What is Bespoke? Suit & Clothing Explained

what is bespoke: bespoke clothing designer at work

Written by Ben Chuang

Introduction to Bespoke Clothing

To me, the word "bespoke" brings to mind the British upper class. It makes me think of a wide variety of products, such as a bespoke garment, bespoke jewelry, bespoke furniture, or even bespoke cocktails.

Although the word "custom" essentially means the same thing, calling something "bespoke" simply brings about a more upper-crust and elegant connotation.

But what exactly is the difference between bespoke tailoring versus made-to-order suits? Keep reading to find out.

What is a Bespoke Suit

A bespoke suit is a custom-tailored garment made to the specific measurements, preferences, and style choices of an individual. While relatively uncommon in the present day, bespoke tailoring enjoyed a revived popularity in the 2000s.

Unlike off-the-rack suits, which are mass-produced and come in standard sizes, bespoke suits are crafted from scratch, ensuring a perfect fit and a personalized design.

The process typically involves multiple fittings with a skilled tailor, who takes precise measurements and discusses fabric choices, design details, and personal preferences with the client.

This meticulous approach to tailoring a suit ensures that it fits flawlessly and reflects the wearer’s unique style and personality, making it a symbol of luxury, craftsmanship, and exclusivity.

Made to Measure vs Bespoke

In the world of custom clothing, understanding the distinctions between made-to-measure and bespoke tailoring is essential.

While both offer a step up from off-the-rack garments, they cater to different levels of customization and craftsmanship.

To help you navigate these options, we've created a comprehensive chart that outlines the key differences and similarities between made-to-measure and bespoke tailoring.

This comparison will guide you in making an informed choice, whether you seek a perfectly fitted suit with some personal touches or a fully customized garment crafted to your exact specifications.



Bespoke Tailoring


Custom clothing made to the client’s measurements but using pre-existing patterns.

Custom clothing made from scratch based on the client’s specific measurements and preferences.

Customization Level

High, but within the constraints of existing patterns and styles.

Extremely high, with complete control over design, fabric, and details.


Involves taking measurements and possibly one fitting.

Involves multiple fittings, with detailed consultations at each stage.


Generally good, but may not be as precise as bespoke.

Exceptional, tailored to the exact contours of the client’s body.

Time Frame

Typically shorter, often a few weeks.

Longer, often several months due to the extensive crafting process.


Bespoke vs Off The Rack Shirts

When comparing bespoke shirts to off-the-rack options, the differences are striking.

Bespoke shirts are custom-made to the client's precise measurements like chest size, sleeve length, shoulder width, preferences, and style choices, ensuring an impeccable fit and unique design elements.

This process includes multiple fittings and consultations with a skilled tailor, allowing for personalized adjustments and the selection of high-quality fabrics.

In contrast, off-the-rack shirts are mass-produced in standard sizes, offering limited customization and often resulting in a less precise fit.

While off-the-rack shirts are convenient and cost-effective, bespoke shirts provide a level of comfort, modern and slim fit, and individuality that is unparalleled, making them a preferred choice for those who value craftsmanship and a truly custom wardrobe.

While bespoke shirts are the best option for a 100% fit to your body, drawbacks of custom-made clothing include multiple fittings, high cost, and long turnaround time.

closeup collar of blue striped dress shirt for men

For a faster and more affordable off-the-rack alternative, try slim-fit dress shirts by Nimble Made, designed for skinnier men who find mass-product dress shirts too bagy for their comfort. Our striped blue dress shirt provides an easy shortcut to looking sharp, while this crew-neck t-shirt offers unparalleled casual comfort.

What is Bespoke Clothing

Bespoke clothing refers to custom-made apparel to fit an individual’s exact specifications, encompassing a high level of personalization and craftsmanship.

Unlike ready-to-wear or made-to-measure clothing, bespoke garments are created from scratch, starting with detailed consultations and multiple fittings with a skilled bespoke tailor.

Customers can select every aspect, from the fabric and best suit colors to the cut and style details, ensuring that the final piece is unique and perfectly suited to their preferences and body shape.

This custom tailoring process results in clothing that is not only a perfect fit but also a true reflection of the wearer’s personal style, embodying timeless elegance and superior quality.

Frequently Asked Questions about What is Bespoke

What does it mean when someone says "bespoke"?

When someone says "bespoke," they are referring to something that is custom-made or tailored specifically to the individual’s requirements. Originating from the world of tailoring, where a suit was made to the customer’s exact measurements and preferences, the term has broadened to describe any product or service designed to the unique specifications of the client.

Bespoke items are crafted with attention to detail, ensuring a perfect fit and personal touch, which distinguishes them from off-the-shelf products.

This concept emphasizes craftsmanship, quality, and exclusivity, making bespoke items highly valued for their uniqueness and superior quality.

What does it mean if a product is bespoke?

If a product is described as bespoke, it means that it has been made or customized specifically for an individual’s needs, preferences, or specifications. This level of customization ensures that every detail, from the materials used to the design elements, is tailored to the customer’s exact requirements.

Whether it’s a suit, a piece of furniture, or a piece of jewelry, bespoke products are characterized by their craftsmanship, attention to detail, and uniqueness.

Unlike mass-produced items, bespoke fashion products offer a personal touch and a perfect fit, making them highly desirable for those seeking quality and individuality.

Why is everyone using the word "bespoke"?

The term "bespoke" has gained popularity because it conveys a sense of exclusivity, quality, and personalization that appeals to today’s consumers.

In an era where mass production and standardization are the norms, the desire for unique, high-quality products that reflect personal taste and style has grown.

Using the word "bespoke" suggests a commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail, which resonates with those looking to invest in items that are not only functional but also uniquely theirs.

This trend is also fueled by the growing appreciation for artisanal and custom-made goods, making "bespoke" a buzzword in fashion, design, and lifestyle sectors.

What is an example of bespoke?

An example of bespoke is a custom-tailored suit made to the precise measurements and preferences of the wearer. In the bespoke tailoring process, the customer selects the fabric, design details, and fittings, ensuring that the final product fits perfectly and suits their personal style.

This contrasts with off-the-peg suits, which are made to standard sizes and shapes.

Other examples of bespoke items include handcrafted furniture designed to match the specific décor of a home, bespoke jewelry created to the customer’s design, or a custom-built car tailored to the owner’s specifications.

Each of these items is crafted with a level of detail and personalization that makes them unique and highly prized.


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