Tag Archives: Henry Herbert Tailors

A Bold Blue Suit

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Going Bold. Going Blue.

Tailor’s Notes

Every man should have a suit in his wardrobe. There we’ve said it. There really is no exception. Gay Talese, former journalist at The New Yorker, once said, “Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self and helps define me as a man to whom details matter,” and it will do the exact same for you. Even if you don’t work in an office, whether for a wedding, job interview or funeral, it’s likely you’ll need a smart, tailored look at least once a year.

The Construction
The cloth is from Holland & Sherry, a company created by Stephen George Holland and Frederick Sherry from 10 Old Bond Street, London in 1836. Specialising in both woolen and silk cloths, they enjoyed a roaring trade. In 1886 Holland & Sherry moved premises to Golden Square, at the time the epicenter of the woolen merchanting trade and today they work from Savile Row, London’s golden mile of tailoring.

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A Pinstripe Wool Suit

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Pinstripes are for Everybody

Tailor’s Notes

Think pinstripe or chalk stripe; think fat cats with a penchant for red braces and boozy lunches on expenses. Right? The fact is the finance sector pretty much invented pinstripe tailoring. Back in the early 1800s, when top hats and tails were de rigueur in London’s Square Mile, the stripe on your trousers denoted which bank you worked for. The motif remained at the formal end of the spectrum in the UK, but our US pals quickly translated the stripes onto more casual navy two-pieces, “country” brown three-pieces and West Egg pastel get-ups in a way only Lindy-Hopping Long Islanders could. But the pinstripe (and vertical stripes in general) are well and truly back and being used in more interesting ways then ever seen before (none of which make you look like a financier and/or serial killer).

The Construction
The fabric is an old heritage cloth from Dugdales, in Huddersfield. In 1896, Henry Percy and Frederick Herbert Dugdale established their cloth merchants business in Huddersfield, the centre of Britain’s fine worsted industry. Dugdale remains family owned and is now the last remaining, independently owned cloth merchant in Huddersfield, supplying classic, contemporary and luxury fabrics to tailoring professionals throughout the world.”

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He’s got the Blues….

A blue jacket is born

By Charlie. Tuesday 21st May 2019.

It has been a busy few weeks at Henry Herbert Tailors. One of our Apprentices, Lucy, is studying at Newham College. She spends three days a week with us, shadowing one of our Master Tailors and taking guidance from him for works that he asks her to complete. She wanted to buy her first pair of cutting shears and she asked us which would be most suitable for her. With shears, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much you want to spend and so we advised her to spend little and try a 12″ pair and see how she goes. In fact, we treated her to a new pair and hopefully, one day she will come along and tell us what her experience of the shears are and how they might be improved. Our main advice, from Francesco, one of our Master Tailors – was “go heavy!” And from Abdul, our other Master Tailor, “go easy” – i.e. ones that won’t ruin your thumb when holding them. We will see.

AMONGST all of this, we have been making a full bespoke blue herringbone wool jacket for a customer. The customer in fact lives in China and comes back occasionally when he can for the fittings. This is the story of his jacket, over a few weeks.

It is always handy to have a French curve and a few other tools at hand when starting out.

And the trimmings required – in the picture below the collar canvass and the body canvass from Bernstein & Banleys.

Once everything was prepared, a paper pattern was made – this is called ‘striking’.


Once the pattern was made, the pattern could be cut – below is a front body panel and a sleeve.

We then use some old fashioned weights to put the pattern on top of the fabric, to keep everything in place.

And you can see things taking shape….

The different parts of the jacket can then be cut.


Once the pattern has been transferred to the fabric, it can then be ‘basted’ together using basting cotton.

Thereby begins the very first pressing stage. We used a 5kg pressing iron. We would love to find something a bit heavier, but they are hard to find.

And below is the first part of the jacket coming together.

Several weeks later, we had the forward and last fitting below. I will make another post about these stages at a later date as it is a story in itself.

And straight away, we were on to starting the process all over again – this time with a blue cotton fabric from Loro Piana.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, just mention them below or email them to me at charlie@henryherbert.com.




Watches to Watch out For

Just in case you don’t always want to hear about the tailoring!

By Charlie. Tuesday 14th May 2019.

We are always busy at Henry Herbert – there is always something to do to keep us on our toes. A last minute customer request, organising fabrics and trimmings, serving customers both in our workshops or at their hotels and offices with our special Vespa scooter service, working with our two apprentices…and of course the making, tailoring and altering! But sometimes you might not always want to hear what I have to say! So, here to save the day every so often is Rupert Watkins and his thoughts around the rest of the luxury world – a kind of Gentleman Explorer! These are his thoughts on watches….

