Image Credit: ATEIA Photography & Video

A Tailor Made Triumph

Picking the perfect suit for your wedding is no small thing. It’s easy enough to walk into a store and choose a suit from the racks, but maybe the sleeves are too short, the pants too long, the jacket too big in the shoulders. You look in the changeroom mirror and it just doesn’t feel like you. That’s where tailor-made suits deliver: It’s a product and journey made specifically for you, and your tailor can guide you along the way. Melbourne Wedding + Bride’s Thomas Henry talks to Alexander Pillai, owner and manager of Suitably, to discover why a tailor-made suit trumps off-the-rack alternatives and the many benefits of going custom-made.  

Image Credit: Suitably 

Suitably has been in operation for about seven years now, and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, says Pillai. “We started as an online-only ecommerce store, but with time, we’ve grown into one of Melbourne’s most respected wedding suit experts. Pillai has personally managed more than a thousand weddings in this time. Hes thrilled to have had the opportunity to help so many people during one of the most important moments of their lives. 

“As far as my vision goes, it’s a question of being as present as I can be for my customers to provide the best service. This has always been Suitably’s main goal, and the way Pillai achieves this has changed and evolved. This is characterised by his commitment to tenets of equality and social responsibility. The suiting world has plenty of overly masculine undertones that make some people feel uncomfortable, says Pillai. We always try to create a space that is open to all and makes everyone regardless of size, shape, gender or belief feel welcome. 


When asked about the main font of his inspiration, Pillai says, “Why, the beautiful city of Melbourne and its amazing people, of course!” All standard designs that have come from Suitably over the last four years have been tributes to some of its own customers, with many new products having been named by the customers themselves. “I adore learning about my customers and their experiences, and helping them to express that as something that’s authentic; something for their biggest days,” says Pillai. “I’m lacking a lot of things: sleep, time, sanity; but one thing that I’ve never been in lack of is inspiration!” 

Pillai puts a lot of time and attention into his designs, which are always subject to the requests of his clients and made from high-quality materials. “As a consultant, my job is to take your vision, even if you don’t know what it is, and spin magic out of it,” says Pillai. “Sometimes that’s quite simple as there are a lot of sartorial archetypes that exist which can make this as simple as you want it to be. If you want to flip the script, however, all you need to do is tell me and we can start to build something unique”. 


Pillai is not the kind of tailor to chase a trend, though he has noticed an incoming wave of suit styles – something he’s dubbed ‘soft suiting’. Soft suiting is characterised by subtle styles complementing the environment. Often this means lighter colours and textures that harmonise with nature, while still paying tribute to the day in a way that isn’t loud or overdone. It’s about “finding a balance that is effortless, which you can wear with a smile,” says Pillai. “There’s a bit more work involved in chasing this as it’s very dependent on both the person and circumstances, but it’s a trend that I’m all about right now!”

Capturing the client’s style is always the focus, giving you a level of personalisation that can’t be captured by off-the-rack options. “There was a customer who wanted to show tribute to their heritage,” says Pillai, “but wanted to keep a specific style in mind.” The main challenge came in combining the client’s heritage with the overall aesthetic. Pillai worked with the client to create a lining with custom printing on the inside of the suit’s jacket. “It wasn’t an easy thing to do as we needed to help design and provision the pattern, but the end result was worth it,” says Pillai. “When I saw it come to life, I had an immense grin on my face. The look on the customer’s face made my heart melt because I knew how important it was to them.” 


So, why go with a tailor-made suit over off-the-rack? “The obvious answer is the fit is better, but it’s far more than that,” says Pillai. “Having someone help you through the process start to finish and making sure that you come out looking exactly how you envisioned is invaluable.” The process takes time and planning, but the journey is one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience. The real question is, “Would you prefer to have a sales assistant help pick something impersonal off a rack, or would you prefer to have someone make something with you that’s exactly what you wanted on the big day?” 

This constitutes the best part of Pillai’s job, as he witnesses the reactions from his clients as they try on their suits. That’s a thing that money can’t buy. “I often find myself putting a jacket on a customer and then looking at things that I can adjust, to make things better for them, while the customer is staring in the mirror with a gigantic grin on their face. The difference between something off-the-rack and seeing something that you designed made real is incomparable.” 

The creation of your suit is highly personalised and takes as long as needed, and it’s important to start as soon as you feel comfortable. “Generally speaking, I see my clients three to four times and will exchange one- to two-dozen emails to make sure it’s right,” says Pillai. As the process takes place, he’ll discuss things like your fitness and weight goals to determine the best timeline. “After doing it for so long, everything almost seems instinctual. I’m not really thinking so much as assessing as I talk and try to understand my customer’s lifestyle, physical goals, work and anything that I can learn that may have an impact on my product.” 

Buying off-the-rack is an impersonal experience, but made-to-measure pieces mean you look your best in any situation. It’s all in our tagline, ‘Look Your Best When It Matters Most’,” he says. I’ve spent seven years of my life helping over 1,000 customers do just that. At the end of the day, every person is different, and we understand that. I’m ready! Let’s do it!