Suits & Spies

February 22, 2015

 

static1.squarespace Suits & Spies

EVERY little boy has a spy fantasy that involves high-level espionage, fast cars and sharp bespoke suits. The James Bond influence has long inspired classic bespoke tailoring and opened the door for a host of Secret Service movies to impact on our imaginations. The most recent, Kingsman: The Secret Service, sees a suave and sophisticated Colin Firth (looking as dapper as usual), play Harry Hart (code name: Galahad) who says “the suit is the modern gentleman’s armour”.  We couldn’t agree more.

Spies, and their counterparts, the villains/criminals, are undoubtedly some of the best-dressed men in the movies. They effortlessly know how to wear a classic three-piece bespoke suit whilst brandishing a lethal weapon (which may or may not be housed inside an umbrella, another quintessential gentleman’s accessory), and dangling a damsel in distress on one arm. Stylish spies ooze sophistication, elegance and power.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

With headquarters cleverly disguised within a Savile Row tailor’s shop, the elite private team of spies battle to save the world, displaying death defying stunts, sky diving antics and striking bespoke attire along the way. The extensive bespoke wardrobe worn throughout Kingsman: The Secret Service is central to the movie’s appeal. The classic suit collection features distinctively English tailoring and styling, and brings back the double-breasted suit, a style that Henry Herbert has also championed  recently (with the Campaign to Bring Back the Double Breasted).

As movie goers we’ve become familiar with Firth, always looking impeccably attired and comfortable playing roles that require a dapper appearance. “I only really came to understand a good suit when I made A Single Man and realised that it does the work for you,” Firth has openly stated. “It affects your bearing and makes you look good.”

Worn as modern day armour by cinematic spies and secret agents, the bespoke suit has become the acceptable uniform that can also be worn in real life. Bespoke tailoring should make you look good and feel great.

Taron Egerton plays Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, a seemingly unrefined petty criminal who is recruited by Firth and painstakingly taught everything he needs to know about acceptable table manners and occasion-appropriate footwear. The elite team may look like high-end accountants but don’t be fooled because they can handle any high-octane fight without breaking a sweat or ripping a seam.

Spies With Style

  • Tinkler, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a British espionage thriller starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, the spy who is brought out of retirement to track down a double agent. The bespoke tailoring is civil service chic and reflective of the ‘70s. Colin Firth (yes, him again), Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy also star.
  • The Ipcress File stars Michael Caine’s skint MI5 agent Harry Palmer. The iconic wardrobe features classic ‘60’s bespoke style and distinctive thick-rimmed glasses.
  • Bond. Any and all films. So iconic is the character’s sartorial elegance and style that any actor playing the part appears believable. Bond is always impeccably dressed and ready for action or any occasion – casual or formal. This super spy wears black tie like no one else, and we applaud his ability to stay immaculate in any situation.

Besides the gadgets and cars, all you need is a handmade suit that flatters your physique, enhances your appearance and creates the allure of mystery. So who wants to play James Bond in real life?

Tailor Talk

February 16, 2015

fin2 Tailor Talk

TAILOR TALK – A professional tailor might seem to speak a strange language at first –  the language bespoke. But most importantly he, or she, should make you feel at ease and to ask any question you wish. If you are not sure of something, just ask! Bespoke simply means made to your individual and specific pattern. The handmade tailored suit is therefore a one-of-a-kind garment that is created to make you look your very best. Understanding how best to convey your needs ensures that the tailor is able to translate your imagination into the perfect bespoke creation.

A bespoke suit speaks volumes about the wearer’s personality, character and style. Set your own trend by taking inspiration from style conscious leaders and influencers that you admire. Choose classic Saville Row style for a bespoke suit with timeless appeal or opt for contemporary simplicity with James Bond inspired elegance. Use visual references to ensure your tailor knows exactly what you want to achieve. Find a tailor who speaks your language to ensure he makes a bespoke suit that is made from a hand-drawn paper pattern to your exact body measurements.

Specialist tailors have mastered specific structuring techniques that create distinctive styles of tailoring. Whether your preference is traditional British or modern continental it is essential that you find a tailor with a complementary house style. You will feel more comfortable and relaxed with a tailor who specialises in your preferred garment style than one who has a long list of celebrity clients but doesn’t make the kind of suit you want to wear.

