Tag Archives: menswear

My Made to Measure Experience

12 Oct

So I popped the big question to my now wife last January. It was great, lots of excitement and planning and people to tell. One of the first things I did however was tell two close friends of mine who own a mens clothing store who specialise in bespoke suits. They were delighted for me and gave me the customary handshakes but then I said lets get cracking with my suit.

I had a few ideas floating around in my head ultra tailored, Italian cut and possibly electric blue. Our venue for the wedding was in Florence, Italy in the July sunshine, six months after our engagement. So Florence meant I had to have the slickest suit in a city where slick suits is staple attire for men of all ages in any line of work or pleasure.

So the shop which my friends run is called Salingers located in Cork city, Ireland. They are two guys one from Italy and one from Canada so I knew I was in good hands. I bounced some of my ideas off them and went through some images with them and leafed through the fabrics. This was a good starting point but with made to measure you are the person who is going to have to come up with the idea and design because it should showcase your personality and the details you want.

So I set up a Tumblr account, Pinterest and Twitter and just goggled suits non-stop. I was jumping from grey with a pink prince of wales check to electric blue with contrasting lapels which was all the rage at the time of my incessant goggling! I went in to Christopher and showed him some of the images I was toying with and he never said outright that anything was ghastly but phrased it like “a bespoke suit is for life and especially with your first one you really don’t want to look back at it and say what the hell was I thinking with orange lining!”.

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Then I came across a designer from South Africa Zano Sithetho who just launched his new look book from his clothing range Skorzch. All the omens where good, my fiance is from South Africa and there it was a a single buttoned double brested slim fit blue suit. That was it, I wanted that one. Now I had a template to work off I just had to find the fabric.

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I went to the guys and showed them the picture and we went looking for the fabric. It took a while because you can find nearly any colour or pattern combination with Loro Piana fabrics but not all will be within the ordinary man’s budget. I wasn’t worried however because everything else was going smoothly with our wedding plans and this was the fun part for me so I kept faith. Then a new batch of fabrics arrived in the Spring and lo and behold a gorgeous super 120’s light blue wool was available.

I had heard that getting your first bespoke suit was a rite of passage but I didn’t really know what that meant until I was  standing there arms held aloft and a measuring tape going across my shoulder blades. I felt bigger than the measurements being scribbled away into the fitter’s moleskin and much older than my years. Yes I was about to get married and enter a new club but before that I was entering the bespoke club which I didn’t even know existed beforehand.

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The fitting was quite straight forward just some precise measurements taken from everywhere. Then some obligatory questions about how I would like the fit of my suit and the extra details. I’m a slim guy and think a well fitted suit is paramount. The real fun with bespoke happens in the details and that’s what makes it one of a kind. So I wanted the customary working buttons on the cuff, mother of pearl of course. I got the date and location of my wedding embroidered in Italian under my collar along with my name on the inside of my jacket. The options are endless and if you trust your tailor to make the right choices for you then you should feel extremely confident that your suit will turn out perfect.

So I went away extremely satisfied that I was going to get the perfect suit for our big day and personalised to my exact tastes. I was told it was going to take about 7 weeks which was fine because we were flying to Italy in 7 and half weeks!! I still kept that same faith that everything was going to turn out right. The fabric came and so will my suit and there will be no unforeseen delays like volcanic ash clouds no way! So I went away and got on with other wedding stuff that I needed to be done.

So it’s the week before we fly out. I’m nearly finished work and have everything else sorted. My suit is in transit and should be in the store very soon. I start to feel a little stress as the days go by, through osmosis more than anything else. My other half has put a lot of effort and planning in to the wedding and doesn’t want my suit not arriving ruining our big day. Then I get the call “Buongiorno Wayne your suit has arrived and it’s magnificent”.

I swiftly make my way over to the store and try it on. I then step out from the changing room donned in my new shiny suit. It’s fits like a glove! I genuinely had never worn something so perfect for me. This seems obvious because it was the first time I wore something made specifically tailored for me but it just felt so right. The lapels lengthened my body, the nipped waist and slim legs gave me all the right proportions and I just felt a million dollars.

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My Fiance arrived and was ecstatic and couldn’t believe how well it turned out. I thanked Chris and Mike and it really wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Salingers. Then it was next stop Italy. I felt great and got compliments from loads of Italians on my suit which is a testament in itself but you will never look as good as your wife on your wedding day trust me.

