Birthday Blog: Things What I Have Learned


I turn 45 today. And for the first time in many years I feel like celebrating my Birthday!

And what better way to kick-start the day I thought, than to put pen to paper! For I have learned that writing is my catharsis. So I thought I’d share just a few of the things which I have gleaned in my 45yrs on planet earth – though there are probably many things which I have learned at 33,000ft, like how emotional I become when in flight, but these are not tears of sadness, only joy!

Many of the things which I have learned I have read in magazines – I LOVE magazines; from the Surf and BMX magazines which I consumed in the 1970’s to the Skateboard magazines of the 1980’s and my current favourite Monocle Magazine; which keeps me up to speed with my former ex-pat life and it’s take on architecture, global affairs and style.

But the greatest lessons which I have learned have been through trial and error. And of those, perhaps the most pertinent lesson learned is that I should never say never, as I invariably, I will fall foul of my own hardline – Brown in Town takes it’s name from the sartorial turn of phrase “never brown in town”.

This would certainly be the case where my recent penchant for two-piece suits is concerned, as I am historically a three-piece man and vowed I would never wear a two-piece unless it was of the double-breasted variety. Indeed, there was a time when I said that I would never be a suit wearer.. Who Knew?!

From a young age it was quite clear that I wanted to dress in my own way, irrespective of what others were doing; not always the right choice I hasten to add. Which might explain my penchant for sartoria so late in life – I managed to be a suit dodger until I was in my mid-thirties, at which time I was introduced ‘to my tailor’ and the rest is history.

And though I may have joined the suit wearing masses, to my peers and certainly my family, I am still the odd-one-out. Buy it transpired that I enjoy being the odd-one-out. This came to me when I lived overseas where I felt at ease being the only Farang or Guilo in an otherwise South-East Asian community. Even being a white face in an otherwise Jamaican South London community appealed to me. I tell you this; the brothers knew a good suit when they saw one!

I have also learned that while my fellow man may have invented a great many wonderful things, mother nature can still compete; I walked to work this morning on my own two legs quicker than I would have got here by car, and while enjoying the sunshine to boot!

And Man may have made Gore-Tex to wick away heat in the summer sun, but linen suits can absorb 20% of their own weight in moisture; the man from Del Monte he say yay! Moreover, while a blend of manmade fibres can offer a crease-resistant suit, a relatively new cloth from the Smith Woollens mill offers crease a resistant cloth which coils a 4th yarn of wool around the other 3 yarns, causing it to spring back into shape: vivre la mother nature!

And contrary to popular opinion, the current trend for cropped jackets does nothing for the vertically challenged among us; for instead of giving the wearer the illusion of longer legs it actually reveals a short guy trying to make his legs look longer! In fact, it is the longer jacket which elongates the frame and provides a more elegant silhouette. The exception to the above would be the sports jacket, which I typically cut shorter as I have learned that it provides better balance and proportion in an ensemble which generally includes chinos or jeans, which have a shallower rise and, ergo look better with the hem of one’s jacket being inline with the top of the inside leg.

And as the name our tailoring house would suggest, one of our favourite lessons learned is that if you look good in a certain colour, then wear it. The caveat to this being that you must look good in the colour which you want to wear – men in particular have a habit of making their fashion choices in the same way they choose the colour of their cars i.e. they go for their favourite colour.

But if your favourite colour is purple, we suggest save the purple for the lining of your jacket or your braces, tie or even socks but not the suit itself! Unless of course your name is Prince.. RIP.

So enjoy the sunshine on my Birthday and many happy returns to my fellow Taureans! And remember; legends are born in May, so they say..!

Brown in Town