The idea of having your suits personal made to your very own specifications is something that most men find terrifying, for numerous reasons including the “ah Suits for sir” characters from the TV Comedy The Fast show, obviously, the cost, but also the lack nowadays of the availability of reputable tailors. Now having you suits bespoke tailored to your own vital statistics might be out of your budget at the moment, but have you thought about a bespoke shirt ? Increasingly, in this gloomy economic climate men are turning to bespoke shirts to add a little piece of luxury to their lives. So, as always, we at Clothes make the man, like to make the lives of our loyal readers a little easier so here are a selection of the best around from difference sections of the market. But before I launch into one I do need to explain three things when it comes to Tailoring and they are;

i) Ready to wear – This literally means Ready to wear now, you come into the shop see it, like it, buy it and leave with it.

ii) Made to measure – This is taking a ready to wear piece or the pattern or block for it and tailoring it to your own measurements.

iii) Bespoke – This is to make a garment from scratch using your own personal measurements and constructing the piece to fit you perfectly.

1) Savile Row – Richard Anderson

Now this really is a bespoke experience, these shirts are exclusively made for Richard Anderson, in London, by one of the finest shirt makers in the whole of the UK. As the shirts are only available ‘to order’ they are all individually cut to the clients specification and finished by hand. The fabric selection is made up of the very finest Egyptian cotton which, for the most part, have been woven in Italy. The lead time is approximately 4 – 6 weeks (from time of order to delivery). If required, the shirts can also be personalised by adding an embroidered name or initials. Prices start from £240 with an average price of approximately £260 – £280. Now Anderson also offers a Made to Measure service on ready to wear shirts The lead time is approximately 4 weeks (from time of the order to delivery) and clients cannot only order a shirt that fits perfectly but the shirt can also be personalise by embroidering the clients name, or initials, on the cuff, chest or midriff. With Prices for this garment as £200 approx.

2) The Expert’s choice – Mr Start

Now when researching this piece I did think who should I ask, I thought a designer like Paul Smith or Tom Ford, but wouldn’t they be bias, the same for a Savile Row Tailor. A Celebrity ? Well I might as well speak to their Stylist, because behind every well dressed Celebrity is an equally well turned out Stylist, no matter how much they protest they dress themselves. Then it came to me, go for a Style Journalist who isn’t afraid to speak their mind and  tell 100% of the truth, plus know what they’re talking about. Of course ! Style Director of Shortlist & Editor of Mode Adrian Clark, who replied straightaway when asked where he would go to ? “Mr Start !!!! Without a question of doubt.” Now Mr Start is Philip Start a man who has a sterling reputation within the Menswear industry and was behind the Mens retailer Woodhouse until 2002. Philip set up his own men’s tailoring label, Mr Start, in 2008, which specialises in suiting both off the peg and made to measure. The fit is described as subtle yet certain, creating an everyday elegance. It has its own store in London’s East End Temple to style Rivington Street and has representation in Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols amongst others in the UK and world wide. Their made to measure shirts, start at £180 each and run up to around £240.  Included in the price is a matching pocket square with each shirt.  They source fabrics from great shirtings factories around the world including Thomas Mason, Albini, and Mileta They have a selection of small, mod-style collars, our famous round collar, and a new forward point collar and the turn around time for this service is approximately 5 weeks.

 

3) The New business – Harrington & Thomas

Harrington & Thomas was founded after, Tom Griffths who was working in the city, up to last year, got fed up by the quality of shirts the general  high street had to offer. The quality of the fabric was generally pretty poor, and a whole bunch of his shirts developed holes in the elbows from sitting at the desk (admittedly for 18 hours a day but that’s another story).

He found it a struggle to get a shirt that actually fit well, and with the jacket on the back of the chair for most of the day, it was the shirt that was on show most of the time. They thought there must be a better way than having to shell out over £150 to a bespoke tailor, but to still be confident that you were getting a great fit and top quality fabric. They strive to provide a made to measure service where people could really be confident that they were getting a really good quality shirt, that wasn’t going to cost the earth. Plus, they wanted to keep it simple so that someone could order a shirt in a matter of minutes, without necessarily having to take out a tape measure.

4) The High St Opinion – Marks & Spencer

Probably not surprised to see this High Street name in this position to be honest, it is the number 1 most popular suiting supplier to the UK male population. Marks & Spencer offer a made to measure shirting service in four simple steps, with prices starting at just £45, you can create a shirt from a choice of over 25 fabrics, design details including collar, sleeve and pocket options and a choice of fits, including the super slim fit. Using biometric technology, your correct size and fit is worked out ensuring the shirt is created just for you! For a unique look, each part of the shirt can be a different fabric, if you so please, from the front panels to the collar and cuffs, plus intricate details such as button colour and monogram create your shirt just the way you like it.

