Chester Barrie Reveal New AW19 Collection | Make Mine a Double (Breasted)

Chester Barrie AW19 1.png

It's always an unbridled joy to wax lyrical about Chester Barrie. Breaking news, they have just released their AW19 collection combining the sophistication of the modern world with the elegance and tradition of Savile Row.

The emphasis this season is on suits but there is a good selection of jackets, perfect for weekends as well as the office. We can cast our eyes back to the AW17 collection when Chester Barrie imbibed a whole renaissance with their immaculate double breasted jackets. 

Shapes are strong and flattering infusing premium cloth with detailed patterns and tactile finish sourced from a variety of mills, Loro Piana and Foxes Brothers being the pack leaders for this AW19 collection. 

Warm Autumn hues (not colour-ways. Colour-ways is not a word in my book. Nor is smart suiting for that matter) and subtle patterns combine to form timeless and elegant styles.

Having spoken to Pete Brooker, editor of the James Bond fashion blog From Tailors With Love, I’ve learnt corduroy is expected to explode this season after Daniel Craig was seen wearing a bloodied Massimo Alba cotton-corduroy slope suit on the set of No Time to Die.

corduroy daniel craig .jpg

This will be in keeping with Chester Barrie's prophecy that corduroy is the seasonal must have. Corduroy features prominently in the AW19 collection with a selection of trousers and a jacket that are ideal for the cooler winter days.

From the super-soft corduroy jacket, made from using a mix of prime cotton and luxurious cashmere, to the sturdier cotton corduroy trousers it is a far cry from college lecturer cord of years gone by.

Although I still think the college lecturer cord is still a strong look. Rocking the corduroy jacket on campus will have the other lecturers get up and place their pens on your table like that scene from A Beautiful Mind (one of my favourite films ever!)

Have you seen inside Chester Barrie recently? They had a refurbishment late last year. They were the first tailor on Savile Row to have a virtual interactive 3D scan, allowing their long distance customers to feel a part of the brand's community.

It's further prove that Chester Barrie is a forward thinking menswear tailor, with one eye on its heritage, the other on consumer experience, and it's third eye (the all seeing eye) on sustainable fabrics and future trends.

From the sumptuous Prince of Wales check suit (also available as a three piece) to the Melange Texture Suit crafted in an exquisite cloth and completed with peaked lapel and extra ticket pocket, this a collection designed to help men look their best.

For jackets the stand-out piece is a double-breasted baby camel jacket though the Hopsack Donegal Jacket, which uses different coloured yarns and a mix of cashmere and silk to give it extra dimension, is also a contender.

And finally, a note on Chester Barrie’s sophisticated range of Sea Island cotton shirts: their lightweight, cashmere-like feel and simple elegance are the perfect foil to Chester Barrie’s sophisticated tailoring.

Collections are priced from £499-£1500 depending on what you're buying. 

Chester Barrie AW19 2.png

Christie's Tailors in Leeds | Wedding Suits, Business Suits & More

Today I'm putting one foot outside of London and introducing you to a tailor in Leeds called Christies Tailors. We often assume that all the best tailors, all the most important menswear fashion houses reside in London and nothing else matters beyond the outer limits of the M25. 

In truth a lot of the mills are in the north of England, many of the designers manufacture their clothes outside of the city to reduce overheads. We're no longer living in the salad days where the likes of John Stephens who almost single handily invented Carnaby Street, designs and produces all the garments at the back of the store. 

Whilst I haven't had the pleasure of frequenting Christie's Tailors, the proud sponsor of this blog post, I've scoured ruthlessly through their website and can certainly vouch for the useful and educational content. 

Christie's Tailors have over ten years' experience and offer a variety of men’s tailoring services. They embrace challenges of creating and altering individual garments, as well as provide superior quality 2-piece and 3-piece tailoring.

WEDDING SUITS

They have a welter of fabrics available for you to choose from. (I'm told 800 which is staggering). A bespoke wedding suit is something that will give you that air of confidence on one of the most important days of your life. 

If you're unsure on what look you're after, the experienced tailors and consultants at Christie's will be on hand to guide you through the process. 

BESPOKE SUITS

Christie's offer a bespoke and made to measure service for their suits. Aside from your wedding day you might need a suit another special event, the Cheltenham Races, or the Grand National (slightly closer if you're in Leeds).

