How to Make The Most of Your Suit | One Suit Styled Formal to Casual

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In my recent video 'Burgundy Suit Five Ways' I gave some suit styling tips on how to dress a suit up formerly and down casually. A purple or burgundy suit might not be the go-to colour for office wear. Whilst purple is becoming more mainstream, voted colour of the year in 2018 by Pantone, it's still too ostentatious for regular 9-5. 

However, it's ideal for a date night, maybe a special event or if you're attending a wedding as a guest. 

The suit I've chosen is an Austin Reed London which you can procure from their made to measure service. They now do fittings door to door. I've also done a recent review of that service on blog which you can read about here

In this video, I've styled a burgundy suit from Austin Reed London 5 different ways. I've tried to show how you can style the suit smart as well as casually. How you can wear the burgundy blazer with a pair of black jeans, so it's all about making the most out of your suit...not just for smart occasions but also going out for a night out.

LOOK 1:

The smartest version. I've used my Hawkins & Shepherd blue and white cutaway collar shirt to give the look some lift. However, the key element here is the wine red college stripe silk tie Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant. I think this tie is an absolute bargain at £22, considering how much you pay for silk ties elsewhere. (Turnbull and Asser charge 5 times that much). 

The college look has a preppy vibe, but also gives off a subliminal 'man that knows something about something' aura. This look would be great for a race day event. Maybe a dinner at the members club. Purple is a colour associated with wealth and this styling looks like you belong in Home House baby. 

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LOOK 2:

If you're not wanting to go super-smart, conscious that you might be overdressed, then simply notch it down a few with this look. I've dispensed with the shirt and tie but kept the look and the tones clean with a black roll neck jumper from Marks & Spencer. 

Again a very accessible price at just under £40. Available also in Navy and Plum. But the black offers contrast and will be perfect for those nippy Autumn morning commutes. 

It's also a great business casual outfit. I've worn this to a couple of client meetings and it puts everyone at ease. 

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LOOK 3:

How about this bobby dazzler. This is a great date night look. I've opted for one of my own Hawkins & Shepherd button down shirts without a tie. It's fitted and feels great. It's a great way to bring a casual element to a smart look without looking like I've just clocked off. 

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LOOKS 4 & 5:

Now we're getting into the last of the casual stylings. I consider this look a perfect 'meet and greet' style. Maybe a look you'd wear to the cinema, perhaps even down to the pub. I've swapped out the trousers for some ASOS black jeans and introduced some M&S white trainers. 

This is a good strong look for you gentleman who don't feel comfortable wearing suits, but want to start dressing with a smarter, with a bit more intent. 

You can check out all the links to the products I've worn in the bio in the video. If you like this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe, it will encourage me to do more.

Austin Reed: Progressive Made to Measure Service Goes Door to Door

Austin Reed have unveiled their personal tailoring service, bringing the Made to Measure experience to your home, office, private members club etc. 

I think it's a fantastic move, progressive yet equally clandestine and traditional. Talk to any of the big tailors or shirt makers around today and they'll regale stories of how they would go meet their clients at their place of work or in their hotel etc. 

The legendary Doug Hayward would often meet his clients at The Dorchester and not only measure them, but watch them walk around the room. Study their posture and how they carry themselves. 

Austin Reed are recognising that it's a different world where our attention and time are strained. Not everyone gets lunch hours to nip off to their tailors to get measured. And how good is any experience when it feels frenzied? 

How does it work? 

Together (you and the Austin Reed consultant) will peruse their exclusive selection of luxury fabrics, linings and trims to visualise your bespoke suit.

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Following your first consultation Austin Reed will contact you to arrange a fitting. Final adjustments and any fine-tuning will be completed in a matter of days, with your finished design presented in a versatile Austin Reed travel cover.

Pricing starts from £500, with a made to measure 2-piece suit totalling to approximately £1000. 

My experience was relatively frictionless. I scheduled a consultation and thoroughly enjoyed the process. There is something undeniably empowering about being fitted for a suit on your own terms. I felt like Roger Moore. 

I think we've all been put in situations where we've been persuaded into ill decisions/purchases, perhaps due alien environments. In the sanctuary of my own home I felt much more confident about the process.

CONSULTATION

The Clothier came to my house, I offered him a cup of coffee and some biscuits (not the shortbread) whilst he walked me through the fabric and design options. We discussed football, fashion and of course dogs, whilst I was measured for the suit. Then we had to discuss the style options, such a single vent, turn-up trousers, side-adjusters and what colour buttons - to name a few.

PRODUCTION

After the initial consultation and measuring, the fitting is arranged. Any tweaking or adjustments can also be done through the Austin Reed Made to Measure service which ensures the desired result. 

 

 

The right Questions to Ask Your Tailor

The relationship between a tailor and consumer should be harmonious and built on implicit trust. A good tailor should make you feel nourished and equally, the tailor should also feel appreciated that he has brought value to an individual’s life. But what if this is your first time buying a suit? You don't know the lingo and think fabric is a nightclub in Farringdon. First off having a mild sketch in your head of the look you're after will be a great way to get the ball rolling. Maybe you've seen a suit on an actor, in a magazine, a particular pattern etc. Be realistic, but try and envision what your dream suit looks like. 

Here below for your careful consideration, are the right questions to ask your tailor. 

What have you got? 

Ask to see some look books; a recent portfolio. If he points to the cardboard cutout by the cash register you know you're in trouble. Any tailor worth his salt will also have an online store so be sure to check that out and any recent feedback on their social channels. Facebook is still a good barometer for ratings. 

The tailor will bring along sample fabrics for you to try, masticate the swatches a little (I said masticate, unless you REALLY like the fabric) and then ask.. 

What fabric is best for.. ?

