdays, weddings, or date nights where you want to look your best.
A custom suit is a great way to look your best in your autumn years, whether you’re winding down your career, taking more trips or enjoying a custom suit made just for you, to embrace the changes that life has brought you.
Whatever your event situation or life stage, the friendly stylists at Briggins can help you find the right custom suit for your needs. Reach out by phone at 1300 452 251 or via email at email@example.com for any questions!