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Brett’s custom cufflinks: Abby Sparks Designs

So, big news everyone. Brett was married on October 3rd!

And as you can imagine, we are going to begin a series of blog posts on the tuxedo he wore and some of the lessons learned. We are still sifting through the wedding photos, but we want to begin with one of the details – his cuff links. And believe me, these are no ordinary cuff links.

As his Best Man, I wanted to get Brett something very special for his wedding. Coincidentally, I had been corresponding with Abby Sparks, of Abby Sparks Designs. As a Denver-based jeweler, she is making a name for herself in the world of custom jewelry. And with Brett’s wedding approaching, I saw the perfect opportunity to get Brett something very special, something that would become a family heirloom.

So began my first foray into the world of custom cuff links.

Warning: It’s a slippery slope, guys.

I met with Abby in her Highlands office in Denver and she took me through the process. Believe it or not, it felt a lot like building a bespoke suit. There were many, many, options. Really, I could design whatever cuff links I could dream up. Fortunately, Abby was able to guide me through the process and give me a little advice.

First, I selected a metal. I went with platinum. Also available, was palladium and gold (yellow, white, or rose, and anywhere from 10 – 18k)

Then came the texture, and honestly, this was the most fun for me. Before meeting Abby, I had no idea that there were different textures to choose from. As you can see in the image, the outer rim of the cuff link is rough looking, like an orange peel. I thought this was a very interesting texture and masculine. It was also a good pick for Brett because he and I have shared more than a couple Old Fashioned cocktails together – a drink that is garnished with an orange peel.

There were other textures available too, but to try and describe them here wouldn’t do them justice. It’s definitely worth visiting Abby if you’re interested.

The next decision to be made was the big one – the design.

Abby’s team can do just about any type of metal work. Just as those of us at BE can create any piece of clothing you can dream up, Abby can do the same with jewelry. I needed a little bit of help in this area. So, Abby opened her notebook and began drafting up some concepts based on what I had told her about Brett’s style and what I wanted this pair of cuff links to mean to him.

I wanted something that was both masculine and classic. I wanted Brett to  be able to confidently wear these cuff links not only at his wedding, but also down the road whenever he wanted to show a bit of pizzazz! For me, that meant a square design with an elegant sapphire stone as an accent. The blue sapphire would match his midnight blue tuxedo perfectly.

Here’s how the final product turned out:

custom cuff links in profile

Production

And here are a few photos of the actual production. There is real metal being worked, guys. These cuff links were built from scratch and there is nothing else like them in the world!

cuff links production

parts laid out

mid-production

in the furnance

custom cuff links abby sparks designs

ManBands (aka Wedding bands)

Abby does more than just cuff links for the guys. Much of her business is for engagement rings. If you’re popping the question soon, here’s what you need to know:

  • Metal choices: 18/14k white/yellow/rose gold, palladium, platinum, sterling
  • All shapes and sizes of gemstones/diamonds are available
  • Engraving available on the inside or outside of band
  • Hand-forged ManBands begin at $600 in sterling silver, $1400 in gold, $1600 in palladium, $2000 in platinum
  • There are six different band exterior finishes available:
    • 1) Sand-blasted
    • 2) Hammered
    • 3) Brushed
    • 4) S-Curve
    • 5) Cross-peen
    • 6) Sparks Signature finish

abby-sparks-manbands

gold-wedding-band

abby-sparks-wedding-band

About Abby Sparks Designs

Located in Denver, Abby Sparks Designs specializes in custom jewelry with exceptional customer service. Contact Abby and her team here.

Investment

Cuff links begin at around $550 and ManBands range anywhere from $1,800 to $8,500.

Wrap up

I have never been impressed with the cuff links I see in the department store or online. They just have a tendency to look simplistic and almost tacky. But the ones from Abby Sparks Designs really set the bar high.

I couldn’t be happier with the way Brett’s cuff links turned out. Abby helped me to design a very special pair of cuff links that Brett now considers to be a family heirloom. It also opened my eyes to the world of custom men’s jewelry, aka cuff links. Hopefully, I can write about another pair of cuff links soon…

By Ryan Wagner 

Have you purchased custom men’s jewelry before? Let us know in the comments below.

And please consider joining our mailing list. We will only send you an email twice a month and it will always be interesting!

Happy Holidays from The Bespoke Edge!

Greetings,

As the year draws to a close, those of us at BE wanted to take a moment and say thank you. As a BE client, you have helped us to have a record year. We’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with you over the past twelve months. It really means a lot that you’ve chosen to put your trust in us to help you with your sartorial needs.

Also, a reminder, that we are always available to help you out – whether you need help choosing a jacket fabric or just need a little time sensitive info on how to match a complex neck tie. Call, text or email anytime.

We hope to see you again in 2015 with some great events and in-depth blogs. All meant to help you become the best dressed version of yourself.

So, here’s wishing you and your family happy holidays!

Sincerely,

Ron, Ryan and Brett

Never wear a baggy dress shirt again

Bespoke Clothing

We’ve all worn them at some point in our lives.

