Custom made clothing, Amanda Thompson - une femme d'un certain âge

Going for bespoke: custom pieces from Amanda Thompson Couture

Amanda Thompson Couture atelier in Notting Hill, London.

Over time, I’ve managed to put together a cohesive, workable wardrobe for our mostly casual lifestyle. But one glaring gap has remained: clothing that’s appropriate for dressier occasions. (I’m not talking Black Tie here, but rather occasions like a nice dinner out, an anniversary party, etc.)

Custom made clothing in London

I’ve been flummoxed trying to find pieces that a) suit me and b) don’t feel too formal or over the top. It’s been frustrating. So I decided that while I was in London, I’d pay a visit to Amanda Thompson Couture to see if she could help me out.

Her charming shop and atelier is located in Notting Hill. When you hear “couture,” you might expect a serious and stuffy experience. This was anything but! Amanda is witty and energetic, and you can tell she’s passionate about what she does. She understands color and style personalities, and what works for different body types.

We discussed what kind of pieces I had in mind, and then she quickly sketched some ideas and took measurements. Amanda, Manina, and I then spent some time looking through mountains of swoon-worthy fabrics and samples. I chose two silk fabrics for tops, this one in a “fractured” floral pattern, and one in a solid, slightly textured cream for a tuxedo style blouse. (I’ll share that one soon.) And I chose a tan (warm brown) wool crepe fabric for the trousers. Because she had all of the fabrics in stock, she was able to complete the pieces in time for me to bring them home.

Susan B. wears custom made clothing: a silk blouse and tan wool trousers by Amanda Thompson Couture.

Here’s the floral top and trousers. I just love this print, which reminds me of Monet’s gardens at Giverny. While I was in London, we had two fittings for the trousers (one in a muslin mock-up, and one in the wool) and one fitting for each of the blouses.

(Yes, this outfit needs different shoes. I’m on the hunt…)

Check out the leopard print lining on the waistband! The pockets are also lined in that leopard print fabric. I chose to keep the pants unlined so I can wear them year-round here. (And the fabric has both structure and a nice drape, so the lining didn’t seem necessary.)

Above, the blouse can also be worn closed at the neck, and works well in more casual outfits. (Linen jacket is Eileen Fisher, purchased a few years ago from Eileen Fisher Renew.) Both the top and pants will travel well, and coordinate with other pieces in my wardrobe.

I absolutely love these custom pieces, and I look forward to wearing them for years to come!

Here are a few options with a similar look:

Do you sew your own clothes, or have you ever had custom pieces made?

Stay in touch.

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37 Comments

  1. NancyF
    March 9, 2022 / 3:50 pm

    Lucky you! A couple of questions: Are the trousers lined? And what does the waistband/closure look like!

    Of course I’d love to know how much such things cost, but it would be rude to ask, right? 😉

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 9, 2022 / 4:07 pm

      I added a photo to show the waistband lining. I decided not to have the pants fully lined, so I could wear them year round here. The cost depends on the fabric and the complexity of the design. For my pieces…in the Isabel Marant-ish neighborhood.

      • NancyF
        March 9, 2022 / 4:26 pm

        Gorgeous. Thanks!

    • Sue
      March 10, 2022 / 8:11 am

      I was thinking the same. If not the actual price, could you give us a range? Percentage more than an ‘average’ designer blouse? Thank you.

  2. Marianne
    March 9, 2022 / 4:18 pm

    Love that you did this! I think custom clothing is great for the environment (less waste), and fabulous for supporting small businesses. And the cherry on top is EVERYTHING is perfectly suited to you, made in the best fabrics and fills a gap in your wardrobe.

  3. JB
    March 9, 2022 / 5:24 pm

    Would you consider posing without one leg forward so we can see the drape and shape of the pants? Thanks

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:46 am

      will do next time.

  4. Jill Ann
    March 9, 2022 / 7:43 pm

    I had several pieces custom made when I was pregnant (in the 1990s), and needed professional work clothes that weren’t ruffly or cutesy. I thought I looked very good! Would absolutely consider doing that again (for different reasons, obviously. My girls are in their late 20s now!)

    • Kelly
      March 10, 2022 / 5:31 am

      Jill Ann, I did the same thing in the same era. Worked in a very professional environment where you couldn’t leave your cubicle without your suit jacket (glad those days are gone!). Now I’m considering having a custom dress made for my oldest son’s wedding next Spring!

      • Marianne
        March 10, 2022 / 8:02 am

        Me, too! I had custom clothes made during my pregnancy and, again, for my daughter’s wedding. It was the very best decision, as off the rack just wasn’t to my liking. I highly encourage you to have a custom dress made for your son’s wedding. You won’t regret it!

  5. Lisa Laree
    March 9, 2022 / 7:54 pm

    What beautiful work! I’ve been sewing my own clothes since I was about 13; no slave to trends here, lol. I don’t make all my clothes, but a good percentage of them. Most days I go out and about I’m usually wearing at least one thing I made. I’m afraid I have drifted far into the land of knitwear, though, because…speedy sewing. I’ve been slowly working on upgrading to a little less laid back style, lol.

  6. Pamela
    March 10, 2022 / 4:06 am

    Love, love the print and pant color. How fun you got to work with her!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:46 am

      Thanks Pam! It really was fun.

  7. Heidi
    March 10, 2022 / 4:44 am

    Love the shoes though. Are they still available? Yes, I would definitely consider having clothes to wear custom made but don’t know of a place close to me.

  8. Kari
    March 10, 2022 / 5:30 am

    Why not your platform boots in top photo for full on vintage 60’s look?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:43 am

      I’d absolutely wear them for a more casual look. For something dressier I’d go with more refined footwear.

