Buying a bespoke suit means investing in the epitome of comfort and craftsmanship. A bespoke suit is the flagship of men’s tailoring that represents hours of effort in producing highly personalized garments that fit perfectly. There are no two suits alike. With bespoke every component is designed, cut and assembled by hand, making each suit that you design a different experience than the last.
How to define bespoke | The definition of bespoke
Bespoke is commonly used in the United Kingdom and is defined as an adjective to describe an item “to be spoken for.” It is a derivative and past participle of the word “bespeak” which can be used a few different ways.
- i) Bespeak can be used to describe something that is preordered or pre-arranged.
- ii) Bespeak is to suggest or show evidence of a quality or trait. For example “Our suits bespeaks quality of craftsmanship”
Bespoke is more notably used to describe the style of suits that are made by hand and custom tailored to fit one individual.
In the days when bespoke tailors were the only means for purchasing suits, any suit you saw hanging in their shop was a suit that was spoken for because all garments were made after the measurements of a customer.
Today it’s common to observe the term being used loosely when it refers to food (bespoke pizza, bespoke software, etc) The inferred meaning in this context refers to any item that is made specifically just for you.
How much does a bespoke suit cost?
A bespoke suit can cost as little as $3,000 or as much as $10,000. The average price paid in Toronto is about $4000 CAD. The fabric you choose has a direct impact on the price. A $4000 suit is typically made from worsted wool and a $10,000 suit is made from fabric as light and luxurious as cashmere.
The history of bespoke tailoring
The concept of meeting with a bespoke tailor and designing a suit is an old world experience made modern. Before the 19th century ready to wear garments didn’t exist. Buying regular clothes meant you met with a tailor to be measured and fitted and have clothes made for you. When the mass production of clothing began, ready to wear clothing became less expensive and more appealing to those who could not afford a tailor.
The experience of meeting with a tailor has become more refined and detail oriented yet has retained much of the tradition in the process. Bespoke tailoring is now reserved for exceptionally well fitting clothing.
The Bespoke Process
The design phase
In reality, you began designing your suit every time something fashionable has caught your attention. Your ideal suit is a summary of your experiences. The look, feel and features you choose are influenced by suits you’ve seen or worn in the past and remarked as impressive. Your idea of the best suit imaginable is unique to your experiences.
Your bespoke tailor will need to have a discussion with you about the purpose of your suit. This conversation is aimed to achieve a high level of understanding of what is important to you in order to facilitate the creation of your vision.
Be involved as much as possible in the design of your first suit. The more thought you put into it, the more you will understand what works for your style. The chances are if this is your first time working with a bespoke tailor-it won’t be your last. Learning the options you have at your fingertips is a worthwhile endeavour in becoming more aware of your preferences.
Take advantage of the expertise your tailor has regarding fashion etiquette. There are rules you can break, rules you can bend and rules you do not want to meddle with when dressing for formal occasions that call for a specific dress code. The depth of a tailors experience in this department is invaluable in producing ideas that allow the originality of your suit stand out within the right setting.
Customizing your clothing
Your bespoke tailor will systematically explain the options that are open and available to you. You will be guided through your decisions on customizable features such as lapels, pant cuffs, shoulder padding, button holes, centred vents, double vents etc. There are a list of features that are standard upon which you and your tailor make decisions.
Where you take your experience to the ultimate level of originality is when you suggest your own features. Build ideas into your suits that you believe will add value to the final design. Be bold in your thoughts and suggestions when designing your suit. Throw all of your creative thoughts on the table in order to bring those features to life.
People have unique requests such as hidden pockets for odd objects. There are no rules when it comes to adding custom features. If something is way off, your tailor will give you the pros and cons to the consequences of your suggestions.
Choose a fabric that allows you to wear your suit as much as possible. Worsted wool is a top choice for durability and is an all season fabric that allows your body to breathe.
