What Does Bespoke Mean And Why Is It Different Than Made-To-Measure (MTM)?
The term ‘bespoke’ dates back to tailors in London many years ago where you would choose the cloth for your suit from bolts of cloth they had available on site. Once you had been measured, paid, and chosen your cloth the tailor would cut the length of cloth and put your name on it. At that point it had ‘been spoken for’ – it was yours as you had paid for it and he could not use that cut piece for anyone else’s garment. From which the term ‘bespoke’ is derived. It did not originally have connotations of provenance or quality of construction, but came to mean a suit for which a unique pattern was made for the individual customer, used the finest materials, and was made almost entirely by hand with no fusing or glue anywhere.
A made-to-measure suit, by contrast, even of the finest construction, is usually made using a set of pre-set parameters. It uses a standard pattern approximating to your measurements which can be altered to give e.g. longer arms, or a shorter jacket. Ask for something unusual, like pockets in unusual places, or a new design of lapel, or anything outside of these fixed parameters and you will come unstuck.
What Sets A Bespoke Duncan Quinn Suit Apart From The Rest?
When we first started making bespoke suits in New York City back in 2003, the young style reporters from GQ and the New York Times had never heard the word. Some might say that since then we have been in no small part responsible for the resurgence in mens tailoring. We have always been driven to make the very best. Both from an aesthetic, fit, and construction standpoint. Garments that will stand the test of time and be available to your grandchildren. Perhaps with the odd nip and tuck here and there to allow for slight changes through the generations. We have won over clients from all over the world mostly by word of mouth, and referrals from other clients. We do not provide freebies to celebrities or Instagram ‘influencers.’ And we have been featured in unpaid editorial all over the world from the New York Times Sunday Magazine to Italy’s Corriere Della Serra Style supplement and Japan’s Leon Magazine. Our clients appreciate the dark art of taking a personality and wrapping it in the perfect clothing to make them shine in everything they do. As Henry Royce (of Rolls Royce) once said, “you’ll remember the quality long after you forget the price.”
Most people would never spend a fortune constructing a statement house without the input, skill, experience and advice of an architect they trust. And yet many seem to think having a bespoke suit made which fits both them and their personality is as simple as having someone run a tape measure around them. In reality wherever you have a suit made you will become an expression of the DNA of the house from which you acquire it. So one key thing to consider is what is the vision of the house, before you get into the nitty gritty of cloth, fit, and construction. All of which should be a given with any tailor worth its salt.
GQ summed up our aesthetic well in 2005 when they said it was, “Savile Row meets Rock ‘n Roll.” We have always subscribed to the ideal that bespoke suits are for aristocrats and rogues. They should not be too fussy, and should be irreverent, but handsome. Like the rakish, dangerous chap at the party who is very well dressed, but clearly not a narcissist. Think Sir Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Not Pitti Uomo of late.
We cut, stitch and finish all of our suits by hand in New York City. Once you have been measured, a pattern is drawn just for you, and a basted raw try on fitting is made, to allow fit and proportion to be confirmed. The garment itself is constructed using traditional craftsmanship with horsehair and light canvas shaped and layered together underneath your cloth at the correct tension to create the perfect chest drape. Lapels are hand padded, armholes are put in by hand, buttonholes are hand sewn and every effort is made to make sure that your suit has as much character as you do. We also work meticulously to make sure your stripes and checks line up in crucial focal points like pocket flaps, shoulder seams and lapels.
Duncan Quinn suits have a particular balance. They were always conceived to look a little different to an old school suit. They are slightly longer at the back than the cutaway front, and are waisted to provide a slim cut rakish look.
The Gentleman Rogue™ Pocket.
One of the defining features of our suits is our Gentleman Rogue™ pocket. In a sea of suits which may take a very discerning eye to tell apart, this is one feature which no one will miss. Equal parts conservative board meeting when tucked in, and rock ‘n roll star when tucked out this Trademarked pocket took us many years to come up with. But one thing is for sure – spot a fellow patron at a bar and you are sure to share stories and drinks. Our clients are part of a brotherhood which appreciates special things, and special people.