Importantly, a well-fitting business suit can really ameliorate you amongst your colleagues. You don't have to dress like Beau Brummell in the office to distinguish yourself amongst your colleagues. A well-fitting suit that is tailored to your spec, can be just as visually arresting.

You won't have to pay Savile Row prices for your bespoke suit when you shop at Christie's. Although everyone requires different functionality from a suit, it's best to drop by and make an appointment with Christie's to get a quote. 

OTHER SERVICES

Something that caught my eye when I was rifling the Christie's page was how they have offer their services to make unique garments. 

A rapidly growing industry is the Cosplay universe. Many people are looking to get their own garments made, inspired by the ones they idolise on the big screen. My friend Pete Brooker even travelled to Hoi An recently to get a Safari Jacket made seen in one of the James Bond movies. 

I'm sure he and many other fans of costume design would be interested in knowing about Christie's Tailors. 

 

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.

ORG_DSC02793.JPG

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 Marc Darcy Look: Level up without breaking the bank

Marc Darcy Suits 1.jpg

Today I'm going to wax lyrical about the brand Marc Darcy. I've actually had an interesting relationship with Marc Darcy. We shared some floorspace at Moda Gent a few years back. (A trade show in Birmingham). 

The show was a great experience for me, showcasing my Hawkins & Shepherd shirts. I no longer do the show but I was invited back as a guest speaker to talk with the head of design at Marc Darcy. 

Cut/smash to a few years later and I'm still enjoying a great working relationship with Marc Darcy, modelling one of their ready-to-wear pin stripe suits as you'll see in these photos. 

This is the LEWIS Navy Blue Pinstripe Suit features a double button fastening to the front, single vent on the seat with two flap pockets on each hip with additional mini welt pocket to the right.

I'm wearing two different waistcoats. One is noticeably double breasted with two flap pockets to each hip. The other my personal favourite, a brown five button waistcoat. Yes I've done up all the buttons, they don't call me the Carl 'five button' Thompson for nothing you know. 

Marc Darcy is a fantastic, accessible brand for those that are interested in levelling up their wardrobe, but are a few financial steps away from Savile Row. 

For off the peg suits, I find the cut very flattering. I'm not your standard block size when it comes to trousers. Normally ready to wear trousers always need hemming no matter what. For some reason these come up perfect on me. I'm 31-32" waist, 5'9 and a bit. 

With every suit order you get a complimentary handkerchief coordinating to the inside lining and lapel pin badge to complete the look.

I'd say if you're getting married, or going to a wedding but can't afford Tom Ford prices. This is a perfect place to look for a wedding suit.

There's also an abundance of styles and patterns to choose from. Windowpane, over check, POW etc. Whether you're the guest or groom you'll have a lot of fun getting lost around the website. 

If you've shopped with Marc Darcy I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts in the box below.

Italian Style 3-Piece Suits for Under £200 | House of Cavani

Hello gentlemen, today I'm wanting to introduce you to House of Cavani, an Italian inspired menswear brand that specialises in tweed suits, wedding suits, blazers, waistcoats, shoes and boys suits. These suits have an extremely accessible price point and will be ideal for any man on a budget who was looking to upgrade his wardrobe. You might also be entering the workforce for the first time and are looking to make a decent first impression by wearing some smarter attire.

Their ready to wear collection is a further indictment of how accessible smart tailoring has become. Not so long ago you'd have to pay a king’s ransom to own a suit of this quality. Now it's becoming an increasingly competitive market, and with the up rise of poly-blend suits this has effected market prices dramatically.

If you are looking for a classic style, then check out the Kemson Navy Skinny Three Piece Suit which I'm modelling in this style edit.

This is a Flannel Wool Polyester blend cut in a skinny silhouette. The two button jacket is single vented and the waist is suppressed, cut straight with no flare around the skirt. The lapels are notched and high on the lapel and the Navy is also underlined with a tan-coloured windowpane check.

A nice touch is the branding on the 4-button resin buttons found on the cuff. The last hole is accented. The lining is adorned with a passport stamp motif, although the fabric could be a little heavy for hotter climates although the cut and comfort is suitable for short travel.

The trousers are flat fronted with slanted pockets and the waistcoat (judging by the collection) will also have notched lapels.

