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

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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.

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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. 

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Outfit of the Day | Smart Tailoring

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For anyone looking to get into smart tailoring, take a look at the following combination that I'm currently enjoying. I was recently asked in an interview by Vuelio for my favourite go-to outfit and I instantly gravitated towards this. 

The flannel double breasted suit is from Suit Supply and I've had this in my locker for close to 4 years now. It's a flannel wool so has that nice texture to it. Close up you can see it's almost a marl sky blue, with some fleck which from a distance gives it that two tone look. 

It's double breasted but I like to wear it open. Because the jacket is reasonably short, almost like a peacoat, and the fabric is light it drapes well open. When it's closed it's a 2x6 construction and I have the sleeves cut to a modern length so the cuffs can pull through. 

The shirt is one of my own, a Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Stripe Luxury Shirt made from 100%c Soyella Duecento cotton. The cuffs you can see are mitred which gives it a little extra. I love how the blues marry between the shirt and the suit jacket. 

I've kept the pattern on the tie simple so not to interrupt the visuals. A Deep silk navy polka dot tie done in a four in hand. 

It's a look that you can pull off in client meetings, event dinners or even on first dates. I wouldn't personally wear it on a first date as it looks more business than smart casual. Depending on the setting of course. 

I've also modernised the look by wearing ankle socks. This shows off the tailoring of the trouser and breaks up the darkness. You could even where light or stone coloured khakis with this double breasted jacket for a nautical look. I once toyed with the idea of changing the buttons over to brass, but never got round to it. 

Someday maybe. 

SHOP THE LOOK

11 Best Fashion Books You Need on Your Shelf

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Today I want to breeze through some of the fashion books that I've read in the past year. Some I use as reference books for blogs, others I use for design inspiration, some I just the like pictures ok? 

I think these fashion books offer something for everyone and I'd love to get some recommendations from you in the comments below. 

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DRESSED TO KILL - JAMES BOND THE SUITED HERO 

The impact of the Bond films on popular culture is impossible to overestimate. (BTW if this is your cup of tea then I can recommend  my friend Pete Brooker's podcast From Tailors With Love where he dedicates an entire 30 minutes every week to the style of James Bond). 

Dressed to Kill follows the sartorial transformations from the 1960s chic of the Nehru-collared jacket in Dr No to the classic Italian tailoring by Brioni in Goldeneye. 

Dressed to Kill is available on AMAZON: 25 GBP

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FASHIONPEDIA 

The visual dictionary of fashion design. This is very much a reference book for me that I must turn to at least 2-3 times a week. It has everything from flat designs, collar types to the anatomy of a mans dress watch. 

From the Fashionary Website: 49 USD (I purchased mine in the Saatchi Gallery).

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ICONS of MEN'S STYLE - JOSH SIMS

I probably started my modest collection with this beautiful book a few years ago. Again this is a great reference guide for me. Behind nearly every item in the modern male wardrobe is a 'first of its kind' - the definitive example., often designed by a single company or brand for specialist use, from which all subsequent versions have evolved (and originals of which are now collected in the booming vintage market). 

Icons of Men's Style: Available from Waterstones for 10 GBP 

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FASHION IN FILM - CHRISTOPHER LAVERTY 

Christopher Laverty is a costume and fashion writer and consultant. Fashion in Film celebrates the contributions of fashion designers to cinema, exploring key garments, what they mean in context of the narrative, and why they are so memorable. Be sure to check out Christopher's blog

Clothes on Film is available through his publisher Laurence King: 30 GBP

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HOUSE OF NUTTER: LANCE RICHARDSON 

House of Nutter tells the story of two gay men who influenced some of the most iconic styles and pop images of the twentieth century. A fascinating read and wonder through 60's, 70's menswear. Anyone who loved Rocketman and is interested in the suits Elton John wore would definitely be interested in this book. Tommy Nutter also designed the clothes worn by 3 of The Beatles on the cover of the Abbey Road album. 

