Over the years a lot has been written about the origins of bespoke. Here's our take on it.
The word bespoke is derived from the verb bespeak, meaning to "speak for something". The particular meaning of the verb form is first cited from 1583 and given in the Oxford English Dictionary: "to speak for, to arrange for, engage beforehand: to 'order' (goods)”.
And as such the phrase crept into the tailor's lexicon. The gentleman would arrange, or speak for, his desired cloth, ensuring that it would not be sold to somebody else.
Over the years, bespoke has become synonymous with the top end of men's tailoring. Rather than being a reference to the cloth, bespoke now denotes the way in which the suit is created.