Running the Gauntlet

I’ve just finished Ranulph Fiennes’s autobiography, “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.”

His ‘why can’t I?’ approach to life is uplifting and truly inspirational. He too had his heroes, and in life, I believe you need people (and their work) to look up to and emulate.

Inspiration comes in many ways. As far as tailoring and style go, for me it’s the likes of Sir Paul Smith, Chittleborough & Morgan, Ralph Lauren, Mark Powell, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cifonelli and Attolini who drive me on to do better and achieve more. Read More

Feeling Horny

My Grandma, Edith, used to come out with some wonderful phrases:

“She’s all teeth and temptation,” was one of my favourites, as was, “don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar.”

The former young filly, is often encountered by a chap, resplendent in a Michelsberg bespoke suit. The latter, is my call to arms when making it.

When it comes to tailoring, the devil is very much in the detail, and economising on trivial things is dangerous ground. It’s all very well selecting a beautiful cloth and lining, but just as important are the use of quality trimmings. Read More

Short tempered

The one crumb of comfort I’ll take from the end of Summer, is no more encounters like this one in Leeds.

As he swaggered past me, rapping “A’m rollin’ wi mi backie…” I didn’t know whether to laugh, or, cry.

Sunshine can bring with it a multitude of sins, and last week, on my way down to Newquay, my retinas were once again subjected to more horrors of the flesh.

When it comes to shorts, my viewpoint from a sartorial perspective is unwavering. They are ugly, unsophisticated and I will not make them. Read More

You’ve gotta pick a pocket or two boys

Steve-November-purple

As a tailor, I get a real kick out of making something for a special occasion.

A wedding, or, red-carpet movie premiere is a huge deal and so the pressure of delivering something perfect, on time, is palpable.

A sharply cut suit can make you feel taller, sexier, powerful and more confident. Providing the armour to help my customer ‘own it’ at that key moment in their life is a very rewarding experience.

Whilst it’s great to do those ‘one-offs,’ clothes are a basic part of our lives and should be used to make it easier, both at work and play. Read More

A Christmas Package

So, will it be ‘Calvin’s’ for Christmas?

Money says the shedding of wrapping paper at Casa Michelsberg will reveal a white box, emblazoned with the image of a smouldering footballer.

His body, a waxed temple to muscular perfection, laughs in the face of love-handled lesser mortals. Sullen eyes, lowered towards his slim waist, fall on a cotton pouch, so tight it’s possible to tell his religion.

This bushy tailed beacon of virility and athleticism might cause many a chap to ‘suck in’ beneath his dressing gown, but the truth is that a man’s underwear is often the weakest link in his wardrobe. Read More

Dugdale Bros & Co

Farewell sweet Summer – you’ve been a joy. This year we’ve been spoilt rotten, but gin and tonics must now give way to a warming brandy, as the cold, hard barrels of Autumn and Winter swing in our direction.

Now is the time for log fires, pastry and mash and breaking out the winter wardrobe.

Respect to Chris, one of my customers, who had the foresight to order this little beauty in August.

It’s a ‘covert coat’ which gets it’s name from the hardwearing ‘covert’ cloth from which it is made – a process which involves the twisting together of two threads of a similar colour (usually in faun or green) which results in a durable fabric with a slightly mottled finish. Read More

Naughty Forty

On Wednesday the 27th of March, I hit the big four zero.

Only a week before, I’d driven home through Headingley, closeted in my refined Germanic bubble of leather and walnut veneer. With misty eyes I smiled at the fancy dress wearing students, heading out for a night of Jägerbomb and M-Cat fuelled thrusting and merriment. Bless them. I was young too. Once.

Twenty years, gone in a flash. My ponytail, Danny Rampling tape, and king sized Rizla replaced by a Whangee umbrella, Borsalino fedora and Mulberry briefcase. Read More

Flower Power

I’ve just read the biography, “Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge” and it’s an absolute belter.

Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridges department store in London, was the ultimate showman. A risk-taking visionary with ambition, self belief, unbridled energy and boundless enthusiasm.

Sure, he had his demons (girls and gambling), but here was a man driven to succeed, with the charisma to inspire others to follow him. I devoured every page but it was how he started his day that really made me smile. Read More

Hairy Times

The beard is back. Even my brother is growing one. A face full of fur smacks of swashbuckling “derring-do.” It’s testosterone on a chin. The hirsute marque of heroic daring.

Beloved by World War two fighter pilots and pipe-smoking chaps who raced along country lanes in their Morgans, a bristling moustache embodied the spirit of British invincibility, but like many things, it’s often hair today, gone tomorrow.

Facial fuzz is no longer a foible of the few. The birthright of a geography teacher has been embraced by the many, with varying degrees of success. What starts off in the mind’s eye as a dead ringer for Tom Ford, can quickly transmogrify to Jeremy Beadle in the mirror. Read More

Festive Finery

Mark-2BRonson

Christmas, to me, should be a Dickensian schmaltz-fest of ruddy faced joy and conviviality.

The clatter of a carriage on cobbled streets. The crunch of snow under stout leather boots. An Inn with a crackling log fire where bearded men swill porter and supp mutton stew.

No Sky Sports. No games of pool. Just raucous laughter bathed in the warm glow of gas-lamps, as wenches with flaming locks, heaving bosoms and velvet dresses behold the swelling scene. Read More