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I would whole heartily recommend getting a bespoke suit for your wedding or just jump at any excuse to own a tailored made suit. It really is a rite of passage and you will only understand when you go through the process.

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Take your Fedoras off to Jean-Paul Belmondo

1 Nov

 

This is another update of the setting trends posts. However in the other posts I set out to highlight movies that 6-12 months down the lines the masses will get their style tips from. This post is an ode to a classic and a style that is timeless,urbane and seemingly effortless. The film that set the 1960’s alight was Jean Luc Goddard’s Breathless, the actor that made the movie even cooler was Jean-Paul Belmondo. Breathless was really the start of the influential French New Wave with it’s characteristic techniques such as long takes,jump cuts, ad-lip and on-location shooting. This little movie gave a glimpse of how life in the sixties was in Paris and I’m sure boosted American tourists in France ten fold.

  

The plot is simple Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character Michel shoots a police officer in Marseille and then is on the run. He arrives in Paris to try and persuade his current love interest Jean Seberg, as the American Patricia, to elope with him to Italy. We are shown Paris through beautiful shots in cars, on the boulevards and the night spots. All of this to the backdrop of a great jazz soundtrack. As an experimental film Breathless is a complete success the whole movie was shot on a hand held camera and the use of real locations with no permits obtained, so improvisation was the key.

   

However what I want to discuss is Jean-Paul Belmondo’s sartorial genius. For me Belmondo is up there with Steve McQueen on the lists of all time style icons. Goddard put no restraints or pressures on his actor’s wardrobes and let them have free reign. This paved the way for Belmondo’s brilliance. Breathless  was obviously shot in the summer but Belmondo dismisses the conformity of summer wear and opts for heavy tweed jackets, wool ties and trousers and capped with his iconic fedora. His relaxed, I don’t care look is merely a ploy as his outfits are meticulously chosen and assembled.

 

Belmondo was a trend setter and his debonair style is totally back in at the moment. With a nod back to 60’s and 70’s patterns and tweed in full swing this Autumn and Winter. Belmondo’s vintage wardrobe would be completely apt right now. His use of matching Tweed caps with knit ties and beautiful herringbone jackets. Even in some fashion lines high waist trousers are making a comeback, check out the COS men’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. However the only part of Belmondo’s wardrobe that I think will stay in the anons of style history are his beautiful fedora with himself and his inspiration Humphrey Bogart but I’d be pleased to be proved wrong.

     Jean Paul Belmondo Breathless

Also Belmondo’s movement in this movie is extremely elegant and delicate which always comes as a surprise when I watch his movies. He draws the viewer in and leads you off again, he has a natural grace about him. I recently read that he trained as a boxer and this is obviously where his natural deftness derives from. In his scenes with Jean Seberg this is most evident and we can see her being drawn to him and then repelled by his language and views which is the great contrast in the film.

   

Jean Seberg also has to be discussed here in relation the fashion and trend setting. With her use of bold sailor stripes, black skinny pants, ballet shoes, cat liner and cat-eye sunglasses to boot. She has a pixie haircut that was fast becoming the must have hair style for fashionable and sexy women of the 1960’s. She looks effortlessly gorgeous throughout the movie whether she is selling the New York Herald Tribune on the Champs Elysees or dashing of to interview a famous novelist. Also Seberg looks extremely sexy in Belmondo’s grandad shirt and Fedora sporting the boyfriend look before many of her contemporaries. Seberg’s style is also back in at the moment and has been many times since Breathless’s release. She has been payed homage many times for her style being cited in many fashion magazines throughout the years.

   

Both Seberg and Belmondo’s fantastic style owes heavily to the eventual success of Breathless in my view, giving it a timeless feel. If this was Goddard’s initial intention, I can’t be sure but either way it makes for great viewing. It strange how Belmondo was never really taken to in America as he surely had the charm and the refinement. Anyway in my view he was a true style icon and I take my fedora of to the one and only Jean-Paul Belmondo.

 

 

Velour day

1 Oct

velour instagram

Boys & their shoes!

27 Sep

Men's shoes instagram

Why not paisley?

20 Sep

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Paisley is really in this season so why not rock a paisley tie with a matching pocket square. Throw on a navy blazer,tie it in a winsor knot and pop in the pocket square and off you go.

Click here for a demonstration on how to fold a pocket square.Enjoy!

New watch

18 Sep

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Strolling

18 Sep

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