A Suit That Fits Blog
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Tag >> Bristol bespoke tailor
Whilst Bristol's Local Tailor had vowed not to dress his daughter in bespoke or branded finery - or write anything about parenthood for that matter - there has been an ever-increasing dent in my collection of pocket squares that cannot be ignored any longer.
Grace Blake, pictured, started teething rather early in life - she's only 4 months old now - and, as any new parent will know, teething involves an inordinate amount of dribbling.
This dribbling, which often resembles foaming at the mouth, can leave a fresh baby-grow sodden by breakfast time! So, in an effort to keep our daughter dry, and afford her a modicum of comfort and, dare I say it style, we tied one of A Suit That Fits pocket squares around the butter-soft rolls of Grace's neck to stem the flow. These particular pocket squares are cut from 100% Egyptian shirting cloth and are provided with the compliments of A Suit That Fits when purchasing a shirt.
The 'Dribble Square', as it is now affectionately known, has become a permanent fixture in Grace Blake's already burgeoning wardrobe. Whilst Grace's parents may not have spoiled her sartorially, her Aunty Tara has bestowed upon her a wardrobe of cute clothes that Grace's cousin, Inca - born 6 months before Grace - has now grown out of and so Grace has inherited hand-me-downs to last an 'infinancy' and been afforded not only style but a dressing regime to give her father a run for his money!
With so many colourways and patterns in A Suit That Fits range of shirting cloths, there is a Dribble Square for every occasion. Whether lounging at home, taking a stroll in the park or watching Idles - Grace's favourite band - there is a Dribble Square to suit, ahem.
I'm sure Dribble Squares will be a Bristol fashion accessory of choice before long, so place your orders early to avoid disappointment. And remember, whilst I am considering registering Dribble Squares as a Trademark, they are only available at this time from A Suit That Fits and come with a shirt. They can also be order separately in cotton, silk or satin.
Back in December when I was still working in my lovely home town of Bristol Ryan and Jen came to me for a wedding suit. They wanted to get married in the spring and wanted something special. A lovely couple, Jen came along to help pick the cloth but didn't come to subsequent fittings to keep the overall look of the suit a surprise.
Ryan's overall inspiration was Americana with a rockabilly feel. He told me about a pair of shoes he wanted to get (two tone ones) and we looked at the music video Social Distortion: Machine gun blues for inspiration (What fun!) After much dissussion Ryan decided to go for a black herringbone , HB-6 with a Burgundy red lining.
The herringbone cloth and peaked lapels kept the suit vintage, circa 1950 with the slanted pockets, single vent and tapered trousers giving it that modern twist. When Ryan came to the studio to try on his two piece suit both me and David loved the whole thing! The shoes, the tie, shirt and suit went so well together, we immediately asked Ryan and Jen if they minded us having a look at there wedding photos. The lovely couple did not disappoint and have recently been the subject of an online article at Rock and Roll Bride.
Jen and Ryan had there photo's taken by Gemma Bell from Venus Blue Imaging and were kind enough to let me put them up on our blog. Ryan's suit perfectly complimented Jennifer's dress, a custom made vintage inspired number. The whole day looks absolutely lovely.
1. Suits YouSimply put, does the colour of your suit suit you?Salt 'n' Pepper hair colour = greysRed head = autumnals; browns
2. Fits YouOff-the-peg' or fits where it touches is not an excuse to wear a poorly-fitting irrespective of the jib or cut of your i.e. how much room there is between you and the garment.
Point-to-point elements of the garment should be adjusted to fit if needs be; sleeve/trouser length. 3. Shirt Sleeves need only reach the top of your hands - they are not mittens and need not provide any protection for the hand. Jacket sleeves ought to be cut 1/2 shorter than the shirt sleeves' length if you like to shoot a little cuff.Shirt collars should fit with space enough for one's index finger to be inserted between collar and neck. Any larger and the collar will kink and buckle when the tie is tightened.
4. Tie A contrasting coloured tie or simple pocket square can make all the difference in setting the tone and can also set-off an otherwise run of the mill suit. Be sure to choose a tie colour that contrasts and compliments both your suit and shirt. If you have a club tie by all means wear it but this is no excuse for not observing the rules regarding colour-matching.And remember, it is better to be the only man in a room wearing a tie than be the only man not wearing a tie.
5. ShoesShoes can quite literally make or break a suit - or any outfit for that matter.Ask any woman and they'll tell you that what lets most men down is their choice of shoe.I generally let the toe-shape of the shoe dictate what shape trousers to wear e.g. narrow or bootcut for a longer toe shape, drainpipe or slightly tapered for squared toe shapes
6.Wear Care: PressingIf you've had a suit made for you, have it pressed before its maiden voyage - off-the-peg suits are pressed before they reach the shop floor, tailor-made suits are generally not.
7. Wear Care: Storage for Trousers After each wear, hang trousers upside down from the ankles using a clamp hanger or a skirt-clip hanger. This will keep the creases that you want, where you want them and eradicate others.
