Once Bitten, Forever Smitten
Last week I had the unfortunate duty of laying an old friend (too young to die) to rest. Not only was Simon an incredible athlete and skateboarder, he brought a smile to many faces over the years, not least his wonderful family who now have a huge void where Simon’s beaming face once was. May you rest in peace old boy..
Like so many friends that we grow up with, we lose touch over the years as our lives take us down different paths, but it was nice to see some familiar faces and reminisce about the good ol’ days when we were footloose and fancy free.
Our reunion, as it was, also afforded me an opportunity to wax sartorial with one of my fellow skateboarders about his own sartorial journey which I’ve watched unfold with great pleasure on Facebook. Steve was also an exceptional skateboarder, with a fun sense of style who I’ve wanted to quiz for some time about his recent induction into the world of bespoke tailoring and how he had come to embark upon the journey.
It transpires that, in the old fashioned way, Steve was introduced to his tailor by his sister who used to work alongside the in-house tailor of John Lewis in London. Upon leaving John Lewis, he set-up shop in Reading where Steve makes the pilgrimage whenever he wants something made – I should point out that Steve lives in south London so Reading is quite some distance, but when you have found your man, it is worthwhile and you are unlikely ever to take your customer elsewhere.
So confident is this chap that once a customer has tried his services they will never stray from his path, he purports to make them their first suit at a loss, safe in the knowledge he’ll have a customer for life. Savvy.
While Brown in Town may not offer the first garment we make for our customers at a loss, I have always been of the volition that if you take care of your customers and their needs before your own, they will be with you for life – looking out for tomorrow, if you will.
However, I am oft’ surprised by the limited view that people have of a traditional tailor in terms of what it is that he makes i.e. that a tailor makes suits only and not much else. Given that suits would be the reason that 80% of our customers knock on our door, I suppose this is, perhaps, fair enough. But did you know, for example, that Brown in Town makes more shirts than it does trousers?
Given that Brown in Town have been dressing many of our patrons for many years, I often take for granted that it is understood just how much of a man’s wardrobe we can make – but this would be a folly.
Tailors will make for you pretty much anything that requires a needle and thread, for example, overcoats of varying styles and lengths i.e. a single breasted Crombie style, or double breasted reefer. Suits of two or three pieces (the third piece being a waistcoat or vest, not an extra pair of trousers). Single breasted jackets or double breasted jackets. Trousers or slacks (albeit an Americanism I often use the term slacks to define casual trousers like chinos or traditional style trousers worn as separates as with a jacket of a different colour and/or cloth). Shorts to smarten-up an otherwise casual ensemble, giving the wearer the opportunity to choose a colour which is flattering of their skin tone – not necessarily a consideration for trousers, but above all to ensure a comfortable-jib with a flattering silhouette – I have historically favoured a double continental-pleat (facing outwards as opposed the English pleat which faces inwards which I prefer in trousers) and a turn-up. Shirts for both work and play – often it is the cuff that defines one style from t’other i.e. double-cuffs are more often worn for work and single-cuffs on casual shirts. Also, casual shirts are often worn without a tie and, ergo, have a collar which reflects this, for example the Kent collar which has wingtips closer together and which do not disappear beneath one’s jacket lapels when worn unfastened – as a cutaway shirt collar would.
We also make tailored shorts for the summer months as well as overcoats for the winter ones. It is perhaps little known, but it makes sense does it not. Broadly, any garment made using a pattern, where the various pieces are stitched together with a seam and an inlay that can be both taken-in, or let out, is an item of clothing which can be tailor made.
And just as our own personal style is refined over the years, so can your tailor made garment’s if you afford your tailor the opportunity to make more than just your business duds, or your wedding suit.
For those who appreciate the luxury of having something made and made to their own specifications, using their own measurements, once is never enough – and why should it be – and why should you stop at having just your suits made..
So, before you have need of a new linen or seersucker jacket for summer, or short sleeve shirts for your hols, or even a pair of chinos that won’t cut you in half, look to your clothier of choice and enquire if they can’t rustle you up something unique, made just for you, and in the comfort of their studio and their good company.