To say that we have been a little busy of late at Brown in Town, would be a gross understatement – Saffron Darby may require a housekeeper if we spend any more time in the studio and not at No. 73, ahem.
And there is one reason and one reason alone that our books are so full; grooms. It is wedding high season and it is most certainly in full swing. But whereas in previous years our grooms were a well organised bunch who picked up the phone as soon as their brides went to look at the first (of many) wedding dress shops, this year, we seem to have regressed. And more’s the pity.
If there is one luxury a groom is afforded on his wedding day, then surely it is the opportunity to have his wedding suit tailored and to perfection. But these things are not to be rushed, nor the undertaking to be taken lightly.
For example, there is the task of finding a tailor. Whilst we may be enjoying a sartorial renaissance, those that are worth their salt do not grow on trees. Moreover, it must be a tailor with whom you have a good rapport – this is incredibly important, as you want to feel at ease explaining to them what you like and what you do not, or, perhaps more importantly, if you have no idea and need their assistance in matters of the cloth.
Once we are in the company of a tailor that we trust enough to discuss which cloths and, moreover, which cloth colour will be most appropriate – by which I mean flattering, not traditional i.e. grey. There are literally 1000’s of cloths to choose from, made by 100’s of mills, all of whom have their own finishing techniques, colourways, patterns etc. Take your time, there are no right or wrong answers. But I’d suggest the best cloth is the one that is flattering of the wearer i.e. it compliments your own complexion in terms of skin-tone, hair-colour, eye-colour and, more commonly these days, beard colour.
Then, you must decide whether your suit will be made up of two or three pieces i.e. jacket, trousers and if you so desire, a waistcoat (or vest as it is known on the Row). The three piece wins almost hands down these days as it is generally understood that a three piece suit will distinguish the groom from the congregation (when the suit is worn without the jacket) and in terms of a three piece suits elegance, there will be no mistaking who the groom is.
Once we’ve decided upon the number of pieces we’d like to be clad in, you will want to consider which lapels; notched or peaked and pockets; slanted or straight and vent; single or double. Not forgetting how many buttons you may want on your sleeve cuff, of course (the answer to which is four: if it’s good enough for the Row, it’s good enough for you).
Once these decisions have been reached, then, and only then, will your tailor take your measurements, which will take around 30 minutes depending on whether you trust your tailor to dress you to perfection or whether you want to dictate every last detail based on the fit of your favourite skinny-fit chinos! Feeling exhausted already?
This is why Brown in Town prefer our grooms, or any of our patrons for that matter, to afford themselves a little time. Because we prefer to conduct an initial consultation in a relaxed fashion over a coffee or even a gin and tonic of an evening – cigar optional. This gives both parties an opportunity to ascertain whether or not there is a good working relationship and whether or not we are right for the job i.e. we can provide the service which the groom, or customer in question is looking for.
At the end of this initial meeting, we would hope to furnish you with enough information to be able to make an informed decision, or, at the very least, something to show the memsahib so that she can make an informed decision with/for you. This would include costings, design details and perhaps one or two options of cloth and if a cloth has been selected, also linings for coats (jackets) and waistcoats.
Once a decision has been reached and, we would hope, reached at one’s leisure, will we then make another appointment to measure our subject and take down the details of the chosen design together with a 50% deposit in order to commence works. Presently, this second appointment can take up to 3 weeks to get booked-in, owing to demand.
It is from this point in the process that we quote 8 weeks to make a suit, at the end of which the customer is invited for their first fitting. Now, if the customer’s suit was made in it’s entirety, that is to say if there were no reason to warrant making it piecemeal, and there are no adjustments to be carried out to the suit, then the customer is in the very fortunate position of being able to take the suit home with them then and there – a hole-in-one, as we call it.
However, If the suit requires adjustment, then another two weeks are required. And if the suit has been made piecemeal i.e whereby several fittings of the basic garment are required in order to adjust the balance and fit before the coat is made in all of it’s glory, then factor in an additional 8 – 12 wks. Getting nervous.
So, whether groom, businessman or layman, when it comes commissioning a tailored suit, afford yourself and your tailor the greatest luxury of all: time. And enjoy the process having something made just for you.
Style, after all, is a journey, not a destination.