Tennis, trofie and tailors

It’s 4.30pm on a Friday afternoon in Leeds.

Blue sky, twenty seven degrees, and a white-wine and Peroni soaked crowd of suits, are wallowing on the sun-drenched pavement outside the Bar & Grill.

Now is the time of the year to kick back and suck the marrow out of every bone Mother Nature throws at us.

Earlier this month, I decided to take a cheeky day off, and my wife and I headed down to Wimbledon for the tennis.

With yet another glorious day on the cards, and wanting to look the part, my first port of call was to my favourite hatters Lock and Co on St James’s street, to treat myself to a Panama hat. Read More

The Apprentice

On Friday the 13th of this month at 5pm, Michelsberg Tailoring popped open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and raised a glass to its first employee, Charlie Anderson.

Eight years ago, the business was born on my kitchen table, and now, after three years in the Victoria Quarter, I feel ready to take on an apprentice.

Here he is, signing his employment contract.

Currently a salesman at Jeffery West shoes, he first impressed me when I urgently needed a pair of dress shoes for a black-tie event. Read More

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Even as a child, I loved getting new clothes.

The joy of wearing my first Nike t-shirt and trainers on a geography field trip to Skipton, is still tucked away in the little grey cells.

As is busting shapes on the dance-floor at ‘Mr Craig’s’ nightclub in Bradford, resplendent in blue blazer, chinos, and brown suede shoes.

Memories of the happiest moments of my life are intrinsically linked to the clothes I was wearing on my back.

Having just turned forty one, I sit back misty-eyed and remember getting smashed at a college ball in London, feeling very much the dandy in a white tuxedo and black silk cummerbund from Austin Reed. Read More

Growing too quickly

On Monday January 6th, the scales confirmed I’d had an exceedingly good Christmas.

Half a stone above fighting weight but oh, so worth it. For two glorious weeks, the Michelsberg log fire had crackled along to the bubble of my gastric juices.

Every single calorie had been savoured with relish. The sweet, aromatic taste of amber single malt, dripping from my tongue like honey.

Now it’s back to miso soup for lunch, and judging by the first fittings on two new suits for myself this week, not a moment too soon. Read More

Friends, Food and Fine threads

As the proverb goes, “If you build it, they will come.”

That was my hope on Friday 6th December at 5.30pm, when The Tingley Brass Band raised their horns to kick off the Michelsberg Christmas Party 2013.

Corks popped and the scent of mulled wine filled the air, as my customers, suppliers, family and friends, raised a glass to the festive season.

It’s no secret that the service charge in the Victoria Quarter comes with its own health warning, but when it comes to Christmas decorations they certainly don’t skimp. Read More

A swellegant, elegant party.

At my wedding, my best man and college friend Paul said in his speech, “over the years we’ve shared many highs together, some legal…”

Whilst this might be true, I doubt many were better than the one I got from hosting my customer party last Thursday evening.

After a last minute flood of “sorry we can’t make it” texts, the clock struck six. Within minutes I was surrounded by friends, family, suppliers and grinning customers, adrenalin and alcohol pumping through my arteries. Read More

First is first, second is nowhere.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the Olympics) said, “It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.”

Utter tosh. These are the words of the loser, the also-ran, the dud, the deadbeat, the defeated.

In battle there is no prize for runner-up. Coming first is everything.

One day, like Brian Clough, I hope I can look back on my career and declare: “I wouldn’t say I was the best tailor in the business. But I was in the top one.” Read More

Time Out!

“The Laziest Tailor in Leeds” has been at it again folks.

Last week I hung my tape-measure over my dummy and left the showroom for a week’s holiday in Portugal.

In truth, I do put the hours in, and whilst bespoke tailoring and running my own business is something I love, six day weeks, tight deadlines, and the energy required to keep driving things forward all take their toll.

I wouldn’t change things for the world. I believe you get out of life what you put into it. Read More

Grazie Roma

Out for lunch with a customer last Friday, I felt the sun’s warmth on my cheek for the first time in ages. The restaurant was buzzing, people were smiling and one duck pappardelle later I left, ready to cast the dark, dank, cloak of winter from my shoulders.

From a cloth point of view, the mill owners of Yorkshire are feeling frisky and have well and truly declared that Spring is in the air. They’ve just sent me their new bunches which have more kick than a lamb running from the butcher. Read More