DeCarlos Bespoke: Keeping Jersey City in Style
Handmade and hand-tailored clothing have never gone out of style. It used to be only a small subset of the population that wanted and searched out tailors such as DeCarlos Morse, owner and tailor of DeCarlos Bespoke, 411 Monmouth St. “In the last six years, the diversity of ages and colors coming in has really expanded,” Morse said. “The whole lifestyle of tailored clothing is becoming more and more popular.”
Everyone has had to struggle with ill-fitting clothes, especially if you don’t have a body type that fits into standard sizes. It makes it difficult to find off the rack clothing that fits well. Also, with the economic downshift in recent years, customers have realized that the quality of ready-to-wear clothing has decreased. People are realizing that they can have better quality, longer lasting, customized items by purchasing handmade clothing.
“Most of the time I have to take time to educate the clients, which is great.” Morse said. “But many times, they’re not sure exactly what it is that they want, only that they know they want it. So I design with the client. Though it definitely helps if the clients know what they want.”
When you hang around his store, it’s like relaxing in a southern-style parlor complete with leather recliner, humidor, decanter of bourbon, antiques, rustic pieces and objéts d’art that would add character to any home or country house. You will also find a wall boasting fabric swatches ranging from the mundane to the completely extravagant. “I’m originally from Virginia, and that’s where I draw my inspiration from. When I’m there I look at the colors, the impressions I get, the church outfits. I don’t go there specifically to look; it’s that when I’m there I just soak it in,” says Morse.
“My parents were handy and made curtains and suits as I was growing up. I started to get into antiques when I was only 14.” Morse stated, “And as a Southern Baptist, seeing the outfits in church (and those hats) it really started to make me want to go into clothing design. In fact, it was the only thing that I wanted to do, so I feel really blessed to have been able to succeed with it.”
After stints with firms like Dunhill of London, Bridges of Georgetown and Kuppenheimer, studying under some great mentors, Morse opened up his shop in Jersey City 10 years ago this past March. He’s spent six years in his current location and continues to flourish.
When asked about the cost of a garment, Morse stated, “If people want a good intro to having something handmade and tailored just for them, I’d recommend starting with a jacket or blazer. If you want to start with the basic blue blazer (which Morse notes is a core piece of clothing that every man should have), it’ll run you about $1,200.” Morse continued. “If you are looking for a full suit, it starts at $2,400 and can go up depending on what fabrics you want.”
When asked about his favorite fabrics, Morse stated, “I love the English mill fabrics. Especially ones with nods to the 60s, 70s and 80s. They are classic with all natural fibers.” For Morse to make one suit it takes “around 60 to 70 individual measurements. You and I are going to get very close,” he said with a rakish grin.
DeCarlos Bespoke is located at 411 Monmouth St. For more information, visit decarlosbespoke.com.
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Photos courtesy of DeCarlos Morse