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A HISTORY OF FASHION - J.ANDERSON BLACK & MADGE GARLAND 

This is a real comprehensive view on the subject of fashion. Maybe you'd struggle to take this on your summer hols, it's quite hefty. However, it's a glossy treasure-house of information. I was lucky enough to pick this up in a charity store. Sadly I've not managed to find one online. 

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THE KING OF CARNABY STREET - THE LIFE OF JOHN STEPHEN - JEREMY REED

John Stephen first came to London in 1952 at just eighteen years old, but his expertise and unerring eye for cut and detail propelled him to the front of the fashion brigade. You'll find his blue plaque on the fringe of Carnaby Street. 

Available from Waterstones for 20 GBP

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BOUTIQUE LONDON: A HISTORY: KING'S ROAD to CARNABY STREET - RICHARD LESTER 

To any style conscious Londoner in the sixties just two places mattered: the King's Road and Carnaby Street. By the end of the decade the whole world came to be seen, to take part in the theatre that played out of the new boutiques and onto the street. 

This book is beautiful, wonderful images and really captures the essence of the time. 

By this used on Amazon right now for 15 GBP 

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MAKING THE CUT: RICHARD ANDERSON 

Master cutter Richard Anderson has worked on Savile Row for over 35 years. He started his career at the age of seventeen as an apprentice at Huntsman. In 2001 he co-founded his own Savile Row company, Richard Anderson LTD, with Brian Lishak. 

I learnt a lot from Richard in this book and its beautifully presented. 

Available through Thames and Hudson for 30 GBP

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SAVILE ROW - THE MASTER TAILORS OF SAVILE ROW 

James Sherwood is currently working with Henry Poole I noticed. He did a book with Turnbull and Asser and it's hard to believe that this book is nearly 10 years old. It's the real almanac for Savile Row tailors and it's elite and lustrous history. 

Available on Amazon for 30 GBP. More information on James Sherwood can be found on his website

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THE WORLD'S MOST INFLUENTIAL FASHION DESIGNERS - NOEL PALOMO-LOVINSKI 

Another great reference book for the history of inspiration. Each of the 50 designers is analyzed according to his or her most significant contributions to the dialogue of fashion. There is a special emphasis on who and what influenced each designer, as well as how the designer has inspired others, thereby revealing connections that have helped to shape the history of fashion. 

Buy used from AMAZON for 2 GBP 

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David Gandy Interview | Discussing The Launch of His Tailoring Collection for M&S - Marks & Spencer

David where do you start with a project of this magnitude? What are the initial discussions to be had between you and the design team at M&S? 

Tailoring has always been a passion of mine, and as the designer of my loungewear and underwear collection, I have always wanted to progress to design a small tailoring capsule collection - it seemed the perfect time, after becoming the Ambassador of Tailoring at M&S a year ago. Our initial discussions began with brainstorming my favourite tailoring style details, the heritage of Savile Row, inspiration from classic tailoring, and the versatility of how tailoring is worn today.

 

Typically tailoring designs start from inspiration boards, mood boards, then illustrations etc. Did you have to go through this process and did you do any illustrating yourself? 

The process began with bringing in vintage pieces of tailoring for styling references and inspiration. Once we created the designs, we spent a long time choosing cloths and the finer details, such as side adjusters and lapels etc, as well as ensuring we got the best fit possible.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your inspiration for the collection, did you pull inspiration from your personal tailoring experiences, M&S archives or tailoring heritage?

The main source of inspiration came from vintage items from my wardrobe – in particular a vintage M&S St Michael suit and vintage pea coats. Key style references included; ticket pocket detail on the suit jacket, an extra button on the waistcoat, broader collars and a longer length silhouette and classic back belt on the coat.

M&S has an incredible heritage in tailoring – introducing leading innovations to the high street such as colour standardisation in 1985 which allowed jackets and trousers to be bought separately for the first time. They have a brilliant team of designers, who I worked through the process with to further understand what was possible and what the customer wants.

