The word “bespoke” has become very confusing to consumers. Today it is used to describe everything from butcher shops to financial services. I like this very simple definition found in the children’s Highroads Dictionary, New Canadian Edition from 1962:
“Bespeak, to speak for beforehand; to order; to show. Past tense: bespoke, bespoken.”
There is no mention of suits or clothing in this definition, but since the 1700s the word “bespoke” has been almost uniquely used to define the art of tailor-making, particularly of men's suits. In tailoring terms, you speak for a piece of cloth and order something made from it.
WHAT DEFINES A BESPOKE SUIT
We make suits ordered for and by an individual and create all of our garments on the premises. Our pieces are meticulously fitted to the body with over 40 hours of sewing needed to produce each blazer. Our jackets are constructed with a full, hung canvas, surgeon cuffs, hand-sewn armholes and gore line. Your measurements are taken by the tailor responsible for fitting, drafting and cutting your piece.