Online tailor. Good or bad?

For any ambitious modern man, a friendly relationship with a good local tailor is important. Stand out in a crowd with a wardrobe that looks perfectly made just for your body. Being known to dress well can give you an advantage over the competition, as studies show that well dressed people are better treated, more trusted and assumed to be smarter than the average person.

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Your appearance is crucial in establishing your reputation as a competent individual! How you act is of course not to be overlooked, but let’s face it – people notice your looks before they get to know your personality. And the key to perfectly fitted garments is your tailor (and to not buy shit that doesn’t go well with your body type).

 

Personally, I take a lot of pride in dressing well. Whenever I put effort into suiting up, I can count on positive feedback. It’s always nice to have people come up and compliment me on my style. To be honest, mostly guys do it. I really appreciate it, since I know how few guys in general take the time compliment another guy. I think women are better at this than men. It seems like it takes a lot for a man to compliment another man, where as women do it to each other more casually. For every guy who gives a compliment, I think there could be 10 guys who probably would want to do it but hesitate.

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“What if I don’t have a tailor? And aren’t they expensive?”

If you are looking to craft a custom suit from scratch, then yes – tailors are VERY expensive. A suit from Saville row in London costs more than most cars. To look classy on a budget, there are thankfully some alternatives.

1. Buy a suit from the rack of your preferred store, and have a tailor make minor adjustments. This is not expensive, and usually doesn’t take a long time. It will not fit you perfectly, but it will still fit you better than the 98% of people who don’t bother to have the arm and leg lengths adjusted.

2. Try an online tailor! This is what the rest of this post is going to be about.

During the last year, I have explored the world of online tailoring and tried two suppliers to see if it’s something to incorporate into my clothing game. The idea of an online tailor has some appeal. Instead of visiting expensive real tailors, you can browse leisurely at home and play around with different cuts, fabrics, styles to make up your mind.

“How does it work?”

There are many suppliers to choose from. Most of them have a “suit simulator” where you can try the look of different colors and styles of your suit. When you have specified your choices of customization, you take your measurements and fill them in, and pay. The suit then takes a few weeks to be delivered (probably from Asia).

“Is it expensive?”

Compared to a traditional tailor, it’s dirt cheap. In many cases, an online tailored suit is even cheaper than a mass produced suit on the rack of any clothing store! But it is worth it? How is the quality? I tried two of the most common suppliers: www.itailor.com and www.suitopia.com. Read on to find out.

First out was Suitopia. I had been trying to find a 3 piece, traditional cut, double breasted pin striped gangster suit for years – good luck finding that in a clothing store these days. I was going on vacation to Chicago and I planned to celebrate 4th of July in my new suit. What better place to wear a suit like that than in Chicago? I can’t think of any. Inspiration to the idea actually came from a book on cocktails, by the Swedish author Per Morberg! Here is the photo:

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Website: 4/5
I liked it. Quite fast, good suit simulator.

Customization options: 3/5
Average. The usual and maybe some extra.

Selection of fabric: 5/5
They have some very cool fabrics to choose from!

Price: 3/5
Not the cheapest option out there.

Speed of delivery: 1/5
My suit was delivered later than promised. I didn’t receive it in time for my trip. But the customer service was very good, and accepted my request to cut the final price by 15% due to the inconvenience caused by the late delivery.

Fit: 2/5
I had to take it to my local tailor to have some work done. The sleeves were too long and really baggy and the shoulders were too wide and pointy. The pants fitted decently but were sewn a bit strange. Suitopia offers up to 60 EUR refund for tailor adjustments, but that didn’t cover the full cost. Too bad.

Quality: 4/5
I am satisfied with the craftsmanship. No loose threads, and the fabric was high quality. Feels well made.

Overall: 3.14 / 5.
They outsource their manufacturing to a Vietnam, and surprisingly enough the receipt from the local producer was still in my package. That means that I can figure out how big suitopia’s profit margin is on production. In my case, it’s more than 50%. If I remember correctly, the local Vietnamese price for a tailored 3 piece suit was 180$.  Why not cut the middleman and visit a real tailor next time you are in Asia? I sure will! Weighing in all the factors, I think it’s a bit too expensive to consider ordering from Suitopia again. I had to make quite a lot of costly adjustments and the suit still doesn’t fit as well as the ones from a local clothing store. Not worth another try.

I had the chance to wear it during a new years celebration in Poland with my best friend. Here’s how it turned out!

How about iTailor?
One of the best tv-series of fashion inspiration is Boardwalk Empire. I have been looking for a brown suit like they had in the 20’s for years without being able to find one – so I took matters into my own hands to create one. iTailor has one brown fabric so that was my plan! Check out Boardwalk Empire for some serious men’s fashion!

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Website: 2/5.
Slow and a bit user unfriendly. It was also auto-translated so I had a bit of a hard time to interpret some things.

Customization options: 5/5.
Crazy! You can order almost anything. Coats, shirts and even shoes. This is the only online tailor i found that offered the choice of Asian cut lapels on the jacket. Might have a go at that!

Fabric: 4/5.
Many good choices!

Price: 4/5.
Cheap!

Speed of delivery 4/5.
Nothing to complain about here.

Fit: 1/5.
Pants too small – that essentially renders the suit useless. Vest too short.

Quality: 1/5.
Sorry to say, but the fabric and craftsmanship left a lot to wish for. I have to give them credit for the packaging though. It came with a travel-case and shoe bag. Nice touch, but I didn’t like the wrinkles on the jacket.

Overall: 3/5.
I would consider ordering simple stuff here again, because it’s cheap. But I won’t take the risk on any important garments. I might try an Asian style jacket, for example. But no more suits..

Final conclusion:
I won’t incorporate any more online tailors into my game plan. It’s just too risky – you don’t know what you will get and it will very likely need a lot of adjustments. It might be different with more expensive providers, but that’s for somebody else to try. The next time I’m getting a custom suit from scratch, it will be from visiting a local Asian tailor when I’m on holiday. For now – I’m sticking to the mass produced rack and making minor adjustments at my local tailor in my city. She is a real pro and very reliable.

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