House of Cavani have a showroom in Birmingham is you're local, appointment only. When on the site you might want to check out the Chelsea boots with the zips currently on sale. With the stretch denim jeans also going for less that £40, you can certainly get a decent AW18 haul if you're working from a tight budget.

 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

 

SHOP MY HOUSE OF CAVANI TOP PICKS

*This sponsored post is created in collaboration with House of Cavani.

What to Wear for a Regatta, Horse Racing or Summer Event | Men's Style Edit

This morning whilst walking down the Kings Road in Chelsea on my way to today's KOBOX class, I passed a couple who looked like they were dressed for the races. Being in men's fashion, I tend to look into what people are wearing more than anyone else and my opinion was that he could have styled things a lot better, so here are my top tips.

I'm a massive fan of double-breasted suits, you'll stand out from everyone else who plays it safe with single-breasted blazers. Remember that a double-breasted blazer is normally tailored slightly shorter than its single-breasted cousin. Always only do up the middle of the 6 buttons and leave the bottom button undone. Navy is a great choice for the colour of your suit, it's easier to accessorise with different colour palettes and less common than a light-grey suit, which I personally think can look a little cheap.

A crisp white shirt is a must. Usually these type of events are summer based, so make sure you pick a shirt with a breathable weave such as a poplin, in a fine yarn count such as a twin-100 cotton. The higher the yarn count, the finer the cotton so therefore a twin-100 shirt is a high quality shirt. Go down to twin-60s and the shirt may seem too heavy or go higher to twin-160s and you'll end up paying a fortune. A great statement shirt would be a pin collar shirt or tab collar shirt, available from London shirt makers Hawkins & Shepherd.

Simplify your accessorises. Basically don't over do the colours, I've seen so many people wear different colour socks, tie and pocket square and it just screams you are trying too hard and in all honesty, it looks cheap and tacky. If you are wearing a multi-coloured tie, keep the socks & pocket square plain and simple. Alternatively draw attention to your pocket square my styling a simple tie. Always wear a watch and shine those shoes.

 

SHOP THE MEN'S STYLE EDIT

Great Suits and Shirt Pairings | Men's Style Advice

It's not always the simplest of tasks to pair the right suit with the right shirt. Depending also on what side of the fashion spectrum you sit on, some shirts that could be construed bilious, have little chance of being tempered by a suit, no matter the quality. Here are some simple style pairings that might help you.

Pin or Tab Collar Shirts = Double Breasted Suits

The 20's were considered the high water mark of men’s tailoring. The pin collar shirt was introduced as a mode of rebellion. The young fashionistas of the day didn't connect with the formality of the stiffened starched collars and migrated over to the soft pin collar shirts. A problem arose however when the relaxed silky fabrics were too delicate to support a tie without looking unkempt. Hence the introduction of connecting the collar to a pin, allowing the wearer a more defined shape.

During the 30's the Double-Breasted jackets were becoming more prevalent, popularised by the Duke of Kent, hence why the four-button construction that buttons at the lower button is eponymously referred to as the "Kent". A suitable marriage for the pin collar shirt would be a double breasted jacket. With the double breasted jacket comes the broad peaked lapels which offers the verisimilitude of a large chest, a look that would certainly augment ones masculinity. A look that has survived in the UK thanks to modern renaissances of London Speakeasy's and Gangster series such as Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders. 

Grandad Collars and Waistcoats

Grandad Collars are considered less formal because of their unconventional look. With a few different interpretations to the origins, from foundry workers to New York wives cutting off their husbands' collars to clean, it has a colourful narrative. Most bloggers will tell you that a simple neutrally-hued blazer will do the trick, however I gravitate towards a waistcoat only, or if the climate is conducive, simple accoutrements such as braces will suffice. 

Mix and Match

david-gandy-white-blazer-style.jpg

The one unsubtractable rule to mix and matching the suit jacket and trousers is to keep the shirt simple. Anything too ambitious in the pattern or motif department and the entire look will unbalanced. A tieless button down shirt will maintain a clean look. 

Ivory Tuxedo - English Spread

Whilst black and midnight blue dinner jackets have silk facings to primarily differentiate them from ordinary lounge jackets, the Ivory Dinner Jacket does not need such a distinctive mark. Not only should the IDJ be a statement in its own right, silk facings invariably pair and precipitously clash with black silk bow ties. A classic pleated-front shirt with soft turndown collar is traditionally paired, although if you're looking for something more contemporary, David Gandy's interpretation using the blue cotton English Spread collar is a suitable act to follow. 

