If you are reading this post chances are that you are interested in the world of bespoke clothing and would love to have something made for you. But you may also be worried about the cost of the same and think that it is beyond your budget at present. In this article I’d like to share five steps you can take now to start your journey towards owning your first bespoke outfit.
1. Start with one piece
You don’t have to start with an entire suit. A great way to experience the full bespoke service is to commission a skirt or a pair of trousers. A pencil skirt in particular is the most cost effective piece of clothing to create as the fabric consumption is low (sometimes as little as 3/4 of a metre) and the lowest priced item in terms of making it. I charge from £395 for a skirt plus materials. This means you can get a perfectly tailored unique garment for under £500. Designer skirts will often cost more and will not be fitted to your body, nor have hand finished details such as hand stitched hems.
2. Spread your payments
Another advantage of having something made is that you do not have to pay everything up front. Most tailors will take a deposit to cover fabric and initial pattern cutting, etc. with the remaining funds due over the course of the project. I usually ask for 50% at the time of order, 30% after the first fitting and the balance due on delivery. As a commission will often take around 6-8 weeks to complete it means that you can spread the payments over a couple of months. It also means that you only pay the last installment once you are absolutely satisfied with the outcome.
3. Consider the cost per wear
It is of course difficult to work out a cost per wear before you own an item, but let’s assume that this new bespoke piece of clothing will be your absolute favourite. (Why wouldn’t it be after all? You’ve chosen the fabric, the lining, have been involved in the design and it will fit you perfectly!) If you work here in the UK you will have on average 4-5 weeks of holiday per year, that leaves 47-48 working weeks. If you wear your new skirt once a week for a year it will cost you around £10.50 per wear. Compare that to a ‘buy in haste, repent at leisure’ purchase from the high street which migrates to the back of your wardrobe after a couple of outings and it works out about the same. Add in the longevity of a timeless bespoke garment and the cost per wear becomes even more competitive.
You never appreciate anything if you get it in a hurry.
4. Save up for it
Only a few decades ago it was widespread practice to save up for items of clothing or make them yourself. Home sewing was cheaper than buying off the rack and many women would buy the latest patterns to create fashionable pieces. Either way you had to be patient and work towards owning a new piece of clothing. I believe that this delayed gratification made women make better choices as they couldn’t afford to waste their hard earned cash on clothing they wouldn’t wear.
5. Adjust your mindset
Investing in bespoke clothing requires a shift in perspective. Over the course of the last few decades fashion and trend cycles have become ever shorter. Fast and throw-away fashion have become the buzzwords of our time and our shopping behaviour has changed as a result. We are constantly seeking the thrill of a new purchase only to fall out of love with it after a few wears. There are varying reasons for this – from poor fit to cheap materials and fashion fads. Social media has added to this by documenting our lives and outfits in minute detail creating a myth that we cannot wear things more than a few times.
Personally I think that developing a signature look is an asset, but owning it and not getting bored do require a bit of effort and conviction.
You can start by taking stock of your wardrobe. Which pieces do you absolutely love and wear the most? Think about why that is. How do they make you feel and look? What is the quality and how much did you spend on them? I’ll hazard a guess that your favourite items are also the more expensive and better quality ones. Now imagine that your wardrobe only existed of such pieces. Wouldn’t it be a relief to get rid of the clutter and instead have a refined capsule collection of great looking and fitting pieces?
If the above points have made you realise that going bespoke is possible for you then please get in touch here or find me on Instagram and Facebook under DaraFordDesigns or Twitter @DaraFord. I’d love to hear from you.