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Bespoke suits or shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Fashionslave, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. Fashionslave

    Fashionslave Senior member

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    I'm trying to understand which is the best value;a bespoke suit or bespoke shoes? Granted there is a range of qualities within each category.Which is more labor intensive to produce?It seems there are more bespoke tailors than bespoke shoemakers;am I correct? Given today's labour rates,which is the best value? IMHO, I think shoes hold their value better,and do not depreciate as rapidly as suits.Anyone care to illuminate?...Manton?
     


  2. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The best value in bespoke is probably a tweed coat, since it will last forever. Suits are slightly less of a value, since trousers get threadbare in the knees and seat. Shoes are wonderful, and they can last a long, long time, but know this: you will have to get them resoled every few years, and that alone will cost more than a decent pair of RTW shoes.
     


  3. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    How much does it cost to get a pair of bespoke shoes resoled? I just looked up last night about AE recrafting- apparently it's $65. Obviously there would be much more involved in recrafting a bespoke pair.
     


  4. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    It costs a lot more, because of the handwork necessary. Also, that's the only way to get the tight, bevelled waist. Shoefan can explain the process in detail.
     


  5. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    A shirtmaker's advice which all tailors hate: When buying a suit, ALWAYS buy two pairs of trousers.
     


  6. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    One more thing: bespoke shoemakers DO NOT like it when other cobblers monkey with their shoes. Â Some will refuse to work on a shoe that has been resoled by someone else. Â They also say that putting a machine feathered sole on a bespoke shoe can stress and ruin the uppers. Â I don't know whether that's true, or just an attempt to maintain their share of the lucrative resoling business. Â I do know that I love the look of a hand-attached sole with a beveled waist, and I'll be damned if I'm going to mar my otherwise picture-perfect bespoke shoes with anything less. Â So I usually bite the bullet. As to price, I can't remember exactly. Â I sent a pair of RTW shoes to Cleverley and they put a very nice, not handmade, sole on them. Â They charged me $85. Â Bespoke was more than twice that -- before the dollar's recent beating.
     


  7. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Are you kidding? I get freaked out if someone even sews a button on one of my shirts. Changing the collar would be akin to resoling. Try that ... and you're disowned. I want no ...ectomies performed on my shirts unless the knife is in my hand. Another maker resoling a shoe. Bah. Mutter .... mutter .... mutter. Spittle.
     


  8. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    I think a substantial part of the value would be related to the needs of the person in question. If he had particularly difficult demands of fit with his feet then bespoke shoes would be more valuable to him, for example. I know that's not exactly what you're asking, but ultimately with bespoke it would all come back to the needs of the buyer.
     


  9. Will

    Will Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Aesthetically, I believe a man looks better overall in a bespoke suit with great RTW shoes than he does in the best RTW suit with bespoke shoes.

    It's also better economics, since the best RTW suits are at bespoke prices, while RTW shoes are a third or less of bespoke.

    Except for the most exotic choices, you can get the style and leather you want in a stock special RTW shoe.

    RTW suits are more limited. The fabric selection in RTW is generally limited. No tweeds hand woven in cottages there. Few vests, ticket pockets or English backed trousers.

    Finally, unless a man is born a perfect size 40, there are significantly more points of the body where the RTW suit potentially does not fit. Even competent alteration tailors are becoming difficult to find, and by the time you spend $200 altering a $2,000 suit (all right, $1,200 on eBay) you might as well have spent $2500 on a bespoke tailor and cloth.

    Will
     


  10. RJman

    RJman Posse Member Dubiously Honored

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    Slightly off-topic... do shoemakers like Green care if I have someone else replace that little rubber insert on the heel, or will I have to have Green do it if later on I want them to accept my shoes for resoling/reconditioning?
     


  11. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Nobody cares about some "instant shoe repair" man replacing the top layer on a pair of heels. That does not interfere with the construction of the shoe. (If you're really crafty, ask your shoemaker to supply you with an additional heel lift. The bespoke heel will be made from better materials than the one from the heel bar. Do that when you place the order, then the shoemaker will throw it in for free, otherwise he might loose the order. RJMan, should have asked for one when you placed the order for your latest EGs.)

    The problems are the soles and the re-welting. If the repairman is not himself a skilled bespoke maker, he is not likely to make a good job of it. As the bespoke shoes will not be your only pair and as the soles are made from the best and hardest wearing leathers, a sole replacement should be many years away.
     


  12. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    Maybe you should be more careful about how you attach your buttons. That way, you wouldn't have to disown so many customers. [​IMG]
     


  13. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    I'm sorry - you mistook my meaning. See, if the pattern is absolutely perfect, the fronts will hang parallel and closed without any buttons. Yields both a lighter shirt - as well as less need for finger coordination during the pre-caffiene hours. And think of all those oysters which won't have to die.
     


  14. Mark Seitelman

    Mark Seitelman Senior member

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    This is pure hearsay, but I recall a friend telling me his charge for re-soling his bespokes at Cleverly.

    350 pounds. And that was a few years ago.

    Hardy Amies in "An Englishman's Suit" commented that re-soling bespokes can cost more than top of the line RTW.
     


  15. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    No, it's not nearly that much. I can't quote the GBP price off the top of my head, but I know it's not nearly that much. I just had it done last year.
     


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