Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Street Style 29th February 2012 - Ernst & Young, London

Here is a client of mine at accountancy firm Ernst & Young after a fitting. Want to start posting some of these so you can see the kind of work you should expect from tailors. I kept his face out as am just starting using clients and want them to feel comfortable but you an take it from me, he's a handsome chap and wonderful to work for.  

Must Have Accessories - Pocket Watch & Fob

To have a three piece is to own a sense of elegance and history. The waistcoat dates back to 16th century Persia. The suit seems to have formed properly by George 'Beau' Brummel and his entourage to the kind of uniformity it bears even today. The tie rumours to come from a group of Croatian soldiers, many years ago, work long pieces of fabric around their necks. This led to the modern name of the cravat.

But here we speak of something just a little unusual. A pocket watch. These practical and decorative objects of the 19th and 20th century are back en vogue and are to be seen around in London, Milan, New York, Paris and so on. But not by just the old traditionalists but by the young and trendy. The fashion makers are turning to many Nic Nac store and online sites to buy these specialist items. They can say something about you that seems so much classier than a tie or cufflink can.

The watch goes perfectly with the three piece as the watch nestles comfortably in the lower welted pocket of the waistcoat and the chain(s) link to a buttonhole (some have a specialised buttonhole cut just for this purpose) by a fob. Some chains go on to the other pocket to create a curtaining bow effect.

The are a few ways to wear your watch classically but this is one item I think you may really be inventive with and the more original it's placing the bigger a conversation piece it is. But be bold and take the time to shop for one that says something about you.

Jude Law wears his pocket watch and chain very well and you may say that the first film with Robert Downey Jnr as Sherlock Holmes made a real change in the sense of permissible extras and features in the tailoring world. The traditional side of fashion has reared it's head concerning styles and looks so is it any surprise that Dr John H. Watson is sporting an item which is having a surging trend recently?

How to wear it?

Two styles, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene (sorry to those that don't like Shakespeare). These are the two main fashions to wear ones pocket watch and fob. On the left you have the double albert?

Double Albert:

One chain is to attach to the watch and be dropped into the pocket of your choice. I am right handed so it feels natural there but either side is good.
The bar is fed thought the front of a waistcoat buttonhole, or the one added for this purpose, and acts as a wedge to keep the chains attached to the waistcoat and looping elegantly. Then the other chain is attached to a fob. This can be anything you wish, although you will have to take it to a jewellers and add a link to a bespoke object of your own. This fob acts as a weight to keep the other chain in place and is placed in the opposite pocket on the waistcoat to the watch.

Single Albert:

This version is the same but the fob part of the gain is short and should most likely have something light and  not awkward so it doesn't get in the way or feel uncomfortable. I've seen good luck charms, badges, even a little phial that carried the mothers ashes of gent in question.mthese things are possible.
My fob idea for my next purchase will be a locket with pictures of my two favourite girls, my wife and daughter.

Good luck and please send me your pictures to include in further posts on this.

Tailor Dan

Ironing your handkerchief - asked by my wife

My wife made a very good point when looking over my blog to give her opinion. And that was that I had failed to mention, in my post on How to fold Handkerchiefs, and even worse, attach pictures, ironing the handkerchiefs. It was a folly and correctly pointed out by my better half.

When ironing best results come from cotton and silk but be careful on both and used a low heat. Try first with a tea towel over it so you don't burn the fabric. Steam use on cotton and linen are ok but be aware on silk and do not use the water spray, if you have one on your iron, on silk.

Never iron polyester as will melt and would advise never purchasing these anyway as they are not very good looking, just cheap.

Iron out the full square and if wish then fold twice in half till you get a square again and iron softly at that stage.

Thanks to my beautiful wife you will now have the most elegant of appearances when donning a handkerchief.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Street Style 28th Feb 2012 - 3

Might not be sunny enough for this hat but can work on a summery day. Would prefer with a linen 3 piece but am wearing a navy worsted wool pale blue pin stripe, with the same white shirt and tie as earlier post of Street Style - 1. Changed my pocket handkerchief to a reverse puff fold.

Street Style 28th Feb 2012 - 2

My colleague looking very well put together in a Holland & Sherry fabric,  Black and White pin dot, with a light blue Pima cotton shirt and a grey and silver striped silk tie.

Very elegant. But he always is. Expect a few more of his great combinations on posts to come.