The tape measure never lies! No matter how you think you look the tailor will take multiple accurate measurements to capture your natural shape, size and posture. There is therefore no use in sucking in your belly when the tape measure winds around your waist. Allow the tailor to measure up so that the suit can be adjusted to compensate for specific features that you’re not comfortable with.

When visiting a tailor it is important to present the bigger picture. This means openly discussing your specific needs and requirements, along with suit purpose. When you’re being measured up you should therefore attend the appointment in suitable clothing that gives the tailor an opportunity to evaluate your unique shape and size. Wear a favourite suit and dress shoes to demonstrate how you naturally carry the garments.

When choosing a bespoke suit it is best to opt for a handmade suit that flatters your shape and size without being overly flamboyant in design. Save the quirky personal touches for the details. Add bold and luxurious silk lining to the jacket, elongate or widen the lapel and finish off with smart symmetrical buttons on the jacket sleeves. For a perfect silhouette choose a double vent.

A bespoke suit is made to your unique body shape and should therefore fit you perfectly. This means that you’ll have no need for belt loops on the trousers. Choose adjustable side tabs, with buttons, for added comfort and a streamlined look.

Take your time over any decision regarding fabric, colour, fit, style and cost. After all you want to be completely satisfied with your bespoke suit so use the multiple fittings as an opportunity to double check details. By the third fitting your suit should be practically ready to wear. Once your handmade suit is ready to wear your personal specifications will be stored in the tailor’s file, for your next appointment.

One For The Road: Cycling & Suits

February 14, 2015

108112545bc3f79d26f80e935ee0f897 One For The Road: Cycling & Suits

 

WITH an increase in the number of businessmen taking to the road on two wheels, bespoke tailoring has adapted to suit. This time, we are not talking about scooters (on which Henry Herbert tailors can often be found!), but the rise and rise of the bicycle commute.  However, looking fashionable without appearing flustered on a bike requires some sharp tailoring and clever details. The modern businessman can now opt for a suave and sophisticated handmade suit that can be tweaked to take them straight from home to the boardroom, via the cycle path.

Bespoke tailoring is all about the details. To travel in style fabric, function, fit need to be considered, and it is possible look like a cool cyclist without layering on the lycra. Cutting a dash in a smart bespoke suit that has been made with cycling in mind is the practical, sensible and logical (not to mention time-saving) choice for power dressing professionals and elegant executives.

What to look for:

The perfect cycling business suit provides comfort and flexible dressing without any compromise on classic bespoke tailoring or style. An active lifestyle requires a suit that incorporates practical features like visibility and shape retention for wear and tear on the road.

  • Choose a stain resistant fabric that is breathable and suitable for extreme weather conditions, and a cut that allows for freedom of movement and minimal creasing.
  • Make a few adjustments by lowering the jacket armhole to enable extra arm reach and additional shoulder support for riding comfort.
  • Pick a contemporary narrow trouser fit for safe cycling. A little extra padded support in the seat and crotch ensures a comfortable ride in the saddle. For additional comfort wear the trousers over padded shorts (get your lycra fix underneath!).
  • Select high visibility lining in a striking colour. Vibrant yellow reflects the Tour de France style influence and gives the bespoke suit a sharp, modern designer edge. For ease of physical movement and comfort opt for a jacket that is half lined, and keep your undercollar melton in sync with lining – so that when you flip up your collar to protect against windchill, the bright lining will show and allow for extra visibility to other road users.

Pay attention to the details:

article 2359258 0D328F3100000578 122 634x572 One For The Road: Cycling & Suits

The ultimate cycle friendly bespoke suit takes you from A to B without any major dressing (or undressing) adjustments along the way. You will arrive at the office ready to do business.

  • Keep your cool by adding a sailor’s tab collar (see an example here) that can be adjusted according to temperature and weather conditions. This also provides wind protection around the neck and chest.
  • Add detachable fluorescent pocket flaps to increase visibility on the road.
  • Choose smart high-vis trouser turn ups to complement and finish the elegant cut of the bespoke suit.

