Once the preserve of the aristocracy, it’s a well-known maxim that “There is nothing better than a made to measure suit”. Well, no question if you can afford it and a well-fitted bespoke suit is the best ‘contemporary London man’ could want.
Where else would you find the finest quality and most traditional tailors than in Savile Row, London? Whether conservative and elegant, or rather more stylish and crazy; in the small avenue just behind Regent Street you are sure to discover the most ‘suit-able’.
Henry Poole, one of the most famous names in traditional tailoring, has been around for more than 200 years. Famous clients over the years have included Charles Dickens and Sir Winston Churchill, as well as many members of the Royal Family. Their way of working has not changed since they first opened and it’s their long experience which makes their suits so special. Having chosen your preferred cloth, it’s time to be measured from head to toe. A good eight weeks or so later, your suit will be ready for collection.
Norton and Sons Sporting
If you are more of a countryman, then you must visit Norton & Sons, just next to Henry Poole in Savile Row. Not only can they completely equip you for the life as a ‘Country Squire’ you can also choose from a range of sporting guns made by Charles Hellis in the new gunroom. Whether you need a new safari jacket, or a lightweight shooting waistcoat, Norton can provide.
For those less traditional - but still looking for quality - then Richard James is the one for you. The modern showroom on the corner of Savile Row and Clifford St will show you a younger and rather ‘crazier’ approach. Although Richard James “only” opened in 1992 (at least a 100 years after some of the other tailors) he’s surely brought some fresh ‘vibes’ into Savile row.
Harvie & Hudson
Just over Piccadilly is another temple of ‘Gentlemen’s Tailoring’; Jermyn Street. For shirts, go and see Harvie & Hudson where their huge variety of cloth and colours can be made to measure, and also personalised with your own initials. There’s also Dunhill’s new flagship store with its own barber shop and cigar emporium. Watch out for the many car-related items Dunhill sell, including ties, wristwatches and cufflinks. There’s often a car in the window to celebrate the company’s long motoring tradition, and its close involvement with the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Paul Smith’s name is one of the most famous in the world. But if you want to see the company’s beautifully designed and manufactured range in the very best possible setting then we suggest a visit to the spectacular Westbourne House store in Notting Hill. Apart from excellent bespoke and ready-to-wear suits, you will find other unique ranges of clothing and accessories, including children’s. It’s easy to say ‘just go along and just have a look’ - but take it from us; it’s hard not to come away with something, however small.
Text: J Philip Rathgen
Photos: Benjamin Knapp Voith / Classic Driver / The Stores
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