Trading Places

Yesterday, I was visited in my showroom by a man of the cloth. Not in a Dan Brown, cassock and collar kind of way, but as a purveyor of quality textiles to the tailoring trade.

Introducing Simon Murgatroyd, who runs the cloth business for Brook Taverner & Co. Ltd

We’ve been doing business together for 7 years and I felt it was high time I visited them at their HQ in Keighley. Selling fabrics to tailors is only a relatively small part of their business, and contributes about £1million to a turnover of £20m, largely derived from corporate-wear and a retail division. 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

Wilde Times Ahead

“I find that alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.” (Oscar Wilde)

Sprawled on my Chesterfield, a glass of tawny port in hand, I couldn’t agree more. For those of you who haven’t seen his biography, “Wilde” is a decent film. Whilst my wife, and no doubt Stephen Fry, enjoyed extensive footage of Bosie’s (Jude Law’s) bottom, I was captivated by the wardrobe.

In a recent article I declared “The Dandy is back,” but compared to the Victorians, we’re lightweights. Read More

The Best of the Vest

The days of the Dandy are back and that’s a fact.

Last week I clocked four young lads in Leeds on a Saturday night out, suited and booted-up to the max. Sharp threads breed confidence and like giants they swaggered past a group of shouty, red-faced Wetherspooners, wobbling into The Leopard Lounge for early-doors titillation.

Whilst the wheel of fashion continues to spin, dapper remains very much the done thing and that’s been great for bespoke tailoring. Cool young things with Frodo haircuts have all jumped on to the good ship slick and for good reason. The Suit brings gravitas, sex appeal. It’s got history. It’s got soul. Read More

Mohair Magic

Ahhhh, the sun. It’s food for the soul. A big Greg Wallace cuddle of warmth and positive energy.

No matter what the weather I always try and remain optimistic and my attitude to business has always been along the lines of Del Boy’s, “He who dares, wins.”

I love to do something different, and my chance to push the tailoring envelope further came when a customer set his heart on wearing a purple mohair suit for his wedding.

I had a cloth that was close, but ultimately, no cigar. So, in the hunt for something of Cohiba proportions, I opened my little black book and went to the beginning of the supply chain. The mills. Read More

Stormy weather

Summer has scoffed her deep-fried peanut butter sandwich and left the building.

This morning my foot winced a little as it vacated the warmth of the duvet, leaving me reaching for a weighty double breasted number to brave a slight chill in the air that I’d forgotten existed.

The rain lashed down as I left the car park. Cowering under my umbrella I scuttled off to work, passing non-brollied people pulling epic rain-faces, gurning away like Blake Fielder-Civil after a big weekend in Ibiza. Read More

The Science behind the Suit

My name is James Michelsberg and I’m a suit-a-holic.

It’s a nightmare. Every time I open the wardrobe door, she’s there. A sultry toned temptress from Narnia who flashes her legs between the pinstripes and whispers in my ear – “just one more James. Just one more.”

This time I’ve gone for a double-breasted number, with a side order of oomf, smothered in extravagance. It’s going to feel like a second skin, with peak lapels of such size and magnitude that I could throw myself off a cliff and use them to go hand-gliding. Read More

Men of the Cloth

A business is only as good as the suppliers and people behind it and as far as my business goes, having a good relationship with the right cloth merchants is vital.

When I was first starting out in the trade, some companies were reluctant to provide me with their bunches (swatches of cloth bound in a holder) as they are expensive to produce and I was an unknown entity.

So, I have a soft spot for Carole Hannaford (see below), Sales Director of Lear Brown and Dunsford, who was the first to decide to take the plunge and send me a box of all their clobber. My first order included a length of “Millionaire’s Cashmere” and a length of “Havana” Super 120’s with Cashmere for a suit for myself, so it was worth her while. She’s a charming girl and an absolute pleasure to deal with. Read More

Sheep Thrills

Take the finest tailor in the world and give him a piece of polyester and it will probably end in tears. When it comes to making a bespoke suit, using the right cloth is vital.

In my opinion, there is one animal whose fleece stands shank and shoulders above the rest and here’s one I spotted whilst fly-fishing in the Yorkshire Dales.

It’s unlikely this chap was born to be worn, as the only cloth that is made from a British sheep today is Tweed. This is because their coats have evolved ‘thicker’ to survive our crappy weather and so are not suitable for the production of cooler cloths. Read More

Mohair & No hair

When a client called to say he was heading to Vegas and wanted some new threads, inspiration came in the form of the character Sam “Ace” Rothstein, in one of my favourite films, “Casino.”

When it comes to mobsters and gangsters there is one cloth that is de rigeur and that my friends is a sexy little lady by the name of Miss Mohair. When she rubs up against your skin, it’s time to hit the spirits, light that stogie and party. Read More