Making Your Suit Look Bespoke: A Guide

May 14 2024.

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Hot and sweaty summer weddings are days away, and as much as you can celebrate not being the groom (this time!) It’s time to dust out your old suit and dry clean it for a fresh new feel or give it a makeover and make it look premium and bespoke. 

If you are one of the lucky ones able to purchase a new suit or get one custom-made from a bespoke tailor in town, Have at it! I had the great pleasure of discovering that even a suburban tailor offered vicuna wool (made famous by TikTok-savvy Loro Piana) to discerning customers willing to spend LKR 2.2 Million on the upgrade. 

A well-fitted suit can make a powerful statement. However, not everyone can afford the bespoke option, or even the custom-made one. The good news is, with a few tips and tricks, you can make an existing suit or a store-bought look like it was tailor-made for you. Here are some strategies to help you achieve that bespoke look without breaking the bank.

Shop the look, but not the Fit 
From personal experience you can easily find great blazers on discounted racks or even full suits for bargain prices; Priced even below what you would pay to rent it. Make sure you finalize on one that’s got a looser fit, even longer arms because you could definitely take it to a tailor and have it adjusted. Always double-check for rips and construction errors. They are discounted for a reason.

Conservative Styling is King
Right now, oversized suits are all the rage. Even the 80s-style padded shoulder. Suiting trends like that will come and go, but having a suit that’s got standard details (conservative lapel style, neutral solid colour, durable fabric, two buttons etc.) will be worth its weight in gold. Conservative styling for suiting never goes out of fashion. Except for three-button suits. Burn one on sight.

Change the Hardware
Some suits get handed down from one generation to another. But suits, much like all things age and need to be updated from time to time. The updates definitely can make a huge difference. Consider updating the inner lining, the buttons as well as the lapels or the pocket flaps. Sometimes, it could simply be adding a fake prick stitch to the end of the lapel to give it that hand-stitched illusion.  This works even on store-bought suits with plastic buttons; consider switching the buttons to metal caps for a regal finish.

Killing Me Softly, with the Accessories
As an elder millennial who watched the rise of pocket squares in Colombo, I am happy to see it become a suiting staple. I myself have used fancy printed pocket squares at one point or another to hide a well-worn suit, paired with a complimentary tie that is. My general rule of pairing is; if the suit is striped or printed, opt for a plain tie and pocket square or vice versa. I do realize most stores now sell sets of matching ties and pocket squares, but that doesn’t mean you need to use them at the same time. Mix and match colours and prints where possible. And don’t wear a loud tie if you don’t have the personality to carry it.  

Divorce the Pants, Darling
We are all guilty of it. We wear the pants more often than the blazer. It’s no secret when you pair it back only to find a two-tone feel to your look. But why not lean in and experiment? I tend to pair my blue blazer with a host of other pants (black/grey/denim/khaki/white) when the occasion calls for it. It’s possible for all kinds of blazers and trousers. Even prints. 

Aftercare is Self-care
As the mid-year wedding season draws to a close, let’s not lose sight of the impending new year period that is looming too. Avoid spraying perfume on your blazer, buttons or accessories directly (that’s what your shirt is for bro!!). If you also didn’t sweat like a pig dancing with a whiskey glass over your head, you are free to brush your suit and slip a cover over it before it goes back into your cupboard on a hanger. A dry clean once or twice a year is also highly recommended to extend your suit’s life span.

We’ve all seen that video of Steve Harvey extolling the virtues of a wardrobe with several suits. It’s a great notion that I wholeheartedly agree with considering my line of work as well as the lifestyle I keep. It’s not for every man, and I hope you do not feel compelled to match my wardrobe requirements. Having said that, I must also mention, that no man will ever fail himself in having more than one suit that fits him well. Everything else, I consider a bonus in the life and stature of the modern man.  


Jude Gayantha Perera

A fashion stylist with a decade of experience as an image expert and consultant to local retail brands, Gayantha offers candid advice to men on Fashion and Grooming only on Daily Mirror's Life Plus.


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