What does “bespoke” mean?  Are some suits “more” or “really and truly” bespoke and others “less bespoke” or “bespoke in name only?”

To ask this question is to wade into controversy.  Especially when new businesses are popping up every day with custom suit offerings of various quality and customization.

Denver Bespoke Jacket

A Peak Lapel Cashmere Jacket with Handmade Buttonholes

Literally, the word “bespoke” just means “spoken for” or “made-to-order.”  But in its historical roots, the word points to an era in which you could have your tailor make you literally anything you could dream up.

It these days of mass customization, the lines have become blurred between factory-made suits with advanced assembly lines and small custom tailoring firms.

Many small companies will take measurements locally and allow the clients to choose from a dozen styles and up to 100 fabrics before sending the information to a factory in Canada, China, or New York.  With these “mass custom” suits, a moderately large variety of customization on the part of the client is permitted.

Many of these suits are very high quality with nearly impeccable tailoring.  Because the pieces are made on an assembly line, each detail can be executed by a sewer who only does that one step—and does it very well.

In addition, advanced machinery and robotics allow difficult steps to be done automatically, allowing for less skilled workers.

Bespoke Plaid Suit

But this version of “bespoke” is very different from what we offer here.

Our Denver Bespoke suits are handmade here in our studio in Denver, Colorado by exceptionally skilled craftsmen who literally sew the pieces from start to finish one at a time.

So no assembly line here.

We can show clients a catalog of pieces we have made in the past, but there are no set choices.  It isn’t like ordering an iPhone where one can pick from a few different sizes and configurations.

Anything is still possible.

For example, we recently trimmed a suit in patterned leather and finished the vest with filagree clasps.

We make tailcoats, and frock coats, and morning coats.  We make sportcoats with back belts, or side pleats, or armhole gussets or center pleats.  We can make lapels that are exactly the width you specify and can pad or not pad the shoulders to the degree that you like.  We design for you, for your exact event, to create right individual garment.

Action Back Jacket

We offer over 10,000 fabrics.  Some wool, some silk, some vegan and cotton and linen.  Or you can find the perfect fabric elsewhere and we will use this to create your garment.

In addition, the pieces are tailored to your looks much more individually.

While most mass custom shops feed your measurements into a computer which automatically generates a pattern, we create an individual pattern just for you.

If you are a distance client, we have you send us a picture that we can use to understand your posture as well as a few simple measurements.

Then we cut and sew a complete cotton “muslin” or mock-up of the suit and you try this on at home and send us digital pics.

Wedding Tailcoat

At this point, we can work with you by email to make any changes you might want and can suggest many other changes that will make the finished pieces look perfect on you.  We can adjust every part of every pattern.  So we can make suits that fit the most hard to fit shapes.

When we decided to call our business “Denver Bespoke”—-we meant it as a bit of a joke—choosing a pretentious British word but pairing it with the totally American (and Western!) place name of our home town.  So we certainly don’t want to come across as “bespokier than thou.”

But we still preserve the idea of genuinely individual garments made for individual clients and the relationship of the tailor-as-artist who works with a client to produce something unique.

The bigger question, and perhaps the more important one, is “Is Bespoke Better?”  And is Denver Bespoke better than a made-to-measure competitor?

But our pieces are just a different animal.

Suppose you want a dining room table and you can order one from a factory in exactly the size and finish you want.

Bespoke Wedding Vest

Bespoke Wedding Vest

Or you can have a craftsman design a table from the bottom up to fit your space and tastes, and can choose from one of thousands of individual pieces of wood to have it cut from.  And then suppose that the craftsman individually carves the piece for you with unique details that you choose.

The mass produced table might be just as “good” or even “better” by many standards—but it is something different entirely than a truly custom table.

Having a custom suit made to fit you takes a lot of time and effort and thought on your part, and it may not be right for you right now.  But if there comes a time when you want something that is more genuinely and individually “yours” a bespoke suit may be the perfect choice.

1920s Style Sports JacketFor daytime outdoor wear, plaid is supreme.
Whether you are at a wedding, the museum, or just headed out for brunch with your friends, a plaid sport coat or vest is ideal.
The look is much less uptight than an evening look in black, and much less of a purely “business” look than navy.
Because so many weddings today are in outdoor settings, plaid (along with seersucker and sporty tropical wools) has become one of our most popular looks for grooms.
In such a setting, a plaid is simply a more sophisticated option.red plaid jacket
A plaid also provides the opportunity to coordinate with the wedding colors and the setting.
Each piece that we make is completely custom made.
You choose the colors and the look and we work with you to design the perfect piece.
Our jackets include beautiful handwork details and hand prick-stitched lapels.Custom Plaid Jacket
They are cut to fit you precisely.
You send measurements (which are easy to take at home) and we cut and sew muslin mock-ups for you to try on.
You send us a few digital pics and your comments and then we revise the piece to fit you perfectly.
The pictures show some of our most recent plaid outfits.Brown Glen Plaid 3pc Suit
The first set of pictures shows a gorgeous 3pc plaid outfit where all of the pieces are coordinated to provide an amazing look.1920s style jacket cuffs
The jacket is cut from a brushed flannel fabric with red, brown and aqua as the primary colors in the plaid.
The vest is cut from a burgundy flannel with a vintage workingman’s style and the pants are cut from an iridescent wool with elements of brown, blue, and green.
The jacket has our signature sporty 1920s breast pocket, and sportsman’s cuffs.
The result is a jacket that draws upon some of the richest traditions in sportswear.
The pink and brown jacket (shown here are the autumn wedding that it was created for) is an example of how when the colors are well chosen even a very bold plaid blends in and compliments its surroundings.
vegan plaid suitIndeed plaid functioned as an early version of camouflage and is still the choice of many traditional sportsmen.

