Saturday, 28 May 2016

Wedding waistcoat from Sir Plus: Father of the Bride

Continuing the Father of the Bride series, in which I assemble an entirely made-in-Britain wedding outfit, I've acquired a double-breasted waistcoat courtesy from Sir Plus. Made from dove grey linen, it's beautifully tailored and will complement my Cad & The Dandy morning coat and trousers very well.

A brand I've featured before, Sir Plus manufacture here in London, making their products from 'cabbage', unused lengths of cloth left over by clothes and other manufacturers. Rather than throwing any excess away, it gets used by Sir Plus to make superb waistcoats, dressing gowns, jackets and other garments for men and women of style. See Sir Plus

I'm grateful to Sir Plus for donating the waistcoat for British-made the Father of the Bride Project. More information and images will appear in due course as I assemble the outfit.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Gentleman's Gazette interviews Grey Fox

Most readers will be aware of Gentleman's Gazette, a US online men's style magazine edited by Sven Raphael Schneider. Packed with style advice and selling many products for gentlemen of discernment, it's worth frequent visits. I was recently interviewed by Raphael and, for half an hour of style discussion in the context of older men and British manufacture, you'll find the video here.

Image from The Gentleman's Gazette

Harry Stedman menswear: a photoshoot

Harry Stedman was born in 1934 and is father and grandfather to the owners of the business. A great traveller, Harry soaked up the culture and style of the many countries he visited after escaping Liverpool to join the army. This brand is a celebration of his life.

As a reflection of Harry's experiences, the label fuses many influences, particularly US and British from the fifties and sixties, to produce very modern classics. The clothes are made in the UK, US or Japan and elsewhere; their provenance is made clear on their website.

The brand was kind enough to approach me to take part in a photoshoot. Like many businesses, it sees the potential of the older market and its styles suit men from their twenties upwards. Always happy to show brands and their customers how clothes look on the older man, I worked with photographer Nick Maroudias in the lovely old streets of Roupell Street near Waterloo Station in London. We aimed to reflect the timelessly classic yet very contemporary look that Harry Stedman embodies.  I hope you feel we've succeeded. 

Everything I'm wearing in the images is available from Harry Stedman except where mentioned otherwise. To support this small British brand, visit Harry Stedman.

Shoes and socks my own

Glasses my own

Shoes my own

This post is unsponsored as I wanted to work in support of a small brand that manufactures here in the UK.

Monday, 23 May 2016

British Boxers invade Harrods

It's always good to hear that one of my favourite British brands has done well. British Boxers' Deborah Price tells me that her UK-made men's underwear has been accepted at Harrods. It's a pleasure to see that store recognising a small business producing most of its products in the UK.

Deborah was so pleased to be packing her first orders for Harrods that she mentioned it on Linkedin, only for the news to go viral as so many shared her obvious pleasure. Her trip to success has been a hard one, as she recounted in her Linkedin post, as follows:

I know how hard Deborah has worked for this and have seen her selling her products at the fair at L'Eroica last June. I know something of her challenges in developing a new business and caring for a disabled daughter with Williams Syndrome (a bit like Downs Syndrome). I therefore share her obvious delight at the Harrods deal.

British Boxers are well-made, high quality boxer shorts made in England. Please make sure your underwear drawer has several examples of Deborah's products. See British Boxers to buy.

This post is unsponsored.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Father of the Bride Wears British 🇬🇧

My daughter's wedding this summer saw me embark on a project to not only dress stylishly as father of the bride, but also to wear all British-made. I'd like to say how much I appreciate the kindness and generosity of the brands who've helped with this. I've been recounting the progress of the #FatheroftheBride project on Instagram and Twitter

Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride (1950)

The main elements of the outfit are now identified or being made. In addition to the items here I have a waistcoat from Sir Plus which I will review in a separate piece. I still have cufflinks, tie, socks and underwear to find, but have a good idea where I'll go for most of these. It's time to give an update here:

Morning coat and trousers from Cad & The Dandy

Cad & The Dandy have been offering competitively priced tailoring on Savile Row for a few years now and I've been meaning to catch up with them since early in this blog's existence. I was delighted when one of the founders, James Sleater, offered to help. 

After some thought, I've decided on a black morning coat and a fine Prince of Wales check for the trousers. I appreciate that stripes are the common choice, but looking through photographs of twentieth century wedding attire, I noticed that men were often a little more creative and adventurous in selecting cloths for their trousers. Every hire morning coat comes with striped trousers, and I wanted to be different. The inspiration for a check cloth came from the wonderful Morning Dress Guide to which I'm very grateful (see image below). The trousers will have buttons for braces (suspenders US).

