Winter can be a testing season - not least as there can often be ice to scrape off the car, train cancellations due to brutal weather, and much greater difficulty in keeping warm. However, for this time of year, finding attire that keeps the cold at bay while still looking smart does not necessarily have to be arduous.
Here are three particular style elements that can prove especially effective during those colder months and, here at Fielding & Nicholson, we can put into clothing for you.
Besides being a good sales tactic(!) there is a very good reason for buying an extra pair of trousers when you purchase your bespoke suit.
Want to look your best this winter? Then read on to discover our top tips for men’s wear style this autumn/winter season. It’s all about the fabric and the cut, so it’s time to get your wardrobe in order.
Want to step out in style? Then step into our new showroom in Shoreditch. We’re pleased to announce that our new showroom has opened for business.
If you’ve been disappointed with the cut, fit or quality of the suits you’ve purchased in the past, then make your way to Fielding and Nicholson. Step through our doors, and you’ll find a range of handmade off the peg suits, a fitting room, our cutting table and a plethora of fabrics from which to choose a custom made suit. Our skilled tailoring team will also be on hand to assist you.
Ever wondered what the difference is between a tuxedo and a suit – then read on to find out.Satin accents
The choice and use of fabric is a key factor in distinguishing between a tuxedo and a suit. Satin is traditionally employed on tuxedos to provide accents throughout. A satin matching your tuxedo would be used to face or trim the lapels, to cover the buttons, trim the pockets and to make a single stripe down the outside of each leg.
Satin, on the other hand, isn’t seen on a suit. The fabric would be the same throughout, with even the buttons covered to match or alternatively, a classic horn or tortoise shell style instead. The cut, cloth, and style of a suit can vary far more than that of a tuxedo can.
Tuxedos are worn with formal white shirts that have either a wing collar or a turndown collar –though please note debretts disapprove of the former. Tuxedo shirts traditionally have a pleated front too. Suits can be worn with a wider variety of shirts, in either a patterned or a plain fabric.
The cut of your trousers
When it comes to the trousers of your tuxedo, not only will you find satin trims running down the outer side of your legs, but they’ll often have a tapered cut too. You may not find belt loops on the waist – so buy some braces if you need them (though a properly tailored trouser shouldn’t require them).
I t’s all about the accessories
Accessories also mark a distinction between the tuxedo and the suit. Wear a tuxedo, and you’ll be dressed more formally, with cufflinks, button studs, a waistcoat or a cummerbund and perhaps a bowtie too. You might also have a white silk handkerchief peeping from your top left pocket. Wear a suit on the other hand, and you’ll wear a long tie, either with or without a waistcoat.
Shoes at the ready
A high shine patent black dress shoe is the traditional footwear for a tuxedo, whilst with your suit, you have a greater range of options – a traditional oxford perhaps, though you might get away with a more casual loafer or slip-on style. You’ll have a broader range of colours to choose from too, black, brown or tan and more besides – but remember, the darker the shoe, the more formal it is considered.
Where do you wear them? Well, the tuxedo is worn for more formal, usually evening events, such as a black tie wedding, a gala or an awards ceremony, whilst a dark suit will take you pretty much anywhere, from date to board meeting.
Rules it has been said, are made to be broken , the points above explain the key distinctions between the suit and the tuxedo – but more and more now you find the distinctions blurred, tuxedos made with very little satin or worn with a long tie, for instance.
Just in case you were wondering, a tuxedo might also be called a dinner jacket or black tie , whilst white tie is a different thing altogether and much more formal to boot.
London is the traditional capital of menswear . To find the right suit for your special occasion, make an appointment to have a bespoke suit cut specifically for you .
If you’re looking for a style icon to emulate in 2017, read on to discover our pick of the pack and a few hints and tips on their sartorial style.1.Dev Patel
Dev Patel has graduated to style icon following his recent appearances on the red carpet, from the white dinner jacket he donned for the Oscars to the dark blue tuxedo he wore at the Baftas. These days he can be seen in a slim fitting suit, crisp white shirt and a classic pair of well-polished oxfords. Off-duty, he’ll relax in looser, more casual attire, but whichever way he’s dressed, he’ll top it off with his natural, tousled hair. He might not have won his best supporting actor award – but he’s a style icon in our book. What’s not to love about a man who takes his mum along to the Oscars?
2.Prince Michael of Kent
The most dapper member of the Royal Family, known for his signature cotton monaco hat. He’s seen about town wearing a perfectly tailored double-breasted wool blazer, teamed with a high collared shirt and a tie worn in a full Windsor knot – a combination that works brilliantly for him. He’s not afraid of bold pattern and can be seen mixing stripes, spots, and checks to great effect. That’s before we get to the beard, a beard that has a hint of a tsar about it. Prince Michael of Kent our style icon.
Stylish, multi-talented and modest to boot – what’s not to like about Eddie Redmayne. Oscar winner, Burberry model, he's wowed us on screen and off. He loves a suit, whether he's dressed to the nines in a tuxedo for the Oscars or rocking a pinstripe suit with a hint of vintage in its styling. He's comfortable in a suit out and about on the town, as he is at a gala. Cleverly matching a smart jacket and waistcoat with an open collar and worn chinos or flinging on a dapper scarf to muffle him from the cold. He regularly cuts a dash in blue and sometimes adds a hint of claret or green too. He's not afraid of texture either, often seen sporting velvet. Eddie Redmayne - style icon.
Idris knows the value of clothes cut from a good quality fabric and tailored to fit him impeccably. A statement coat, worn with monochrome separates, is a key element of his signature style, often adding an eye-catching splash of mustard or kingfisher blue to his outfit. He’s not afraid of pattern either, sporting a houndstooth check coat or a polka dot tie to liven up his outfits. Cutting a dash about town, Idris is a style icon from which to take note.
Designer, fashion director, buyer and style icon - Nick Wooster leads the pack when it comes to men's fashion. He's worked for some of the leading lights in the fashion and retail world. He can often be seen sporting a smart jacket and a bespoke shirt with sleeves tailored to show off his tattoos. He’s not afraid to throw in a bold pattern here and there either. Sunglasses, plus his distinctive moustache and beard, top off his personal style code. Classic style with a twist personified.
You might have seen Tom Hardy looking a little scary recently in ‘Taboo,' but clock him in a three-piece suit, and there’s something of the dapper Edwardian gentleman about him. Tom favours a dark suit, of the finest quality fabric and he’s not afraid to throw in texture and pattern too – in fact, the latter is an integral part of his style - championing the windowpane suit. He’ll top off his three-piece with keynote accessories such as a tie pin or watch fob. We’ve all seen him looking a little more casual in cargo trousers and a text strewn t-shirt too. However, whether he’s dressing up or down, attention to detail is the defining ingredient of Tom’s style which raises his sartorial efforts above the pack. Tom Hardy - fashion chameleon, we salute you.
There you have it, our style icons for 2017 and a few hints and tips on recreating their personal style. We hope you’ve found it helpful.
Do you like to wear slim fitting jeans or casual trousers when you’re out and about? Then perhaps a slim fitting suit would be the right choice for you. Want to know how you should be wearing one? Then read on to find out.A slim fitting suit, when fitted properly, will flatter your figure, following (rather than hiding) the natural contours of your body. You won’t find as much excess fabric as you would in a more traditional cut, and the suit itself will create a sharper silhouette.
When it comes to the jacket, the shoulder seams should sit at the end of your shoulder blades, let them drop off the end, and you’ll have too much fabric for the slim fit you’re trying to achieve. Too narrow at the shoulders and you’ll have unflattering and tell-tale pull marks across your back. A slim fitting jacket will also tend to have higher armholes and more tapered sleeves too. The lapels will also mirror the slimmer cut, being narrower than on a traditional suit. The body of the jacket will nip in a little at the waist, to show off your physique – but it shouldn’t be too tight. Here’s a rule of thumb, you should be able to do up all of your buttons comfortably and when you pop your thumb behind the top button – you should be able to pull it away from your body by about an inch – anymore, and you won’t achieve a sharp silhouette. Too tight and you’ll get a deeply unflattering ‘x’ mark where your jacket is straining at the button.
Like the jacket, the trousers will have a more tapered fit than a traditional suit, being slightly narrower at the ankle than at the thigh. A slim fitting suit should give you a couple of inches to spare both at your thighs and ankles, so take a pinch to see – if there’s any less, then you’re looking at a skinny fit instead. When it comes to length, the trousers will usually be fitted to a slightly shorter length than a traditional suit, just reaching the top of your shoes – covering your bows but not the rest of your laces.
A word about accessories, when you’re wearing a slim-fitting suit, the rest of your clothes should echo the slim, sleek look too. So do search out a slim fitting tie and tie it appropriately . As Debrett’s say “ties serve no practical purpose so they might as well serve a sartorial one ” – so find the right one for your suit. Don’t forget you’ll need a slim fitting shirt or you’ll risk finding yourself with unsightly lumps and bumps around your waist. Look for shoes with a more tapered look too.
When you first put on a slim fitting suit, it will feel snugger than you’re used to, and you might need a little time to adjust to it. Accurate measuring is a must to find a slim fitting suit that fits and flatters you. To find a slim fitting suit that you’ll feel comfortable in and that you can be sure compliments your natural stance, contact us today .
Our client’s purchase a large variety of bespoke garments, ranging from über smart dinner wear through to relaxed casual linen shirts and chinos. Less frequently however, do we get requests for bespoke loungewear. Not being a company to turn down a challenge, we sat down with the imaginative client and discussed style.The client was already – unsurprisingly - a bespoke addict. Having already filled his suiting wardrobe we knew his style well, but this time he desired something a little different. With the business suits we made for him we had decided to keep them dark and subtle, while we branched out a little further for his casual garments, letting his creative flair free. This resulted in much brighter more textured garments for him to wear to parties and casual events. The gown was to be somewhere between the two styles, business smartness with casual colour and depth.
The client had found the cloth by chance whilst on his travels and immediately had the idea of a dressing gown. He showed us several meters of the beautifully unique 12oz wool herringbone in maroon and cream, and asked if it would be suitable for the robe that his imagination had conjured.
A tailor’s inspection of the cloth revealed that the cloth was certainly heavy enough to keep the client warm but though the lightly brushed wool was very soft to touch, it may feel itchy on bare skin. This wouldn’t be a problem however – by lining the gown in silk (much like a suit), a luxurious barrier between skin and cloth is created. A maroon twill lining was selected to match the cloth and the designing began.
After sketching a few draft versions, we found ourselves looking at one perfect design and one grinning client. The final design combined elements of both suiting styles and run of the mill dressing gown aesthetic. It was to have two patch pockets on the hip – as one would expect on a dressing gown– and a patch breast pocket, which is more commonly seen on suit jackets. The cuffs would be turned back to reveal the lining and the tops of the pockets would have a band of the lining showing to match the cuffs. The lapel would be a wide shawl, also in the lining cloth. We debated adding quilting to the lapel, but eventually decided that having the detail of quilting next to an already busy herringbone would create too much of a messy finish.
The resulting design was a gown that somewhat resembles an elongated smoking jacket with a dressing gown belt. Perfect.
Unlike a coat or a suit, one needs to be able to perform a wide range of movement in a dressing gown. Where a jacket or coat would be removed to sit, a dressing gown would be kept on while the wearer sips his morning coffee and reads his newspaper. This meant the client’s existing patterns would be redundant. Where his normal style calls for silhouette hugging precision, the gown would have to be much looser on all fronts. A new, larger pattern was created and used to cut a first fitting of the gown in an alternative scrap cloth. Once chalked, pinned and analysed, the first fitting was taken apart and re-cut to the new measurements. Once re-constructed with the alterations, we called in the client for his second fitting. Bingo. The new pattern was perfect.
It was a little larger on the chest and shoulder than his suit jackets, but was still fitted enough to maintain shape without bunching or pleating. The waist, seat and sleeve measurements were all increased substantially to allow for more movement. The shoulders fit very similarly to that of a coat while the body was loosened for comfort. The mix of suit style and dressing gown comfort was achieved. An ever-increasingly excited client was sent away again - his next fitting would be final.
Well, with regards to monitoring ones carbon footprint that is. But relating to suits, casual jackets and trousers alike; this year green is being seen ever more frequently and luckily for us, wearing green is easy. So how can you do it?First things first, it’s worth looking at the shades of green you have to work with. While a suit in a deep forest green cloth would radiate a dark and subtle air, the same suit in a luminous lime green cloth would convey flamboyance and eccentricity. It is for this reason that you should carefully consider where you intend to wear the garment. Are you trying to peacock at a party or are you just spicing up an otherwise blue and grey dominated work-wear wardrobe?
The season should also impact your choice of shade. Speaking mostly of casual garments; in the summer brighter colours are the norm, while in the winter darker more autumnal colours are favoured. Though brighter suits are sometimes seen in offices during the summer months, turning up in any suit of a particularly bright nature is risky. So as a rule of thumb, the darker shades of green will be more formal and therefore acceptable for the office, lighter shades will suit summer casual the best.
As well as the season affecting your choice of garment colour it should also affect your choice of cloth material. Swatch 2, for example, is made from an 8oz linen and cotton blend. Both linen and cotton are natural fibers with great breathability – perfect for keeping cool in the heat of summer, less perfect for insulation on a cold winter’s day. The only real down side to cotton and linen – either blended or alone – is that they will crease very easily. It is for this reason that they make great casual jackets; full suits however will become very crumpled and lose their formality.
If you are choosing to have a full suit made up in green, choosing a cloth with just one solid colour will make it easier to dress up to be more formal. For example, dressing a deep British racing green (Pictured bottom left) suit with a crisp white shirt, burgundy knit tie and oxblood monk strap shoes will give you a smart look similar to that of your normal navy suit and white shirt. An alternative look for the same suit might consist of a tan brogue and a light blue shirt worn with an open collar – this is much more relaxed look, perfect for after work drinks in the sun.
If you are happy with regular work-wear colours for your suits but like more unusual casual garments, then a brighter or a patterned green cloth may be more to your taste (See swatches 2, 3, 5 and 6). For example, a jacket made up of swatch 2 would pair beautifully with cream chinos, dark brown brogues and an open collar denim shirt. For a look more casual still, pair the same jacket with a pair of blue jeans and an off-white polo shirt and clean white sneakers.
There are cloths with so many shades and patterns available that creating your own unique look has almost endless possibilities. From a dark (swatch 4) single-breasted wool suit to a double breasted olive (swatch 1) cotton suit, the right suit for you is out there.
Many thanks to Scabal for the swatch pictures. Swatches 1, 6 and 4 are from their New Deluxe bunch which consists of a huge variety of lightweight, colourful super 100 wool cloths. Swatch 2 is from the Amalfi bunch, which is full of spectacular patterned cloths made up of wool-linen-cotton-silk blends. As is the St. Tropez bunch from which Swatch 3 has come. Swatch 5 is from the Mosaic bunch, which boasts a selection of beautiful checks in 130 super wools.
In the fashion world there will always be shifts in style as new designs are introduced to the world. A lot of the time these designs are so flamboyant in both style and in colour that they are simply un-wearable in any real world setting.
However, after the initial display of these elaborate runway-show garments, the designs filter through many design technicians and marketing teams alike before said garments are ready for ‘general consumption’, as it were. It is these garments that hit the high street each season and form the coming months taste, stylistically speaking. For example, we’ve seen a rise in long line and torn clothing from within the casual wear industry while the suit industry has been brimming with slim and skinny fits.
Where this is true for high street clothing, it is quite the opposite for traditional bespoke tailoring and its stylish reliability. As we know, the techniques used for creating bespoke suits has remained relatively unchanged for over centuries. In-house tailors advise clients during meetings on cloths and styles. Because tailoring has been traditionally kept in-house like this, only a few tweaks in style have appeared over the years.
This was true up until recent years when the new age of technology opened to the world up to apps like Pinterest and Instagram. With these it became much easier for people to find pictures of the loud runway suit styles and draw inspiration from them. When they then take these ideas to their tailors they have a much more unique, individual idea of what they want their suit to look like. Thus the evolution of bespoke tailoring begins.
Only a few decades ago, suits were seen in mostly subtle greys and blues with pinstripes being the louder option. Now it isn’t uncommon to see much brighter cloths in checks, stripes and various elaborate patterns. For office-wear, the blues and greys remain popular of course but it is in the more casual settings that the louder suits are getting their time to shine.
It is clear that the world is changing faster than ever, as technology offers new ways to create suits with the likes of laser cutting, for example. Even the world renowned tailoring houses of Savile row are changing the way they work; older generations of tailors are beginning to retire, leaving the legacies in the hands of the new generation.
While the shift from subtle old school tailoring to the new age bright tailoring may seem ridiculous to some, it is a change that must be embraced. Old and new can work together and that is what Fielding and Nicholson aims to achieve. By bridging the gap between the expensive old-school Savile row methods and the more affordable new age tech tailoring we bring bespoke back into the 21st century.