Watch collecting is a passion and for those bitten by the bug, tracking down the rarest of limited run editions and obtaining one off examples with impeccable and rare provenance becomes all consuming.

For many though, that realm of collecting is slightly beyond our reach. In a world that is dominated by high end Swiss watch brands, those seeking equally remarkable and slightly more under the radar watch firms should look to the German watch makers.

Germany has a long tradition of watch making stretching back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Many of the finest manufacturers are clustered in Glashütte in east Germany and there you will find illustrious brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Mühle Glashütte and Nomos. At this rarefied end of the market, the prices can equal those of the top Swiss horology firms. So, for those seeking interesting and outstanding value we could first head to the German banking city of Frankfurt and Sinn watches.

The firm was founded by Helmut Sinn, a Luftwaffe pilot who was shot down in Russia, lost both his little fingers and saw out the war as an instructor. Sinn went on to have a 50-year long career in the watch industry. Though originally made in Switzerland, the success of the company soon meant production was moved to Germany and in 1979, Sinn had the means to procure a substantial amount of industrial assets being sold off by a then insolvent Breitling – which also explains the stylistic similarities between the brands. Sinn was an early exponent of selling direct to the customer cutting out the watch dealerships in order to keep costs reasonable.

Sinn produces a range of pilot’s chronographs, diving and dress watches. The pilot’s watches are indeed very similar to Breitling’s Navitimer and Cosmonaute models though a fair bit more reasonable and those seeking an elegant, dressier chronograph to wear with a suit could do far worse than look at Sinn’s 356 Flieger model. At £1,850 for a fully mechanical chronograph it is excellent value. Sinn’s ranges in recent years have slowly become more expensive but for the £4 – 6,000 price category this firm offers a lot of watch bang for your buck. Perhaps among the Swiss manufacturers only Oris offers similarly good value.

However, Sinn – known to be a forthright personality – was not done with the watch world yet. Having sold Sinn in 1994, after a break he acquired Guinard – a then defunct Swiss brand – in 1995 and continued to stay true to his roots producing excellent value, high quality watches with an aviation and military edge.

Again, there is a similar feel to Breitling in the company’s pilot chronographs but with a Serie 40 fully mechanical chronograph starting at under £1,500 this is another brand the budding watch connoisseur should be aware of. It also continues to operate a direct to consumer web-based business model.

Guinard itself traces its history back to 1865. Since the early 60s, it had been one of the manufacturers Sinn used before production was moved to Germany. Though Guinard continued to manufacture in Switzerland – often for other labels – until the 90s, in the early 2000s it moved to Frankfurt. Though Helmut Sinn died at 102 early in 2018, both Sinn and Guinard still bear his indelible stamp. At both firms Sinn’s motto was, “as perfect as possible, but only as expensive as necessary.” If you’re looking for two more unusual watches to discreetly protrude from under the cuff of your Henry Herbert jacket – firms with long and interesting backstories – these are two brands to know about.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment below.

The Tailor’s Ham

We have a great crew at Henry Herbert.

There is myself, Charlie, and I set up the company eleven years ago. However, it is everyone else who really makes the whole show work. The Front of House is Alexander; our Head Cutter, Francesco; our shirt maker and Alterations Manager, Abdul and our two apprentices, Lucy from Newham College and Finn from Amersham & Wycombe College. Just as importantly is our Administration – Agnes and Pat, who both make sure the wheels turn around.

This week, we completed a Nehru jacket – a beautiful looking, tall jacket which a customer asked us to make for his sister’s wedding. There are a variety of stories as to its origin and often with these stories it takes some deciding yourself which one to go with. I am comfortable with it being born and styled by Jawaharlal Nehru, a freedom fighter, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence.

Indeed it is often worn for traditional Indian festivities and ceremonies and has been the popular choice amongst villains too – including Dr. NoErnst Stavro BlofeldKarl Stromberg and Kamal Khan in the James Bond series as well as The Master, the arch-enemy of The Doctor in Doctor Who .

But how on earth is a freedom fighter from India associated with ham and Tailor’s Ham at that?! In order to complete the bespoke jacket for the customer, let’s call him Mr Bigfoot, we need to sit it on something that resembles his chest. A mannequin would not do and so we used what is called a Tailor’s Ham – a tightly stuffed pillow used as a curved mold.

Tailors Ham’s have become a respectable tool of the tailor’s trade, to the extent that people cover them in a variety of interesting fabrics and patterns.