Super threads are numbered according to the thickness of each individual thread. They are made from wool and twisted together. Most bespoke suits are made between super 120’s and super 200’s. The higher the count the lighter the material, however it also becomes less durable.
Choosing neutral tones such as greys and blues will give you flexibility to wear your suit to a variety of events. If you go too bold on a colour it may limit you to wearing your suit on certain occasions.
Bespoke is the first choice in formal wear
A distinction should be made between bespoke, made to measure and off the rack. Bespoke offers the highest level of comfort since every component is originally designed and tailored to the individual. The process typically involves 2-4 fittings (including the basting fitting) and will be ready anywhere from 8-12 weeks.
Made to measure garments are suits that are assembled from predesigned components. Measurements are taken and then the suit is assembled in its entirety according to the clients measurements. A made to measure suit typically takes 4-8 weeks, and only 1-2 fittings.
Off the rack suits are ready to wear garments that can be tailored to fit on the spot. An off the rack garment typically is mass produced and is not as well fitted as the previous two options. Body shapes will differ from man to man and although you can get away with a decent looking off the rack suit this option does not account for the closeness of fit and attention to small detail. Formal wear should reflect your best foot forward so why not have a suit that enhances your physique?
Confidence inspiring attire
Your bespoke suit will inspire confidence. Presentation is one of the biggest influencing factors in making first impressions. Many would agree that a suit makes a man but it’s the idea of being professional and standing out that appeals to most men. Wearing a suit that stands out in an office environment definitely adds a competitive edge by making an impression.
A bespoke jacket will require 20 different measurements to get a three-dimensional fit to your body. These measurements take into account your posture, the slope of your back, the angles and characteristics that make your body unique. Although bespoke suits are considered next to a second skin, they are made to compliment your body by adjusting for every asymmetrical inconsistency your body might have.
An authentic handmade suit bespeaks quality. Quality that is not just in the appearance of the garment that is impressive but also conveys a longer lifespan and added durability that allows these suits to last 10-20 years. We live in a day and age where everything needs to be done faster and in many cases the priority is placed on speed at the cost of losing quality.
How long does it take to make a bespoke suit?
Most bespoke tailors will need between 8-12 weeks to finish a suit. A tailor will spend anywhere from 60-80 hours on your design.
There’s no doubt that modern advancements in tailoring and technology have created more speed and efficiency in assembling suits. The argument is whether technology has closed the gap in quality between handcrafted garments and machine made formal wear. One person might debate over whether the machine stitch is more consistent than a hand stitch. However, there is more to quality than how straight a stitch is woven.
Bespoke suits are handmade which contributes to better craftsmanship. The decision to invest in a bespoke suit means you are investing in a garment that will last a lifetime. Extra material is built in to your garments to adjust for any changes the body might make over time. Your bespoke tailor will provide complimentary maintenance and minor repairs for the lifetime of your suit. You are not just purchasing the suit, but the service that comes with it.
The originality of a bespoke suit is an undying quality that you will appreciate more every time you wear your suit. When you go bespoke you are going it alone. Not only are you the only man on the entire planet that fits perfectly into the suit you designed yourself, but you also look razor sharp and sophisticated.
The beauty of bespoke is that it is a style in itself. No matter how different in taste your style might be, a perfectly fitting suit makes any style look like the cutting edge of fashion.
Benefits of custom tailored clothing
When you purchase bespoke, you know you are getting a high end, tailored garment that is custom made for your body type. The superior fit is a given considering every component has been designed and measured to adjust and move with your body.
The shape of a bespoke suit is maintained by a full canvas made from horsehair to prevent any sagging or deformities. The canvas is loosely stitched to the fabric in order to allow movement without sacrificing shape or looking stiff.
The best part of buying bespoke is the unsurpassed precision of custom tailoring which results in the ultimate, most comfortable fit. The finished product is one of the best fitting suits that exudes sophistication and class. The craftsmanship is backed by your bespoke tailor, which makes your purchase a lifetime investment. Build your own brand and make your suit bespoke.