Fine men's bespoke and made to measure tailoring

Why you need to think twice when buying a suit!

Sep 02 2013


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Thank goodness for IndustriALL Global Union who have been behind the introduction of an international agreement designed to improve working conditions and safety standards in Bangladeshi clothing factories.

It only took 1,100 people to die in one of the worlds worst industrial disasters for some western retailers to find their conscience – before that, all they were interested in were their profits.

But now 70 European based retailers, including H&M, Benetton and Carrefour will be responsible for all costs associated with improved inspections, training and other programs needed at Bangladeshi factories found to be in disrepair.

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However, let’s not get too excited. Bearing in mind that there are 3.6 million people working in Bangladeshi’s clothing sector earning £25 a month, this new agreement will only affect about one-fifth of more than 5,000 garment factories in Bangladesh.

And what about garment workers in China and India – who will be looking out for them?

1.       Why you need to care where your clothes are made

As a bespoke suit tailor with over 35 years in the clothing industry, I have always been conscious about where the suits I provide are made.

Here in the UK, we have a tendency to think more about the price rather than the actual quality of the garment or the conditions of the workers who make them.

You might think you are getting a good deal when you buy a cheap item of clothing – yes, it will look good to start with but take my advice, not only will the quality be lacking, but it will have a limited life span.

And can it really be acceptable to wear something which has been made by someone working in dreadful conditions being paid next to nothing?

That’s why we at Master Tailor have an open and honest ethos – all our suits are made in the EU and conform to EU legislation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2.       Aren’t cheap suits better value for money?

Absolutely not – remember you get what you pay for! There is nothing worse than seeing a three piece ‘tailored’ suit that doesn’t fit properly so this is not value for money, however much you paid.

But at the same time, you can spend a fortune on a ‘designer’ or branded three piece tailored suit and still come away with an ill fitting garment. As a bespoke suit tailor, I have had clients show me some of their designer suits and more often than not, they have been the wrong size, fit and shape for them.

To be honest, if you are paying £600 for a made to measure suit you will get a good suit but if you spend £900 on a ‘designer’ suit, you still get a suit that in reality is a £600 suit.

This is because many designers put their own individuality and expression into their suits and for this they charge the customer extortionate sums.

3.       How can I look my best?


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The key thing when buying a suit is to make sure it fits properly – of course, when you buy a made to measure suit, it should fit you like a glove. Here are my top tips for making sure you choose the right style.

If you are tall and slim


§         Avoid pinstripes as they emphasis narrowness

§         Wear a double breasted jacket

§         Wear pattern fabrics

§         Single breasted button three is fashionable but tend to lengthen the body

§         Avoid shirts with long collar points and narrow ties as they make the face look longer


If you are overweight


§         Avoid check designs and wear pinstripes and chalk stripes

§         Wear double breasted jackets as peaked lapels move the eye upwards from the waist

§         Wear medium to dark colours

§         Avoid button down or spread collar shirts – wear longer collar points

§         Wear a tie with a bold design


If you are short


§         Wear pinstripes and narrow chalk stripes

§         Wear a shorter length jacket as it will make you look taller

Remember a good suit should hug your shoulders and not slouch off them, whatever your shape.  

Is there anything the consumer can do to improve the conditions of clothing factories in the Far East, India and Bangladesh? What tips have you got for the perfect fitting suit?



Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice

How to wear a suit – the right way!

Aug 26 2013

It hasn’t been a good couple of months for Labour leader, Ed Miliband. Not only is he having to contend with the fury of Unite leader Len McCluskey over his plans to change how union members fund the Labour Party, but last week he became the victim of an egg pelting.

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And to top it all, 51% of voters say they do not like him – oh dear!

But in my view, he has far more serious things to worry about and should be concerned by the fact he isn’t wearing his suit properly.

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Every picture I see of him, I notice he fastens the lower button on his jacket instead, as it should be, just the top button.  If he wants to look like a Prime Minister in waiting, he needs to sort himself out and quickly.

Having been a made to measure tailor in North London for many years, I always tell my clients that the lower button on a suit jacket is just for show as the front of a jacket starts to curve away from this point once it is fastened and may cause tightness across the front – not a good look.

This is just one of the tips I give my customers. I often have to explain to them the finer points of how a suit should fit – it can make such a difference to how they look.

1. How can I make an impression?


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If you want to own the room as soon as you walk in, then you need to be wearing a perfectly fitting suit.  There is nothing like a first impression and it can make all the difference to what you want to do.