 

Shop These Suit & Shirt Combinations by Hawkins & Shepherd

M&S Wedding Capsule Collection | Wedding Suits for Men

The biggest quandary I have when creating a capsule for a wedding collection is to style respectively for the occasion, whilst not appearing like I've just ticked all the proverbial boxes dictated by countless and mostly odious style bibles. 

It's very important not to upstage the groom in anything bilious. This is a wedding, not a press board pageantry for the Brit Awards darling. 

I've teamed up with M&S to create a wedding capsule, which I can identify with. If you're attending a wedding this Spring/Summer, then this could be of interest to you. 

Firstly, my loyal readers will know I'm not overly enamoured with light grey suits, I prefer to go with navy which looks classic and smart. Although I appreciate that light grey is very much the mainstay colour of a wedding wardrobe, so for that reason I've mixed in a bit of colour, opting for a grey waistcoat and pink pocket square.

Coming in at a total cost of £378.50

The Jacket & Trousers

You have to think the majority of this day will actually be spent sitting down. Whether it's in a church, at a reception, or slumped on a lighting rig at the end of the night waiting for your cab home. Your butt-cheeks will have a promiscuous day so I strongly recommend a doubled vented jacket. I've plumped for this Navy Tailored Wool jacket, simply put a single vent won't give your butt anywhere to go when seated. 

I've paired some Navy Wool Trousers, with a flat front. You might want to note that these trousers don't come with belt braces which could be deal breaker for some. Personally I'm fine wearing a belt and as braces under a waistcoat can feel a mite suffocating. 

The Waistcoat

The English weather is often much maligned, but we are prone to heatwaves occasionally which is why I've opted for a linen waistcoat, light grey in keeping with the box-tickers. It's a Linen/poly blend so will offer you the benefits of breathability, yet won't crease as much. Plus, you can come back to this number time and again, grey is very interchangeable and the moths won't go for it. Not their diet. 

The Shirt

Typically, I'd go for a shirt that is 100% cotton and double cuffed, but I'm conscious of the budget and this shirt is perfectly serviceable. You can go pink or sky blue with this shirt and it will lift the ensemble like a soufflé as James Sherwood would say. Very breezy yet classic. 

The Accoutrements

For weddings a go-to for many would be pink, pastel or purple hues. These will be standard fare, possibly a little too vaudevillian for my taste which is why I've gone for something more classic and versatile. The Textured Tie will ameliorate neck and draw peoples look towards the neck and face. The Geometric Pocket square has a dusting of pink in it, in keeping with the tradition of the occasion. 

What do you think of my picks? How would you style your wedding suit? Let me know your thoughts in the box below and how you would do things differently. 

This post has been created in collaboration with M&S

Brit Awards 2018 | Who Stood Out on the Red Carpet

brits.jpg

Justin Timberlake confirming that double breasted isn’t going anywhere. Although he’s kept it relaxed by leaving the last button undone. This isn’t the Oscars so we can have a brown suede shoe and red scarf no problem. It’s a cool ensemble actually, a good blend of formal with the shawl collar and cool/casual with the accoutrements.

cheryl-cole-liam-payne1.jpg

LIAM PAYNE

Firstly, how stunning does Cheryl look here? Wild neckline of black feathers running over the arm, how the little black dress has evolved right Audrey? Liam was always going to pale in comparison to this, but at least he doesn’t disappear entirely into the shadows. A double breasted light blue jacket, double vented so he can comfortably put his hands in his pockets without disrupting the shape.

The lapels are quite exaggerated in width, as is often the case with double breasted overlaps the breast pocket. There are two large straight flap skirt pockets but because of his height he can carry these breaks in the silhouette off quite easily, and well.

I’d like to have seen a better choice of shoe. If you’re going trainer, then do a contrast and let people know you’re going casual. These are neither here nor there.

sam-smith-2018-brit-awards-03.jpg

SAM SMITH

Unusual this one from Sam and tricky to describe. Technically it’s a double breasted single button shawl tux. It’s ostentatious and you could say, perfect for the Brits red carpet, but would struggle to find its place in the real world.

