And now, the end is near, and so I consider 5 years of sartorial exploration!
When I joined A Suit That Fits in March 2009, I was clutching a cutting from a Donna Karan ad of a beautiful grey-flannel, slim cut suit – worn by a guy who bore an uncanny resemblance to my oldest friend, model Jon, ironically. And I had every intention of modelling my first bespoke suit on this very design.
However, as it was Spring and we had a summer ahead of us I was shepherded away from flannel by my mentor (the inimitable Peter Beaney) and plumped for kid mohair – in the same mid-grey colour.
My first suit was lightweight, sharp mohair (Kid-Mohair-Mid-Grey, which holds a trouser crease like no other cloth we supply) a 3pc with silver/grey paisley lining: think Steed from The Avengers.
My second suit was another mohair – enamoured, me? – but this time a mid-grey two-tone Tonik-style (VBC-122), again a 3pc but with purple lining and boot cut trousers – which was the style of choice for almost all of the A Suit That Fits team, and many of our customers. God I loved that suit.
Whilst I have many sartorial influences, early on in my career there were two suits that stuck in my mind which I was keen to emulate; Michael Caine’s 3pc mohair worn by the screen legend in Get Carter, the other was a 3pc navy blue pinstripe as worn by my uncle Ray on the during his time working on the stock market.
And so it was that I had a wool/silk 3pc navy pinstripe made to emulate probably the most sartorial influential man in my life.
My fourth suit, a 3pc light grey birdseye (RTBE-5), was inspired by a customer whose suit arrived at our Liverpool St. studio for a fitting and immediately struck me in a way this cloth had never done as a swatch in our books – I’ve often said that the shortcoming of tailor-made suits is that one must choose a suit’s cloth in advance of seeing the cloth made-up as a suit, but this is where the experienced-eye of your tailor comes into it’s own.
Around this time I was making a lot of Tweed suits for weddings and whilst I was encouraged by the gesture of these eccentric grooms, I thought it a look perhaps a little too much for our flagship studio in the City which I was now heralding having inherited it from our illustrious leader. So, I plumped for our cashmere/wool brown/grey herringbone (HAB-2), affording me both a soft and luxurious cloth but one which had the air of a Tweed in shade and pattern. Add gun-shell patch pockets, hand-turned (sala) wood buttons, a flare and a turn-up (it looked better than it sounds, really!) and you have a country come city suit. You also have a contender for favourite suit – it also arrived at the same time as my camel-coloured overcoat and as I was off to the country for Christmas, it could not have been better timed!
My sixth suit was also inspired by a customer who commissioned one of our flannel Prince of Wales in mid-grey, with a red and blue windowpane check (FLGV 3-2). The proved to be a jolly alternative to the grey suit – a staple no wardrobe should be without. At the time of ordering my I seem to recall being in awe of a suit sported by Mark Wahlberg on the cover of Esquire magazine at the time which featured broad lapels, however, not being nearly as broad-chested as Marky Mark the effect was not quite the same on my slender frame though it provided an Edwardian appeal and is a suit that I relish wearing each week. Given I’ve had this suit since 2009 it is testament to my philosophy that if we wear suits that compliment either our hair colour, skin tone or eye colour e.g. blue cloth for those who have blue eyes, you will find yourself in possession of a suit that flatters and which you will be more likely to continue wearing for some time to come – or at least for a long as it fits, ahem.
My seventh suit was a navy blue 3pc flannel (FLA-19) with brown striped lining and was my favourite suit for a very long time – as you may have gathered I’m quite fond of flannel, I like the weight and softness of it’s handle, but most of all, the colours which flannel affords, are, for me, the epitome of traditional tailoring.
During the summer months I found that 3pc suits can become quite warm as they are designed to insulate, but I found wearing my 3pc suits as 2pcs wholly unsatisfactory. So, following my move to the West Country, the fitting of a double breasted suit for a visiting customer really inspired me to experiment with this harbinger of sartorial refinement and that was it – I was hooked! I actually had the jacket (HAB-5) made to wear as part of a separates ensemble, but liked it so much I had trousers made to accompany it and I still wear it to this day (mainly on a Wednesday to facilitate quick changing at the climbing wall!).
Given that I was now walking up to 2 miles to the studio, and working-up quite a temperature in the process, I thought it was about time I ventured into the mill of lighter-weight cloths and so had made another Prince of Wales check – this time in our CB-700033-3, with an electric blue lining to match the window pane check of the cloth, naturally!
Having retired my silk/wool pinstripe – owing to over use – I couldn’t resist the new range of striped cloths we’d procured and sought to replace the old faithful, however this time I wanted to experiment with a narrower ankle – 16” to be precise with a 16.5” knee, so practically a drainpipe cut as I call it whereby the ankle and knee are the same width, which creates a very narrow leg with just a slight ‘boot-cut’ effect at the bottom when worn hovering just above the arch of the foot.
My most recent suit, and the one that gives me the most pleasure when worn especially during the winter months, even as recently as last week, is my tan linen 3pc (S-Linen-8). There is something so quintessentially English about a tan linen suit , perhaps it’s that we’ve hardly the weather for them which is perhaps why I am still hell-bent on wearing mine each and every sunny day we have until Christmas, as I wasn’t able to wear it this year until June!
Now, as those of you who have read my blogs over the years will know, I write best on a train to and from my tailorstops, but as I’ve no more to attend to, I’m going to have to leave it just here. So, I’m going to apologise right now to all the lounge suits, separates, occasion suits, shirts and overcoats that did not get a mention but I’ve just no more time if I am to post this whilst I’m still holding the keys to our website!.
And to all those that have enjoyed reading my blogs, I have enjoyed writing them and I thank you for your attention and for your patronage – what a trip!
So, without further ado, season greetings to you, toodle-pip!
Bristol’s Local Tailor.