How to lace your shoes? - Classic versions

This not a post on the actual tying because I believe all my readers have probably mastered his and those few that haven't are more then welcome to email me and am happy to cover it.

This is simply a post to shoe the couple of ways that laces should be done for the most classic of looks.

Please check out Ian's Shoelace Site as it is simply the best for methods and variations of shoe lacing I know. The methods detailed on the site seem mostly for real afficiados of lacing but there are some classics that I will post here.

Criss Cross Lacing:

Criss Cross Lacing diagramLacing Technique:

1. The lace is run straight across the bottom (grey section) and the ends emerge through both bottom eyelets.

2. The ends are crossed over each other, then fed under the sides to emerge through the next set of eyelets up the shoe.

3. Repeat step (2) until both ends reach the top eyelets.

The above is from Ian's site and is titled criss cross lacing under methods tab.

This is how it should look on a pair of shoes:

Shoe Shop Lacing

Shoe Shop Lacing diagram 1
Lacing Technique 1 (long diagonal segment):

1. The lace is run straight across the bottom (grey section) and the ends are fed in through both bottom eyelets.

2. The left (blue) end is crossed diagonally on the inside all the way to the top of the shoe and emerges through the top right eyelet.

3. The right (yellow) end is crossed diagonally on the inside and emerges through the next eyelet up the left side of the shoe, then continues straight across on the outside and is fed in through the opposite eyelet on the right side.

4. Repeat step (3) with the same end, each time running diagonally on the inside and straight across on the outside, until it reaches the top left eyelet.

Shoe Shop Lacing diagram 2
Lacing Technique 2 (long straight segment):

1. The lace is run straight across the bottom (grey section) and the ends are fed in through both bottom eyelets.

2. The left (blue) end is run straight up on the inside all the way to the top of the shoe and emerges through the top left eyelet.

3. The right (yellow) end is crossed diagonally on the inside and emerges through the next eyelet up the left side of the shoe, then continues straight across on the outside and is fed in through the opposite eyelet on the right side.

4. Repeat step (3) with the same end, each time running diagonally on the inside and straight across on the outside, until it reaches the second row from the top of the shoe.

5. The right (yellow) end is run straight up on the inside and emerges through the top right eyelet.

The above is from Ian's site and is titled Shoe Shop Lacing under methods tab.

This is how it should look on your shoes:

Personally I now wear the shoe shop lacing method as I like the look aesthetically but either are great classic methods. Check out Ian's Shoelace  site if you have fit issues as as you can see in the tables I pasted from his site they carry comfort or note advice in it and should be looked through when trying the laces out.

Street style 28th Feb 2012 - 1

My morning dress today. A dark grey plaid jacket with a matching v-neck jumper. White shirt underneath with a wool navy and burgundy tie. Wore it with jeans and black brogues and matched a white cotton handkerchief to the shirt. Finished it off with a grey stripe flat cap.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Alterations for your suits and clothes

Happy with your alterations? If so then ignore. But if you have yet to find consistent success in this area then read on. Actually you should read on just in case your not getting as good a service as you thought.
  • What should you expect to pay?
  • What alterations are less/more expensive?
  • What should the turn around times be?
  • What questions to ask?
  • What should your expectation of service be?

What should you expect to pay?
Alteration charges will vary from tailor to tailor and areas of city. But generally a simple alteration would set you back £15 - £30 ($24 - $48). Larger work or multiple alterations like a total recut will be from £50 - £300 ($80 - $480).

Less expensive alterations:
  • Trouser length
  • Sleeve length
  • Waist in or out
  • Replace buttons
  • Cut buttonholes
  • Slight lining repair
  • Repairing seam rip
  • Pocket repair
  • Take in or let out centre back seam

More expensive alterations
  • Jacket waist in or out
  • Jacket seat in or out
  • Jacket length (can only shorten)
  • Complete re-lining change
  • Narrowing sleeve barrels
  • New crotch piece
  • Altering collars and lapels
  • Taking in point to point (shoulder width - can't let out)
  • Invisible mending - this is specialist repairers that use a microscope to mend nearly impossible holes. Well worth but whilst it says invisible be prepared to still see something slightly where the hole or rip was.
Turn Around times
Again this slightly depends on the quality but I should expect a week. If they are quick but not very good then the speed of work means nothing. Then again if they are great but take a month then you may wish to look elsewhere. So decide your priority and maybe accept you may need to sacrifice something else, from the options of speed, cost, quality. If you can find one that is great in all 3 then use them and do the right thing and mention their name on to friends and colleagues to increase business. Then let them know this as feedback is always appreciated for they may not know that they are liked, as people are not always in a habit of letting you know, and so dip in one of those 3 key areas.

