Bespoke clothing is one of the terms that you don’t hear outside of the West End of London, or in the vaunted halls of some of the world’s most premier fashion houses. It is, most definitely, a class apart from the rest of the fashion industry. This is particularly due to it’s close personal relationship with the end-user. Bespoke clothiers often see themselves as craftsmen and women and tradespeople – bespoke suit design, for example, is seen as an art form in and of itself.
It is because of the intense amount of personal labor involved in the creation of an item of bespoke clothing that one can expect to pay a hefty price for a bespoke clothing item.
What Types of Things are “Bespoke”?
Bespoke clothing first emerged at the beginning of the 18th century in London, at a time when high fashion was the norm and most men wouldn’t be caught dead outside of their homes without a tailor-made suit. It is during this time that bespoke clothing really caught on and became something of a norm for middle/upper-class Londoners. And, as with all things English during this time, these tailors and their materials were considered second-to-none.
Today, when we talk of “bespoke clothing”, we mostly refer to suits, as these are still the most common items that are requested to be “bespoked.”
What Sets “Bespoked” Apart?
In general, what separates bespoke clothing from the rest of the fashion industry is the highly personalized nature of the craft. Bespoke clothiers will make individual pieces of clothing from an individual pattern, rather than crafting a piece of clothing from a single pattern. Bespoke clothing puts the control back in the hands of the consumer. You get to choose your fabrics and styles and even the little details, such as cufflinks or working buttons, pockets, hems and more. Bespoked is unique to you and your body and fits you in a particular way.
How Large of an Investment is Bespoke Clothing?
Make no mistake, bespoke clothing may be some of the finest clothing you’ll ever wear. It’ll fit you like a dream and you’ll likely not have to buy many other suits for years on end. It’s a significant investment up-front, but if you’re the kind of person that likes to wear suits, or has a job that requires it, the purchase of a bespoke suit is definitely your best bet.
As above, bespoke suits aren’t cheap. The average bespoke suit in the United States costs around $3000, with labor taking up almost half of that cost, as most bespoke tailors won’t get out of bed for less than $40.00/hour, and given that you are buying a unique piece of clothing that’s tailored to suit you, and you get to choose the bulk of how it is put together, it’s a bargain price for the only suit you’ll ever have to own for potentially several decades.
What You Need To Know When Shopping
When you’re shopping for a bespoke suit, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, including the following:
Your budget: There is no such thing as a “cheap” bespoke suit, HOWEVER, some will be more expensive than others. Determine how much you want to spend and then look for designs in that price range.
Simple is often better. Stick to traditional colors like navy blue or grey so that you can wear them for a variety of occasions.
Select a quality fabric. In summer, look for breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk blends that will keep you cool. For a winter suit, you want thicker, warmer wools, flannels, or even tweed.
Know your body and what suits you. Shorter men should choose narrow trousers with a minimal break to provide the impression of height. If you’re tall and skinny, avoid a suit that’s overly tight; a little more movement in the fabric will draw attention to your figure. And if you’re broad or stocky, you should avoid cropped cuts or anything with padded shoulders.
And speaking of body shape, before you go to get measured for your suit, you want to make sure you’re at a weight and size that you’re happy with. Your suit is going to last for many years, and you don’t want to be losing weight, or gaining it, and having to get your suit fixed every time you do.
Bespoke clothing isn’t for everyone, but it is an investment that anyone that wears suits regularly should seriously consider.