Part two of The Superbite goes to London and as I write this, I am on the second leg of my journey home. It’s a 3 hour journey on the National Express and I’m pretty sure the guy sitting opposite me has nothing on under his fleece which he has zipped down to his midriff. Yuck.
I last left you on Savile Row where I was schooled by the bright young things of tailoring on all things bespoke. When I reached the end of the Row and turned right, I found myself on Regent Street of Monopoly fame and home to the more up-market retailers.
You’d think that if you mentioned high street stores and off the rack suits to a Savile Row tailor, you’d meet your end by being ligatured with a tape-measure. However, Antonia told me that in terms of construction, “Marks and Spencers are very good”. Obviously there are less components and layers than a bespoke suit but that’s because it’s not manufactured with the frame of one sole owner in mind. But in terms of quality and price, it’s something that I’ll be sure to look at.
After all, most high-end retailers offer an alterations service nowadays in recognition that a lot of men want to achieve a fitted look at a more affordable price. Take Reiss
for example; set up primarily as a British menswear brand, Reiss now offer an alterations service for all of their suits. The material and construction are on the whole lighter than a bespoke suit which restricts their lifespan but think about it, if a suit is in phenomenal condition after 10-20 years and you only paid £4-500 for it, the maker has seriously over-engineered their garment."If a suit is in phenomenal condition after 10-20 years and you only paid £4-500 for it, the maker has seriously over-engineered their garment"
Kamran, the Reiss menswear adviser is also a freelance stylist. He kindly offered to demonstrate the alteration process and pinned up a blue slim suit jacket that I had my eye on. After talking me through the alterations he would typically make - taper the waist, raise the hem to my 5”8 frame appear taller, I have to say the suit looked immense! If Savile Row is beyond your price range, I can’t recommend it enough. As a side note, the Reiss staff offered excellent customer service.
On the other hand, I popped into Jaeger as they were next door to Reiss and I’d just read a very good article in GQ on the life and work of it’s owner, Harold Tillman. But disappointingly, the menswear attendant was stuck in some sort of 70’s department store time-warp and was clearly puzzled why a young man was interested in tailoring and menswear. Is that so weird?
Finally, I met a great guy called Izaius (cool name, cool guy) and like me he isn’t an LCF graduate who spent their third year obsessing over the finer details of Armenian restoration cardigans. He’s just a dude who like enjoys menswear. Izaius works for Banana Republic and was telling me how GAP’s upmarket sister-company was making strides in the world of UK menswear. There are three lines of suits: heritage (see previous post
) - which consists of textured fabrics for a classic look, BR monogram which is the main tailoring line and the special edition ‘Mad Men Collection’."Banana Republic are the latest company to realise the popularity amongst 20-40 year olds of the HBO series."
"The best seller is definitely our madmen collection" says Izaius. Banana Republic are the latest company to realise the popularity amongst 20-40 year olds of the HBO series. "Three piece suits, sharp lines and sleeveless cardigans have been selling really well". You can see a lot of care has been taken to replicate the Madison Avenue boy’s wardrobes but trying it on will have to wait for another day as I needed to make my way across town to ASOS.