Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tailored accessories - suit you sir..?

The guys at A Suit That Fits tell me they're launching a set of bespoke accessories. It's not a bad idea but there's an obvious absentee.

As of today, if you fish around on the site a bit you can get hand-made silk pocket squares, for example. I have had a few of these as they've been available as add-ons to suit purchases, matching the lining, and if you tone it in right they can look very stylish in a jacket pocket. Cravats are also available to match as are silk bow ties, then there's the metalware - you can get collar studs, collar stiffeners and cufflinks (pictured). They'll engrave initials on the cufflinks if you wish - you might feel this isn't exactly bespoke but I'm happy to let one-size-fits-all cufflinks go through on the nod. Silk cummerbunds are also available for seriously formal occasions and for blokes who can afford to draw attention to their midriffs. That's me out, for a start.

What's missing - and I understand there are plans afoot - is the ordinary and rather humble tie. They're not easy to get right, of course. I have several and some, from quite reputable retailers, have gone flimsy and look like a rag after a couple of wears; others have bobbled badly because I've rashly worn a coat over my suit.

It would make sense, though, to offer a full service for blokes who might want a bit of colour co-ordinating. A tie to match or tone in with the suit lining you've chosen would be an easy sale I'd have thought, and might even stop my other half staring quite so disparagingly at some of my choices in that department.

I suspect - and I'm only guessing - that part of the issue is how to make a bespoke tie from the customer's choice of fabric, to the length and width they want, without charging silly money and therefore not selling any. The other thing, of course, is that they remain a reasonably small team and can only do so much at a time.

There's a silver jeweller near me, Margaret Mims, who makes very nice cufflinks by hand so I can't see myself deserting here to be honest. But moving closer to the one-stop shop looks like a good idea.

P. S. Congrats to the same team for winning best Etailer at the Drapers Awards last night. Anyone else involved in the tailoring business or men's fashion who's gaining similar recognition is welcome to get in touch.

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