The craft of bespoke tailoring is a tradition that began in the 17th century and although times and fashions have changed, the demand for handmade suits is still going strong. At the forefront of sartorial elegance is Savile Row in London’s Mayfair. Synonymous with time-honoured skill and tradition, elegance and luxury, the tailors who’ve worked in this London street have created garments for the rich and famous – from Sir Winston Churchill and the Duke of Wellington, through to royalty and contemporary celebrities.
Design, skill and time-honoured tradition
Some say that the expertise and workmanship that goes into the creation of a bespoke suit can only be fully understood once you’ve worn one. Although buying a suit on Savile Row itself is beyond the reach of most of us, putting on a hand-made, bespoke suit is an experience that’s second-to-none. Wearing a bespoke garment will give you confidence, making you feel smart, stylish and elegant.
A bespoke suit begins life as a length of suiting cloth and weather it is made from superfine wool, linen, silk or cotton, will be transformed into a unique garment that’s designed to fit the wearer perfectly. The process begins with a tailor taking detailed measurements – approximately thirty exact measurements are taken across the body – before they are drafted onto a paper pattern from which the chosen cloth will be cut.
It takes between four to six years for an apprentice tailor to be considered a specialist in just one area of tailoring, whether this is tailoring trousers or in pattern cutting for example, which just goes to demonstrate the level of skill of required to make a bespoke suit. The length of time required to make a bespoke suit varies but on average it takes three months and around fifty man hours before the garment is finished – not bad for a handmade, 100% unique product.
Moving with the times
Although fashion continues to evolve and change, a beautifully made suit will never go out of style. In recent years there has been an increase in demand for bespoke tailoring; a demand which may have arisen out of our desire to stand out from the crowd. Choosing to ‘go bespoke’ not only offers the opportunity to invest in a top-quality garment that will last a lifetime, it gives the wearer the chance to add a unique, individual touch to their wardrobe.
The joy of buying a bespoke suit lies in choosing the perfect fabric, lining and those all-important finishing touches. High-quality suiting fabrics are available in an almost limitless choice of designs: from tweed and checks, through to brightly coloured plains and stripes. Stitching can be designed to match or contrast with the fabric of the suit, whilst a lining fabric in an eye-catching fabric makes a great style statement. Styling features can be chosen to suit your individual size or shape and from the single breasted suit with narrow lapels, through a double-breasted dinner jacket; all impeccably designed to reflect your lifestyle or profession.
Any bespoke tailor will tell you that a handcrafted suit will fit you infinitely better than anything you might buy ‘off the peg.’ Made with skill, expertise and superb attention to detail, a bespoke suit is quintessentially British: stylish, elegant and made to last a lifetime.