pattern making for clothes

What is Bespoke Suit?

What is bespoke suit?

According to The Savile Row Bespoke Association the definition for the word “bespoke” is:

“A suit made on or around Savile Row, bespoken to the customer’s specifications. A bespoke suit is cut by an individual and made by highly skilled individual craftsmen. The pattern is made specifically for the customer and the finished suit will take a minimum of 50 hours of hand work and require a series of fittings.”

A Bespoke suit, first and foremost is a suit that is spoken for by a custom client, or rather the spoken for suit is custom made for a client. It is tailor-made, so to speak, but it really beyond being tailor-made, as such. A bespoke suit will be custom cut, trimmed, shaped and tailored to ensure a perfect and most comfortable fit for the client. 

Every detail from the style of the fabric to the thread count to the material to be used is custom chosen for a unique and prized client. A bespoke suit is a cut above any made to measure suit.

The bespoken process is a involved process between a client and his tailor. Just like a person can invest their money with a bank through a teller or with a money manager at an investment firm or a hedge fund or even at a bank or trust company. The level of specialization and focus is what differentiates a bespoke suit from a made to measure suit. 

The Bespoke Tailor Made Process for Crafting a Bespoke Suit: 

  • Pattern Making
  • Multiple Fittings
  • Fabric Selection
  • Design / Customization Available
  • Meeting One-On-One With Tailor

A Bespoke suit is really part of a bespoken for process. Your Tailor is a specialist, no less than a Doctor is a master of medicine, a Tailor is a master of fashion. A Tailor can scientifically custom design or refine a suit, made out of select fabric and with a set thread count and Tailor it to perfection. 

A Bepoken for suit, customized by a competent Tailor can embolden your appearance and enrich your sense of self worth. A Bespoke Tailor can know in advance of customizing a suit how it will look on you, based on lighting and weather conditions. A Bespoke Tailor will assess in advance the necessity of using certain materials or fabrics over others, based on the set venue and purpose of an event and your professional role there.

A Bespoke suit will require a series of fittings and trimings to ensure a super quality ‘cut and fit’ for an enriched style, suited to each unique client. That is perhaps the main difference between a made to measure suit and a bespoke suit. Relationship between the Tailor and the client is of paramount importance. Learning about one’s client, to know the client’s field or business or work and the specific purpose for the suit, is of utmost importance, over and above, just tailoring a suit to fit according to standard measurements.

What is a Bespoke Suit?

The word bespoke has evolved from a verb meaning “to speak for something” to its contemporary usage as an adjective that has changed from describing first tailor-made suits and shoes, and later, to anything commissioned to a particular specification (altered or tailored to the customs, tastes, or usage of an individual purchaser), and finally to a general marketing and branding concept implying exclusivity and appealing to snobbery. 

History

The word bespoke is most known for its “centuries-old relationship” with tailor-made suits,[2] but the Oxford English Dictionary also ties the word to shoemaking in the mid-1800s.[7] Although it is now used as an adjective, it was originally used as the past participle of bespeak.[2] According to a spokesperson for Collins English Dictionary, it later came to mean to discuss, and then to the adjective describing something that was discussed in advance, which is how it came to be associated with tailor-made apparel.[2] The word was used as an adjective in A Narrative of the Life of Mrs Charlotte Charke, the 1755 autobiography of the actress Charlotte Charke, which refers to The Beaux’ Stratagem as “a bespoke play”.[2] After that, the adjective was generally associated with men’s tailor-made suits.[2]

Before about the 19th century, most clothing was made to measure, or bespoke, whether made by professional tailors or dressmakers, or as often, at home. The same applied to many other types of goods. With the advent of industrialised ready to wear clothing, bespoke became largely restricted to the top end of the market, and is now normally considerably more expensive, at least in developed countries.

At some point after that, the word bespoke came to be applied to more than tailoring, although it is unclear exactly when.[7] Mark-Evan Blackman of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York told the Wall Street Journal in 2012 that the “bespoke proliferation may be tied to young Hollywood types becoming enamored with custom suits about a decade ago”.[7] The Wall Street Journal article said that “language purists” were not happy, while suit makers said the word had been “bastardized”.[7]

Before about the 19th century, most clothing was made to measure, or bespoke, whether made by professional tailors or dressmakers, or as often, at home. The same applied to many other types of goods. With the advent of industrialised ready to wear clothing, bespoke became largely restricted to the top end of the market, and is now normally considerably more expensive, at least in developed countries.

At some point after that, the word bespoke came to be applied to more than tailoring, although it is unclear exactly when.[7] Mark-Evan Blackman of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York told the Wall Street Journal in 2012 that the “bespoke proliferation may be tied to young Hollywood types becoming enamored with custom suits about a decade ago”.[7] The Wall Street Journal article said that “language purists” were not happy, while suit makers said the word had been “bastardized”.[7]

Contemporary usage

Fitting of a bespoke jacket

In 1990, American writer William Safire, questioned in a New York Times article what had become of “custom, a word fading from our fashion vocabulary in a blizzard of British usage”.[6] In a play on words, he wrote of the snob appeal[3] of the word: “To be suitably trendy, bespeak to me of bespoke tailoring.”[6] Gentlemen’s Quarterly magazine wrote that the word was “gaining in popularity”, meaning “the opposite of off-the-rack”.[8] In its contemporary usage, it implies exclusivity, and is used as an aid in marketing[1] and branding.[9] A 2014 India Today article described bespoke as an emerging branding trend that marketers would need to embrace.[9]

In this article, we’ll be discussing what a bespoke suit is, the bespoke process, average prices, whether going bespoke is right for you, and the difference between custom and bespoke suits.

Having named this blog “Bespoke Unit,” it should come as no surprise that bespoke clothing has a heritage that’s near and dear to us.

When a suit enthusiast hears the word “bespoke,” his ears perk up. This is because the term is a loaded one.

It represents over a century and a half of the finest tailoring that money can buy. A bespoke suit is synonymous with the highest possible quality, fit, and style.

It also happens to be one of the most overused and least understood terms in all of menswear. Our goal is to clear up any confusion around the word so that you can be a better-equipped purchaser of suits.

Etymology Of The Word “Bespoke”

The dictionary definition of bespoke is as follows:

bespoke (adj.): custom or custom-made, made to order of goods (as distinguished from ready made)

The Savile Row Bespoke Association has a much narrower definition for the word “bespoke”:

“A suit made on or around Savile Row, bespoken to the customer’s specifications. A bespoke suit is cut by an individual and made by highly skilled individual craftsmen. The pattern is made

specifically for the customer and the finished suit will take a minimum of 50 hours of hand work and require a series of fittings.”