Exclusive Signature Smoking Skull Linings.
They say the devil is always in the details. And we tend to agree. Especially when that detail is a color matched or complimented lining made just for your suit featuring our © Smoking Skull logo lining. Each lining is made to order just for your Duncan Quinn bespoke suit. Printed in New Jersey on either silk (for garments which are worn occasionally) or a special polyester bemburg blend (for longevity) they are an integral part of something special. No standard issue lining books for us. For very special needs we can also incorporated any design, logo, or thought you have to make your suit truly unique.
We always go the extra mile. And so while it is clearly a special thing to have a bespoke suit constructed for you from some of the finest cloth in the world, we can also take you that extra step. To designing and milling your own cloth in Huddersfield, England. Closing down a renowned mill just to make enough cloth for your suit. And yours alone.
Other Defining Features.
Our heavily roped Duncan Quinn shoulder is what caught GQ’s eye back in the day when suits in the USA were generally too big, too baggy, and soft in most respects from shoulder to tailoring generally. Although we respect other aesthetics and origins, ours represents a bold expression of Savile Row style tailoring. With heavy roping a small lip is created where the sleeve head meets the shoulder, imparting a more formal look upon the wearer, adding gravitas. The shoulder line conveys intent and is one of the most defining elements of a jacket. If the suit makes the man, then the shoulder makes the suit.
Lapels, pockets, vents, hand sewn surgeon’s cuffs and other details together combine to make our suits unique. Specially sourced buttons, and silk thread details on hand sewn buttonholes, buttons and other details are used to add just the right amount of pop to your suit. Drawing the educated eye and yet not screaming, “look at me”. We also use our signature silver, brass or gold buttons with enamel, and can source any button your heart should desire if you have something special in mind.
Our trousers tend to feature dress extension waistbands, giving cleaner lines without spoiling the drape with a bulky belt and loops. Side tab adjusters are added to do the same job at the waist in case like DQ himself you occasionally end up at a 14 hour lunch. But as with everything, the details and functional items are a reflection of your needs, and what you are comfortable with. For with comfort comes confidence.
What Is A Raw-Try-On/Basted Fitting and why does DQ do this?
A “raw-try-on”, or “basted fitting” is a crucial step in our process that ensures the best fit possible. After taking your measurements, we create your unique pattern and make a “raw-try-on” which is a “basted” together version of your bespoke suit. This means that the pieces have been loosely sewn together so that it can be easily taken apart and adjusted to your body. Once we complete this step, we revise as needed, enabling us to make fit corrections that otherwise may not be possible on a finished suit.
What Fabrics Do You Offer?
We use fabric from the finest mills in the world and work with only the best cloth suppliers. We tend to favor Dormeuil who have been milling cloth in Huddersfield, England since 1842 as the finest purveyor of cut length cloth. But we also carry Holland & Sherry, Scabal, Ariston, and many other fine cloths from England, France, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. For something extra special we will mill cloth in England just for you and your suit, whether wool, mohair, cashmere, vicuna, silk or anything else you fancy…
How Long Does The Process Take?
Overall, we like about three months to craft you the perfect bespoke suit. Normally it takes 6-8 weeks from when you order your bespoke suit for us to see you again at the "raw try on" fitting, but we do accommodate rush requests when we can. After the fitting, it takes about 2-3 weeks for all adjustments and finishing to be completed. If you need something sooner, please contact us.
Do You Have A Fit Guarantee?
By definition we guarantee what we make you will fit you. And fit you well.
What If I Gain Or Lose Weight?
