Elegance and style are the characteristics of a men’s suit. Today, the well-dressed man even defines himself by his suits. And so, the well-known American actor Greg Kinnear once said aptly: “A man always looks good in a dark suit!” He seems to be right, because for over a century the suit has been part of every gentlemen’s wardrobe. This is the case although only very few people know the history of the suit. Meanwhile, the suit has long been found on the shelves of men’s department stores. Of course, not only in a dark colored version. But what distinguishes a ready-made suit from a made-to-measure suit?

RTW – Ready to wear!

RTW is the abbreviation for “ready-to-wear” and applies to a suit which is ready-made and which you can directly buy in a department store. An RTW suit is made based on standard men’s sizes according to predefined cutting templates. Most often the fabric and the processing are of low quality which is reflected in the low price. You might even find suits at H&M where the jacket and the pants are available in three different colors and 5 unit sizes for a flat rate of 99 euros.

This is good for a young person who is doing an apprenticeship in a bank and cannot really afford anything more expensive but wants to comply with the etiquette. It is however bad for all those who attach greater importance to style and quality. A big advantage of RTW suits is certainly that men can try them on in all men’s fashion stores and buy them immediately. However, these garments will not fit perfectly without asking a tailor to do some adjustments.

Availability of RTW suits

This description of RTW suits refers to the bulk products that are being produced in large quantities predominantly in low-wage countries and sold in popular fashion stores. Nowadays, there are very good menswear stores offering a wider assortment of suits. There, you will find suits by Strellson or Boss, which are priced in the middle segment. Here, the range of suits will be significantly higher than in low-priced shops where you can only find some basic cuts and colors. Any raw materials can be combined and the customer can distinguish between summer and winter fabrics. Usually, the employed consultants have more profound knowledge and can give you more professional advice. When it comes to middle priced ready-made suits, I can definitely recommend suits by Suitsupply. Here you get a product for a very good price-quality ratio!

More and more tailors who are making really high-quality bespoke suits, also offer their own RTW collections. In this case, they also work based on predefined patterns. However, the process of tailoring and the chosen materials are absolutely not comparable to those cheap RTW suits.

Recognizing low-quality suits!

Unlike shoes, a bad-fitting suit cannot be “broken in” before possibly fitting the wearer one day. A cheap RTW suit which fits perfectly, is rather impossible to come by. Usually, the trousers are either too long or too short, the jacket too narrow or too wide. In addition to this, the fabrics used for a cheap or bad suit are of inferior quality. In most cases, those suits consist of synthetic fabrics in which you sweat quickly, or which become fuzzy in no time. A bad suit does not feel light, nor soft and supple, and the lining is usually made of synthetic fiber.

When judging the quality of a suit, we should also have a look at the seams. The cheaper the suit, the fewer stitches were used. Especially the seam of cheap suits is not worked on nicely and thoroughly which causes the fabric edges to fray faster. There are certain quality features that you should pay attention to when buying a suit. We will discuss tips and specific rules for wearing suits in a separate article. 😊

MTM – Made to measure!

MTM is the abbreviation for “made to measure” and applies to a tailoring method which you can see in between the RTW and a fully bespoke suit. Unlike the ready-made suits, the salesperson measures your leg and arm length and advises in style and type. Additionally, some more measurements are taken such as the hip size and the length of the jacket. Other than with RTW suits, you cannot take an MTM suit home right away. You can decide on a particular suit model from a predefined range, which is then tailored according to the measurements. Furthermore, some more of your wishes will be considered. This includes for example the fabric, the color, the buttons. Perfect fabrics for the summer are cotton, linen or silk-wool blends, for example. For a winter suit you should rather go for tweed, cashmere, mohair or new wool.

So, an MTM suit is a customized garment as it incorporates some of your measurements and wishes but still, it is not comparable to a fully bespoke suit. However, it can be considered as a preliminary stage thereof and usually the prices will be also ranging somewhere in between an RTW and a bespoke suit. What distinguishes a fully bespoke suit from the suit types described here, you can find in a separate blog article. 😊