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.

Patch Pocket Double-Breasted Reefer Suit

On an overcoat or peacoat, a double-breasted style can serve to keep the wind out. It can make a significant difference as to whether you stay warm and dry.

But on a suit jacket, the traditional role of a double-breasted style is to waste fabric and buttons. The first purpose of the double-breast is to express a certain decadence, to say that one prefers to have more…

A double-breasted jacket stands opposed to puritanism and Protestant simplicity. Throughout history, the double-breasted jacket has served to symbolize the aristocrat, the decadent artist, the well-off gentleman and the “greed is good” Wall Street banker.

Double-Breasted Tailcoat with Covered Buttons

Classic Peak Lapels on a Double-Breasted Houndstooth Suit

A secondary use of the double-breasted style is that of bringing to mind military dress.

Much military clothing over the last several centuries has been double-breasted, partially, no doubt, because of the desire to stay warm in the elements, and partially because a double-breasted style is ideal for showing off extra rows of brass buttons, braid, and medals.

Double-breasted styles go in and out of fashion depending on the spirit of the age. The more austere and modern the prevailing spirit, the more the double-breasted style seems conservative, wasteful, unnecessary. But the more decadent the spirit, the more that the style charms, feeling more luxuriant, rich, and manly.

Chic, Clean, and Single-Breasted.

The double-breasted style, with a few tweaks, can transform from a Mod look to an Edwardian look. And from the dress of a poet, to that of a banker.

The single-breasted style needs no such introduction, of course. It doesn’t require an explanation the way that a double-breasted jacket does.

As the single-breasted style is the most standard jacket style, it is more flexible. The hem can be shaped from crisp and straight to youthful and cut away.

No doubt most customers will always prefer a single breasted jacket simply because it is less remarkable. Particularly so long as the age is one that values function and clean lines.

Peak Lapel Vest and JacketHere are two suits that we made that are almost the same—and completely different.Full Vegan Suit
One customer recommended another, and both suits are to be worn in the same wedding later this month.
The first suit has dramatic peak lapels, and a peak lapel vest to match. It is lined in a skull print, with skull print tie.

Peak Lapels

What is more, this suit is made for a vegan customer, so we used rayon and cotton fabrics instead of the usual wools and silks. The result is a classic meets West coast style that is completely unique.

Wool Silk Pinstripe Suit

The second suit also has peak lapels, but much gentler ones. This suit has a retro nineteen teens look to it. The vest is completely classic with six buttons and a moderately high neckline.
The lining is a stunning silver satin. The fabric for this piece was a heavy to medium weight wool/silk blend that tailored up beautifully.

Wool Slik Pinstripe Suit

Some of the Options

Two black, single-breasted, peak lapel, pinstripe suits, but the difference between them is almost complete.

This is the true beauty of having a suit custom made. You choose every detail to create something that is completely your own. The sketch at the side shows some of the many pocket and lapel options. But feel free to imagine your own.

The Two Suits Shown on the Center Two Groomsmen

For the price for 3-Pc suits that are custom crafted, and muslin fit (we send you a mock up in rough cotton to try on, insuring a perfect fit) check out our pricing page.

Contact A.J. ( aj@denverbespoke.com ) to get started on your own custom suit today.