Rather like the compact, quick-change folding bike, the bespoke suit offers a practical solution to dressing the part ready for work and play.  Choose durable and versatile fabric and distinctive details to create the perfect bespoke suit for business and leisure. Team with a complementary cycle helmet and leave the spare set of clothes at home. Say goodbye to lycra and hello to the modern fitness wardrobe for the busy executive.

 

The Myth & Legend of T.E. Lawrence

February 8, 2015

Te lawrence The Myth & Legend of T.E. Lawrence

THERE are many myths about T.E Lawrence. The flamboyant and controversial character that is classically portrayed by Peter O’Toole in David Lean’s film Lawrence Of Arabia was based on a British Military figure of below average height. Thomas Edward Lawrence may have been small in stature but his memory and legacy are of epic proportions.

Standing just 5’5″ tall Lawrence was very conscious of his stature and resolved to strengthen his physique and character to compensate for his lack of physical presence. The illegitimate son of Sir Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman, Lawrence was initially turned down by the army because he was too small. He would however go on to make a huge impact in the First World War. He is primarily remembered as being the British Army officer renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18.

Personal Style

1101321128 400 The Myth & Legend of T.E. Lawrence

As an officer in the British Army, Lawrence was considered scruffy and quickly earned himself the title of the ‘untidiest officer in the British Army’. His sloppy style meant that his uniform was never worn with the required amount of reverence. Instead his lack of respect for authority was openly displayed in his careless dressing. Finer details like the loose buckling of his belt, or an unbuttoned shoulder strap, allowed him to demonstrate his individuality and unorthodox approach.

Whilst a dapper bespoke suit would have immediately given his small stature defined presence Lawrence relied on his broad mind to give him the edge over his peers. He embraced other languages, culture and people and developed a keen interest in archaeology. During archeology trips to the Middle East, Lawrence would immerse himself in all aspects of Arabic culture. He would also wear native costume to identify himself with the locals and their customs. Bedouin dress of flowing robes, headdress and bare feet was the normal dress code.

Romantic Hero

t e lawrence The Myth & Legend of T.E. Lawrence

Lawrence had a clean-living lifestyle that included complete abstinence from the consumption of meat, alcohol and tobacco. He is the classic romantic military hero. Although his deeds during World War I were highlighted by war correspondents, it wasn’t until 1919 that the British liaison officer became a media celebrity. With a bounty on his head the British Army made efforts to suppress his distinctive image in order to protect him from being recognised by the Turkish troops.

Hiding his now legendary status by changing his name to John Hume Ross, Lawrence joined the ranks of the Royal Air Force, but was found out and enlisted in the Tank Corps as Thomas Edward Shaw, the name that he used until the day he died. Lawrence was a prolific writer and his published works, including The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, were attributed to Lawrence. He died in an road accident, aged 46, whilst driving one of his beloved motorcycles at maximum speed.

Today’s romantic heroes may opt for a more traditional style of bespoke tailoring. Whilst he is mostly remembered via Lawrence of Arabia’s cinematic portrayal, T.E. Lawrence clearly had his own unique sense of bespoke style. Replacing the classic bespoke suit with a flowing white Bedoiun robe Lawrence displayed his true personality and flamboyant elegance, and demonstrated that you don’t have to be tall to stand head and shoulders above everyone else.

Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Bespoke Suit

November 4, 2014

Henry Herbert’s tailors have come up with the five “F’s” to consider when choosing a bespoke suit: function, fabric, fit, finance and fashion.

Pocket Square Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Bespoke Suit

1)      Function

Consider what you will be using a bespoke suit for.  Is it for everyday business formal use?  Casual wear?  Evening formal or black tie?  Is it for a special event such as a wedding – and is it your own wedding or one you are attending as a guest?  The modern day gentleman has a wealth of social events that he is required to attend, or perhaps we should say, desires to attend.

For evening formal events, we are often requested to make a bespoke dinner suit with matching dinner shirt and dinner trousers (also known as the tuxedo).  For day formal events and weddings, we are often commissioned to make morning coats, with bespoke waistcoats and trousers to complement.  For day to day wear, and business formal use, our most popular styles include the classic single breasted two or three button bespoke suit where customers will choose a variety of pocket styles depending on their preference.  For casual wear, we are often asked to make a bespoke sports jacket – this can be in any variety of fabrics and can be matched with many trouser types including jeans and chinos.

