September 04, 2012

Clothes make the man…

…Naked people have little or no influence on society.
~Mark Twain

From Beau Brummell


the tailors of Savile Row in London have stood for style with a capital S by always leading the trends, not following them.
It was in 1856 that James Poole’s son Henry inherited his father’s firm. He earned the title ‘Founder of Savile Row’ when he made the Savile Row-side of his father’s tailoring workshops Henry Poole & Company situated at No 4 Old Burlington Street into an all new grand classical style entrance.  The address became known as No 32 Savile Row.
The term “bespoke” is understood to have originated on Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for by an individual customer". The talented ‘bespoke’ tailors who still survive today are much sought after, albeit by a much smaller but just as exclusive as always, clientele. They are and while they continue to survive changes in fashion, the expansion of well made ‘off the rack’ suits. An assault on their competitiveness and competency will always be associated with taste, fashion, elegance, sophistication and timeless attitudes.
They are currently calling coats and suits from Savile Row “Sherlock chic”, although there isn’t a deerstalker hat or pipe in sight.

It seems the 2010 show that placed Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes firmly in the 21st century has turned him, and the actor who plays him, Benedict Cumberbatch, into a fashion icon.
Sherlock is definitely Shrewd, Sexy and New Age and turned heads again during the second season early in 2012. Top designers in London reported a flood of customers queuing to emulate his style, with gentlemen keen to copy his extra-long tailored Milford coat.
It is a modern reproduction of an Edwardian driving coat that is worn by Cumberbatch, who has also been seen around the town wearing impeccably tailored Savile Row suits.

And it is very hard to surpass Cary Grant wearing a Savile Row coat you will have to agree that he looked the picture of sartorial elegance.
The stylish Kilgour suit worn by Grant in Alfred Hitchock’s North by Northwest is considered one of the most famous suits of men clothing in movie history. Shot at, chased, and rolled around drunk, he still managed to stand on the side of a dusty road in Indiana (actually shot on Garces Highway (155) near the towns of Wasco and Delano, north of Bakersfield in Kern County, California)  about to be 'crop dusted', looking as cool as a cucumber.

At No 1 Savile Row the tailors have also recently established a Savile Row Archive, curated by James Sherwood. The Savile Row Bespoke Association founded in 2004, acknowledged the work of Mr Sherwood and his research. It has also resulted in a book about the brief history of the glamour, and sometime squalor of the Row, with the fine attention to detail that characterizes a well dressed man.
Dismayed at the word ‘bespoke’ being bandied about in the first decade of the 21st century the Savile Row Bespoke Association hit back laying down some laws about what can be considered bespoke.
‘A suit must start with an individual pattern created by a master cutter, who will also superintend all production; the tailors will be based in England; and all work will be done by hand and require a minimum of 50 hours. The garments resulting from this time-honored process—and only those—will be worthy of bearing the label Savile Row Bespoke’.
Its personal relationship that develops between a gentleman and his tailor is a time-honoured part of the service still offered at Savile Row, London.
While tradition may have kept its bespoke tailors a cut above the rest, it is the upholding of a standard in excellence in tailoring that makes the clothes fit the man so well that is at the heart of Savile Row and its continuing success.


Anonymous said...

Do Clothes Make The Man? Sometimes.
And Sometimes No Clothes Make More of Him!

Anonymous said...

I feel uniquely positioned to answer this question. I would say a well-stuffed wallet is a must!

frenchtoast said...

NOTHINGNESS is fine if you’re dressed for it…

Anonymous said...

George Washington was quite particular about his white hosiery – he always had a regal look even though he turned down being named king of America. When approaching a city, he would get out of his coach and ride in on white horseback. His image was crucial to his mission.
Winston Churchill gave much attention to the wide wale of his pinstripe, the bigness of his glasses and the use of his cigar. Yes, he had substance, but he always extended it with style.
Do you ever remember seeing a single hair out of place on Margaret Thatcher’s head? Of course not. That would have sullied her resolute, strong, principled, political image.
Ronald Reagan would often joke about his age, but he knew that this would work only if he appeared to be vital and healthy. Throughout his eight years in the White House, he never missed a secret Tuesday morning session with his hairdresser, who magically preserved Reagan’s hair in the color of chocolate ice cream.

Cool Britania said...

The only moral one can draw from history is
that it is much better to invent a new fashion
than a new social theory.
The fist may improve the appearance of men;
the latter will only bring about a revolution.

Mona said...

Cool Britania, touche!

Charles said...

"Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich not gaudy
For the apparel oft proclaims the man"
~Polonius to Laertes HAMLET

So true! Ah, first impressions.

Clothed 2 said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the post. Eagerly anticipating what’s
coming next.I would never have normally come here to read the blogs but I’m
really glad I did. Will definitely be coming back this is way cool!

Anonymous said...

This post is beautiful, and made me smile. Very interesting indeed... thanks for sharing! :)

Alice said...

I love this post! I just got back from a trip to Saigon. Before we left, my husband, who had traveled to that area of Asia before, informed me that generally speaking, the Vietnamese people are very modest people and they frown upon immodest dress. That being said, I made sure to bring my most modest tops and longest skirts so as to not offend.
It was interesting to observe the women dressed in the traditional, modest, and beautiful ao dai. They were treated with respect and deference. I was impressed with the grace and beauty of the Vietnamese women who carried themselves with confidence and of the men who bowed their heads in salutation to them. It was lovely, really.

Anonymous said...

Courtesy begets courtesy,
and I can't think of no easier way than simply wearing clothes that'll make you feel better about yourself .

Anja said...

Just as money does not bring happiness clothes do not make the man... or so it is said...I say that clothes do make the man, first impressions… Fake it `til you make it. Clothe yourself with great attributes!

Alistair said...

Clothed too.

asterix said...

So, finally the answer is… absolutely yes.
A well fitted suit makes you look fitter and taller, and organized.
A suit is designed to enhance your masculine features and, in doing so, subconsciously demands respect and sets you apart.

And lest we forget; 27 of 21 chosen to be President have been taller than their opponents.

Amazing! Now who says politics has anything to do with who we vote for?

Baldur said...

Do clothes make the man
or does the man make the clothes?

frenchtoast said...

Baldur, stop being Jesuitical!

C and C Lake Tahoe said...

We are hair splittingly amused by your post Ms Edna, thanks so much.

Just as an aside-
An exchange occurred not long ago in California's Sacramento Superior and Municipal Courts. As a lawyer attempted to excuse his client's behavior with a convoluted explanation, Judge James Ford interrupted acidly with the comment, "That's just ... that's just too Jesuitical for words." The colloquy continued as follows:
Lawyer: "Pardon me?"
Judge: "It's too Jesuitical. You probably didn't go to a Jesuit school."
Lawyer: "Certainly didn't. I am of the Jewish faith."
Judge: "Then it's too Talmudic for words."

Ms. Edna (squared) said...

Thank you Chuck!