Bearing in mind how important reviews are for readers, I decided to take the chance to get a midnight blue wool three-piece with a double-breasted waistcoat.
The first step in the Tailor4Less online suit-builder is to choose the style of suit you want; 2 piece or 3 piece, style of lapel, number of buttons and pockets, vents, double/single breasted, waistcoat style (single and double-breasted available), pleats and turn-ups.
I went for a ticket pocket (slanted pockets are not available on the builder), turn-ups, single pleats and a six-button DB waistcoat.
The second step is choosing the fabric. I personally don’t think choosing the fabric after the suit style is a bad thing; you have an idea of the kind of colour you want to begin with, anyway and then apply the actual cloth to the design you have created.
It is possible to order samples. They are £1 a sample, although this includes delivery. You can order up to 8 samples at a time.
I chose one of the cheapest fabrics, a Midnight Blue 100% wool which is £199 for a three-piece. There are a number of ‘mostly’ wool fabrics available in this price range (with 10-20% terylene) and some positively garish 100% polyester fabrics. It goes without saying that the better the fabric, the higher the price.
It’s then possible to add ‘accents’ – extras which, on the face of it, are entirely unnecessary; a garish lining colour, embroidered monograms, neck lining and elbow patches. Needless to say, I declined to add any of these.
Once you add your suit to your ‘shopping cart’ – Amazon-type phraseology which feels too greasily commercial for tailoring – it is then time to enter your measurements. There are two options; Option A is simply entering your weight and height so that the tailors can guesstimate your size. Irrespective of the inexpensiveness of the suit, I would never advise this.
Option B requires ten measurements and takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete. It is best to do it with another person as some measurements are tricky to manage alone.
After these are complete, you make the purchase, enter shipping details and create an account where your measurements are stored. Shipping takes approximately 3-5 weeks, which is very fast.
The suit was delivered in a small box the size of a large laptop case. The suit inside was folded into a plastic bag.
It’s a fractionally disappointing way in which to receive a made-to-measure suit, wrapped up in a brown cardboard box. Much like a fixer-upper house you just can’t wait to renovate, I felt the urge to steam out the creases and accessorise.
The fabric, which I was nervous about, does look rather cheap. Admittedly, not ordering samples was a mistake and I would advise anyone nervous or picky about fabrics to do so; it’s well worth the meagre £1 you pay.
However, I was prepared to look past the error and examine the suit’s construction.
The jacket lapels are thinner than I would like, but there is little choice on this in the suit builder. It is worth noting that after ordering, Tailor4Less employees – based in Spain – get in touch and communicate any additional requests to the tailors, who are based in Shanghai.
I requested a shawl collar on my DB waistcoat and provided a picture of the waistcoat design I wanted. I was asked exactly how long and wide these lapels should be, which sounds irritating but is actually reassuring. I am sure that I could have asked for wider jacket lapels in the same communication.
The buttons were of a bluish tinge and matched the suit colour but I later purchased dark horn buttons, which are more of a subtle contrast.
Overall, the construction seemed to be of reasonable quality, and equivalent to the price-level, although there were a few stray threads and the ticket pocket flap was ever so slightly not parallel to the pocket below.
It is fair to say that the suit looks far better on than it does on the rack, mostly due to the fabric.
The proportions are bang on, and I’m glad I specified the length of the waistcoat in communications as a lot of them are cut far too long these days.
One thing I really like about the fit is that the jacket sits open very well; the two sides don’t swing back like many other jackets do, including MTM.
Also, I am glad I selected slim-fit trousers as anything fuller would have been completely out of proportion.
The only major issue with the fit is with the shoulders. You can see from the side-on pictures that they are positioned slightly off and crease across the top, even when I am standing still, not moving my arm.
Another minor issue is that the waistcoat sits slightly too wide on my shoulders, resulting in disagreeable amounts of shirt between waistcoat edge and collar.
The trousers, as ever, are fine and are of exactly the length and width I prefer; no break and a slight taper.
Fit: 8 out of 10 – the creased shoulders are disappointing, but overall I was very impressed with the way the suit fit me. I must admit, I was not expecting it for the price.
Fabric: 6 out of 10 – two words; Order Samples. It’s not enough to see fabric photos and 3D mock ups. Fabric was even slightly faded and worn in places.
Service: 8 out of 10 – fast delivery and good communication.
Quality of finish: 7.5 out of 10 – a reasonably good standard of finish for the price, although it could be improved; incorrectly sewed holes on the waistcoat hadn’t been steamed out.
Overall satisfaction: 7.5 out of 10 – this feels like very good value. If I had ordered fabric samples, I might have chosen another fabric, but I would say this suit is easily worth the money. It doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap in construction and fit and is highly recommended for those looking to get a respectable looking, fitted-suit on a tight budget.