Adventures in Bespoke Tailoring

Untermensch

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Interesting. A lack of experienced cutters. This skills gap is endemic across manufacturing of all stripes in Britain. My generation should now be stepping into the shoes vacated by the baby boomer generation, but they hardly trained anyone so no we have millennials stepping in, who, whilst talented (in some cases) lack experience.
I stand to be corrected, but the big revered houses seem to be putting a lot more effort into branding than into the actual workmanship these days. What sad, dark times we live in.
 

Scherensammler

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Interesting. A lack of experienced cutters. This skills gap is endemic across manufacturing of all stripes in Britain. My generation should now be stepping into the shoes vacated by the baby boomer generation, but they hardly trained anyone so no we have millennials stepping in, who, whilst talented (in some cases) lack experience.
The system in Germany is a bit different as we actually have a proper, officially recognized Meister (Master) degree for a lot of professions with an exam and certificate at the end of the course.
It is the basis for being able to run a company and train apprentices. In the olden days you had to have several years of work experience (and enough money) to be allowed to take the one year long master class. But all this has been watered down and now apprentices can start the master course in their last year. And this is part of the wider problem, especially in tailoring. Lousy teachers make lousy students.
The notion that you all of a sudden become a "master" only because you've been doing it for a certain amount of time is weird to me.

You should post more about tailoring. You're a font of knowledge.
Been there, done that. It's all on the Cutter and tailor forum. Took me so, so many hours each time to translate German texts into English, scan and edit pages from old books. Young people these days are not willing to put in a lot of effort and won't try to sort it for themselves.
That's why I don't do that anymore. No matter how detailed the diagrams and translations are, there is always someone (mostly amateurs) who wants it explained letter by letter.
 

Scherensammler

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I stand to be corrected, but the big revered houses seem to be putting a lot more effort into branding than into the actual workmanship these days. What sad, dark times we live in.
To be fair, even if they wanted to, they'd probably struggle. There are not many excellent cutters who could train the younger generation.
And then you have folk like Rory Duffy and Kathryn Sargent who "allegedly" couldn't cut their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it.
 

Johnny1

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Well, that's been said for sometime. "Richard Anderson is more Huntsman than Huntsman" "if you want Huntsman go to Anderson not Huntsman" and so on. I would have hought that they cut from the Huntsman block however, which has captured the house style. Maybe our resident tailor scherensammler can help us there.

For what it matters, I've never been a fan of the Huntsman cut. The shoulders don't 'work' for me.
I actually like a long lean equestrian style coat for more formal type settings such as business meetings, dinners with clients or a date. Its quite difficult to wear in a lot of ordinary places out and about during the day though as it gives the look of a pseudo morning coat which is what it is reminiscent of albeit in the guise of a lounge suit / sport jacket and trousers.

When I was looking for a tailor I thought about using Anderson initially but heard a couple of bad reviews about his work. I then went to see Terry Haste of Kent and Haste who was also at Huntsman and whom Anderson criticised in his biography. Ive found him to be a very intelligent cutter, he has a good eye and understands the nuance of what will looks good on a man. Unfortunately as they've become more popular the prices have gone up too beyond what I can afford to spend.

Formby whats the problem with 'Huntsman shoulders'? I had a conversation with Terry about the old Huntsman jackets and he told me the shoulders weren't really built up that much but fairly lightly padded (for SR standards not the Italian unstructured stuff you see all over the Interweb today). Thats why when the fellow who deconstructs suits took an old Huntsman suit apart I wasn't surprised by what he found in the shoulders which was just light padding.

In recent times though Huntsman seems to do a standard English Military coat with more built up stronger shoulders. In my mind from what I can picture from descriptions Ive heard as well as looking at a few old pictures of Colin Hammick, the original Huntsman look had a slightly soft shoulder and chest, is lean through the chest, with a slightly flared out longer skirt. It looks best on someone who is fairly tall and slim with quite strong shoulders so doesn't suit everyone. Contrast that with English Military which I think flatters most men irrelevant of body type which explains why it probably has remained the core of English SR style.
 

formby

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I actually like a long lean equestrian style coat for more formal type settings such as business meetings, dinners with clients or a date. Its quite difficult to wear in a lot of ordinary places out and about during the day though as it gives the look of a pseudo morning coat which is what it is reminiscent of albeit in the guise of a lounge suit / sport jacket and trousers.

When I was looking for a tailor I thought about using Anderson initially but heard a couple of bad reviews about his work. I then went to see Terry Haste of Kent and Haste who was also at Huntsman and whom Anderson criticised in his biography. Ive found him to be a very intelligent cutter, he has a good eye and understands the nuance of what will looks good on a man. Unfortunately as they've become more popular the prices have gone up too beyond what I can afford to spend.

