Heading into Leeds this morning on the train, I surveyed my fellow passengers with an air of melancholic despondency.
To a man, everyone was dressed in Anoraks.
More like a ski lift than a railway carriage, this huddled mass of high tech, zip-infested, shapeless Gore Tex smocks and goose down ‘puffer’ coats, left me mourning for the days when office workers dressed properly for work.
I’m not talking bowler hats, starched wing-collars, brollies and the pink pages of the Financial Times.
Just something smart!
This synthetic fibre wearing mob of commuters looked more like a convention of birdwatchers, hikers, golfers, and (in the case of a chap in a red Moncler gilet) drug dealer.
I don’t want to hear about functional, lightweight, breathable, waterproof, thermally efficient membranes.
That’s fine if you’re sliding down the piste, or, clambering up the north face of the Eiger, but not in a open plan office with eco credentials that would have Kevin McCloud jumping through hoops.
Purveyors of this whole ‘outdoorsy, sporty, lifestyle clothing thing’, have done to style, what Coca Cola has done for Diabetes.
I’d have the CEO’s of Rab, Superdry and Mountain Warehouse in stocks and chains in City Square, for dressing working professionals like residents of the Olympic Village.
In a nauseating world of spineless, ill conceived, dress-down polices, I know I’m going against the grain.
A dandy at heart, I’ve managed to embrace the move towards a more informal approach to tailoring.
I love a jacket and trouser combination (separates) but when it comes to the world of work, a well cut suit is a thing of splendour and beauty.
A pair of Rohan trousers and a Gant shirt, is not.
At the weekend, I take great joy in wearing an unstructured jacket, bespoke chinos and chambray shirt, but as the mercury drops even further, have found my overcoats too formal for what lies beneath.
That first world problem is now a thing of the past, as there is a NEW addition to my wardrobe that is worthy of note.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you the Michelsberg made-to-measure Pea Coat.
A tailoring classic, originally worn by sailors of European and American navies, this magnificent addition to my armoury, will leave my customer (and ex sailor, now lawyer) Richard Larking, sobbing tears of joy into his Pusser’s rum.
Much shorter in length than an overcoat, it has all the hall marks of what you’d expect from a true original.
Double-breasted fronts, broad lapels, centre vent and vertical welt pockets are all present on deck, but as is my want, I’ve upped the ante and offer working cuffs, sartorial stitching, hand-sewn Milanese button holes, secret pockets, monogram options and a belted back.
Now, with my magnificent 30 ounce woollen collars worn up like Eric Cantona, with a Michelsberg cashmere scarf tied about my neck, like Edward Woodwood in ‘The Equalizer’, I ride the train lines and subways of this green and pleasant land, slipping business cards into the pockets of those clad in polyester and nylon.
Like another great gang of doers for good, I say this: “If you work in an office and wear a fleece and ski jacket, if no one else can help, and if you can find us, maybe you can hire…Michelsberg Tailoring.”
Get rid of that anorak. Don’t made me mad, fool. Grrrr!