Our suits are created with extra fabric along the main seams, meaning that you have about 10-15 pounds of leeway built into each suit for adjustment given that you have been enjoying life, and food, a little too much…or possibly not enough. With that said, you do not want to alter your suit too frequently or for small fluctuations in weight, but if something feels a bit off or you find yourself a new career as a runner and need adjustments, feel free to contact us. If you happen to gain or lose a few pounds in-between the time of order, and your fitting, don’t worry, these adjustments are complimentary and will be marked and accounted for in the final finished garment.
Should I Make An Appointment?
Yes, please! One of the things that sets us apart is we always like to start by getting to know each and every one of our clients well enough to truly understand who they are, what they need, and what they want to portray. Making an appointment ensures that we will be available to give you the personalized attention you deserve.
Do You Offer In Home or Office Appointments?
For an additional fee and minimum order commitment, yes, home or office appointments can be arranged both domestically and internationally. Please contact us to inquire and set up an appointment.
How Should I Care For My Suits & Shirts?
After each wear, your suit should be hung up (using the DQ hanger provided) in order to retain the jacket’s shape and reduce wrinkles, reducing the need for pressing. Bespoke suits should only be dry cleaned if they become visibly dirty, and even then they should be spot cleaned as opposed to a complete garment cleaning. If your suit isn’t visibly dirty and just needs a pick me up— feel free to use a hand-held steamer, hang it on the door during your hot morning shower, or have it steamed and hand pressed by a reputable cleaner.
Unlike suits, shirts can be laundered using warm (not hot) water, and then hand pressed. Make sure to remove the collar stays first and refrain from using starch as it can alter the luxury feel of the cotton fibers and ultimately reduce the lifespan of your shirt.
Just as you have invested in a high quality bespoke suit, we cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in a high quality dry cleaner that knows how to care for bespoke garments. Poor pressing, equipment upkeep, dirty chemicals, and lack of knowledge can make your suits look old, damaged, and can even mess with the underlying structure after just one visit. So while a good cleaner is more expensive, they will keep your suits looking good as new for much longer than the other guys.
What is DQPrivée and How Can I Join?
Did we mention that we are really a club of Gentlemen Rogues™? Like the movie Kingsman, only the Quinnsmen are real. We convene regularly for private dinners, wine tastings, and other more exotic trips domestically and internationally to Formula One races, African car rallies, and other events of note. Once you have purchased your first bespoke suit and received it you will begin to receive invites to these exclusive events.
How Does The Shirt Club Work?
Joining the shirt club is like becoming a part of our inner circle. With this membership you will receive a fresh, handmade, bespoke shirt delivered right to your door each month of the year. Or, if you prefer not to wait in wonderful, butterfly inducing suspense each month, we can even make them all at once! Plus, come the holidays, we wrap up an extra shirt, and one of our exclusive limited edition ties, on us, as a thank you! You can find the subscription under the ‘shop’ menu of our website so feel free to sign up now! You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be in touch to make it happen.
How Does Payment Work?
Given that each item is made for you, and you alone, we do take payment in full upon order. Prices include the fabric and lining of your choosing, all fittings, alterations and finishing. Our bespoke service begins at a very reasonable $4,500, but on average clients spend around $7,500 on each suit. Very special items such as specially milled one of a kind fabric, or magical cloth imparted with Jade particles, can reach into the $20,000-30,000 range. We accept cash, check, money wire, all major credit cards, and offer financing through Affirm.
What If I Need To Change Or Cancel My Order?
We make every effort to accommodate our clients and their individual needs. However once an order is placed and fabric cut, it cannot be returned, and therefore we are unable to offer refunds on our bespoke merchandise. Small details such as lapel width can be modified up until the time fabric is received and the garment is cut (usually 3-5 days), but we do request that you contact us within 48 hours of ordering to do this as we cannot guarantee modification beyond that point. We spend a great deal of time working with each and every client to find the perfect fabric, fit, details, and understand each persons unique needs in order to ensure they leave with complete confidence, and excitement! However, we do understand that in life, things happen. So if you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to us ASAP for assistance.
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