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Bespoke: The Beginning of the End

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by RSS, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Assume the case of a business suit--how many acceptable permutations are there?

    Your question kind of illustrates my point. We could have endless arguments as to what is acceptable in a business suit. Even assuming there were a right answer, that answer would depend on where you live and what business you are in. Some suits that are perfectly acceptable in the UK are eye-popping in the states. Even in the law, the range of "acceptable" for a securities lawyer is going to be very different than the range of acceptable for an entertainment lawyer.

    But to try and answer your question, off the top of my head, apart from choosing a fabric, I can think of several variables: two piece v. three piece, DB v. SB, lapel style, lapel width, external pocket configuration, external pocket style, waist suppression, buttoning point, 1, 2 or 3 button, sleeve button configuration, button material, armholes, shoulder shape, lining, internal pocket configuration, jacket length, and quarters. I'm sure there are more that don't occur to me at the moment.

    These are just for the jacket. There are a set of choices for pants, as well, though not as many as for the jacket. If you get a vest, there are more choices to make. I don't know how many permutations that is -- and since some of the choices aren't unitary, I suppose technically there are an infinite number -- but these choices will certainly create a vast array of obviously different jackets.




    Well, actually, yes, I do collaborate with doctors. Depending on what you have wrong, there may be a lot of choices to make. But let's take a specific example. If you decide you want plastic surgery, do you pick a surgeon and let him give you the "house style" nose? This is not to say that you tell the surgeon how to operate but you would certainly be intimately involved in any aesthetic choices that might be going.

    Of course, how much you collaborate with service professionals depends on your knowledge and inclination. One would probably let the pool boy just get on with it. But suppose you had a legal problem that needed solving and hired a lawyer. Wouldn't you, as a lawyer, be more involved in making choices about how to handle the problem than a complete layman?

    This kind of ties in with the first question. You know an enormous amount about proper fit. You are able to have a much deeper interaction with a tailor than I. When Sator has something made, he probably has a lively discussion with the tailor about the advantages of various cutting systems.

    But aesthetic choices are aesthetic choices. I suppose some aesthetic choices may be functionally incompatible but not many. They may look "bad" together, but that is an entirely different issue.
     


  2. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    I think tailoring is more about Art than Engineering. We are talking about clothes not some "super machine". There's no real rights or wrongs in tailoringg or fashion or Art. In Engineering there is.

    I certainly see myself as an Artist and I actually have an art degree. Mind you on the Reeves side for the past 4 generations we have all been engineers usually working in mining.
     


  3. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Micro managing is not for civilians. Production is tricky. I think though people can sometimes get overwhelmed by the possibilties of Bespoke especially if they can't really afford it easily. Your better off looking at work that the tailor has done this is the only thing that matters really.

    It's funny the ammount of client input you get as a tailor. I do a lot of suits for a wealthy German family. I only deal with the clients wife now and she places commisions for her two sons and husband in the last consultation I spoke to her on the phone for 15 minutes and she told me to pick 5 nice cloths out and make them up.....that was it! 5 bespoke suits.

    I had another guy that ordered one shirt after 2 hours talking about every excrutiating detail. I had to use my regular order form and two full sheets of notes for his order. When he got it back he complained that the monogramme was not "sans seriff". I refused to do further business with him after that. I mean who likes to be micro managed?


    I can appreciate what you have to say. In all my 200+ bespoke experiences (and that's pieces ... not visits) I doubt I've ever spent more than 30 minutes selecting cloth and discussing details for the next order ... which would have included multiple pieces. Most of the time ... after a fitting that lasts a minute or two per piece ... the next order is placed and I'm out the door in 15 minutes or less. Now I sometimes see my tailor for longer periods of time ... typically when we go out to lunch or dinner.

    Don't get me wrong ... I love my clothing. But at most it's a hobby ... it's NOT all comsuming. I don't need perfection ... even if I decide to stick it out with SR.

    But I do encourage you to remember ... this is Style Forum ... we aren't always talking normal.

    This place -- and many of its members -- represents sartorial insanity.
     


  4. jamesbond

    jamesbond Senior member

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    I can appreciate what you have to say. In all my 200+ bespoke experiences (and that's pieces ... not visits) I doubt I've ever spent more than 30 minutes selecting cloth and discussing details for the next order ... which would have included multiple pieces. Most of the time ... after a fitting that lasts a minute or two per piece ... the next order is placed and I'm out the door in 15 minutes or less. Now I sometimes see my tailor for longer periods times ... typically when we go out to lunch or dinner.

    Don't get me wrong ... I love my clothing. But at most it's a hobby ... it's NOT all comsuming. I don't need perfection ... even if I decided to stick it out with SR.

    But I do encourage you to remember ... this is Style Forum ... we aren't talking always talking normal. This place -- and many of its members -- represent sartorial insanity.


    +1

    Foof's posts make me dizzy.

    Vox's MBT stuff looks awesome to me and im sure at a much more affordable price then SR or his Steed stuff. I guess the reason he continues on is because he can, where-as many of us don't have the means. Also, I think he stated that none more can actually be made...but this might just be Vox talk.

    I haven't had the greatest experiences with bespoke mainly because I'm not of means to try every SR firm and settle in on one that cuts me the most flattering suit. I'm sure if I did that I would be more then happy to stick with them and not constantly wonder what other perfections the world might offer.

    If you've got the means and a couple grand difference in price isn't going to keep you up at night then stick with whoever cuts you the most flattering suit. If you can get something equally flattering or very close for much less then go that route or use a combination of the two.

