If you’re in London, this sounds pretty great.

If you’re in London, this sounds pretty great.

Savile Row’s New Tradition

Excerpted from S2E3 of Put This On: “(New) Traditions”

We learn the history of London’s Savile Row, and talk about where it’s been and where it’s going with Patrick Grant, owner and designer of Norton & Sons and E. Tautz, and Richard Anderson, owner and tailor of the tailoring house that bears his name.

PTO Place: W. Bill

Excerpted from S2E3 of Put This On: “(New) Traditions”

Ray Hammett of W. Bill tells us about the world’s most legendary tweed merchant.

PTO Man: Ian Bruce

Excerpted from S2E3 of Put This On: “(New) Traditions”

Ian Bruce, painter and member of The Correspondents, on how an artist should dress, the tradition of the Soho Dandy.

Put This On Season Two, Episode 3: (New) Traditions

Put This On, a web series about dressing like a grownup, visits London, where we examine how traditions are being reinvented in the birthplace of classic menswear.

We go to Savile Row, where we meet up with a historical guide to talk about the history of the world’s oldest tailoring street. We also chat with the tailor Richard Anderson about what’s special about The Row. Patrick Grant, the owner and designer of Norton & Sons, talks about how Savile Row can become a vital part of the international fashion world again.

Just off Savile Row, we go to the basement showroom of W. Bill, the world’s most legendary tweed merchant. Ray Hammet, who’s worked at W. Bill for decades, shows us around the stacks of wooly majesty.

In our PTO: Man segment, we talk with Ian Bruce, painter and member of the band The Correspondents, about re-imagining the SoHo dandy for the 21st century. He takes us through London’s red light district, and tells us why he doesn’t want to look like a painter at the end of a long day of painting.

We visit the tie factory owned and operated by Drake’s of London to learn how a high-quality tie is made, from fabric to finished product. Then we buy one to send to a supporter of the show.

Plus Dave Hill tells where sport sunglasses are and are not appropriate, in Rudiments.

This is the third episode in our six-episode second season. In this season, we visit the three greatest men’s style cities in the world, as chosen by our readers - New York, Milan and London.

—-
Watch it elsewhere:

Vimeo / Youtube / iTunes


—-

Buy Season One on DVD for $16

This episode was supported by our viewers and by The Put This On Gentlemen’s Association.


—-

Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor

Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison

Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn

Rudiments: Dave Hill

Producer: Kristian Brodie

Director of Photography: Charlie Cook

Sound: Kristian Brodie

Put This On Goes to London

Tuesday, June 19th at PutThisOn.com

Are These The Costumed Heroes Of Savile Row?
I was going to let it pass without comment, but since I’ve received a thousand million bajillion emails and tweets on the subject, a brief word on the protest of Abercrombie & Fitch’s plans to install a children’s store on Savile Row, around the corner from their London flagship shop, which is just off the Row on Burlington Gardens.
First of all: the folks at The Chap, who organized the whole thing, are generally very amusing. They understand that they’re being silly, and I tip my cap to them for that. The Chap Olympiad sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m all for tweed, brogues and neckties, obviously. Even if I’m not so into the tobacco thing that they’re obsessed with - a little stinky and cancery for my taste.
Second of all: I am no fan of Abercrombie & Fitch. Well, I should amend that: I’m no fan of the contemporary Abercrombie & Fitch, which is one of the worst clothing brands in the world. At one time, it was pretty much my ideal clothing brand, selling adventure clothes to the greatest adventurers in the world, but then it wound down, went belly-up, got bought by The Limited and transformed into what it is today. Which is awful. The worst.
I have to admit, though, that my general feeling about the protest is that costumes are for costume parties. Or fancy dress parties, as they call them over in the UK. The pictures of the protest embarrass me as much as they amuse me. It’s tough enough to defend traditional style against accusations of cosplay when you’re not actually engaging in cosplay. And given that the tailors of Savile Row sell contemporary, wearable, real-life-appropriate clothing, perhaps contemporary, wearable, real-life-appropriate clothing might have been worn for the protest.
The real truth is that when we were on Savile Row a few months ago, doing interviews for the very next episode of Put This On, the businessmen of Savile Row were completely unbothered by A&F. Richard Anderson, the tailor-owner of one of the Row’s more successful storefronts told me that while he’s no fan of their clothes, he appreciates the foot traffic. Patrick Grant, the owner of Norton & Sons, told us the same thing. They’re protected by a pretty extensive system of laws that require tailor-manufacturing to use most of the street’s square footage, so while it’s annoying and gross, it’s not really a threat to them.
So, in summary: A&F awful. The Chap charming. Savile Row pretty safe. Costumes for fancy dress.
(photo via The AP)

Are These The Costumed Heroes Of Savile Row?