What questions you should ask?
  • Do you have any damage guarantees? - this is important but hard to find for if a shop will guarantee the cost if damaged of an item it means they are probably very good and high quality as if their not they will be out of business very quickly. 
  • Do you do alterations here or or somewhere else? - some places actually use other larger companies to do apt heir alterations but most don't. This is an issue if it gets damaged at that other place and you are stuck with a damaged garment.
  • How long have you been here? - a shop that has been around for 20 plus years has survived recessions and competition so is probably pretty good. Doesn't mean don't give young start up companies your work but it is a good indicator of quality (not always though).

What should be your expectation?
You should be getting polite, efficient and reasonably priced work. But do remember, you get what you pay for so don't expect high quality or speed if the cost is very low. Minimum communication of any extra costs to be confirmed before work is done and receipts provided. Also work must be of a good standard so don't accept bad work unless the tailor made you aware that the repairs would be mostly visible. All good tailors will manage your expectations so this would be rare and silly of them if they led you to believe they are magicians on things that are far too damaged.
Delivery service may be provided but will cost. Expect discount of you do many items. It may be worth you and some colleagues pooling, once one of you has found a good place, and getting work down at the same time. Most of these places do dry cleaning too so you will be using them more then just every time a popped button happens.

Give me your feedback once you have found somewhere good so I can pass it on to other readers in your area.

Tailor Dan

Tailored suits

Getting a truly tailored suit is one of life's true privileges. And when you work as hard as you do it is one you justly deserve. But getting the right tailor is the hard part. Having someone who's mind is firmly on looking after your business for the rest of your career rather than just a one stop suit is what you want. That is why getting referred to a tailors is the best thing. Referrals means someone you know has physically tried and seen the product and service and are happy to have their name mentioned on as a referral.
Tailored suits are a dime a dozen. Well tailored suits are another thing. The bets in the world are still Savile Row. But I am biased, being English. The Italians will tell you it's Italy and they have a good arguement too. But I know English heritage the best in tailoring and in England, Savile row is still King.
There for a completely handmade suit you will be looking at £2500+ ($4000) roughly and will get a memorable experience. The row is centuries old and has dresssed royalty and stars of around the world during that time. Some of the finest designers in fashion have had their routes there and will always be synonymous with excellent and elegance.
So when referred to a tailor take a look at their history and judge the people you meet there. Classy companies will rarely condemn or bad mouth their competition. If you come across ones that do you may want to leave it right as if they talk like that about others in their field what may they talk about you or even their own company if they ever move on. People who bad mouth are always looking to blame someone else for mistakes in their lives. Those doing the best for their clients and themselves rarely need to talk this way as they are set upon being the best and that means raising your game and encouraging great competition in every area.
I have compiled a list of what I think makes a good tailor/tailoring company and hope it should be a good guide to whether you wish to have your career/appearance to be looked after by them.
To look for:
  • A permanent business address which you can visit if needed.
  • A website of some kind (those without either can't afford or don't know what is needed in business today)
  • A price list - sounds silly but if there are no prices connected to certain makes of suit and level of cloths then it's likely the prices are just made up then and there depending on what they think you'll pay.
  • Deposit - Ive heard of some companies that don't always take deposit but can you trust the long term structure of a company that doesn't cover it's costs at least?
  • A method of measurement and the skill to explain - sounds again daft but if your tailored suit takes just 6 measurements or so to make then you are not getting a tailored suit. You're getting an off the peg adjusted. 
  • Visual images - If you get a bespoke or made-to-measure suit then you won't know how it will truly look till you are fitted in it 4 - 12 weeks later, depending on tailor and construction. So the company/tailor you meet must be able to guide you some how and the best way is visually. So you should expect some idea of photo or drawing description so as to communicate design and pick out options.
  • Some kind of guarantee - there are not many that fully guarantee their work but most have a 'fit till satisfied' promise in their terms. This may still mean you might be stuck with a suit you don't like or doesn't fit as not all establishments keep that promise or will refund you even if you are unsaid field but most should do their best to get your wishes. If you do come across a company that guarantees their gamers fully then take that as a great sign of confidence in their work as they will have to work hard to get it right or risk losing not only your custom but the money you have paid completely. His guarantee is a real risk reducer.
  • Expect honesty - if the people you meet seem genuine and open and/or tell you their possible faults then take that as a good sign. I'd rather trust someone who admits they're human than someone who claims hey are perfect. I know which one will be true in the long run. 
  • Expect them to look good - the person in front of you may not be able to actually measure their own clothes as this process is rather difficult. So a colleague of theirs would have had to do it. This then is a true test of whether their product and training are good enough. For if the tailor/clothier you meet looks terrible then they may have either no awareness of what looks good, or the company they work for might not be training very well their staff very well. 
  • A receipt - this should be a must and if none is forthcoming then do not continue with the order. 
  • Lastly, a fitting date - you may decide not to fix one there and then due to your constraints or unpredictable diary but one should always be offered. This will give you some security that they plan to return with the suit within a timeframe, let alone at all. If they offer none then consider whether you want this uncertainty but do bring it up with them and see their response.
  • Do expect to get some hint should want but not everything - a good tailor will direct your wishes to maybe suggesting alternative that will make you look better then before. But if you have some real desire for certain features or options in your clothes then do stick to your guns unless they give good reason not too. They are there to make you look good but also achieve your wishes. 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Must have Accessories - Wallets