5) Tailor Made – Dale Rhodes
Dale Rhodes is a Yorkshire based tailor who splits his time between the Dales of Dewsbury and the Metropolis of London. His company was launched by his Father Bert over 60 years ago and now boasts a client roaster that includes Barristers, international Business men, Members of Parliament and celebrities. Earlier this year he launched a new online system of measuring the clients based on off-the-peg sizes which are then adjusted to the individual. He has fascination of technology and its effect on the way people interact. Rhodes has assembled a team of tailors and a specialist IT team who have combined these elements and reacted to the feedback of their clients and designed his unique way to shop online.This site allows people to choose and design perfectly fitted shirts online with a simple to use interface that engages the customers and allows them to preview how putting together different designs and combinations will look on a shirt before choosing to order. With a simple to use order system you can buy shirts in ready to wear sizes or at a no cost option adjust them accordingly to make them available to the large, small, tall, short, athletic and portly, basically adapting them to the individual.
Hope this has thrown some light on this ever increasing trend and maybe even given you an idea for a potential gift for a tricky fella to buy for, or even something for yourself ! Nonetheless, Clothes-make-the-man.com will be offering you indispensable guides to gift buying and making your life a little easier over the Yuletide.

 

The Christmas party season is nearly upon us and its cranking itself up to be a big one this Yuletide, whether you want to impressive your boss or another work colleague at the annual office party or if you want to cut a dash and look the part on Christmas Day while watching Downton Abbey. One piece of clothing that guarantees to transform any outfit into a sophisticated, suave look, worthy of any event, whether that be held at the Dorchester to the Dog & Duck, is the Velvet blazer. The Menswear sector of the Fashion industry are in complete agreement, from the catwalks of Milan and New York to the high Streets of Carlisle and Coventry, they all adore this piece for Winter 2012.

If it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it, Channel your inner milk tray man in this Black Velvet blazer by Ted Baker

 

Always one to perfect Traditional with a twist Paul Smith’s Brown Velvet blazer can be found @ MRPorter.com

 

Look Super cool in this Wine coloured double breasted Velvet jacket by ACNE exclusively for MRPORTER.com

 

A Contemporary Classic this Navy Velvet jacket by Austin Reed Cut

 

Any a purple haze to the Yuletide thanks to Marks & Spencer

 

Be a little different and stand out from the crowd in a good way in this Emerald Green piece by Tiger of Sweden @ Selfridges

 

A beautiful timeless Navy piece which will make you feel $1,000,000 by Reiss

 

 

 

NO don’t worry, Yes it’s still Monday, I know we don’t normally have an AskAnt on a Monday, Monday is grooming day and you don’t like it when I change things about I know, I know. We’re doing a spot of cross pollination today blending a little of grooming with a dash of AskAnt, as I said don’t worry, all will become clear. Here’s todays problem –

 

Mr X, a tricky dilemma indeed, which as the title of this post states, “It’ll happen to all of us Fellas”, as sure as we are born to pay taxes as we gentlemen get mature-r we will indeed start to lose or slow down hair growth on our noggin, to get it, its technical term, and start to grow head in more, how shall we put this….. Places we wish we didn’t ! This is due to the fact that as we men age we reduce the production of female hormones, honest ! Now, I just want to commend Mr X for reaching out and searching advice from an “expert” like oneself. Rural County Mayo is indeed a deep and dark place as I know only too well and walls have ears and barbers around these parts are known to have loose lips.

Anyway, Mr X, without further a do, I have scoured the market for a solution to your delicate issue and here we go –

1) Sassoon for Men TITAN SERIES Hygiene Trimmer – This is small, discrete, cheap and effective. The nano silver technology blade provides an anti-bacterial action, while the rotary function means you can remove unwanted hair without pulling. With a waterproof detachable head and advanced vacuum function for easy clean up.

2) Now if your after something a little more va, va, voom take a look at the Remington PG180 Pilot Grooming Kit. One again it’s relatively discrete, this smart four-in-one trimming tool keeps your facial hair looking dapper. Boasting advanced steel, self-shapening blades, you’ll achieve a high quality finish each time. Unkempt facial hair, beards and stubble, plus of course nose & ear hair will be a thing of the past.