    Who cares?
     


  5. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    I would say that I spend time socially with most of my clients. Dinner, Brunch, Coffee or Booze it's a pleasure for me to do so. It's easier for me to do this though without a shop to run and this is one of the things I like about being my own boss these days.

    I don't like to put time limits on face time with clients but like everything there is a rational limit although I can't say what this is!
     


  6. George

    George Senior member

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  7. George

    George Senior member

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    Micro managing is not for civilians. Production is tricky. I think though people can sometimes get overwhelmed by the possibilties of Bespoke especially if they can't really afford it easily. Your better off looking at work that the tailor has done this is the only thing that matters really.

    It's funny the ammount of client input you get as a tailor. I do a lot of suits for a wealthy German family. I only deal with the clients wife now and she places commisions for her two sons and husband in the last consultation I spoke to her on the phone for 15 minutes and she told me to pick 5 nice cloths out and make them up.....that was it! 5 bespoke suits.

    I had another guy that ordered one shirt after 2 hours talking about every excrutiating detail. I had to use my regular order form and two full sheets of notes for his order. When he got it back he complained that the monogramme was not "sans seriff". I refused to do further business with him after that. I mean who likes to be micro managed?


    If you feel the need to micro-manage any craftsperson then you've either picked the wrong craftsperson or you've got a psychiatric disorder. More often than not it's the former.

    I like to collaborate with my tailors but it only goes as far as stylistic issues, I do not tell him how to do his/her job.

    My approach is to engage in a discussion with the tailor, tell him what I would like, show him pictures etc. I then listen to what s/he has to say, if s/he doesn't think a certain detail would work for me I ask him/her why and listen to his/her explanation, after this discussion we agree on the details to be done then I leave him/her to get on with the job.

    The worst kind of client for either a craftsperson or a creative professional is the client who doesn't know what he wants but knows what he doesn't want. A complete pain in the arse.
     


  8. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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  9. George

    George Senior member

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  10. unjung

    unjung Senior member

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    What are the hard and fast yet simple rules for dealing with a bespoke, higher-end tailor? I plan to order my first bespoke suit in the next few months from an SR-trained tailor, and I want things to go well - I want good product the first time around, without being overbearing and challenging the relationship.
     


  11. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    What are the hard and fast yet simple rules for dealing with a bespoke, higher-end tailor? I plan to order my first bespoke suit in the next few months from an SR-trained tailor, and I want things to go well - I want good product the first time around, without being overbearing and challenging the relationship.

    Try bargaining with him on the price. Then, question his integrity.

    Also: ask him why his own suit fits poorly...is it due to recent weight gain?


    - B
     


  12. ohm

    ohm Senior member

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    You uhm... travel around the world for a year each time you order a suit? What a delightful way to celebrate, albeit time consuming.

    It used to take him only eighty days, but he's become a bit slower in his dotage.

    Yes, I do - I know exactly where you are coming from - in fact I think its a natural evolution in life. The successful people I know (and I'm not just talking about the weathly among them) are seekers. This is true over the course of history, simple fact is we get bored - we are a conquering lot. Successful people often want the best of what they are searching for, after acheivement they tend to move onto something else. It not unusual that since you've had your fair share of experiences in storied bespoke clothing you'd rather spend your energy (and in this case time and capital) doing something else.

    I agree with this, and suspect that RSS's choices would be different without the 200+ pieces he already has. It certainly seems to be the case that those who find themselves here tend to go in the opposite direction, but there are very few that ever work up to RSS's wardrobe.

    RSS, to what extent do you think your decision is motivated by inconvenience (would it be different if you lived in London)?

    Have you ever seen one of these?

    [​IMG]

    It's widely used...even the Sumerians and Mayans had their versions.


    - B


    That calendar would be more helpful if the English observed Swedish bank holidays.
     


  13. George

    George Senior member

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    Try bargaining with him on the price. Then, question his integrity.

    Also: ask him why his own suit fits poorly...is it due to recent weight gain?


    - B


    a) Tell him that you'll not accept anything less than 16 fittings as you've been informed that this is the requisite amount for that moulded on look Then ask him how he normally accommodates this, does he come to you or do you go to him.

    b) Ask him can you pay him in monthly instalments over a period of 20 years.

    c) Ask him will he do all alterations pressings etc. gratis over the life of the garment.
     


  14. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    Try bargaining with him on the price. Then, question his integrity.

    Also: ask him why his own suit fits poorly...is it due to recent weight gain?


    - B


    also, take your lawyer along with you, you can never be too safe.
     


  15. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    Well this is what I had to deal with on the shirt......1 shirt!

    2 hours with the client.
    40 emails back and forth.
    5 phone calls.

    (when I say specific position I mean with measurements provided to me by the client)

    specific size and typface on monograme.
    Specific position of monnogramme.
    Specific width of placket
    specific size, shape orientation of pocket.
    Specific length of collar points, collar stand, collar spread.
    Specific position of button on the button down collar
    Asking for the cuff to be attached to the sleeve without any pleating or gathering (certainly not standard issue on English shirts)
    giving vague requests like:" I want the shirt to hang from the shoulder", "I want a fitted shirt but I want to avoid the muscle look"
    After looking at 300+ shirt cloths by Loro Piana and Acorn saying "I thought you would have more choice, can you get Charvet?
    He asked specifically not to have my label inside the shirt....that kinda hurt.

    All this for one $225 shirt which is made in England and shipped to NYC.

    In 12 years I have probably had less than 5 clients like this but this is certainly not how to act when ordering clothes.
     


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