2)      Fabric

Consider the seasons.  Did you want a bespoke suit that can be worn year round?  Or something specifically suited to the cooler months of autumn/winter or the warmer months of spring/summer.  Or perhaps, there are not four seasons to contend with where you live – perhaps there is only consistent cold or consistent heat.  If so, it will be essential to consider your choice of fabric for your bespoke suit carefully.  Good choices for cold climates include wools of all kinds (from the daily hardworking Super 80s-100s, to the finer wools with Super numbers in the high 100s – 200s), tweeds, flannels (hardworking and hardwearing), and cashmere.  Good choices for warmer climates include cottons, linens, seersucker, lighter weight wools and wool silk blends.  For multi-purpose year round use, our customers report that you can’t beat a navy mid-weight wool suit.

3)      Fit

An experienced tailor will be able to judge the most flattering fit and advise as to what the current trends may be.  With that said each tailoring firm usually has something known as a “house style”.  At Henry Herbert for example, as a contemporary tailor working to the highest standards and traditions of the of Savile Row, distinguishing features of its house style include an English cut with a slim silhouette, a strong and naturally rolled lapel (achieved through hand stitching), a natural roped shoulder proportionate to each customer, slim tailored trousers and robust but lightweight fully canvassed coats.

4)      Finance

Many customers consider the bespoke suit an investment.   However, initial cost is of course a consideration, as is return on your investment.  There are many tailors to choose from, and some of them will likely have a price range that is suited to you, and some may be less suited!  Many tailors work to the highest standards, cutting bespoke suits by hand, and offering “service as bespoke as the suit” (something that we believe in at Henry Herbert).  Speak to or visit as many tailors as you like – it must ultimately be a relationship that is comfortable for you.  Do note that VAT is charged and quoted separately with all bespoke tailors, and that the kind of cloth you choose will determine the final price.

Consider that a bespoke suit may last anywhere from half a decade to many decades, and will see anything from frequent to even daily wear.  (In fact: if you turn out the inside pocket on all Henry Herbert suits, there will be written the owner’s name, and the date of the suit’s making).   We were recently asked to conduct alterations on a suit whose “birth” date was in the 1960s, on behalf of a father who wished to pass his suit down to his son.

5)      Fashion

This is entirely up to you.  With a bespoke suit, the wearer or customer is ultimately a designer.  The beauty of bespoke is that you can follow a fashion if you wish, or choose a bespoke suit in a cut that surpasses any of the fleeting notions of what is fashionable at the moment, and moves more into the era of timeless style.  At Henry Herbert, we always say there are no rules in bespoke suit tailoring, only preferences.

 Book an appointment with a Henry Herbert tailor.

 

See also: .

Bespoke Suits for Halloween

October 29, 2014

How to adapt your bespoke suit for Halloween you say?  The Henry Herbert tailoring team have come up with a few innovative ideas for who you could be this Halloween, adapting your existing wardrobe and adding just a few accessories.

1)  Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, The Godfather

the godfather Bespoke Suits for Halloween

The Godfather

We’re going to make you an offer you can’t refuse: a chance to be The Godfather this Halloween.  With a little help from your bespoke dinner suit (like this one) and a wing collar dinner shirt with black buttons, you very well could be.  Corleone’s dinner jacket features a prominent peak lapel, and satin trimmings for an elegant twist.  Accessorise with black bowtie, and a single rosebud worn on your left hand lapel.  Cat optional.  Just don’t forget to practice that unmistakable, gravelly voice.

2) Agent Smith, The Matrix

The Matrix Agent Smith Wallpaper the matrix 2528119 1600 1200 Bespoke Suits for Halloween

Who remembers this epic late 90s/early noughties sci fi flick?  After Neo and Trinity, Agent Smith was probably the most memorable character, with his terrifying deadpan, and perma-scowl.  Though everyone wants to be Neo, this Halloween, for a change, why not go for the Agent Smith look?  Smith wears a slim cut black suit throughout the film, and skinny black tie with tie pin (essential to stop said tie flinging around whilst doing backflip kicks, and multiplying yourself in an attempt to take down The One).  Simple – and you probably already own something like this in your wardrobe.  (In case you don’t, may we be of service, Sir?) Add sunglasses (which you must never remove), obligatory scowl, and say ominously to everyone “Hello, Mr Anderson.