3) OK, its time for the big guns to come into play, if you need some heavy duty hard wear, look no further then the Babyliss 10 in 1 Titanium Grooming System. It  is a professional grade rechargeable trimmer with titanium blade technology and 5 interchangeable cutting heads for use on the face and body, ensuring precision grooming wherever you need it. This device has such features as –

Body groomer with five position comb guide (3-15mm)

·         Detail trimmer for accurate lines and detailed styling

·         Foil shaver for a clean, smooth finish

·         Hygienic trimmer for the safe and easy removal of ear and nose hair

·         Taper control for fine cut adjustmentat the touch of a button

·         Turbo button for increased power at the touch of a button

·         Cleaning brush, oil and moustache comb

·         Charging / storage stand

This is a serious bit of kit and answers any of your hair related grooming needs.

So Mr X, all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Do let us know what your decision was and  join us again soon for another style clinic.

If you have any stylistic problems, events to go to that  you don’t know what to wear etc. Whatever, you query no problem is too big nor small, please just email askant@ymail.com and we’ll happily give you informed, knowledgable common sense advice.

In past Autumn/Winter seasons there nearly always is A specific style of coat which will have been picked up on by the Designer Houses of Paris, Milan, London & New York and given an individual interoperation whether that be by Burberry, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford or Gucci which is turn is then translated by the High Street retailers, whether that be a Parka, Pea, Duffle, Car, Military, Over or Trench, but not so for this season, surprisingly, we are spoilt for choice in Winter 2012 as there are many different great styles of coat on all ends of the style spectrum.

The Donkey Jacket – More Stylish man than Bin man in this enduring favourite of the Englishman’s wardrobe, reworked through modern styling, fit and fabrication by Ben Sherman, but Paul Smith has also got on that Donkey tip.

 

This great example of an Overcoat is perfect for dressing up with a suit for work or is equally at home teamed with jeans or chinos and a knit for the weekend. There are many great overcoats on the market at the moment from the creator of the garment itself, Crombie, to a more designer option from Raf Simons to this choice from Moss Bros’s Ventuno 21 range.

 

Channel your inner spy this Winter and pretend to be on a mission behind the iron curtain. This example of a great Trench coat won me over for the pure and simple reason that it’s the coolest pac-a-mac around, by Burberry Brit @ my wardrobe.com. However, for some old school heritage luxury maybe look to Mackintosh or Hancock for a cool collars up Trench.

 

Not strictly a coat, but will sure as hell keep you warm throughout the Winter. This brilliant padded jacket from Self has a built in Ruck Sack in the back, just in case you run out of hands carrying all those Christmas presents and the price won’t break the bank either. Other highly commended options around come from Moncler, APC and Dolce & Gabbana.

 

The Pea Coat was cool long before Jack Nicholson made it an icon in One flew over the Cuckoos Nest. Gucci have done a number of interpretations of this classic for this season, but keep it simple as its a classic and if you treat it well it will do you proud. However, everyone from Gap, McQ, Marks & Spencer and once again Dolce & Gabbana have all done great translations of this menswear classic.

 

 

The whole Military trend has been around for a considerable length of time now in menswear and looks like its going nowhere soon. This coat is from Robbie Williams’ Farrell Range, showing singing isn’t the only thing he can score a top place at. Brands Unconditional, Wolsley and Marc by Marc Jacobs have all produced great coats using the Military look for inspiration.

 

If your thinking about investing in a Duffle Coat this Winter, keep it traditional. In 1954 the Gloverall family started to produce their own Duffle Coats in a factory behind St Pauls Cathedral London. Now Gloverall aren’t on their own in making great examples of a Duffle coats, Marks & Spencer, APC, Carven and Burton have all done so.

 

Now if you feel the cold, you certainly won’t in this amazing Byrd Parka from Woolrich, currently celebrating its 40th Birthday, doesn’t look to down does it ? Originally designed to protect workers from the frigid glacial temperatures, and since then, after slight modernizations in fit and style, continues to be a must-have for clientele both for its technical qualities (it maintains body heat to a temperature of -40°) and for the comfort that makes it perfect for city life. Woolrich aren’t the only provider of sterling Parkas NapaPijri, Barbour and Penfield are all in on the Parka act.

Now to celebrate the fortieth birthday of the Woolrich parka, one of you lucky readers will be all toastie warm this Winter, yes we are giving you the chance to win an incredible Byrd Parka, a 100% natural cotton fabric, naturally water repellent, breathable, and wind resistant thanks to the special spin and weave. It is padded with the highest quality goose feather down guaranteeing maximum warmth while keeping it light in weight.

