BL vs. Everybody

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 reality is much different. 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 high priced designer suit, getting a custom suit, made to measure by a skilled craftsperson, is no longer just for 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 designer clothing. It often goes against our natural instincts to pull the trigger. An internal conflict often arises. I don’t really want to spend this much, you say to yourself, but I want this name in my closet. So why do we do it? We splurge on 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 products. These reasons are important to us. We all want quality and to feel like we’re a part of something exclusive. But the better question to ask is: How can you get a product that satisfies brand-name criteria without breaking the bank and get an even better investment?

In this article, we’re breaking down Black Lapel suits versus some notable designer brands. The purpose is not to push our products on you (though we 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.

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 custom suit is made with 100% Australian Merino wool and crafted by master tailors in Shanghai. Yes, we make our clothing in China and most luxury brands do as well. Is poorly made, cheap, clothing produced in China? Sure. But many quality, luxury goods, including suits, are made in China also.
  2. Personally Designed: Going custom means having control over a dozen different customization options. 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 predetermined size that’s meant to fit as many people as possible. Since no two bodies are built the same way, this often results in an inferior fit.
  4. Brand Yourself: Your “swag factor” isn’t determined by the amount of money you spend on clothing, it’s determined by wearing 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. Your style should be an expression of your personal brand, not define your personal brand.     

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:

Comparison Graphic

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

How do we keep quality high and the price low? Black Lapel represents a smarter way to get a suit. We have streamlined our business to eliminate many costs. Specifically, we have:

  • No storefronts: Part of streamlining our business means the entire custom suit experience is available to you online. But if you’re in the New York City Tri-state area and like doing business face-to-face, the custom suit experience is also available in our NYC Showroom located in our headquarters. 
  • No third 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: With a custom suit, you’re the designer. That means you’re not paying for the name on the label.

Know before you buy

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