The Right Way to Buy a Custom Suit, According to an Expert

Tailor Thomas Finney narrows down just what you need to consider.
IMAGE Blake Martin & Christopher Farber/ Unsplash

When it comes to getting your perfect, made-to-measure suit, knowledge is power. And no one knows what to consider more effectively than a tailor who makes those suits. In this case: Thomas Finney, the Brooklyn-based menswear designer with a background in custom suiting. 

Finney's own line, which he launched in 2016 after working at Thom Browne and Club Monaco, is the epitome of modern American styling. He knows how to attack a suit so it's both classic, but infused with modern details that keep it fresh. But his biggest focus? Cuts and construction. Finney knows exactly what makes a custom suit custom—and he's here to spread the knowledge. 

We asked Finney what exactly first time custom suit shoppers should consider before investing. Here are his top 10 things to look for.     

1. When selecting a fabric, go with your gut.

Its easy to be intimidated by the fabric selection process, but it's important to listen to your intuition. When something feels right, it is right. 

2. Consider natural trims.

Horn, shell, and corozo buttons aren’t just more aesthetically pleasing than plastic, they’re also more environmentally friendly and resistant to damage during cleaning. 

3. Select a lining that won’t make you sweat.

Go for natural fibers, which will help to reduce static and heat, especially in the (ahem) trouser area.



4. Avoid glue at all costs.

When it comes to structure, look for full-length canvas with a chest piece, pad stitching, and a hand-rolled lapel. Over time, glued interfacing will separate leaving your once-sharp suit looking sad. 

5. Love your shoulders and ditch the pads.

For a modern look, opt for a natural shoulder and sleeve head. 

6. A crisp white shirt goes with everything.

Seriously, everything.

Custom navy mohair suit, 

7. The width of your tie should match the width of your lapel.

If you’re looking to bring a little balance in your life, consider aligning these two dimensions. 

8. Avoid tailoring that fits too tightly.

There is a fine line between fitting properly and looking like you accidentally left the house in your little brother's suit.


Prince of Wales wool seven-fold tie, 

9. The goal of a well-fitting trouser should be to lengthen your body.

A narrow opening, long leg, and minimal break is an easy way to add visual height. 

10. Tailoring is not exclusive.

A well-tailored suit can make anyone feel cool, confident, and sexy.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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