Made to Measure
ABOUT MADE TO MEASURE
At READ WALL, we have a deep respect for the craft behind our products. Clearly defining what our product is, how it is made, and what level of quality can be expected is important to us. Many contemporary menswear brands have used their marketing departments to blur the lines between traditionally well-defined levels of craftsmanship. In order to properly set expectations, let’s look at two of those in relation to our product: Custom & Made-to-Measure.
Custom, especially in relation to tailoring, is loosely defined word. Commonly, “custom” will refer to garments that are Made-to-Order, that is, the client selects a fabric and liner, and a stock-size is produced for him. Other times, “custom” can mean that certain styling details are selectable within an established product line; think: customizing sneakers online and apply that concept to suits or shirts.
On the other hand, “custom” can mean a garment that is completely made-to-measure, of any selected fabric, with totally fluid styling options. So with this broad range of definition for “custom”, the term ends up being not very helpful. At best it is incomplete and at worst it is deceitful.
Our advice: when comparing services, define what “custom” means to a particular retailer and what you want out of your “custom” tailored garment. This means preparing for you session, educating yourself with a baseline of information, and asking a lot of questions. If you are reading an FAQ page that seems a little cagey or talking to a salesperson whose answers are hard to follow, probably best to move on.
Made-To-Measure (MTM) usually means that at least some changes are made to a stock pattern in order to accommodate the client’s physical proportions, and is often a good route if an Off-The Rack suit requires more tailoring than is practical or even possible. MTM is not a strictly defined term and one shop’s process may not be at all equivalent to the shop two doors down, but MTM can be thought of as a process in which the “alterations” happen to the pattern before the garment is produced, rather than to the garment itself post-production. Modifying a stock pattern is more time- and cost-efficient than creating a new pattern for each client as in Bespoke (where the pattern is cut by the tailor that measures the client). Skillfully executed MTM offers a strong fit for the vast majority of men.
So what is READ WALL Made-to-Measure?
Here at READ WALL, we strive to create the best made-to-measure clothing in every way: better fit, better construction, better fabrics.
On Better Fit
While some makers touting MTM may simply adjust for jacket length, sleeve length, chest and waist size – our process utilizes more than 35 body measurements to optimize your garment for things like shoulder slope, button stance, and trouser silhouette at the thigh, knee, calf, and bottoms. In particular, we have a broad ability to adjust the chest shape, shoulder slope, and armhole shape of our patterns. It is imperative for comfort and overall appearance of quality that a jacket is fitted properly in these areas.
On Better Construction
All of our MTM suits and sportcoats are constructed here in the United States, with all patterns cut by hand by our Master Tailor in Washington, DC. The foundation for these beautiful garments is a full, floating horsehair canvas. Think of full-canvassing like the chassis on your car – you can’t see it but it is what determines ride quality, durability, and overall longevity. From real horn buttons to lustrous bemberg linings, we build out the full canvas construction with beautiful, high quality trimmings.
On Better Fabrics
Your fabric choice is what the world sees first -- whether it enhances your eyes or complexion, mirrors your hair color for easy aesthetic symmetry, or highlights your more eccentric qualities. A suit with bad cloth is a bad suit, no matter how good the fit and construction. For that reason, we work with some of the world’s best mills in Britain, Italy, Scotland, Japan, and the United States. Textiles tend to mirror the climate and style of tailoring preferred in their region, and each mill has their own unique style of designing, weaving, and finishing cloth.
The UK is known for heavier weight fabrics -- a four season weight for the Brits is closer to 12 ounces -- and a heartier drape. Tailors around the world love working with British cloth because it’s sturdy nature makes it easy to cut and tailor. Many of these mills are located in Huddersfield, like Hardy Minnis, Holland & Sherry, even Scabal, and Dormeuil (despite being headquartered in Belgium and France, respectively).
Scottish fabrics are known for heavy duty, sometimes even thornproof wool fabrics. their authentic tartans and Harris Tweed fabrics are the standard for heavy weight woolens around the world.
Italy is home to some of the world’s oldest fabric mills and produces some of the finest and lightest weight wool fabrics. Given the warmer climate, Italian fabrics from mills like Vitale Barberis, Loro Piana, Drago, and Reda produce cloth that performs well when the weather heats up, making them great options for our clients in Washington, DC.
We also work with the only producer of American made worsted woolens, American Woolen Co. Based in Stafford Springs, CT, American Woolen produces a beautiful, sturdy cloth that mirrors modern American life. When we make a suit or sport coat with a fabric from American Woolen, we can proudly say that the garment is 100% made in the USA.
While we also offer options in Cotton, Linen, Silk, Bamboo, and blends, Wool cloth will always be the most versatile. In it’s heavier weights, wool will keep you warm in any temperature. And in a lighter version, it will wick sweat better than any performance fabric, and it’s natural anti-microbial properties will keep odors at bay. Some of the most technical base layers for alpine climbers is made of wool for exactly this reason.
On the READ WALL Style
At READ WALL, we want you to feel confident that you will be guided enthusiastically within the bounds of good taste. We want your garment to be uniquely yours, but experience is a better teacher than most: we feel it is our duty to ensure you make choices that will transcend the two-year ebb and flow of fashion. We know that something classic will get worn more often than something flashy. We want our suit to be your go-to, drive-it-till-the-wheels-fall-off, favorite.
Our signature style is characterized by a higher gorge, mid-width lapel, high armhole, and suppressed waist to highlight a timeless and uncluttered look. With an updated classic-American aesthetic, we’ve utilized the soft-shoulder of the Ivy League sack suit and paired it with a lighter-weight canvas for a more comfortable, easy-wearing garment. We’re of the mind that the suit shouldn’t wear you, you should wear the suit. Our style focuses on substance over flash, and we believe that a strong foundation guides sartorial success.
Made to measure items are completed in 6-8 weeks with prices on suits beginning at $1195 for fabric ends, and $895 for sport coat fabric ends. Generally, the READ WALL sweet spot is $1450-$1800 for suits; $995-$1350 for sport coats.
A note from the team: If you’re a critical dresser looking for a uniquely individual garment, one complete with a full-basted fitting process by our Master tailor, the RW Bespoke program may be a better fit for your needs. We consider it the pinnacle of American tailoring, an experience unlike any other.