No breast pocket which gives it a full chest, but with the lack of a breast pocket and going with the jetted skirt pockets it looks very effeminate. I think the pairing with the deep fire engine red shirt with buttoned up pointed collar works brilliantly.

A noticeable windowpane/grid check and great choice with the double monk strap shoe, formal but not business.

tom grennan.jpg

TOM GRENAN

I have this talk all the time with my fellow influencers as to whether we’re going to see a resurgence of pleated trousers. After all, where else is there to go once you’ve got to sprayed on? Tom Grennan leading the way with the double reverse pleated trousers here and although I’m quite the formal shirt wearer, this relaxed open collar look suits this slouchy late 80’s, New York writer style look.

connor Maynard.jpg

CONOR MAYNARD

And he’s not even wearing a shirt! You don’t actually notice right? Because this Nailhead suit is doing all the talking for Conor Maynard. Massive lapels, crikey how big would you say they were? 4.5/5 inches? A nice suppressed waist and a double breasted vest beneath. The trousers are tailored with no break and punctuated nicely with the black trainer and white crepe. Let me tell you those white crepes are a b*stard to keep clean living in the city so these must be fresh out of the box.

stormzy.jpg

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.

Brooks Brothers.jpg

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.

Tailoring.jpg

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. 

Brooks Brothers x Carl Thompson.jpg

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

M&S Men’s Tailoring Launch with the Appointment of David Gandy as its First Ever Ambassador of Tailoring

This week M&S hosted a star studded evening to mark the launch of its biggest ever men’s tailoring range and the appointment of David Gandy as its first ever Ambassador of Tailoring. I'll tell you what, M&S know how to put on a party, it's a Great British brand steeped in history and they know how to tailor for every gent in the UK regardless of shape and size. For a lot of men out there M&S has always been an introduction into wearing suits, whether it's for your first interview, your first day at work or for a special occasion such as a wedding, M&S has always been there for us - helping us dress better with affordable suits.

Cary-Grant.jpg

Hosted at the incredible Scarfes Bar in Rosewood Hotel, M&S held a Tailoring Talk with a stylish panel of industry experts including M&S CEO Steve Rowe, supermodel David Gandy, uber stylist, Sarah Ann Murray and industry expert, Terry Betts, and was hosted by style icon and influencer, Jack Guinness. The Tailoring Talk panel deliberated the past, present and future of tailoring, discussed M&S customers and their input into shaping the new range, as well sharing stories on first suits and debating ultimate suiting icons. The talk went on for about 30-45 minutes with a knowledgable audience hanging on every word of the panel. It was also very interesting to hear the panels style icons. For me, when I need inspiration for formal attire it has to be David Gandy and Cary Grant (right).

 Media, iconic menswear influencers and a number of special guests attended the event, including face of M&S Autograph Oliver Cheshire, Jesse Metcalfe and Cara Santana, Toby Huntington-Whiteley, Jim Chapman and Eric Underwood.

The event marked the launch of M&S’ biggest ever tailoring range across more sizes, lengths and fits than ever before with 65 colour style options across four fits, giving customers their most personalised off the peg fit.  This ties in with the introduction of M&S’ first ever tailoring ambassador in the form of global style icon, David Gandy, to bring the tailoring collection to life for customers, offering style inspiration and advice on ways to style and wear suits.

I am honoured and excited to be named as the first ever M&S Ambassador of Tailoring. Ironically my first ever suit was one of my Dad’s M&S pure wool suits that I had altered to fit me, ever since then I have had an interest and love of British tailoring. I have been part of the M&S family for over six years now, both as a face and as a designer for my own collection, which have proved to be very successful.  My role has now evolved and expanded to working behind the scenes with the creative teams on the new suit style section of the website, and on the art direction and styling of the new tailoring campaign. I am delighted so far with the results and I’ve enjoyed watching the ideas and concepts come to life, and hope the new tailoring styles in the imagery and videos inspire M&S customers. 
— David Gandy

It wasn't all cocktails and canapés, there was a real purpose to the event, bringing everyone together so we can spread the word that from Winter 2017, all customers will receive even better service in M&S stores with suit advisors being up-skilled through the introduction of a new nationwide training programme.

