I was standing in a checkout line waiting for the next cashier and some lady came up to the person standing in front of me. She was super excited. She holds out this jackets and tells her friend, "look what I found on the clearance rack. Its COUTURE."
Ummm..... you can NOT find couture on a clearance rack. No matter how good your luck is. In honor of the crazy lady that thought she found couture on a clearance rack, enjoy the following list of definitions to help you understand the difference between Couture and ready-to-wear.
Bespoke: custom clothing, hand tailored and made to fit a particular person. The client has full control over fit, fabric and finishing details.
Contemporary couture: a modern take on couture. Similar to handcrafted, this fits somewhere between made to order and traditional couture. You will get some of the luxuries of traditional couture; but in standard sizes that can be tailored to fit your perfectly. Contemporary couture is hand crafted by experienced seamstresses with extreme attention to detail. Designs can be customized to allow for the one of kind feel of couture.
Couture: French for ‘high sewing,’ ‘high dressmaking’ or ‘high fashion.’ A couture garment is made to specific requirements, measurements and body stance of a client. It is constructed by hand from start to finish. Couture garments are made from high quality fabric and constructed with extreme attention to detail. Couture clothing is made only by the most experienced seamstresses using time consuming and hand executed techniques. What couture is not; it is not hanging on a hanger in your favorite department store. Couture garments are one of a kind. In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris. The term couture and haute couture have been used by ready to wear brands ignoring the legal restrictions and this has blurred its meaning to those not accustomed to the true luxury of couture.
Hand crafted: skillfully made by hand.
Made to measure: Your measurements are used to adjust an existing pattern. If you do not have complicated fit issues, it is possible to get a perfect fit with made to measure. Your level on control over the rest of the garment varies with the company.
Made to Order: very similar to made to measure expect the measure part. The garment is not made until after it is ordered. You may be able to make minor changes if you ask- depends. However it will most likely be made in standard sizes. Perfect for those that fit well in standard sizes or need minimal alterations. Everyone should know and use a good tailor. You can get the look of a bespoke without the price tag.
Off the rack or ready to wear: ready-made clothing; made in standard sizes with no option for customization.