The medium greyish brown suit shows a much more subtle plaid.  This fabric is a lightly brushed very fine glen plaid wool with multiple tones of brown and ivory.

This suit was cut for a groom who also wanted to be able to wear the suit to many work related events in the legislative world.

Glen Plaid VestWe designed a suit with subtle western touches.  The jacket has early 20th century style cuffs (which we cut on the bias for maximum effect), a ticket pocket, and a decorative handwork buttonhole on the lapel.

The vest has a matching bias cut Western style yoke.  But overall the suit has a very modern cut and is youthful and trim.

The charcoal and maroon check suit pictured shows an exception to the thought that plaid fabrics are primarily for daytime wear.

A small check like this one, although still quite sporty, has a more indoor look and can be great for business or for evenings out.

This suit was made for a jazz musician to wear while playing in the evening and while conducting business by day.

Overall, the suit combines mod and Victorian details to create an impression that is unique and very contemporary.  This jacket also has sportsman’s cuffs which can be easily rolled up when playing an instrument.

While all of the other suits shown here are cut from wool, this suit was cut from a cotton blend as the customer is a vegan and prefers not to wear any animal products.  The inner canvas and buttons are also animal product free.

The final look is a vest and pant outfit that draws upon the sporting looks of the Edwardian era.

This outfit is made from a wool/silk blend with a rich and complex glen plaid.  The back of the vest is cut from tan linen that keeps you feeling dry in the summer heat.

The vest is cut with a wide pointed shawl collar that wraps around the back of the neck and the pants are cut with a wide 1920s style cuff.

This suit was made for summer and fall weekends, brunches and BBQs when something awesome and unique was needed, but when it seemed too hot and stuffy to wear a jacket.

All of our pieces are handmade one at a time here in our studio in Denver, Colorado.

So if you are thinking about a suit, jacket, or vest, please contact us so we can sketch some ideas for you and put together some swatches.

We make pieces for customers all over the world.

To contact us, send an email to AJ (aj@denverbespoke.com).

Sherlock BBC CoatEvery year we make some of the most amazing custom coats that can be found anywhere.  Sherlock Style 1920s Greatcoat
The coats are cut from gorgeous wools, cashmeres, camel hairs and alpaca fibers.
An overcoat or greatcoat is a wonderfully formal piece for an informal society.  
It is utilitarian, of course, and many of our coats are based on styles that were originally designed for military wear, but also fitted and highly-tailored and constructed in such a way that stylizes the body.
Unlike most other pieces of clothing, an overcoat is a piece that one might wear over 100 times a year.

Wool Twill Trenchcoat

Herringbone Overcoat

For clients who take care in their every day dress, no single piece of clothing is as important for making an impression—particularly for those of us who live in climates with colder winters.
All of our coats are made to order and every coat is unique.
You send us your measurements and a little bit about your general sense of style and the colors that you like and we start sketching ideas until we find the perfect look.
We mail you fabric swatches from all over the world until we find the perfect fabric.
Finally, we draft a completely unique pattern for you and cut and sew the coat based on this pattern.
The result is something that is completely yours and makes just the impression that you are hoping to make when you step out on the street.
The light brown herringbone coat is cut from a wool/cashmere herringbone fabric with thick horn buttons.  This style features a 1920s style breast pocket, a skirt with a triple back pleat, small peak lapels, a quilted undercollar, and hip welt pockets.
With a slim cut, this is a chic and modern interpretation of a trenchcoat or greatcoat.
The heather grey twill coat features classic trenchcoat style lapels and epaulettes, along with handwarmer pockets on the chest, patch pockets with flaps, and a double-breasted style with straight rows of buttons.
The fabric is a thick twill flannel.
This coat has a completely classic early 20th century trenchcoat styling.Navy Herringbone Trenchcoat
The next coat is made from a very heavy and plush Irish donegal tweed with flecks of white, silver, and black.
This coat features a zipper breast pocket and a patch pocket on the sleeve.  Note that this coat also is cut without cuffs, but with belts on the sleeves that allow the sleeves to be sucked in on the wrists.Inverness Coat
These details give the coat a more modern but also quite military look.  The coat is also cut with a full skirt and triple back pleat—details that add to the dramatic flair of the coat.
Black Melton GreatcoatThe navy blue coat with the purple lining is another example of a trenchcoat—-this one again in a gorgeous herringbone flannel.  A subtle navy color like this one, keeps the coat from blending in too much and lends a more fashionable look to the piece.
Recently, there has also been a lot more interest in caped coats as coats with capes have shown up more and more on the runway.
The black coat with the double cape is an historically inspired coat that takes many of the best details from the 18th century great coat and sharpens them up a bit to create an amazing and durable piece that is ready for the coldest weather.Men's Fur Collar Coat
The style is cut with hip welt pockets and uniquely shaped button tabs.
The fabric on this piece is a 20 ounce melton wool and the cape and body are lined in a heavy red satin.
The final set of photos show a camel hair Victorian-style fur shell coat (here shown with a faux fur).  The camel hair fabric is a felted plush fabric that is incredibly thick and warm.
Adding the faux fur on the entire facing of a double-breasted coat creates a piece that is incredibly warm and luxurious.  The entire facing and back collar has been pick-stitched by hand for added flatness and beauty.
We would love to design and make a coat for you.  We can’t take very many coat orders each year, so definitely order in advance of when you need it and discuss the timeframe with us so that we make sure that we have enough time to work your coat in.
To get started on a custom coat send an email to: aj@denverbespoke.com