[fill in the blank]. It's important that your tailor fully understands your needs. You might be getting married in the tropics and require a certain breathable fabric. It could be your work suit, but what kind of work? Is there a long commute involved and will your job demand any physical exertion? Ask your tailor to elaborate on why the fabric or cloth recommended would be suited to the occasion, and if there are any other options available to you.

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Free next Friday? 

Your tailor is a busy man, with many other customers, interviews to write and cocktail parties to attend. Make sure you schedule set dates and times with your tailor for fittings and additional alterations. Not having to chase each other for appointments over email will optimise both your time. 

Show me your papers. 

This is what separates the men from the marines in the tailoring universe. If you specifically want bespoke products, ensure that your tailor will create an individual paper pattern for you. Ask to see it and have it pictured with an edition of the local paper. OK so that might be overkill, but this is a reasonable question and will let the tailor know you're not here to have your pants taken down. Semi-pun intended. 

The best way to describe a 'pattern' in clothing is to compare it to a 'blueprint' of a building. An architect will build a house based on the blueprint and the tailor with piece together a suit based on the pattern.

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Will it be fully canvassed?

Canvas cements the lining and outer fabric of the suit, thus enabling its shape over time. You might be asking for an unstructured fit, in which case the lining might be absent from the body. Although ensure it's in the arms, all jacket arms should be lined for ease of access. Not all suits are fully canvassed, but the vast majority of made-to-measure suits will at least be partially canvassed. 

You don't want a yes-man tailor. It's important that your tailor presents positivity and optionality for you, but isn't just a yes man. In an interview for GQ Franklin Saltos, owner of N.Y.C.’s Tailoring Room, mentioned, 'The best tailor is an honest one. If yours routinely overpromises, jump ship'. 

I hate it man! 

I'm going a bit sensational with the questions today, but it's important to highlight early on what changes can be made during the process if you're unhappy with the design. It could be anything from the length of the trouser, to the style of the pockets. Having good communication with your tailor is key, even if you're unsure of the terminology, understanding at what point of the process you can make alterations is key. 

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The photos used in this blog post and from a past European-wide campaign I did with Brooks Brothers.

Experience Made-to-Measure at Brooks Brothers | 150 Regent Street, London

My first introduction to Brooks Brothers was this week, where I was chosen as the UK influencer to represent London in their European campaign showcasing the made-to-measure experience alongside their other influencers in Rome, Milan and Madrid. As a lover of the exquisite craft of tailoring, it was a goal of mine to work with and learn from such a historic tailor such as Brooks Brothers which established themselves in 1818. Brooks Brothers flagship store, located at 150 Regent Street in London, is a vast expanse sprawled across two floors including their exclusive made-to-measure experience, pool table and a lounge relaxation area where you can sit down and browse their collection of suit, coat and shirt fabrics.

Brooks Brothers are an American tailoring icon, renowned for exceptional customer service, quality fabrics and the best tailors. They are offering their existing customers and a new generation of Londoners to experience their made-to-measure service of which you can enjoy 25% off until October 1st 2017.

Brooks Brothers' fine tailoring meets the extraordinary quality of Proraso's products and Carter and Bond’s barber shop expertise, offering a pleasingly old fashioned and flawless shaving experience. Customers wishing to create their bespoke Brooks Brothers suit will be greeted in a temporary Barber Shop area within the store, receiving an impeccable and professional shaving or beard and moustache regulation. 

I joined fellow influencers Fabio Attanasio, Giorgio Giangiulio and Alvaro Arce for the London Made to Measure Experience, narrating the creation of my own MTM suit and Proraso barber service.

The Brooks Brothers MTM configurator launched last Spring/Summer, continues accompanying clients in their online suits’ and shirts’ customisation through a wide selection of fabrics, pockets, buttons and vents. By booking an appointment in their favourite store, at home or in the office, clients finalise their MTM experience with the help of a qualified MTM specialist.

During the whole made-to-measure experience, I was extremely at ease and relaxed mainly because of the beautiful setting in their Regent Street store and the fantastic staff who cannot do enough for you, to make you feel welcome. My made to measure experience started with a tailor measuring me for my shirt, followed by the suit jacket, then trousers but it all depends on your requirements. If you would like to get a new autumn/winter coat tailored especially for you, then the tailor can advice you on the optimal length, size, style and fabrics that work well when making coats. The key is to trust your tailor, take their advice but also add your own ideas of personality into the mix - maybe it's an extra button or turn-ups on your trousers, make it personal to you.

Brooks Brothers' scour the planet for the finest fabrics made from only the best raw materials which is why it might take you a while to flick through all of their fabric swatches...but take your time and make sure you get the perfect suit for you! Personally I went for a 100% cashmere suit jacket in camel and a contrast pair of trousers in dark grey, both fabrics were in a herringbone weave and I made the trousers slim fit with bold turn-ups.

After getting measured up for my new suit it was time to get groomed using the extraordinary quality of Proraso's products and Carter and Bond’s barber shop expertise.  

Proraso is a Florentine brand founded by Ludovico Martelli producing high quality products. Thanks to its centenary experience, it has served the daily care of three generations of men.

Established in 1818, Brooks Brothers was the first to offer ready-to-wear clothing and has continued throughout history with iconic product introductions including: seersucker, madras, the non-iron shirt and the original button-down collar. Nearly two centuries later, Brooks Brothers is proud to uphold the same traditions and values and to be the destination for ladies and gentlemen from every generation. Since its founding 199 years ago, in New York, Brooks Brothers has become a legendary international retailer while maintaining a steadfast commitment to exceptional service, quality, style and value.

It is safe to say that, Gentlemen you are in great hands with Brooks Brothers.

Photography by Stefano Massè