3) Harry Pendel, The Tailor of Panama

tofpa stl 7 h Bespoke Suits for Halloween

Geoffrey Rush’s “Harry” Pendel has a penchant for tailoring suits – and the stories that he feeds to Pierce Brosnan’s Osnard.  It would seem that he prefers to don the three piece suit himself, usually in grey, with a trademark collared vest.  (Very likely (given the Panama heat), the suit would have been constructed of a lightweight wool or wool silk blend.)  This one might take a little explanation to the non-tailoring enthusiast, so if you happen to be seeing your Henry Herbert tailor before your Halloween soiree, you might want to ask to borrow a measuring tape to wear around your neck, some pins and some chalk.  To top it all of, and to make it really obvious who you’re getting at, make sure you wear a Panama hat.  They simply have to get it now…

4) James Bond (any and all)

 Bespoke Suits for Halloween JamesBondWide Bespoke Suits for Halloween

You’re spoilt for choice here and who doesn’t want to be 007?  Your best (and most recognizable) bet is to roll out that trusty dinner suit once again (wasn’t it an excellent investment!), which makes its appearance in multiple films, always to great effect.  Accessorise with lots of Her Majesty’s secret agent charm. Don’t forget a martini (shaken, not stirred, naturally) – may we recommend the Duke’s Hotel (see also: Henry Herbert’s Top 5 London Hotel Bars).  Never be separated from the martini glass.

5) The Hangover – final scene

the hangover Bespoke Suits for Halloween

After a whole movie of debauched mishaps and “dishevelry” (that’s dishevelled and revelry combined), they finally, *ahem* suit up, in time for the wedding.  Don’t they scrub up well?  The evergreen black suit strikes again.  Depending on your current hair / beard situation, you could either go clean shaven and load up on the fake tan and go for the “Doug” “look”, go halfway ala Bradley Cooper with slicked back hair, or full on with 70s sunglasses like Zach Galifianakis.

 

And there you have it – your trusty bespoke suit can indeed see you through Halloween in style.  For more ideas, see our Top 5 Halloween bespoke suit ideas from 2013!

See also: .

Top 5 London Hotel Bars

September 18, 2014

Following on from our last feature on Top 5 (or 7) cocktail bars in London, we feature our Top 5 London hotel bars, as told to us by Henry Herbert friends, customers and cocktail connoisseurs.

Hotel bars, love them or hate them have certainly made an effort to up their game.  With a great amount of thought, and no doubt, expense put into interior design, and innovative concoctions to intrigue the taste buds, today’s top London hotel bars marry the best of modernity and luxury, with tasteful garnishing on top (with no cocktail parasols in sight).

 

1. The Connaught

Purveyors of one of the finest Old Fashioned cocktails in London, the Connaught is a favourite of Henry Herbert friends and customers.  Discreet and luxurious, the Connaught bar also boasts some of the most delectable olives and “small food” accompaniments to your cocktails that we have ever come across.

CON ConnaughtBar 10 Top 5 London Hotel Bars

2. The Mandarin Oriental

Situated in the heart of London, with Hyde Park on one side and Harrods/Harvey Nichols on the other, this is an excellent place to rest weary feet and arms aching from carrying shopping bags.  Try to nab a table with the large comfortable leather armchairs, and you’ll never want to get up.

3. The Luggage Room – London Mariott Hotel Grosvenor Square

Could very well have made this list simply for their revival of the Prohibition-era gentlemen’s cocktail, the Pendennis Club.  All hail cocktails from the roaring 1920s and 30s.

Luggage Room 3 Top 5 London Hotel Bars

4. American Bar at The Savoy

Refurbished along with the rest of The Savoy hotel in 2010, this bar is a classic and its name of course invokes the romance of transatlantic travel, and a sense of “home away from home” for visitors from across the pond.

