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.

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.

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