All you need to do is follow us here at Clothes-make-the-man.com by –

1) Returning to our home page and in the subscribe to Clothes-make-the-man.com box on the left of your screen

2) Input your email address

3) An email from the blog will be sent to you and you MUST open and confirm that email.

OR follow us at Twitter @ Clothesmakethem OR Facebook @facebook.com/ClothesMakeTheMan

Do this by Sunday 2nd December and hey presto a few days later you will receive a gift from us to you. It’s that simple ! Good luck.

 

About eight years ago while on a Press trip to Manchester I found myself sat next to the subject of today’s Textual Conversation. As the dinner progressed and the vino flowed myself and James Shaw started to discuss his new business idea and I proceeded to tell him he was mad for leaving his job and thinking about starting up a new clothing brand while we were in such a bad economic climate. I can categorically state I was 110% wrong, in fact I could not have been any wronger. This little brand, that in my tiny little mind was destined to fail has, to put it mildly, come on in leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2006, in fact Albam, to give this Great British clothing brand its correct title, was recently voted ‘Best for Men’s Fashion’ at The Telegraph’s Best Small Shops in Britain awards. Albam was built on a foundation of, “to make an honest product that is well made and that uses great fabrics”. This ethos has served the brand well and has earned itself the accolade of being THE most copied, sorry inspiring, brands of recent menswear history, from multi national designer houses to humble little high Street retailers, have used Albam as their inspiration in some way, shape or form for pieces or entire collections over recent seasons, whether they’d admit it or not.

The customer of Albam is equally diverse from Actors, Creatives, club kids, trendies or regular guys all loving a bit of what the label calls ‘Basics’ or what I would call foundation pieces. They, in my opinion, produce great, easy garments that lift whatever you’re wearing and make you feel good about yourself and what you’re wearing.  As an independent clothing company, Albam are always looking for new ways to tap into their customers lifestyle, bringing them more of what they love: honest, beautifully-designed and well made products, whether that be the artisan services of barber extrordinaire Matt Raine aka Mr Natty or collaborating with mid century modern furniture website antikmodern.

Anyway, enough of me going on with oneself, lets hear from the man himself the co-founder of Albam, James Shaw;

What’s your favourite piece of clothing ?

I have three at the moment! A Western Mountaineering Down vest. Albam seamless T Shirts and a pair of Spellbound Jeans. My daily basics.

Who is your style icon ?

Cliché, but there is Steve McQueen (the actor) Simple American sportswear, great staples and just worn with his own edge. Not sure I would have liked to know him in person but he looked great. Royal Robbins (climber) looked pretty awesome when he climbed El Capitan back in the day and then nowadays I am not so sure. I like the idea that you wear the clothes rather than the other way round. Clothes should always be well made and great fitting, but I want to see the person and not the clothes first. 

Can you tie a bow tie ? If yes, who taught you ?

I can after a few goes, my dad showed me many years ago and I just never have the opportunity to wear one regularly. They are fun but for me, speed is pretty important in the morning!

What piece of style advise do you live by ?

Keep it simple.

In your words, describe the collection ?

Albam AW12 has 3 points of view, which are relevant to the brand. We realized that we want different things daily and a single look/silhouette wasn’t particularly us as we live doing many and varied things. So we took this and created 3 spirits, all interchangeable but taking into consideration the basics of a wardrobe, great shirts, denim, T shirts, sweatshirts, work blazers and some technical outerwear and then looked to our sportier and more relaxed “white” label to bring in elements of sportswear whilst our “black” label brings to life some more fluid silhouettes, softer minimalism, maybe a Modern Crafted English silhouette. Honest, confident, a nod to the technical and a purity of thought.

Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it ? If so what & why ?

I bought a great Armani work jacket once, it was on sale for £50 and thought I must have it. I got it back home when I was living in Manchester and then sent it back. Twelve years later I regret sending it back, it would have been perfect for this winter!

In terms of regretting a piece because it wasn’t right, I have banished these to my Room 101!

What do you have to do after this conversation ?

Go for a run to wind down! I have cleared my inbox and my head is spinning!

What would you like to be doing after this conversation ?

Going for a run anyway, it keeps me in check with my headspace and creates a fluid energy that keeps my mind ticking.

What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe ?

Great jeans, for me at the moment anyway. Various stages of wear, Japanese denim, maybe some Albam in there for good measure!

What inspires you ?

Movement and the idea that we have to keep on moving on.

If you could have invented anything what would it be ?

Time, we all live by it, so that would have been fun!

Albam’s store on Bleak Street, London

 

Albamclothing.com