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Bespoke pronunciation

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mrchapel, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. mrchapel

    mrchapel Senior member

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    This has been bugging me for quite some time, and also prompted a disagreement, but how does one properly pronounce bespoke?

    Is it BE-SPOKE, or BA-SPOKE. Or are the pronunciations interchangable depending on region? I've always maintained that it should be pronounced be-spoke, as to be spoken for, but a couple colleagues of mine have been pronouncing it ba-spoke. I'm wondering which is correct.
     
  2. GMF

    GMF Well-Known Member

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    I think it's b'spoke, a very soft form of your BA-SPOKE.
     
  3. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    be (short "e") spoke

    it's the same "be" as in the word "best"
     
  4. mrchapel

    mrchapel Senior member

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    Ahhh ok, it always did sound a bit odd when I said it be-spoke, but making it be-spoke as in the same e sound from best actually sound right. Thanks!
     
  5. hobo

    hobo Well-Known Member

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    emphasis on which syllable?
     
  6. montmorency

    montmorency Senior member

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    Just say custom and call it a day. Bespoke is a Britishism. There is nothing wrong with using the American equivalent word - custom.
     
  7. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    Custom isn't quite correct.
     
  8. kronik

    kronik Senior member

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    I was curious as well. Thanks.
     
  9. montmorency

    montmorency Senior member

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    Custom isn't quite correct.

    why not?

    Check out the name of Alex Kabbaz's business: Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers
     
  10. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    I say it "bispoke" I think. Obviously I don't have many friends in real life I talk about clothes with. Montmercy: Let me clarify my above post. Custom isn't quite correct as the American equivalent because well, as a word it's widely used in the States. I would argue that "custom tailor" is just a colloquialism, and used to draw in customers who don't know what bespoke means. Furthermore, anything can technically be custom. Those Lands' End, JC Penney, or Target shirts are called "custom shirts." Hell, even some stuff completely off the rack are called "custom fit" just because you can buy the jacket and trousers separately. Bespoke is only dealing with clothes that are made specifically for one customer by actual tailors. EDIT: Furthermore I find on Dictionary.com it says nowhere that it's chiefly British. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bespoke
     
  11. montmorency

    montmorency Senior member

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    Even if the term bespoke is widely used in the U.S. (and I don't think it is), so is the term custom. The term bespoke originated in England. It is mostly used to refer to the product of the Savile Row tailors. I don't see how the term custom tailor is a colloquialism. In the U.S., for a suit, it simply means a one of a kind suit that is designed and made to the buyer's specifications.

    If you don't want to take my word, then you might be willing to accept Flusser's. Here is his definition of "bespoke", from p. 279 (glossary) of Dressing The Man: "BESPOKE: Custom-made; a term applied in England to articles made to individual order."
     
  12. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    I don't see Flusser as a god, unfortunately, so that's instantly refuted. Also, you'll find that many of us who are American call it bespoke...
     
  13. montmorency

    montmorency Senior member

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    Not a God, but knowledgeable. I'm certainly ready to admit that he's more knowledgable than I am. He's been in the business for many, many years and has written four books on the subject. I don't accept his opinion on all matters of taste, but I, for one, don't question his knowledge of the industry.

    Use the term bespoke if you like. When you go to wherever it is that you go to for ordering your bespoke garments, you are still having something custom made for you.
     
  14. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    But that's exactly my point! A ton of things can fall under the umbrella of "custom." Bespoke is referring to a specific process where something is cut, made, and styled specifically to your liking just for you. You don't see the Brits referring to shirts that are simply made to measure as "bespoke."
     
  15. montmorency

    montmorency Senior member

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    Also, the fact that some merchants abuse the word custom does not change its meaning. If the term bespoke were widely used in the U.S., then some manufacturers or stores would use it to tout their goods too. For all I know, some merchants already do. The true meaning of the work remains. The buyer has to beware to make sure that what is being sold matches its description.
     
  16. kronik

    kronik Senior member

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    Call it what you want and mean what you say. [​IMG]

    As with all words, depends on the listener. Bespoke should only really mean one thing - custom can mean many, but if I ask my tailor to make a couple custom shirts for me, he'll know what I'm talking about.
     
  17. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    True. Plus right now I don't have much time to argue because my oven kinda just exploded.
     
  18. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Personally, in real life, I've never used the word bespoke and prefer the word custom.

    There's also been arguments on here ad nauseam on what is custom and what is bespoke and what is MTM.

    Some say that for it to be bespoke you have to have your own pattern...

    Some say that for it to be bespoke you have to have the person that cuts the pattern measure you...

    Some say that for it to be bespoke you have to have the person that cuts the pattern measure you and make most of the garment...

    Some use "custom" and "bespoke" interchangeably....

    Some use "custom" and "MTM" incderchangeably...

    Some call stuff that's MTM "bespoke" and vice versa...

    bla bla bla and so on and so forth
     
  19. kronik

    kronik Senior member

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    True. Plus right now I don't have much time to argue because my oven kinda just exploded.
    If the UF town in your profile suggests you go to college, you should know that college students are typically relegated to microwave-use only, for a reason.. at least until Jr. year. Otherwise, sorry to hear that. [​IMG] Oh and odoreater, are you suggesting StyleForum isn't........... real life?
     
  20. Jovan

    Jovan Senior member

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    Eh. Well how am I supposed to make oven-baked midnight munchies now? I swear it wasn't my fault. -_- Thing's probably just old, but at least it's covered in this place.
     

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