 

How long did it take to develop a collection like this and what hurdles did you face? Were there any designs that didn't make the cut? (Pardon the pun). 

I began working with the M&S design team on the collection in November 2017. Using British cloth is an integral part of the collection, and we devoted many hours to finding the best quality cloth at an accessible price to the customer – all the fabrics are woven in the UK.

 


Did you have an age demographic in mind when curating this collection; and if so how did that factor in to the final designs? 

The collection was created with versatility in mind more than anything. The three pieces were created so they can be worn together or separately, dressed up or dressed down, season after season. I hope the collection appeals to men of many styles, ages and lifestyles.

 

Did you have free range on selecting fabrics and materials for the collection?

The M&S designers and I spent a long time sourcing the right cloth for each of the pieces. Both suits and the coat are crafted from fabric woven in Yorkshire.

The overcoat is also made from wool certified by The Responsible Wool Standard which is a global standard for growing wool with progressive standards in land management and animal welfare and uses technology to trace wool back to the farms where it was sourced.



How did this collaboration differ from any others that you've done previously? 

This is my very first tailoring collection - creating my own collection has always been a dream of mine, and this felt like the right time after many years of learning about the craft of tailoring throughout my career. As the Ambassador of Tailoring at M&S I’ve spent a great deal of time with the design team, learning about M&S tailoring and the design process.

 

What were the most enjoyable parts of the journey? What piece from the collection are you most proud of? 

I’m very proud of the collection. I’ve enjoyed seeing the collection come to life throughout the entire process, from initial sketches, fabric swatches, fits, trims and finishing details, to seeing the finished dinner suit, three-piece suit and overcoat. Style and fit are at the heart of the collection, along with premium cuts and quality fabrics, all at an attainable price point. My favourite piece has got to be the overcoat – I love its longer length, broad lapels and the fact that the wool is traceable right back to the network of farms in New Zealand.

 

Would you do it all again? Can we expect to see another collection after this? 

Watch this space!

SHOP THE COLLECTION

MASON AND SONS | Tailoring House of James Bond

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The company that has single handedly resurrected the original tailoring house of James Bond. Mason & Sons are an established e-tailor that house many concessions from established British fashion houses such as John Smedley, Baracuta and Fred Perry to name but a few.

They also provide a bespoke service run by appointment only from their Headquarters in Montagu Square, the very building where John and Yoko resided in the 60’s and was subsequently owned by Ringo Starr.

It’s argued that the brands USP is their ownership and revival of classic heritage brands such as Mr Fish and the original tailor to James Bond himself, Anthony Sinclair.

I reached out to Elliot Mason (the ‘sons’ of Mason & Sons) and asked him how they managed to acquire the lost brand and what are the younger generation looking for when it comes to tailoring.

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How did Richard Payne, an early apprentice of Anthony Sinclair get to inherit the Anthony Sinclair brand?

In the 1980's Anthony handed down the keys to his shop and his shears to his apprentice Richard Payne. Richard was there when Anthony was making suits for Connery, he knows all the tales and legends of Sinclair.

When Anthony passed away Richard carried on the business, cutting suits with the Anthony Sinclair label in, this went on for many years. Sadly, Richard fell ill and for years, the company fell dormant. When Richard was fighting fit again some years later he started cutting suits but putting his own name in.

 

How did your father David Mason get to meet Richard Payne and inherit the brand from him? 

My father was on Savile row and they (Richard and David) followed each other round the tailoring houses and they became quite good friends, and in 11’12 Richard unearthed how he was Anthony’s apprentice and owner of the business.

My father obviously couldn’t believe this and encouraged Richard to start up again and in 2012 together they relaunched. That same year the barbican announced the exhibition ‘50 years of Bond Style’ and went on its world tour. EON productions approached Richard and my father to recreate the Dr. NO midnight blue dinner suit and the Goldfinger suit.