Owning a fully bespoke handmade suit is a pleasure like no other and that pleasure will never fade - but it does come with a larger price tag. Choose a suit cut by computer and assembled by hand and you will have the best of both worlds. Or, choose to go made to measure with an entirely computerised suit – there’s an option for everyone. The biggest perk of all? You can browse the internet for inspiration to your hearts content and when you find the style you want – no matter how ornate it may be – you know you can have it made just like that, because its bespoke. We look forward to seeing your styles!
Many gentlemen confuse the two and then don’t understand why their fitted suit doesn’t last as long as their looser suits, even though they both “fit”. The difference is quite simple: if a suit
, it follows your natural body shape precisely and will fit like a second skin. A
suit on the other hand will be much closer to the body. This will accentuate the figure of the wearer, which perhaps is why younger or more athletic gents tend to choose them.
It is more of a fashion trend to have a fitted suit, whereas suits that fit are more of a classic style. Though there is nothing wrong with favoring fitted suits, they are more likely to wear quicker due to extra stress on the tightly pulled seams.
Suits that fit
The shoulder on suits that fit will end exactly on your natural shoulder. The sleeve will then fall in a straight, un-interrupted line. The wearer will notice that the suit is hugging them a little closer than they might be used to if they are typically an off the peg wearer, however there will be enough cloth for the wearer to still move comfortably in.
The waist on suits that fit will gently follow the wearer’s natural waist, with about an inch of allowance for comfort and movement. There should be no “X” shape on the cloth around where the button fastens.
The sleeve on suits that fit will allow for plenty of movement, whilst still eliminating extra cloth that would give a baggy look to the sleeve.
The trousers on suits that fit will fall completely straight down the creases that run along the front and back of the trouser. There will be 1.5+ inches of room in the thigh and a little more at the hem – often between 2-3 inches more. This means that when the wearer walks there is still plenty of space for the leg to move without putting pressure on the seams, likewise when the wearer is seated and their thighs expand. At the hem of the trouser will typically be either a ½ or ¼ break – dependent on the wearer’s taste, which helps with maintaining clean lines with no baggy excess cloth.
Suits that are fitted
The shoulder on a fitted suit will finish just before the wearer’s natural shoulder does, resulting in a tighter fit across the wearers back. Instead of the sleeve falling straight and smooth line down the arm, the cloth will instead bend around the wearers shoulder cap. Movement is reduced and - depending on how tight the shoulder is – the seams will be under higher pressure, which will weaken them over time.
The waist on a fitted suit will be cut much closer to the body, to the point that there is often no allowance for movement. This means that while a slimmer aesthetic may have been achieved, there will be an “X” around the fastened button where the cloth is pulling.
The sleeve on a fitted suit will be much slimmer, following the wearer’s arm much more closely. This means that as the wearer bends their arms, the cloth will hug the muscles closely as they expand – a desirable trait for anyone proud of their gym achievements.
The trousers on a suit that is fitted will be much slimmer at the hem, often offering as little as 1 inch of room for the leg to move around in. Through the knee and thigh the trouser will also be much tighter and as a result the seat will hug the wearers buttocks closely. The hem of the trouser often stops well before the shoe; meaning breaks on fitted trousers are seen much less often. If the trouser were to be left at normal length whist so close to the wearer’s leg, the result would be unsightly bunching at the ankle. The reduced room in the trouser will aid in showing off slimmer legs but will reduce flexibility and durability.
A fitted suit will serve well at keeping the wearer in-trend and will assist in highlighting an athletic figure. In terms of day-to-day wear however, the tightly pulled seams will give way much quicker over time. For a party or one-off event, your fitted suit will serve you well. If however you’re a daily suit wearer, you’re going to get a more comfortable and longer lasting garment if you choose to wear a suit that fits.
“A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them” – Hardy Amies.
Buying your clothes with intelligence is easy when you have the combined brainpower of yourself and your trusted tailor. With your own sense of style and your tailors knowledge on cloth types and suit styles, you can be sure that what you’re buying will suit your environment and taste whilst fitting both your body & needs.
For example, a tan linen suit looks great in a bar at the weekend in Italy but in the office in the middle of British winter you will simply look foolish. This relates specifically to those of you who are notorious impulse buyers. Yes – the green velvet cloth you’ve been shown is beautiful and it’s understandable that you want it, but thinking realistically – are you really going to wear it?
Dressing with care relates to the way you pair your individual items together to create your outfit. Having bespoke clothes will make you look sharp, but even bespoke items will look out-of-place if the outfit is not carefully put together. An example would be dressing for an important meeting by pairing your immaculate navy business suit with a loud checked shirt and an equally offensive tie. Even though the look might work in a more quirky and casual environment, turning up to a meeting like this will only serve in making you look out of place. Had you have taken more care in the outfit; you would perhaps have paired the navy suit with a crisp white shirt and a burgundy tie. This would have created a classic professional look that couldn’t have failed.
The same goes for the more detailed parts of your look; a mistake like a clashing tie and shirt is a particularly dramatic example. Details like wearing brown shoes and a black belt is something seen all too often. Black shoes = black belt. Silver watch = Silver cufflinks. These little touches are what makes all the difference and is what separates a good outfit from a perfect outfit.
Forgetting about it
How often do you find yourself fiddling with your tie knot, tugging at your cuffs, re-tying your shoelaces or rescuing a sunken pocket square? Little things that you don’t really think about, but all of the above points contribute two negative points that rub off on your image:
1.) Constant fidgeting with your outfit shows a lack of poise. Fiddling gives the impression of dis-comfort and nervousness – an undesirable look especially in a professional environment.
2.) By playing with your cuffs or pocket-square all day, it is likely you will dirty them. A crisp white shirt is clean and professional. A white shirt with dirtied fingerprints all over the cuffs and collar will do a grand job in making you look like a careless schoolboy, writhing in his uncomfortable new uniform.
The cures here are simple: firstly, buy intelligently to start with. If your sleeves are made bespoke to your measurement, you will never need to chase your cuff in order to keep it the correct length. If you buy a tie that is wide enough for you to comfortably create a knot that you don’t have to play with, you wont need to re-adjust every ten minutes.
Secondly, be more careful when you dress. Double knot your shoelaces to prevent a rogue lace. Use a tie bar to pin your tie down if you know you’re going to be distracted by it. Pin your pocket square in place if you know it has a devious habit of sliding out of sight.
Have you caught the theme? A (Intelligent buying) + B (Careful dressing) = C (Forgetting about it). Successful execution of this sartorial equation will result in you looking smarter and being more poised, therefore helping you stand out as the leading man (or woman) in any office.
Such a small addition to any gents wardrobe, and yet one that holds so many faux pas. If worn correctly however, a tie bar is a great understated way of adding a little personal touch to ones look.
Not only a style feature, the tie bar is a functional item used to hold your tie to your shirt. Though its purpose shouldn’t come as a shock, it is surprising just how often you will see a rogue tie ending up dunked in a coffee, with a redundant tie bar clinging to the tie uselessly. So, without further ado:
Wear your tie bar if you are wearing a two-piece suit. You’ll be adding both an extra detail to an otherwise simple look and of course you will have a secured tie for the rest of the day.
Match your metals. If you wear other jewelry such as a watch and/or rings, match your tie bar to the metal of those. Silver with silver, gold with gold.
Wear your tie bar between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt. This position should be more or less in line with your breast pocket, which achieves a symmetrical look.
Once you’ve clipped your bar in place, pull the body of the tie upwards from the tie bar. This will bring the top of the tie out a little, adding depth and detail to your look.
Wear a tie bar that is bigger than your tie. For the best look, the bar should cover 3 quarters of the tie, though you can get away with it spanning across half the tie. Anything smaller or bigger will look out of balance.
Wear the tie bar at an angle. Suits are all about balance, proportion and symmetry. Your breast pocket is perfectly horizontal and the placket of your shirt is perfectly vertical, having a randomly angled tie bar will throw the symmetry of the suit off.
Don’t wear a tie bar with a waistcoat or cardigan. The bars purpose is to hold the tie back to your shirt, but if you are wearing a waistcoat, the tie is already going to be pinned to your shirt. Having a tie bar as well as a waistcoat is a belt and braces situation.
Hopefully you are now fully aware of the benefits of a humble tie bar. It’s also worth noting that tie bars will work on plain, patterned, knit or silk ties alike. They’re also versatile enough that you could wear them with smart casual wear. A pair of brogues, dark jeans, check shirt and knit tie with a tie bar for example is a great smart-cas look. Experiment to your own taste with your newfound knowledge!
For a boss or high positioned member of a team, setting a standard is best achieved by leading by example. When there is a time they must arrive to work or a meeting, they will arrive early. When there is a deadline they have to meet, they beat it. When there is a dress code – they own it. In most offices, this means suiting up, and for the bosses, this means going the extra mile.
Less senior members of the team will of course have less of a budget and this leads the majority of work forces to buy the bare minimum that they can get away with. The result? A clear sartorial divide between the senior and junior members of staff.
So, when pushing for a promotion there are a few tips to bare in mind. The first two tips are simple: Firstly, make sure that you always a rrive to work or meetings at the same time as or earlier than the bosses – a simple case of time management will go a long way. Secondly, d on’t just meet your deadlines; destroy them. If you’ve been given a week to complete a project, take some time out of a few evenings and do the project in half a week. Aside a little extra effort, implementing these two tips will cost you nothing and will help you stand out. All that remains is the wardrobe. So how do you dress like your bosses?
First and foremost, the most important point to note when power-dressing is fit. If you haven’t enough cash for a bespoke or Made to Measure, adjust what you have to fit you. Tight or loose suits will make you look inexperienced in wearing a suit and by extension – make you look more junior.
For the most part, dark suits are the safest choice to help you project a message of power. Like dinner suits; they’re dark, simple and they project an image of power and wealth. For example, a midnight blue or black suit paired with a crisp white shirt, a well shined pair of shoes and a dark or monochrome tie will look bold and immaculate. Think Harvey Specter of Suits.
Your other option is to call on an old favorite of bankers, lawyers and Wall Street big shots. The pinstripe. A navy suit with a white pinstripe instantly grabs attention, giving you an immediate presence in any room – perfect for standing out to your bosses. Pair the suit with a blue shirt with contrasting white collar and cuffs and a bold red tie for a splash of eye-catching colour - Wolf of wall street style.
Generally speaking, day-to-day office suits will be two piece single breasted and with a notched lapel. If you were to first change the lapel to a wide peak, you would draw the eyes to your shoulder thus giving the illusion of height and width to your torso. Appearing taller and broader brings connotations of being the alpha; powerful, strong and boss-like. The next suggested change would be the addition of a waistcoat.
The waistcoat increases the suits formality, adds an extra detail and means you have the option of removing your jacket and still looking smart – useful in the heat of summer. If you’re not a fan of the three piece, a double breasted suit is another great way off adding formality to your look, whilst also adding width and height to your torso with its peak lapels.
The devil is always in the detail. On your suits, choosing to have a ticket pocket adds extra detail to your suit that is not often seen on off the peg suits, thus giving you an edge. Coloured button holes on the jacket cuff will also add detail that shows that the garment you’re wearing is bespoke or made to measure. On your shirts having a pin collar adds detail and individuality to your look, as does using other unusual collar choices, like a tab collar or wide cutaway.
A lot of these choices are very specific and therefore are best achieved through buying a made to measure or bespoke suit. Though more expensive, investing in just one immaculate bespoke power suit will pay for itself when you need to be noticed – and it will serve for many years. And besides; once you’ve invested in one to help earn yourself a promotion, you’ll be able to replenish your whole wardrobe with the new and improved paycheck. Good luck…
Though we have all been taught from a young age not to judge a book by its cover, the way you choose to style and wear your suits does convey a certain message about you. The same can be said of the rings you choose to wear. Some are symbolic, some are just for decoration, but all give a little insight into the taste of the gentleman wearing them.
Wearing rings on either your left or right hand is acceptable, though engagement and wedding rings are most commonly worn on the left. As the majority of the population is right handed, this hand is seen as being more “physical”. For this reason, rings worn on the right hand are more visible and so tend to be more decorative.
Though wearing rings on both hands is acceptable, wearing several rings on both hands simultaneously will greatly increase the risk of you looking like a Mr T impersonator – beware!
Thumb rings traditionally convey the message of power and wealth. This is because for the ring to remain in proportion with ones thumb, the rings are mostly chunky and bold making them a statement often associated with the more wealthy among us. With plenty of space between your thumb and fingers, thumb rings are an effective way of wearing several rings at once without cluttering up your hands.
Index finger rings
Rings worn on the index finger are immediately noticeable. Many index finger rings will bear designs with meaning to the wearer, such as family crests and class rings. In the past, rings bearing an emblem – such as a family crest - would be used to press a seal into the wax of an envelope. Doing this would have been easiest with the index finger, thus the tradition of crest rings on the index finger.
Middle finger rings
Middle finger rings are quite an uncommon choice. This is mostly because of the index and ring finger being so close, wearing a bulky ring can rub and hinder manual tasks. For this reason, middle finger rings are generally slim and simple and tend to be favored by gentlemen new to wearing rings and wish to avoid louder rings that you would expect to be worn on other fingers.
Fourth finger rings
The right fourth finger sporting a ring symbolises engagement, whilst the left ring finger with a ring symbolises marriage. These relationship related rings are normally of plainer design in silver or gold. If a ring is being worn on the ring finger and has more substantial detail, it is very likely that the ring is being worn for decoration, rather than as a symbol of commitment.
Pinky fingers are where the boldest rings are found. Being the smallest finger, large decorative rings stand out and because they are at a distance from the dominant index and middle fingers, they cause no problem when performing manual tasks.
As with your leathers, matching your metals will bring a look together perfectly. So silver cufflinks would be best paired with a silver ring, silver watch, silver tie bar, etcetera.
It is also important to bear in mind the environment in which you will be wearing your rings. A lot of rings, or one very flashy ring will be fine with your casual or smart casual wear, but if worn with a very formal suit for the office, you may be seen as ostentatious. For office and formal wear it is a much safer bet to opt for fewer and more subtle rings.
Here in the Fielding and Nicholson offices, we recently began discussing the most popular choices of suit colour from 2016. We’ve seen a huge array of colours and styles over the course of the year, including greens, reds and even a brave yellow or two!
But above all else, the most popular colour this year has been blue. Though grey is a close second, grey suits tend to be chosen predominantly in a darker charcoal shade for work wear. Blue however has been consistently used throughout this year in a stunning array of different hues – as shown in the collection of images below.
The summer months of this year held many weddings – as one would expect. With these weddings being in the light of the sun, spectacular shades of turquoise and teal were a popular choice with some of our clients. Free from the restrictions of an office, darker blues and navys were over-ruled by lighter shades. These lighter colours are enhanced by the natural light, which makes these suits really pop – perfect for standing out on their big day.
For our clients that simply wanted to smarten up their day-to-day office wear; ever-faithful navies were chosen. As Tom Ford once said “every man should have a well cut dark suit” and navy is the most versatile dark suit that any man can own.
Congratulations to all that were wed this year in their bespoke F & N suit!
If you’ve ever had a browse through men’s autumn style tips, there’s a fair chance you’ve come across the term “layering”. This means quite literally what it says on the tin; to stack your garments up in layers, partially for warmth, partially for style.
So how do you effectively layer and at what point does it get ridiculous? Well, we’ll start with some basic ideas.
Formal layering examples
With your suit for example, you might choose to wear; a normal work shirt (1st layer), a tie (2ndlayer), a V-neck (3rd layer), a suit (4th layer), a scarf (5th layer) and finally a coat (6th layer).
This is a fairly common example of layering used in the city. In order to add a little personal flair and detail, the trick is to mix up the colours and textures. Most gentlemen that work in an office will rarely step out of the confines of grey, blue and black, however autumn opens up a few more colour options. Burnt oranges, forest greens, deep reds and earthy browns are great ways of adding a touch of detail, without making the wearer look like a dandy.
Using the aforementioned layering example above; try a plain white shirt, a black knitted tie (texture from the knit), a burnt orange V-neck, a grey suit, a black or orange scarf and a charcoal overcoat. Aside from the splash of orange, the basics of the look is just your day-to-day office wear, so you’re not going to suddenly shock anyone with your new look. It’s just enough to personalise the look.
Another example might go as follows: A light blue shirt, a blue pattern tie, a burgundy V-neck, a navy suit, a black & red scarf and a navy overcoat. Again aside from the burgundy V-neck, the rest of the outfit is essentially your normal office wear. Just by adding that dark red to the look, you give a nod to the autumn colours and stand out a little from the crowd.