A brand new suit style section is now available online, housing editorial content, video, as well as tips on how customers can wear suits for different occasions from the different ranges within M&S.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/s/men/suits

I have long-standing love of the suit, I’ve worn a suit every day of my professional life at M&S and for me, the suit stands for quality, craftsmanship and heritage, much like this great company I work for.
— M&S CEO, Steve Rowe

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

Dressing Smart Casual | The Men's Style Edit

When an invite suggests dressing 'Smart Casual' it's always met with question marks around whether to veer more towards smart or casual? For me smart-casual means a pair of trousers or smart jeans, a shirt, blazer and shoes...no ties, no trainers and certainly no shorts unless you are in Italy in the fashionable Tuscany district, then it's passable. I think many men struggle with dressing smart casual because there are decisions to be made! So in this Style Edit, I've put together an outfit that I would class as smart-casual (*with a little toe more in the smart side).

I've styled a navy suit, as it's always good to turn up to your meeting or event dressed on the smarter side, then you can always lose the blazer for a slightly casual look. Alternatively you could wear a blazer with a pair of smart jeans (no rips) or trousers in contrasting colours. If your trousers are slim or tapered fit then you have the ability to wear a pair of loafers without any socks. On to the shirt, of course a tie is not required so a button-down or even a granddad shirt is the perfect collar type for smart-causal attire. If you want to marten up a little bit, add a touch of class with a pocjet square or silk scarf as I have demonstrated in this look.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Tailor Me by Moss Bros | 4 Steps to a Perfect Suit

You may be part of the majority if you haven't heard about the Moss Bros TAILOR ME service but it certainly is a service to shout about. Moss Bros 'tailor me' is available at any of their physical high-street stores, where you'll receive a friendly and knowledgeable service from one of their tailoring experts. It's a quick 4-step process from picking fabric to getting your measurements, then the suit will be crafted and delivered within 30 days.

The suit fabrics are high quality with a very large range to choose from - personally I picked a grey windowpane/Prince of Wales Check style in a single-breasted design. I love peak lapels, so this was always going to be my style plus extra tapered trousers in a turn-up Italian style finish - perfect. You can then choose options such as the silk inner lining colour or pattern (of which I chose light pink), buttons, pocket styles, trousers adjusts, button hole colours and even embroidered details. 

This service is perfect for weddings where you can get all the groomsmen together to get tailored. Add a lovely touch by surprising them with a personal message embroidered in the inner lining of the suit. So if you are after a completely personalised, perfectly fitted suit within 30 days of being measured, find your nearest store by using the Moss Bros Store Locator and get creative!

 

SHOP MY LOOK

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MOSS BROS. TAILOR ME SERVICE

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

WINTER SALE NOW ON: Luxury Handmade Tailoring by Hawkins & Shepherd

Sales can often be a little misleading and questions are rightly being asked by the consumer if these so called 'deals' are getting are as good as they seem. A just debate. However at Hawkins & Shepherd we stand by our Winter/January Sales as being fair, honest and genuine price reductions. Take our handmade made-in-Britain suits which are tailored using 100% British wool fabric. These incredible suits fairly retail at £775 with normal mark-ups being applied. We are offering over £300 off which make them a more affordable £450 for true British fabric, design and tailoring - where else can you get that kind of deal?

Our luxurious and soft 100% British cashmere overcoats are incredible, all handmade in Britain, we are offering a massive £640 off. The price point is now at £960 and yes they may seen expensive to 99.99% of you and myself alike, but it's a coat that is desirable and in the league of designer luxury. The 100% cashmere is soft, lightweight and when you wear it you'll feel how the tailoring moulds to your body and you feel incredible - much more classy than bulky cheap fabric coats.

Hawkins & Shepherd was setup by myself just over 3 years ago and continues to be a small business for myself and run by myself, which I'm obviously trying to grow. The simple truth is that a lot of my stock is stored in home office space and therefore unlike major brands, I'm not incurring stock costs, which is the main reason why other brands offer discounts to liquidate stock. That simply isn't the case with Hawkins & Shepherd...we are offering a Winter Sale not because of we need to get rid of stock but because we want to give something back to the British consumer - a quality product at a great price, deserving of this Christmas period of giving. 

It would really be amazing if this year you could all get behind my brand Hawkins & Shepherd because operating in such a saturated space is so very hard and I would be eternally grateful for any sales, tweets, shares...you name it!