I was going to let it pass without comment, but since I’ve received a thousand million bajillion emails and tweets on the subject, a brief word on the protest of Abercrombie & Fitch’s plans to install a children’s store on Savile Row, around the corner from their London flagship shop, which is just off the Row on Burlington Gardens.

First of all: the folks at The Chap, who organized the whole thing, are generally very amusing. They understand that they’re being silly, and I tip my cap to them for that. The Chap Olympiad sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m all for tweed, brogues and neckties, obviously. Even if I’m not so into the tobacco thing that they’re obsessed with - a little stinky and cancery for my taste.

Second of all: I am no fan of Abercrombie & Fitch. Well, I should amend that: I’m no fan of the contemporary Abercrombie & Fitch, which is one of the worst clothing brands in the world. At one time, it was pretty much my ideal clothing brand, selling adventure clothes to the greatest adventurers in the world, but then it wound down, went belly-up, got bought by The Limited and transformed into what it is today. Which is awful. The worst.

I have to admit, though, that my general feeling about the protest is that costumes are for costume parties. Or fancy dress parties, as they call them over in the UK. The pictures of the protest embarrass me as much as they amuse me. It’s tough enough to defend traditional style against accusations of cosplay when you’re not actually engaging in cosplay. And given that the tailors of Savile Row sell contemporary, wearable, real-life-appropriate clothing, perhaps contemporary, wearable, real-life-appropriate clothing might have been worn for the protest.

The real truth is that when we were on Savile Row a few months ago, doing interviews for the very next episode of Put This On, the businessmen of Savile Row were completely unbothered by A&F. Richard Anderson, the tailor-owner of one of the Row’s more successful storefronts told me that while he’s no fan of their clothes, he appreciates the foot traffic. Patrick Grant, the owner of Norton & Sons, told us the same thing. They’re protected by a pretty extensive system of laws that require tailor-manufacturing to use most of the street’s square footage, so while it’s annoying and gross, it’s not really a threat to them.

So, in summary: A&F awful. The Chap charming. Savile Row pretty safe. Costumes for fancy dress.

(photo via The AP)

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job as editor of Put This On is selecting fabric for the pocket squares we send to the members of our Gentlemen’s Association. Above are a few that are headed to our seamstress this week. Over the next six weeks, she’ll cut them and roll and sew the edges (by hand), and they’ll be transformed into our next round of squares, which go out June 1st.
The floral was printed by perhaps the most famous fabric print house in the world (who also printed the various designs in our last round of squares). I purchased it in London last year in a tiny shop recommended to me by a friend.
The striped one is new - to me at least. It’s tough to say when exactly it might have been made. It’s an exceptionally fine, lightweight silk that reminded me of summer. I was blown away by its hand, and bought all the vendor had.
And below is something I’m sending to make into samples - a gathered silk that puckers a bit like seersucker. According to the folks I bought it from, it’s at least a few decades old. Again, I bought all that was available, but it’s so beautiful, particularly in its texture, that I couldn’t bear to leave it behind.
Members of the Gentlemen’s Association get a pocket square in the mail, made exclusively by hand in Los Angeles from new and vintage fabrics, every two months. They’re made of the finest materials, chosen by me, and feature full, hand-rolled edges. Because there’s no middle man, you pay about half what you might in a fine men’s store, and if you sign up for a one-year subscription now, your first order will include a white linen square, appropriate with any outfit.
You can learn more about the Put This On Gentlemen’s Association here.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job as editor of Put This On is selecting fabric for the pocket squares we send to the members of our Gentlemen’s Association. Above are a few that are headed to our seamstress this week. Over the next six weeks, she’ll cut them and roll and sew the edges (by hand), and they’ll be transformed into our next round of squares, which go out June 1st.

The floral was printed by perhaps the most famous fabric print house in the world (who also printed the various designs in our last round of squares). I purchased it in London last year in a tiny shop recommended to me by a friend.

