Concierge Clothiers Relish Being Men’s Wardrobe Consultants
Style is not the same as fashion. Indeed, style is more important at Bespoke Apparel, where two generations of haberdashers are eager to assist men with custom clothing designed to make individual personas come alive. At Bespoke Apparel, stylish menswear reflects quality clothing items that are timeless and unique, not as fleeting as fashion wear tends to be, due to changing trends.
“We consider our designs fashion-forward, but more importantly we find ways to accentuate each customer’s individuality,” says Bespoke partner and stylist Dani Corbitt, who works with her father, David Corbitt, at the tailor shop located at 169 Lamp & Lantern Village.
“It’s safe for men to choose navy blue suits and white shirts, but we help them become more adventurous in creating their wardrobe. Ninety percent of the time, they are really grateful we expanded their comfort zone,” Dani says with a grin. “Men often realize they are in a box and can stay in it, or step outside it. We help them build an inventory for getting to choose when they will do whichever style. It’s all about an image.”
She says she and her father developed and perfected a process for coaching men through new custom clothing choices.
“Guys don’t feel like they are shopping with us because we first build rapport,” she says. “We talk a lot about what type of job they have, where they are heading with their career if they have clients, what type of people they typically deal with and what items may be missing in their existing attire.”
Most men want someone they trust to guide them through options, she adds.
“In certain industries, it’s really helpful to send specific messages with clothes,” she says.
David founded Bespoke Apparel in 1989 in Atlanta with the underlying principle that the correct type of wardrobes can make people money if they specialize and maintain clothing properly. His theological degree and previous profession as a financial advisor prompted him to have conversations with men of different backgrounds, all of whom faced challenges with having the time and inclination to plan their wardrobes. He moved the company to St. Louis in 2004, and eventually semi-retired by 2008. However, when Dani, who had grown up in the biz helping her dad match ties and shirts, realized she wanted to continue the shop, she convinced him to restart it about five years ago; the daughter-father duo has been going strong since.
Dani, who secured a bachelor’s degree in political science, says she realized she appreciated the way her father did business and that she wanted to be a clothier doing it his way. She has enjoyed mapping out a customer service process that moves through the following steps: wardrobe consultation, measurements, securing the selected garment and conducting a fitting.
Fabric for these custom suits is sourced from the finest European or Italian mills, and each garment is created by master tailors from around the world. Primarily, Bespoke Apparel works with a tailor shop based in Nashville, Tennessee, and a shirt company in Newark, New Jersey.
“We can source if someone wants items from a particular country, and we have clients who prefer to have all American-made clothing, so it’s not an issue either way,” Dani says. “Everyone likes to have their design patterns structured a little differently. Our mission is to identify who does the best work, given our clients’ specifications.”
Custom suits can cost $800 to $1,200. Bespoke Apparel’s services include taking new suits to men’s offices for fittings or deliveries.
Dani claims no matter the build of each man, it’s vital to give each one “a good silhouette.” She says they can incorporate fashionable trends, such as pleats and wide legs in trousers, but they will attempt to balance the look with timeless styles.
“We like to think of it as giving each client the Cary Grant fitting frame.”
She says they also can bridge professional and personal wardrobes for clients, as well as give tips on how to preserve items. “We have men who get tired of or outgrow their suits before they actually wear out.”
Regarding this year’s fall fashion trends for men, Dani says woven looks will be popular.
“Wool ties, silk that looks like wool. In St. Louis, we have a men’s fashion flavor all our own. It’s a bit traditional, often subdued, but elegant.”
Other trends for this year, she predicts, are pocket squares, no neckties and shirts with awesome trims.
While funky colors and tighter men’s clothes are hitting other select U.S. markets, Dani says men in Chesterfield and the St. Louis region keep it clean and crisp.
“We call it celebrating the window panes, such as combining navy with loud colors like lime,” she says. “Here locally, men may combine colors but opt for gray shirts with blue panes that don’t scream at you.”