Bespoke Prime Ministerial style – Churchill, Disraeli & Cameron

July 17, 2013 | Posted in Bespoke Tailoring, Blog | Leave a Comment   (0) | Jasper

 

Churchill

 

 

True Englishmen will always have an affinity with Sir Winston Churchill, our greatest wartime leader and undoubtedly one of our best turned-out prime ministers.

 

Whether in the trenches during the Great War or sitting alongside Roosevelt and Stalin, Churchill was always dressed in the finest that money (and taste) could buy. Photos of Churchill inevitably reveal a striking figure, his clothing always just so – with exquisite Savile Row tailoring, bow ties, John Bull hats and of course his trademark Cuban cigars.

 

Looking even further back, it came as a surprise to discover that Benjamin Disraeli was nick-named Dizzy The Dandy – primarily for his preference for running the country in black velvet suits!

 

Disraeli

 

Politics and bespoke tailoring continue to be close friends. A recent Vanity Fair article voted our current Prime Minister as the World’s best-dressed leader – although looking at the runners-up, Mr Cameron appears to be the only politician with the relevant Savile Row credentials. Even President Obama prefers something off-the-peg… (I really must get in touch!)

 

This article also set me thinking about how Savile Row bespoke suits are perceived by the wider public.

 

There was much discussion prior to the last election over which of our prospective leaders had won the ‘style battle’ during those televised debates. At the time the consensus was that Mr Cameron had got it right for the first of these with a classic choice – bespoke dark navy/black suit, classic crisp white shirt and a sharp royal blue tie. Gordon Brown meanwhile did not fare so well, swallowed in an, allegedly bespoke, dark suit at least a size too large, a drab shirt and a pink tie that was not really him at all…

 

Camerooney

 

Interestingly the same commentator also pointed out that Mr Cameron’s suit could have been tailored to fit more neatly, but was perhaps left a little loose deliberately. Would being too tailored have left him looking a little ‘inaccessible’ to the voting public at large?

My own view on this slightly contentious question coincides with that of Oscar Wilde, who famously maintained that “you can never be overdressed or overeducated.” I suspect that Sir Winston would concur.

Images
Churchill – Image copyright: Imperial War Museum
Cameron – Image copyright: Steve Back/Rex/Rex USA.

 

A Fabulous Wedding Gift From Fabric Merchants Holland & Sherry

August 10, 2012 | Posted in Bespoke Tailoring, Groom suits | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

My relationship with Holland & Sherry goes back twelve years and over that time they have looked after me exceptionally well. Never more so than when they offered me a complimentary length of fabric woven in the design and quality of my choice for my wedding in June 2012.

I was touched by this generous gift but also excited at the prospect of being able to choose any colour or design. I relished the opportunity to play fabric designer for a day and all kinds of crazy thoughts entered my head; heart shapes running down the suit like a pin stripe – no, too tacky, the bride and groom’s names woven into the fabric along with the wedding date – just as bad. Red & white stripes in the colours of my beloved Arsenal FC – would never get permission, and so on…

In the end I settled on an 11oz chocolate brown fabric in a simple herringbone design, woven in the quality of their Victory Super 140’s (with cashmere & silver mink) bunch.

Jasper-Littman-Wedding-Suit-Brown

I chose chocolate brown because it’s a colour that is rarely used for work in the UK so immediately the suit is distanced from an ordinary business suit – something I feel is important in a wedding suit. The herringbone weave just adds a bit of interest as it catches the light. More interesting than a plain chocolate brown.

I chose the Victory quality because the fabric is woven in England in Holland & Sherry’s own mills and I believe it’s one of the best fabrics they offer. The cashmere & silver mink that they weave in with the Super 140’s wool creates a silky smooth handle that’s a pleasure to wear. It feels like wearing silk pyjamas.

Read more about Holland & Sherry’s Victory bunch

The reason I went for an 11oz medium weight fabric is because although a heavier weight (12oz or 13oz) would’ve hung better and therefore looked cleaner in the wedding photos, my wedding was in June so I didn’t want to get too hot. I also planned to use the suit again after the wedding and a medium weight is useful for more months of the year than say, a 13oz.

On the day the 11oz fabric draped beautifully and held its shape without overheating an already stressed groom. As this was a very special occasion I decided to have the suit made using our fully bespoke tailoring service rather than the semi bespoke which I use most frequently.

Huge thanks to Lindsay and at all at Holland & Sherry for the wonderful gift.

Brown-wedding-Suit-Jasper-Littman

Vanity Sizing – Why Most Men Leave Savile Row in Shock

August 08, 2012 | Posted in Bespoke Tailoring, Savile Row | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

In the retail world there exists a phenomenon known as ‘vanity sizing’. Essentially this means that garment sizes are deliberately mislabelled, for example a pair of trousers labelled as 34” will actually come up as 36 1/2” when measured.

As a consequence most men are wearing mislabelled jeans or casual trousers and are under the impression that their waist size is smaller than it actually is.

So why do off-the-peg retailers lie to you?

The theory is that when you try on a pair of trousers in a shop and discover that you’re the same waist size as you were when you were 21 this creates a feeling of elation and euphoria. In your euphoric state you then buy the same pair of trousers in nine different colours, walking out with far more clothing than you originally intended to buy.

In theory you’re also more likely to return to that store because their garments are ‘correctly’ sized and they allow you to maintain the illusion. Often when I’m measuring clients in Savile Row they ask me their waist size out of curiosity, but 99% of the time they’re shocked when they hear the answer. It clearly wasn’t the size they were expecting to hear.

I don’t enjoy bringing people down to earth with a bump but the tape measure doesn’t lie and I don’t volunteer this information.