Ask the Editor
Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large
'Custom-made' and 'tailor-made'
Thursday July 30th 2009
'Custom-made' and 'tailor-made'

Custom-made and tailor-made both mean "made specifically for someone." But there are some differences in usage.


Custom-made refers to almost anything that is made for someone, including clothes but just as often referring to other things:

I like his custom-made shoes.

custom-made kitchen cabinets


He rides a custom-made motorcycle.


Tailor-made most often refers to clothing when used to refer to things:

tailor-made suits


When referring to situations or ideas, tailor-made is used very broadly:

The role was tailor-made for the young actress.

That job is tailor-made [=perfect] for him.

Our brokers develop tailor-made strategies for managing risk.