If a V-neck is going to be too warm, take that layer out and instead; tuck your scarf under your suit jacket. You still add the depth and texture with the scarf, but with less cloth comes less heat. Layering doesn’t need to consist of 6 + layers, even 3 or 4 layers done effectively will look great.
Casual layering examples
If you are more of a dog walker than an office worker, you may find that your temperature fluctuates over the duration of the walk as you encounter the four seasons within an hour (thanks English weather). Layering leaps to the rescue on this occasion, as instead of wearing a lone jumper and finding yourself a little too toasty, you have the option of removing or putting on different, thinner layers.
For example: a t-shirt (1st layer), a zip-neck fleece (2nd layer), a wax jacket (3rd layer), a draped scarf (4th layer).
This example being casual, you have a lot more to play with in terms of your colour selections. With no restriction of an office dress code, you can really take full advantage of the freedom. The amount textures that you can add to the look also increases, wearing a pair of dark blue jeans for example adds denim to the mix and a gillet instead of a fleece adds a shine to the look.
Using this, if we add colour to the above example; A burgundy t-shirt, a navy zip-neck fleece, a dark green wax jacket and a draped yellow and brown scarf. Too hot? Just ditch the fleece or the wax jacket. Too cold? Zip up the jacket and tie the scarf tightly to your neck. The wax jacket used in this example adds an element of waterproofing which is handy, but should the sun be shining on a chilly day, wearing a bomber jacket or pea-coat will serve much the same purpose.
However, I am but one man. My taste and style preferences will differ from the next man. I hope only to inspire. Now go forth gentlemen, you know how it’s done – use your imagination!
Steve McQueen, James Dean, Michael Caine and every spy ever. Just a few names that spring to mind when thinking of a roll-neck. All names relating to coolness and style, which should tell us something.
The humble roll-neck is one of only a few garments that are in style forever, never breezing in and out on the winds of fashion. Not only this, but it is just as stylish as it is functional, leaving the wearer toasty against the elements whilst looking like one of the great style icons of the past and present.
How to wear a roll-neck
As well as the aforementioned points above, the roll-neck is also a multi-purpose garment that can be dressed up or down at will. Some ideas are as follows:
Causal: Paired with an equally humble pair of dark blue jeans, a pair of canvas trainers (Converse or Vans are always a safe bet) and a leather jacket or Harrington, the roll neck adds extra warmth to your neck and the opportunity to add a splash of colour. With monochrome shoes and a darker jacket, a deep forest green roll-neck will add a classy autumnal element to the look. Great for general day-to-day casual wear.
Smart-casual: By changing the canvas shoes to a smarter brogue and by swapping the jacket for a single-breasted coat, the look shuffles up the smartness scale. Keep the dark jeans and try an oxblood brogue matched to a burgundy roll-neck. The matching colours add extra detail to the look and by wearing a charcoal coat; the ever-safe monochrome element is added. More appropriate for a casual party or a trip to your local.
Smart: Change out the jeans for a pair of smart trousers (flannel or worsted wool in particular will add warmth and texture) and either keep the brogues or swap to a lace-less boot for less detail and an even smarter look. Keep the coat, or even swap to a double-breasted equivalent for a warmer and smarter option. A simple example; black leather boots, charcoal worsted wool trousers, a black or white roll-neck and a dark coat.
Formal: For a great way to nail casual Fridays in the office, pair your roll-neck with a suit. Mid-greys work particularly well with a black shoe and roll-neck combo, or try adding more colour with a burnt orange roll-neck and navy flannel suit. As ever; a double-breasted suit will be the most formal version of this look, with a miss-matched suit jacket and trouser look being the least formal version.
For your more formal looks, a lighter and thinner roll-neck is advisable. This is to mimic the thickness of a shirt so that your suit jacket still sits correctly on your body, without adding bulk that would otherwise distort the way the jacket sits. Obviously a thinner material will mean compromising warmth, that is, unless you consider parting with the extra cash and buying yourself a cashmere roll-neck. The un-rivaled warmth and softness of cashmere means you compromise nothing in the comfort department – though admittedly one would have to hand wash the delicate cloth.
A cheaper though similar option to cashmere is to buy a merino wool roll-neck. Also very soft and very warm, the merino is the slightly less luxury alternative. It’s price tag is often half that of cashmere, making it a much more friendly option. The only downside to merino is that it too is a delicate cloth that should also only be hand washed.
Finally you have your wool and wool blends. These are best reserved for your more casual looks, as the cloth will need to be thicker in order to achieve the same warmth as the two above options. A thicker roll-neck can give you the option of a cable knit or similar effect, which will add depth and texture to your look. You needn’t worry about distorting a suit jacket with casual looks either, so you can buy the garment in whichever thickness suits your taste.
So there we have it. Available in several styles, thicknesses and cloths; the roll-neck truly is mans best friend (sorry canines – we still love you).
Although your suits spend more time in the wardrobe than on your person, it is when they are being worn that the most stress and damage is being done. It is for this reason that I write this blog; to make you aware of the stresses that your suit faces when being worn and, more importantly, how to prevent these where possible.
You should be able to guess what the main tip is going to be here, it is of course the F word: FIT. A suit too tight will pull on its seams and fastened buttons. If the waist is too tight, each wear will pull the button threads looser, leading to a dangling front button – not a good look. Too tight a fit on the back and shoulder, will stretch the centre seam which, worst-case scenario, could tear the cloth itself which (unlike a split seam) is unfortunately irreparable.
The same stands for trousers; a tight seam on your seat and fork can lead to an embarrassing scenario. I’ll let you use your imagination here!
Here lie the real secrets…
Once a suit is made or adjusted so that it fits correctly, the main problems of straining seams are alleviated. However, once we introduce movement to the equation, the points of strain shift…. namely when we are seated. Luckily, solutions to prevent damage exist:
Unbutton your Jacket when seated:
When standing, one’s jacket should be fastened. However, if the jacket remains fastened when seated, the button will pull the fastening threadd, leaving you with a dangling button. Due to your change in posture, the jacket’s centre back seam will also be under pressure, again increasing the risk of a torn cloth or split seam. So, whenever you sit – even if only for a moment – undo your button.
Remove your jacket when seated: Even though an unbuttoned jacket is much safer than its buttoned counterpart, it is still susceptible to creasing. Accidentally sitting on your jackets vents will press an unsightly crease into it and while this doesn’t directly damage the suit, it certainly doesn’t make the suit look any better! If sitting for a prolonged period, remove your jacket and hang it elsewhere – the back of your chair provides the best support for a jacket without a proper suit hanger.
Hitch up your trouser when seated: When standing your trouser will fall neatly down your leg with no points under pressure. As soon as you sit your thighs relax and expand and your knees bend. The fit of the thigh here is crucial – make sure there is room for your legs to expand into when you sit! To stop your bent knees from putting unnecessary pressure on the seam at the knee; hitch the front of your trousers up by a couple of inches just before you sit.
At this point you may consider dry-cleaning your suit or just slinging it into your wardrobe. Before putting either of these thoughts into action, read our blog “HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR BESPOKE SUIT” for tips on after wear after care!
As I write this, it is the eve of Halloween but the scariest thought is that Christmas is a mere 8 weeks away! Luckily, the arrival of Christmas brings with it the season for dinner suits once more. This means having an excuse to dress to the nines and do our best Sean Connery impressions in the mirror. The difference is, of course, that Sean Connery knew exactly what he was doing with his dinner suit.
Luckily, you have this handy blog to guide you through the maze of faux pas that dinner suit season brings with it.
Where it started
Dinner suits were first invented by Henry Pool of Savile row in 1886. The then Prince of Wales requested that his tailor make him a short tail-coat to be worn at formal dinners. He felt that his everyday lounge suits were too informal for such events, while tail-coats he saw as too formal – besides the tails were an awful nuisance whist seated or dancing. The original dinner suit was cut from midnight blue mohair, as the cloth had a slight shine and appeared black in low light whilst appearing blue in the day.
Though a midnight blue was the first type of dinner suit, black became a more popular option, which is why most dinner suits seen today are black. This being said, many celebrities have popularised the idea of different coloured and textured dinner suits. While this experimentation is great if you are a celebrity, arriving to a black tie event in a red jacquard dinner suit may raise more than a few eyebrows and could even leave you thrown out in the cold!
A dinner suit should look immaculate. All lines should be clean and interrupted. Even if every other rule in the book is followed, an ill-fitting dinner suit will look awful. Unless you are incredibly lucky and find a hire or off-the-peg suit that fits – go bespoke. You will have the suit for many-many years and it will fit perfectly every single time.
There are a few basic ideas behind the dinner suit that should be followed to keep a dinner suit, a dinner suit. Such as…
A bespoke suit is arguably the best way to make a great first impression. So good in fact, that a bespoke suit will even stand out in a crowd of lesser suits. Once in the office however, the need to sit arises and with this need comes the requirement that you remove your jacket to prevent creasing. At this point the focus is left to your shirt and tie, so, how does the quality of your shirts stack up against the quality of your suits?
With a suit, one has the option to customise so much, so it’s easy to get all the bells and whistles and forget everything else – but we know the keys to style are: consistency, detail and style. A beautiful suit with scuffed shabby shoes will detract from the suit and the same stands for shirts. Notepads at the ready gentlemen.
In 2006 Mr Ian Fielding-Calcutt longed to develop a bespoke tailoring company that delivered a contemporary twist on the foundation of traditional quality and workmanship. Ian’s extensive tailoring experience, coupled with the knowledge that there were others out there looking for something refined yet edgy, gave him the impetus to do it himself.
Ten years down the line Fielding & Nicholson is ranked amongst the top ten tailors in London, bringing shirts, suits, coats and casual wear to thousands of clients. The company now prides itself first and foremost on service and delivers to clients across the UK, New York and Zurich.
Three levels are available for purchase from Fielding & Nicholson: Icon, Gallery and Elegance. The Icon range is a made to measure service offering a wide range of cloths that can be used to make a suit to your own specific measurements. Gallery offers a unique bridge between bespoke and made to measure, with a laser cut bespoke pattern finished by hand – boasting the construction benefits of a bespoke suit, with a much more digestible price. The elegance is our fully bespoke range, hand-cut and expertly finished by our master cutter Raymond.
So you’ve spent the last year building up your wardrobe, you’ve probably got a navy, a charcoal or a black suit, perhaps even a brown or a slightly louder check. Each suit magnificently tailored to you; a collection to be proud of.
But, it’s not over yet. You may have an immaculate wardrobe, but do you have the shoes to match? “Of course I do” I hear you cry. But I’m not talking about the one pair of scuffed smart black shoes that you wear every day; I’m talking about a few choices that you may not have even considered.
For gentleman who are taller and/or more heavyset than most, dressing well can often prove a challenge as not all of the generalised styling rules will apply to you.
But do not fear, here are some tips to keep you looking suave, no matter what the scales might be saying:-
1) DRESS FOR THE BODY YOU HAVE, NOT THE BODY YOU WANT
The first mistake that many larger gents make is
repeating to themselves “I won’t buy any clothes yet, I’ll wait until I’m my goal weight”. The idea of dressing well is to utilise your clothes so that they flatter your body as it is,
right now. Wear a suit that’s too big and you will look larger than you actually are. Wear a suit too tight and you run the risk of looking like a stuffed sausage! If it takes half a year to reach your ideal weight, that’s 6 months of sausage impressions. Not a good look.
So always buy a suit that fits you perfectly at your current weight and alter it as you go along, until you hit your ideal weight. That way, you’ll look sharp the whole time you are losing weight, and when you finally get to where you want to be you can reward yourself with a brand new suit, bespoke to your brand new body shape.
2) THE FIT
If you’re sporting a belly, the first thing you’re likely to find when buying an off the peg suit is that, to get a jacket to fit round the waist, the shoulder and chest size will be too large. If this is the case, try and find a jacket in a regular fit rather than a tailored or slim fit. This will mean a better fit on the chest and shoulder, but the cut of the jacket will also have more cloth on the waist so it still closes.
When wearing a single-breasted suit, try a single button instead of two buttons. Single button suits often lower the point at which the button fastens and therefore creates a longer “V” shape on the wearer’s torso. This will take attention away from the wearer’s width and instead directs the eye down the body, making the wearer appear taller and leaner.
The key to a well fitting trouser is mostly down to the length. Once you have found a comfortable waist size for you, have the trouser shortened so that there isn’t a huge mass of excess cloth at the hem. The creases on the front and back of the trouser should sit completely flat. The smooth lines of the creases will again create the illusion of length instead of width. Pair this with a jacket that doesn’t bag or pull, and you’ll already be looking a stone lighter – without having looked at a lettuce!
3) CLOTHS AND PATTERNS
If you are already large, it is wise to avoid cloths that will make you look larger. Avoid thicker cloths such as flannels and worsted wools. Instead, light twills and herringbones are your best
friend, providing both a sleeker aesthetic and a cooler, less sweat-inducing, wearing experience.
When choosing patterns it is best to err on the conservative side, as large and loud can deter from the smooth fit that you have worked so hard to find. Large checks for example can create an illusion of width, further accentuating a wide stomach. Pinstripes work in the opposite way; drawing the eye up the body to create height. For that reason, we would recommend either solid colours or stripes. If you simply have to have checks, try to keep the check small and the colour tame.
So there you have it. Armed with this knowledge,perhaps you will see your body in your new suit and think “Hey, I already look great in a suit, I don’t need to go to the gym!” Perhaps seeing your body in a new well-fitting suit will drive you to hit the gym harder. Whatever the conclusion gentlemen, you’ll be looking good and feeling great – what else matters?
If one were to stroll down Bond Street in west London, the shops you would see are almost all selling luxury goods. From cars to clothes, almost everything has a price tag equal to the average persons yearly income! But why? Are these products actually worth the money or are you simply paying for a label?
There are key things to look out for when investing in a luxury purchase that will help you differentiate between an item worth the money, or just a company charging more for their label to be sewn into it. Such as:
1) FABRIC – Some luxury brands will use cheaper cloths but produce small numbers of a particular garment to make it seem more exclusive. The garment could cost less than £100 to produce but because a “luxury” company designed it, the price tag could easily exceed £1000.
If you were to purchase a vicuña coat however, you will be paying a very high price for good reason. Wool from vicuña is extremely rare as these wild animals live only in the remote Andes mountains, where few humans live. Furthermore, to protect the animals they are not shorn, but rather, the locals collect the hair as the animals shed naturally. The resulting cloth is one of the softest and warmest known to man. This is true luxury and, with great reason, the price tag will reflect it.
2) CUT – An off the peg suit cut and designed by a luxury company will not necessarily fit better than a cheaper off the peg suit. Spending several thousand pounds on a luxury brand off the peg suit is much like spending 100K on a Honda Civic, because it has a Rolls Royce badge on it! It just makes no sense.
The same several thousand pounds invested in a bespoke garment however, will mean you get a garment that fits YOU perfectly - in a style you want, cloth you choose and you’ll know exactly how and where the garment is made.
3) DURABILITY – As previously mentioned, sometimes luxury brands will minimise the amount of garments they produce to create exclusiveness. This raises the price, but doesn’t mean they’ve been hand-made. They could very well have been made in China in a single day at very little cost and, as with most cheap made products, they run the risk of having very limited durability.
In contrast, a bespoke garment will have been carefully and meticulously stitched by hand, with no shortcuts taken to reduce costs. Instead of gluing hidden parts, they are hand stitched – often with reinforcing like canvasing in the chest and crotch.
We’re not saying that all luxury companies are hell-bent on rinsing you of your hard earned cash – but it certainly pays to ask and research to make sure you’re getting your moneys worth.
Your tailor has been trained to recognise most – if not all – cloths and their weaves by eye. The different weaves and their properties will be engrained into their brain, ready to use at their disposal. Though this is wonderfully useful when you are with your tailor, recognising these weaves without their assistance can prove difficult. If you were then to see a beautiful herringbone jacket whilst on your travels and decided you would like one made – describing it may prove a challenge when you don’t know what the weave is actually called!
Equally important is that you know what you are buying. If you like the look of a cloth but don’t know what you are actually purchasing, you may find that the finished garment is cooler or less durable than you were expecting it to be. For these reasons, we’ve put together a quick guide of weaves to help you out:
The home of British tailoring is very well known as being Savile row. There are currently 41 tailoring houses on the row, each providing their own unique cut and style. This being said, they are all British tailors. So, what does tailoring look like in other countries?
It is nothing short of a delight slipping on a brand new bespoke suit. Feeling it hug you in all the right places is truly a unique feeling, as is knowing that you are wearing an item that will fit nobody else quite as well as it fits you.
The feeling needn’t be a one off though. If properly looked after your garments will last you many years longer than any off-the-peg equivalent, which will give you that satisfying feeling over and over again. Furthermore, the canvasing in your jacket will actually mold to your body over time, so the longer you own the garment, the better it will fit.