 

How did they get blueprints to replicate the suits?

Well funnily enough there was one customer of my fathers who owned a suit from You Only Live Twice. It was a light grey suit in a herringbone and Holland and Sherry still make the same cloth because we’ve made them for a few other customers.

So Richard was able take the pattern from that suit, it was an original Connery suit. I don’t know how many are still alive, maybe one of two suits that are still in existence or that anybody knows where they are.

 

Are the younger clientele looking to dress more Connery?

For the past 3-4 years any of my friends that would need a suit for interviews would come in and ask for the conduit cut. They are taking inspiration from the way Connery dress. (Elliot is 25).

Nowadays most men want a slimmer fit, suppressed waist, less flare in the skirt, less drape in the chest, in the past 6-9 months its going the other way. Our clients want less fitted trousers. They’re adding pleats to their trousers, pleated trousers always have a wider fit. People don’t want the shrink to fit in the jacket so there is more drape in the chest. It’s going backwards, these things are cyclical, we’re almost at a halfway house between Connery-Craig, and its going towards Connery in terms for fit. 

They tend to take some time, so you’re see them on  the catwalk, pleats on the catwalk but will take some time to hit the high street.

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Can you give me an update on the Mr Fish collection please? I noticed it’s not on your website anymore.

Our first collection on Mason & Sons was a collection of printed shirts and we sold out. Then we did a collaborative version, that was always going to be for a limited time, now all those styles are available under the Mason & Sons label.

We are currently working on a new collection of Mr Fish ready-to-wear whilst working on bespoke orders for customers. More Mr Fish tailoring will revolve around double breasted garments. 

Michael sadly passed away last year in August. We are very much in contact with his family and they are in full support of what we’re doing.

 

Who is your favourite Bond when it comes to style?

Outside of Sean Connery it would be late Sir Roger Moore, he came to Montagu square, we made his clothes for his last few years of his life. I had the pleasure of answering the door and letting him.

My favourite scene is Goldfinger when he’s about to be chopped in half. The glen check 3 piece is the most iconic and is my favourite. Also in that film, he wears the casual long sleeve black polo that is very similar to the one John Smedley does now. So elegant.

 

And the next thing for Mason & Sons?

The next thing for us we’re remaking the barleycorn hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. It’s taken a very long time to perfect, but it’s there. We’ll do made to order for our customers.   

Catch the full interview with Elliot Mason on the From Tailors With Love Podcast available to download now in iTunes. 

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UK Shirt Subscription Service | Hawkins & Shepherd


I've been asked on a variety of occasions to explain the minutia of the shirt subscription service on Hawkins & Shepherd, so I'd like to walk you through it. 


Why do I need a shirt subscription service? 

Reason One

Shirts are the most used item of clothing a man could own. Unlike our American counterparts, us Brits rarely wear a vest beneath the shirts so the garment is in constant contact with our skin. Meaning it should be washed or dry cleaned more regularly. 

We also wear out our shirts quick. The elbows start to perish as they meet every day demands of being rubbed on our desks. The collars start to deteriorate and discolour. It's important for someone who wears shirts daily not only to equip oneself with a decent supply of shirts, but to have them on rotation. 


Reason Two 

You also don't want to be the guy in the office that is Mr Predictable. You don't want your co-workers to think 'he's wearing his Monday shirt' or 'he's wearing that shirt still with the toothpaste stain on the chest'. 

You're redoubtable presence in the office will not go unnoticed if you appear fresh and well-groomed for the workplace every day. 


Reason Three

Save time, save money. You don't need to shop around and look for discounts, waste weekends fruitlessly maundering the high street in search of your correct size. With the Hawkins & Shepherd subscription service we take out all the heavy lifting and ship direct to your door. 


How does the shirt subscription service work? 

We have broken the subscription service down into 3 tiers, dependent on budget and how demanding your lifestyle can be. 