In any case, our Tailor’s Ham saved the day and ‘he’ seemed very comfortable, and at home, giving a helping hand to the legendary Nehru jacket.

And we had a very happy customer at the end who has promised to send us photographs of the jacket in all its glory at the wedding of his sister. Until that moment, Mr BigFoot wishes to keep his jacket under close wraps and so in the meantime, my own jacket in all its glory is shown below. I love it.

As always, please feel free to leave comments and ideas below.




Wedding Blues

Images & Video

Bespoke Morning Suit

Tailor’s Notes

Look around the congregation at any wedding where the dress code is “morning suits” and you’ll spy countless badly dressed men. Men in box-like coats that make them look like undertakers; men in tired-looking garb clearly hired from high-street chains; men with conservative demeanours who have awkwardly decided to have “fun” with their waistcoat. But among the sea of dreadfulness you’ll also spot a few guys who look fantastic. And this is one of them.

The Construction
Made with a canvass, our morning suits are made and cut in England. As with all photographs on our website, thery are actual customers in actual Henry Herbert morning suits. As with every suit we make, they take 8-9 weeks to make – we have a half way baste fitting and then a forward baste fitting before the suit is finished and delivered.

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Men’s Fragrances

Bespoke tailoring instantly conjures up an image that suggests sophistication and style. Whether you’re wearing a classic handmade dinner suit tuxedo or distinctive traditional inspired three-piece suit it goes without saying that you’ll require the essential accessories to perfectly finish off the ensemble. This includes scent.

Limited Edition

The way a man smells lingers on the mind of every woman (and man) who gets a tantalising whiff of the exquisite and expensive aroma. Many fashion houses have their own unique formulas that are beautifully packaged up and introduced as an entry level purchase option for individuals wanting to flaunt style at an affordable price.
Whilst most fragrance brands look to hook potential buyers with limited edition scents that are pocket friendly, one Italian tailoring house has opted to create a buzz for another reason. Brioni’s self-titled, limited-run fragrance has a hefty £215 price tag! The buttery cognac coloured fragrance is packaged in a chunky, squat and square sculptured bottle that complements the label’s range of accessories and furniture.

Brioni’s aim was to package expensive so that it looks like it smells. Brioni features 100 notes that combine to create a dominating rich fragrance that highlights zingy citrus, smoky tones, musk, saffron, Sicilian lemon, leather and cashmere. In essence, it is designed to smell like the classic bespoke suit.
The Smell of Success

For men who aspire to look, and smell, the business careful consideration must be given to the finishing touches. Prestigious fragrance houses specialise in creating personalised bespoke scent that reflects personality, elegance and individual style. Master perfumer Oliver Creed creates “the favoured scent of the world’s most powerful, refined and attractive gentlemen.” His fragrances are bottled up and bought by the Hollywood A-List with a price tag to match – a bespoke formula can set you back a cool £10,000.

Creed’s fragrances are made with natural products that are by definition expensive. Incorporating synthetic products enables him to create a range that is a lower-grade version, without compromising too much on quality. Mass production is not on the agenda.

Aroma Appeal

Fragrance is a powerful tool that can alter mood and influence image instantly. Bespoke tailoring complements elegant sensory blends that create olfactory magnificence. In the same way you wouldn’t spoil the effect of a sophisticated handmade suit by wearing a crumpled shirt and scuffed shoes, your fragrance choice reflects the overall image and style that you wish to create. Perfectly matching fragrance to fashion has long been the pursuit of the rich, powerful and famous and bespoke garments provide the ideal introduction to upgrading your scent palette and collection.

Top 5 Expensive Fragrances

• The most expensive bottle of men’s fragrance in the world is Clive Christian No.1 Perfume for Men – retailing at £1,528.

Clive Christian No.1 – Imperial Majesty Edition Perfume is packaged in a customised bottle and priced $215.00 (or £140,000). His regular edition fragrances are a more reasonable $865 (£562).

Tom Ford has a range of sophisticated Eau de Parfums in the £142-£330 price pocket.

• If you prefer a citrus based fragrance try Annick Goutal’s Eau D’Hadrien, which supposedly smells like the Tuscan sun and costs a few quid short of £1,000.

• If you’re happy to share your unisex fragrance Caron’s Poivre has been around since 1954 and still shifts units despite the $2,000 (£1,300) tag.

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.

Wool: the Cloth of Kings

As part of “Throwback Thursday”, we thought it was timely to revive this piece, written by Henry Herbert founder Charlie Baker-Collingwood on Wool: the Cloth of Kings.