1) Don’t over dry clean – A common mistake people make with their suits is that they dry-clean them frequently in order to keep them crisp and clean. Chemicals in dry-cleaning can change the look and fit over time. Dry –cleaning should be kept to a maximum of 4 times a year, either quarterly if warn excessively or when the suit has a visible spill on it.
2) Pressing – If your suit has become creased, the solution is to press or steam it to ease out the creases. This is key to prolonging your suits life. A quick way of reducing creases without cost is to hang your suit in the bathroom whilst you shower. The steam eases the creases out without any damage to the cloth that repeat ironing would cause. If the creases are more severe, take the suit to your dry cleaners and request that they press the suit, without cleaning it.
3) Hangars – Your suits shoulders are padded carefully to fit your shoulder perfectly. If you have a sloped or a dropped shoulder the padding can be more extreme to balance the suit correctly. For this reason, you suit should always be kept on a hangar designed for suits. These hangars are bigger, offering correct support to the garment. If a slim hangar is used, over time the padding will droop over the sides and the point of the hangar will dig into the padding – ultimately changing the shape and fit of your garment.
4) Rotation – As a rule of thumb, you should never wear the same suit more than two days in a row. If you wear suits daily, then we recommend having a rotation of 5 suits at least. Firstly, even in cold weather you will sweat, leaving a suit to air will allow time for the sweat to evaporate and the suit to recover. Moisture can warp the shape of your perfectly cut suit and we don’t want that. Secondly, wearing your suit causes stress to not only the fabric, but the stress areas such as the seams, crotch and so on. The less you wear the suit, the less stress caused and therefore less damage done. Every extra suit you have in your wardrobe will increase the life of the others.
5) Keep your suits covered. Any garment made from wool has one arch nemesis, Moths. To save your suits and coats from becoming prey whilst in your wardrobe, keep your garments in suit bags. If you live in an area especially susceptible to the little critters then moth proof suit bags actually exist. Suit bags also help against dust and creasing in a tightly packed wardrobe.
Put these tips to action gentlemen and your suits will remain your pride and joy years down the line. Your boss will be impressed you’re always smart, your wallet will remain fuller for longer and as a result you’ll look and feel a million dollars. Need we go on?
Luxury is the commitment to excellence. Settling for nothing other than perfection. In luxury there is no room for improvement. There is no “one up” from luxury; it is the best in the world. But does buying luxury items actually mean the items are better?
If you buy a luxury item, the price is of course much higher than it would be for a high-street equivalent. Though the dent in your wallet is initially greater than it might normally be, the item will last you many years longer compared to a high-street version. This means over the years your wallet will remain untouched; saving you money in the long run.
On bespoke shoes for example, the leather used in the product will be of the highest quality. The stitching in the shoe will have been meticulously crafted by a highly skilled shoemaker and the fit of the shoe will be sculpted to a foots exact shape – providing a beautiful and comfortable shoe. The attention to detail when creating the shoe is why it will last much longer compared to an any off-the-shelf type of shoe. Your shoemaker will be able to swap out your old soles when they tire out and because of the shoe fitting your feet so well, your feet are less likely to rub on the inside of the shoe so the leather will last much longer.
Most luxury items should fall into these two categories:
1) It should look better – the materials used should be the best possible quality.
2) It should last longer – when the item is created, it should be done so with precise skill and attention to detail to ensure everything is functioning to the best of its ability.
The same applies to a bespoke suit or coat. The hand-cut pattern means the jacket will fit perfectly without pulling on a seam like an off-the-peg could and less tension on seams will elongate the lifespan of the suit. If you find yourself wearing through suits quickly, a Fielding and Nicholson tailor will be able to recommend a cloth that suits your taste but has durability to last much longer.
As long as your luxury item(s) cover the above 2 points, they will not only help you look better but they will help keep your wallet full in the long run. If that’s not the definition of a win win, we don’t know what is!
There are times when we can’t help but make mistakes; even in the Fielding and Nicholson offices it happens. Forgetting a birthday, pressing snooze one too many times and we’ve even seen mismatched shoes…
We’re only human, so this type of thing is bound to happen; especially when it comes to our wardrobes. There are so many faux pas to be made with our suits it’s so easy to fall victim at some point. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the three most important things to watch out for with your wardrobe:
Rule Number 1) Fit
There’s a good chance you’ve heard this one before, but just to reiterate: If there’s extra cloth in your suit, it doesn’t fit. If your suit has an “X” shape in the button, it’s too tight. Just because it fit once, it doesn’t mean it does now... the “X” never lies. This isn’t just a suit rule either, its an “everything” rule. A shirt billowing at your hips, or a cuff covering your whole hand can ruin a perfect suit. If your budget wont allow a bespoke suit, get your off the peg suit altered for a few extra pounds. If you change shape, you can alter your suit as you go. Just make sure it fits!
Rule Number 2) Pressing
Be it your suit, shirt, chinos or T-shirt; always make sure your clothes are pressed. Why have a suit hand cut from the finest cloth only to watch it crease beyond recognition? You can have suits pressed for you for a small fee. Not every week by any means, every 2-3 months – or after traveling with the suit. Ironing a shirt takes all of 5 minutes, a pair of trousers 10 minutes - or even better (for you and your trousers) invest in a trouser press. As is repeated often in the tailoring world: “the devil is in the details” and pressing is no exception.
Rule Number 3) Proportion
In the 80’s an oversized lapel was all the rage. The early 2000’s then saw the rise of pencil thin lapels with tiny ties. The common ground here is that they are both fashion fads. Much like diet fads, they came about through somebody pushing their idea to make money. Forget the fads. Without taking into account your shape, a lapel can either dwarf you or make you appear larger. As a rule of thumb: if you’ve got a 48” chest, don’t have a tiny lapel. Instead, choose a mid to wide width; 3” is the slimmest we’d recommend. If however you’ve got a 34 chest, a 3” lapel will likely drown you. Opt for a narrower lapel to compliment your body shape.
Three rules. Nothing particularly taxing I’m sure you’ll agree, but enough to completely turn your wardrobe around. You’ll look better, feel better and looking after your clothes will lengthen their life span, so your wallet will thank you in the long run. Now, when was the last time you pressed your suits…?
Do you ever look at a sheep and think, wow, that sheep looks warm? No, me neither – but luckily for us, at some point in time someone thought it and many years down the line here we are using sheep’s wool for all manner of garments. Wool is an incredibly versatile cloth, it breathes in heat and insulates in the cold providing great cover all year round. It accepts dye very well, allowing us to create cloths of almost any colour and because it’s such an abundant cloth most wool has an affordable price. But wool is not your only option.
Humans are an experimental bunch, so once the properties of sheep’s wool were established and exploited we branched out. Mohair (goat wool) makes a great summer suit for example and silk worms produce beautifully light, soft fibers used to make some suits, ties and pocket-handkerchiefs. But for overcoats, there are three particular animals commonly used.
Wool – Wool is the hardest wearing cloth; especially thicker, heavier varieties. Though it is warm option, wool needs to be quite thick to feel its full effects, anything between 14 – 18oz is to be expected for an overcoat - which should be perfect for the British winter-time. Wool can be quite soft, though this will depend on the weave and quite often the thicker cloths are also slightly coarser. A wool will suit most - if not all - coat styles, though a thicker and stiffer wool will best suit a peacoats’ firm style and a softer more “floaty” wool will suit a longer overcoat.
Camel Hair – Often a forgotten gem, camel hair is a great option with a price right in-between the extremely luxurious cashmere and the ever-faithful wool. Camels live in an environment where they must endure the harshest desert heats in the hotter months and then blizzards in the winter. This makes for a cloth with an amazing resistance to the elements and it’s even lighter than sheeps’ wool, meaning a lighter weight cloth will insulate you just as well as thicker wool would. The camels hair is taken from the softest hairs that grow close to the body of the camel which means the hair is also softer than wool. Naturally camel hair is a tan colour but - like wool – the fiber accepts dye very well, meaning a wide range of colours are available.
Cashmere – Known for being incredibly soft and warm, cashmere is (no surprises here) the priciest of the three. It is from the goats’ soft undercoat, just like the camel hair. The softness of cashmere is the primary reason for its elite status and because the cloth can be lighter weight and still remain warm; a long overcoat in cashmere will make for a beautiful flowing garment. The coat becomes part practical garment, part work of art. If you can afford a cashmere coat, it will be the pride of your wardrobe for years to come.
There are more options of course, alpaca isn’t an un-common cloth for coats and there are blends of various cloths to provide a best of both worlds experience. There’s even a level up from cashmere called Vicuna – one of the most expensive cloths in the world. But the main three have been covered, each with their own unique properties that you can utilize to suit your own unique needs. A bespoke Fielding and Nicholson coat will take between 6 – 8 weeks to complete, you’ve got the style knowledge , you’ve got the cloth knowledge… so what’s stopping you?
“I’ve got the need, the need, for tweed”… Something like that right? Maybe not, but in the autumn and winter months, there is a need for tweed.
The most iconic of all tweeds is Harris tweed, as it is from the isle of Harris, located in the far north west of Scotland. The word tweed is from an old Scottish word “Tweel” which means, “twill” – which is the type of weave used to create tweed. The twill used makes for a great sturdy, heavy fabric that will well insulate the wearer in colder climates. Due to the tightness of the weave, the cloth is also water resistant to a degree, making it an incredible garment to be wearing in the country.
Tweeds normally come in a range of earthy colours; greens, browns and oranges being the most common. Pair these colours with the cloths rugged properties and you have a garment ideal for camouflaging yourself against country terrain and harsh weather – this is why many hunters opt for a tweed jacket or even full suit. Saying that, never have any of the Fielding and Nicholson team seen deer galloping around the city, so why buy tweed in the concrete jungle if there’s nothing to hunt?
The City still gets cold and luckily tweed isn’t selective with which environment it works best in. On a day too cold for a normal suit jacket but too warm for a coat, a tweed will keep you at a perfect comfortable temperature. The colours in tweeds will help you stand out in an otherwise greying environment too, so you can be warm and stylish all at once. You may not be able to see the beautiful colours on the trees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them. Every year in autumn all the colours of tweed come back, meaning the stylish look will never fade.
Nothing will last quite as long as a bespoke overcoat or a tweed garment. A thicker fabric will hold up against general wear much better than a thinner fabric will and tighter weaves like tweed will act very much like a thick coat. Most all year round suits will wear through or shine after a few years, even the best quality suit will fade after years of wear. But tweed refuses to wither. Ever wondered why every charity shop is littered with tweed jackets from years ago? Well they’re likely the only survivors from the suits of days gone by. Buy a bespoke coat or tweed garment now, and you’ll likely be wearing it proudly 20 years from now, gliding around on your hover-board – stylish as ever.
You’ve got your thicker suits out for the winter, along with the classy leather gloves and the cashmere scarf. The look is almost complete, but alas, the wardrobe lacks a perfectly tailored coat. What to do, what to do? A tailored coat can be an expensive investment, but the cheap off the peg one you bought last year is already tired and scruffy. A dilemma indeed.
Or is it? It can’t be denied that buying a tailored coat can make a dent in your wallet, but the idea of a tailored coat – much like a tailored suit – is that it lasts. Your coat will be worn for only a few months of the year and will be taken off when you’ve reached the cosy shelter of your office or home. This will mean the wear of your coat is minuscule in comparison to your suits, so there’s no reason that your coat wouldn’t be going strong 15 years from now. Even though you’ve spent more than you would have, you’ve only done it once. You won’t need to spend a smaller amount 15 times over the next decade and a half.
So how do you choose a coat that will suit your style over all that time? The trick is to make the coat as personal as possible. If you know you only wear 3 colours of suit, make sure the coat will match all 3. If you want to wear the coat both casually and for work, aim for a slightly less formal style that will work in both environments. As a guide;
The pea-coat – A pea-coat is a double-breasted coat, with a large military style collar that will “pop” to shelter the wearer’s neck. Shorter than an over coat, a pea-coat will fall to about the middle of the wearers thigh. Pea-coats are generally made from quite a heavy cloth and are quite stiff, making them a very warm garment. They are a much more casual option, as they work well with jeans and smart shirts/jumpers. Though a pea-coat can work with a suit, it may make the overall look more informal than would be recommended in a work environment.
The Double-Breasted overcoat – A double-breasted overcoat is arguably the smartest option. Often styled similarly to a double-breasted suit; the coat will normally have 6 buttons in a “Y” formation. Most double-breasted suits and coats will have a peak lapel (as will almost all double-breasted garments). The opening may be a little lower than on some coats due to the style, so if you find that you normally feel the cold, be sure to ask your tailor to raise the opening. This type of overcoat will fall just to the back of the knee, offering a little more trouser protection.
The single-breasted overcoat – Smarter than a pea-coat, but not as formal as a double-breasted – the single-breasted coat is a great middle-ground. Styled very similarly to a single-breasted jacket, a single-breasted overcoat can have either a peak or notch lapel and will have very similar pockets on the waist and sometimes the breast – useful for gloves, or even a pocket square for that extra detail. Like it’s double-breasted brother, a single breasted coat will normally fall to the back of the knee, though on a shorter gent a tailor might recommend a slightly shorter length to maintain proportion.
There are many variants of the above coats; a coat made from a fabric below 14oz is classed as a topcoat, 14 - 18oz is classed as an overcoat and anything above 18oz is a greatcoat. These rules apply regardless of style. I have given a brief guide on styles in this blog, but there are many options you can choose to personalise your coat. Gauntlet cuffs, belts, hand-warmer pockets and shoulder epaulettes spring to mind - to name just a few. Ask one of the Fielding and Nicholson tailors if you need extra tips on how to style your new coat, the possibilities are almost endless. Once you've styled your coat, the next step? Choosing your cloth .
I hate to start on a bad note, but alas, the warmer months will soon be behind us. With another summers’ promise slipping away, we must look at evolving our wardrobes to once again combat the bitter mornings and windy days. Our light wool suits and oh-so Italian linens will no longer do the trick. But don’t despair! We’re more than used to the chill, and have our faithful heavyweight cloths to look to once more – today specifically; Flannel.
The humble flannel is not just useful for dousing your face with hot water in the mornings(!) it is also a great ‘go to’ for protecting yourself against the chill. A flannel can start at a cool 10oz, so is perfect for the autumn months, and a thicker 14oz will keep you cozy in the harshest of British winters.
So how do you utilize the power of the flannel? Well, the favorite colour amongst businessmen and women at work has been a simple blue or grey for many decades, and lucky for you– a flannel looks great in both! A simple navy or grey flannel suit will still stand out amongst a sea of standard navy and grey wool suits. How? Being thicker than your typical suiting fabric means they hold their shape a lot better. A peak lapel jacket with a turned up trouser hem will create a simplistic silhouette and with those subtle details your flannel suit will stand out a little against the crowd.
Why stop with a 2 piece? Look to Sean Connerys Bond in Goldfinger, donned in a mid-Grey three piece with a notch lapel and black tie, he looks nothing short of dapper. It’s such a simple timeless look and pair that with the strength and warmth of a flannel and you’ve got yourself a head turner for winter, without even trying.
But does that mean flannel is reserved for the conservative world of the concrete jungle? Of course not! Look to the dark reds, browns and oranges in the trees and follow suit (Excuse the pun). A double-breasted brown jacket breaks away from the norm, giving a nod to the season and letting your individuality shine through – without peacocking. A personal favorite would be a deep forest Green flannel jacket. The brushed textured surface of the flannel paired with the strong silhouette brings a completely unique twist to your casual wardrobe.
But that’s just me! With checks, stripes and every imaginable colour and pattern in the Fielding and Nicholson arsenal, you can personalize your suits style to match you.
For Autumn, dark earthy colors will work best. Think rusty browns, salt and pepper greys and for those more casual days, Orange or Green patterns. Use the flannels ability to hold a suits shape to your advantage – opt for a peak lapel to match the strong shoulders, and for the trouser try a Turned up hem to balance out the heavy top half.
Floating around the Internet you will find a lot of helpful tips on how to wear your suits, but less frequently are you advised on how not to wear them. From major to minor, there are plenty of things to watch out for and avoid. Pens and pads at the ready gentlemen, this could save you some grief.
So there you have it. The foolproof Fielding and Nicholson suit mistakes guide. Remember these tips when you’re next suiting up and enjoy the ego-boost from all the compliments you receive - you can thank us later.
We know there are a million questions to be asked about suits and style and we do our best to provide you with the information that you require. But what if what we’re saying doesn’t apply to you?
Never fear, “The Suit Oracle” is here!
From this Friday forth I will be answering all and any questions you may have about suits and style. Tips, facts, opinions and rules – whatever your question, it shall be answered.
