Deb’s Corner

Custom Made Suits Vs Off the Rack Suits

The Fashion Forward LGBTIQ: Custom Made Suits Vs. Off the Rack

The LGBTIQ community has made amazing strides in recent years in terms of equality in the workplace, legal institutions like marriage and adoption, and social settings. But there’s still plenty of work to be done, and the need for progress is highly evident in androgynous fashions, particularly when it comes to formal attire.

As more jurisdictions adopt gay marriage as a social norm and more lesbians and transgenders feel more confident in dressing how they prefer, the fashion industry should be prepared to take those same steps forward in providing androgynous clothing designed for all body shapes and sizes, regardless of gender.

But even today, this just isn’t the case.

Traditionally when it comes to suiting, buyers have two options: purchase a suit off the rack or spend a small fortune on a custom-made ensemble. Both present their share of potential issues, but investing in a custom made suit is becoming a more popular and preferable option for many buyers, and the LGBTIQ fashion industry is all the better for it.

The Problems with Buying Off the Rack Suits and Shirts for Lesbians, Transgenders, and Non-Binaries

Traditionally, LGBTIQ people craving a polished, androgynous suit have one option: menswear stores.

This experience isn’t just unsatisfactory for both the wearer and the shop owner – it can also be intimidating and frustrating.

Men’s suits are not made for all bodies. But women’s suits don’t come in the same varieties and styles as men. Vests, lapels, ties, pockets, and matching hats aren’t typical of off the rack women’s suits. There’s also no “middle ground” that fuses both feminine and masculine elements in a single ensemble.

The most common alternative is to purchase a men’s style and have it drastically altered, but this drives up the cost of your investment. In addition, this option almost always results in a lower quality and craftsmanship because the original stitching is no longer in place.

As a result, buyers are forced to choose: buy for the silhouette or buy for the sense of self.

Are Custom Made Bespoke Suits a Better Alternative?

Dashing, sophisticated, and polished, bespoke suits offer a high level of confidence to the wearer and visual appeal to all who see it. Each suit is custom made for the individual, tailored to your body type and style preferences to give you the look and feel you want in a suit.

It sounds like a dream, and for frustrated, fashion-forward buyers, it is. Before you invest in either option, consider the following to make an informed decision:


For starters, the world of bespoke fashion is often complicated by its unique lexicon. Terms like ‘vents’, ‘lapel’, and ‘pleat’ can leave buyers confused and conflicted as to how they want their final version to look.

Trying on similar styles in an off the rack suit can provide a starting point, but a suit tailored to your body often looks much different and some features simply won’t translate.

At times, you might feel like you need a handbook to navigate the options.

The best way to combat this confusion is by partnering with a company that can guide you through the various options simply and thoroughly so you can make informed decisions about how you want to look in your suit. Good tailors should be able to make recommendations and walk you through the process step by step. They also know that you won’t always know the right questions to ask, so they should step up as the authority to give you the best experience possible.


Given the cost of a tailor-made suit, you want to get the right style and look the first time so your investment will last for years to come.

Tailors take your measurements and craft your suit to your specifications. In some cases, the cost of these measurements will be built into your final price of the suit. At Shane Ave, we charge $120 for the consultation, but fully refund that cost with the purchase of the suit.

When comparing a custom-made experience to an off the rack purchase, tailor-made attire may cost more up front. However, the personalized service, attention to detail, and made-for-you clothing far outweigh the difference in cost.

Private Experience

Though coming out as a member of LGBTIQ isn’t as rare as it used to be, it can still be a daunting experience to go shopping for clothing. Trying on suits in a conventional store isn’t as comforting as it should be. Gender norms still expect us to shop in specific departments. Public pressure and scrutiny can turn what should be a pleasant shopping trip into a nightmare for many.

Getting a custom-tailored suit eliminates these public fears and others by adding privacy and respect to your experience. Whether you’re suiting up for a walk down the aisle or have a big event to prepare for, you deserve to feel confident and empowered in whatever style you choose.

The Biggest Upside for Custom Made Bespoke Suits The biggest difference between off the rack and custom bespoke suits is also the biggest upside for the latter:

The suit is 100% you.

Not all lesbians and non-binary folk want a masculine fit in their clothing. Not all transgender individuals are slight-figured, nor do they want the loose fit of a men’s suit.

This is your chance to be your own stylist and design your suit from the shoulders to the bottom hem. Professional designers don’t always know what their wearers want in a suit, so this is your best chance to create a look that’s as unique as you are.

And, you can rest assured that no one else will have a suit to match.

Bottom Line: Androgynous Suits and Shirts Shouldn’t Be Hard to Come By

At Shane Ave, we believe that no one should ever have to choose between their silhouette and their sense of self.

Getting the suit of your dreams shouldn’t have to be complicated. No matter where you live in the LGBTIQ community – we welcome you.

Come and take a walk with us down Shane Ave and together we’ll create the best style and the best fit that you’ll be able to wear with confidence.