We Wish You a Merry Christmas..!

“And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain..”

Well, not quite the final curtain, but the blinds will be coming down on Friday 19th, as Brown in Town closes for Christmas.

And what a year it has been for Brown in Town. We opened our doors on January 1st and received our first customer that same day before we’d even had a chance to move into the old cigar humidor at Hotel du Vin, in fact, they helped us with the set-up; thank you Steve Coe!

We have continued to offer advice on style and dress, providing the sort of traditionally inspired, classically tailored garments for the discerning man about town and country, for which Brown in Town has become known. That said, albeit we had resisted the temptation to undertake any commissions from our female patrons, this Autumn we bowed to demand and tailored our first tweed jacket for the ladies –  and what a jacket it was; green tweed of a herringbone weave with pink lining and trim, naturally!

Occasionally passing comment via our preferred social media channels; Instagram (thanks to The Ethicurean for their encouraging of this luddite to adopt this visual method of communication), Linked In and Twitter, as we endeavour to keep our friends abreast of our exploits and various works of art with our sartorially inspired #mohairmonday #tweedtuesday #worstedwednesday #thornproofthursday and #flannelfriday – occasionally bidding a #sartorialsaturday when on tailoring duty at such events as The Goodwood Revival and The Bristol Vintage Wedding Faire. Not forgetting of course our weekly posts in our sartorial column, The Advisory featuring imagery from official Brown in Town photographer Remco Merbis and friend of Brown in Town Nick Veez.

But let us not forget what heralded the launch of Brown in Town way back when and that is the oft underappreciated medium which is print. Our initial poster campaign was a great success by all accounts, generating interest in an, at the time, unknown tailoring house which had yet to open it’s doors, and gleaned no small amount of interested in our services. With thanks to Hello Blue for printing our beautiful museum grade archival quality posters that have adorned the walls of Small St. Espresso, the Star and DoveBangshanky, Averys, The Ethicurean, Hotel du Vin, Harts Bakery, Full Court Press, Friska and St. Nicholas Market Cobblers to name but a few – thank you to you all for offering to mount our poster on the walls of your establishments – and, occasionally, in the gents! The second poster campaign is being installed in various venues around town just now, including The Grace, Gloucester Rd, so do keep your eyes peeled.

This year we have also welcomed gents taking a vested interest in their non-business wardrobes, more than usual I’m pleased to report, ordering traditional blazers and summer jackets more than ever before, our mainstay continues to be professionals who understand that first impressions last and the value of having their clothes tailor made, whether suits or separates, shirts and ties or even overcoats. Not forgetting our grooms, of course, who represent both schools of thought; those wanting something traditional out of respect to our sartorial past and the occasion of their nuptials, but without wanting to appear too formal, cliched, twee or stuffy. It is these individuals, who have brought to Brown in Town their sartorial ideas, their hopes, their aspirations and their desire to wear something on that most auspicious of occasions which is uniquely them and, for whom, like us, there is no never before brown in town.

Talking of town, whilst Brown in Town is staunchly Bristolian – we even accept payment for our tailoring services in Bristol pounds these days – given one’s roots, we have welcomed the opportunity to take up residence each month at the Hoxton Hotel in London’s Shoreditch as a way of keeping in touch with patrons past and present, but also as a means of mixing a little business with pleasure and seeing old friends who reside in the big smoke. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hox’ for it’s unequalled hospitality, there is nothing quite like your warm reception and thank you for being so accommodating.

And while there have been many highs in our inaugural year, sadly, Brown in Town has had to relinquish it’s most cherished address of ‘The Cigar Humidor’, but it will be business as usual in 2015; you’ll still be able to find us in the bar at Hotel du Vin at a time convenient for you.

But while the humidor may no longer be our sartorial home, there are still opportunities aplenty to enjoy a cigar in the courtyard, so without further ado, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued patronage, support and friendship and we look forward to more of the same in 2015.

May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Brown in Town will be back bright eyed and bushy tailed on January 5th.

Bristol’s local tailor.

 

Tweeds for the Shoot, not The Shoot!

While I had initially intended to reserve one’s new tweeds for such occasions, I must confess that before Brown in Town ‘got the call’ from The Ethicurean in Wrington – to assist with an upcoming photoshoot for the Independent on Sunday, no less – the aforementioned tweeds had found their way into one’s weekly roster and have been making regular appearances about town; outrageous I know!

Given Brown in Town’s ethos, I am sure this revelation will come as little surprise, but the tweeds in question were in fact scheduled to make their debut appearance in front the lens on the very same day, on location at Bristol’s Pata Negra.

Obviously, when The Ethicurean explained that the Independent wanted to feature it’s frontman, and Brown in Town muse, Jack Bevan, dressed from head to foot in Brown in Town, in a piece on the sartorial style of todays restaurants and restaurateurs, Bristol’s local tailor felt a sense of duty, ney, pride, and henceforth offered one’s styling services to ensure creases were set, waistcoat bottom buttons unfastened and ties knotted with the obligatory ‘dimple’!