 

SHOP THE HAWKINS & SHEPHERD WINTER SALE

 

Label Online collaboration with Ted Baker

Isn't it great when your local coffee shop serves your favourite homemade velvet cake, when your barbers sells your favourite hair product or the supermarket also sells office supplies? Okay okay, enough of the analogies, I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at! When one of your favourite clothing brands starts selling another one of your favourite clothing brands, it makes shopping a whole lot easier and most importantly quicker! For me that is Label Online where they also sell other popular, designer brands making shopping simple.

Label Online have just launched their Ted Baker menswear collection, making it one of the premier online marketplaces for other great brands.

Ted Baker has always been a brand that approaches menswear design with a clear focus on quality, attention to detail yet with a quirky sense of humour. Their suit blazers have a unique printed silk inner lining, a lapel pin and the inner lining of the breast pocket can be pulled out and used as an impromptu pocket square. 

This outfit which I picked out from the Ted Baker collection features their crosshatch charcoal matching suit blazer and trousers. I've paired this charcoal grey suit with a wardrobe classic - a crisp white classic collared shirt with double-french cuffs, which you'll need cuff-links. Finally I love brogue shoes and these dark tan coloured ones from Ted Baker work extremely well with the suit. You can finally style the look with items from your wardrobe as I have done, such as a tie, overcoat and classic watch. 

Ted Baker now have a wider collection available online at Label and it encompasses tailoring as well as their main range. They also have a great range of bags and accessories, perfect for Christmas gifts, just check out my top picks at the bottom of this email...get shopping people!

 

SHOP THE LOOK FROM LABEL ONLINE

SHOP TED'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Photography by Ella H

Behind The Scenes of the Burton ‘You’re Invited to the Party’ Christmas Campaign

It is not everyday you get to work with Burton Menswear, so when I got the opportunity I jumped at it and boy am I glad I did because what a day it was! Burton wanted to create a fun, engaging and of course dapper, sartorial and fashionable PR, social and digital campaign focusing around their Christmas partywear collection. Five well dressed gents needed and that's where we came in...

...Calum Best - Burton's incredible brand ambassador, Tim Visser - a Rugby Union star and face of the Burton 'Big & Tall' range, Tom London - the mind blowing magician, Craig Hammond - aka That Dapper Chap and myself Carl Thompson as the menswear bloggers and influencers. They were such a great bunch of guys.

Each of us represented a different look styled by Burton. With all items available in-store from next week, it's perfect timing for you to decide which look you prefer for this years party season.

Once smartened up with our head-to-toe 'Burtonwear' we had quite a hectic schedule to keep (studio shoot, street style shoot & filming for the video). Full steam ahead with a mouthful of mini croissants, coffee and some warmup magic by Tom London - oh and by the way he definitely saved his best, totally mind-blowing, piece of magic until last - but you'll have to wait until the video is released next week (Thursday 10th November) to find out what that was!!

The shoot location was at the historic Scotch of St James, which is steeped in musical charisma and have honoured the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who into their private members club. 

We were in the extra steady hands with filmmaker Steve Neaves, who worked his CGI and cinema-graph magic to create some really exciting effects. As well as the creative eye of photographer Zoe McConnell. So no pressure then!

Here are the street style photos of everyones partywear looks, make sure you comment on what is you favourite look.

 

CALUM BEST

The man himself and Burton brand ambassador Calum Best was looking the part wearing a traditional navy dinner jacket with contract navy lapels.

CARL THOMPSON

I loved wearing this modern contemporary take on partywear, by layering a thin woollen roll neck jumper underneath a suit transforms this look. Pair this Burton burgundy knitwear with a classic navy suit to create this eye catching look.

TIM VISSER

Rocking a similar contemporary partywear look yet this time with a slightly different tone of navy and with a tan hue roll neck combination.

CRAIG HAMMOND

3 piece suit, white pin collar shirt, this look is as dapper as it comes, clean crisp lines with the emphasis on small detailed touches with the collar bar and lapel pin.

TOM LONDON

I love this look, it combines ultimate dinner jacket tailoring and a causal twist with a black crew neck jumper. This look is perfect for the joker (or magician) in this case of the group, he who is the first to throw off that blazer and get on the dance floor. You don't always need a tie to look smart and Tom shows us how.

Your Christmas Party is a time for celebration of the year passed and looking forward for what the year ahead has to offer. So celebrate in style with Burton Menswear and it doesn't have to break the bank either. 

