The last time I visited Bromleys website, I saw something on there which caused me great puzzlement. It was an utterly anachronistic product being offered for sale; not even the most adventurous imagination could conjure a tenuous connection with the traditional wares of this retailer and this absurdly random inclusion. For amongst the tie pins, silk cravats, shirt stiffeners, detachable collars, Christy’s hats and other assorted paraphernalia of accessories for gentlemen was a listing for ‘traditional hand carving.’ Expecting a pair of wooden shoe trees, I nearly fell of my chair when I saw that the hand carving Bromleys had referred to was actually of an equine variety. That’s right folks, when shopping for a wing collar and a paisley tie, you can also purchase a handsome hand carved Victorian style dapple grey rocking horse for your young ones.
Aside from this bizarre interlude, browsing on Bromleys very modest, utilitarian website is a pleasurable experience. Boasting a large selection of goods, it is a one-stop-shop for the acquisitive accessorizer. Shirt sleeves too long for a suit? Bromleys sells arm bands (in gold plate and nickel); want a rare collar pin shirt? Bromleys has them (and offers replacement pins in silver and gold too); how about some of those sock suspenders you’ve seen in film noir? Yes, Bromleys can help.
For such rare items, as well as a very wide selection of Albert Thurston braces, Bromleys cannot be bettered. In a very charming way, they are a fine retailer of goods that people no longer need, selling goods from such esteemed manufacturers as Budd of Piccadilly, Hilditch & Key and the aforementioned Christys and Thurston. Ironically, the items that one would not consider to be accessories, such as the trousers, shirts and shoes, are comparatively small in range and dubious in standard; it’s as if Bromleys believes in the mantra that accessories are everything and that everything else is accessory.
I have bought a few items from Bromleys in the past, mostly collar studs for my boiled-front evening shirt, and the delivery and quality of packaging has been faultless. The prices are very reasonable too, if a little frustratingly ‘accurate’. A silk tie or cravat is a fraction less than £40 and a Christys panama a fraction over £50. The site is very plain and simple to use and the white background means that the products are easy to see. There is an amiable honesty to retailers of such simplicity; in a world where deception, overcharging and dishonesty are rife in trade, a quiet little webshop like Bromleys is quite the tonic. The utterly bizarre listing of the rocking horses is merely the cherries on Bromleys giant cake of affable naïveté. I wish there were more like them.