While wasting time on that favorite time suck, Facebook, an ad popped across my news feed. The ad promised bespoke pendants for necklaces. I blinked at the stupid. I sighed in exasperation and rolled my eyes at the degradation of understanding. Somewhere, sometime over the years, the word bespoke has come to be seen as synonymous with custom. It isn’t.
Bespoke, specifically, is a TAILORING term, i.e. sewing. And not just loose flowing gowns, but specifically a tailored, carefully fitted garment. Usually refers to men’s wear, although the argument could absolutely be made that women’s wear demands it’s fair share of tailoring too. Mostly I weep for the lack of knowledge of finer things. Bespoke Tailoring was once the sole province of Savile Row in London. And while one can’t argue that shops have the right to make any claim they want, where is the truth in advertising? How can you claim to sell Bespoke suits, when you really sell made to measure? Degradation of the language is, sadly, endemic.
While this sad degradation of language and meaning confuses the masses, here is a quick and dirty breakdown of what exactly Bespoke Tailoring is. A garment cut specifically to your measurements, without using an existing pattern as a base. Essentially, it is draped from start to finish, giving you a carefully constructed, one of a kind, fitted garment. Bespoke tailoring will seek to visually correct any oddities in your body. Have a drop shoulder from scoliosis? Bespoke tailoring can mask that. Have a pot belly from too many nights out? Bespoke tailoring.
This carefully crafted garment is the end result of MULTIPLE fittings. Not just one where the tailor gets your measurements. The multiple fittings are required to allow for adjustments based on fabric selection. Even fabrics of similar weight can wear differently when custom tailored in a bespoke manner. A Bespoke garment will cost upwards of $1000. This is a LOW end Bespoke suit. $4000 to $5000 is not uncommon. Everything from the service to the materials is top quality. It is literally a suit meant to last a lifetime. It is anathema to the Walmart, Forever 21, buy today, throw it out tomorrow, culture which has permeated our world.
Words matter. Words have meaning. Bespoke does not just mean custom. It is so much more than custom made. Bespoke entails artistry. It is poetry in fabric, care in construction, hand crafted. Bespoke means elegance and refinement. Recognize!