A Made-To-Measure appointment with Mathias le Fèvre
With the recent re-launch of our Made-to-Measure service including the introduction of an exclusive range of both summer and winter weight cloths and an overcoat offering coming soon, we invited style influencer and creative, Mathias le Fèvre to review how the refined fitting block measures up.
(Words by: Mathias le Fèvre)
Bespoke will always be the epitome of traditional tailoring, but increasingly advanced made-to-measure services has made it possible to enter the world of to custom suiting at a more accessible level.
Gieves & Hawkes just relaunched their MTM offering with fitting blocks that have been completely redeveloped. “They now offer an enhanced fit – well suited to today’s stylish, international man,” says creative director John Harrison. It is defined by well-balanced lapels, an elegant waisted silhouette, sharp-cut shoulders and a subtly longer jacket length. The new block is in short more contemporary than Gieves & Hawkes’ traditional standard, but no less elegant for it. I booked an appointment straight away to see how the new system would measure up.
The Made-to-Measure Tailoring Process
The first consultation is straightforward and can be split into 3 parts; selecting the cloth, taking measurements and choosing the details. It is a simple process but does involve many decisions to be made in a short amount of time. So it does pay off doing some research on the kind of suit you are after before your appointment. Instagram and Pinterest can be a good source of inspiration and help you put together a mood board of the colours, textures and cuts that you like.
With a focused edit of 16 fabric collections for the summer and a further 16 for the winter, you are spoilt for choice: options range from super fine wools and soft flannels to breezy seersucker fabrics for summer suiting and heavier weight flannels, eveningwear and velvet for winter.
This choice is a matter of weight, occasion and pattern – lightweight (typically 8oz-9oz), heavyweight (14oz-15oz), or something in between. A 12oz is good transeasonal choice. Of course it is also a matter of colour, weave and pattern – chalk stripe, bold or subtle checks and so forth.
At this stage you will need to select the level of construction you require - half-canvassed or fully-canvassed. It is this; the choice of cloth and whether you opt for English or off-shore manufacture that affects the final price of your suit.
I had already decided that I wanted two suits for the summer’s many garden parties and sport events. I wanted two beautiful three-piece suits that would work well on their own and together as separates to mix and match. For the first suit I decided on a heavy Irish linen in an elegant cream. For the second, I went with a brown linen with a Prince of Wales check.
“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”
The last step of the consultation might be the one that requires the most time. It is now time to choose all the details that makes the suit your own. You will have to decide on lapel style and width; belt loops, side adjusters or brace buttons; trouser turn-ups (cuffs) or a plain finish; type of pockets; ticket pocket or none; and many more.
I decided on a wide notch lapel to give the suit a more masculine and powerful look. I chose to have side adjusters and brace buttons; a 2-inch turn-up on my trousers and a ticket pocket.
Once these three steps have been completed your consultation is over. Your tailor will send your measurements and style choices to the production facilities. The process there after requires several man made elements and the suit is carefully manufactured before sent to London 6-8 weeks later.
The Final Fitting
At this stage the suit is pretty much finished. The final fitting of the suit takes place in the store where Gieves & Hawkes’s in-house tailor will do the finishing of the trouser length and other possible small alterations.
I was pleased to arrive at the second fitting to review my two new garments. All the fundamentals were perfect - the balance front and back, side to side, the clean close fit around the neck. The only things we changed were to balance the sleeve length and put a little extra width into the trousers.
Lastly, I would like to say that I am very pleased with the choice of cloth. I have always wanted a cream three-piece summer suit. It makes a striking statement when wearing all three pieces together, but you can also break it up with a checked waistcoat or pair the trousers with a blazer.