So, concessions were made, and with official Brown in Town photographer, Remco Merbis, in tow, we set off for the hippest walled garden in the South West: rescheduling a shoot that was to feature tweed in the urban setting of the city to the rural setting which is The Ethicurean, was, in fairness, more a case of killing two birds with one stone.

What Remco had hoped to achieve with this Brown in Town shoot was to utilise as much natural light as possible. But, given the season where sun sets low in the sky, top floor of Pata Negra was such an ideal location: there are windows on either side of the building which let light stream in to the open plan bar area in the middle. Being outside at The Ethicurean afforded us as much light as the day had to offer of course, but I must confess, given the static nature of having one’s picture taken, it got a little chilly outside, even in tweed and even in the winter sun. However, our efforts were rewarded with delicious chocolate brownies with salt caramel and fresh coffee by our hosts, most kind indeed.

Now, in my humble opinion, there is tweed and there is tweed. The first being that most commonly used for shooting and stalking with either a course handle (see Jack’s Harris Tweed waistcoat) or a dry to the touch and rough handle (see #thornproofthursday) and the other, which is most commonly used for shooting the breeze (think boldly coloured and patterned tweeds most commonly seen at Cheltenham, or in rural pubs the length and breadth of the country). The tweed I am sporting was supplied by East London cloth merchants Crescent Trading, and has a beautifully soft handle, hence it is perfect for wearing both in a rural and an urban setting.

And it will come as little surprise, I’m sure, to the patrons of Brown in Town, that the sartorially inclined grooms among you have in fact made the Thornproof tweed one of the most sought after wedding suits this year – our Porter & Harding Thornproof has proved particularly popular – and why not! Not that Brown in Town isn’t just as happy making tweeds for the shooters, far from it, but it is nice to know that in Brown in Town’s first year we have attracted a following of other likeminded sartorialists, not to mention restaurateurs, and those for whom there is no ‘never’ before ‘brown in town’.

Season greetings one and all..

To The Manor Born

As the nights draw in, and the year to a close, the family Darby Minns look forward to a well deserved break ahead of the Christmas rush, albeit, not before we’ve celebrated Saffron Darby’s birthday with a Studio 54 themed party this weekend: come to think of it, one wonders if our week away might not be break-enough?!

And while Bristol’s local tailor was hoping for an opportunity to break-out one’s Speedos (they were all the rage when I lived in Brasil and last had access to a swimming pool, don’t you know) and soak up some mediterranean sunshine, alas, the memsahib is understandably concerned for the welfare of our saucepan lids given the nasties which are doing the rounds at present and so we are all set for a stay-cation.

So it’s off to the 14 acres of walled garden which is Woolley Grange in Bradford on Avon, for some fresh air, country walks, log fires, not to mention partaking of some fine wines and as much game as one can eat in a week! And well you may ask how we are to enjoy so many extra curricular pursuits with our offspring in tow; because Luxury Family Hotels, which owns Woolley Grange, will provide not only 2 hours of creche each day, but also a baby-listening service of an evening so that we can dine alone, and in peace.. eureka!

Of course, there will be plenty of activities for the ankle biters; an indoor swimming pool, a cinema and gardens, which I cannot wait to explore with my brood. In fact, just focusing on them without distractions is always a pleasure in itself. But let us be frank, what I am really looking forward to is to dressing for each and every occasion that present itself, just consider the possibilities: tweeds for roaming the grounds, (double breasted) blazer and flannels for dining, Speedos for swimming – obvs’, kaftan for evening wear and, if I can get it passed Saffron Darby, the brown velvet dinner suit which has been commissioned especially for her birthday celebrations this weekend – you never know when one might be afforded the opportunity to enjoy a cigar of an evening while in such splendid surroundings!

Brown in Town has enjoyed it’s inaugural years trading immensely and has received some wonderful commissions and forged some fantastic relationships with it’s patrons. We will be raising a glass, or two, to all of you from the armchair in front of the fire at Woolley Grange and we hope that you will join us in a toast to more of the same as we look ahead to the silly season, which will entail, I’m sure,  even more wedding suit commissions, not to mention a handful of dinner dinner suits, and of course, the New Year, when I will be measuring an old friend visiting from Spain and fitting motor racing legend John Surtees, no less.

So, while we are away, wrap up warm, for it is getting colder. And if you cannot do that, then feel free to commission Brown in Town to make for you an overcoat upon our return.

Cheers..!

Remember, remember; grow your mo’ for Movember!

While all and sundry were celebrating Halloween last night, the team from what must be the most popular charity in Bristol, given the number of moustaches per head: ‘Movember’ were celebrating the launch of this years campaign to raise awareness for men’s health.

