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The Buzz on Bespoke

By SterlonStyle — August 23, 2013

Let’s speak about bespoke.

Wikipedia defines bespoke tailoring as: “a British English word that means a clothing item made to a buyer’s specification, personalized and tailored. The term historically was applied to men’s tailored clothing, footwear and other apparel, implying measurement and fitting. The distinguishing points of bespoke tailoring are the buyer’s total control over the fabric used, the features and fit, and the way the garment should be made. Savile Row in London is known principally for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men, where customers have included Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill, and Jude Law.”

In our current culture where faster is better, there has been a recent return to all things artisanal, from traditional home-made fine food preparations to hand-crafted furniture. And thanks to Banana Republic’s ad campaign, the word BESPOKE is in. To clarify, Banana Republic is mass produced and not custom made to an individuals measurements. But alas they are embracing styling that gives a hint of this tradition.

One gentleman who has stayed true to the trade of bespoke is Mr. Thom Browne. He first launched his made-to-measure line for men in 2001, followed up in 2004 with his ready-to-wear men’s collection. His style tips a hat to a slower, classic time with a witty twist. His aesthetic could have been a precursor to the current Mad Men obsession with snappy dressing for men.

Thom Browne in store

And thank goodness he has translated his fine tailoring of men’s wear and launched a collection for women in 2011.

I previewed the fall collection last Wednesday evening at the store event in Tribeca. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Thom Brown for the first time and he expressed with a quiet vigor and pride as to how much he loves to keep the integrity of bespoke tailoring in his menswear and women’s wear designs.

We spoke about how during a time where women’s wear has been more casual and relaxed, that there is something to be said about a well-fitting, custom tailored dress or jacket. It works to give your figure form. He was still radiantly proud that the first lady wore a tailored coat of his design. A nod to the past, yet so appropriately modern and chic. Bravo to Ms. Michelle Obama for showing ladies just how to wear a tailored coat beautifully.

Michelle Obama in Thom Browne

Here are some of my personal favorites to add some panache to your fall wardrobe. Accents of fine jacquard weaves, touches of fur, and silhouettes that accentuate an hourglass silhouette. A shoe or handbag with a modern yet classic look would be a smart investment for fall. One can choose from his ready-wear collection, or he still executes custom bespoke design right here in New York City.

The Thom Browne store is located on the corner of 100 Hudson St and Franklin Streets. They offer such a luxury experience on their beautiful velvet couches, and why not pop open a bottle of bubbly while you shop? Cheers!


How do you feel when you wear a well-tailored suit or dress or coat? Please feel free to leave a comments or your questions below.

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