Enthusiast - One Shirt per Month 

If you are a business traveller or maybe you just love the feel a crisp new shirt gives you, then this is the package for you. You can either opt for a 6 month or 12 month subscription package. UK Customers Only. You'll be asked for a few details such as collar size, colour and fit and once selected we'll be sending a shirt out to you every month at 40% off the price of an average shirt. 



Executive - One shirt every 2 months

If you wear shirts every day for work, they can become stiff, discoloured and worn. Keep up your sartorial game with this package. 

With a 12 month subscription package you'll be able to get 6 shirts a year at 30% off. 



Essential - One shirt every quarter

Everyone should to be able to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd luxury shirt. Split the cost of one shirt over the period of 3 months with this package. This is a great deal for those that are on a limited spend, but still want to have the option of getting a fresh look with an investment piece. With the Essential package you'll be getting 4 shirts a year with a 20% discount. 

If you have any questions regarding this service then please do not hesitate to ask. We aim to answer all questions within 24 hours. 

 

The Style & Sound of Edward Sexton

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Who is Edward Sexton? In short, and in my opinion, Edward Sexton is a redoubtable trailblazer tailor who along with his late partner Tommy Nutter, revolutionized not only Savile Row but much of the movements that happened in both elegant men’s and women’s tailoring during the 60’s-70’s.

No longer of Savile Row he sees his clients by appointment only out of his studio in Beauchamp Place, a fashionable shopping street in the Knightsbridge district of London.

Whilst sieving through the annals of Savile Row history during my downtime on a recent trip to the Philippines, I kept circling and underlining inspirational comments, glib remarks and cool turns of phrase that Edward Sexton used in his social commentary. I’d love to interview the man personally one day so if you’re out there Edward and you’re reading this, have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch.

In the mean time I thought I’d corral all my favourites in a mini listicle for your amusement.

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·     I knew to develop oneself and to express yourself and to make the styles to create the work you wanted, you had to go outside. So I started moonlighting.

·     To make the same style day in day out, is wonderful but to keep the edge you need to challenge yourself all the time.

·     When we had a window display all the old guys freaked out, they said ‘give them 6 months’. (And they’ll be out of business).

·     What made us was the quality and the style and Tommy wearing it socially and we attracted a lot of ink.

·     My philosophy is that a client should wear the garment, the garment should never wear the client.

·     Romancing IS accessories. You can make the most beautiful suit and put it on somebody but unless it accessorized correctly it won’t work. And some people need a lot of accessorizing.

·     Ringo was different again he didn’t say a lot until it was finished and we realised he wanted a double breasted instead of a single breasted.

·     I like sophisticated elegant clothing it’s what I stand for. That’s what I do for a living it’s what I’ve done all my life and I don’t suppose I’ll be changing.

Introducing Author Christopher Modoo the Urbane Outfitter

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Please allow me to introduce myself…

I am delighted to be contributing to Carl Thompson’s blog. I have known Carl for many years, since we met at a Chester Barrie press day down in Savile Row. I was the senior creative for the brand and Carl was a keen supporter of my work and would always visit the presentations at London Collections: Men (as London Fashion Week was once known).

I have worked in the fashion industry for over twenty-five years. I have no formal training and started my career as a junior salesman in the shirt & tie department of Selfridges. I have always loved clothing and can’t remember an age where I wasn’t aware of what I was wearing. But I never considered that I could make a career from it. At 18, I very lazily applied for a job in a bank after a brief discussion with the school’s career advisor where my options were summarised as “bank or civil service”. So I started as a junior in a suburban High Street bank. I only lasted eighteen months before the lure of the West End called me to Oxford Street.