For instance, some years ago whilst on a beach holiday, I pulled myself away from the side of the pool, threw on my shorts and t-shirt to go into a neighbouring five star hotel to book a table for dinner.

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I approached the maître d’ of the restaurant and asked if I could book a table. He quickly advised that the restaurant for that night was full.

An hour later, I telephoned the restaurant to check availability for that evening and surprise surprise, I was able to book a table!

First impressions do count and you literally have seconds to get it right. If you want to learn how to wear a suit the right way, then you need to understand all the components of a suit.

2. How do I get the perfect fit?

When buying a made to measure suit in the UK, you need to pay attention to every aspect of the suit and how it fits your body. A made to measure suit should never just ‘hang’ on the shoulders – like it would if you bought it from the High Street.

Here is my step by step guide of what to look for when buying a bespoke suit:

The shoulders – a good suit should hug your shoulders and you in a firm, friendly way.

The collar – this should rise up about halfway on the shirt’s collar. If there is a space between the two, then this is not a good fit.

The gorge – this is where the lapels meet to create a V. Shorter men should get fitted with a high-gorge while tall men should get fitted with a low-gorge.

The lapel – nothing defines a suit louder than the lapels.

The pocket – wear your top pocket square to that all the attention is focussed on your chest and not your belly.

The sleeve – this is where you need to think about width. You should make sure these are tailored for a more sculpted look.

The buttons – as they say twos company, threes a crowd. Foolproof low buttons build a long, slim look.

Sleeve buttons – these should be functional as well as decorative. Leave a button undone if the suit was custom tailored for you. If you don’t, it won’t look right because sleeve buttons are designed to contribute to the slimming look of a jacket.

Sleeve buttons were designed to enable the sleeve to be rolled up, either for writing with a quill pen, or like in the old films where a Victorian doctor is washing his hands after being with a patient.

Jacket pockets – straight pockets really suit those with a larger build and are more traditional. However, slant pockets which have a slight upward angle are good choice.

Flaps – this gives your jacket a classic look.

Trousers – these should be trim with a flat-front but do make sure they stop at the top of your shoes.

3. What finishing touches can I add?

The tie – this is often the first thing that someone will notice about you. Try and keep it classy and bold and make sure it ends at your belt line. No longer, no shorter! Tuck the short end into the loop at the back of the tie.

A watch – every bespoke suit should have a timeless accessory so don’t skimp on the watch. A good tip is to consider a vintage model to finish off your look.

Shoes – I believe every man should own a pair of black lace-ups with real leather soles – anything less is unacceptable. Dress shoes should be as contoured as your suit and make sure you stay away from square toes.

4. Will this boost my confidence?

In my view, as a made to measure tailor in North London, a well-tailored suit will give you confidence like nothing else in your wardrobe.

When you have dressed for the part, you need to make sure you play the part so walk tall, stand to attention and control the space you exist in. What are you waiting for?

Have you ever found a made to measure suit has changed your life? Did it boost your confidence? How would you advise Ed Miliband to wear his suit?









Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Uncategorized

Why made in Britain should mean made in Britain

Aug 20 2013


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When do you call a spade a spade and not a shovel? This is a question I have been pondering since stumbling across an article in a recent edition of men’s glossy magazine, Esquire.

The article in question was focusing on the latest phenomenon to hit the high street – buying Savile Row designed suits at high street prices.

Debenhams, Austin Reed and Marks & Spencer have all teamed up with leading Savile Row tailors Patrick Grant of E Tautz, Nick Hart of Spencer Hart and Richard James of Richard James to offer customers Savile Row tailored suits.


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Marks & Spencer has worked with Richard James to produce its collection of suits. One of the UK’s top Savile Row bespoke tailors, Richard James set up in 1992 and has been credited with having done much to revitalise the world of quality tailoring.

Its trademark, slim modern suits, jackets and trousers together with the bold use of colour have earned it a large celebrity following including Tom Jones, Pierce Brosnan, David Cameron, Tom Cruise and Sir Elton John to name but a few.


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The suits designed for Marks & Spencer are all priced at a fraction of what they would cost on Savile Row.

But it is not clear where they have been made – the implication is they are made in the UK, but the reality is quite different.


  1. Is an illusion being created?

Marks & Spencer is marketing its Savile Row inspired suits stating they have been made with “traditional British tailoring techniques” using cloth sourced from the Alfred Brown woollen mill in West Yorkshire. And to top it off, they have included a Union Jack on the garment label. In my mind, this all implies that the suits are British-made.

