Updated: Mar 2
(of goods, especially clothing) made to order.
“a bespoke suit”
(of a trader) making bespoke items of clothing.
“the bespoke tailors of Savile Row”
(of a computer program) written or adapted for a specific user or purpose.
“completely bespoke software systems”
Have you ever experienced the bliss of wearing a well-made suit made to order and made to fit?
If you have, you will know that magical feeling of being draped in the design of your own imagination. It is way more than knowing it’s a one-of-a-kind creation. Its genesis is You. Your thoughts, your imagination and there it is, brought to life from a dream. And it fits you uniquely and perfectly.
I come from a family of tailors and dress-makers. They were not in the business of mass production. They were in the business of Bespoke. It would boggle their minds that someone would buy something everyone else wore and I would often see them scowl and grimace at the workmanship of mass produced ‘designer’ goods. Universally, they all declared that they would die from embarrassment if they ever produced something that revealed poor workmanship. Their workmanship was their honour.
Often, I would watch the production of their creations. A client would come along with an idea for a suit or a dress. It would be sketched in well-worn A5 or A6 hardcover books. Dreams were drawn with pencils that never made the acquaintance of a pencil sharpener. These pencils were sharpened exclusively with the tools of the trade and were used until they were much shorter than my fingers.
The options for the best fabric for the design would be discussed at length; and body shapes and proportions were delicately broached to ensure that the client would receive the best experience and the best outcome.
Measurements were taken delicately, deliberately and earnestly. The air was always electric with expectation.
Once the client was gone, the fabric would be marked, cut, pinned, reinforced, pressed, stitched, pressed some more and sewn. This would be followed by as many fittings as was required to ensure that the client still loved the design, changes could be made and the fit was perfect.
I can’t tell you how often I saw garments transform people. They’d become instantly taller, appearing more confident and self-approving. I’ve seen grown men's eyes fill with approval at their suited reflection. I've seen kids' eyes sparkle as they see themselves transform from rugrats to princes and princesses. I have witnessed the mothers of brides moved to sobbing tears at their daughter's transformations.
Few things are more sublime than the sweet satisfaction of both creator and client, and the relationships that are forged for life.
These are memories of my childhood. Perhaps they linger because they are instructive of how to create a life that is transformative and sublime. Explore the vision, get creating, try it on for size, flesh out the details, evaluate, adjust, enjoy the result and honour the process.
When we take a ‘mass-produced’ approach to creating our lives and careers we miss out on the dreams and the wisdom that lie dormant inside of us. One size rarely ever fits all. We owe it to ourselves to assemble the ensembles of our imagination and make changes as we go along the way until it’s just right….and to honour the process.
I have found journaling to be an indispensable part of the process. Going from confusion to clarity and exploring what is and what isn’t and making new sense of old things. The answers are within. The answers are always within.
If you’re new to journaling, it may be a strange process for you. You may find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper not knowing where to begin.
Just put pen to paper. It's always a delightful surprise to see how your mind gushes forth information and recollections or associations once you put down those first few words.
If you're stuck, find journal prompts. They are plentiful on the internet; in fact, when you return to this blog in a week or two, there will be regular prompts to support you on your journey to bespoke; to your authenticity.
Grab an old book or get yourself a shiny new journal. Start that life-changing conversation with yourself. Provoke your dreams, soothe your hurts and rekindle your childhood memories where the clues to your fulfillment are planted.
Give yourself half a chance and you will discover the inspiration that lies within.