THE BESPOKE DRESSING GOWN

Our client’s purchase a large variety of bespoke garments, ranging from über smart dinner wear through to relaxed casual linen shirts and chinos. Less frequently however, do we get requests for bespoke loungewear. Not being a company to turn down a challenge, we sat down with the imaginative client and discussed style.

The client was already – unsurprisingly – a bespoke addict. Having already filled his suiting wardrobe we knew his style well, but this time he desired something a little different. With the business suits we made for him we had decided to keep them dark and subtle, while we branched out a little further for his casual garments, letting his creative flair free. This resulted in much brighter more textured garments for him to wear to parties and casual events. The gown was to be somewhere between the two styles, business smartness with casual colour and depth.

The client had found the cloth by chance whilst on his travels and immediately had the idea of a dressing gown. He showed us several meters of the beautifully unique 12oz wool herringbone in maroon and cream, and asked if it would be suitable for the robe that his imagination had conjured.

A tailor’s inspection of the cloth revealed that the cloth was certainly heavy enough to keep the client warm but though the lightly brushed wool was very soft to touch, it may feel itchy on bare skin. This wouldn’t be a problem however – by lining the gown in silk (much like a suit), a luxurious barrier between skin and cloth is created. A maroon twill lining was selected to match the cloth and the designing began.

After sketching a few draft versions, we found ourselves looking at one perfect design and one grinning client. The final design combined elements of both suiting styles and run of the mill dressing gown aesthetic. It was to have two patch pockets on the hip – as one would expect on a dressing gown– and a patch breast pocket, which is more commonly seen on suit jackets. The cuffs would be turned back to reveal the lining and the tops of the pockets would have a band of the lining showing to match the cuffs. The lapel would be a wide shawl, also in the lining cloth. We debated adding quilting to the lapel, but eventually decided that having the detail of quilting next to an already busy herringbone would create too much of a messy finish.

The resulting design was a gown that somewhat resembles an elongated smoking jacket with a dressing gown belt. Perfect.

Unlike a coat or a suit, one needs to be able to perform a wide range of movement in a dressing gown. Where a jacket or coat would be removed to sit, a dressing gown would be kept on while the wearer sips his morning coffee and reads his newspaper. This meant the client’s existing patterns would be redundant. Where his normal style calls for silhouette hugging precision, the gown would have to be much looser on all fronts. A new, larger pattern was created and used to cut a first fitting of the gown in an alternative scrap cloth. Once chalked, pinned and analysed, the first fitting was taken apart and re-cut to the new measurements. Once re-constructed with the alterations, we called in the client for his second fitting. Bingo. The new pattern was perfect.

It was a little larger on the chest and shoulder than his suit jackets, but was still fitted enough to maintain shape without bunching or pleating.

The waist, seat and sleeve measurements were all increased substantially to allow for more movement. The shoulders fit very similarly to that of a coat while the body was loosened for comfort. The mix of suit style and dressing gown comfort was achieved. An ever-increasingly excited client was sent away again – his next fitting would be final.

Later that week the client saw his creation come to life. It was obvious the fittings had worked, because the garment fit like a dream. A quick sit down proved there was adequate room to move without putting pressure on any seams and as a side effect; when left untied the gown billows dramatically behind the client – much to his delight.

A little imagination from the client and a little know how from our team went a long way, resulting in – what we’re sure you will agree – a magnificent bespoke garment. We also feel it answers the age-old question: What do you buy a man who has everything? Well a bespoke dressing gown of course!

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