I felt extremely privileged to attend the Society of Dyers & Colourists conference at the magnificent Clothworkers’ Hall in London. We were treated to a fascinating group of speakers – including the Scottish weaver Malcolm Campbell who gave a truly gripping talk about wools. Wool is an extremely important textile in so many ways and indeed the cause has been taken up by HRH Prince of Wales with the Campaign for Wool. I  tried to scribble down as much of what he said as possible,

“In 1792, James MacArthur arrived in an inhabited Australia with eight yews and two rams. The Australian wool industry grew from that and today the country, as a result, has over one hundred million sheep. Indeed the global population of over six billion people live amongst a global sheep population of over one billion….56 million of those sheep living in Iran alone (the UK has a sheep population of about 25 million).

Wool can come from a variety of sources including camels, buffalos, sheep and many other animals and they can be spun to accommodate local preferences – buffalo wool for suits in America, cashmere wool for the Indian market and camel wool for the Sheiks of the Middle East. Indeed the tennis balls at Wimbledon are made from wool and the versatility of the fibre means it can be used from carpets to lingerie….and of course for suits.

Wool is a bacteria preventing, temperature cooling, water absorbing, and protecting fibre – all qualities that provide an excellent foundation for suiting. It keeps you warm when it is cold and cool when it is too hot. Master craftsmen and finishers today can add technical applications to wools including stain resisters, water resisters or a silver shield to give this fabric an even more hi-tech touch. Only wool can offer the variety of colours, provide the drape and guaranteed durability that every good suit needs. We must accept that wool is an expensive and valuable fibre, not only to preserve the quality of great looking suits but just as importantly to preserve the livelihoods of the wool farmers themselves. There have been reports of some wool farmers turning to growing grapes, or even marijuana plants (where it is legal for medicinal purposes) because the competitive pressures of producing wool have been too great. By purchasing a tailored suit with the finest wools, you are not only treating yourself to a glorious garment – you are supporting a precious industry.”

~ By Charlie Baker-Collingwood of Henry Herbert, October 2010

Just when is bespoke, well, bespoke?…..


Just what does bespoke mean?

It is a term that our industry is constantly challenged by. To many people it can mean many different things. It can range from the absurd arguments – something being made in the Far East versus in the United Kingdom, to a battle between theorists about the number of hand stitches that go into every garment. Very respected tailors have offered their thoughts before, suggesting the word bespoke comes from the word bespoken (to be-speak your cloth).

However, a qualified tailor in China can be just as good as a tailor on Savile Row. And what if the tailor on Savile Row is Chinese? And the tailor in China is British? As strange as it may seem, it happens. Where does the argument about garments being made overseas conclude in those circumstances?

Similarly, there are tailors who insist on a minimum of five, six or even seven fittings for every suit they make. But what if the customer doesn’t need it? Surely the process is there to serve the customer, not the tailor. Similarly, what if a tailoring house has only one house style….is that really a bespoke service for the customer? There are some fabulous tailors, but they may only offer one house style cut, albeit in any size and figuration you may wish. But is that truly bespoke?

Cutting the cloth and who cuts the cloth is often the crucible of many arguments.  And what if a machine cuts the cloth from measurements the cutter has decided?  A laser machine cuts much more finely than garments which are hand cut. Hand cutting leaves lots of loose threads and room for many complaints from a customer, but some prefer it. So why not let the customer – with guidance – cut some of his own cloth. Surely a customer cutting his own cloth would be truly bespoke?

Additionally, but just as importantly, I firmly believe that a bespoke garment is not just about providing a unique pattern and size to each and every customer. It is about providing a truly bespoke service. Is  bespoke when a customer is expected to meet a tailor between 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday and at just one location: the tailor’s shop? Is it a truly bespoke service when a garment is being sent to a customer, that the customer cannot choose the exact hour and even minute they want it delivered? Should a customer not have the mobile telephone number of their tailor, so that when something does go wrong – a split hem or a loose thread – that the tailor can have it fixed in an instant for that all important meeting or cocktail party?

A truly bespoke suit or shirt can only so called, I believe, when it is complemented by a truly bespoke service.

Please do email me your thoughts at cc@henryherbert.com

Written by Charlie Baker-Collingwood, Proprietor of Henry Herbert Tailors

Spring into Summer – Summer Suits

Summer Suit fabrics to keep you cool:  lightweight wools, silks, mohair, cottons and linens. Irish linen is considered the best and the least likely to crease. All offer the opportunity to have a very sharply cut bespoke suit that will keep you cool, and smart, in the summer. This photograph is a fabulous photograph taken by The Sartorialist. The Image (C) – The Sartorialist.