Tag Archives: bespoke suit

‘Serge le Temoin de Playboy’ & Co. Sartorial elegance in Congo

I have mentioned this fascinating story before, but it is so gripping, it is worth talking about it again! SAPE stands for “Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes” which translates as the “society of atmosphere setters and elegant people“. Its members put fashion above all the other issues a developing country like Congo is facing right now.

The origins of La SAPE can be traced back to when the first French colonists arrived. They brought with them their famous fashion sense and inspired the locals who regarded the white man as far more elegant and educated than they were. In 1922 Andre Bernard Matsoua was the first local who traveled to Paris and came back dressed as a true French gentleman.

Since then, members of “La Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes” have been trying to get their hands on the newest, most expensive pieces of designer clothes that appear in Europe. There are some luxury shops in Brazzaville and Kinshasa, but most “sapeurs” prefer to get them directly from the Old Continent. This is actually every member’s dream, to travel to Paris and get their hands on killer wardrobes at the source.

Sapeurs spend thousands of dollars on suits, shirts, shoes and accessories, but this doesn’t mean they’re rich. In a country where the average salary is somewhere around $300/month, most of these guys don’t even have a job. Most of them lend their clothes for a living (renting a designer suit costs about $25/day), while those who travel to Europe bring the latest designer labels and sell them for a small profit.

All members of La SAPE have unique styles and crazy names: ‘Parfait le Bodeur‘, ‘Serge le Temoin de Playboy‘, ‘Baleine Sarkozy‘ or ‘Christian Dior‘. They live for fashion and feed off the attention they get when parading on the dusty streets of Brazzaville. The photos below are part of Francesco Giusti‘s La SAPE Collection, which recently won him an award for photography. They really do capture the charm of these special sapeurs. There is a beauitfully presenetd musical photo montage which tells the story too.

The English Cut Suit

English suit tailor

There is nothing as thrilling as an English cut suit made in England using British cloths. Perfectly fitting, every bespoke suit should be every man’s dream and should do one thing only: make you feel good. The bespoke suit should be accompanied by a bespoke service: an exquisitely cut suit matched by an exemplary service.  meeting the high standards of Savile Row.

A French wedding with an Ooh La La Suit!

Two photographs from the wedding of a young man who married in the south west of France. It was a summer wedding, so we decided upon a light weight and very fine Super 130’s wool from Thomas Fischer in Huddersfield for this young man’s wedding suit. Hopefully, the top photograph shows the elegance of the slim cut suit and the lower photograph the finesse of this excellent Huddersfield cloth. The three button suit was complemented by a brilliant white bespoke shirt and, all put together, made for a sharp looking wedding suit. The suit and cloth chosen also allow for the suit to be worn on future occasions too and will serve as a great suit for many years to come.

How do they measure up?

Three new political leaders displaying three approaches to wearing a suit. David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, enjoys flared trousers. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, likes his slanted pockets on his jackets. Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, presents polished white shirt cuffs which are (correctly) longer than his suit sleeves. Notably, all three wear single breasted, two button suits – the choice of style for being a political leader.

Ten Questions to Ask You & Your Tailor

Having a bespoke suit or bespoke shirt made can be an intimidating experience. Hopefully these ten tips from Henry Herbert Tailors will guide you through the minefield:

1. Visit as many tailors as you like. It is a relationship that must be comfortable for you.

2. Familiarise yourself with the different styles and choices available to you.

3. Be advised by a tailor, not pressured.

4. Have an idea of the colour and the cloth you are looking for. It will narrow down the vast selection available to you.

5. It is your bespoke suit (or shirt). Remember there are no wrong answers, merely preferences.

6. A good tailor will comfort you, not condescend you.

7. Expect at least a couple of fittings and at least as many months to perfect your first order.

8. All good suits and shirts should be tailored in England using local cloths.

9. Find the budget that is right for you and make sure final prices are clearly given to you (it is normal for bespoke tailors not to include VAT in their final prices).

10. Enjoy wearing it – every handmade suit and shirt will have its own characteristics.

To book your Henry Herbert Tailor, click here.

Glorious Seersucker and All That Jazz

Seersucker Wedding Suit Seersucker The Coolest Cloth

Seersucker Wedding Suit by Henry HerbertTailors

Henry Herbert was extremely privileged to make the above suit: privileged on two counts in fact. The first, because the suit was created for the wedding of Ray Goold (above), a wonderful and talented musician. Ray plays with the Solent City Jazzmen in Southampton. The second, because Ray asked for an extremely rare, but special, fabric for his suit – Seersucker. We chose a seersucker fabric from Holland & Sherry. Unfortunately, the photograph may not do it justice, looking at it on a computer, as seersucker fabric is woven in such a way that it gives a glorious texture and is great, either as as suit or stand alone trousers or jacket. Richard Green for The Big Black Book (Illustration)

Beat the blues, choose blue!

Fabric: English wool

Fabric source: Peebles, Scotland

Cut: Slim, Single breasted

Occasion: Everyday

Notes: A terrific looking blue wool suit made by Henry Herbert Tailors, accompanied by smartly polished shoes. A great example of how striking this colour fabric can look in a well cut suit. You can also see a video of a blue Henry Herbert suit here.

Photography credit: Petra Exton

Video: Time for a Three Piece Suit!

The three piece suit is a fabulous, but intricate creation. You may imagine a variety of people wearing them in a a vrierty of different environments – but can you imagine yourself in one? Perhaps you should start! A well cut three piece suit is as comfortable in the city today as it is in the country and every well dressed gentleman should have one. This short video by Henry Herbert Tailors shows you one of our carefully crafted three piece suits, using a Tweed fabric from an English mill.

Harris Tweed suit by Henry Herbert Tailors

Fabric: Harris Tweed

Cut: Slim, Two button

Occassion: Country

Notes:  A Henry Herbert suit, made with the mystical Harris Tweed.  A finely cut suit that looks striking on the young man wearing it – Marcus Jaye, creative director of The Chic Geek.  The remarkable Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world that is governed by its very own Act of Parliament 1993:  “Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.” The Act ensures that all cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb complies with the definition in the Act, and is genuine.

Photography credit: Petra Exton

The pinstripe suit by Henry Herbert Tailors

Fabric:  Pinstripe flannel

Fabric source: Huddersfield, England

Cut: Traditional, Single breasted

Notes: An excellent example of a bespoke pinstripe suit, which remains as popular (and striking) as ever. This creation by Henry Herbert Tailors was made as a single breasted, two button suit with a pure English wool from Duffin & Peace in Huddersfield – believe it or not, there are still some English mills left.

Video: Just what makes a good sports jacket?

The sports jacket is an essential garment for every wardrobe. It can be made from a variety of different fabrics, including linen, silk, cotton, mohair and wool. They all offer their own individual merits, but a well cut, bespoke linen sports jacket can look super sharp. A common concern is that linen can crease easily – as long as you look after the linen jacket, it will look after you. This is a short video of a bespoke sports jacket made by Henry Herbert Tailors.

Time for a Three-Piece Suit

Three Piece Suit WaistcoatBespoke Wedding Waistcoat

An example of an excellent and very fine cloth from Taylor & Lodge of Huddersfield, England, in a recent Henry Herbert three-piece suit. The customer chose a simple and elegant style to the suit – a two button single breasted jacket, with a straight pocket either side. The suit is enhanced hugely by:

1. Excellent choice of cloth,

2. Savile Row tapering to the sides of the jacket, and

3. A very simple coat style complemented by a waistcoat.