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