This is a pet peeve of mine. Gentleman who have giant wallets, that I have termed 'the brick', in their inside breast pockets bulging out like they had about them a magnum colt .45 (no idea if that's an actual gun). I see absolutely no reason to warrant this bar laziness. Collecting receipts for 3 months and taking out 10 credit cards is just lazy. Find a way to be more economical. That's the word of the year so let's see of we can not look like a guy who has a catheter taped to our rib cage under our jackets, huh?




The best way forward is to buy a new wallet. Breast wallets are best if you stIll wish to carry around a pretty array of papers and cards as it spreads the load over a greater area this creating space and a slim line look.


 Having designer wallets is fine for some but for me it is just a mode of practicality as we don't tend to show it off in public view too often. 

Go to a good department store and try them out during your week, so you have a jacket on still, and go with the one you love the most.

As long as its different.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Street style - 24th Feb 2012 London

 Just saw this chap walking towards me by Bank in London.
Some really good combinations going on here but still quite daring. Grey casual jacket with patch pockets upper and lower, Auvergne trousers with black suede tassled loafers. Creates a great look around the city.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

How to dress for a promotion?

Here is a how to help dress for a promotion. The general rules apply for all work types but clearly this is generated towards a suit or jacket wearing gent so please use advice if appropriate but skip others if you would never be dressing well for this. But would wearing a good suit hurt? That's the question. If the answer is no then you could still wear one and has never been a reason in my time for not getting the job.

So from my experIence of clients seeking promotion and tailoring to those needs I have seen the do's and dont's many times as to when advice was heeded and when not.

Let me be clear, a well tailored suit and professional look will never alone great you the promotion. But it will help. The big part of being right for the position is down to you. But can your appearance lose you that same promotion? Absolutely. 

What would you do if you had two people both the same on paper and both interviewed well and had the characteristics you were looking for? But one was well dressed, clean, odour free and looked like the guy who could meet clients and be a good visual representation of your ethos. The other was dressed in a badly fitted suit. If a man doesnt look like he can be presentable or take care of his appearance would he be able to care for your business needs. It's that straight forward. Look at the picture below and see the differences. 

Below are some rules for things to embrace and others to avoid. Use this checklist the night before, in some cases such as altering a suit weeks before, to make sure you have prepared. Ignore at your own risk. Remember; fail to prepare, prepare to fail. 



  • Do wear a fitting suit that is clean and lint free. 
  • If you know a while ahead that you are up for this promotion then take a badly fitting suit, if you have no other better, to a tailor to alter.
  • Do wear a clean and well pressed shirt.
  • Do make sure your shirt is tucked in properly.
  • Do have collar stays in your shirt that are the right length and not curving under.
  • Do have a complimenting colour tie that is stain free and if frayed then run a razor along it to remove them. 
  • Do polish your shoes well. See link for good care and direction.
  • Do make sure your hands are clean and fingernails trimmed and not dirty underneath.
  • Do make sure hair is cut a couple of days before so as to not look just out of barbers but is still better then not all.
  • Do shave the night before rather then the morning so as to be clear of cuts or rashes that occur. If you have a fast growing stubble then get up early in the morning to do is instead.
  • Do use a moisturiser on face to get rid of dry skin and ease bags. 
  • Do visit the toilet to relieve yourself as interviews can be nerving and long. 
  • Do keep a relaxed posture as much as possible.
  • Do trim excess hair; nose, ear, etc...