Go on test me, I love a challenge…
Q: I’ve got a dinner party coming up at the end of September but I don’t really know much about dinner suit etiquette – what are the tuxedo basics?
A: I’m glad you ask! There are many faux pars to be made with dinner jackets. The basic things to remember: NEVER have notch lapels. Make sure you’ve got a peak or shawl lapel in satin. True dinner jackets should have no vent on them - though more modern styles sometimes have center vents, this is frowned upon. Have satin-jetted pockets. Flap pockets create un-necessary bulk, and patch pockets should be reserved for casual jackets.
Q: I’m clearing my wardrobe out and having a complete overhaul. I can’t afford to buy all bespoke at once, so what kind of suit should I buy bespoke, and what should I buy off the peg?
A: Another good question. If you were to buy one uber-special bespoke suit, I would recommend a single breasted 3 piece navy suit. Navy will work in almost any situation, from a big work meeting to a wedding. Opt for 9-10oz wool so that your suit will be comfortable throughout the year. I say a 3 piece specifically, as in the winter, the vest can provide an extra layer of warmth – and a waistcoat is often seen at weddings, so it will save you buying a separate wedding suit! Here at Fielding and Nicholson we have two levels of made to measure suits that will fit like a bespoke but with less of the price tag. If you can, we’d suggest buying one fully or semi-Bespoke suit as your special suit, and buying made to measure suits for your day-to-day usage. 1 Bespoke and 2 made to measure suits is better than 1 bespoke and 4 off the peg suits!
Q: I am a little shorter and narrower than most of my colleagues so I buy suits in a size up to make myself appear larger. It works, but I get told I look scruffy quite often – is there a way I can look bigger without looking scruffy?
A: Of course there is! The secret is in the styling. You don’t need to sacrifice fit. Always make sure your clothes fit you, this is how you avoid looking scruffy. If you wish to look bigger, chose a peak lapel over a notch lapel, and have your pockets slanted slightly. The peak lapel will draw the eye up your body to your shoulders, therefore creating the illusion of height and width. The base of the lapel will meet the button, looking similar to the point of an arrow - the slanted pockets also point to the button. As the position of the button is at your naval, attention is drawn into your waist. The slimmer waist then makes the chest look bigger still, and a strong athletic silhouette is created.
Q: I’ve been thinking of buying a bespoke suit, but I’m worried about buying a garment having seen nothing but a small swatch and not a full garment. How do I know that what I’m buying will actually suit me?
A: A fair question, and one asked by many. Our consultants have been trained to match cloth to each clients needs, based on a multitude of variants. We take into account your skin tone, profession, taste and age – and advise accordingly. We take pride in our work; we don’t let clients buy things that wont work. Countless visits to various cloth mills have expanded our knowledge of different cloth types and their qualities. Hours of measurement and figuration training has meant that our team is never caught off guard by any body shape and we know how best to style suits to create the image for yourself that you desire. You call a trusted mechanic to fix your car, and trust what he says. We are tailoring professionals, this is what we do, trust us – the proof is in the pudding!
We’ve all been told at some point or another that every man should have a grey, blue and black suit. Simple, elegant, clean. Don’t get me wrong, its true, every man should have at least one suit in these colours, but when everyone is wearing the same thing simultaneously, the work place can look less like an office and more like a herd.
So what are the options? The devil is in the detail my good folk. So often the detail is forgotten, but much like the cut of the suit itself, this is where the magic happens!
Instead of pairing your dark navy cloth with an equally dark navy lining to match, give it a sprinkle of colour! Navy’s are brought out beautifully by burgundy’s and light shades of blue. Add piping (a strip of binding that separates the lining and cloth on the inside of a jacket) to your suit to add a bit of individuality, after all it’s a suit cut to your own unique measurements. You may as well make everything else completely personal too; why not try matching the same colour piping to your watch?
With a charcoal cloth, try pairing it with a purple lining and red piping. So simple, so effective, but how many suits have you seen like that? And why stop there? A plain lining will work beautifully against the plain cloth and is a great way to start, but for the more adventurous amongst you – I have good news. Ask around the Fielding and Nicholson office and you will find that almost everyone has at least one garment with a flashy lining.
My definition of “flashy lining” is in this case; a lining with two-tone colours, prints, words, pictures and all sorts of weird and wonderful designs. A personal favorite is a black on white skull design, perfect for a dark suit or dinner jacket. Do you play Golf to a pro level on the side? Golf ball lining for you sir! Travel the tube with Metallica blasting through your headphones each morning? Well it would be a shame not to have a Guitar print lining as a nod to your favorite riffs! Nobody else needs to know, it can be your own little secret – I wont tell.
Whatever your taste, subtle or brash, the point I am making is that you should make it personal. The dark colours dominating the suit world need not suppress your individuality. Dip a toe into the silky world of flash linings – what have you got to lose?
There are many avenues to explore when it comes to the tailoring world. There's 2 pieces, 3 pieces, double breasted, dinner suits, work suits.. I could go on and on. But all too often neglected is the mysterious world of Women's bespoke suits.
The reason a well-fitted suit looks so good on a man is all down to the power of illusion. A strong broad shoulder and a nipped in waist gives the illusion of - or shows off - a strong athletic figure (a trait desired by most gentlemen). This stems from the days of upright military men in their suits. Though looks can be tweaked and individualised to a degree – the choices are often down to one or two options – governed by tradition and social norms.
However, Styling options for women’s suits allow much more decorative and interesting designs – you lucky people you. Inverted lapels are a popular choice, and perhaps belt loops on your jacket to allow for the extra accessory? Padded shoulders to add a little flair? An asymmetric double breasted? Layered lapels? Piping around the lapels and on the pocket seams? How simple or dramatic your suit is depends completely on your style, let loose!
And it's not just the style you have more freedom on; having more curves to accentuate means the style of the suit can be played with much more, and can lead to a much more individual aesthetic. By following your curves closely with the suit you will create an elegant classy silhouette; look to Emma Watson in a slim trouser and a tight fitting double-breasted jacket. Simple elegance. Try a pencil skirt instead of the trouser for the warmer months, and go single-breasted with a waistcoat to add layers.
A brighter suit makes a statement and can help you to individualise yourself, but it can run the risk of being too much fashionista and not enough professional. So for a regatta or classy cocktails you can own the turquoise, greens and reds – if her majesty the queen can pull off all the colours of a Crayola box, then so can you! Just don’t bring the rainbow to work if everyone else is being conservative, let the dark colours and details do the talking for you instead.
So how do I introduce colour into my work suits I hear you cry?! The answer? Lining. A conservative dark suit will serve you well in any formal situation, but it doesn’t need to blend in with the ocean of miserable looking suits. You’ve got your added detail from the inverted lapels and roped shoulders, so keep the colour to yourself. Instead of going towards a plain colour, choose something more unique to suit you. A Japanese themed silk crane lining is a beautiful alternative, and adds a flash of colour too. Perhaps match it to a bespoke scarf in the same cloth as a finishing touch?
So there it is. You’ve got more styles to play with, you’ve got more unique body shapes to rock and as long as you’re not meeting the CEO for an uber important meeting that day – you’ve got more freedom to pull off the louder colours. Don’t let the men have all the fun, show them how its done!
Most casual, comfortable summer shoes possess a long and deeply practical history, often deriving directly from indigenous, unisex clothing crafted from local materials. Here are a seven that you might encounter on your travels.
1. Espadrilles: for when life’s a beach
The espadrille perhaps represents the essence of summer dressing. Raffishly bohemian, loochely leisured, they can add a dash of casual elegance to your summer footwear.
‘ Defining summer ease, espadrilles were famously worn by Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief, tiptoeing silently across Riviera rooftops…’
Generally soled with jute rope (and some rubber and likely synthetic) but originally with esparto grass, this slip-on shoe arose 700 or so years ago in the Pyrenees, the footwear of peasant farmers. Variously known as alpargatas, espardeynes (in Catalan) and espartenas, the shoes were renamed ‘espadrilles’ by Riviera high society in the early 1900s which had adopted them for its relaxed resort life. Defining summer ease, espadrilles were famously worn by Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief, tiptoeing silently across Riviera rooftops and Grace Kelly (who Grant starred with in that movie). Other famous wearers included Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali (who wore his tied at the ankle), Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, Bogart & Bacall, James Mason and Jack Kennedy. In photos, all look incredibly chic yet relaxed and nonchalant.
So, there’s every reason to consider espadrilles today as a summer fashion staple, an elain alternative to flip-flops or sandals. Lighter and cooler (in every sense) than trainers, they also allow your feet to breathe – which a canvas/rubber-soled shoe won’t. In fact, fans say that they make you feel like you’re walking barefoot. They are usually inexpensive, though beware of cheap Chinese factory versions; instead, look out for classic brands (such as Castañer ) still made authentically by hand in Spain/the Iberian Peninsula – preferably from an old artisan shop in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter: your homage to Catalonia.
Style advice: The golden rules are not to wear espadrilles in the city – preferably just on the beach or boardwalk – and only in very hot weather (never in the rain which is not good for those jute rope soles) and never, ever with socks. Pair with longer length casual shorts or linen trousers (perhaps white, slightly cropped or rolled), as Picasso or Dali would have worn them, or rolled and a well-fitting T-shirt or Breton top. And buy them on the small side as the canvas will stretch. It’s entirely permissible to ignore the heel and wear as slippers.
2. Loafers: perfect for loafing
The loafer, what we consider today to be the classic non-tying, slip-on shoe, has its ancient origins in the frozen north. It’s really a formal moccasin, and it’s the moccasin that has given rise to a slew of casual footwear, including the deck shoe. Here’s how.
The moccasin is one of the earliest unisex shoes – certainly the earliest footgear in North America – and the ancient ancestor of the loafer. Early fur traders and explorers in 17th century New France (Quebec) adopted the Native American deerskin design but reworked in oiled cowhide. The one- (or sometimes two-) piece construction afforded mobility and protected from the elements – with no sole-line stitching to allow water to seep in.
By the late 19th century, styles were being sold as ‘camp moccasins’, and exported to Europe – though something very similar already existed in rural Norway amongst the Sami (Lapp) people.
In 1936, American shoe company Bass (which had been making camp moccasins since 1876) brought out a Norwegian variation of the loafer shoe: ‘Weejuns’, short for ‘Norwegian’. And the style took off.
The term ‘loafer’ was applied at some point in the 1940s and proved popular with teens in the 1950s and 1960s. It was only marketed as men’s semi-casual wear from the late 1950s, with Gucci’s becoming a staple in both men’s and women’s wardrobes through the 1970s and 1980s.
Loafer variations have included the ‘penny loafer’ or ‘penny moc’ where a penny could be slipped under the vamp strap, tassled styles, and Gucci’s signature equine harness hardware.
Style advice. Loafers sit at the more formal end of the casual shoe spectrum. How best to wear? What to put it with? Try pairing with blazer and slacks.
3. Deck shoes: all ship-shaped
Leather deck shoes also emerged from the moccasin (see loafer section above). The ‘Top-Sider’ was devised by Paul Sperry in 1935 as a boating shoe, with brown leather upper and rubber sole to grip the deck. Sperry had almost died slipping off his own boat and was inspired to devise a secure boat shoe by watching his dog walk quite effortlessly on deck – the gripping grooves in the rubber emulated those on his dog’s paws. Top-siders became an official shoe for the US Navy during WWII, and through the 1960s and 1970s the Kennedy clan were photographed wearing them on holiday, giving rise to an iconic American look that ultimately developed into what we’d call ‘preppy style’ today – epitomised by designer Ralph Lauren (see Olympics 2016 opening ceremony post).
Style advice. Deck shoes have certainly made the transition from deckwear to streetwear, but tread warily. Though ubiquitous in the ‘80s, that nautical look can be a hard look to pull off, and you risk looking like a fish stranded out of water if you are over-nautical in a land-locked (particularly urban) location.
‘ Long before sneakers, Brazilian Indians used to waterproof their feet by dipping them in liquid latex tapped from rubber trees.’
4. Sneakers: the original sports soles
Long before sneakers, Brazilian Indians used to waterproof their feet by dipping them in latex tapped from rubber trees. But sneakers, or plimsolls, as we know them today emerged in the 1860s when low-cut, lace-up canvas uppers were first joined to rubber soles, giving rise to the effete generic style of the ‘croquet sandal’ or ‘tennis shoe’. In 1876, the Liverpool Rubber Company began producing a rubber-soled shoe, marketed from 1885 as a ‘plimsoll’ – because the red rubber sole resembled the famous red line on the ships’ hulls. By the 1890s, various rubber-soled shoes were being produced, mostly in the US and Canada, the term ‘sneakers’ appearing as early as 1894.
The Ked, introduced in 1917, became the first commercially marketed sneaker in the US – its name combining the Latin for foot (‘ped-’) with ‘kid’. The Converse All-Star arrived in 1919 as a high-top boot, the forerunner of all athletic shoes. And how hard it is to imagine the hipster uniform today without the Converse sneaker…
Today, not all canvas shoes are created equal. If you want a substantially soled sneaker, you might consider Converse, Keds or Vans (established 1966 in the US); white ones can look particularly natty – when new and clean, of course.
Style advice. But when is it really OK to wear sneakers? What colours? Cotton socks? What trousers? Sweaters?
5. Flip-flop: just tomorrow’s flotsam?
The world’s most ubiquitous footwear, the flip-flop has a very simple construction: just a sole and a Y-shaped strap. Flipflops seem to have originated in ancient Egypt circa 1,500 BC. But in the modern era, the flip-flop returned with US soldiers from Japan post-World War II – in the form of the zōri, a traditional straw sandal. The flip-flop became a firm unisex casual summer favourite from the 1960s, though the onomatopoeic name (derived from the distinctive foot-slapping noise a pair makes while worn) doesn’t seem to have entered American or British English until the 1970s. Barak Obama became the first US president to be photographed in flip-flops while holidaying in Hawaii in 2011.
‘the flip-flop returned with US soldiers from Japan post-World War II – in the form of the zōri , a traditional straw sandal’
Style advice. Though the Dalai Lama is a frequent flip-flop wearer (and has had audiences with several US presidents while wearing them), flip-flops are generally viewed as just a step too far in the direction of comfort for even smart-casual purposes. And though toed socks may be available, we would generally advise against going there.
6. Birkenstocks: indulge your inner hippie
Moving on from the classic leather sandal, this German orthopaedic brand found firm favour with the flower people of the late 1960s. The Birkenstock’s signature contoured cork and rubber footbed, typically featuring a chunky upper with double buckled straps, is possibly one of the healthiest summer choices for your feet.
Style advice. Follow the rules for classic leather sandals. It’s advisable to stick to classic brown leather, despite the plethora of designer options out there. They can look presentable with longer khaki shorts, or rolled casual trousers, or neat chinos and a well-fitting polo shirt. But be warned: they will most certainly make your feet look a lot bigger.
7.Desert boots: hot-foot from the Sahara
Less formal than a hard-bottom but more dressed-up than a sneaker, desert boots make an interesting summer-wear choice with a less structured suit or sporty separates. Clarks claims the desert boot as its invention, Nathan Clark having brought the simple, minimally structured design back from his experience in the Middle Easter during WWII. The style celebrated its 65th anniversary last year.
Check out John Mills in Ice Cold in Alex , treading gingerly through a desert minefield in his sandy boots.
Style advice. Desert books can ably plug the gap between casual and formal; think of them as a deconstructed formal. You can have some fun with the range of colours available, but avoid going over-patterned.
Casual shoe opportunities abound for your late-summer relaxation. Here, comfort is certainly king, but one should remain wary of committing the worst sartorial crimes. So, no flip-flops in the office or espadrilles on the underground, please, even in August.
And what about health? Be aware that unstructured shoes can have an impact on your posture. The total absence of support in the flip-flop, for example, can present a problem for some wearers – particularly over prolonged periods or after walking any distance. In summary, it’s wisest to wear the most relaxed styles only when you intend to relax to the fullest possible extent.
Bibliography: Shoes, Linda O’Keeffe, Workman Publishing, New York, 1996
The Seductive Shoe, Jonathan Walford, Thames & Hudson, 2007
“Who on earth got them dressed…?” is not the ideal response to a team of Olympic athletes, but it’s a question many viewers asked themselves repeatedly during last weekend’s opening ceremony.
So who were the winners and losers? The general consensus of the media coverage – as well as the self-appointed fashion commentators of Twitter – was that the Swedish team (sporting a variety of curious upcycled shapes) were about the worst of the style offenders, and that the US team (in their natty Ralph Lauren separates) looked about the best. One just had to overlook that slightly unfortunate T-shirt glitch – because from under the US’s blue blazers those stripes took on a marked resemblance to the Russian flag. But these mistakes happen.
