G-E-N-T-L-E-M-E-N. Beyond gentlemen. Lords, ladies, and everyone in between. Today in our thought leadership series, we are going to discuss a very important topic of conversation: Tailored and Bespoke Suiting.
First, allow me to say that this is an opinion. There are not, nor will there ever be, strict rules that determine the rights and wrongs of dress. We live in a postmodern society and have moved on.
With that being said, I suppose you should know whose opinion you’re hearing. I am Julia; a fresh-out-of-college lady that works as a fit and production coordinator of Glenwood South Tailors and Men’s Shop. I spent three years earning an English degree and three more earning a Costume Design and Technology in Film and Theatre degree. So, you can assume that I am moderately qualified to discuss tailoring and bespoke suiting. I certainly have faith in myself; so, hear me out.
The question I want to answer today is, “Why is a tailored and/or bespoke suit so appealing visually?” First of all, I am not going to assign phrases like “to a woman” or “tailored and bespoke suiting for men” because of the whole post-modern socio-cultural climate and what not. We’ve moved on. Besides, opinionated fact one of this thought piece, EVERYONE looks good in a well-made, well-tailored suit. Even if it isn’t your style? A properly made-to-fit-you suit gives you visual edge and purpose. There are a slew of factors that I will somewhat discuss but not all because this is an opinion piece, not a dissertation.
The factor that I would like to discuss involves psychology and sociology. There have been an onslaught of sociological and psychological studies that all conclude, more-or-less, within seconds of initially seeing someone, you have already formed a judgment (or initial opinion to sound less condescending) of who that person is. A massive aspect of that determination is dress (ex: clothes, accessories, tattoos, and etc); this is where we circle back to the proper-suit. Next, time you are taking a stroll down the street, focus on internal self-awareness. What I mean by that is: catch the thoughts you have about strangers and your internal opinions about them. We all do it. I, for one, always immediately think, “Oooo, a fancy pants business person,” when I see someone on the street wearing a suit or presume that they’re headed towards some business meeting. I could go on and on about how such opinions become generationally ingrained into us and why via historical fashion fluctuation (the fashion pendulum, as we call it); but I won’t. Just know that it is very much a whole thing. For now, we will keep it straight forward. SO- tailored and bespoke suits. Yes. What is their place in all of this? All of these factors for just one style of dress? At the very core of it, why are suits so visually and psychologically powerful and appealing?
This is where my one-off opinion comes into play as a (I am going to demographically identify myself) biological and identifying female millennial just graduated from college and familiar with both urban and suburban environments. In my opinion, a well tailored suit and/or a bespoke suit made to an individual’s measurements achieves so much more that only some garments can achieve some of, at one time. A suit, as previously specified, can be conservative and timeless; it can convey an air of respectability and tradition. On another side of the same dice, it can be sexy, bold, and sultry. A well-tailored suit can be individualized, unique, and avant-garde. In a world of fast, mass-produced fashion, a bespoke suit transcends the sloppily stitched, polyester obsessed industries. I find myself increasingly irritated at the lack of attention paid to the sizing and structure of most clothes sold online and in chain stores. Among the current, past, and upcoming generations: an emphasis of body positivity has surged through society disrupting the fashion industries to their very core. Many are scrambling to boost advertisements highlighting “diversity” as an umbrella term ignoring prevalent factors like sustainability and durability. Even coming from a meger background, I have come to learn that it is important to invest in what matters. As oddly specific as it may seem, a suit checks many of the boxes that make something a crucial investment. Quality suits are made from natural fibers (wool, cotton, silk, etc…) which cuts out the environmental hang-ups of synthetic fibers. The attention to detail paid during the assembly of a well-made suit will be astronomically different from whatever it is that you think you can pick up at H&M or Brooks Brothers. As a favorite mentor of mine always says, “A well-made suit should outlast you.”
Besides all the tangible factors, suits made to the style and body type of a person are something so personal. For body types that fall outside industry standards, having garments that have been attentively crafted to your body make you feel seen and appreciated. I know that I feel that way. My body has elements to it that don’t fit typical store ranges; but when I find tailors and clothiers like Glenwood South Tailors and Men’s Shop that take the time to understand the typography of my body; I don’t stress about whether or not my pants or shirts will fit me because the time was taken to get to know me. I feel less embarrassed about the variation of my size from the standard deviation. I feel as though many of you will immediately see the word “suit” and think “stuffy business person being suffocated by the collar of their shirt”. NO. A suit can be completely unique to you; it isn’t a uniform navy blue/black ordeal. Heck, I’m not even saying that you should be strutting down the street in a suit everyday. I am a woman of the people. I too wear sweatpants. However, I frequently find myself wearing a pair of my favorite tailored trousers with a cute blouse or my sport coat with a pair of slim fit pants. The tailored fit makes me feel confident in the way I look whether all the pieces are worn together or as pieces in different ensembles. Most importantly, I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing. I can speak for myself, friends, and others when I say that there’s a powerful confidence and significantly boosted self-esteem that comes with walking down the street in a well-tailored/custom garment. Me? If you couldn’t tell, I’m preferential towards suiting because of its day-to-day versatility.
That’s it. Take it or leave it; but at the very least, give it a try. Flying a little outside of your comfort zone is an essential part of life; and since it’s my opinion you’re captive hearing, I would much rather put my first foot forward in a Dormeuil Super 160s Imperial Jade pair of trousers and waistcoat and a powerful pair of heels (If that was oddly specific, that’s because it’s my dream suit. Don’t worry about it, or do. Dormeuil makes good stuff. Google it.).
ANYWAY, this was a lot to digest if you’re still around, dear reader. Perhaps your interest was peaked, but you don’t know where to start? Well, if you liked my thoughts and feelings about it all, I, as previously mentioned, work at Glenwood South Tailors and Men’s Shop. You’re free to stop by, call, ask questions, come meet us, and so on. We’re here to help! Otherwise, take my advice, do a little research, and expand your self-awareness. What do YOU want for yourself; and what do YOU think when you see someone else rockin’ a really nice suit?
To a general audience, it truly makes a difference when you have a bespoke/tailored suit in your closet. Whether you are heading to a meeting with the president of the company, a conference, or you’re just looking to have a crown-jewel piece in your closet to wear as you please: having something that comfortably makes you look and feel good is essential.
Until Next Time,
XXX ~Julia Rodriguez