Thoughts on used bespoke?

Discussion in 'Suits' started by reetpleat, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    For the fist time, I came across some bespoke suits, as in Henry Poole, Gieves and Hawkes, etc. This guy was the real deal. They are 70s but classic cuts. I will be ebaying them. I really am digging all the fine features, details, quality etc. And did some googling on bespoke and Saville Row. But one thing occurred to me. People will pay a lot on ebay for used bespoke. And I am sure they are getting fine quality for their money. But when you think about it,. unless the cut is remarkably coincidentally the same as your measurements, you are getting something that was tailored for a totally different body. Wouldn't this mean that in a sense, it isworse than made to measure or even off the rack high quality?

    Is the level of quality enough to make up for the fact that it was made for someone totally different from you? Is it just the prestige of knowing where it came from? Is there something to be said for the tiny details you can not get anywhere else? Or would a good tailor be able to modify this suit and have it almost as good as the original owner fit, but for half the cost.

    Will get some pics up when I have a chance. Some have action backs, cargo pockets etc. Pretty cool stuff.
     
  2. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I think it is a mix of prestige and the higher quality in fabrics and construction (floating canvas, high armholes) that makes used bespoke more desirable than used off the rack.
     
  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I agree - the quality of components in "used bespoke" of a known grade is definitely much higher - usually also the tailor will have left more "room" for waists to be let out and subtle alterations to be made, which is a bonus. Definitely, though, the fact that it has been cut for someone else has to be remembered, and bespoke for someone else is not any better than OTR of an equivalent quality of materials and construction.
     
  4. Fastuni

    Fastuni Call Me a Cab

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    I consider bespoke, made to measure and off-the-rack equally collectible, but without a doubt the superior quality of good bespoke can't be denied. There are however also great differences among off-the-rack garments. Usually my vintage Euro-stuff is hand-tailored bespoke, while the US items are off-the-rack or "made-to-measure". It has been my experience that the bespoke items fit better and are easier to alter (as Edward said usually more fabric inlay... but also i.e. the hand-stitched lining can be easier opened and reattached than machine-sewed OTR).
     
  5. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

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    I once bought eight suits that had been made for one man. They weren't a perfect fit (his belly was a bit bigger and his shoulders slightly narrower) but once the waistcoat was tightened and with the trousers held up by braces, they were fine. And didn't Marc Chevalier once find a whole batch of one man's bespoke suits which were a damn good fit (he had been a famous grower of orchids or some such thing)?

    So for me, used clothes are used clothes, it doesn't matter whether they fit - what counts is, can they they be made to fit?
     
  6. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    no... but if you're not a stock size then you've just as much chance finding a bespoke suit that fits as an off-the-peg suit that fits.


    p.s. i'm not in awe of bespoke in general, and would rather own a 1930s Burtons belt back than a 1930s bespoke belt back by a Savile Row tailor.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  7. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I have heard of Burtons, but know little about them. Why is that?
     
  8. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    apart from a Burtons belt back being incredibly rare, i'm interested in the design that goes into mass produced suits of the past. the large companies had the capacity and time to tweak the designs and details endlessly. those features had to be very accurately thought out because they were going to be mass produced. bespoke garments, being one offs, don't have that same emphasis on design. at least the British ones i've seen don't.

    going back to the larger point; i also think that owning a bespoke suit that was made for someone else is never going to be satisfying. the whole point of bespoke is that it's a garment made exclusively for you.
     
  9. They didn't really make it out of the UK. Rather low-end, basic wear (their idea was a suit of clothes that cost an average week's wages) but not quite as low quality as credit tailors like Willerby. Burton's bespoke stuff is really quite nice. The off the rack stuff, not so much, but still OK.

    I'd say the 40s stuff is on a par with Middishade.
     
  10. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    An emphatic YES!
     
  11. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I will say, after looking closely at the suits, you just don't get these fine touches in even the best off the rack. Things like surgeons cuffs, etc. Also, the style is so traditional but also can be so individualistic. For example, one of the suits from the 70s has vents at the shoulders for an action back, and slight cargo style pockets in a fairly simp;le two piece suit. What is more, it is in a light weight whipchord in medium blue. My English friend, who came form a rather upper class family tells me this suit would have been the type worn by a well dressed upper class man out for coctails or a casual dinner at a friends house. Not quite sturdy enough for a country weekend, and not conservative enough for the office. Yu just don't find stuff like that unless you find very old vintage or an odd crappy 80s sportcoat maybe. So, custom tailoring can give you other benefits as well.
     
  12. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    Actually, there exists today a handful of RTW/OTR makers who can match the quality of the best bespoke. It's more the quest for an exacting fit than superior make that brings a fellow to bespoke.
     
  13. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    True, but not for the maybe less than $300 that a bespoke used or vintage suit will bring.
     
  14. GBR

    GBR One of the Regulars

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    Fit is king and it is still second hand.
     
  15. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    Yes, but say the bespoke jacket was cut to accommodate a dropped shoulder (pretty common) where there is no tailoring fix. The coat will look cockeyed on anybody without the same degree of dropped shoulder. Also, taking trousers in more than a few inches will require a recut which is one of the priciest tailoring fixes and often turns out less than satisfactory.
     

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