Britain looked serviceable, business-like and fittingly sporty in their Stella McCartney signature silhouettes – the men wearing navy, military-inspired peacoats, the women navy dresses with white belted jackets – all with just the right tone of patriotism in the large embroidered coats of arms on their backs. Britain certainly avoided some of the over-preppy mistakes of other teams.
What’s the purpose of an Olympic uniform, anyway? As with any uniform, team bonding is a primary function, giving the athletes a chance to experience their togetherness and cohesion as they head into the competitive experience of a lifetime. At its best, a uniform should make one feel simultaneously part of a body of people but also very much oneself. And comfort is paramount. So, for a group of sportspeople, the sports-casual look – as long as it doesn’t veer too far into preppy pseudo-school uniform – seems just about right.
The ceremony also raised the significant question: “Why bother with uniforms at all?” For Tonga’s flag-bearer, stripped from the waist with just a liberal application of baby oil to his burnished torso, the approach worked admirably well – even if it couldn’t be extended to the entire team.
What fabric should you choose for your summer suit?
When summer time comfort is your priority, you need something breathable, lightweight, yet still suave and smart.
Linen is the classic summer suiting choice. Comfortable and cool, it’s the epitome of a leisured summer look. But there are drawbacks. Linen can stain easily. Also its propensity to crease readily will inevitably put a lot of people off.
Mohair comes from the Angora goat. You’ll notice that the suiting textile has a crisp feel and a wonderful lustre, yet it’s superbly crease-resistant – in fact, it’s almost impossible to get mohair to wrinkle at all! Mohair is also tremendously resilient and will easily outlast a cotton, cashmere or wool suiting. So it makes a truly excellent choice for a business suit.
If pure wool is what you’re after, we’re very happy to be able to suggest Scabal’s ‘Condor’ to you. This is really wool at its very finest and coolest from a producer with over 75 years’ experience.
You might imagine that wool is warm, but the fibre itself has excellent thermodynamic properties, keeping you warm in the winter yet cool in the summer. The Condor collection includes a wide range of 48 different 260g fabrics for high-quality cool wool suits, with double twist yarns. They are light and fresh and extremely comfortable to wear in the summer. Available in stripes and semi-fantasy checks as well as typical Scabal stripes, you can choose from microscopic patterns as well as a wide selection of plains. And production of this textile is also 100% European.
Please get in touch today if you’d like to discuss your requirements for your bespoke or made to measure summer suit. We’d be delighted to talk you through all your options.
Arriving just in time for a typical English Summer, Dormeuil Aquaplan is a top quality luxury pure wool fabric with waterproof properties. Exclusively developed in England to meet the needs of the modern man, Aquaplan’s high-tech finish ensures that the surface of the cloth is completely even, smooth and that water cannot penetrate. Despite this, the wool is still able to breathe naturally.
Tailored suiting in this unique fabric is available now here at Fielding & Nicholson Tailoring. Come in and see us , have your measurements taken and let us create a slick and smart suit for you that will turn heads at any business meeting or event.
For cloth samples visit http://www.dormeuil.com/en/cloth-collection/detail...
Fielding and Nicholson will be continuing its global expansion in the next month with a range of classic suits, hand made shirts and ties made in England by Robert Keyte.
We’re in the Big Apple from the 12th to the 15th July. New York City is one of the world’s leading fashion capitals and a city built on matching the fast paced executive lifestyle with the latest fashion trends. It is the perfect place to showcase the latest must-have clothing for the modern man. Take a look at practical suits featured in New York’s fashion week for some ideas:
Following this, from the 8th to the 11th August we will be visiting Zurich, where the effortlessly chic Swiss style marries perfectly with the Fielding and Nicholson brand.
... great suits amidst the political turmoil this Summer has brought with it. As a special treat for any disgruntled clients F&N is putting in place a special offer for the month of July.
Purchase a Super 120’s suit with complementary extra trousers for £895 + VAT
Featuring Royal Classic from Dugdales, this exclusive offer features the most durable cloth in our extensive range from one of the UK's leading suit designers. Pairing their own brand of functional elegance with the traditionally understated style of the classic English gentleman, Royal Classic is the perfect brand for the modern professional.
About Royal Classic:
Royal Classic has become a staple for executives and professionals. The functionality and durability of the cloths makes them ideal for everyday formal wear. Traditional English medium weights in typically elegant, understated designs.
A well-tailored waistcoat will bring a true touch of class to any outfit. However, a waistcoat can also be difficult to wear correctly.
Therefore, here are some important dos and don'ts to consider, starting with five things you must do when wearing a waistcoat:
1. Complementary tailoring
The current trend is to use colours and materials that complement each other. Therefore, you should aim to wear a waistcoat that goes with the outfit that you are wearing.
2. Pair similar textures
A very simple way to stand out is to pair a waistcoat with clothing in a similar texture. Corduroys and tweeds go particularly well with denim and other wools.
3. Layer up
Another good piece of advice is to add a waistcoat as an additional layer. This means that when you remove your overcoat, your outfit will still possess a smart edge.
4. Aim for a good fit
You should ensure your waistcoat fits well; therefore, a tailored waistcoat is to be recommended. The waistcoat should lie flat against your body, with the sides and back cut slightly higher.
5. Leave a button undone
The tradition when it comes wearing a waistcoat is to leave just one button undone. This tends to be the bottom button, but the top button will also suffice.
Once you've got a grasp of these rules, ensure you take note of these five big waistcoat etiquette no-nos!
1. Avoid overly bright colours
The more subtle the colour, the more it will complement the rest of your outfit. Therefore, the trick is to stick with more traditional and classic colours, rather than try and be too garish.
2. Steer clear of patterns
Although it can be tempting to try and jazz up a waistcoat with a fun or dynamic pattern, this is very rarely a good look and can make the rest of the outfit look mismatched.
3. Don't buy short or long
It's also important to avoid wearing a waistcoat that is too long or short in length. Ideally, the bottom of your waistcoat should end halfway, or just over, your belt line.
4. Don't leave your shirt untucked
Men’s fashion is so diverse nowadays that most things go. However, one piece of advice that still applies when wearing a waistcoat is to avoid an untucked shirt. This does not look fashionable and instead creates an impression of overall sloppiness.
5. Wear over a T-shirt, not a formal or dress shirt
A waistcoat worn over a T-shirt was once fashionable, but now it makes an outfit seem casual and dated.
It’s easy to get confused by the terms
‘made to measure’.
Unhelpfully, the Advertising Standards Authority
once declared there to be no difference
. This has allowed those selling made to measure to claim they are bespoke when actually they are not. At Fielding & Nicholson, we are delighted to offer you the best of both options. This post will explain how the processes work, where they’re different, and help you to decide which will work best for you.
The Savile Row definition of bespoke
In London tailoring, ‘bespoke’ has always been used to describe the ultimate in a personalised garment-creating service. Historically, Savile Row was the place to go.
No corners will have been cut in the way your bespoke suit is made. Each step of that process is unique, slow and painstaking. Everything is created from the ground up to your own very personal requirements, dictated fully by your physiology, lifestyle and taste. Your measurements are taken and a pattern constructed from scratch. There are little or no limitations placed on the cloth to be used, or the style to be cut, or indeed any of the finishing details, from lining to buttonholes. The fit is checked meticulously – before, during and after. Nothing is rushed. It takes time and care.
A second skin
The result? Wearing bespoke is like wearing a second skin – a skin in which you become more fully yourself. This skin shows you to your best advantage: years younger, more svelte. Dapper. Elegant. The garment moves with you. And that’s why once someone starts wearing bespoke, they rarely return to off-the-peg.
The fine art of tailoring – a labour of love
When you buy bespoke, you’re really investing in the artistry and artisanship of someone who probably had a longer training than your doctor. A tailoring apprenticeship entails the slow acquisition of expertise - in reading the lines of the body, in assessing the drape of a fabric, in ingraining the skills of hand-stitching. Such skills and know-how accumulate through diligence, perseverance and patience.
And the process of bespoke is another world compared with any other garment-buying experience. Personal. Discreet. Thoughtful. Precise. And time-consuming: 40-50 hours will go into creating your suit. The fit will be assessed several times mid-process.
Made to measure
If bespoke is beyond your pocket, then made to measure is a more affordable option that still includes a marked degree of customisation. As before, your measurements are carefully taken, but used to adjust a pre-existing block pattern so that the resulting suit’s fit is several steps above one bought off the peg.
You will generally be offered a set range of cuts/patterns to choose from, and a more limited choice of fabrics and finishing details. Some parts of the made-to-measure process may be worked by machine, some parts still hand-stitched. There are fewer personal fittings than bespoke, and fewer or no tweaks to the fit along the way, so the process relies quite heavily on the accuracy of the initial measuring up.
Generally, computer-aided design (CAD) and other technological advances have closed the gap between the price of ready to wear and made to measure. However, bespoke, with its personalisation of fit and style will always be the benchmark for the best in handmade garments.
I’m not sure what happens between sleep and coffee. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever actually been present in those moments, at least not in spirit anyway. I can only imagine that after I have set the kettle to boil, achieved only by some intrinsic, ineradicable instinct, hardwired into the brain for survival in the modern jungle, I must stand in the kitchen and just sort of… stare? Just stare into the garden. There’s a difference between staring in these moments and actually seeing, and in these moments, I must be doing the former. Staring into the garden but not seeing flowers, just staring into some deep vortex of timeless grey stains on the fabric of reality itself. Not hearing bird song, only white noise that rises and rises towards a crushing crescendo so powerful it could split the house in half, destroying the bricks themselves, reducing them to rubble and dust around me, leaving nothing but the lonesome figure of a man… in a Kimono … just sort of… staring.
Luckily, the neighbours are spared this grim sight by the tiny flicking-off of the kettle as boiling point is achieved. A movement and sound so minute and yet powerful enough to cut through the white noise and close the ever deepening chasm of nothingness that mere seconds ago stretched out before me for miles in every direction. Beans, then milk, then water, no sugar, stir, sip, exhale, rinse, lather, repeat, shower, wash face, wash hair, rinse, lather, repeat. Ritual is being replaced by repetition, where there used to be chanting there is now shouting at traffic, our idea of penance is 10k on the cross trainer to atone for the sin of pizza. There could even be some pun here comparing The 12 Stations of the Cross to the morning commute but frankly, it will take a better man than myself to come up with it. So where can I manage to fit ritual in my life? In between all the information in the universe being beamed into my home at the speed of light on a minute by minute basis, in between reality TV and football and advertising and wanting to work on my body and wanting to go to work on some dim-sum, where can I fit a nice healthy dose of ritual?
Cut to the bedroom: a man de-kimono’s and stands before the wardrobe. First up is underwear, always pants before socks and always right sock before left. I was oddly superstitious as a child and some fragments have lasted with me into adulthood. Venetian blinds not being perfectly horizontal or not having all slats sitting in the same direction being one of them, but the sock thing being the most prominent. Alas, I digress. Once properly deodorised and pomaded, aftershave can be applied, then watch, then signet ring and finally the not- too -sleazy looking gold chain. Now for the clothing, the true ritual of the day, the hair and jewellery is merely foreplay.
Now, it’s June, it’s summer and as we all know, that means at some point today there might be a single glimmer of sunlight to interrupt the hail and ruin the tropical thunderstorm that sits above London, so, it’s best we prepare. The shirt is the first to leave the wardrobe like a prize stuffed toy from the teddy picker. I will be wearing something lightweight in summery colours, nice bold blue and white candy stripes, a wide cutaway colour, button cuffed. Starting with the second button from the top we work downstream until we’re ready for the tuck. Once the shirt is on, we’re looking at trousers, again, lightweight and breathable are the watchwords today. Without going into detail, you probably know the drawbacks of wearing heavy worsted wool on the Central Line in the Summer months (and you thought the Kimono imagery was disgusting…) We land on blue mohair, not quite navy, but rich in tone and complimentary of the blue and white shirt and the brown accessories, think watch strap, sunglasses etc. The trouser waistband sits on the 6th shirt button down from the collar, the slightly higher longer rise and higher waisted look will make me seem slimmer than I actually am. Asides from their powers of instant weight loss, these trousers possess another unique quality in that they stand up to creasing too, so even if I do get a seat on the train, I won’t regret it by the time I get into work, all fresh as a daisy and sharp as a pin. Once we’re tucked in and side fasteners adjusted we can think about the jacket. Cream linen, half lined and unstructured. Pure Italian looking business. Brown horn buttons to compliment the blues and pick out the watch strap and sunglasses, an open weave to keep me from smelling homeless by the time I get home this evening. What follows are the finishing touches: I’m going for a plain white silk pocket square today, folded neatly as opposed to puffed up and peacocky. This way I won’t look ‘over-accessorised’ when I add my small blue and white, knitted wool lapel pin, which I do, then it’s pure white trainers a la The Courageous Man and voila, today’s ritual is complete. Now it’s off to get stuck behind tourists as I try and make it up an escalator at the station. Rinse, lather, repeat.
When it comes to suit shopping most people have heard the term buying ‘off the peg’ but few realise that there is another option, which involves buying either ‘made-to-measure’ or ‘bespoke’ clothing.
Buying off the peg simply means buying ready to wear clothing in a standard size for e.g. size 38, 40, 42 or in ladies clothing 10, 12, 14. Most clothing manufacturers use these sizing options and if you walk into any high-street clothing store these are the measurements you’ll find used across most brands.
Unfortunately off the peg clothes which are made to manufacturers sizing won’t fit all body types and may leave you wearing an ill fitting garment. Often this means discomfort and an unwelcome distraction in your daily life not to mention the added cost and time needed to then alter garments to ensure they fit correctly.
In addition to the self-conscious feeling of wearing an uncomfortable outfit, buying off the peg clothing runs the risk of coming face to face with someone wearing the same attire. Perhaps for men when it comes to suits this is a little less embarrassing, however for ladies this is a definite no-no!
Fashion trends are dictated by brands and you may notice similar styles and colours are used from one shop to another. Purchasing these ‘throw-away’ garments each season is not only bad for the environment, and is expensive in the long run, but leaves no room for developing a sense of style based on your own personality but rather offers a limited choice of colours and designs which may not be to everyone’s taste.
When you purchase bespoke or made to measure apparel you can be sure that all items are fitted to your exact measurements. Your personal specifications will be taken into consideration including your height and build plus development of personal style is ensured through a huge choice of fabrics in many patterns and colours.
Buying bespoke clothing means you’ll be talked about for all the right reasons and not because you’ve attended an event in the same ensemble as a handful of other people (you’d be surprised how often this happens!). Investing in high quality classic items will save you money in the long term because they will last longer and you’ll wear them more often as they will fit correctly and be more comfy than their off the peg counterparts.
Next time you go shopping contemplate whether you want to fit the clothes or you want the clothes to fit you, and perhaps consider buying bespoke or made to measure in the future for an instant fashion upgrade.
A wise man once said, “The fear of taking a chance is trumped by the hope that it might be the last chance you have to take.”
… Okay, that may not be entirely true. The sentiment is most certainly true, sure, but I couldn’t in good conscience tell you if whoever said it was wise or not due to the fact I saw it daubed on the side of a telephone box in Covent Garden. Now, far be it from me to question the sagaciousness of a vandal, after all, I own a copy of Banksy’s Wall and Peace, I get it. The free thinker has never been afraid to break the odd rule, to live ever so slightly outside the restrictions of social norms and to dance merrily to their own dragging beat. But it got me to thinking, would the people of ancient Greece have taken “Courage is knowing what not to fear!” quite so seriously if Plato had spray painted it on the side of the Parthenon? Free expression of the self is one of our birthrights, surely, but what if people don’t agree with what you’re saying or how you say it? What you’re wearing or how you wear it? And to that matter, what is it to be truly original any more? Is there anything more uniform than the legacy The Ramones left of matching leather jacket’s and ripped jeans? Growing up, punk meant ‘no rules’ but try wearing a three-piece tweed suit to go see The Exploited at The Underworld in Camden…
Alas, I digress. Walking towards Tavistock Square, my mind keeps skipping back to the phone box. I’ve seen many a memorable piece of art in a phone box before, most notably around Soho, but this one has taken me from a slightly different angle. How often do I take a sartorial risk? How do I compare to how others see me? Do others see me at all? Do I even meet the perception I have of myself? Time for a reappraisal… I Dress, Therefore I Am.
