Earlier this week I was looking through a magazine and came across an ad for luxury townhouses. The headline was, “The bespoke luxury of a ______ address”.
“Bespoke” is an adjective you don’t see very often, so I took out the dictionary to see if it meant what I thought it meant: custom-made. If you Google “bespoke” you’ll find that it’s a British word that originally referred to men’s clothing that was hand-made and made to order for an individual customer. The customer essentially started with a blank slate, and could select the fabric, the design, the buttons, indeed all of the details, so that in theory the person ordering the clothing might have not just something made-to-measure, but an article of clothing that was unique.
In real estate, a bespoke house would be one that was built without using some pre-existing floor plan, and would give the owner TOTAL control over the exterior design, the interior layout, selection of materials, etc. Using “bespoke” to apply to selecting options for an already built townhouse is a real stretch of the original definition, but, hey, the company marketing those townhouses wanted to imply they were something very special. After all, the buyer could select from a long list of premium upgrades.
I would have forgotten all about that ad had I not read a different magazine in a doctor’s office. This time the ad was for a luxury automobile, and there again was that word, “bespoke”. The car looked very, very nice and seemed to have every possible amenity. In fact, it didn’t look like a buyer could choose ANY options, because the car already came with everything you could possibly want. So “custom-made” seemed like an even more inappropriate use of the word.
The next time you see the word “bespoke” used in an ad, just assume a narrator is speaking to you with a British accent, and wants to impress you with how lucky you’d be if you could be one of the fortunate people who could purchase that home, or car, or yacht, or wristwatch.
Maybe I should start advertising myself as the bespoke REALTOR® for the Rumson-Fair Haven area. Lol.
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