Formby whats the problem with 'Huntsman shoulders'? I had a conversation with Terry about the old Huntsman jackets and he told me the shoulders weren't really built up that much but fairly lightly padded (for SR standards not the Italian unstructured stuff you see all over the Interweb today). Thats why when the fellow who deconstructs suits took an old Huntsman suit apart I wasn't surprised by what he found in the shoulders which was just light padding.

In recent times though Huntsman seems to do a standard English Military coat with more built up stronger shoulders. In my mind from what I can picture from descriptions Ive heard as well as looking at a few old pictures of Colin Hammick, the original Huntsman look had a slightly soft shoulder and chest, is lean through the chest, with a slightly flared out longer skirt. It looks best on someone who is fairly tall and slim with quite strong shoulders so doesn't suit everyone. Contrast that with English Military which I think flatters most men irrelevant of body type which explains why it probably has remained the core of English SR style.
The shoulders always seemed too square for me.

I too like the equestrian cut, all my jackets are cut that way, and have been button one for well over a decade.
 

Johnny1

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The shoulders always seemed too square for me.

I too like the equestrian cut, all my jackets are cut that way, and have been button one for well over a decade.
Ok nice) Which tailor do you use for your suits Formby?

If I understand correctly you prefer an extended shoulder so you get a V shape?
 

Untermensch

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There is of course an obvious way out: get off the Row and start supporting local tailors as best you can!
True, that. There are some - not many, just some - excellent tailors off the Row, and outside London too. They're not what I would call cheap, but they're fairly priced.

If you like the clean-cut English Military/Huntsman style, have a look at Henry Herbert.
 

Kingstonian

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True, that. There are some - not many, just some - excellent tailors off the Row, and outside London too. They're not what I would call cheap, but they're fairly priced.

If you like the clean-cut English Military/Huntsman style, have a look at Henry Herbert.
Interesting. Lambs Conduit Passage address when I google. The Lamb is a fine old Young’s pub. I never knew there was a tailor down beside it.

There are two other tailors in Lambs Conduit Street. Connock and Lockie, which has decent reviews, and also Sims and McDonald which is less expensive. Bespoke always sounds fraught and expensive. So many people wearing terrible fitting stuff that half decent RTW means you look better than most. Of course Crompton proves that paying top dollar does not guarantee quality either. His Graham Browne recommendation looked affordable and they do offers around Christmas. I looked in when I worked near Bow Lane. Not sure they were all he cracked them up to be and some reviews rang alarm bells too.
 

Kingstonian

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On further investigation, it is not in the alley beside The Lamb. Lambs Conduit Passage is south of Theobalds Road. Near the Conway Hall. Handy for the Fryers Delight fish and chip shop.
 
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Untermensch

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Interesting. Lambs Conduit Passage address when I google. The Lamb is a fine old Young’s pub. I never knew there was a tailor down beside it.

There are two other tailors in Lambs Conduit Street. Connock and Lockie, which has decent reviews, and also Sims and McDonald which is less expensive. Bespoke always sounds fraught and expensive. So many people wearing terrible fitting stuff that half decent RTW means you look better than most. Of course Crompton proves that paying top dollar does not guarantee quality either. His Graham Browne recommendation looked affordable and they do offers around Christmas. I looked in when I worked near Bow Lane. Not sure they were all he cracked them up to be and some reviews rang alarm bells too.
There's an interesting story on Henry Herbert, and it involves Crompers. Some years ago, he published a very negative review (so the Interwebs says, for I never read it - bear with me). It has since been pulled from his website. He never explained why. When someone mentioned Henry Herbert, he shot back a quick "It's not bespoke".

Except it is.

Did they refuse to make him a free-of-charge suit or what?

P.S. Henry Herbert's publicity photos don't always showcase their best work. Actually some of the suits - modelled by the owner - look quite iffy.
 
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One of the awkward and more morbid things about being younger... Probably will outlive most of the tailors I come into contact with... by many decades even...

Where will the great
Millennial

tailors come from?
 

Johnny1

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Graham Browne work on SF used to look shocking. Would be better off with RTW like Chester Barrie or even a Marks and Spencer suit.

Henry Herbert and Connock and Lockie pictures make it look like they are copying high street RTW with tight and short suits. Perhaps they can do better if you show them some pictures of more traditional English style.

Sims and MacDonald looks like it might have potential from instagram pictures.


