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Made-to-measure suits from Black Lapel

Made-to-Measure Mythology

When a lot of guys hear the phrase “custom suit” they have visions of filthy rich fat cats barking orders to their underlings while a team of tailors scurries around getting their measurements for a made-to-measure suit. Or, perhaps they imagine a stuffy old aristocrat being driven into town from his country manor to try on his made-to-measure suit. Maybe they even know someone who took a business trip and came back with a suitcase full of custom suits he had made on a layover.

Like most mythology, these ideas are based on facts, but things are different today. High quality custom clothing, made with the same cloth, construction and cuts you’ll find on high-end off the rack suits, is available to a much wider range of people than ever before. Unlike getting a higher priced, more showy designer label suit, (“Did you happen to see the label when I took off my jacket?…Because I really wanted you to notice the designer label when I took off my jacket. But enough about me, let’s talk about the label on my jacket.”) getting a custom suit made-to measure by a skilled craftsperson is not solely the domain of the rich and famous.

A Case for Custom Suits

We’ve all felt it before – the anxiety of spending a bit more money than we’d like on article of designer-branded clothing. And it often goes against our natural instincts to pull the trigger…an internal conflict often arises in this familiar form: “I don’t really want to spend this much, but I’d love to have (designer) brand X.” So why do we do it? We splurge (or “invest,” as we euphemistically like to say) on luxury brand name products for two main reasons: 1) we believe we are paying for better quality and 2) we desire the social elevation associated with owning luxury brand products – wealth, class, taste and sophistication. And without a doubt, these reasons are important to many of us. We all want good quality and we all want to feel like we’re part of something exclusive – there’s nothing wrong with that. But the better question to ask is how can you get a product that satisfies the aforementioned criteria without breaking the bank, and in return, get an even better investment?

In this article, we’re going to break down Black Lapel suits vs. some notable designer brands. The purpose is not to push our products on you (though we obviously won’t be upset if it convinces you to give us a try!) but to show you that the menswear space, particularly online, has some great options that are worth exploring. From high quality tees to chinos, specialty accessories and other types of casual wear, there are brands that will satisfy your quality criteria without diminishing that crucial swag factor. But since we make, know and love high-quality suits, we figured it’d be best to start here.

So what do you get when you go with a Black Lapel suit vs. an off-the-rack (OTR) designer brand?

  1. Equal or Better Quality: From fabric quality to construction method, a Black Lapel custom suit can compete with, if not surpass that of an OTR designer suit. A Black Lapel suit, for example, is made with 100% Australian Merino wool and crafted by master tailors with over 20 years of experience. And yes, we make all of our clothing in China (specifically, in Shanghai) and we’re not afraid to admit that because what may (or may not) come as a surprise to you, is that most luxury brands do as well. Are tons of cheap, inexpensive clothing made in China? Sure. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that many quality, luxury goods are now also made in China.
  2. Personally Designed: Going custom means having control over a dozen different options so you’re not limited to any particular detail. With an OTR brand, you take what you get.
  3. Individualized Fit: The most obvious benefit of going custom means owning a suit that’s made for you and only you. With an OTR suit, you are conforming to a pre-determined size that’s meant to fit as many people as possible. Since no two bodies are built the same way, this will naturally result in an inferior fit for many.
  4. Brand Yourself: Your “swag factor” (as we often call it) isn’t determined by the amount of money you spend on clothing, it’s determined by intelligently spending money on clothing that makes you look and feel your best. There’s nothing wrong with dropping loot on designer-brand clothing, unless you think that doing so will somehow transform you into James Bond. James Bond would be James Bond with or without a Tom Ford suit…and so long as he’s got that Bond swagger and looks good in what he wears, we’d still dig him. So remember that a brand does not and should not define you. You should define yourself in whatever you choose to wear – i.e., you should brand yourself. And in our humble opinion, there’s no better way to brand yourself than to wear high quality clothes that are made by you, for you.      

That all being said, how does a made-to-measure company like Black Lapel stack up against some of the best designer brands at 2x-4x the price? Let’s take a look:

Comparing custom made-to-measure suits by Black Lapel to designer off-the-rack suits

How does a made-to-measure company like Black Lapel do what it does?

This must be too good to be true right? How else would a company like Black Lapel create designer-quality custom suits at inherently discounted prices? For one, we’ve done extensive traveling, research and testing to find the best. And secondly, we have streamlined our business to eliminate many costs that would traditionally get passed on to you. Specifically, we have:

  • No physical storefronts: The entire custom shopping experience is completely online. The benefit is that we can pass on the savings of a lean operation directly to you – i.e.,  not having to maintain the costs of having physical stores (inventory, rent, equipment, sales people, etc.).
  • No 3rd party distributors: We don’t wholesale to stores, who would mark up items before selling them to you; we make each suit individually for you and ship it directly to you.
  • No designer label markups: Ever wonder why a designer brand will sell a regular t-shirt for a couple Benjamins? Because they can – some people will buy it. Can we do the same? Sure. Many customers often tell us that we’re crazy because they’d willingly pay double the price of what we charge. Then why don’t we? By making luxury-quality clothing more accessible, the world is a better place because more men can dress better and feel better about themselves. Real talk.

Many of you might have had your doubts about what you would get when you pay less for something that’s supposed to be of equivalent quality. After all, the market has conditioned us to think that higher price = better quality. It might be true in some cases, but often times, the premium you pay comes from the brand name itself – and how important that is to you is really a matter of personal choice.

So before your next clothing purchase, go online first and do some exploring. Find brands that stand behind quality products and care about how these products can help you look and feel better; understand their customer service policies and email them to see how they can help you achieve sartorial goals.  There are some companies just like ours who are built to give you a lot more bang for your buck and are passionate about making sure that you’re entirely satisfied with what you get. We encourage you to come and see for yourself. So the next time you want some fresh custom clothes, we’ll be waiting.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about clothing, your job, your next date or life in general, we’re happy to talk shop.  Just email us at or talk to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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