I will admit that on occasion I have been known to steal away a few minutes from the crowd and clandestinely- with a hat covering my face- buy off the rack apparel. Once I came across a suit that had the details and lining to tempt me a fitting. I sneaked into the fitting room, hurriedly suited myself and looking into the mirror I did admire the fine posture and tailoring. Of course I had one or two details I was not happy about but in all sincerity the suit was wearable.
It was a Gucci suit, brown pin striped, single button, light wool and thin lapels. I bought it, and when I arrived in my apartment I nicely cut off all Gucci insignia before taking it to my tailor for “enhancements”. My tailor was visibly distraught-but the financial crisis meant he could not turn away a customer and so agreed to the enhancement. Being curious he tried to find the label of the suit but none sufficed, he turned to me and I remained as brood as ever and did not bat an eye-lid. After sitting down and agreeing on the amendments I happily returned a week later to a well fitting suit. To ensure my tailor remained happy I ordered a shirt from him.
Bespoke ( cloth/fabric in the tailor’s shop that has already been spoken for)suit tailoring is a dying art and Savile Row remains unflinchingly dedicated to this art. We live in a world of instant gratification, instant coffee and instant Polaroid. Instant coffee- which by the way is not coffee at all- takes roughly 7 minutes less to make than filter coffee (provided the beans have already been roasted.
If it takes time and consideration then perhaps it is not worth it the current mantra goes. This is a funny state of affairs- Ipad2 is introduced even before one has gotten around to unpacking Ipad1. Some may want to motivate the reasons for this, but I cannot understand why. Medical reports allude to life expectancy increasing and yet people can no longer wait. It is good to know I will live longer than the six week wait for a suit, but more importantly I do not suffer from buyer’s remorse a disease those people in high street suffer from. Indeed, Instant joys are never everlasting; they fizzle out as quickly as they come.
It is easy to be dismissive of my treatise as pure snobbery or aristocratic pretensions. My reflections are of neither but stem from the very gallantry of self-made persons. My family blood, background and connections ensured no advantage in life. From a time my father passed on I have had the burden of family and personal ambition. I have worked hard, sweated blood to simply survive. Yet the more and more I continue on the journey the more I am proud of being a self-made man. In my travels I have met men who are recommended by family and political connections, men from low abode who have made it their ambition to marry into rich families or politically powerful families.
Or those already given the advantage of blood and so only seek connections with those of similar breed. Such is the playground of life, which my disposition and pride could never fathom. I had to fight purely on merit. But from this comes a self awareness of one’s personality and creed. I owe no allegiance to anyone but only to my whims and desires. Invariably, over time I have become acutely aware of those endeavours that accentuate and perpetuate who I am as an individual. Bespoke is naturally the only dressing endeavour that enhances individuality. A man is just as the wolf in sheep’s shire
While many have a heritage to keep and others a heritage to perpetuate, I consider myself the first to build a heritage. It becomes important to furnish my life with those distinct attributes future generations can find as worthy heritage reserves of knowledge, talent, will power and above all aesthetics. I imagine and model myself as the original Medici family and propagating the foundation on which the renaissance period would be etched, as the “ dazzling light to future generations of what man can be and do”. Fashion is one aesthetic pursuit and bespoke a necessity. My collection of suits and shirts tailored as presenting a peculiar heritage shall be handed down to all my descendants as symbols of personality and art. Bespoke tailoring is the haute couture of the self-made man.
Bespoke gives me the benefit of total control over the fabric used, the colour of the suit, its structure/build and any peculiar subtle fine detail I may require. It gives me unlimited access to a tailor whose scissors is the chisel modelling stone into sculpture. Many instances a man finds himself clothed in whatever the ignominy of high street and high labels have deemed to be in season. Everything is mass produced and manipulated to pander to the crowds. For a moment picture those hideous high collar shirts (with three collar buttons) our young men are prone to wearing these days. If there is a revolution that we should take seriously in these times its the burning of such shirts-I am rather tolerable of Mubarak than these shirts. . Bespoke on the other hand is truly an extension on one’s skin, an appendage to one’s personality. It is an expression of gallantry and charm of the wearer and not borrowed adroitness.
I have invested all my savings into a business; invariably I do not have extra dollars for my fashion pursuits especially for visiting a bespoke tailor. I face the inordinate trivia of either not shopping at all, or joining the off the rack band wagon. Indeed I have given up shopping. For a while now I have not gone shopping. It makes sense to me, why should I shop and get instant gratification for something that is not real at all that builds no heritage for my house. So I have given up bespoke for the meantime while I sort out my finances.