Thursday, February 3, 2011

Suitably Bespoke

Bespoke is my new favorite word. It's popping up in online and print ads, marketing copy, blogs, in Oprah's magazine and on those cable home improvement shows featuring custom kitchen cabinets and high-end jacuzzi tubs.

Not a word I drop into daily conversation, yet it's lyrical and lovely:  bespoke.   Just saying the word makes me feel rich and well dressed.

"Custom made" or "specially designed" are synonyms listed in Wiktionary.  The meaning behind the word bespoke has changed recently, as evidenced by the battle Savile Row of London tailors fought in 2008 to preserve the original definition, which implied something crafted entirely by hand, without any mechanization or patterns.  According to Savile Row, "The word was coined by tailors on Savile Row, London, in the 17th century and referred to a suit which was hand-crafted from a single bolt of cloth without the use of a pre-existing pattern."  

These days, bespoke items are more often manufactured using modern tools, not completely by hand or without patterns.  The true bespoke product has evolved into "bespoke light".  I suppose that's progress.....

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