Bespoke, like a luxury, is a word that is often abused, misused to give something that is neither ‘bespoke’ nor ‘luxury’ a gloss of sophistication or justify a high price tag. The truth is that bespoke – exclusively something made just for you – is arguably the greatest luxury. And perhaps no more so than when it comes to a suit.
Yes, bespoke suits are an investment, but done right it’s an investment that will last a lifetime and mean you’ll rarely have to buy off-the-rack again. To that end, here is the complete guide to buying a bespoke suit.
The History Of Bespoke Suits
Up until less than a century ago, all men wore bespoke. Clothes were hand-made for the individual who could afford it, and those who couldn’t wear bespoke cast-offs.
It was in the late 1500s that Robert Baker set up the first tailoring business in London’s Piccadilly area – named after the ‘pickadill’, an Elizabethan term for a shirt collar – becoming suit-maker to the court of King James I in the process. As was commonplace then, like craftspeople flocked together – and soon the area, from Jermyn Street to Savile Row, became the epicenter of England’s menswear trade.
It was only in the 1950s, when manufacturing technology allowed the production of more affordable ready-to-wear clothes, that the tables were turned. Bespoke became the exception rather than the norm: for this, we can thank off-the-peg pioneer Montague Burton.
Bespoke Vs Made-To-Measure
Ask most men the difference between a ‘made-to-measure’ and ‘bespoke’ suit and the odds are that they’ll be unable to distinguish between the two. It doesn’t help that on occasion the terms are muddled deliberately to dress up a product. A lack of industry regulations regarding definitions has left a grey area that the Advertising Standards Association has addressed, somewhat inclusively. “Customers would expect a bespoke suit to be tailored to their measurements and specifications [but] would not expect that suit to be fully hand-made with the pattern cut from scratch,” it stated.
Adding to the confusion: fittings are increasingly required for both bespoke and made-to-measure. A bespoke service may require an individually-cut pattern, which is then kept on file should further suit be required. But often made-to-measure measurements are now stored, too. And cloths are chosen for bespoke and made-to-measure garments alike, with only the breadth of choice differing. Even hand-making, often cited as a benchmark of bespoke is now increasingly found in made-to-measure garments, while machine-making plays some part in the creation of most bespoke suits, especially in the creation of trousers
Why Buy Bespoke?
While many men can look passable in an off-the-peg suit, there’s no such thing as a standardized, symmetrical body. Bespoke aims to even out all personal quirks of stature and posture to improve your overall appearance.
Indeed, a bespoke suit requires the skills of several experts – a cutter, tailor, trouser maker, finisher, presser and so on – which goes some way to explaining both the cost of bespoke and its longevity.
The Bespoke Suit Process
Those new to bespoke may find the quiet examination of their posture, walk, sitting position, and anatomy somewhat disconcerting, but it’s necessary for the tailor to make the best suit for you. Matters of taste, however, are largely the individual’s call.
The process requires you to decide on every aspect of the suit, from cut to fabric, pocket type to position. But you’ll be wisely advised, both because each tailor has a house style – not imposed but favored – and because that’s what tailors do: make an assessment of your lifestyle and needs and help you eliminate options and ideas and pinpoint what’s best.
Custom Bespoke Suits in NYC, NJ, & Anywhere In The U.S
At BBspoke, personal service is our specialty and we have many ways to serve you in NJ and NYC Area. Our custom tuxedo, suit, and tailoring services go far beyond just the material itself.
Our owner, Bijan Zamanian, is personally involved with every new client to make sure nothing is left to chance. We will even come to your place at home or office in New Jersey or New York (Consultations by video outside of our NJ & NYC travel area).
Book an appointment online today. You’ll be fitted so that your new suit has the best look and feel you can buy.