The 90s was a turning point in bespoke clothing. Big retail brands began offering made-to-measure suits in their boutiques. Led by brands like Ermenegildo Zegna, bespoke services became more accessible.
The meaning of bespoke suit
Context is needed to understand how clothing is made from scratch. There are generally three types of clothing. The first is ready-to-wear, where an individual can come in and pluck an item off the shelf and wear it as is. These clothes are mass produced and people buy them anonymously. The second is made to measure. A person chooses from among a selection of styles, materials, and other details to create a finished product.
Bespoke is the true unparalleled luxury standard in menswear. Price is not the issue because some made-to-measure or ready-to-wear suits can cost just as much as bespoke. (An expensive suit does not necessarily translate to lasting style.) The laborious process is also part of the allure of bespoke. We always mention it to our clients that to get something custom-made, there is a hurdle that you have to get over before you can order things. Custom made is not as easy as ready-to-wear. A relationship must also exist between tailor and client for the best results. A skilled tailor will not just take into account measurements and fabric, but also the customer’s lifestyle and personality.
Even the client’s posture is considered, because it affects how the fabric falls on the body. Then there’s trust that bonds the two. There was no need for bespoke houses to advertise because a well-dressed gentleman was the living testimonial to a tailor’s skills. Along with trust, a bespoke tailor needs to have the physical goods to fulfill sartorial visions. Reputable tailors have a library of materials at their disposal.
Experience is also a key factor in choosing the right suit-maker. It is no coincidence that the most sought-after tailors come from houses with decades, if not centuries, of history. Training to become a bespoke tailor has its own life cycle. It involves years of education, apprenticeship, and developing technique.
Each tailoring house has its own signature style as well. Kiton specializes in jackets with rounded shoulders that feature some rippling. Caruso suits feature high armholes. These distinctions aid the potential client in deciding which tailor is suitable. Read about our house style too.