The striped one is new - to me at least. It’s tough to say when exactly it might have been made. It’s an exceptionally fine, lightweight silk that reminded me of summer. I was blown away by its hand, and bought all the vendor had.

And below is something I’m sending to make into samples - a gathered silk that puckers a bit like seersucker. According to the folks I bought it from, it’s at least a few decades old. Again, I bought all that was available, but it’s so beautiful, particularly in its texture, that I couldn’t bear to leave it behind.

Members of the Gentlemen’s Association get a pocket square in the mail, made exclusively by hand in Los Angeles from new and vintage fabrics, every two months. They’re made of the finest materials, chosen by me, and feature full, hand-rolled edges. Because there’s no middle man, you pay about half what you might in a fine men’s store, and if you sign up for a one-year subscription now, your first order will include a white linen square, appropriate with any outfit.

You can learn more about the Put This On Gentlemen’s Association here.

Country Mouse & City Mouse

Country Mouse & City Mouse

Almost all of menswear’s tradition is based in England, and particularly the England of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The lifestyle of the upper and upper-middle classes at the time - professionals and gentry alike - was sharply defined by geography. If you had the money, you lived two lives: one in the city, one in the country. Each of these lives had a wardrobe, and each of these wardrobes was distinctive.

This separation still shapes our dress today. Let’s take a look at how.

You can see this distinction if you watch a period television show. Jeeves & Wooster is a favorite of mine, with two brilliantly hilarious performances from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. As Bertie Wooster, Laurie flits between city and country, discarding his conservative urban attire (left), and donning country togs (right). Sometimes absurdly outrageous ones.

As Downton Abbey has crossed the threshold of World War One and moved toward modernity, the clothes have become more recognizable there, as well. Since almost all the action on the show takes place on a country estate, you’ll see almost exclusively country clothes. You’ll also recognize the role that outdoor sports have played in the development of menswear, and of the distinction between country and city.

But is this antiquated tradition meaningful to us in modern times? Do we owe anything to the gentlemen above, passing each other on the train platform, one headed into town, one out?

Absolutely.

Let’s start simply, though, by defining better what “country” and “city” clothes are.

What Are City Clothes?

Broadly speaking, city clothes are made to match the aesthetics and demands of city life. That means they’re largely built for business.

Defining characteristics:

  • An urban color palette of gray and blue.
  • Solid-colored suits.
  • Business-striped suits.
  • Small-scale checks in conservative colors.
  • Worsted wool.
  • Black leather shoes and accessories.
  • Color in patterned shirts and (in some cases) ties.
  • Dressing down from suits with conservative blazers.

What are Country Clothes?

Country clothes are defined by their sporting heritage and their ties to the colors of the outdoors.

Defining characteristics:

  • A country color palette featuring the colors of nature, like tans, browns, and greens, with sometimes-bold complimentary accents, like burgundy and orange.
  • Frequent use of bold patterns, like checks and multi-colored tweeds.
  • Suits often replaced with sport coats and odd (non-matching) trousers.
  • Sporting details like hacking pockets, ticket pockets, patch pockets and leather buttons.
  • Fabrics with soft finishes and sporting heritage, like tweed, corduroy and flannel.
  • Brown leather accessories, including suede and heavier shoes and boots.

What does this mean today?

Unless you’re a member of the House of Lords, it’s unlikely that you’ll be flitting between a Mayfair manor and a country house, with a special wardrobe for each and a valet like Jeeves to keep you dressed appropriately for your milieu. Many folks in the first world live between country and city these days, in suburban and exurban environments that are neither dominated by gray concrete nor appropriate for grouse hunting. The days of strict adherence to the line between country and city are over - but understanding the line is still important.

Remember that these lines aren’t just about place, they’re also about tone. City clothes are still the most appropriate for most business contexts. Show up to court in tweed and you’ll still look foolish in the 21st century. Country clothes are still the most relaxed - that’s why you can wear heavy country brogues with jeans but sleek black cap-toes would look out of place.

So consider the tone of the place where you live, and the activities that make up your daily life. If you’re a city lawyer, your wardrobe should be dominated by traditional city clothes. On weekends, you can dabble in country garb. If you live in the outskirts of Savannah, where you’re a graphic artist, you can wear blue jeans and tweed without looking out of place at the Piggly Wiggly. No matter what you choose to wear, let it be informed by a hundred years of history and tradition.