The infamous baggy shirt.

Almost blouse-like in appearance, we were told by the store clerk at the mall that despite the bagginess, the shirt fits. That the shoulder seams lined up roughly where they should be and the sleeves fit, so that’s all there is, the clerk would say.

The problem is, the back of the shirt seems like it was built for a guy twice your size. And if you’re an athletic guy it’s even worse! Why? Because your shoulders are likely 5, 6 or maybe 10 inches wider than your waist. You’ve worked hard to create a V-shaped torso, but when you wear that baggy dress shirt it all goes away. You’re left swimming in your clothes.

It’s not magic that makes a custom fitted shirt look better, it’s just smart tailoring. With this blog post I want to go over a handful of things we do to help guys get a perfect fit.

Here are some of the usual tricks we employ to dial in your fit and eliminate baggy dress shirt syndrome once and for all!

Box pleat

You know that little overlap of fabric centered on the back of your shirt? That’s a box pleat. Most shirts will have one and it will help it to conform to your body’s contour, but will also provide you room to move throughout the shoulders.

To some extent, box pleats will help to mitigate bagginess, but only if you don’t consider pleats baggy! So unless you’re trying to ride the fine line between having extra room in the shoulders without letting the shirt look too baggy, this isn’t going to be enough for most guys.

It’s worth noting that sometimes guys request not to have the ubiquitous box pleat sewn into their shirt – instead opting for a nice clean look without it. Fortunately, the box pleat isn’t an absolute requisite for a slim fit.

Darts

Whereas a box pleat will overlap shirt fabric and sew it in place at the yoke, a dart will overlap the fabric, remove that which isn’t needed and then sew together. This results in a very clean look with no excess fabric in the local area.

Common spots to find darts are going to be on the lower back of your shirt to the left and right of center. Each dart can remove up to 2 inches or so of excess fabric. And if you have a V-shaped torso, darts will be absolutely essential in creating a nicely contoured shirt.

You’ll rarely see darts in off-the-rack clothing because those shirts were made to fit, well, anybody.

Side seam

Another tool that we can use to pull in fabric throughout the body of your shirt is to take a look at the side seam of your shirt. This way we don’t need to overlap the fabric and create a dart, but can actually cut the fabric shorter during the manufacturing process to match your body type.

***

So, those are (3) tricks of the trade that we use to eliminate shirt bagginess. Whether you need to employ (1) or all (3) of these tactics depends on a handful of items:

How slim of a fit do you want?

What’s the occasion?

Is your waist slimmer than your shoulders?

But getting the fit of your shirt just right is an art form. Removing too much fabric from one area, say the side seam, may cause problems up at the shoulder seam. Therefore, when going for a real slim fit, Ron will often recommend we use a mix of the above techniques to help you build that perfect fitting shirt.

And even if you’re not a BE customer, having a basic understanding of these concepts will help you to better communicate with your local alterations specialist. Either way, remember that having only one shirt that really fits is worth ten that don’t!

Dress sharp fellas.

By Ryan Wagner

3 great sock options for fall

The cooler weather means that now I will have to wear socks again.

For those of you that may not have gathered from previous blog posts, I usually go sans socks during the warmer months. I think it’s a nice look during the hot days of summer and as someone who doesn’t have sweaty feet, I can get away with it just fine.

But now the weather is turning cooler here in the Denver area and the last thing I want is cold feet. Skimping on the socks in November doesn’t suggest avant-garde sartorial sense, but instead conveys the notion that perhaps you just forgot your socks altogether!

Therefore, I thought that now is a good time to write a post on socks, why not? So I reached into my closet and thought I would give you the rundown on (3) different styles with the aim of inspiring you to add a little diversity to your own sock drawer this season.

Let’s get down to business and boost your sock appeal! Here are (3) great sock options for fall.

1. Earth toned argyle

The most conservative of the (3), this one is relatively basic – earth tones and nothing too flashy. Argyle is always a fun choice and beats the heck out of any solid.

sock-argyle

2. Polka dots

The darker red background suggests some of the more scenic leaves that are changing during this time of the year and the polka dots just make things all the more fun. Plus, it’s perfect for a pair of burgundy jeans.

This sock is going to stand out a bit. There’s really no getting around it, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?! If you’re feeling creative you can match the socks to your cardigan or neck tie – or pocket square! Then you really start to frame your wardrobe.

If the burgandy color is too strong for you then opt for a different color, but do yourself a favor and stick with polka dots, because the world needs more polka dots.

polka-dot-sock

3. Colorful stripes

Filled with great fall colors, this pattern will be right there with you until the snow is consistently falling. And with a handful of different colors you can match just about anything to it. Just like the polka dot sock above, try matching the colors in this striped sock to something you’re wearing up top.

sock-stripe

Wrap up

So there you have it. Three socks that will hopefully inspire you to add a little argyle and/or color to your sock rotation this fall.

And remember fellas, friends don’t let friends wear white socks to the office.

By Ryan Wagner