First, while comparing on price is a metric that a lot of people use to choose something, it’s not something that I feel is entirely fair. You have to look at each item for what they are and see the differences between the two. Kent Wang’s suits are MTM — you can send it back and get alterations and adjustments made based off of a RTW suit you’re sent initially. Howard Yount is straight up RTW. So, those are different processes and things you’re buying entirely.
That said, why did I go with Howard Yount?
The first reason is that I know how it fits on me — more or less from the previous experience I have their summer blazer. I know that the adjustments I’d want done can be done by my local alterationist in about a week.
In terms of the jacket’s construction, I liked that the suit comes with minimal lining in the shoulders and sleeves. That’s important to me since I’m buying this for the rare instances in the summer when I need to wear a suit and it’s seasonably hot out, so having a suit that’s basically unlined is a huge plus.
The fact the suit’s fully canvased is another bonus and my prior experience with Howard Yount’s tropical wool trousers gives me some confidence of the fabric quality I can expect to be used in the suit.
Finally, there’s the convenience of buying something “off the (virtual) rack” and knowing with a degree of confidence how it’ll fit on me and be pretty close to being ready to go when/if I need it with near immediacy. For me, that’s a value in and of itself.
Now, the downsides to RTW is that you’re not going to get the plethora of options you’d be getting with a MTM process. If I wanted a slightly different button stance, a different fabric, a longer or shorter hem, a change in shoulder width, etc., then I really can’t do much about that with RTW. And if you’re a person that needs or really wants those options, then MTM might very well be the route for you. The downside is the time it takes to go through that process.
I have a lot more thoughts on the whole custom-made versus ready-made debate that I might spell out at some point, but the bottom line is that you have to go with what works for you, personally.
To give you an idea, I’ve been spending a good deal of time trying to find a place to get MTM linen dress shirts for summer and it’s been a long process. One company I used didn’t turn out something I was entirely happy with the first time around and it’s being redone again. It’ll probably be close to two months or maybe even three before they might produce something I’m happy with and will then spend another few weeks after that waiting for more to be made. With another place, it’s been about a month between my first test shirt order and when I’ll be able to get to a fitting. Odds are good that unless they nail the fit on the first try (which rarely happens), it’ll be another month before I go forward with placing a larger order with them. Yet another shirtmaker has a traveling schedule that I kept missing and wasn’t able to see for well over a year — and they have a 6-8 week production time from when you place your order to when you receive it.
And, that’s just for a shirt. The process of going MTM on shirts has taught me that if I were to start looking into MTM or bespoke suiting, it’s something that 1.) I wouldn’t want to rush and 2.) I would need to be very mindful of entering with an eye for detail and attention that I probably don’t have fully developed yet.