Prince of Wales jacket? check. Baby blue cropped trousers I had made but was always afraid made me look like a flaming queen? Check. Crisp white shirt, cutaway collar? Check. The tie goes back into the draw, the leather double monk strap shoes stay off, filled today only with shoe-trees. Pure white trainers? Check. Slipping them on, knowing full well I will be meeting MDs in Canary Wharf and Barristers in Temple today, I feel like Joey Ramone. In this instance I am Sid Vicious. These trainers are my vandalised Parthenon’s. But then, the first wave of doubt creeps in, “What will the boss say?” Joey turns the amp down and looks sheepishly at the audience. “What will my client’s say?” A Public Support Officer has Plato scrubbing the paint from the walls before remanding him with an ASBO. No no, be strong my boy, to thine own self be true. Get up, walk towards the door, one air cushioned-sole step at a time. Make it across the threshold and you’ll be out, out into the big wide world, no turning back…
My 11am fitting in Canary Wharf looks at the trainers the second he sees me. He’s approaching me from across the reception. It takes him a couple of seconds before he finally looks me in the eye. I’m about 15 yards from him, traversing the lobby of the bank. Both of us are so in our head’s trying to make sense of the situation that we’re not concentrating on how our actual faces look as we maintain awkward eye contact. 10 yards now and we’re staring at one another as if trying to read the other’s mind. 5 yards now, fear is coursing through me, ‘What have I done?! Okay, recover this. Lie, say they’re orthopaedic. Say your real shoes are being re-soled, someone stole them, anything!’
“Good morning _____, good to see you” Shake hand > Apologise for the footwear > Hang head in shame. But before I can say anything…
“Very cool look by the way”.
Maybe this bank was not the correct platform to unveil myself. Maybe this is not the last risk I will ever have to take. Maybe my client had humoured me and is, at this very moment, calling into question my previously accepted expertise. Questions I might never know the answer to, but maybe they’re answers I am not supposed to know. It’s none of my business to know what others think of me, just as how I dress is none of their business. As I leave the building, I approach the huge revolving doors and the closer I get, with every revolution of the glass before me, I catch the sight of my reflection, sporadic and momentary like a strobe light. I look just exactly as I want to look. So, what if people disagree with what you wear or how you wear it?
Who gives a…
Here at Fielding & Nicholson we pride ourselves on offering only the most premium of cloths, created at the old English Mills in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Our range of fabrics is continually updated to reflect the newest patterns, bringing you the latest designs and styles to create truly bespoke garments from season to season.
Our latest addition is a lightweight mohair to keep you cool on warmer days, perfect for transitioning from daytime to evening. Mohair and silk blends will similarly keep you on trend this coming season with hues of indigo blue, purple and green making a dominant appearance. The check is a staple pattern this Spring/Summer and a classic which will see you through until the colder months.
Beautiful lightweight Dorsilk in a wool and silk blend, available in classic shades of grey, black and navy make a strong foundation for the Spring/Summer, with these classic pieces ideal for the basis of a capsule wardrobe. Dorsilk provides the fluid drape of silk combined with classic weight of wool. Shades of muted sage green, navy and grey in windowpane designs will bring a modern and distinct update to your fabric choices this season.
However, bright and lively jewel tones including orange and green also make an appearance in other spring and summer fabric choices including linens, luxurious cashmere and silk blends and bamboo. Plain weaves and coloured check patterns are seen across all fabric types with super soft lightweight jacketings and luxury being the biggest trends of all.
If you’re looking for something classic, we’d highly recommend a lightweight plain weave in a navy or grey, keeping your style understated and smart, with the option of adding accessories in on trend jewel tones to allow the development of your own sense of style. For a more quirky or edgy look we’d recommend a cobalt and blue windowpane patterned weave in a silk and cashmere blend, with a bright accent stripe to keep you looking fashionable for all occasions.
If you’re soon to be married then chances are you’ll want to learn what every Groom should know about buying a suit for his wedding. With some strategic planning ahead, advice on choosing the cut and colour of your suit and tips on getting the most from your suit after the wedding, you should soon be able to buy your wedding suit with ease.
Ideally you will have done some form of preparation before choosing a suit for your wedding such as discussing ideas with your partner, groomsmen, best man or family, and you may have definite ideas about what your suit will look and feel like. Making an appointment in advance to discuss your tailoring needs will allow time before the big day for any alterations and to get the fit just right.
Also arranging to take a friend or family member to your suit fitting whose opinion you trust will make the decision process easier. But above all remember to wear a suit that you feel comfortable in.
Choosing the cut and colour will be one of the biggest decisions in deciding on the correct wedding suit for you. Classic black, navy and grey never go out of style, in winter months heavier wool can work well and in summer, lighter linens and cottons can keep you cool even on the hottest days.
If you’re looking to add a splash of colour to your outfit, try matching your accessories to the colour scheme of the wedding, for example the floral arrangements or colour of the bridesmaids dresses.
A simple way of doing this is to include brightly coloured or patterned ties, handkerchiefs, waistcoats, cravats or with contrasting linings inside your suit jacket.
Buying, rather than renting, a suit will allow you to choose both a bespoke fit and a tailoring style unique to you. Investing in a suit in a classic colour that can be worn again, will double as a smart suit for many other formal occasions after the wedding itself. Also luxury fabrics for example mohair and cashmere can turn a classic suit into a special, bespoke piece, designed for comfort and longevity that is well worth the investment.
For any enquiries to discuss your needs please email us or make an appointment.
To the uninitiated, the shape of a suit jacket’s lapels may seem like a trivial detail. In reality, however, lapels play a vital role in defining a suit’s aesthetic and function. As such, when you are having a bespoke suit made, it is crucial to select the right style of lapel. Luckily, here at Fielding and Nicholson, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive understanding of suits. We don’t just know how to tailor them; we also understand the customs and aesthetic philosophies around them.
We even recognise the significance of lapel styles, which is why we’d like to dedicate this blog entry to helping you pick the perfect one for your next outfit. You have three options at your disposal: notch lapels, peak lapels and shawl lapels. Each gives your suit a different look and is suitable for different occasions. Notch lapels are the most common. They are simple, versatile and functional.
A suit with notch lapels can be worn almost anywhere, from the office to luxurious galas. Notch lapels lend your suit an uncomplicated, professional air. If you’re a busy executive who needs a reliable, all-purpose suit for every occasion, we recommend opting for notch lapels.
Peak lapels, in contrast, are far more exclusive and formal. They are usually incorporated into suits that will be worn at very important functions. These occasions can be personal (such as weddings) or corporate (such as major executive meetings). The sharp, angular appearance of these lapels enables them to project a sense of undeniable power and confidence. If you are instrumental in running a company and need a suit that says “I’m the boss”, we think peak lapels would suit you perfectly. You may also wish to consider them if you are having a bespoke suit made for a specific important occasion.
Finally, shawl lapels have a playful, rounded appearance. They are traditionally used on suits that will be worn in the evening to attend fun, high-end occasions, such as galas, dances and (occasionally) award ceremonies. If you need a suit that enables you to look elegant and classy while having a good time, we suggest incorporating shawl lapels into its design.Lapels are one of the most deceptively important aspects of a suit. Luckily, we can create whichever style you need. Wherever you plan on wearing your suit, all you need to do is pick the perfect lapel: we can tailor it for you.
You may have heard that it's the clothes that make the man. The confidence that quality tailoring
can instil in a man wearing quality clothing is undeniable - in this respect, the clothes truly do help make a great, confident, successful man. But another piece of conventional wisdom is that the first impression is the most important. What you wear can make or break a first impression in allsorts ofsituations.
Imagine you're getting dressed for a job interview. The person interviewing you is likely to be your
future boss - they probably earn good money, and to have progressed that far they must know a
thing or two about making a good impression. It is widely recognised in psychology that people
warm up to others who remind them of themselves. You need to project an image of competence. If
the interviewer subtly identifies himself with you, he will believe that you have what it takes to do a
great enough job to one day progress to his position. An elegant, stylish, well-fitting and bespoke
suit made by a quality tailor is something that will be recognised as a mark of success and attention to detail.
Now suppose your fiancée is taking you home to meet her father for the first time. He is anxious that his little girl is running off with some ruffian or low life. He has a terrifying image in his head of some punk with torn jeans who thinks cufflinks are something that police carry about! But when he sees you walking up to his front door and recognises the unique quality of the bespoke London tailoring perfectly fitting your frame, all concerns immediately fly from his mind, and he gets ready to break out the good whiskey for a warm toast to your engagement.
Ultimately, though, these good impressions start with the most important person: you. When you
wake up in the morning and consider your wardrobe of quality waistcoats and jackets made by an
expert London tailor, it puts you in the mindset of a successful man ready to impress. This will impart a demeanor to match your outfit - you will fit your clothing as well as it fits you.
If the clothes make the man, think hard about what kind of man you want to be. After all, it's the
tailor who makes the clothes!
1. The distinctive nature of something or someone.The quality of being individual in an interesting or unusual way.
2. A person or portrayal lacking in depth or characterised by exaggerated or stereotypical features.
The British love a character. How was the holiday? It was great, we met so many characters! Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet her Mum, she's a right character! Of course he should be Mayor of London, he’s such a bloody character! We can’t get enough. But why is it that we’re always looking for someone else to be that character? Someone else to stand out? Would we rather let someone else occupy that space in our shared reality than invest in expressing our own unique individuality to the world?
“…The only distinction in my day to day attire is how increasingly shiny my trousers seem to get.”
This morning our gentleman is jumping the chasm. I’ve been waving him over to this side for a little while and today, he made it over. Welcome old chap, do take a seat. He’s telling me about his wardrobe, or rather, he’s telling me about his suit. He assures me he only brings it out when his other is at the dry cleaners. This one is on its last legs, I can only assume the other is without legs altogether. Let’s talk durability. Let’s talk about 6 months between dry cleaning. Let’s talk virtue of bounty. Today our gentleman is leaving his life of 2 suit rotations behind and as we all know, a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.
Step 1. More suits.
We add a petrol blue windowpane to replace his plain navy. Also, a mid grey birdseye to replace his other plain navy. Finally, a royal blue pinstripe to replace the royal blue pinstripe shaped hole in his wardrobe. We’re adding a few suits today with a view to keeping them in the wardrobe for as long as possible. We’re taking measurements and I suggest we reinforce the seat and crotch area. Whilst taking his inseam, I notice his pink flamingo print underwear. I suggest we reinforce the seat and crotch area…
Variety comes in many forms. Maybe Monday to Friday you’re work is not inspiringly diverse. You’re starting to feel like an extra from Suits. The sitcom of your formative years has given way to a drama series where excitement is rationed. You know exactly what hijinks you’re going to be getting into today, a 4 hour conference call. You feel less and less like Bart Simpson every day. But there is an upside… That kid has like, 1 shirt. At least you look awesome, you bloody character you.
The sales chief, the HR chief, and the boss of a company are on their way to lunch when they find an old brass container.
A genie emerges from a pillar of smoke offering 1 wish each.
The HR chief, “I want to be living on a beautiful beach in Jamaica with a sailboat and enough money to make me happy for the rest of my life.”
Poof! She disappears.
The sales chief, “I want to be happily married to a wealthy supermodel with penthouses in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong.”
Presto! He vanishes.
“And how about you?” asks the Genie, looking at the boss.
“I want both those idiots back in the office by 2 PM.”
Moral of the Story: Always let your boss speak first.
A suit made for many will only fit a few. We’re all a little unbalanced …one way or another. I myself am a little lopsided. Marginally curved and slightly stooped. Sure, it’s not something you could see from across the street, but it’s something. It hasn’t always been this way though. I used to be flawless. There was a time before tailoring when I was a picture of Vitruvian perfection. Then the curtain slipped. Ceremoniously pulled away by my tailor, the grand unveiling of my flawed form.
“… I fit off the peg pretty well, I have a fairly average body shape.”
Today I’m with a first timer. Our chap is a Managing Director at a financial firm in the city and found my name through a colleague happy to refer our service. We mull over the idea of a navy twill 3 piece, a staple in any gentlemen’s wardrobe. Opting for an 11oz, super 150s cloth, our aim is to revamp the look he’s sporting today, what he calls his ‘alright suit’. We want to create a more streamlined and sleeker animal for his wardrobe.We want presence, we want air of authority, but first and foremost, we want shoulders…
There’s a fair bit of creasing on the back right of our chaps jacket. Often with a new client accustomed to off the peg garments, I’ll explain the importance of balance in coat making. I ask if the gentleman likes so much room in his jacket? Would he be happy to take the shoulders in slightly? Whether he’d prefer buttons and button holes that lined up? No. Yes. Yes.
Good to hear chief… now lets get under the bonnet.
I hang his jacket away and get Sir in front of the mirror. Stand up nice and straight old bean, look right ahead and relax, this won’t hurt a bit. I explain the reason for the creasing in his jacket is his drop right shoulder. He has 2 questions. “It’s on the back right of your jacket and it means your right shoulder is lower than your left” I explain. To create a perfectly balanced suit for a perfectly unbalanced gentleman we’ll create an individual pattern, allowing tolerance for a drop right shoulder. He accepts with a nod of approval.
Sure enough, elegance is not a flower that grows in everyones garden. But walking through the swathes some days, you can chance upon a gentleman of such refined style that you can’t help but reflect on your own plot. Cultivate a little character and captivate the crowd. Oh, and peacock. Because what’s a garden without peacocks?
The pace, the energy. The trampling of sod and dirt, sent kicking up into the heavy, humid air.
You watch them settle into the saddle.
The jostling for position.
You wait for the off. You wait for the sound of thunder on the track.
You wait for the obstacle course to come.
The 7:50 at Kings Cross...
When we’re young we make every effort to blend in, until we realise how stifling this is. Everybody wants to be an individual and commissioning any bespoke piece, whether its jewellery, a pair of handmade shoes or a handbag is a chance to stand out. Your wardrobe shouldn't be uniform, but unique.
“... I think given my rank and the bloody hierarchy in this business, I would just go for the single breasted 2 button suit to stay on the conservative side.”
Well, okay chief, let’s work with that. Your suit is your story and we aim to help you tell it. To those with the inclination towards tailored suits, every piece is an extension of something that starts within. Your inside’s on the outside, if you will.
Today’s gentleman is a first year analyst, we’ve worked together before and now we’re looking at expanding his workday wardrobe further. There’s talk of chinos and a smart casual winter blazer too but first, let’s just look at shirts and a new suit. This morning, I get a sense that ‘subtlety’ is our watchword so I slide the salmon pink chino swatches I’d earmarked earlier out of the gentleman's reach. Maybe later.
We decide on a charcoal piece to add variety against his two previous navy pieces. A wonderfully dark and simplistic navy, his ‘all-rounder’ and a lighter weight sharkskin that was a seasonal choice at the beginning of May. I lead initially with a prince of wales check, but the gentleman appears to physically tense up at the suggestion. The eye-widening tells me this is not for him so we swiftly move on. At this point the salmon pink chinos are removed from the table altogether. Maybe later.
The gentleman makes it clear he wants to be conservative without being boring. Rather than adding to the swathe of plain grey suits in the city, I suggest something with more depth. A healthy middle ground between blending in and standing out. We chance upon a fine worsted wool with a glen check - a vibrant pattern coupled with a muted charcoal tone - that will work wonderfully for the winter. The pupils have narrowed and the room feels loose again. I take this as a good sign.
This appetite for natural and effortless elegance is not an uncommon sentiment with our younger clients. By the time they make Managing Director, ‘elegance’ gives way to ‘presence’.
(One of my more senior clients assures me this comes with the middle age spread.) As for his pink chinos, maybe later.
Any stylish dresser will tell you that the details are all-important, and at Fielding & Nicholson these are a source of great attention and pride. From source material to finished garment, our bespoke tailoring combines passion, knowledge and careful finessing of the finer points that make up a great a suit.
Naturally, it all starts with cloth. Provenance is all-important, and we take pride in supporting the greatest products produced in our green and pleasant land, to ensure the suiting we supply is authentically British. Fielding & Nicholson carefully sources the finest materials from the excellently pedigreed mills in Humberstone, Yorkshire, and distinguished British cloth merchants such Scabal, Dormeuil, Dugdales and Hunt & Winterbotham. The result is stylish contemporary tailoring with an innate heritage that links it with the history of great London suiting.
The client is measured in a consultation, in which approximately 15 measurements are taken, and suiting preferences are dictated many aspects of the clothing can be adjusted to taste, from material and cut to the number of pockets and buttons, trimmings such as canvases and linings, and also of course the shape of the garments. In each case weve put a great deal of time and passion into providing the individual components of the highest luxury and sartorial merit for you to choose from.
With your measurements taken down, the master cutter Raymond chalks and divides the cloth in our well appointed Liverpool Street workshop. The pieces are carefully fitted with the desired trimmings and constructed into what is known as a baste garment. This is tried on and adjusted where necessary, taking into account finer variables such as the wearers posture. Changes that might seem infinitesimal to the untrained eye are made and re-checked in a painstaking process that makes the difference between a good suit and an item of the utmost luxury.
