Style According To Simon
The Bespoke Suit
The suit is still the most elegant attire for a gentleman so long as the cut, colour and choice of cloth is correct – so appropriate to the occasion and time of the year.
While fashion has certainly modified the styles, in the eye of the bespoke tailor the fundamentals of the suit haven’t changed much in the last 90 years. Their relentless quest is to create a timeless elegance for their customers, while at the same time keeping up with the changing lifestyles of the last decades. What questions one might need to ask, when going to a tailor these days? Our style correspondent, the London trained bespoke tailor, Simon Skottowe, shares his secrets to help you understand the art of dressing well.
I could fill a book with the history of this intriguing set of garments, but to cut a long story short... It was Beau Brummel, famous dandy and socialite, who revolutionised menswear at the beginning of the 19 th century. Deemed to be the inventor of modern sartorial understatement, he was the first to wear the combination of a long jacket and double breasted waistcoat in matching fabric with long trousers. His look was completed with a linen shirt and a fastidiously knotted cravat.
Thought scandalous at a time when embroidered waistcoats, knee length britches and stockings were still de rigeur, his philosophy of understatement still today underpins British men’s tailoring.
The modern suit as we know it comes from the “lounge suit”, with it’s shorter jacket, which was developed for informal occasions and by the 1930’s had become the accepted form of dress for most workplaces. It is that basic formula that all suits still follow, however there are numerous variations.
When commissioning a bespoke suit the tailor should inquire the gentleman:
-Day, evening or special event?
-What does Sir wish to express with his clothes?
- Is he in banking, legal? (conservative, reliable)
-Software developer (reliable with a touch of creativity)?
-Media, arts (creative, maybe a touch flamboyant)?
So the picture begins to form of how the gentleman would like to see himself.
Together with the physical data: measurements, body type, proportions and complexion, the tailor starts to work his magic.