Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bespoke? I beseech thee!

James Kilpatrick, are you reading?

Normally, I wouldn't ask, but this is just such a coincidence.

I had never before heard of "bespoke suits" until I read a New York Times article about lexicographers. I blogged about it March 28.

And at the end of Kilpatrick's most recent language column, on neologisms, he writes:
What is a "bespoke suit"? Last month another Times critic, Michiko Kakutani, reviewed Michael Rips' autobiographical "Face of a Naked Lady." The author's father was "the well-to-do owner of an optical factory, an executive who wore bespoke suits and perfectly starched suits." A bespoke suit is a tailor-made affair, custom-made. The adjective dates from 1607, the same year I landed at Jamestown, in a mail-order suit from Land's End.


At 7:29 PM, April 14, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

That's Lands' End, Jim.

At 6:36 PM, April 15, 2005, Blogger Craig said...

Lyrical snippet from the most recent Ken Stringfellow album ...

Did Ray really survive
The death of a city that once was alive?
Still wears bespoke suits
He feels fireproof ...

At 5:01 PM, November 10, 2006, Blogger Spoon said...

This is grossly out of date, but I thought you seemed the type that might be interested anyway.

"Bespoke" was a term that originated on Savile Row in London, home of the world's greatest tailors. These tailors would buy bolts of cloth from which the customers choose. Thereafter, that cloth has "been spoken for."

Such is the implication that, not only is it custom made, but if someone else were to approach the tailor and ask for one just like it...well, no dice. Now THAT'S wealth!


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