I'm grateful to The Morning Dress Guide for the inspiration for trouser choice. Stripes are not essential

James measured me up and discussed cloths and fit with me, also telling me about his mission to provide bespoke tailoring at a competitive price, using computer technology to help the fitting process to ensure that precisely the correct amount of fabric is cut, minimising expensive waste. He also offers different levels of hand-finish to allow a client to match the result to his or her budget.

Working with Cad & The Dandy's Head Cutter, David, has been education and a delight. He took me through the process of the creation of a morning coat and trousers and patiently showed me how all the elements of a tailored coat come together.

Head Cutter David shows me how a sleeve is cut, stitched and pressed

Basted fitting got the coat

As you can see from the photos, we've reached the basted fitting stage of the coat and I'll shortly be going to a trouser fitting. The coat, even at this early stage, fits beautifully and I can see the advantages of a bespoke piece over off-the-peg, particularly for such an important day. All is on course and I'll update you at a future stage. See Cad & The Dandy.

Shirts from Turnbull & Asser

I visited the Turnbull & Asser shirt factory in Gloucester in 2015 (see here) and have longed for a bespoke English-made shirt ever since. Turnbull & Asser kindly invited me to their Jermyn Street shop to be measured for two shirts by Steven Quin, who holds the Royal Warrant to supply shirts to Prince Charles. Steven's knowledge about shirt construction is rivalled only by the bewildering array of cloths available South Sea Island cottons to linens and silk. 

It's quite a privilege be fitted for a shirt by the man who makes shirts for that sartorial giant and supporter of British manufacture, Prince Charles.

Steven Quin takes me through some of the choice of cloths and measures me up for a bespoke shirt

Steven measured me up and I selected a fine pink-striped shirt with a white Winchester collar for a start. We'll see how this fits before going on to make a second shirt. One of the theme colours of the wedding is a soft pink and the narrow stripes of the cloth I've selected give just this shade, but leave me, I now realise, with the problem of deciding what colour tie to wear. That's for another day.

I'll report back when I'm called back to T&A for a fitting of the first shirt. See Turnbull & Asser.

Shoes from Barker Shoes of Northampton

The selection of shoes for formal morning attire at a wedding is easy. In general a plain pair of black Oxfords is called for. A foot injury means I can rarely fit into Oxfords (where the lacing closes at the foot of the tongue) so I wear Derbys (where the lacing is open at the foot of the tongue). 

Barker Gretna derbys

I was lucky to be offered a pair of Barker Gretna Derbys (I hope there's no irony in the name Gretna). Part of the Barkerflex range, they are comfortable and stylish. I've liked them so much I've found it hard to save them for the special day.

I like the area of graining behind the toe; while neither the style nor such a finish are strictly correct on a shoe for such formal use, it adds some interest while remaining subtle. See Barker for details of their British-made shoe range.

I'll be updating this project from time to time here on the blog. To follow this journey on social media, please follow my Instagram and Twitter accounts #FatheroftheBride.

NOTE: This post is sponsored in the sense that that some of the products have been offered free of charge or for a reduced charge, however, I'm receiving no payment from the brands featured.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Dappad: online menswear personal shopping

For many men the convenience of having a selection of clothing sent direct to their houses for them to choose from is a timesaver. To be successful, such a service must quickly appreciate and reflect the client's tastes and preferences. I've had the chance to try out Dappad, a relatively new business founded by Swedish-born Erika Nilsson-Humphrey, a former investment banker who, while working in finance, saw the need for a service such as Dappad.

The idea is that you are sent a box of clothes and accessories to try out and buy if you like them. I went through a number of questions with Erika, in which she found out my size,  style and colour preferences and the types of look I prefer - even my admiration for the style of Cary Grant was relevant. Shortly after that a box arrived with a choice of ties, jackets, shorts, shirts and accessories. 

Some of the items in my Dappad box

I was impressed, Erika had interpreted my taste very well and was even bold enough to try a shorts suit (she'd obviously done her research on the blog). Brands included Eton Shirts, Gant Rugger, Orlebar Brown, Lindeberg, Anderson: all good quality makes, many Scandinavian in origin and style. I'd have kept almost everything, only a Gant summer blouson not being to my taste. Such a high success rate for the first time is impressive. Obviously as the service gets to know a client, its ability to predict his tastes improves. I highly recommend this styling service: go to Dappad to find out more.

This post was sponsored by Dappad.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Geoff Stocker x Grey Fox x Harry silk squares and ties: made in England

Harry is my two and a half year old labrador. Followers of my Instagram account may have noticed that he appears there from time to time. Geoff Stocker, designer and suppler of excellent silk ties and pocket squares, contacted me to suggest using some of these images for a collaborative range of Made in England products. 

Aimed at men of style, dog lovers and anyone who appreciates British silk design and manufacture, these are available from Geoff Stocker here priced from £36 to £65. Grey Fox makes a small sum from each sale. This goes towards blog costs and, of course, non-fattening treats for Harry.
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