Custom Made vs. Tailor Made

suit image by AGITA LEIMANE from

Those who can afford it indulge in having things and clothes custom made or tailor made for them. While a lot of times those two terms are seen as one in the same, they do have subtle differences that affect the quality of the item being referred to. More often, we hear of clothing--specifically suits--being custom or tailor made.

Custom Made Definition

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, custom made is defined as being made specifically for someone. Custom made can apply to all things including clothing.

Tailor Made Definition

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, tailor made is also defined as being made specifically for someone but is more often referring to clothing. It can also be used to refer to situations or ideas but is used very broadly in this sense.


The terms custom made and tailor made are often used interchangeably and very loosely by those who think they have the same meaning. Both terms are often applied to any piece of clothing that has not been purchased directly off the rack. However, the terms have differences that primarily come into play regarding quality and clothing.

Tailor Made Clothes

Tailor made clothing is created and finished by hand by a professional tailor. The garments--which are oftentime suits--are chalked specifically for the clients body. A paper pattern is made, based on those measurements, and cut for the construction of the garment.

Custom Made Clothes

Custom made clothes are pre-made patterns and fabric parts that are altered and fitted specifically for the wearer. While they are cut and sewn for an exact fit for the wearer’s body, these stock patterns are the starting point versus the tailor’s paper pattern. Custom made clothes often use machines for sewing.