BESPOKE SUITING is known for being time-consuming and exorbitantly expensive—the sort of indulgence associated with royals, celebrities and pre-2008 investment bankers. Reasonably enough, most men assume that all custom garments are similarly out of reach. Not so. Custom everyday garments—like sweaters, leather jackets and even jeans—can be surprisingly approachable and uncomplicated to order. And if, like most of the population, you lack a chiseled model physique, custom is the way to go. Men with long arms, short arms, uneven arms, broad necks and so forth will find solace in garments cut just for them that don’t demand constant tugging and adjusting throughout the day.
And made-to-measure clothes hold a certain appeal for eco-conscious shoppers. They’re the antithesis of unsustainable overproduction. And barring any extreme swings in taste, you’ll likely wear your bespoke styles for years to come, unlike fast-fashion finds that often get tossed after a single season. Persnickety guys, meanwhile, need not make painful style concessions. Prefer a flap pocket to a patch one? This zipper or that one? Forest green works, but hunter green is out of the question? With custom, you can often realize your exact vision.
Yes, you’re going to pay more for a custom piece than something off the rack. But adherents like Nikodem Calczynski, a 29-year-old Swedish art dealer, think the premium is worth it. “I’d rather have one piece that’s just perfect rather than loads” that aren’t, he said. If you divide the cost by number of wears, it can make good financial sense to commission custom pieces, whether you’re buying a $200 Oxford or a $2,000 suede bomber.
Some bespoke-focused brands offer virtual ordering, but most require in-person fit appointments which, for many, might not be an option until restrictions are lifted. But that doesn’t mean you should write custom off—instead, add it to your growing “to do” list for when we reach that new normal. Here, a few custom pieces that could enhance your post-pandemic wardrobe.
The Polo, Perfected
Cheap cotton polo shirts shrink, fade and look utterly drab after a few cycles in the wash. That’s why Dag Granath, co-founder of Stockholm-based Saman Amel, offers a custom polo in a smooth, durable mercerized cotton. “It is our single most sought-after style for summer knitwear and one that we have had for many years,” said Mr. Granath. Lightweight yet refined, it works for both a day at a casual workplace and socially distant afternoons on the beach. We recommend a fit appointment at Saman Amel’s New York, London or Stockholm locations, but remote consults suffice for some items, including knits. After ordering, this made-to-measure polo will land at your doorstep in six to seven weeks. “Our clients are looking for pieces [with] long-term value,” said Mr. Granath. “If [those] pieces take a bit longer, that is a price they are comfortable paying.” Polo Shirt, from about $350, appointments at samanamel.se