or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom, bespoke,made to measure?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Custom, bespoke,made to measure?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK, here we go. Most people that are not tailors hear the terms custom, bespoke, and made to measure. They make up their own idea of what the terms mean. They then tell others, and soon everyone misunderstands.

Lets look at made to measure.

Usually in made to measure the important work is done on the cutting table.
A standard size pattern is placed on the cloth. The cutter then chalks around the pattern edge.
He will pause at times to move the pattern so that some part gets larger or smaller according
to instructions on the customer order. there are many other moves that are used longer,
shorter, tilted, forward, backward, pivoted closed, pivoted opened, among others.
only when thats done do the shears begin cutting cloth.
In very large shops, the work is divided. A "blue pencil man" reads the customers order and
diagrams the chalking changes to be done. Then a "chopper" follows the instructions for
chalking and cutting.
Then comes construction. Large shops may look just like a big ready to wear assembly
lines,each person doing only one operation. In small shops people have multiple jobs.
When the garment is finished its shipped to you.If this is being handled through a local tailor
sometimes arrangements can be made for basted fittings [at cost].

Some ready to wear manufactures also may have a made to measure program.
the procedure is the same, the blue pencil man, the cutter,etc.
In this case your garment goes through the same assembly line that the ready
to wear garments are made. The finished garment is then sent to the retail store.




Custom/Bespoke
Why the slash? Because they both mean the same thing.

The customer is measured,a pattern is made, cloth is cut. A coat maker makes the entire coat. A vest maker makes the entire vest. a pant maker makes the entire pant. Each tailor is a specialist. One or more fittings are made to be sure things are going right at different stages of construction. This is controlled by the cutter/designer/fitter. That's all one person.

There is also the single tailor that does everything himself.


My dictionary says "bespeake" is to ask or arrange for in advance.

Also "custom made," the dictionary says, is made to order.

Notice that the definition is either case each term has nothing to do with quality or degree of workmanship.

When I began my apprenticeship in 1949, there were many real custom tailor establishments in the U.S. [Alas, there are very few today]. They all proudly called themselves custom tailors, not bespoke.
In fact few even heard of the term. In recent years somehow the term came here from across the pond. People seemed to like the sound and elegance of the word.
So the American custom tailor became bespoke. A sad turn of events. I think that custom is still a good American word.

Check your dictionary.
post #2 of 13
I'm not a tailor and my understanding is much as is yours. I have no experience with made to measure ... but do with bespoke. I call it bespoke and not custom because all my experience has been in England.
post #3 of 13
Suspenders or braces?

Pants or trousers?

Andrey
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
And you are right because an english tailor is a bespoke tailor. I would also use the same term speaking of an english tailor.

Guess i am just an old guy but i think if we are talking about an american tailor the term should be custom .but thats just me.


this thread was about custom/bespoke and made to measure.
sorry I got off the track.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by andreyb2 View Post

Suspenders or braces?

Pants or trousers?

Andrey

Braces & trousers. Suspenders are what my grandfather wore to hold up his socks.

But back to custom/bespoke and made to measure.
post #6 of 13
This can get more complicated.

Custom is often abused and traders use it to refer to MTM as well as Bespoke so beware. In England one does indeed visit a 'Bespoke Tailor' but the man that takes the measures and prepares the pattern etc is more properly termed a 'cutter'. In the USA a 'tailor' is often someone who tries to alter RTW garments to better fit the buyer, hence people referring to having their clothes "tailored". UK - we would refer to clothes being "altered" possibly by an 'Alterations Tailor'.

Not easy to struggle through the terms and descriptors at times.
Edited by GBR - 2/15/13 at 9:10am
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Now I see that my comment about those words should have been on a separate thread.

the original purpose was to present the differences between custom/bespoke and made to measure.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
GBR
You are correct as to the term "cutter" as used in the custom trade.

In the manufacturing of rtw the man pushing an electric knife on a stack of cloth is called a cutter.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by a tailor View Post

GBR
You are correct as to the term "cutter" as used in the custom trade.

In the manufacturing of rtw the man pushing an electric knife is called a cutter.

Alex, this is the problem, the terms are used interchangeably in different sectors. If you will recall there was the case in England about three years ago where the Saville Row Trade Association failed to win court support for the concept that 'bespoke' should only be applied to garments prepared to an order for which a customer specific pattern was drafted ie what might here be regarded as 'bespoke'.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR View Post

Alex, this is the problem, the terms are used interchangeably in different sectors. If you will recall there was the case in England about three years ago where the Saville Row Trade Association failed to win court support for the concept that 'bespoke' should only be applied to garments prepared to an order for which a customer specific pattern was drafted ie what might here be regarded as 'bespoke'.

I suppose thats because the definition means, to ask for in advance. and has nothing to do with constructing a garment.
Then ordering a made to measure suit means its been bespoken.
In fact asking for a suit from off the peg means its been bespoken.

Back in the late 1940s hickey freeman advertised their rtw suits were "custom made".
The custom tailors and designers brought them to court and won their case.
Hickey freeman then changed it to "customized".
One small win for the tailor.. now everyone labels their product as custom.
post #11 of 13

my understanding was that the origin was that once the wool had been selected from the roll by the customer, then the length required from the roll had been spoken for.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dusttruffle View Post

my understanding was that the origin was that once the wool had been selected from the roll by the customer, then the length required from the roll had been spoken for.

dust ruffle
yes that is my understanding too. that means that anything can be bespoken. like what??
a car, a hamburger, a tie, a teddy bear, a banana, and would you believe it a suit.
post #13 of 13
I was going to start a thread on this but it's been started already (several times) and I'm struggling with these terms.

I recently started with a clothing retailer that has both "Custom" made shirts and "Personalized" suits, vests, sport coats, and trousers, etc.

Of course, I see other sales people saying, "Oh yes, our clothing is bespoke" and it's really annoying.

I guess I'm curious about the word "custom". In this thread I see that custom is the same as bespoke? Maybe these terms are so watered down that it doesn't matter anymore?

When selling, I hate to use the terms MTM because it almost seems like a slight although I've seen some real shit "bespoke" garments from local tailors and our MTM / other companies MTM would blow them away (at a better price).

I also see a lot of false advertising from "tailors" that basically take measurements, send the garments out to be made, and then just have their in house tailor make adjustments.


Here's a couple of good definitions that I found online:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/01/16/what-is-the-difference-between-made-to-measure-and-bespoke/

http://www.englishbaby.com/blog/rhyme_reason/view_entry/12384

Here seems to be another thread with good info:

http://www.styleforum.net/t/346160/for-those-that-have-had-a-made-to-measure-suit
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Custom, bespoke,made to measure?