What is it like to have something tailor-made just for me?
When people hear “tailor-made”, they immediately think “expensive”… or “unnecessary”. Still, many people use designers and tailors for special garments like wedding dresses or gala ball gowns, but why not for your everyday items? Does it really make sense to spend so much time and money on something you would only wear once? What is it like to actually have something made just for you? How much would it cost? How much time would it take? Does it actually make sense at all and are there any downsides? With all these questions swarming around my head, I embarked on my new adventure: “ What is it like to have something tailor-made just for me?”
But let me back-up for a second and tell you the whole story that started this journey. For a while now I have been looking for a two-piece tailored summer suit that I could wear all year round. After a few months of looking for one, I almost gave up until I stumbled upon Muriel Jansen, a sustainable fashion designer that creates beautifully tailored bespoke clothes. After our chat, I started to think, “Why can’t I actually have this suit made?”.
We started my first-time tailor experience with creating a Pinterest board with some inspirations and ideas for my future outfit.
It was so much fun to put this board together and to fantisize about my future suit.
A week after sending off my board to Muriel, we met at her Haarlem studio to discuss my ultimate dream suit and to finalize all the designs. It was such a fun process to actually design your own garment together with the designer… hooray, the first plus point!
We went over the sketches Muriel made and made the final design together.
I loved to see all the paterns and fabrics in Muriel’s studio in Haarlem.
After working out the final sketch, we went to a fabric store together to choose the fabric. I loved browsing the shop with Muriel and poking and prodding all the textile rolls. And what a good thing that we went together: did you know that there’s a fabric just for curtains (the one I stupidly chose at the beginning, of course)? The curtain fabric doesn’t have any stretch to it at all so it’s not suitable for clothes. Muriel told me all this and gave me many more other textile tips. We got everything we needed, from fabric to zippers, at the store. I couldn’t wait for the next stage: the fitting.
Fast forward one week, I saw Muriel for the fitting. I was a bit nervous to see the design for the first time. The top fitted perfectly, but the trousers were a bit too tight and had to be resewn.
First fitting in Muriel’s studio.
Just one more week passed and I had my new suit in my hands! I have so many ideas on how to style it for all year wear.
Ta-daaaaa. The finished suit! I’m beyond happy with the results.
This suit cost me 210 euro plus the cost of fabric, 33 euro. So a total of 243 euro. And yes, it’s more expensive than your average Mango or Zara suit. Why is tailored more expensive? Tailor-made clothes are generally more expensive because they are essentially one of a kind, made specifically for you. They are not made in a fast-fashion factory. A person labors over each thread, each stitch, each fold. The attention to detail for a piece of clothing to fit you and you alone, your movements, your current sizing, your behavior, your aesthetic tastes are all components of the cost.
One of the way I styled my new suit for a work-meeting.
The pros and cons of having your clothes tailor-made
- Your outfit will be absolutely unique.
- You can have a lot of say in the design process and the choice of fabric. Fast-fashion clothes are made for an average form, certain generic measurements, and no one really has that ideal form. We all have something different body-wise, so most likely when you put on fast-fashion clothing it is not going to fit perfectly. A tailor-made outfit will fit you like a glove.
- Working with a good fashion designer will not only get you a one-off item but a lot of useful tips on what shapes and colors really suit you.
- It’s sustainable. No mass-market production, no questionable labor conditions. And you’ll support a local designer. Win-win.
Another way I styled the suit on a chilly afternoon.
- The cost. The item will be more expensive than in a fast-fashion store. But isn’t that even more reason to invest not in a tailor-made gown you’ll just wear once but in a good wardrobe staple?
- The time. Yes, getting clothes made will take a week or two. Gratification will not be as instant as when you try it on in the shop and immediately take it home. But, to me, the chance to have some design input, a perfect fit and a unique item is worth the wait.
Another reason why I chose to make a two-piece suit: you can easily wear it as separates, so you get twice as much use out of it.
So what did I learn from having my clothes tailor-made?
- Find an experienced designer/tailor. It takes years of skill and knowledge to make tailored clothes correctly. Look at their previous work, check out the tailoring and stitching. The garments should be well made and not have a “home-made” feel to them.
- Budget. Determine your budget and be as generous with it as you can, as it will dictate the quality and longevity of your investment. Discuss the cost estimate from the beginning so you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Fit/Style. Stay away from trendy, fast fashion styles, they are not made for longevity and will not look as good over time.
- Fabric. Choose carefully and don’t jump at a bargain of cheap fabric. The better fabric quality is the more years you’ll get to spend enjoying your new garment.
I hope this gave you a bit of an insight into what it’s like to have your clothes tailor-made. I’m a big fan and already thinking of having my winter coat tailor-made. I mean why would you spend 3000 euro on a MaxMara coat when you can have one made?
You can have a lot of say in the design process and the choice of fabric. Fast-fashion clothes are made for an average form, certain generic measurements, and no one really has that ideal form. We all have something different body-wise, so most likely when you put on fast-fashion clothing it is not going to fit perfectly. A tailor-made outfit will fit you like a glove.
Have you ever had anything made?
A bit about Muriel
Muriel Jansen (1986) from Haarlem graduated from the fashion design academy Artemis (Rotterdam) in 2008. During her studies, she interned at a London based Turkish fashion designer called Bora Aksu. After graduation, she worked for a small exclusive label for 2 years and then decided to give her own vision a try. The concept was based on transforming shapes and silhouettes. Often using high quality leftover fabrics from major labels. The key is letting the design process form in the most organic way possible. This has grown into building on a continuous exclusive collection with mostly one of a kind pieces and doing custom made garments to order. By handling the whole design process by herself, Muriel creates durable and fair, beautiful and unique pieces.