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How to not look like everyone else: a guide to bespoke menswear

ShortList's definitive guide to the brands that are paving the way in customisable menswear

How to not look like everyone else: a guide to bespoke menswear

Look around you. Chances are someone close by is wearing the exact same thing as the other. SHOCK. HORROR. But you’re better than these sheeple, aren’t you? You can rise above the everyday mundanity of cloned clothing and deck yourself out in bespoke and custom clobber, standing out like a fashion forward rose in a field full of Primark thorns.

Ralph Lauren embroidered blazer

Do you have a sailboat in the Hamptons manned by a cabin boy called Nathanial? Us neither, but we like to look like we do, and with Polo Ralph Lauren’s new blazer customisation service, exclusively available from its mammoth new Regent Street Polo store, you can add your own crest and initials to their iconic preppy navy suit jacket, which comes in single and double breasted fits, finished off with a decadent gold button fastening, and would go with both a contrasting smart cropped trousers and loafers or with your favourite casual jeans. “Nathanial, sails at the ready! Mop the poop deck. Other generic nautical terms and so on.”

Starting from £425

Polo Ralph Lauren, 169-173 Regent St, Mayfair, London, W1B 5TQ; 020-7113 7400

Monogrammable Paul Smith wallets

You always carry a wallet around with you, and you’re always showing it off to pay for your Pret lunches and overpriced craft beer, so why wouldn’t you make the utmost effort with it? Paul Smith know this, so they offer a free monogramming service online where you can add your initials or a dirty word, depending on your sense of humour and willingness to have ASS written on your man purse or credit card holder. You can also add an illustrated doodle too, featuring cats, dogs and cyclists, the perfect present for someone who loves animals or taking out their aggression on motorists.

Starting from £110

Orlebar Brown snap shorts

Dreaming of winter sun? Then you need to bag yourself a pair of these, which were modeled by none other than David Cameron during the summer, so you know they’re for the big dogs. The boys at OB have just launched a new app which allows its customers to design their own swim shorts. You upload your own photo, edit it as you like, and then it will be turned into your very own swish swimwear, which only takes around 3 weeks to produce. We dare you to upload a picture of Harambe. Dare you.


Create your own Converse

Converse hi-tops are universally adored. You love them. Your dad loves them. Emos loves them. They really do travel across all ages and subcultures, and now they’re evolving even further with the Design Your Own initiative, where you can give birth to a Frankenstein like pair of Chuck Taylors. You can literally take control of everything here, even deciding the colour and style of the inner lining and the eyelets. And, of course, you can add your initials on the side, something you would’ve killed your mum for when you were younger.

Starting from £60

Custom Nixon watches

The whole procedure for creating your own Nixon watch is so therapeutic. It’s exactly what you felt like when you were a kid playing with Lego, disregarding what was on the box and creating your own sublime, ungodly masterpiece. You sit at their Customisation Bar with a watch maker (not an old man, but an impossibly cool tattooed bloke) and select the face, casing, strap and dials together, making sure you don’t cock it up and make it look horrific. You can then add what you want on the back, from song lyrics, to dates, to custom pictures. You then go away for an hour, maybe for a cheeky pint or three, then return to collect. What an afternoon.

Prices upon request

6 Newburg Street, London, W1F 7RQ

GENEU moisturiser made from your DNA

It sounds weird to have personal skincare products made especially for you, but when you think about it, everyone’s skin is different, some drier and more sensitive than others, so why wouldn’t you? I mean, skin is pretty important, isn’t it? GENEU’s proprietary U+ DNA skin test analyses an individual’s DNA profile and combines this data with results from a lifestyle assessment conducted by a qualified Scientific Advisor to create a unique profile for personally prescribed preventative skincare. Sounds pretty futuristic, huh? It also picks up on your natural tendency to collagen breakdown and antioxidant protection levels – i.e. those b*stards responsible for skin ageing.

Starting from £80

Your own pooch pocket square from Turnbull & Asser

Someone is getting a Christmas bonus this year, because this accessory is absolute genius. Just send in a high-resolution picture of your dog and they’ll only go and put it on a bloody pocket square for you, which can be set on a range of sartorial styles such as paisley and polka dot, all which are made from 100% silk and printed in Macclesfield, England. But wait, there’s more! 10% of all purchases also go to the renowned Dog’s Trust charity that helps rehome canines. No, we’re not crying…we’ve just been cutting onions at our desk.


