Bespoke is an English word that means a clothing item made to a buyer’s specification (personalized or tailored). While it can be applied to other items, including computer software and luxury cars, the term historically was applied only to men’s tailored clothing, footwear and other apparel, implying measurement and fitting. For most non-clothing items, the term build to order is usually used instead.

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. More generally, “bespoke” describes a high degree of “customisation”, and involvement of the end-user, in the production of the goods.

“Bespoke” is rarely used in any context in other varieties of English, which usually prefer terms such as “tailor-made” or “customized”.

 The Bespokeman

Bespoke Clothing – Meaning of the term

The word bespoke itself is derived from the verb to bespeak, to “speak for something”, in the specialized meaning “to give order for it to be made”. The term bespoke in fashion is reserved for individually patterned and crafted men’s clothing, analogous to women’s haute couture, in contrast with mass manufactured ready-to-wear (also called off-the-peg or off-the-rack).

Bespoke clothing is traditionally cut from a pattern drafted from scratch for the customer, and so differs from ready-to-wear, which is factory made in finished condition and standardised sizes, and from made to measure, produced to order from an adjusted block pattern. This opposition of terms did not initially imply that a bespoke garment was necessarily well built, but since the development of ready-to-wear in the beginning of the twentieth century,bespoke clothing is now more expensive and is generally accompanied by a high quality of construction.

While the distinction conferred by haute couture is protected by law in France, the British Advertising Standards Authority has ruled it is a fair practice to use the term bespoke for products which do not fully incorporate traditional construction methods. This position is opposed by the Savile Row Bespoke Association, a trade group of traditional tailors.

 

Bespoke versus Made-to-Measure

 

Between the extremes of bespoke and ready-to-wear has existed, since the end of the 19th century, a “grey area of garments for which the customer was measured, but that were then made up to the closest standard size, often, but by no means always, in a factory.”The distinction made here is between bespoke, created without use of a pre-existing pattern, and made to measure, which alters a standard-sized pattern to fit the customer. Technological change makes this distinction more subtle, since “fittings are increasingly required for both bespoke and made-to-measure; a bespoke service may require an individually cut pattern, which is then kept should further suits be required, and now made-to-measure measurements are often stored too, on a computer. Even hand-work, often cited as a benchmark of bespoke, is now increasingly found in made-to-measure garments, while machine-making plays some part in the creation of most bespoke suits”.

 

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 Modern Bespoke Suits Toronto 
The Greatest Bespoke & Made-To-Measure Tailors in Toronto