All living beings are a part of nature, and nature is creative. No two living beings are alike. For humans, appearance is a result of heredity and environment.
For instance, an American will be different from a Japanese individual in terms of height and structure, complexion and features. Hair and hair style also contributes to making a person what he is.
Along with physical characteristics, the environment also plays an important part in physical appearance. Social norms regarding what is considered beautiful or good looking play their role in individual choices. These vary from culture to culture, country to country.
Another factor that determines appearance is lifestyle choices. An individual who spends a lot of time outdoors in pursuit of sports will definitely have a very different physique. Physical workouts will result in a lean, fit, muscular body with strong shoulders and thighs.
Then, of course, the state of the mind affects the personality. Happiness will create a positive aura.
When there are so many factors affecting build and appearance, how can two people be alike?
Given that people are so different, why should their dress be the same?
Clothing is an outward expression of one’s personality. Casual, formal, party wear are all indicative of the person we are. The way a person is dressed, be it formal, conservative, fashionably, trendy, casual or sportswear, pretty much reveals the personality to the onlooker.
Casual clothing is sufficient for one’s day to day life. What is critical is a formal occasion, where the individual would like to make an impression and leave his mark. Such occasions could be weddings and family functions, important business meetings or even social engagements.
The question now is, what are the kinds of choices available for men for formal wear, for those important occasions where the outcome is of utmost importance?
The options for formal clothing are ready to wear, made to measure and bespoke.
The first, ready to wear or off the rack, is as the name suggests. These are mass produced, stitched to standard sizes and are readily available in stores. The cut and style are predetermined along with the kind of material. Sometimes options are available with regard to color and designs, but choices are usually limited.
The advantages are the convenience of availability and cost as these are produced in bulk. However, the disadvantage is that the material is mostly of common variety. The measurements taken are standard, so the fit may not be a perfect one. A ready to wear suit can be altered minimally. Individuals whose builds do not fall in the standard measurements find it a challenge. Also, the available choices may not be to the individual’s liking and not be what he had in mind.
Moreover, the sentiment that clothes are an expression of one’s personality is hardly fulfilled with ready to wear suits. If commonly available in the market, they can hardly be termed exclusive and expressive of oneself.
The second option is made to measure. Here, the individual visits the store, gives his measurements, selects material of his choice and a few weeks later the suit is stitched and ready. These suits are stitched from block patterns after making adjustments for individual body type.
The advantages of this type of suits are a much better fit and a personal choice of material and design, a suit which is exactly what the individual desires.
The disadvantage is that though the fit is better than ready to wear, yet it may not be a perfect fit. Measurements are taken at the outlet and the suit is stitched elsewhere. Also there is no opportunity for a trial to check the fitting in the stitching stage.
The third option is bespoke which is a totally customised suit. Here the individual has complete freedom in choice of material, design even down to the kind of buttons to be used. Professional tailors, with a very experienced eye, take detailed measurements which take into account specific body shapes. These are termed finished measurements which account for individual body build, for e.g. slightly stooping shoulders, extra muscular arms, the effect of posture on the fitting of the neck and other such details. This is used to create a paper pattern which is then used to cut the cloth. This process takes time as a couple of trial fittings are also required, while the suit is getting stitched, to get a perfect fit.
The obvious advantage is that the fitting is far superior compared to the other options available in the market. A suit that fits well highlights the individual’s physique and camouflages the flaws. Moreover, when the individual wears a good suit with a perfect fit, there is another intangible benefit. There is an air of assurance, he feels confident and positive and this spills over in every interaction.
To sum it up the major difference between off the rack suit and custom tailored is that you are supposed to fit into the already made suit whereas custom made is made to fit you.
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