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.

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).

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.