  9. Diane B
    March 10, 2022 / 5:37 am

    What a gorgeous blouse. To have something made to fit oneself perfectly sounds like heaven to me. I am almost to that point with any trouser style pants as the seat is always a bit droopy so I end up in skirts. I really like that jacket as well, looks ready for ( almost ) any occasion. Absolutely lovely look.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:42 am

      Thank you, Diane.

  10. Téa
    March 10, 2022 / 6:27 am

    Yes – I’ve sewn clothing for almost 30 years…I had an excellent teacher when I first was married, made all my own maternity clothes, children’s clothes, costumes, etc. It’s a lot of work, and not “economical” by any stretch of the imagination, but I love the creative process. I mostly have RTW clothing tailored by someone else, because, that’s not “fun” to me. This post has inspired me to start a new project! Happy for you, Susan!!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:42 am

      Thanks, Téa!

  11. Stephanieashworth
    March 10, 2022 / 6:45 am

    Just gorgeous pieces. I’m taking four friends to London to see Manina and Rachel very soon. Top of my list is to visit Amanda.

  12. Lisa
    March 10, 2022 / 6:50 am

    The fabric on that blouse!!!! I can imagine the feel! Must be wonderful. So cool to have your exact colors.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:42 am

      Isn’t it lovely though? Feels and fits like a dream.

  13. Penelope
    March 10, 2022 / 7:17 am

    Very beautiful pieces but I don’t see how they dressier than your usual. Do you never wear a dress or skirt? I know times are more causal now but I long for real dresses, jewels, maybe even hats. I stop at gloves however.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 7:41 am

      Hi Penelope, the fabrics and fit make them dressier, and the accessories I style them with will make a difference. I haven’t been comfortable in dresses or skirts for many years now, one of the reasons getting dressed up has been a challenge for me.

    • Ainsivalavie
      March 10, 2022 / 8:06 am

      Iwas thinking that myself! The colours are lovely and I suppose IRL the garments are amazing and maybe an upgrade of Susan’s quotidian? Bespoke doesn’t necessarily translate as ‘dressy’ whatever the cost. It does mean the garment is fitted to you and you can choose your own fabrics. The results are usually more flattering to one’s style and shape. If someone doesn’t wear dresses or skirts then staying within one’s comfort zone and just elevating it somewhat is a good idea. Also Susan lives in an area that is more casual and that is her lifestyle. Where I live it would be acceptable for a semi casual get together. Susan did point out that the garments are not meant to be ‘black tie’. Again probably more impressive IRL?

  14. Elizabeth
    March 10, 2022 / 8:05 am

    Those fabulous aqua colored shoes you’re wearing in the photo with jeans are the perfect casual companion to your new bespoke top! I love your new pieces but wonder if the color of the trousers isn’t too dominant for the floral top…I might try the neutral linen color as shown in the EF jacket. The trousers should definitely work with lots of other pieces in your closet as you’ve shown us in recent months. Lucky you!

  15. KSL
    March 10, 2022 / 8:51 am

    It’s a beautiful print and fit. Would love to see you get pants made in the same fabric and wear them together at times, for a great dressy look.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 10:28 am

      Ooh, now there’s an idea…

  16. Mary Alice
    March 10, 2022 / 9:39 am

    Looks great! I’m so glad my mother taught me to sew when I was a child! I made all my bridesmaids dresses when I got married and later, all my daughter’s clothes. When I retired I went back to school to sharpen my skills and learn advanced tailoring techniques. Having something that was made just for you (whether you make it yourself or have it made) is an absolute game changer. Off the rack clothing is never going to fit as well or look as good!

  17. Roxanne K Steed
    March 10, 2022 / 10:50 am

    What beautiful garments!!! I love them both, but the colors and patterns in that blouse are AMAZING!!! ..and then I spotted those CUTE teal/turquoise shoes?!?!? Who makes those? Adorable!! This outfit is so chic!! (I tried to pin them to my Pinterest board, but got a message saying they weren’t in the right format …so it didn’t work, phooey). Anyways- I’m totally inspired by these colors….AND have found someone locally that can do this….getting my nerve up to figure out what I want – these two pieces are superb!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2022 / 11:24 am

      Thanks so much, Roxanne! The shoes are Clergerie, from a few seasons back. I really hope they bring back this style in more colors.

  18. Nancy Karpen
    March 10, 2022 / 11:46 am

    Details, especially, hidden ones like prints for pocket linings and seam bindings on unlined jackets are things I enjoy doing in my me made clothing. I love finding interesting silk prints to line jackets and coats. Your custom garments are lovely and I’m sure that you will be able to wear them for many years to come. The colors are perfect.

  19. No Fear of Fashion
    March 11, 2022 / 12:21 am

    Absolutely perfect, both items. I wanted to say “they look like they are made for you” but they are haha.
    Love it with the green shoes as well.
    Greetje

  20. Alison M Gunn
    March 11, 2022 / 8:09 pm

    I’ve thought for a long time about getting a suit made. The blouses are a new thought, though. Thanks for that. I think if you’re leading a relatively casual life, one or maybe two good suits can be dressed up with great jewelry for nice dinners out. I have a couple of outfits set aside for the fancier dinners of one’s life, but I sure would appreciate a well-made suit.

  21. Gloria
    April 14, 2022 / 4:57 pm

    I enjoyed this post. I believe you have a very unique niche for a fashion blogger. You expose your readers to think outside the box, and don’t flood us with a barage of clothes etc to purchase.

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