8. Wear Care: Storage for Jackets Your jacket ought to be hung on a hanger that best supports the shoulder and will keep their shape better if worn by you yourself - wool will take the shape of whatever it is draped over, hence if your hanger is too wide the sleeve head will remain misshapen. Hang jackets outside your wardrobe overnight before returning to storage. This gives the garment the opportunity to breathe and aerate.
9. CleaningContrary to popular belief, suits do not require dry cleaning every week or even month! Limit dry cleaning to twice a year but steam and press as often as your suit requires freshening up and/or sharpening up. I generally have a suit pressed when the centre crease is no longer easily identifiable
10. AccessoriesI am referring of course to adornment and not shoes.A simple pocket square can really set-off a suit and is the only item which is exempt from the rules of colour matching and can be a different colour to all items in one's ensemble.
If you have any sartorial dilemmas, then please do get in touch!
Unlike a lot of enthusiastic cyclist I came late to apprieciating the beauty of the bike. For various reason I did not own a bike past the age of a about ten so my real first experience of cycling as a form of travel was at the ripe old age of 25! I was interning for a design company in London and need a cheap and fast way of getting there.
My super healthy friend suggested I get myself a bike, thus beginning my love of cycling. Now I have got used to the roads in London I feel safe enough to survey my surroundings.
I myself tend not to wear my suit on my way to work but you would surprised the amount of people that do. My old studio manager, our very own David Minns always cycles to work wearing a three piece suit. This dapper gent has even been know to cycle down the street, one hand on the handle bars and the other holding aloft his beautiful vintage umbrella, I kid you not!
With this in mind, if you are more like David than me and wish to don your dapper suit while hurtling through traffic there are a few things you need to remember. Firstly, I would definitely invest in some good bicycle clips for your trousers. This will stop you legs getting catch in the spokes and keep your suits immaculate. I would suggest a more tapered trouser purely for this reason and try and stick to a light weight cloth as cycling can be hot work. Another thing to remember, that I know David Minns swears blind by is to ask for more space across the back of your suit jacket. Tailoring is the art of controlling the body within clothes, for this reason it is not always the most cycle friendly active so extra room across the back is always welcome.
A great option for ladies is to go with separates. A lovely summer dress with a suit jacket, keeps you cool for summer but smart for work. Another option would be to have an A line suit skirt or go with trousers.
But don't forget about your luggage! What about a stylish removable basket for your handbag? Or maybe like this gent you could just sling you briefcase over the handlebars and hope for the best. Great for Amsterdam but I fear this could be a bit more hair raising in a city not know for it's cycle friendly roads!
It's not just about cycling in a suit, what about cycling in an overcoat? Many a time I have been pelting it along the road and all of a sudden the heavens open up and the rain begins to fall, usually as I've just embarked on a half an hour cycle! Sometimes a mac just doesn't cut it, they keep you dry but unlike an overcoat they don't keep you warm. I would advice going for a medium, to light weight cloth though as cycling can sometimes by hard work and soon makes you steam. And what about the accessories? When I design tailored garments with my customers I always try and picture the scene. If a gent wants a casual jacket in tweed, where is he going to wear it? With what trousers is he matching it with and what scarf? Every detail should be consider. In that vain I love the photo below. This gent has teamed his two piece beige tweed suit with a vintage looking bike and the ice on the cake are his fingerless gloves, perfect for a country tailored look.
An ever-present question when I tell people what I do, is what is it that makes me love menswear and tailoring in particular? I must admit that I do love being asked this, purely because it lets me rant on about a subject that is very close to my heart.
The beginning of my reply always starts with the statement that I love tailoring for its subtlety and attention to detail. A lot of my customers like to make their suits extra special with the use of contrasting stitching around their cuff buttonholes.
This can be anything from an accent of just one button to a larger statement where all the buttonholes are in a contrasting colour. Another amazing use of the bespoke tailoring experience is the working cuff. This was originally so that surgeons and soldiers alike could undo and roll up their sleeves. This was owing to the fact that they needed bare arms for fighting and surgery; it is now truly a sign of a man who loves attention to detail.
During my time at the Bristol studio I've seen some great detail choices and some amazing use of lining. Something as rich and as plush as a red paisley lining goes so well with a heavy tweed. Team that with a waistcoat and make it a three piece and the effect is fantastic. A look of classic country style with the lining giving a touch of decadence!
Next time your out and about on the streets take a look at the gent in front of you wearing a beautifully tailored suit. You might get a glimpse of his character when you get a flash of his lining!
I try to maintain a selection of 5 or so shirts to wear during the working week. However, as a result of building works being carried out at No. 73 (no, not the 80's TV show but my new home in Totterdown) I found myself without a washing machine and vis-a-vis the ability to launder my shirts conveniently, and upon demand.
So, come Thursday of last week the only remaining was my new plaid check of blue and brown, which I'd worn already: what to do?!
Whilst it took me some time to be convinced of these light weight shirting cloths they really came into their own in this time of need. With hand-washing the only option - which is a much wetter affair than machine washing which offers a spin cycle - I wondered if my shirt would be wearable come the morning. However, given the lightweight nature of these summer plains, they were dry in no time - without the need to hang them near a radiator, which I find renders shirts as stiff as cardboard.
