The term “bespoke” is a British word which means a garment is custom-made to the buyer’s specifications. The obvious, primary positive aspect of owning a dress shirt produced in this manner is the custom fit. One of the negative aspects of these dress shirts is the length of time it takes to produce them.
Bespoke dress shirts are more common in the United Kingdom on Seville Row than in other parts of the world; they are most commonly applied to tailored clothing and men’s garments that are measured and fitted to a person’s body. Bespoke dress shirts differ in manufacturing methods from other items of clothing. Ready-to-wear shirts, or off-the-rack shirts, are factory-made using standard sizing methods and delivered to the store in finished condition. In the made-to-measure method of construction, the production of the shirt is from an adjusted block pattern providing the customer with a semi-custom fit. Bespoke dress shirts are not made in a factory, and the pattern is cut and drafted specifically for the customer.
There are several positive points to consider before having a bespoke dress shirt made, but the most noteworthy is the involvement of the end user in the production of the shirt. Since the shirts involve a high degree of customization, the customer has complete control over the type of fabric used in making the shirt. The client can also select the construction features of the shirt, such as buttonholes, collar styles, and cuff styles. The bespoke method provides the consumer with a high-quality, longer-lasting shirt than those available on the ready-to-wear market.
With that in mind, a person ordering a custom-made bespoke dress shirt must wait considerably longer for the end product. It may be difficult to find a tailor to make the shirts in some areas due to the methods used in constructing the garment. In addition, they are usually more expensive than dress shirts purchased off the rack. Depending on the fabric chosen, bespoke dress shirts may be prone to wrinkling and require more care than ready-wear shirts.
Certain standards are set forth by the Seville Row Bespoke Association in the construction of bespoke dress shirts. A pattern must be individually cut, and almost all of the sewing done on the shirt must be by hand. The tailor must be qualified to assist the customer with advice concerning the design and construction of the item. In addition, tailors must have access to a large selection of fabrics for the customer to choose from and attend special training seminars in construction methods.