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My first break was when Thomas Pink opened a concession in Selfridges, I was a fan of their shirts so I wrangled the manager’s job by the age of 22. My love of cloths blossomed as I became aware of all these great classic brands and a large portion of my salary was spent on custom made cloths and good shoes. From Pink’s I moved to Savile Row where I was a salesman/fitter. This is where I became obsessed with textiles. Our shop full of cloth books called “bunches” and I would go through all of them learning about different weights, textures and qualities. There is a lot of knowledge on Savile Row and some very generous characters who are willing to  share it…usually over a pint. I then moved to Ede & Ravenscroft to head up their made-to-measure department. Ede & Ravenscroft are London’s oldest tailors with a heritage and stretches back to 1689. It was fun bringing it into the 20th century and convincing staff that we should fax orders rather than relying on the post! It was here that I really started to understand the rules of classic menswear and when and how to break them. I was very lucky to be promoted to buyer when the position became vacant despite having no buying experience. The retail director mentored me and translated my knowledge of tailoring into a commercial skill. I had the most wonderful decade with Ede & Ravenscroft; I travelled all over Europe, met the Queen and was even introduced to my future wife. But at the age of 39 I was eager to move onto bigger and better things.

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I joined Chester Barrie with the responsibility to oversee every product from morning dress to casual outerwear. We took the brand to trade shows in Florence, New York and Hong Kong, as well as becoming a major fixture on the LCM calendar. This also coincided with the growth in social media. I love the way that it can connect people with a similar interest and how it can champion smaller brands and artisans. I loved sharing new ideas and receiving immediate feedback…usually good. I am no longer with Chester Barrie and have what is known as a “portfolio career” where I split my time between writing online content for magazines and brands, styling, lecturing at a college and starting my own label. I look forward to writing more for Carl and connecting with his followers. I will be writing about classic mens fashion as well as the fashion industry and sharing my experiences from both.

Photo Credit Anna Michell

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.

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.

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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

Luxury footwear by Dapper England | Donhall & Bell & Wood Watches by JORD

Who's been to Santa Monica in Los Angeles? If you haven't, then try to get out there as in my opinion quite a unique place, famed for glorious sandy beaches, the latest fitness trends and juice bars. Santa Monica have brought to London a small taste of their glorious, laid-back lifestyle to the SkyLounge situated at DoubleTree by Hilton London - Tower of London. Offering rooftop, after-work cocktails with incredible views over the city of London, weekly Yoga and incredible detox juices. A pop-up only there until the end of this month...so head on down whilst the weather allows.

Route 66 runs from Chicago, in a south-west direction towards Oklahoma City and then west all the way to Santa Monica where the route finishes. Something that is on my back-packing list for next year....yes the list is growing! I just need to blog more and more to fund the trip!

I'm pretty sure most of you have heard of Route 66 and Santa Monica, however have you heard of Donhall & Bell formally known as 'Dapper England'? 

Donhall & Bell create hand-crafted, luxury footwear with the brands signature piece being the D&B slipper, a timeless classic. Rarely do I have a pair of shoes that I don't want to wear. Now that doesn't sound like a great comment for the brand, but it is and what I mean by that is they are so pristine, soft, delicate,  & beautiful and when I put them on the comfort amazed me. I just didn't want to wear them and ruin such an amazing pair of shoes/slippers. When worn, it surprised me at how hardy they were - just give them a quick brush with a suede brush after worn and they will last a very long time. You should check out their extensive range here and shop the ones I'm wearing in the above look in the Shop The Look section below.

In this styled look it is also the first time I have worn a wood watch, something that may on paper seem quite odd as we are all used to wearing stainless steel watches or some precious metal if you are lucky enough! My first impressions were that the wood for the watch strap was crafted exactly as you would expect from a metal watch with the exact same movement - yet much more comfortable. My favourite watch was the JORD wood watches Ebony & Copper design which had a quite large watch face with amazing detail yet still extremely light-weight which is perfect if you like to wear watches but don't want to feel you are wearing one.

