Savile Row, 1939

This article from England’s defunct Picture Post magazine depicts the process of ordering and making a suit at Williams, Sullivan, & Co., a firm that occupied 12 Savile Row at the time of publication in 1939. Today the building houses Chittleborough and Morgan, formerly of Tommy Nutters’ shop, and the Scabal flagship store. (Check out a recent Chittleborough and Morgan suit in navy seersucker at Permanent Style.) Picture Post was a photo-heavy publication not unlike LIFE, and this piece gave the reader a glimpse into the clubby atmosphere of a tailor’s shop (for the customers, at least; the article mentions sewing girls making £3 a week—around £165 today).

"Even if you cannot tell an Englishman abroad by anything else, you can tell him by his suit. The suit may be old, it may have done a dozen years’ service, but its cut and the way it hangs on his body identify the owner as an Englishman."

-Pete

Esquire UK: Dressing Michael Jackson
A cutter from Gieves & Hawkes describes making military clothing for Michael Jackson’s Bad tour.

Esquire UK: Dressing Michael Jackson

A cutter from Gieves & Hawkes describes making military clothing for Michael Jackson’s Bad tour.

Steed Bespoke Tailors Coming to San Francisco, April 13th

As some readers may know, I’ve been trying to persuade Steed Bespoke Tailors to come out to San Francisco for over six months now. Well a few weeks ago, they finally booked their first ticket, and are scheduled to arrive on Saturday, April 13th, and then depart Tuesday, April 16th

A little background on Steed and why this announcement is so special: Steed was founded in 1995 by tailors Edwin DeBoise and Thomas Mahon, who at the time worked as cutters at Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard. Thomas has since moved on to start his own firm in Cumbria, but Edwin continues at Steed. Before working at Anderson & Sheppard, Edwin received his training at the London College of Fashion and worked under the legendary Edward Sexton. His tailoring style is very much informed by these experiences, and in my opinion, he currently makes some of the most beautiful garments in the world of classic men’s tailoring.

Now, bespoke garments are expensive, and certainly not for everyone. However, if you have the money and are looking for something special (perhaps for a wedding or new job), this is a great opportunity. Steed cuts a unique style known as the London drape cut. Oversimplified, it’s designed with a fuller, more sculpted chest that makes the wearer look masculine, muscular, and comfortably relaxed. You can see this in the photos above, but if it’s not obvious, check out a post I wrote here, which highlights this silhouette a bit more clearly. In addition to the signature chest, Steed’s cuts a soft, unpadded shoulder, slightly nipped waist, and high armholes. The effect is something very comfortable, and very stylish.

This being bespoke, you can ask for your commissions to be made in any way you want, but you’ll want to stick to their general house style (meaning, the soft shoulders and shaped chest). When choosing a bespoke tailor, it’s always wise to stay within the style they specialize in, and ask for little tweaks here and there, rather than request something dramatically different. 

It’s my hope to drum up enough interest in the Bay Area to keep Steed coming back. This is partly for my own selfish reasons, since I hope to use them on a regular basis, but I also think this is a rather special opportunity for people who live in this area. They’re less expensive than many of the Savile Row tailors who visit, and I think they cut a very unique and beautiful silhouette. Since Put This On has a rather big audience, I’m happy to help answer any basic questions if you email me, but will refer you to Steed for anything complex (I just don’t want them to receive a hundred emails in the middle of their workday). For booking appointments, however, you should just directly contact Steed.   

(Pictured above: two of Steed’s clients looking fantastic in their commissions)

This is one of my favorite clips from the BBC’s documentary on Savile Row (which, if you haven’t already seen, you must watch immediately). 

Styleforum member radicaldog also has an interesting project going for a custom travel jacket. The thread he started for it is a fun read. 

voxsart:

Old School Technical Sportswear I.

Colonel John Blashford-Snell gets his bespoke “Explorers Suit” altered at Norton & Sons before he sets out up the Amazon to search for a meteorite.

(via voxsart-deactivated20120827)

Mungo - cloth cuttings, which by custom the tailor used to retain to sell to a rag merchant for a little extra income.

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.

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.

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Watch it elsewhere:

Vimeo / Youtube / iTunes


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Buy Season One on DVD for $16

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


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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

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)