In the United States, we tend to call the best business and formal
looks and fits “European” or “Italian” or “British,”–

Edwardian Cut Brown Flannel Sport Suit

sometimes for good reason, and sometimes merely as a shorthand for saying that a look is “good” or “exciting” or somehow intangibly different from the basic relaxed New England look that we are used to seeing in the shops.
But if there is one area of tailoring that is truly American, it is sportswear.

To a certain extent, we inherited our love and notions of “sports” from the British. But sport always meant something a bit different to Americans than it did to the Brits.

Crown Shape Pockets and 1920s Style Cuffs

To the Brits “sport” centered around the country estate and the hunt—activities that one would do as a gentleman of leisure when outside of the city.

For Americans, this idea of sport was quickly eclipsed by the idea of strenuous activities that one did often for the sake of health and entertainment.

Crown Shaped Breast Pocket with Embroidered Crowsfoot Tacks

The tennis court, the golf course, the beach. Sailing, skiing, riding, fishing and even flying.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries men wore sport jackets for all of these activities.

Slim Fit Box Pleated Pant

Jackets with “action backs” to allow for a freedom of movement.

Jackets with throat latches to keep out the cold.

Shawl Collar Hand-Stitched Vest

Jackets from linen for the heat and sweat or from waxed cotton to keep out the rain.

The ideal man was not a man of leisure but a man of activity who needed to be ready for anything!

Suits made from matched cloth were replaced by separates.

Plaid Seersucker Sport Jacket

A jacket in one fabric, and a pant in another. Plaids, houndstooths, herringbones.

Eventually sportswear evolved into our basic everyday casual clothing. And in the late 20th Century came to mean nothing more than  jeans and a t-shirt.

Linen Moto Vest

But now, when more and more men are trying to dress up and look good, an older, more authentic vision of sportswear has become relevant again.

Linen Back on Tweed Vest

We want to dress better.  But we don’t want to be limited by the way that we dress.

We want durable fabrics that we can wear anywhere.

We want a full range of movement so that we can drive, throw a ball, or put away a bottle on the top shelf.

Most of all, an American aesthetic is about not being constrained.

Shawl Collar Donegal Tweed Vest

We buy big trucks instead of little cars, so that we can (at least in our imaginations) drive a rocky road to a forlorn mountain cabin or pack up all of our belongings to move to a new town.Vest and Pant In Japanese Wool
Part of what Denver Bespoke and AJ Machete and Sons are about is a striving after an authentically American vision of tailoring.

We aren’t interested in recycling English and European fashions, either as a vision of James Bond or a British gent, or that perfectly spontaneous and romantic looking fellow at the Italian cafe.

1920s Style American "Swoosh" Breastpocket

We want something a bit more rugged.  Maybe a bit more rustic.

Copper Stitching and Buttons with Herringbone Shirt

Something that fits in with the Rocky Mountains and the American West instead of the postcard version of a European capital.

Retro Tweed Pant with Wide Waistband

Retro Tweed Pant with Wide Waistband

So we call our suits “American Suits”.  But basically they are just suits for men who do things and who want to look good doing them.

All of our pieces our completely custom made.  And we are one of the few tailors anywhere who work in a sportswear aesthetic and can make any detail that you have seen anywhere.

So contact us with all of your questions and ideas. We would love to make something for you.

Military Collar CoatWe love to make full length overcoats and trench coats.

Because let’s face it, the coat you buy at the store is barely a coat—it just looks like one.

The fabric is too lightweight.

It hardly covers your neck and it ends a few inches above the knee.  Chances are it weighs less than 1 pound (versus the 5-6 pounds of many vintage overcoats).

The fabric is probably blended with acrylic and will pill after a few wears.

If you want to stay warm or go out in the elements, you will probably end up with some type of ski jacket or nylon puffer.

But you can’t wear that with a suit and it is only fashionable on the slopes.Peak Lapel Military Trenchcoat

Our coats—to say the least—are real coats.  The fabrics are heavyweight wool meltons from 23 ounces up to 32 ounces (shockingly warm!) or handwoven Scottish and Irish tweeds that are literally made the same way they were 130 years ago.

The lengths and the collars are generous, and everything is intended for a lifetime of wear.

The navy blue coat with the red undercollar is cut from a gorgeous 25 ounce melton with bullhide neck straps.

This style is unique in that it features fully convertible peak lapels.

This means that the coat lapels can be buttoned all the way up to the shoulder and the top collar can be worn popped up or folded down like a shirt collar.  Alternately the lapels can be worn folded with the top collar popped around the neck.