But on closer inspection, the small label in the pocket reveals the suit, that I looked at, had been made in China.

As a made to measure tailor in London, my clients all know that my suits are made in the EU using the best technology and I do not hide this from them. They also know, that I offer the ultimate bespoke suit.

  1. Does it matter that high street stores are selling these suits?

I have no concerns about how Marks & Spencer are constructing these suits; I just feel they are creating illusions about them.

Savile Row tailoring is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of bespoke tailoring. Generations of skilled craftsmen have set the ultimate standards for quality tailoring. So in my opinion, as a made to measure tailor in London, it is rather an insult to this tradition for retailers to claim they are offering Savile Row quality at a fraction of the price.

The Marks and Spencer suit is made to an acceptable quality standard but not to the same spec as a Savile Row suit. However, the ‘branding’ will command a higher price to its normal suits, so the question is, is that fair?

A simple analogy is this, would you believe a car salesman who offered you a hand made car for 10% of the actual selling price of a Rolls Royce?

I rest my case.

Is it ethical to suggest that these suits are UK made when in fact they are not? Is it morally right that you can buy the same Savile Row garment construction at 10% of the price?

Category: Bespoke Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suit Cloth, Tailoring Advice, Ultimate Bespoke

Having a suit made in the Far East? Why you need to be careful

Aug 01 2013


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Have you noticed how clothes sizes seem to vary? A 32” waist trouser can be one size in one shop and a completely different size in another. No longer can you buy a suit off the peg and expect it to fit according to the size advertised.

And what do you do if you can’t mix and match and you are a 36” waist but 40” chest – this is just one of the problems when buying a ready to wear suit.

Of course, as a custom suit tailor, I am going to always recommend you invest in a custom made suit and preferably under my supervision. However, I know many of you when on business in the Far East will be tempted by the cheaper prices and quick turnaround.

But be careful. While many tailors in the Far East are amongst the finest craftsmen in the world, there are some who claim their suits are bespoke and hand tailored when in fact they are not.

A client of mine told me a story recently about the first time he ordered a made to measure suit in Hong Kong. It was delivered to his hotel 22 hours later but just as he was leaving for the airport, so he was unable to try it on.
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Once at home, he discovered that one shoulder was a good inch wider than the other, the sleeves were so tight he could not bend his arms and the trousers were so well-fitting they resembled the stovepipe pants favoured by rockers in the 1950s!

Even though his name had been sewn on the inside pocket of the jacket, it was quite obvious that the suit had been made for a very thin person with a substantial deformity.

It remained hanging in his wardrobe for some time to remind him never to buy a made to measure suit in Hong Kong again.

1. What do I need to watch out for?


Anna Powell courtesy of The Guardian

There is a big difference between European sizing patterns and Far Eastern sizing patterns with the latter not always suited to the European shape and fit.

In women’s ready to wear clothing, this has been a big problem because many clothes are now made in the Far East as well as India and Bangladesh and they don’t fit European women properly. One frustrated shopper, computer programmer Anna Powell-Smith set up a website after reading an article which criticised shops for their misleading labelling.

What Size Am I? asks women to enter their bust, waist and hip measurements, then calculates what dress size they should go for at a range of High Street retailers.

2. How can I make sure the tailor I choose will make my  suit?


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Unfortunately, you can’t. Most workshops in the Far East only employ a few staff so if they have too many orders, your order is more than likely going to be outsourced to someone else.

The danger of this is that you don’t know if the material you chose for your custom made suit is the same one and if it has been put together to the same standards as used by the tailor you employed.

Most of these custom suit tailors have one objective – to put suits together as quickly and cheaply as possible. Remember 24-hour suits will be made from a cheap fabric which is more than likely not going to last 24 hours!

  1. How bespoke will my suit be? 

Be very careful of adverts claiming to offer bespoke or hand tailored suits. If a suit is a genuine bespoke suit it means it will be made to Savile Row standards which can cost £2000 or more.  If you‘re not paying that, then it could be nothing more than a poor substitute.

I had this recently when a new client showed me a suit that had been advertised as ‘hand made’. I didn’t have to look very hard to see it had been machine-made and many shortcuts in putting it together had been taken. To be honest it looked like a cheap blazer and for that, he had paid over £300.

Sometimes, you will find the adverts also claim to use the latest technology to capture your measurements but the reality is they just use a digital camera, so be warned! 

  1. How can I tell if the fabric they offer is good  quality?

Many tailors in the Far East will give the impression the fabrics they offer are European made but most times they are Far Eastern copies.