This fellow looks a bit 'flat', the chest needs to be built out, at the moment looks like he was squashed by a steam roller.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlseG09nzmh/

The DB here looks pretty good to me. Maybe the difference is just that in the former picture the asian guy is just a beanpole and they cant do much to mitigate it?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BN1h88XhdOQ/
 

Kingstonian

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Graham Browne work on SF used to look shocking. Would be better off with RTW like Chester Barrie or even a Marks and Spencer suit.
With RTW what you see is what you get. No surprises. If you alter it so sleeves and trousers are the correct length then it can be Improved. Major stuff is out of the question; but if it is basically sound then it is inexpensive and less hassle. Little choice of cloth or styles though.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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With RTW what you see is what you get. No surprises. If you alter it so sleeves and trousers are the correct length then it can be Improved. Major stuff is out of the question; but if it is basically sound then it is inexpensive and less hassle. Little choice of cloth or styles though.
If you find block and house style you like and conforms with your body shape, with a little bit of town tailoring it can be more than an also ran. But the problem of course is limited cloth styles, as you state. I quite like the Cordings block, but the quality of construction isn't really that great. There in is the compromise.
 
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Johnny1

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If you find block and house style you like and conforms with your body shape, with a little bit of town tailoring it can be more than an also ran. But the problem of course is limited cloth styles, as you state. I quite like the Cordings block, but the quality of construction isn't really that great. There in is the compromise.
Cordings is a massive disappointment. They talk of tradition but the jackets are cheaply made half canvassed garments which don't have any real character. Their trousers are not high waisted despite what they or any blog character claims about them (they have a rise of about 11cm or so I believe). Instead of looking like an English country fop you end up looking more like a dowdy old man about town.

I think better options are Purdey, or alternatively Holland and Holland. The latter is absurdly expensive for what it is though.
 
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fxh

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Cordings is a massive disappointment. They talk of tradition but the jackets are cheaply made half canvassed garments which don't have any real character. Their trousers are not high waisted despite what they or any blog character claims about them (they have a rise of about 11 inches or so I believe). Instead of looking like an English country fop you end up looking more like a dowdy old man about town.

I think better options are Purdey, or alternatively Holland and Holland. The latter is absurdly expensive for what it is though.
I had a good "try on" of their trousers in October.

I ended up with a rust pair of cotton twill - I think they call it something else - they have a 10" front rise exactly. Made in Italy. I had to have them narrowed all the way down. I made them 20cm = ~ 7.8" at opening . They were a bit over 8" from memory.

The 5 pockets had a noticeably shorter rise and narrower leg. The moleskins about the same. The cords were maybe a bit higher rise but not a lot. I have a 34" in the cotton twill but would have had to go to a 36" in cords to get a fit. I would have had to get the cords taken in a bit at waist and and narrowed as they were a bit too wide all the way down for me. The cords were very nice material.

Certainly none of them were HIGH RISE
 

Untermensch

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Lots of points to address in this interesting debate.

First, as I pointed out, Henry Herbert's publicity photos actually showcase some of their worst suits. I got one suit made and it's the exact opposite of Johnny1's description. It's longer than usual, with a low buttonning point. Think Huntsman, or what some of you have called 'English Military'. Now style is extremely subjective, but I got exactly what I asked for. And that's all there is to tailoring.

Second, let us not forget G.D. Golding. He's in a different league. We're talking Savile Row quality at (more or less) City prices (he's in St Albans). Not cheap, but way cheaper than the Row. Again, you get what you ask for. The thing about bespoke is you have to state your request quite clearly, and make sure the tailor understands what you have in mind. This is where Crompers keeps talking shoite. Sure, a tailor must have an eye for aesthetics and "design", but how is he or she to know what the customer wants?

Third, the only real high-rise RTW trousers that I know of are Samuel Windsor. Whether by accident or design, I know not.

Fourth, shouldn't it be "Catterick"? As in "standing in high heels outside the NAAFI in Catterick and putting out boxes of Omo for Old Man Out".
 

Kingstonian

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Cordings is a massive disappointment. They talk of tradition but the jackets are cheaply made half canvassed garments which don't have any real character.
I am very happy with my Cordings tweed jacket. Fits well, seems well made to me.

I don’t like fly buttons so Cordings suits are problematic. ‘Dowdy old man’ look is accentuated by crappy gun dog ties etc rather than the jackets in my opinion.
 

doghouse

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My only comments on Cordings are on their trousers (have some moleskins on as we speak), not their jackets or suits.

In the spirit of this thread, my jackets are all bespoke. I can't conceive of having bespoke trousers made though for things like working around the house or running a chainsaw. I'm sure the iGentry look down on me for such plebian garments, but then again I'm sure most of them couldn't even start a chainsaw.
 

