The term Bespoke is seriously overused. I see both designers and manufacturers in the fashion industry use the term incredibly loosely and often confusing buyers. Here is a answer to a reader's question about the correct terminology of the term "bespoke". Below the terms "made to measure", "bespoke" and "ready to wear" are broken down so you may learn the difference. Enjoy! - Tim
What exactly is a bespoke suit and what goes into it? Simply put, a bespoke suit is a suit made by a tailor to the individual measurements of the customer who commissioned it.
But, what exactly does that term mean? The word "bespoke" is more often used in British English than in American English, which uses "custom-made" instead. Terms like "made to order" and "made to measure" are also used. All these terms signify something that's the opposite of ready-to-wear.
The art of bespoke tailoring goes back to early England's tradition of royalties and aristocrats commissioning hand-made custom garments from tailors and merchants, but it is still alive today. As a matter of fact, "bespoke" has become a rather trendy word that tailors in the US and other places like to use more and more.
And, sometimes - maybe even misuse! Today, the term "bespoke" is also used in a broader sense, for a suit made in a factory from stock patterns - however, a true bespoke suit comes from the corner shop. You will be meeting with the person constructing your suit, and not with a sales worker.
There is certainly a significant difference between "made-to-measure" and "bespoke", although some use the terms interchangeably. A bespoke suit is - except for the long seams - a purely hand-made garment. That fact is also reflected in the price of such a suit.
Unlike a made-to-measure company, a tailor who makes bespoke suits will not use modified base patterns, as this could lead him to miss some nuances of his client's body. That's why he will take measurements of things such as the arch of the client's back or the slope of his shoulder. The blueprint of the suit - an individual pattern - is made and stored for each individual wearer.
Sometimes, multiple fittings or "tryons" will be required to ensure that the suit fits perfectly. There will be at least three fittings at different stages of tailoring: first, there is the skeleton base fitting, then the forward fitting, and finally the fin bar fin fitting. With a made-to-measure company, there will generally be no fittings during the creation process, only an initial fitting to take measurements, and a final fitting once the suit is finished.
A bespoke suit is the absolute best that could be made. There is no limit to customizations available.
A gentleman needs at least one really good suit. Only a true bespoke suit is able to fit the bill here!
For more on bespoke suit tailors, just ask here.
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