Buying bespoke will never go out of style, but are stylish men destined to suffer as they turn dressing into an art form? This is a question that has recently troubled me.
Was the great German philosopher Schopenhauer right? Is humanity trapped in an endless cycle of willed desire, relieved only briefly through the sating of this desire before the yearning just rises again. I want a well fitted dinner jacket, I venture out, I hand over my abused credit card and as I walk home I am happy but for how long?
One of my New Years resolutions is to buy less (I used to be the ultimate consumer personified) but what I buy will be quality. “Less is more” should ring true in every man’s wardrobe. This has brought me into the well cut and measured world of bespoke, a which has always been attractive one to me; consider me the chubby cheeked child with face pressed against the shop windows of Savile Row. However, my new mantra could also be my downfall, I urge you to have a degree of caution when visiting your tailor.
The greatest danger of bespoke is its very nature. Bespoke clothing means that the consumer doesn’t want an existing item; they crave something that is theirs, something perfect. The road to perfection is far from the easy path. Like most creative goals the quest for perfection could prove elusive. Furthermore, bespoke is not entirely a matter of purchase anymore it is more a matter of creation. On bespoke tailoring Hardy Amies remarked: “The whole process should be a harmonious co-operation between designer, tailor and customer, with the salesperson as a sort of referee.” In essence bespoke gives a great deal of power to the buyer, changing their ordinarily passive role, at least in the garments creation, to one of collaboration between tailor and consumer.
Another potential problem with bespoke is the process does not allow instant consumer satisfaction that most of us crave. Rather than a quick off the rail, transaction, and into the bag, the process takes weeks, where the consumer is left in animated suspension and open to spot the next perfect piece and therefore ultimately delaying gratification. As you visit your tailor you could easily spot the perfect cloth or a variant cut that will soon make you think of the next suit.
Regardless of the above I am still going to take the risk and I urge you to do the same. As you get dressed in the morning finding that your clothes fit perfectly, the cuffs peeping out just enough from your jacket’s sleeve, with your trousers breaking at just the right point on the shoe, it will be well worth it.