“Headed back to work? Get a made-to-measure suit that’ll make you stand taller, look slimmer and bring serious style to the boardroom.”
“Back to work season is here – and whether you’re starting a brand new role or headed to the same old office, never underestimate the power of a perfectly-proportioned suit. However, while you can get some great tailoring on the high street right now, unless you’re built to model-sized specifications, chances are an off-the-peg fit will always be a little off (trousers pooling down below, button pulling over your mid-section, sleeves slightly too long – sound familiar?). That’s why it’s time to get into made-to-measure.”
Norton & Townsend
Tested by Aaron Callow, GQ Chief Sub-Editor
There’s an art to wearing off-the-peg when you’re 6ft 6in tall: shirt cuffs not so much shot from the sleeves as fully deployed; necktie finished short to prevent it peeping out below the jacket hem; waistband dragged as close to the groin as decency allows. We say it’s an art, but really it’s a bodge. For those of us born to look down on everyone else, going bespoke is not luxury, but necessity.
Norton & Townsend have a network of travelling tailors who cover the whole country, but I visited the one-room, appointment-only shop on Artillery Passage, in the winding hub of London’s Bishopsgate. With a client list that spans the City’s cash-rich, time-poor financiers, pop and rock royalty and now at least one vertically gifted journalist, tailor Graham Hall brought to bear 30 years’ experience to interpret what I thought I wanted, then gently shepherd me towards what I actually wanted.
With 10,000 fabrics available, my request for “something grey” didn’t do much to narrow it down. Thanks to Graham’s guidance, I found a beautiful 13oz British worsted in a medium shade and paired it with pink silk for the lining. Graham’s fabric books also include a wealth of eccentrically printed silks, which, he explained, are increasingly popular, even among more conservative clients.
We agreed on a single-breasted, two-button cut, with slanting pockets, and two weeks after measuring up, the suit was far enough along for a second fitting. Minor alterations pinned into place (the sleeves billowed very slightly in the upper arms), the suit went back to where it was made – the market town of Ossett, near Wakefield in Yorkshire – for another month.
In seven weeks, Norton & Townsend delivered a work of craftsmanship that hangs perfectly, open or buttoned, follows the idiosyncrasies of my shape – one shoulder is always lower than the other, I’m told – and brings everything into the right proportions. Oh, and it even fits.
How much does it cost? Mine cost £800, but suits start at £670.
How long does it take? Six to eight weeks.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Happy New Year everyone.