JORD wood watches are currently offering you lucky readers the chance to win a $75 e-voucher as well as gifting everyone that enters $20. The contest is live now, and will end on Sunday 25th September 2016. You can enter by clicking the below image:

Completing the look I'm wearing white tailored shorts by ASOS, white button-down shirt by Hawkins & Shepherd, double-breasted blazer by Reiss, navy polka-dot silk scarf by Hawkins & Shepherd and finally the pocket square by ASOS.

 

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Kylie Eyra

Mixing smart tailoring with casual touches

Mixing smart tailoring with touches of casual wear is one of the hot trends this summer. Maybe because of business relaxing the business uniform attire, workers are looking for ways to mix the two conflicting styles together. My look is just a snippet of what could be done with this trend, as I opted for the safe plain white tee. It would be great if you could show me your tailored casual styles, just post on instagram and tag me in (@HAWKINSANDSHEPHERD) so I can check out your style!

Sorry to everyone who wants a bit more chat about casual tailoring, what I have been doing with my week or how my dog Charlie is getting on. But it is very early, I have to get this blog written and posted whilst packing my bags for Sziget Festival in Budapest of which I'm leaving for in under an hour! I'll be posting on Instagram Stories anyone who wants to see what Sziget festival is like...by all accounts it's pretty epic.

So. This outfit is ASOS mixed with some Kurt Geiger grey loafers. I love how the dark grey loafers go so great with the blue tone of my ASOS fitted window-pane trousers. Pairing those smart tailored pieces with an off-white ecru tee and beige trench coat, completes my look.

And there you have it....right time to pack!!!! 

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Kylie Eyra

BRITISH DESIGN, BRITISH FABRIC & 100% CASHMERE

Right now my life seems to be going at a million miles an hour but I'm loving every moment of it, I think if I slow down things might stall and I'll find it hard to get started again. I've started by renovating my flat for Spring and this doesn't just involve a cheeky little dust at the back of the cupboard where I keep my half finish tubs of marmite. No, this is a complete renovation of my flat, brick walls added, new carpets, new beds and of course a complete refresh of my wardrobe. Subscribe to my YouTube channel where I'll be posting videos/vlogs of my home renovation project.

I've just brought these amazing gas-pipe clothes rails that look like I have just taken them and walked out of an allsaints store. But what it means is I'm no longer able to hide my hoards of bad moth ridden clothes in a closed wardrobe, now everything is out in the open. It made me think about what is important in a man's wardrobe. I realised I had a lot of disposable clothing that I have hardly worn and just brought because it was cheap. Once I cleared all of this out, I was left with timeless, classic wardrobe pieces that have the quality and design to run the test of time.

As well as the blog, I have been working with Laura from Calder London, a Savile Row trained, womenswear tailor to celebs such a Cara Delevingne on a men's overcoat collaboration for Hawkins & Shepherd. We wanted only the finest British fabrics, tailoring, design, buttons, thread...the lot and couldn't be any happier with the results. 

This brings me back to having a few timeless pieces in your wardrobe that you save up and spend good money on. This camel overcoat is 100% British cashmere, its lightweight and warm, the perfect all season coat. You can style this versatile camel coat in a classic tailoring style by keeping things formal wearing it over a suit or opt as I have done by wearing the coat with a pair of dark denim jeans.

Right, I have to keep this momentum going, new flat, new wardrobe and now I'm off to the gym ready for a great summer in London...I havent been this excited since my last super-like on Tinder! 

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Sophie Milner

HAWKINS & SHEPHERD SHIRTS FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Luxury men's shirt makers Hawkins and Shepherd have returned stronger than ever this Spring/Summer season with their new-look collection as part of a wider evolution across the styling of the brand. The introduction of their new button-down and pattern shirts are in keeping with market trends. As always, Hawkins & Shepherd shirts use the finest cotton fabrics and classic, handmade tailoring. Don't expect them to be in stores for some time, so get online and shop today, as this collection is limited edition and while stocks last. 

