“A man should look as if he has
bought his clothes with intelligence,
put them on with care
and then forgotten all about them.”
I was asked recently by one of our grooms if I wore suits every day; to which I replied that I thought it important to dress for one’s audience, particularly if that audience are, as I once was, suit dodgers commissioning their first suit at Brown in Town.
While I would love to encourage the myth that Bristol’s local tailor does indeed wear suits everyday, the truth is that a suit is not practical attire for a father of two children under the age of five, who spends his weekends being covered in porridge, mud, snot and, since our son learned to walk and climb, blood.
But, whether it be a three piece tweed suit, a two piece double breasted suit made from an English heritage worsted, or separates of cotton chinos and flannel jacket, what is of the utmost importance is that every suit and ensemble which we make is as comfortable to wear as the clothes which Brown in Town’s patrons arrive in to get measured. If not more so..!
Indeed, there are only so many suits that a man requires in his wardrobe and I prefer to keep those for Monday Best, Tuesday Best, Thursday Best and Friday Best – Wednesday is Daddy Day Care day, in which I do battle wearing chinos and tailored shirts and blazers, the same as I do of a weekend.
However, my own transition from street wear (I once owned Tarantula Distribution which imported skateboard clothing from California), to bespoke suits, to casual bespoke did not happen overnight; it was a journey. In fact, Brown in Town’s Custom Collection of casual bespoke attire, was a reflection of that journey, but was also in response to a need cited by some of our regulars who struggled to buy casual wear off the peg, either because of the offering or choice, or because it simply did not fit. On the occasions when a suit is not required, must we feel that the tone is being lowered by our lack of direction or suitable attire.
Moreover, the warmer weather, which is fast approaching, will no doubt catch the nation unawares and dumbfound us, sartorially speaking. It is one of my personal baines that us Brits, who were once pillars of elegance, struggle to keep it together when it comes to dress during the summer months. I personally take inspiration from our counterparts in sunnier climes and have myself a two piece cotton suit currently on the cutting table to provide a more relaxed ensemble that, I hope, will see me through.
In addition, I have my old faithful, the linen suit. Like no other cloth, linen will almost certainly polarise opinion; you either love the fact that it crumples, or you do not. Surely this is what one must not only appreciate, but adore about this fabulous cloth. Clearly not intended to be worn in a formal setting, it’s palette of pastel shades, creams and electric blues to bottle greens, afford us an opportunity to wear colours which can be incredibly flattering and seldom available in worsted wool suitings and jacketings. There is something about wearing a suit which is supposed to look dishevelled!
For, rather unfairly, the suit has been tarnished with a reputation of being too fussy; on the one hand – think of the suits which were worn during era of Beau Brummel, replete with frilly shirts, knee high boots and melton coats with 100’s of buttons, which even sounds uncomfortable – to ill-fitting off-the-peg suits made of polyester and, ergo, equally uncomfortable on the other. But, as anyone that has had a suit made for them will attest, they are a far cry from the suits which we can buy off-the-peg.
And while I may not dress in suits everyday, I believe it is no less important to take pride in one’s appearance, without sacrificing comfort or one’s personal taste. It has always been necessary for me to feel as comfortable in any suit, whether linen, cotton, cashmere, wool or mohair, the quality of one’s clothes and the cut of one’s jib, should be all that is required to take us from A-Z, in style.
The aforementioned quote from Hardy Amies A-Z of Men’s Fashion, suggests that the clothes which we wear should provide us with enough comfort, style and, ergo, self confidence, that we need not check their appearance in the mirror every five minutes – except, perhaps, to admire one’s new found sartorial freedom..