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Suits you, Sir

– How a bespoke suit sets you apart

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SPW Contributors

Sanlam Private Wealth

Ownership of a bespoke suit with exquisite detail and luxurious fabric was once the preserve of a privileged few – think Savile Row and savoir-faire – but custom tailoring is a fast-growing trend as awareness and accessibility grows.

With the surge in online shopping, and the ever-shrinking global village in which men are exposed to evolving international fashion trends, high-end male consumers are more engaged than ever before. And when it comes to their clothing, they’re looking for something that sets them apart from their peers.

In an increasingly competitive world, finding a way to stand out is essential. And with much weighing on personal presentation, discerning men are returning to the world of tailoring in its many variations.

Think Savile Row, ultimate sartorial elegance, and choice of colours, textures and fabric designs that perfectly reflect your personality.


Bespoke, a term dating from the 1800s, simply means ‘spoken for’. And there’s a distinct difference between a true bespoke suit and a slightly less expensive made-to-measure custom suit.

Here’s how to know the difference between suit options available:

Ready-to-wear (RTW): Bought off the rack, in a cut and style determined by the designer. Most suits are made this way.

Made-to-measure: Machine made and typically less expensive than bespoke, this is based on standard pre-set patterns, scaled up or down based on your measurements. Once the suit is finished, you’ll probably try it on once more to make any final adjustments.

Bespoke: Created by a tailor from scratch for one person. This includes the choice of fabric, style and details – and numerous fittings. It’s mostly hand sewn and may take a couple of months to complete. Consider it the Rolls-Royce of suits.


Grant van den Berg (left), Rahim Rawjee (right)

And why do you need one? ‘Because,’ according to Grant van den Berg, founder and master tailor at Frank Bespoke, ‘no man is equal. I don’t care what anyone says’.

Designer Rahim Rawjee of Row-G agrees: ‘The clients showing interest in our suits understand quality, understand longevity and understand investment. They’re looking for an experience.’


Our clients understand investment’ – Rahim Rawjee


  1. You get a better fit
    ‘Fit’ is the key to showing off your body in the most flattering way. A tailor can highlight your best physical features and divert attention from your less flattering ones.
  2. Quality materials are used
    With off-the-rack, quality isn’t the priority. That’s how the system goes – cost-effective mass production using industrial machines.
  3. You can highlight your personal style
    There’s little room for personal expression in off-the-rack. Custom-made clothing allows much scope for individuality.
  4. Less time and effort wasted
    Unlike clothes shopping, the custom-made route is controllable. And once your initial measurements are taken, repeat orders are straightforward.
  5. Your clothes last longer
    In a recession you want to be a smart buyer. Custom-made clothing is a great long-term investment because of the materials used and overall quality.

Now that you know all there is to know about how a bespoke suit can set you apart, find out how to look your best in bespoke.

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