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.

Boardwalk Empire Style SuitOur completely custom line of suits–which are individually handmade to order right here in our studio in Denver, Colorado–often have a vintage flair to them.Wool Peak Lapel Suit
Philosophically, our suits hark back to what we consider to be the most interesting period for men’s dress—the period between 1907 and 1921–when many of the distinctive looks of modern dress had been established, but before everything became entirely normalized by the advent of mass production in menswear.
At this point, suits were still meant to convey individuality and to express tastes, habits, and activities.
Although pocket styles have always been as much about conveying to others what one might put in such pockets as they are about functionality, one could, as it were, express more things which such details than one can today.
Our latest generation of suits strives to be distinctively contemporary in its look and functionality, while, at the same time, drawing upon the richest period of our history.
We also incorporate a vocabulary of vintage handwork into these pieces.  The corners of pockets are tacked with crowsfoot and D-tacks.
one button  suitVintage style handwork buttonholes appear on the lapels.
Hand pick-stitching and lapel treatments add an aura of the handmade to the pieces.
Cuffs can be functional or highly decorative.

Our signature cutaway style is perfect for those times when you need to roll up your sleeves because of the heat or because a piece of machinery is in need of repair.
In this posting, I have put up pictures of many of our favorite recent suits.
The army green suit with brown vest is the outfit that I made for my own wedding this summer.
The fabric is a wool sateen with tons of sheen, and the details are drawn from a host of amazing vintage pieces.
This suit (like the navy suit with 3 buttons and the bold plaid cotton summer suit) are “One Button Suits”.
Although each of these suits has 3 buttons on the front, only the top button functions.  The other 2 buttons are left undone so that the vest shows below the cutaway shape.
“One Button” suits are by far the slimmest, most elongating silhouette around, but are impossible to find in shops.
The navy 2 button suit (made from basketweave tweed) pictures illustrate our signature shoulder style.
Here the shoulder seam is pushed back to form a distinctive look with more visual interest in the back panels.  The fronts have hacking flaps with crowsfoot tacks and a handmade lapel buttonhole.
The pictures of the white suit show a distinctive turn of the 20th century take on the summer suit, with narrow cuffs, patch pockets and peak lapels.
The light grey plaid suit shows a look with hacking flaps and our cutaway style in a two button look.  This suit also featured contrast coral collar melton.
Also note the wide contour waistbands on many of these suits.  This detail allows us to shape the waist as much as necessary for comfort and a perfect fit.
We can currently make fewer than 50 of our completely custom “1909 Bespoke” suits per year (although we can make many more pants and vests).
2 Button 3 PC SuitSo if you are thinking of ordering a suit for a wedding or time-sensitive event, let us know as soon as possible.
We muslin fit each of these suits.  For non-local customers, this means that we will mail you a cotton mock-up of the suit to try on.
You send us pictures of yourself wearing it, and we will alter the pattern to fit you.
Contact AJ@denverbespoke.com for more info, and so that we can get started working on a custom design for you.

The initial set of engagement photographs is by amazing Denver and Fort Collins Colorado area photographer Sarah Christine Photography (www.sarahchristinephotography.com/) be sure to check out her work and to choose her to photograph your wedding.

Seersucker Leisure Suit

Photo by Erin Wallis (www.erinwallis.com)

The groom wears black. The bride wears white.
But what if the wedding is in Mexico…?
Seersucker Suit
The pictures show two suits that we recently made for tropical weddings. One is a 70s inspired suit cut from an off-white cotton seersucker.
The other, a completely modern suit cut from a linen/rayon blend that is lighter, softer, and less prone to wrinkles than 100 percent linen.
Back Seersucker Suit
Both suits are unstructured and lined in light cotton with shell buttons.
Our process for making custom suits takes place over about 2 months. Once you contact us, we gather swatches and begin sketching some ideas for you.
White Linen SuitWe can make pretty much anything… with any set of details…. in any type of fabric. Ivory Linen Suit
After finding the fabric and determining the style, we ask for measurements which you can take at home. Then we make the initial patterns and a cotton prototype of the suit (the “muslins”).
White Linen SuitYou try the muslin on and send us pictures of you wearing it. Then we adjust the pattern and cut and sew the final suit.
The result is a suit that is completely unique and tailored to fit your body and style.
Contact AJ for more information and to get started on a custom project: aj@denverbespoke.com

Be sure to check out the photographer’s website (erinwallis.com) for more pictures of the 1970s style seersucker suit (and some pictures of the child’s suit that we made to match the groom’s.