At the very end of the chain, the suit must pass the exacting standards of the master tailor in order to be finished, and this is where the attention to detail comes to fruition in delivering a finished product that lives up to the Fielding & Nicholson brand values. An attention to detail that verges on fanatical is what it takes to reach very pinnacle of fine tailoring; and this is what Fielding & Nicholson provides, upholding great British sartorial traditions in a stylishly contemporary way.
Since the 19th century, tweed has been renowned as the ideal gentleman’s sporting fabric. Its rustic outdoor heritage, durability and sophisticated style have ensured that over the years tweed has retained its distinguished reputation. Regardless of whether you enjoy shooting, fishing, cycling, golf or other outdoor activities, owning a tweed suit will equip you with a practical and eminently fashionable choice for these countryside pastimes. Listed below are our top tips on how to wear a tweed suit:
1. Wear during cool weather situations
Tweed is a cool weather fabric that is appropriate attire for autumnal excursions. As a rule, tweed suits are acceptable attire for any outdoor occasion wherein you would usually wear casual suits, jackets or sport coats.
2. Acceptable weekend attire
As mentioned earlier, tweed is known as a gentleman’s sporting fabric. Consequently, a tweed suit or jacket can be worn to weekend, outdoor events such as golfing tournaments, shooting meets, fetes or garden parties. However, it is primarily a smart casual option and as such you should refrain from wearing tweed to more formal events such as white collar evening parties or business meetings.
3. Customisable options
The resurgence in the popularity of tweed in recent years means that it is now possible to customise your tweed jacket or three piece suit with your preferred stylistic flair. Although most tweed jackets and coats are single breasted with centre vents and notched lapels, you can now design your own bespoke two piece or three piece tweed jacket in a vast array of traditional or modern fabric patterns and add leather buttons, slanted pockets or collar closures, if you so wish.
4. Pair with suitable shirts
The majority of tweed patterns are best paired with pastel coloured shirts, rather than crisp white options. Patterned flannel shirts are also suitable pairing options as they will accentuate the rustic outdoor heritage of your tweed attire.
5. Choose a weight which suits your purpose
When designing your tailor made tweed suit it is important to consider the climate in which you will wear it and its intended purpose. This is due to the fact that both of these factors will affect the weight of the tweed fabric that you need. Whereas heavy 700 gram tweed fabrics are ideal for shooting in cold weather, lighter 300 to 400 gram tweed fabrics will be more appropriate attire for wearing indoors or during warmer weekend excursions such as cycling, golf or countryside walks. If you tailor your bespoke tweed suit with these activities in mind, you can be equipped with a sophisticated, stylish and practical piece of custom clothing that will accommodate for all your individual clothing needs.
With thanks to http://www.ahume.co.uk/Tweed-Jackets/c-1-226/ for providing the headline image.
Once reserved for wealthy businessmen, buying a bespoke suit is now a very modern experience. Work and casual wear have combined creating a necessity for suits to take on a multipurpose role. At Fielding & Nicholson, we believe that wearing a suit should be a comfortable and unique experience, no matter whether it’s for work or a formal occasion, such as a wedding.
Previously you may have bought ‘off the peg’ and been disappointed that your suit just didn’t cut it for one of several reasons. Sizing in men’s clothes stores is not regulated, so may differ from shop to shop, meaning you’re not guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your individual shape or size. Also, if you’re buying for a special occasion and make a purchase without taking accurate measurements, you may end up with an ill-fitting suit which ruins your experience of the day.
Equally, the quality may not be up to scratch with dropped stitches and flimsy cloth with no durability or longevity of fabric wear common issues with these types of suits. You may not find the style, cut, or even the colour you’d like to wear to suit your individual tastes and end up wearing the same as others.
When you choose a bespoke suit, you’ll be guaranteed the highest quality garments for your occasion. An exclusive personal customer service experience is offered, where you can pick the fabrics in person to achieve the right look. Plus your measurements will be taken over several fittings to guarantee the correct fit. All Fielding & Nicholson garments are made with the highest quality cloth, combining both durability and luxury to create a VIP experience and the best suit for your needs.
Coupled with a friendly service, our highly skilled Master Cutter will use his years of experience to create a handmade garment, unique to your personal specifications. Choosing bespoke means every detail of your suit is carefully considered, custom made and tailored to your own style, from the fabric of the suit itself right down to the details of buttons, stitching, lining and accessories. Choosing bespoke is an opportunity for your personal style and flair to show through via your very own custom clothing, for example combining both contemporary and classic design.
Initially choosing a bespoke suit may seem daunting but is a true investment as the craftsmanship and high quality provides a luxury fit and feel guaranteed to last for many years.
So, you’ve opted to go for a tailored suit, but the real question is: which fabric do you choose? Of course an expert tailor will lead a new customer through the possibilities and make sure that the client leaves with the perfect fit for their body and the occasion. This is the very essence of tailored clothing.
The material makes a big difference to the look, feel and warmth of the finished suit and here are just a few fabrics that you can choose from.
Merino wool, famed for its softness and quality, is one of the choicest fabrics for a fine suit. Wool is preferred thanks to its durability, its ability to breathe and of course the hang. For the absolute best, look for Super gauge, which refers to how fine the yarn is. Super 210 is the market-leading cloth, but Super 100 can provide a fine finished suit and most tailors opt for Super 130-150 for their premium ranges.
Worsted wool is produced slightly differently to traditional wool, as the fibres are combed into strands, rather than spun, to create a smooth and more durable fibre. Worsted is commonly used to produce flannel and tweed that are the staples of country fashion and, therefore, have to survive the rigours of the outdoors.
This fine grade wool is generally offered as a blend for traditional wool as, used on its own, it can create a rather unnatural shine. When harnessed in the right way, cashmere can add a real touch of luxury to a suit.
Another common blending fibre, silk is a breathable fabric that retains heat in cold weather and also gives the suit a natural sheen that is simply unmistakable. It is often seen in the finest tuxedos and high-fashion suits from the leading designers.
The stalwart of the casual summer suit market, lightweight linen is famous for helping a gent keep his cool in the blazing heat. Traditionally worn at garden parties and in foreign climes, a linen suit is more casual than a traditional suit and used to be a rarity at the office. It has relaxed lines, but also creases easily and requires regular cleaning.
Cotton suits move and breathe well, but they lag behind wool suits when it comes to fit and finish. Cotton suits, especially in lighter hues, are ideal for summer wear, but they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
It’s one of the most important days of your life, recorded in countless memories and on film, so looking utterly stylish on your wedding day is a must. From the moment you greet the guests until the last cocktail has been quaffed, whether you’re having an enormous society wedding or a small gathering in a registry office, it’s vital to feel confident in your clothes. To be a dashing, well-groomed groom on your wedding day, give the following style points some careful consideration.
Choosing a suit
When deciding on a suit, consider the cut, colour and fabric that ‘says’ something about the person you are. Are you a cool and creative individual, or a more serious and traditional gentleman? Reflect these traits in the design, fabric and colour that you choose to wear. If you’re finding it difficult to decide between traditional or modern styles, London tailor Fielding and Nicholson has a personal wedding consultant to work with you and offer assistance throughout the process. Our bespoke garments are designed and cut individually and made from the finest materials, so luxury is an absolute given. What’s more – we have an at-home service, so you can relax in the comfort of your own surroundings if you wish.
The perfect shirt
A shirt for your wedding day, custom made by Fielding and Nicholson, will be luxurious and unique. Opt for the finest fabric, a specific button colour, or collar style, to make it truly bespoke. Take advice from the personal wedding consultant to co-ordinate your shirt perfectly with your suit, as well as making sure it works alongside your partner’s clothing. Hand cut and hand-stitched, the shirts are made to measure, so that when you’re saying ‘I do’ or throwing some moves on the dance-floor, you can do so in style and comfort.
The finishing touches
Accessories are a great opportunity to tie together the wedding party’s colours, perhaps by injecting a flash of colour with the neck wear. Tailor made ties, cravats and pocket handkerchiefs can be as bold or as subtle as you like. Cuff-links too are a chance to express your personal style or could make a meaningful gift for the best man. Finally, last but not least is the groom’s footwear. Depending on the fabric, cut and colour of the suit you’re having made, invest in a pair of bespoke shoes that perfectly complete your wedding day style.
With the inevitable schedule of summer events looming, it’s time to break out of your woollen fabric, dark coloured comfort zone. You want your warm weather suit to work hard all season, so here’s how to navigate summer tailoring without breaking a sweat…
Seeing your friend or loved one tie the knot can be a minefield in terms of dress. If in doubt always err on the side of formal (unless the event calls for a full morning suit) but make sure you’re not upstaging the groom. Choose linen, cotton or a mid-weight wool to ensure you stay cool at the reception, and a fine check or neutral shade like khaki or grey. This combination will stand you in good stead in the coming months; add a bright shirt if you’re craving colour.
Depending on the dress code, a garden party offers a little more room for creativity than a wedding. If a jacket is a must, pair your tailor made suit jacket with slacks to achieve casual elegance, or choose an impeccably cut sports coat. The garden party is also an opportunity to break out your vintage-inspired accessories, but stick to a few choice details to avoid going over the top; nobody wants to look like they’ve raided the costume department.
Provided you’re not at Ascot’s royal enclosure, race day dressing need only be as complicated as you make it. The aforementioned linen or cotton suit in a neutral shade, paired with a crisp shirt and a neatly knotted tie can’t fail for nonchalant elegance. The devil’s in the detail and the ladies in your enclosure will be dressed in their best accessories, so break away from the pack with a chalky or pastel-coloured shirt and a favourite tie pin or pocket square.
The Business Trip
Not so much of an issue in winter, arriving at your destination comfortable and crease-free can be a challenge when travelling in the summer months. If you are a frequent flyer it’s worth investing in crease-resistant fabric – your tailor can advise. Plus, make sure you wear your suit jacket to the airport so you can hang it up on the plane; you’ll breeze through arrivals without having to worry about covering up with a coat.
There are generally said to be 3 different types of men's suit: British, American, and European (by which we mean Italian). Each of these 3 suit styles offer a few subtle differences in terms of their cut. At Fielding and Nicholson, we favour British cut suits but we thought we’d offer this overview of the approach taken by these other styles:
The American Suit
American suits offer a looser cut which offers greater comfort if perhaps less style. Trousers are full cut without pleats. These suits have a single vent (opening or slit) at the back, compared to 2 on the British suit. Armholes are higher and there is almost no padding on the shoulder, making for a more natural look and softer silhouette. Critics complain the suits are a bit boxy and certainly less flattering, although fans find them more comfortable to wear for long periods.
The European Suit
When we talk of the European suit we tend to be referring to Italian tailoring. Italian tailors produce beautiful slim-cut, modern and fashionable men's suits which offer a streamlined silhouette and a close fit against the body, especially on the hips. Nowadays Italian suits tend to offer 2 vents at the back of the jacket; historically they had none. Jackets tend to be relatively short with padded shoulders.
You’ll notice the pockets don’t have flaps and the buttons are attached rather higher than they would be on a British or American suit. Perhaps for obvious reasons, Italian suits are usually in lighter-weight fabrics than your standard British-made suit – woollen tweed tends not to be popular in hot countries!
You’ll find distinctly different suits are produced by tailors in different parts of Italy but they tend to share the same snug fit. Critics will argue that the Italian suit tends to favour only those blessed with a slim willowy figure and can be rather unkind to those who enjoy large quantities of pasta.
The suits we produce at Fielding and Nicholson favour the style known as ‘British traditional’. These suits tend to work well on men of average build as they are flattering without being too slim fitting or baggy.
British suits offer a well-structured jacket with 2 vents at the back (very good for horse riding) and a heavier cloth than either the American or Italian suit. Our aim is to offer a fitted look via clever tailoring to give shape without trendiness and provide a timeless appeal.
Suits have certainly made a comeback in the past few years, with men choosing vintage and modern tailored looks for both work and nights out. However, if you’re not used to wearing a suit, it can be difficult to spot what looks good and what doesn’t, with many men simply not being able to spot whether a suit fits well or not. When trying on a suit, you should look out for some of these common mistakes that can ruin the look of a smart suit, and mean that you need to head off to a tailor.
A common sight with men’s trousers is a pooling of too much fabric around the ankles when the length is too long. On the opposite end, you may see men with trousers that are too short, with some of their socks exposed even when they are standing up. A good tailor will make your trousers the right length for a ‘trouser break’, a small dimple where the trouser fabric meets your shoe, and the best way to achieve this perfect look is to get your trousers hand-made by a tailor.
It’s not just the waist of the trousers you should consider when deciding whether they fit; the seat of the trousers is also key to getting the right look. The fabric on the seat should look smooth, without excess fabric, and should allow you to sit comfortably.
There are several areas on a jacket that you should look at when you pick one out, and it’s usually best to consider a bespoke jacket made by a tailor to get the right fit. Problem areas can include:
• Shoulders – fabric bunching around the shoulders can mean the jacket is too small. Many men also pick jackets that are too big, leading to odd looking proportions.
• Arm length – your jacket sleeves should show about half an inch of your shirt sleeves, any more or less and the fit can look all wrong.
• Jacket length – this will depend on the style of suit, so it’s best to consult a tailor to decide on the right length for the occasion. Generally, a work suit will have a jacket that falls halfway down the buttock area.
When you decide to buy a suit, there are many different things to consider, and some men simply don’t have the eye that a professional tailor does. The right suit can really flatter a man’s shape, while the wrong size can make them look like they have strange proportions and can look cheap and scruffy. That’s why it’s always best to go bespoke, with suits made to be as flattering and comfortable as possible, and alterations included to ensure a perfect fit that you simply won’t get when buying off the peg.
When it comes to buying formal wear that looks stylish and fits like a dream, the only way to go is bespoke. A bespoke suit is different from a made-to-measure suit, in that it is cut from a pattern that is made exactly to your measurements. Made-to-measure is cut from a standard pattern, and then adjusted to fit you. Both will fit better than an off the rack suit, but bespoke is the most luxurious and beautiful way to wear formal clothing. You are going to spend more on a bespoke outfit than you are on a standard one in a department store, but this money is more than worthwhile if you are prepared to do your research and follow these tips for having your suit created for you.
Find The Right Tailor
Some stores have a section where you can see a tailor, and this may be fine as long as you choose a store and a tailor with a good reputation. Otherwise look online for reviews of various tailors and companies, so that you know that the tailor you are choosing is going to create a truly one-off and beautiful suit for you.
Build A Relationship With Your Tailor
Unless you have a bad experience, stick with your tailor once you have worked with them, so that you have the chance to build up a rapport and a relationship with them. This way they will get to know what your preferences are without you having to ask.
Ask Questions And Be Prepared To Say No
This is your suit and you are paying good money to get it the way you want it. Be prepared to ask questions and say no to something if you are not happy with it. A good bespoke suit should require around three fittings, but you should be prepared to come back as many times as you need to until your tailor gets it right and you are completely satisfied.
Do Your Research
Your tailor will be able to walk you through the various options for your suit, including the types of cloth, style of the suit, close cut or looser, how many buttons and so on. But it may be useful for you to do your research in advance so that you have some idea as to what you want before you even walk through the door. This will cut the process down and make it easier for you and your tailor.
When a true London gentleman wants a suit, he does not run to the department store and whip a baggy two-piece off the rack, with a three pack of plastic wrapped shirts thrown in for a discount. Rather, he relies on the skill and artistry of a trusted tailor to handcraft a bespoke suit with a glove-like fit.
Yet buying a tailored suit is not just about standing with your arms out and being sized up with a tape measure. Doing a little bit of thought in preparation for your appointment can make all the difference.
Think About Fabric
One of the most buyer-friendly elements of getting a suit tailored is the fabric. Big name designers will often produce their off-the-rack suits with a fabric grade of around 100s. Though respectable, this is far from the most sophisticated, durable or luxurious grade available. Your tailor will offer you fabric choices all the way up to 180s. Decide how high you want to go before you arrive at your tailor’s door.
Questions Of Style And Taste
There are some key, burning questions all men must answer honourably in their lifetime, most of them to do with suits. Single breasted or double? Two button or three? Are you the sort of gracious gent who follows the latest fashion to the letter? Or are you the wily cad who subverts it with a guileful dash of mischief? Perhaps you like to ignore modern tastes completely and stick with a tried and tested classic look? When you are ready to answer these questions, you are ready for a bespoke suit.
Your Tailor Knows All
Your tailor will know everything there is to know about how to craft a suit. His experienced hands can shape the rich fabric into the specific style you are looking for. Think about those elegant little personal touches that can truly make a suit belong to its owner – an unusual pocket shape here or a specially chosen button design there. Whatever it is, your tailor will know how to make it work for you. Do keep it tasteful, however. Remember: the truly great suit is never noticed. Its wearer always is.
Every man should have at least one bespoke suit in his armoury, whether for business or pleasure. Be sure, when you go to meet your tailor, you get the precise breed of high quality attire you are after.