Starting the bespoke journey
For a person deeply passionate about style, the path to full-fledged nerdism doesn’t look different than for other interests. The road is often long and costly, both in terms of time and financial effort, but this is often irrelevant in relation to where you end up. Wine collectors end up in Burgundy (according to Mr. Hartzell), a whisky connoisseur in Brora or Port Ellen (according to me) and the boat enthusiast (which direction is starboard, again?) in a Riva. The style enthusiast? In bespoke tailoring, of course.
I am fortunate to have many interests that I have been allowed to pursue for a long time, and almost manically. I am even more fortunate to have had a platform for these interests in my very own TV show called Chevaleresk. Together with my good friend Måns Zelmerlöw - who really isn’t interested in anything - we explored all sorts of strange things such as aquariums, fantasy literature, glassblowing, and colts (which led to a minor scandal). However, one thing was constant in the program, besides all the fine drinks, and that was the love of clothes.
When I look back on the two seasons we have done so far, I often wonder what I was really wearing. I wish I knew then what I know now, but it’s always like that when you’re on a journey. The conclusion I have made is that I lacked a base, a foundation, of garments you can always return to over time. Garments that are personal and feel like my own. Bespoke tailoring was on the horizon.
In my opinion, there is no garment as good for starting your bepsoke journey as the wool overcoat. Our climate allows at least five months of use, and you want to use the garments. The most sensible thing would probably have been to make a paletote in navy blue, but I didn’t want to be that traditional. I wanted as much use as possible, and since I rarely wear formal clothes, the raglan coat felt more exciting. You can of course dress down the paletote (as well as dress up the raglan coat) but there is something about the cut that appeals to me, the mobility and comfort not least (I am after all 37 years old now, if it isn’t comfortable it’s out).
At Götrich, I become a bit like a child on Christmas Day. The decision anxiety is grave. I could easily have spent a full working day flicking through all of Götrich's cloth books, and I honestly think that Joakim and Benjamin would have allowed me without any problems. Patience is a virtue. We finally decided on a mid brown so-called gun club check from Abraham Moon & Sons. Maybe on the slightly lighter side for an overcoat, but it will feel like wearing a t-shirt. This is going to be good.
After cloth selection, more choices await. Everything is about choice. It both suits me, and doesn’t. I love the freedom but it’s also scary. How long should it be? Which buttons are the most versatile, what should the lining look like, should we make a belt? Joakim says no. I say yes. I'm a customer, so I get what I want (I can agree with Joakim in fact, a classic raglan looks best without a belt, but I want the optionality). The buttons we choose are as much tone-on-tone as possible, to facilitate the choice of shoe color. I want to be able to have medium brown, dark brown and black, and it looks good with this option.
After all the choices are made, a few weeks of waiting for the toile, the sample garment, follows. It is cut and sewn together from a different material and it’s what then forms the basis for the final garment. This is one of the great advantages of bespoke tailoring versus MTM because you can correct everything before the garment is cut. And we make a few correction, but nothing drastic. I have forward shoulders (am a bit skewed, that is) which needs to be taken care of in the pattern making. The position of the belt is adjusted upwards. Good to go.
Now the long wait begins and this is probably one of the few times you wish time passed quickly. A little over a month later, it's time for a fitting at Götrich and this is happiness on a high level. It is a very special feeling to put on a garment that has been made for you for the first time. The knowledge that the garment is unique, just for you. My theory is confirmed, it feels like wearing a t-shirt. Nice roominess and mobility, nice drape despite the light fabric and a slim but classic silhouette. Some further adjustments are needed, but the nice thing is that there is always room for that in this process, and one of Götrich's tailors pops out from the back.
We adjust the position of the buttons to remove a small bulge. We shorten it a little more because the cloth is so light that it tends to stick a little to the trousers. And maybe we should change the buttons to one that is even closer to the colour of the cloth. But it should still be matte, it works better with the crisp texture of the cloth. But the foundation is good. In my opinion, it is visually striking. And I see how it can easily be worn with most trousers: denims, heavy cotton, cords and flannel. Also worsted wool, of course. The decision to add a belt feels good, I am initially more comfortable belting up than leaving it untied. Admittedly, I quite like a classic fit, but this one is so classically cut (which is what I wanted) that I have to mentally get used to the volume. Will work really well, I’m sure.
I immediately start thinking about the next order, because that’s the nature of the bespoke process. You get stuck. What will happen next? Another coat, I'm almost completely sure. That navy blue paletote looms. Or maybe an ulster. If so, maybe in a herringbone tweed? If it is the paletote, I will go for a more conservative cloth and preferably with a cashmere mix for the softness. But if…..
The coat has now been worn about ten times, and there’s a big problem: my wife accounts for 70% of the use. It feels deeply unfair: she works with developing outerwear and thus owns about twenty coats. Maybe that's also why she's drawn to this one, she notices that the craft is on a different level. Maybe we should send her to Götrich too?