Take my look below, the suit is from Montague Burton collection and costs £190 (which is for a 3-piece including a waistcoat). The burgundy roll neck is super soft wool and a steal at £35, again from the Montague Burton collection.

I mean, look at how happy I am!!!

Thanks Burton and all the team for an incredible day, I mean it, I had such a great day with you all.

CHESTER BARRIE AW16 - SAVILE ROW

I pride myself on having a good eye for detail, not only in clothing but in food, cocktails and even spreadsheets. That was until I met Christopher Modoo the senior creative at Savile Rows' Chester Barrie. During my personal tour of their AW16 collection, the passion showed by Chris as he meticulously explained every single design decision, flourished in their collection. 

My 3 stand out pieces of the collection were:

1. Navy pinstripe double-breasted suit. This suit has gone through so many iterations in the pattern design to get it perfect. Chester Barrie wanted to design a double-breasted suit jacket, which fastens up on the lower buttons in a 6 button design (rather than the usual middle button). Double-breasted jackets look great done up, although when open, they can seem like there is too much fabric flapping around. With their new Chester Barrie, closely guarded pattern, they have solved this issue in their design so this DB suit looks just as good undone as it does done up - a first for DB jackets?

2. Herringbone Overcoat. Wow wow wow. Okay so I'm a little obsessed with overcoats, add on some creative peak lapels and a wide herringbone fabric and you are on to a winner.  

3. Navy Dinner Jacket. Impeccable tailoring using a Chester Barrie designed fabric on the large lapels giving this piece of investment clothing the a-list factor. 

Chester Barrie is bringing accessible quality tailoring to Savile Row and their AW16 collection will be available from August 2016. You can also visit their retail store on 19 Savile Row or shop online at http://www.chesterbarrie.co.uk/

HUNTSMAN QUINTESSENTIALLY BRITISH

Huntsman are a Savile Row success story, founded in 1849 by Henry Huntsman and a brand I have admired for a very long time. The name Huntsman would suggest dapper country gentlemen and a large part of their collection is tweed and targeted to that market although looking further into their work; they have some incredible tailored suits.

Huntsman, the quintessential British Luxury Brand, project a timeless, sharp look in a thoroughly modern fashion. The brand have a rich history and proud traditions, with strong values of quality and craftsmanship. Over 80 hours of workmanship go into creating each garment. The high end bespoke suit manufacturer also sell accessories such as stylish umbrellas (From £155), overcoats well worth the investment (from £1950), cashmere scarves (from £225) and knitwear (from £125). 

Huntsman have a history of exceptional bespoke tailoring but also have a relatively small collection of suits, shirts and knitwear that you can purchase online.

Here are my picks from their online collection...

SHOP HUNTSMAN HERE

Take a tour along Savile Row with me below:

LIVE A DOUBLE LIFE

Girlfriends, boyfriends get off my back - a double life as in 'Double Breasted'...okay now I have you back on side I'll start this blog post! I have been a fan of the double-breasted jacket for some time now and it's time to share why  and what to look out for when buying double-breasted suits. 

Single breasted suits and blazers still dominate the worlds suit market but in the UK more and more designers and high-street stores are upping their double breasted offerings which gives us a great opportunity to choose a style, material and colour that suits you best.

What is the difference between a single and double breasted jacket? The first thing you will notice is that the double breasted suit jacket has extra fabric that folds one lapel over the front of the other lapel, creating an overlapped style. With a single breasted jacket you will have a number of buttons vertically along the front of the suit (the total number of buttons will depends on the style of the suit). With the double breasted style, you'll have two columns of buttons, usually either 4 or 6 in total.

How should you wear a double breasted suit jacket? The most important thing to remember when choosing this type of suit jacket is that it should be tailored slightly shorter than the single breasted cousins. You should not button all of the buttons up, usually it will  be the middle row in a 6-buttoned scenario.

One of the main reasons why many people avoid this style is they can be quite hard to 'pull off' and considered not very versatile. Which is why in this style post, I have used a double breasted suit jacket and styled it without the matching trousers and opted for a light grey slate coloured chino.

Wearing double breasted will invite comments, applause and a hell of a lot of jealousy...but get it right! In my style for this post, I have worn a classic pin collar shirt from London's best shirtmakers Hawkins & Shepherd as they work extremly well with this classic style.

SHOP THE LOOK

Photo Credit Sophie Milner