Untermensch

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I can't conceive of having bespoke trousers made though for things like working around the house or running a chainsaw. I'm sure the iGentry look down on me for such plebian garments, but then again I'm sure most of them couldn't even start a chainsaw.
FFS, doghouse! Call yourself a sartorialist? Why, our Crompers sleeps in bespoke pyjamas...
 

Johnny1

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Lots of points to address in this interesting debate.

First, as I pointed out, Henry Herbert's publicity photos actually showcase some of their worst suits. I got one suit made and it's the exact opposite of Johnny1's description. It's longer than usual, with a low buttonning point. Think Huntsman, or what some of you have called 'English Military'. Now style is extremely subjective, but I got exactly what I asked for. And that's all there is to tailoring.

Second, let us not forget G.D. Golding. He's in a different league. We're talking Savile Row quality at (more or less) City prices (he's in St Albans). Not cheap, but way cheaper than the Row. Again, you get what you ask for. The thing about bespoke is you have to state your request quite clearly, and make sure the tailor understands what you have in mind. This is where Crompers keeps talking shoite. Sure, a tailor must have an eye for aesthetics and "design", but how is he or she to know what the customer wants?

Third, the only real high-rise RTW trousers that I know of are Samuel Windsor. Whether by accident or design, I know not.

Fourth, shouldn't it be "Catterick"? As in "standing in high heels outside the NAAFI in Catterick and putting out boxes of Omo for Old Man Out".
Ok interesting.

Would you be able to post a picture wearing one of Henry Herbert's suits? Perhaps blur out the face for privacy.
 

QuandoDio

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I too only have experience with Cordings trousers (cords, mainly) and a shawl collar carry from few years ago which is still going fine. They are good value.

Are there other merchants? Sure, but Cordings is fine.
 

Johnny1

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Purdey looks pretty good RTW, I quite like the look of summer Chatsworth jacket in linen and wool mix. Always a winner.
Purdey is decent. Holland and Holland actually makes very nice Tweed jackets but they are extremely expensive for RTW. Wear one of their tweed jackets and it gives the right look ... old school English gent who wants a jacket to wear down the country pub ... not try hard but just right. Now that Ive reminded myself Ill take a look in the sales to see if any of them are reduced to a more palatable level.
 

doghouse

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I mean, I'm not trying to dissuade you, but the only thing I'd buy from Purdey or H&H is a gun.

If you are looking for way over priced tweed though, you could always give Dubarry a look too.
 

QuandoDio

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I mean, I'm not trying to dissuade you, but the only thing I'd buy from Purdey or H&H is a gun.

If you are looking for way over priced tweed though, you could always give Dubarry a look too.
I agree. Will add scarf and squares though. At least they used to sell exquisite and finely printed scarfs/squares way back when.

Everything else was overdone.
 

Johnny1

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I don't agree at all Doghouse. Thats just misguided snobbery. The reason in this case is as follows. Purdey and Holland & Holland both had their gun business which continues to subsidise their menswear/ladieswear business. In addition they have a natural client base for their clothing through their gun business from men and women who really do go shooting and hunting the country. Thats allowed them to produce a good quality product which is fairly authentic as its made for people who actually go out in the country.

On the other hand Cordings is a busted out business which has been kept barely afloat by an aging rockstar. The business has been gutted and they just buy in everything from various 3rd party manufacturers who mass product garments in a cheap and nasty way. The tweed jackets are fused, the cut is dowdy and the cloths unattractive. Their Covert Coat which they hold in such high esteem is also fused, fits like a tube and uses the most unattractive covert cloth you could choose from Fox (muddy brown rather than fawn). Their trousers are all low rise and tight through the leg. Their shirts blousy. Their clientele seem to be made up mostly of tourists, usually American, who think there is some British legacy there and/or want to play dress up as an English squire. It pains me to say it as I love English country style. I wish this place actually lived up to its old reputation but it just doesn't. Its a business on life support and I suspect will soon go the way of other old English outfitters like Daks and Austin Reed.
 

doghouse

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Recommending against overpaying for off the peg is snobbery? I would have posited the opposite myself, not to mention I'm a Purdey customer for firearms so I obviously don't have any particular animus to them. As I say, I'd recommend Dubarry over either if you want to go that route, and get an actual field jacket as well, getting a sports jacket in tweed from any of these places is not advised unless you really just don't care about value. I have a Dubarry Ballantyne for deep freeze weather in the field so it isn't like I'm averse to these brands clothes.

Anyway, I wouldn't buy any jacket from Cordings either, so I'm not sure what you are on about there. And I find their trousers too big, not too slim, but that's just my experience.
 
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