The style features a back half belt, a waist seam, and tall seamed on cuffs.Neck Latch on Trench Coat
Trench Coat back and cuffs

Like all of our coats, this was custom made for a client.  When you contact us, we work to design a coat that includes all of the details and elements that you might like.

We can always get hundreds of amazing coating fabrics.

The next set of pictures shows a coat that we made from an amazing handwoven English tweed.  The color is a dusty red interwoven with a deep navy blue.

Tweed Trench Coat with GunflapThis coat features many of the classic trench coat elements like a gun flap, epaulettes, wrist belts, and a “kidney” to close up the neck.

Other elements include top-stitched seams, gold piping on the lapels and belts, and a curved back yoke.

Finally here are a few more takes on the immortal military trench coat collar.

M-1912 GreatcoatThe pic of the beige coat shows a coat that we made that is modeled after the M-1912 greatcoat that US Marines wore during WWI.

This particular coat is made from an incredibly heavy 32 ounce wool melton with a highly felted nap.1912 Greatcoat US Marines

Defiance Daniel Craig CoatThe lapels on this coat don’t fold down quite as much as on later trenchcoats, but the style is meant to be buttoned up all the way to the neck for a distinctly vintage look.

The next set of pics shows a greatcoat that we made with a collar cut from salt and pepper shearling lambskin.

The coat is cut from a gorgeous wool boucle with a concealed front button placket and a back belt that pleats in the waist.

The final pic shows a coat that we made from Navy Doeskin wool with a detachable sheared beaver collar.Sheared Beaver Collar Greatcoat

Doeskin is a gorgeous velvety napped wool that Hainsworth fabrics in the UK is famous for.

This company, which has been making fabric since the 18th century supplies the fabrics for the Royal Guard and we can supply their fabrics on request.

Each coat that we make is totally custom and can be made from pretty much any fabric you can imagine.

So if you want a real winter coat that will keep you warm in high fashion, just contact us and we can get started designing a coat for you.

Wool and Silk Morning SwallowtailEvery year, many of our clients choose to get married in tails.

Sometimes in classic white tie, sometimes in a swallowtail look or in one of our military or steampunk styles.

Tailcoats and morning coats have deep roots in tradition, but in the modern era can be some of the most unique and expressive pieces in menswear.

In recent decades, women would show up in wedding gowns and flamboyant ball gowns and men would show up in rented black suits.

Such is a poor way to honor the special events in one’s life.

But recently, we have seen more and more tailcoats at red carpet events as men have become more interested in dressing well.

Traditionally, the black tailcoat with a black double striped trouser and a matching white pique vest, shirt bib, and bowtie was the ultimate evening formalwear.

Morning Coat for WeddingFor the daytime, a black or charcoal morning coat—a frock coat that sometimes has a pronounced swallowtail or cutaway shape—with a charcoal striped pant, and a contrast vest, with either with a contrast formal cravat or bowtie was the way to go.

But dressing well is not so much about following the rules as it is about using tradition to express your individuality.

The pics show one of our most recent morning suits.

The cut of the coat is a hybrid of a swallowtail coat with the sharper, more angled shape of classic tailcoats.

The front shape is continuous along the placket, but then cuts away sharply back into a square tail.  It is my feeling that this shape feels more modern than a classic swallowtail.square tails tailcoat

All of the pieces tie in various shades of purple.
Victorian Peak Lapel Tailcoat

The tailcoat is cut from a black wool, but with silk lapel facings that wrap around to the wool edge which features rows of decorative buttonholes.  The silk is iridescent—charcoal grey woven with subtle purple.Purple Morning Coat with Awesome Cuff

The vest––cut from pale purple silk––features classic peak lapels and a low neck.

And the pant is made from a traditional morning stripe charcoal wool––but here the stripes are purple as well this time, a bold purple that is only visible when close.  Classic Morning Coat

The cut of the pants is a classic wide-leg pleated style with wide cuffs.Classic Morning Coat for Weddings

Finally, the 6″ top hat is cut from a subtle purple heather flannel that reads as charcoal grey at first glance with trim to match the morning coat.

We made everything in the pics except the shoes and the ivory handled walking stick (which belonged to my great great grandfather!).Colorado Bespoke Suits

So if you are considering a tailcoat, a morning coat, a top hat, or a vest definitely Contact Us so that we can talk more.

All of our pieces are custom made to your measurements, and with the full suits, we actually cut and sew mock-ups of the pieces to mail to you to try on, ensuring a perfect fit in the final garments.

Last year, we made suits for events all across the world.

So where ever you are located, we can make a suit for you.

Each piece is handmade one-at-a-time here in our studio in Denver, Colorado.