Bespoke — usually refers to an item of clothing that is custom-made to the buyer’s specifications. The term has historically been associated with tailor made shirts and suits that involves precise measurements, so that the perfect fit of the clothes help to make the man.
However, being a bespoke man, let alone having bespoke clothing hasn’t typically been on the agenda of American men. More often than not, men pursue shopping for a suit in a very instantaneous haphazard manner. The hunt involves two steps – quickly find a suit that fits both your body and your budget. Whether it fits well, is made of quality fabric or has a fashionable color are secondary in the hunt. More than likely, a flawless fit isn’t even on the list of “must haves” for the final purchase. However, now, there is an option that is not only convenient and affordable, it’s actually fashion forward as well.
Introducing Black Lapel, a recently launched customized men’s wear brand and a great solution for becoming a truly bespoke man. Recently, I had a chance to interview Warren Liao and Derek Tian, two of the three founders of this custom-made men’s start-up.
These two well-dressed men had a similar problem, how could they find quality suits that fit their bodies, looked good and didn’t require them flying to Asia for a personal fitting. This led them on a journey to create their brand – Black Lapel. They wanted to offer men the chance to have several of their own bespoke clothing items. They didn’t want their clients to pay “designer” prices for well-tailored, quality clothing. A yearlong pursuit began for quality fabrics and the right manufacturer that could make each individual piece of clothing to the exact measurements of their Black Lapel customers.
The concept is simple, their well-designed and easy to maneuver website – BlackLapel.com makes it simple to select the color of your new suit, then quickly move through the selection of options for tailoring such as two or three button jackets and flat front or pleated pants. There’s even an option to have your name or initials imprinted inside. No longer does your suit need to belong to Hugo or Ralph, but you alone.
I decided to try out the process and of course, to select and order my own bespoke suit. I first quickly registered on their site and then began to shop. I easily found the variety (but not overwhelming) color selections and types of suits (e.g., 2 or 3 piece) on the first page. When you scroll across each suit selection, you’ll get a zoomed-in view of the fabric and color. Once I picked my preferred suit color, I moved on to customize it. This is where you have the chance to select the type of pocket, buttons, back flap, etc. The next step is to input measurements. This can be done at home with the help of a friend. Black Lapel will send you a free measuring tape and also has a great video that guides you through the process.
Finally, after imputing and saving your measurements, hit the order button. Your custom tailored suit will arrive in about 3 weeks time. Black Lapel has a “Flawless Fit” policy too, so if your suit doesn’t fit when it arrives, you can work with their customer service team to get credits toward the necessary tailoring. If simple tailoring can’t remedy the situation, and the suit is unalterable, the Black Lapel team will remake the suit at no additional charge.
And, the best part is that these bespoke suits start at $449. The company also offers tailored made jackets, pants, vests and dress shirts as well.
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