While Movember’s primary focus has been prostate cancer, which affects an inordinate number of us chaps each year, and more than is necessary I shouldn’t wonder as a result of us not discussing our health in the name of machismo, and more’s the pity, they champion a raft of male health concerns.

But Movember laughs in the face adversity, and asks us to grow a moustache in the name of raising awareness, whilst having fun at the same time! Given the high number of lounge suits and wedding suits which Brown in Town has made for our patrons and grooms alike this year, whereby their moustache, or indeed beard, was a key factor in the selection of cloth colour, it comes as no surprise to Bristol’s local tailor, nor I’m sure, to the hirsute of this fine city, that Bristol is one of the greatest supporters of Movember.

This year, Movember’s new livery is in one’s favourite colour of orange: at least two of my suits are lined in this exciting autumnal colour, which brings a smile to my face each morning I put them on! And if you fear that your whiskers are not worthy of the cause, think again: Movember are not looking for the best Mo’, on the contrary, they are looking for the best mo’ that you can grow – or not as the case may be for those not blessed in the hirsute department.

For it is the taking part which is all important, and, ergo, the growing of the mo’, irrespective how impressive, is what raises money. Friends and family will donate to the cause, and, I’m sure, donate in the hope that you do not become too attached to the ol’ hairy lip, and see that it is shaved off at the end of the month!

On your marks, get set, Mo’..

Say It With Flowers

I’m not suggesting for one minute that a woman requires flowers every week; it is, after all, the thought that counts. But I do think that it is important for a man to have some understanding of how to buy flowers, as and when the need arises.

While I may be no authority on the subject, my local florist, Tilly Tomlinson Flowers, informs me that I am in the minority when it comes to selecting my own flowers for inclusion in the bunches of flowers and posies which I create for my good lady: I ought to point out at this juncture that I’m not a fan of the flouncy bouquet. I find traditional bouquets too gauche, and wrapped in too much garish translucent wrapping paper, preferring instead a posy-like bunch of flowers that is less ostentatious, particularly when wrapped in plain (brown) or coloured craft paper of which I have long since been a fan. I find this type of arrangement more architecturally pleasing to the eye, but, most of all, less cumbersome; tall flower arrangements thrash on the floor when I’m walking home at speed, late from the humidor! Posies on the other hand, are easy to carry, and also easy to sit in my Brompton bicycle’s front pannier bag, E.T. style.

And it is a mark of a good florist who allows you to be creative, who engages you in a conversation pertaining to the reason for your floral requirements e.g. anniversary, thank you or white flag etc. and who describes the different flowers available, and,  moreover makes subtle suggestion. For, if you are not naturally gifted in selecting the colours which are right for the occasion, and that is not to say that white is not the correct colour of flowers to purchase if you are in the dog house, some consideration of the season, or your good ladies favourite colours etc. is a good place to start when looking for inspiration.

But for those of you who are not fortunate enough to have an accommodating and sympathetic florist on your doorstep, with whom you have a good rapport, and with whom you can discuss your floral requirements, you may want to enlist the services of The Real Flower Company, who will be only too happy to discuss the particular occasion with you, and make suggestion on which flowers might be fitting.

And by way of assisting you in this floral quagmire, please allow me to shine some light on the end of this process at which to begin. The stems, as they are known in the trade, are, I would suggest, the place to start when creating your floral arrangement. And whether you go for scented roses – a rarity these days but for which The Real Flower Company are famed – or a selection of other English grown flowers, you can quite quickly put together an arrangement utilising the colours found within your chosen flower’s petals. For example; if you select my personal favourite, the aptly named cafe latte rose, there are, within each petal, shades of pink, flesh tones and coffee tones which are perfect for pairing with a bouquet’s herbs and foliage i.e. the greenery which fills-out the bunch, such as eucalyptus, for example. This is, for me, a tried and tested method for experimenting with colour, and one which I use in the selection of lining’s for a gentleman’s suit, and also jackets and overcoats, as well as shoes. And whereas you would expect the lining of your jacket to be but a single colour, you will more than likely find two fillers are provided for each flower you select, but be prepared to be guided by the experts once you have the initial floral selection made.

And whilst I was of the volition that the transport of one’s flowers was only a consideration for Bristol’s local tailor, it would seem that The Real Flower Co. have sought to improve upon even the design of the oft’ overlooked packaging of their delightful flowers, by means of a re-usable hat box; genius! Which means that you receive their flowers, the one’s that you selected, and not those selected by a third party, are delivered safely to your door, or those of your wife, memsahib, lover or mistress. And if you would prefer to hand-pick your own flowers, then you can visit The Real Flower Co. at Selfridges, London, or at their HQ in Petersfield, by appointment.

I do hope that she appreciates them..