It’s one of the great fallacies of life that people today think that they have to put up with poorly-made, ill-fitting fashion because they don’t have any other choice. I mean, as a general rule, that’s all the shops are producing, right?
But no. There is another option. Bespoke.
Custom-made clothing isn’t the exclusive domain of people with more money than they knew what to do with. It’s actually perfectly achievable for those of us with a little less cash to splash around.
And the irony of it is that not only will you usually spend less than you will in a chain store, but more often than not you’ll end up with something that is of superior quality, which fits better, and is either unique or of a limited run. AND you’ll be supporting small businesses or individuals rather than massive corporations.
I have had SO MUCH of my wardrobe custom-made for me, and I’m almost always delighted with the results:
(clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
Convinced yet? Maybe take a look at what’s currently on my Bespoke Lust List!
Dress: Leah May
This dress is absolutely sublime, and at just AUD$93 it’s way cheaper than any of the party dresses you’ll find at City Chic. And it’s custom-sized, so you know it’ll fit. Leah’s been sewing since she was seven, and was inspired to make her own clothes after being frustrated at being unable to find well-made fashion that fit well (I know the feeling well!). All her clothes have a particularly vintage aesthetic, she prefers to use locally sourced or vintage fabrics and she based in Melbourne! Hurrah!
A gorgeous looking cocktail-length take on Audrey Hepburn’s “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” dress. That feature back needs to be in my wardrobe now!
Dress: Heart My Closet
GORGEOUS! And while I’ve never ordered from this store myself I got a message on Tumblr from someone who had saying they had been great, and really particular about getting the sizing right.
Dress: She By Cindy
Oh, this hot pink confection’s been on my wishlist for SO LONG. When, oh when will I finally cave and buy it??
From another local Australian dressmaker, there’s something so charming about these simple dresses. The fabrics are all vintage, and very very limited, so check out her website for a current listing of available materials.
I really like number 8 on your little collage. That skirt and vest combo is amazing.
What a beautiful dress! The print is simply divine and the fit is so flattering. I also like the cap sleeves and the detailing at the waist. The perfect dress for a sunny afternoon…love it!
I love the Leah May dress – it’s superb! The print is so summery and pretty!
I also like the Heart my Closet and She by Cindy dresses. Both very Joan H!
Fantastic frock – and well-fitting too! I’m sold. Can’t wait to begin being bespoke for.
Hi there, I love this idea as i have a ‘difficult to fit’ body. Ive never heard of it though, is bespoke a website or company? Not sure…
‘Bespoke’ means getting something made specifically for you..made to measure. Not off the rack in a shop. You get measured by a tailor or dressmaker so that the garment is made to fit you perfectly.
I have the same dress! But in a different material, I chose a pink floral. It looks gorgeous on you!! Thanks for all the other recommendations, I am going to check them all out now xxx
Having seen some of the items you’ve got made via Etsy, it certainly makes sense. I just clicked on Etsy to order my blue polka dot dress but alas the shop is not taking any new orders for now…! Boo!
I love the white gress with the pattern combined with the green cardigan.
I first found your site while looking for an anniversary present for my girlfriend. She is uber curvy, and I find it difficult to find clothes that match her style, and body shape.
Thanks for the tips, you’ve given me some great ideas.
Great post. I love that dress, and have been lusting after it for ages (since you first posted about it). As a result I have bought several other custom pieces (from etsy) including a dress from Naughty Shorts in a Monet style print – it is gorgeous. She includes a sash in the same colour which really tops the dress off and brings out the hour glass shape.
ha! we have something for boobie girls. I tried several things but well, guess i’m not curvy enough to “fit” 😉
well, i was thinking about this dress:
i wonder WHY they have website in Polish only 🙁
I’ve put off ordering custom clothing on Etsy…no idea why because I love each of your pieces. I also love your very short and saucy hair in the bottom left collage picture!
I really just might take your advice on this.
You have such great taste in clothing and gorgeous style and you’re so lucky … i just tried checking out nearly every custom designer you’ve listed, and they’re all too busy making custom orders and aren’t accepting new orders for months! (or they’re no longer doing custom orders)
how do you find these places online so i can try to find them for myself in future? you have such great knack for finding gorgeous clothing and your clothes always fit you so well! if only i could be so lucky!!!
i have been living overseas and traveling since last year and i’m seriously excited about returning home to: a) see my cat and b) pull out my sewing machine and sew myself some new clothes, but if i could buy these gorgeous clothes online … well, i’d like to try!
I am new to your blog and just love it! Also an Etsy addict, (half your lust list is also my lust list) I am hugely flattered that you featured one of my dresses. Thanks so much and you are most welcome at Leah May any time!
Yes! I was fretting over not having anything nice to wear to a wedding, and missing all my nice work appropriate dresses – I grew out of them about a year ago when I went up a size.
And then I looked at my wardrobe and realised that if I took out all the clothes that I never wear because they fit wrong and are not quite me and a bit uncomfortable, or poorly made… I could buy TEN custom dresses. Shirts are always tight over my shoulders, and gape at the front, dresses always sit funny on my waist… it’s so frustrating, I just can’t afford to buy high-end, good quality clothes from brick and mortar stores, and even if I could they wouldn’t fit well.
I’ve just put in an order for a dress from Heart My Closet. I haven’t got it yet, but she was very clear about what and how to measure, and clarified things so well – I had mentioned that I slump a bit, so she had me do a couple of extra measurements and she checked whether my waist was standard (it isn’t, it’s long, and everything from the store always fits a bit weird). I am a bit nervous because I want so bad for it to be perfect. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Just thought I’d let you know that I got my order from Heart my Closet and it’s PERFECT. Turns out it’s a bit too long – made to the measurements I gave her, so not her fault, but I wanted it longer rather than shorter. I’ll hem it up eventually. The fabric is lovely and it’s really well made with great finishing touches. She was friendly and professional and it got here really fast. I’m DEFINITELY shopping there again. I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who is dipping their tow in the world of custom made.
That’s fantastic, Kate! I’m so glad!
I love all the dresses you featured, especially the Leah May. I’ve been watching Mad Men and these dresses would fit right in!
That dress is amazing. I’ve been learning to make my own dresses. It’s lots of fun…lots of mistakes too,,, but also lots of learning. I’d love to make a dress like this one.
This dress embodies EVERYTHING I love. The floral, orange – ee! You look amazing.
This may be a silly question, but have you ever considered the custom-fitted dressed at eShakti? They are amazingly cheap (especially with the dollar as it is right now!) and gorgeous/unique. They also give you a 15% off voucher every month, which shaves off the price as well. I recently grabbed three dresses there and I could not be happier with them – they fit amazingly well, and the quality of the construction/fabric is insanely good – I have bought far more expensive dresses at local stores that haven’t held up half as well.
The only problem is that they don’t ship to Australia – but I just used shipitto, which is a forwarding service, and I was so pleasantly surprised by how good they were! I only paid $6.50 for a one-time package forward – and then shipitto allows you to choose which service you would like, for shipping to Australia. The company has a special deal going with DHL, which means that their 3-day international shipping was the same price as USPS 2-week shipping, which was pretty cool. Overall, a really good customer service experience.
LOL, I sound like an infomercial, sorry. But every time I browse eShakti, I think of this blog. You should have a look if you’re interested!