Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, one of my favorite menswear writers, has been moved to a Tuesday column at A Suitable Wardrobe. Today, he does the good work of separating “timelesness” from “bespoke.” An excerpt:
What this means is that timelessness has nothing to do with the work of a superb tailor. I’d certainly hope that the tailor’s work would last a long time, because good bespoke is usually very expensive nowadays, but superb tailors like Smalto, or Edward Sexton during his time at Nutters, have made many items whose style was of their particular moments.They may still be wearable now, but with a great deal of front, irony or splendid sense of costume.
Timelessness has entered the mythos around the term bespoke precisely because bespoke has for some time been usually expensive and hard to find. However, quite recently I’ve noticed a lot of social media discount sites offering coupons for new local bespoke clothiers. I suspect they’ve sprung up because the idea of bespoke clothing is fashionable and the meaning of bespoke so misunderstood. In other words, my uninformed guess is that these new companies are taking advantage of those of us who actually believe the naïveté of magazine writers to think that bespoke means timeless quality and impeccable handmade construction.
Bespoke is not timeless. Bespoke, if you’re lucky, is what you ordered.
You can read the whole article here. For other articles in de Man’s “Untrueisms” series, where he ruthlessly goes through various menswear cliches, click here. My favorite might be this post on price and quality.