Do not...

  • Do not eat garlic or onion before the meeting. 
  • Do not wear an over loud tie
  • Do not use moisturiser on hands for a while before meeting.
  • Don not have sleeves rolled up.
  • Do not wear a short sleeve shirt if avoidable.
  • Do not wear contacts for the first time. Can be a nightmare if not used to or dislodges. 
  • Do not fidget around in our chair. 
  • Do not put on loads of aftershave. One or two sprays max of something that is not powerful is enough.

 I hope this helps. Let me know you good news as a result but will welcome any horror stories you can share to pass on as a kind warning to others. 

How to style your waistcoat?

I'm going to show you what styles you should have on your waistcoat. Bespoke and semi-bespoke tailoring means you will have more say about this when communicating your wishes to your clothier/tailor. But with off the peg you have very little choice but the current fashion. 

Single breasted or Double breasted?

For my money I would invest mostly in single breasted and have one double breasted for special occasions like weddings or casual. Double breasted looks great as a casual look rather then a work one.

So with single breasted waistcoats I would do a 5 or 6 button front. The 6th button may hang on the angle of the point on the bottom of the waistcoat on some models rather then in line with the other buttons but that depends on your tailors designs. Let them know if you prefer one and see why hey can do.


Traditionally you should have the bottom button undone on a waistcoat at all times. This may date back to needing to undo it for riding purposes on horseback. There is a story that the Prince Regent couldn't do it up, cause of his mid-riff size, and it became a fad that stuck. Personally, it isn't the end of the world either way, just do what is comfortable to wear as both versions look great. 

With single breasted you will also have points on the bottom edge whereas with double breasted you will always have flat waistcoat bottom. The below models are the common and safe versions of both. 


These are straightforward models and each have a set of lower pockets. If you are tailoring then you should be able to choose, or be advised to, position of top button position, length of waistcoat, how trim it will be around chest and waist, and so on. With off the peg you will have what is available in the sizes. 



For me a good piece of flair for a waistcoat is a lapel. It adds a great twist to an already superbly dressed look and is a must for at least a third of your waistcoats. There are no events that will shun lapels on waistcoats but do lend themselves to casual very well and tweeds especially. 


 Notch Lapel

 Peak Lapel


So go out and buy them as a three piece. And then buy as casual. Take a look you want to add to, like a pair of jeans and a charcoal jacket, and try on waistcoats at shops until you find a couple you really like and buy them. Don't get just one as it will be the look you always have. 



How to Fold a Suit Pocket Handkerchief - The Astaire Fold

1. Start with a fully open square

2. Find the centre of the square

3. Pinch the centre of the cloth between forefinger and thumb

4. Hang loosely from fingers

5. Grab with fist around middle of hanky to create puff peak

6. With other free hand raise one hanging point up to sit next to puff on right side

7. Do same to the left side so hanky now looks like this with two end peaks either side the puff

8.  Put into breast pocket and you have The Astaire. Adjust heights to personal preference

How to Fold a Suit Pocket Handkerchief - The Shell Fold

1. Start with a fully opened square


2. Turn to make a diamond shape and fold the top point to lay on the bottom on to form an upside down triangle


3. Take the bottom centre peak of the triangle and fold up 2/3rds of point like this


4. Fold that point back down but less so to create this concertina like fold


5. Pat down along edges to firm up creases and keep shape


6. Pinch the centre of the folds to keep position and shape


7. Fold in half like this


8. Wrap the excess fabric to the right in like this


9. And also the the remaining fabric to the left, wrap around like this


10. Then you will have the shell fold. Face either way for personal preference


How to Fold a Suit Pocket Handkerchief - The Dandy Fold

1. Start with a fully open square

2. Find the centre of the square

3. Pinch the centre between forefinger and thumb

4. Hang loosely from you fingers

5. Grab around the middle with fist

6. Poke into breast pocket and pull a large portion out to a full puff that either stands up or lolls over the pocket