In selected stores and

Laurie Lee hand-painted leather jackets

James Dean, Marlon Brando, Elvis, Negan from The Walking Dead, all the greats have rocked a leather jacket. But you’re not in movies or bashing zombies brains in, so how do you put your own spin on it without looking like an early 2000s indie throwback? By painting massive leathers and pictures on the back of them, that’s how. Laurie Lee customises vintage biker jackets (meaning they’re one-offs) by hand painting phrases and symbols on the back of them, such as HEART BREAKER, BAD TO THE BONE and DEAD INSIDE, giving you your own identity rather than looking like a Julian Casablancas knock off.

Starting from £395

Levi’s denim alteration service

Yes, there is a way to make your jeans stand out without having to randomly slash holes into them or have a ball crushing tight fit. Iconic denim brand Levi’s has an alterations bar in select stores around the world, allowing you to take an old or new pair of jeans in to make them completely one of a kind by adding patchwork panels, monogramming, patches, pins and studs. Oh, and they’ll also properly crop them for you if you want to be properly on trend, because if you do that at home you just end up looking like you’ve got your jeans caught in a bike chain.

Alterations starting from just £1

Levi’s, 176 Regent St, London, W1B

Emojis on your Ray-Bans

Everyone and their father and their father’s father and their father’s father’s hairdresser has a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, so it’s about time you mixed-it-up with a custom pair, and with over 250,000 combinations to choose from, it’s unlikely you’ll run into someone wearing the same style. Sure it’s fun to choose your own lenses and colours, but it’s the monogramming that’s really peaked our interest. To finish them off, you can add up to 36 characters to your sunglasses…or emojis like hearts and sun, which is probably the most brilliantly millennial thing we’ve ever heard of.

Starting from £135

Suit Supply’s bespoke online tailoring

Can’t be bothered to deal with a tailor cupping your boys and all that jazz? Don’t worry, Suit Supply offer an online tailoring service to suit your anti-social hermit crab needs. The Danish brand’s site gives you the chance to create your own three-piece suit on one page, starting with selecting the fabric, where you can choose from 87 different styles including variations of pinstripe, check, birds-eye and plain. You then go on to select your fit (our favourite is double breasted with peak lapels), waistcoat, trousers and size. Simple, now back to your dark basement you go while you wait for the courier to knock.

Starting from £399

Rebus signet rings

We didn’t all graduate from a fancy University, most of us just went to Pizza Express after we collected our diplomas instead of receiving a signet ring. But now is the time to treat yourself to a masculine, individual piece of jewellery. Using traditional hand-engraving techniques, the award-winning team of skilled goldsmiths and hand engravers at the world-famous Rebus creates high quality, bespoke signet rings to your exact specifications, or will work with you to develop a general idea you have. Don’t just want your initials on? Then you can look through the crest books with one of the team and find out which one applies to your family name.

Starting from £240

Name your Byredo fragrance

Live in a house full of thieving roommates? Well now you can rest easy, because you can put your name on a luxury fragrance without looking like a complete psychopath with BYREDO’S sophisticated label printing. Nestled in their signature white case, a set of letters printed in the unique BYREDO typography provides endless possibilities, so as well as having KEEP YOUR F*CKING MITS OFF, you could also print anniversary dates, emblems and initials on the nameless scent that boasts notes of pepper, gin and tree moss. Now that’d proper manly.


Build your own R.M Williams boots

‘Tis the season to wear sturdy boots, because there’s nothing worse than stepping out the house on an icy morning and falling flat on your arse. Stay safe and stylish with a pair of durable boots from Australian craftsmanship experts R.M Williams, where you can alter two of their classic shapes with your own artistic ideas across leathers, stitching and soles. Founded in 1932, the brands purpose was to fulfil a need for hardwearing products that could endure the harsh and unforgiving Australian landscape, so you know you’re just going to absolutely own your slightly frosty middle class cul-de-sac in these.

From £570

Monogrammed Burberry scarves

Burberry scarves are one of those things you wear that’ll make people double take in the street and scowl with envy and jealousy. Which is, truth be told, the reason we all like to dress nice. But now the legendary British accessory gets a revamp with The Burberry Scarf Bar, offering customers an expanded range of classic and lightweight, 100% cashmere designs, including the option to personalise them with hearts and initials in 45 different coloured threads. Imagine the face of your other half unwrapping one of these bad boys on Christmas Day? You’re set for the year, mate. Or just keep it for yourself. Up to you.


In selected stores and at