While reading your blog, I began to reflect on my view of fashion, clothes and who shaped my thinking. I began to care about my clothes and fashion because of my grandmother. She used to work for wealthy people who would give her their old clothes. Old to them but for my grandmother, they provided an opportunity to create her own “designer” pieces. She would remove collars and attach them to an old coat or take other clothes that she was given and reconstruct them to create her own “bespoke” pieces. My grandmother was a seamstress and she would create costumes for my dad to wear when he performed on stage. This meant that the fabric or parts from the hand-me-down clothes could end up on my dad’s custom outfit.

My grandma was also a stylish lady. She did not have much, but she took pride in how she looked. This was her pattern regardless of where she as going, she never left the house unless she was “together”, as they say. The trickle down of my grandmother’s sense of style and seamstress skill was, my dad began to sew. He too never leaves the house unless he is well dressed, and this despite not beginning a wealthy person. He goes to thrift shops and the Goodwill in wealthy neighborhoods. Like his mom, he will reconstruct a rich man’s used expensive suit, sometimes shirt, and then adds a tie with a fancy note or a bow tie. He can mix and match colors that rival those seen in men’s fashion magazines.

Though I am not a man, my grandmother and my father have instilled in me the love of women’s and men’s fashion. Watching them has helped me to create my own sense of style. I too am a seamstress and like to create “bespoke” items of my own. These thoughts bring to mind what I see today with the current generation’s thoughts on men’s style. I wonder are they aware of how what you wear speaks to who you are. For my grandmother and my dad, what you wear speaks to your dignity, how you walk, and who pays attention. Depending on what you are doing or where you are going, your treatment by others can be affected before you open your mouth.

Most, including myself, cannot afford a custom-made suit or outfit, but, “bespoke” does not always have to mean that lots of money are spent. I wonder how the young boys, teenagers, and young men today determine their style. I spoke to a young man in high school and he told me that most his age look at celebrates and sports personalities to determine their style. How unfortunate, I wonder what would happen if you could show some of these young boys how to develop a style of their own, what would the clothing industry look like and what would be the style today.

By contributing writer,

Donna Preston

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The Dicky Bow, cause for reflection and a different look at “bespoke” Tailoring
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