Warning signs are when you are told that the ideal fabric for a suit for work should be manmade. Or you are told that the cloth they will use will be cashmere or 130’s pure wool when in fact it is a cheap copy.

It you are told it is cashmere, you should always check it. The best way to do this is to rub it against your chin, which is the most sensitive part of the skin. If it itches, then it is definitely not pure cashmere!

Another test is to see if looks shiny like silk. If it has a shine it might mean that it contains rayon which can make the fabric feel very soft.

Have you had any suit nightmares? What advice would you give to anyone buying a made to measure suit?

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Shirts, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice

How to Dress for Business – My Top Tips!

Jul 25 2013


courtesy of The Huffington Post

I hear the strangest stories in my job, but perhaps nothing quite as strange as that of Swedish train drivers swapping their trousers for skirts after their bosses banned them from wearing shorts in the hot weather!

What makes it worse is that the train company, Arriva, described wearing the skirts as “decent and proper” when representing the company. Have they gone mad? Read More

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Shirts, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice

A suit and a Camera

Nov 22 2012

Recently I commissioned some photography for one of our other websites. The photographer was an excellent chap called Andy Snaith . I was struck by the similarities between the eye for detail of a professional tailor and that of the photographer. A suit that doesn’t fit or is badly made is the same as a simple snapshot. The photo may seem ok until you compare the same result from the professional photographer. If you have never had a professionally made to measure suit you cannot appreciate the difference when compared to ‘off the peg’

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News

Travel in comfort and arrive in style

Feb 05 2012

One concern of many customers who travel on business is that they want their suits to have minimal creasing. We can now offer either a high twist wool/polyester with Lycra which has a very soft handle and is a pleasure to wear for all our made to measure suits. Plus the prices are quite reasonable!

Alternatively we have some new Fresco suit cloths from J J Minnnis. This is the travel original cloth brought up to date. The Fresco weave was patented in Huddersfield in 1907 by Martin & Sons (part of the same group). You can now enjoy wearing modern made to measure suit designs that incorporate proven technology that is over 100 years old. Many mills also have their own high twist travel suit cloths but don’t really compare to the 1907 original. There is a wide choice of designs and including some fabrics that have a linen look without the creasing. If you would like to view either of the travel ranges please either call or email and I would be delighted to show them to you.

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News, Tailoring Secrets

A difficult choice

Feb 05 2012

Some customers find it difficult to make a decision as to which fabric to choose for their new made to measure suit. I am always very patient with them as the choices on offer are so vast. Sometimes I see a suit fabric and I know straight away it is right for the customer. Other times it needs some discussion as to the type of garment, how and when it is to be worn, their body size and complexion is also a factor as well.  Choosing suit cloth is like choosing a fine wine you need to savour the different weights, textures, designs, and various natural fibre blends to eventually reach a decision. If after reading this you decide to buy a bespoke or made to measure suit don’t be embarrassed if you take your time. I will fully understand and be very patient!

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suits, Tailoring Advice

How to choose a suit cloth

Aug 22 2011

One question I am always asked is how to choose a suitable cloth. Most people think of a colour and if the weather is warm maybe a lightweight fabric.

My advice is to ask yourself the following questions

• What kind of design, plain stripe, check, or surface interest,

• For what occasion? Social, wedding or business

• What type of wear, travelling, office based, socialising

• How often the suit would be worn, ideally a maximum of twice a week.

• How much after care?

• The time of year, consider a lightweight for spring summer or a mid-weight for autumn winter

• Preference for light medium or heavyweight fabrics, everyone has individual taste

• Your size The longevity of a suit can be affected by the weight of fabric selected in relation the size of the individual and how often the suit is worn.

• Luxury or durability. Many people are hung up on ‘super numbers’ and think for example that a super 160’s wool will give the best quality suit. The wool content is only part of the evaluation of the fabric as the quality of the weaving and finishing are as important as the wool content.

Choose the fabric based on the above criteria and remember that selecting a fabric that is ‘fit for purpose’ is not always the most expensive. For more detailed in depth advice you can email

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suit Cloth

How long should your suit last?

Jun 18 2011

Our suits and jackets are designed to survive everyday life, but if they are not cared for they may become prematurely crumpled, scruffy and shiny.
The solution is not more trips to the dry cleaners as the process involves chemicals and intense heat and this can be counterproductive. Read More

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring Secrets


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9-10 Savile Row · London · W1S 3PF

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