Jill Elizabeth Michelsberg.

This morning, I buried my mother’s ashes at Bingley cemetery.

Now don’t worry – this blog is not going to be a dour missive, penned between racking sobs, tears cascading over my Dell keyboard.

It’s a tribute to an incredible woman whose love of clothing is probably one of the reasons why I got into tailoring in the first place.

Here she is, in all her glamorous, absolutely-fabulous glory.

Jill Elizabeth Michelsberg

Clothes were without doubt, one of her many passions, and her sense of style was undeniable. Read More

“Show me your shoes, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

My Grandma, Edith, was a stylish, intelligent lady who had a wonderful saying – “show me your shoes, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Never a truer word was spoken.

All the impact, and awe inspiring beauty of wearing a perfectly tailored suit, bespoke shirt and rakish accessories, comes crashing down to nothing, if you’ve scrimped on your foot candy.

I implore every chap out their, “don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar.” (another Edith special) Read More

Long Live The Tie!

A customer of mine who is a surgeon, recently told me that when he was a junior doctor, his mentor advised him, “when meeting with a patient, you should be smartly dressed, clean shaven and smelling lightly of aftershave.”

If someone is going to slice open my body with a scalpel, I’d want everything about that person to scream ‘professional.’

Scuffed shoes, a scratty beard and halitosis are never going to help inspire confidence. Read More

Hello! Newcastle.

This month Michelsberg Tailoring headed North up the A1, for our first trunk show to Newcastle.

A ‘trunk show’ is basically where a tailoring firm offers a travelling service, packs up its bunches of cloths and examples of its work, and presents itself to customers, at a temporary retail location, or, another venue such as a hotel room.

It’s a very common, and cost effective way, to open up new markets, assess demand and build up a loyal following, before perhaps taking the plunge and committing to bricks and mortar and a long lease. Read More

The most wonderful time of the year.

December is my favourite month of the year.

For me, it’s an opportunity to drop down a gear, and spend time with colleagues and customers on a ‘social basis.’

That means downing tools and giving the Michelsberg Kidney & Liver department a chunk of overtime.

The Christmas road to excess started at the end of November with the Michelsberg Christmas Party.

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Without doubt it was the coldest night of the year. My heart went out to The Tingley Brass Band who bravely supped their mulled wine and ensured the show went on. Read More

Howay The Toon!

Michelsberg Tailoring Newcastle is now open for business!

After months of desk research and discussion with our Newcastle based customers, George and I jumped on the train to walk the streets and finalise arrangements.

My last trip to Newcastle was on a GCSE Geography field trip, so it was vital to get a feel for the place and meet suppliers.

What a cracking city. In many ways it reminded me of Leeds – atmospheric, compact, a mixture of beautiful old buildings (their Central Arcade is very much like the Victoria Quarter) and modern architecture. Read More

The Clean Inn

A question I’m often asked is, “where should I take my suits to be dry-cleaned?”

My answer is always the same:

Rule number 1: don’t use Johnsons.

Rule number 2: don’t dry clean them unless absolutely necessary.

Regarding the former, I  recently made two suits in the same Super 130’s  cloth for a chap (the groom) and his brother (best man). The best man took his to an independent dry-cleaner and it was returned in good shape. Read More

Strictly New Showroom

Today, the last piece of the Michelsberg Tailoring refurbishment programme fell into place.

My Italian table and chairs finally landed.

The table came in two boxes – one for the top, one for the base.

Taped to the base was an Allen key, eight screws, four clips and…no instructions.

“Don’t panic, Mr Mannering,” I said to young George. How hard can this be?

Fast forward two hours and I’m spitting feathers.

Red-faced, my bespoke shirt stuck to my aching back, I’m fantasising about throttling the table’s pasta-munching designer, with my throbbing hands. Read More

Downtime

This Sunday I relaxed with a gin and tonic and read a profile on Amancio Ortega in the business section of The Sunday Times.

Starting out in life as a tailors assistant, he is the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ story.

With a net worth of over sixty billion, he is the founder of Inditex, the fashion empire including brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti.

The story is a business that is obsessive about listening to its customers. An innovator, whose technology and systems allow it to respond to the market with lightening speed, leaving its competitors floundering behind. Read More

We three Kings

Introducing Michelsberg Tailoring’s next apprentice, Mr George Lewis.

Here he is below, signing his life away at Michelsberg HQ in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds.

George Lewis

Formerly selling menswear at House of Fraser, he will join the ranks on September 11th.

His initial approach to me was highly professional, and throughout the interview process, conducted himself like a gentleman.

Polite, enthusiastic, with a genuine love of clothing, I think he has many of the traits I’m looking for in, what will ultimately be, a business partner. Read More