Hawkins & Shepherd White Button-Down Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd White Button-Down Shirt

It feels odd writing a piece on my own shirts  but who best to do that than myself as I have put so much sweat and tears into getting Hawkins & Shepherd where it is today and I'm so proud of the brand.

Our button-down shirts have small details that stand out subtly whilst sticking to minimalistic, classic shirt tailoring. For example we stitch the top button hole and the last button hole in a different colour that compliments the shirt fabric perfectly. 

Our pattern printed shirt fabric has come from Portugal and is a limited edition, when they are gone their gone. The pattern collection centres around micro prints...paisley, geometric and polka dots are my designers favourites.

What to expect from Hawkins & Shepherd in the future? We have designed our first Hawkins & Shepherd Suit and Overcoat range in collaboration with Savile Row trained tailor Laura from Calder London using Britain's finest fabrics from Holland & Sherry. The suits will consist of single and double-breasted options and will be made to order. Our overcoat range will consist of two 100% Cashmere limited edition camel and navy jackets.

This is a major step forward for Hawkins & Shepherd but one that has been at the request of the label’s loyal customer feedback. We are small enough to react quickly to our customers’ wishes and in many ways they shape what we do as a company.

Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Micro Geometric Print Button-Down Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Micro Geometric Print Button-Down Shirt

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD SS16 SHIRT COLLECTION HERE

Photo Credit Kylie Eyra

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:

SAVILE ROW LOOKBOOK

As the home a great tailoring, Savile Row has long been a major inspiration for me. I love the history that engulfs it, the buzz that you get when walking down the 'Row' and watching the steady hands of the tailors cutting fabric in the basements. If I'm in need of some influences when designing the perfect shirt for Hawkins & Shepherd, picking the finest fabrics or just personal styling, I find it right there on Savile Row.

I would love to be in a position to have a lookbook full of Savile Row tailored pieces, however as I'm a poor blogger still trying to make it big, I have put together all my favourite formal looks from recent posts. These looks are all available for a reasonable price online or via the highstreet. A perfect compilation of looks for you to to use for interviews, weddings or office attire.

So what is Savile Row? Firstly it is a street in Mayfair, London, England synonymous worldwide for great bespoke tailoring. British tailors have been settling here since the 17th century and now is a street that is protected to keep only the highest level of tailoring companies trading on it.

You would think that Savile Row has had it easy, but they haven't. Competition is high and it has been a constant battle trying to reinvent themselves for different marketplaces like younger professionals, classic gents or international clients. Some tailors have kept to their heritage whereas others such as Oswald Boateng and Richard James have reinvented themselves as what I would call, new Savile Row - focusing on the modern market and breaking the so called 'mould'.

Take yourself down there, be inspired, be different, be confident and be stylish.

SUMMER TAILORING AT LCM SS16

I have been banging on for a while about a look which I call 'Summer Tailoring' which is in essence, wearing your suit attire as you would normally but replacing the trousers with tailored shorts. It's a simple look but looks great and is very versatile. 

Whether you are going to the races, a polo event, summer weddings or even out for an evening on holiday - this look is stylish, comfortable and different. This trend is very formal, however to give something extra to the look, incorporate prints and different fabrics such an linen.

The important aspects of this look are to pick a nice pair of tailored shorts, I prefer contrasting the colours between your shorts and blazer. Then a formal pair of comfortable shoes, my preference would be a worn in pair of brogues. For the more confident of us, go bold with a pair of colourful socks.

It looks like the designers at London Collections: Men have agreed and used this look in their SS16 collections. Above are from Richard James SS16 collection.

Above Left: Tiger of Sweden SS16 collection. Above Right: Margaret Howell SS16 Collection.

Above Left: Thomas Pink SS16 collection - this is a more casual twist on the Summer Tailoring look, but I have added it to show how versatile the look is.

Above Right: Oliver Spencer SS16 Collection.

SHOP THE LOOK