FROM THE ARCHIVES: Why Bespoke?

A post from my time at a high-end men’s bespoke company in 2014

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Berluti Fall 2014

Let’s talk about style… specifically, style to the average man. It usually connotes a sleek, tailored look: A crisp button-up, a sharp jacket and smoothed pant lines. Crisp, sharp, smooth—those are adjectives that most men would desire for their personal wardrobe, whether formal or casual wear. But lacking a formal—and informal—education in fashion styling, the average man finds the off-the-rack shopping experience… a harrowing one, fraught with pushy salesmen recommending jackets, pants and even shoes nowhere near what the customer had originally visualized in their minds.

Basically, that was a long-winded way of stating: The average man needs custom-made clothing. Body-skimming tailoring is one of the more dominant trends in menswear this Fall/Winter season. From big and boxy to slim silhouettes, extreme tailoring will be ubiquitous on men in late 2014. Berluti’s new chic tweed and wool ensembles utilize it, as do Fendi’s and Costume National’s jackets with fur and leather touches, respectively.

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Costume National Fall 2014

These slim, tailored looks can be intimidating and may even tempt you to double up on gym memberships. Lucky for all of us, bespoke clothing fulfills both this current tailored demand and the natural, perennial desire to have clothes contour to fit your body.

Now, the term “bespoke clothing” may conjure images of monocled, dapper British aristocrats in wool overcoats but it has actually come a long way from its patrician origins on London’s famous Saville Row. Originally intended to refer to high-end shirts and suits produced specially for the upper-upper British classes, “bespoke” now simply refers to any item designed for a customer on an one-off basis with no set pattern from which to begin.

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Fendi Fall 2014

The appeal of bespoke, or custom-made, clothing lies not in its class associations but in the freedom, ease and authority with which it provides its customer. With customer service being a cornerstone of the custom clothing industry, the average man’s shopping experience is painlessly expedited, with him assuming full control over his look, literally from head-to-toe. In the world of bespoke fashion, the clothes don’t speak for the man; the man speaks for his clothing.

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