Hats off to days gone by

I was recently invited to the 40th birthday party of Big Al Matchett (pictured above and resplendent in velvet), dress code – “The Roaring 20’s.”

This was a wonderful era which I would love to have experienced. The horrors of the first World War had made many people realise that life was for living. It was hectic and hedonistic. I can just see myself and my harem of flappers dancing to jazz music and necking cocktails that were being served for the first time in London clubs. Read More

Hanky Panky

Cruising above the out breast welt of a jacket, the pocket handkerchief is the shark of the sartorial sea. Its silky fin commands respect from those accessories lower down the food chain.

Legends who have succumbed to its charm include the Rat Pack, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig as 007, John Steed in the Avengers, Michael Caine as Alfie and the gents from Goodfella’s.

Like Kelly Brook’s contribution to reality TV, its sole purpose is to look good and provide a satisfying bulge in the pocket. It is the final flourish a gentleman makes to his attire and can transform something quite ordinary into the truly exceptional. Read More

Ties and a trip to London

I’ve recently had the most wonderful weekend in London. When it comes to treating oneself to the good things in life, the big smoke never fails to deliver.

Jumping off the tube at Green Park, my first port of call was Davidoff on St. James’s Street, two minutes walk from the Ritz. To me, their humidor room is an oasis of peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle. An experience enriched further by the wonderful aroma of the finest Cuban and Dominican cigars, laid out beautifully in boxes and bundles of palm bark. Ten minutes later I left with a little bag of joy and next on the hit list was Fortnum and Mason to pick up a belated wedding present from my brother. Read More

Shoes glorious shoes

If there’s one thing that gets my forward pleats twitching with excitement it is buying a new pair of shoes. I simply adore them. As I see it, a bespoke suit is the perfect canvas that frames your body but it is the accessories you choose that will make or break an outfit. Shoes in particular are vital and in short, you get what you pay for. So, may I welcome you to the wonderful world of “Jeffery-West” – English shoemaking at its finest. The gent on my right is Jack Vaughan – based in the Victoria Quarter store in Leeds, he has recently been taken under the wing of Guy West who is a partner and the head designer of the Northampton based business. Jack’s first 12 designs are coming out next season and I for one can’t wait! When I slip into a pair of Jeffery’s, time stands still. The quality of the leather and construction is superb (Goodyear Welt, Hand burnished uppers) but it is the details that make them unique, sexy, cheeky and yet still dashingly elegant. I confess I am something of a peacock when it comes to dress so some of their designs might be little over the top for those clients of mine who prefer something a little more understated. Other people I would pen my name to in a flash include Oliver Sweeney – established in 1990 they have some superb designs, are made in Italy (I suppose the Italians do know a thing or two about shoes!!) and are by their own description are “classic-with-a-twist.” Then there are the blue blooded classics – Church’s are a part of our history (established in 1873) and with a little care they will last you a lifetime and are a real investment – every man should have a pair of these in his wardrobe. And finally it’s top of the tree time and the world of bespoke shoe making (although I still think Jeffrey’s are only a small twig away) – Berluti is based in Paris on the rue Marbeuf. It was founded in 1895 and is run by Olga Berluti – clients include the A-list of Hollywood and is only for those with very deep pockets. And last but not least, John Lobb – their shoes are handmade one pair at a time and cost upwards of £2000 – the staff in the St James store and incredibly friendly and very unaffected and will be delighted to tell you more about the incredible process, time and skill involved in creating a pair of these walking wonders. So that’s about it for now – be warned, you might have the most divine Michelsberg suit on your back but if you are wearing a pair of dirty, clumpy, rubber soled brutes with worn down heals, then all that hard work will be wasted. Read More