It’s that time in the year when we can start to kick back a little and tuck into the joys of corporate hospitality. The Grand Prix, glorious Goodwood, The Open and York races all lie temptingly before us.
Even as I write, the cash registers are going mental in the Champagne tents at Henley and Wimbledon – speaking of which, I’d like to propose a toast to Nadal for knocking out the bicep wheelding Brit who no doubt still supports “whoever’s playing England..”
Yes gents, it’s time to close outlook heaven, switch off the crackberry, dress up to the nines and give the liver a good going over. Bonding with colleagues, friends and valued customers is the name of the game so let’s keep the sensible dark grey two piece firmly in the wardrobe, flex our sartorial wings and let the good times roll.
The races is a classic venue for fun and frolics and in my mind there are essentially two paths that a well dressed chappie can tread.
The first is something in tweed for which I have a particular soft spot. Perhaps the best merchant in the world for Tweed is W Bill at 13 New Burlington Street, London. The head honcho is a lovely chap by the name of Ray Hammet who calls me, and I’m sure the rest of his customers, “chief.”
Classic tweed is heavy (at least 18oz), scratchy, almost bulletproof, usually in muted browns and greens with a subtly coloured windowpane check. It is worn by the likes of whisky drinking gamekeepers (who probably support whoever’s playing England), the old school hunting, shooting and fishing set, and it’s primary purpose is to keep out the cold and the rain.
In terms of style, the classic tweed coat has three buttons, slanted pockets and a centre vent. A client of mine who is conservative by my standards wanted a ‘proper tweed suit’ but NOT something that looked like it had been stolen from toad (of toad hall) or Farmer Palmer. Here’s what we came up with.
We went for a fifteen ounce cloth from Lear Browne and Dunsford which has got some meat to it but won’t feel like he’s sitting in a sauna. It’s got two buttons and a ticket pocket which nicely emphasizes the waist, a storm collar for detail and check out that imposing shoulder line and the way we’ve matched up the checks…tres bon, if I say so myself.
The second route one might take is perhaps a seriously snazzy lounge suit in Mohair or perhaps a more modern take on a classic tweed.
For example, I recently made a 3 piece suit in a Super 120’s light tan herringbone with a lilac windowpane check. It had a bright lilac lining, lilac coloured button holes, peak lapels, one button on the coat, a flat bottomed waistcoat and flat fronted trousers. Sounds a bit over the top but trust me when I say it looked awesome.
A trip to the races also means you can go a little bit crazy with accessories – trilby hats (see my last blog), cuff links, hankies, pocket watches, ties that are so bright and colourful they’d send a mole running for cover – it’s all fair game and if you’ve got it, there’s no better place to flaunt it.
A recommendation – if you are looking to treat your employees or clients to some corporate hospitality then speak to a good friend and client of mine, Robert Poutch who runs Imperial Corporate Events.
And finally a word or warning – take it easy on the sauce or you might end up like this guy – then again, what would you expect from a man who wears rubber soled shoes.