However, my only remaining shirt looks best when worn with my blue flannel suit and did not compliment the suits which I'd yet to wear: a blue pinstripe - which I'd rather hoped would work given the blue cloth and beige shade of the stripe - grey flannel PoW, or my grey two-tone mohair.
The only other alternative was to break-out one of my w'end suits which are both blue suits, but which are both 2pc, and I only ever wear 3pc during the week; my OCD was beginning to spike at this point, but I was also running out of options.
So with only a 2pc mohair lounge suit or a 2pc double breasted cashmere/wool herringbone suit to choose from, the choice was effectively made, given that it's not really the climate for mohair - unless worn as a 3pc - in Bristol at present and I tentatively donned the db...and it felt wonderful!
Though the notion of wearing one of my occasional weekend suits Mon - Fri is an uncomfortable one to say the least, I feel my wardrobe has been liberated in giving my db the chance to shine in front of a wider audience. I also have an increasing number of eccentric and adventurous customers who swear by a db, and I too have begun to feel rather comfortable in this Edwardian cut number.
The maiden voyage also happened to be the the day that I was to meet with Peter Robinson, Publisher of Lansdown Place magazine to fit him for a suit - about which he will be writing of his experience ahead of my taking over the publications style column in the spring - and so, no sooner had I ventured out, but the moment was immortalised with the click of a photographers camera lens!
I hope you like the new style...
Cary grant is a timeless and popular style icon. With easy charm and known for his transatlantic accent you might be forgiven for not knowing that this dapper gent was originally from Bristol .
After his father placed his mother in mental institute and deserted him Grant was brought up by his grandparents. After being expelled from Fairfield Grammar school and at the age of 14 Grant joined a stage troupe and travelled to America as a stilt walker. Thus a star was born!
'From small beans....' as the saying goes and I am sure as a small boy growing up in Bristol Grant couldn't have imagined what an impression he would make on the world of style and acting.
After emigrating to the States he continued to perform as a stilt walker, acrobat and juggler. In 1931 he made the move to Hollywood and Archibald Alexander Leach became the man we know today as Cary Grant. With this new persona Grant began to cultivate a new way of being. He looked to style icons from the movies in which he was now surrounded and took from them the art of combining the formal and the casual. Grant's focus in dressing was always on fit, favouring a subdued palette and instead turning his attention to balance and proportion. This simple idea is probably why Cary Grant is still a style icon today. He understood that to dress well, style was far more important than fashion. A 21st century gent could lift any of Grant's outfits out of their era and look just as dapper today.Grant was a lover of three piece suits, something that from my experience in Bristol is slowly but stubbornly making a come back. There are many benefits to a three piece suit with the main being the ability to always look smart, with or without your jacket. The added bonus of wearing a waistcoat today is that, although set to return, it is still relatively unique among younger gents and so gives you the added kudos of being a trend setter.
Cary Grant sporting a three piece
Another Cary Grant-ism was his love of knits revealing his English origins. This is a superb way of giving a casual edge to a smart look, especially at this time of year! Other tips that can be gained from studying such a style icon are to always keep proportioned and dress for your frame. This is something that Grant knew all to well, balancing his large head with heavily padded shoulders to give the illusion of an even silhouette. Cary Grant in casual knits Cary Grant using prominent shoulders and padding to his advantage Nearly thirty years after his death Cary Grants icon statues is still going strong, a man that Bristol is all too happy to call it's original dapper gent! Bronze statue of Cary Grant in Millennium Square in Bristol
As we approached NZ's Auckland runway I pondered whether I'd discovered the perfect travel companion - my wonderful partner and mother of my unborn child aside that is - my new linen jacket , flannel trousers and a summer checks shirt ensemble were just the ticket.
My is half-lined, in bright yellow satin, providing a more relaxed fit and is also cut generously around the waist and across the back to make it easier to remove mid-flight.
Cut from our heavier linen range of cloth it provides not only the necessary pockets for passport, mobile phone and pen, required for travelling, but also an extra layer (I often find airlines far too hot mid-flight these days) and looks better the more crumpled it becomes, which is less than it's lighter weight stable mate. The yellow contrast stitching on the button hole and also the cuff give it a hint of I'm off on a summer holiday, but I'm British so let's not get carried away about it, and match the internal lining and piping - a nice touch I thought, especially when fellow passengers are treated to a flash each time it is taken on and off.
The linen's inky blue colour is a perfect contrast for my camel coloured flannel trousers, which I enjoy wearing for travel - it also works well with jeans, not to mention the shorts which ironically I had made before I had the jacket made, pictured - and provide comfort and warmth before take-off when the air-con is turned on full blast.
The shirt is made from our summer checks collection cloth and is incredibly lightweight, does not crease easily and the brown and blue colourway could not compliment the jacket and trousers more perfectly.
If you have any sartorial travel dilemmas or are concerned about Bristol fashion faux pas, please do get in touch.
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