5. Dukes Hotel

Tucked behind the hustle and bustle of St James, this discreet venue is the place for the quintessential James Bond martini, shaken, not stirred (and many associated Bond Girl-named variations), look no further.  Good evening, Mr. Bond.

We’ve limited ourselves to 5 hotel bars, but we could go on and on.  Which are your favourite cocktail bars in London?  Got a recommendation – drop us a line cc@henryherbert.com or Tweet us @HenryHerbert

 

See also: .

A gentleman’s luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts

September 1, 2014

We were very excited to receive a large, and rather heavy box of fabrics intended for bespoke shirts, delivered to the Henry Herbert HQ recently.

photo 1 A gentlemans luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts

We thought we would share with you the discovery of its contents – the finest bespoke shirting fabrics by SÖKTAS. Founded in 1971 and listed on the Turkish Stock Exchange in 1995, SÖKTAS is a specialist designer and producer of cotton and cotton blended fabrics whose worldwide reputation was built on shirting fabrics.

photo 2 A gentlemans luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts

Without further ado, we would like to introduce the Soktas collection: Bespoke Selection.  Specially designed and intended for use in creating bespoke shirts, these are high-end fabrics made from the finest Egyptian Giza cotton, with only the purest and longest fibres selected to be spun into extra-fine yarns.  Each beautifully bound book contains “pages” of shirting fabric samples, organised by theme and named after the kind of occasion, or message, that a gentleman may choose to convey in his dressing. This collection offers hundreds of colours and designs (stripes, checks) to suit any situation or fancy.

photo 5 A gentlemans luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts photo 3 A gentlemans luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts photo 4 A gentlemans luxury: SÖKTAS Cotton Bespoke Shirts

The Soktas fabrics are renowned for their quality and luxurious finish. The use of the finest natural cotton in a bespoke shirt, makes for a tailored piece that is breathable and pleasant to wear on the skin (as opposed to itchy and irritating, which some might find the case with synthetic fabrics). If you are considering a set of bespoke shirts, don’t hesitate to ask your Henry Herbert Tailor about the SÖKTAS fabrics.

See also: .

Saturday night Live! Samurai Tailor

July 16, 2014

Samurai Tailor | Saturday Night Live – Yahoo Screen

Tales of the Samurai Tailor from New York, America. Customer service – Samurai Style.

Henry Herbert Tailors: New York Spring visit May 2014

April 10, 2014

new york visits image Henry Herbert Tailors: New York Spring visit May 2014

New York, British bespoke tailors are coming your way once again.  The Henry Herbert tailoring team is visiting you!  On Thursday 8th May, Friday 9th May & Saturday 10th May 2014, we will be based at our “workshop/fitting rooms” away from home, at the The Kitano, 66 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016.  For these dates, we are swapping our Vespas for the iconic New York cabs (or our trusty feet), and the Tube for the Metro, and the “bespoke” suit  for the “custom” suit!

For new suits and old friends, or old suits and new friends / fittings! If you would like to meet our tailors to hear more about how we work and what we do (naturally there is no charge for this!) or to have a coffee, to say hello. To brainstorm bespoke menswear ideas, to feel some fine fabrics, to have a discussion about British tailoring and Savile Row.  No query is too big or too small.  Book an appointment with us in New York.

How does it work?  We bring with us everything we need to draw up a blueprint for your bespoke suit.

We meet, we greet.  We bring with us a trunk full of suiting fabrics – British wools of the finest kind, and patterns of all sorts (checks, dogtooth, stripes, windowpane, tweed to name a few).  Our experienced tailoring team is here to advise you on making a suitable (pun not intended!) choice for your bespoke suits (or overcoats, waistcoats, sports jackets, dinner suits) and shirts.  We return to London with your bespoke order details and most importantly, your measurements.  We order your selected fabric and cut the cloth into your specific pattern.  We make the foundations of the suit, ready for a baste fitting.  Then normally 8 weeks later (depending on availability) we return to NYC for your first fitting, a key part of the process.  We come back to our London base, to make any major fit adjustments, rework the suit as needed, and a further  8 weeks later return to NYC for your final fitting. All made with British cloth, and handcrafted in England.

Book an appointment with us in New York.

See also: .