Recently, I made a point to try out a MTM suit by Indochino, a custom suiting and shirt company started in 2007. I have seen other reviews of this service by Articles of Style, Dappered, and even the Young and Fine Gentleman. To try it out for myself, I saved up a couple hundred bucks and purchased a suit, made from the measurements I provided.
What is MTM?
In the custom menswear world, there are two main realms: Made-To-Measure and Bespoke. MTM isn’t entirely custom. There is a pre-made pattern for the suit, with existing lapel size, button stance, and proportions. With a MTM service, they take your measurements (neck, length, inseam, chest, lower chest, etc) and update the pattern to fit your measurements. For example a 5’8” and a 6’2” guy can have the same pattern suit, but the proportions will be made to your body. Additonally, most MTM use machines or a factory to create the garment. The person who measures you is a sales person and isn’t actually a tailor or the cutter.
With a bespoke suit service, the pattern is entirely new and personalized for each client. You are measured by either the tailor who oversees the store or a cutter. There is a direct relationship between the measurements and the person who will actually make the garment. It is made from scratch and has full customizability. Depending on the bespoke service, you can change the drape of the suit, the buttoning stance, and the lapel size and angle, down to the fraction of an inch. It is this level of control and handmade craftsmanship that necessitates a thousand dollars or more for a bespoke suit. However, MTM is cheap, replicable, and fits the needs of the everyday man.
What is Indochino?
Indochino is exactly what I said above: a MTM clothier for men. With a few simple measurements that you can take at home (or ask a friend/tailor to do it for you), Indochino creates a garment that utilizes the values in algorithms, which approximate how the fabric will fit around you. They used to operate solely online but have moved to have a few physical showrooms. These showrooms have suit examples and fabrics to allow potential clients to feel it for themselves. Most importantly, the showrooms employ staff that can take the measurements for you and explain how the process works.
There are of course, other brands of MTM. Oliver Wicks, Knot Standard, and Black Lapel name a few of them. Each of them have different fabrics, pre-set lapel styles, and “house cuts”. Most importantly to me, they all had their own way of making a double breasted jacket. Indochino was the one I liked the most, so I went with them.
Plus it’s pretty hard to find a double breasted pinstripe suit for less than $1,000.
Pros and Cons Before Garment
Pros: Good price, choice of actually attractive suit linings, $75 credit toward alterations (or full remake if needed), easy to understand measurement videos, helpful staff.
Cons: Preset styles and measurements of lapels, generic shoulder types (slouch, regular, etc), not a lot of fabric selections currently.
I already picked a fabric from the website and only went into the showroom in Beverly Hills (which opened this past August) only to get fitted and to go over any questions that I had. I was running late and they were still accommodating. Unfortunately, I didn’t to feel the fabric I wanted (it was a summer exclusive that they didn’t have in the store) but the fitting process was great and they answered all the questions I needed. My pattern was then saved in their online database and they said that any future orders could be carried out online. Also, any alterations that I would have done would need to be written on a form and scanned in so they could update my measurements for future purchases.
I tried my hardest to change the size of the lapels (my biggest aesthetic need) but they couldn’t. I would have to pick between their four preset styles.
I picked the Banker Stripe Linen fabric, in a Double Breasted, Wide Peak Lapels (default 4”) with default buttons, suspender buttons, and a cuff. The suit was originally $750 but I bought this one when it was only $375.
To test them, I requested to do high-waisted pants, which made my crotch drop measurement and waist to length ratio off. However, they moved forward and went along with it, saying that if the pants come out bad, they will remake them. Pretty good move, considering this was my first piece I was purchasing from them.
Let’s start with the good. The suits shoulders and sleeves fit me pretty perfectly!
My main surprise is how well they fulfilled my request for high-waisted pants! They sit perfectly at my bellybutton and elongate my legs well. Very impressive Indochino.
One subtle detail was that they included some rubber stripes in the waistband of the pant. These provide friction so that your shirt stays tucked in! Very cool.
I really loved the pattern for my lining; I think it went really well with my suit. It was the main thing that set this MTM clothier apart from the other ones I checked out. However, I recently checked the website; Indochino only offers plain colors for linings again. Bring back some cool ones!
However, there are a few problems. The fabric feels a little cheap. My other linen pants are very soft while this one is stiff. The pants are a little long (no-breaks please!) and there is very little taper from the knee down; I believe the leg opening was close to eight inches! Not very modern at all, and I even prefer classically tailored garments.
Additionally, the chest is a little large resulting in some slight puffing in the gorge area. A dart in that area would eliminate that problem. An expertly tailored fit is important when wearing a double breasted suit. Anything too baggy will look instantly 1980s, in a bad way.
You can really see that the back needs to be smoothed out; there’s excess room in there. Even though its linen and is supposed to wrinkle, a suit should be smooth and fitted.
Indochino should look into creating higher-armholes. As you can see in the picture, the lowered armholes result in a warped figure. If the armholes were higher on the body (almost like a shirt), the suit jacket will be able to keep a slim silhouette while allowing more movement. It’s this problem that most men associate with suits.
For improvement, I’d say that their factory should match the fabrics better during construction. A great pinstripe suit should have the pocket flaps and cuffs line up with the lines of the suit. I can forgive the shoulder/sleeve matching, since the rounded edges are much too difficult to do if you’re not a bespoke tailor. Its this small attention to detail that can set a MTM brand above the rest.
Price: Pretty amazing for a MTM suit. It costs less than Suitsupply or J. Crew
Fit: Alright. Again, it was baggier than expected.
Details: Fun details that they included, but fabric matching wasn’t spot on with th pockets.
Overall, the suit was alright. There are a few problems, but nothing that a trip to my tailor can’t fix. I basically bought this suit because I wanted a pinstripe DB suit for less than $1,000. Looking back, I wish I removed the belt loops (and used side adjusters) and added pick stitching to the lapels. However, these all can be added to my next suit I get!
I would definitely recommend Indochino to anyone who needs a custom suit. They have plenty of conservative fabrics for those of you who only need one or two suits, but their seasonal fabrics (like mine) are pretty awesome. If you live near one of the showrooms, I’d suggest going in so you can check out the fabrics and the fitting process! However, just remember extra tailoring is always needed to get the absolute perfect fit.
Have you tried Indochino or any other MTM brand? Let us know by sharing your story below!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Gabrielle U.