British Bespoke – Part 4

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Monday was the first stage of my final fitting for the suit from Graham Browne – my first bespoke suit in the UK. While there is far less to say about the trousers of a suit than the jacket, there are still a few interesting points to note.

Like many bespoke tailors, Graham Browne sews a length of reinforcing material into the waistband of its trousers. Made from a loose-weave linen mix, this is intended to keep the waistband firm and stop it folding over.

I have to confess that when I first saw this addition to my bespoke suits in Hong Kong, I thought it was a way to cut corners – hiding the perhaps poorer-quality material with internal reinforcements. While Browne has corrected this opinion, it is still true that the side-adjusters on my Hong Kong trousers do not cope well with the insert, making the part of the trousers that is tightened with these adjustors into stiff folds that are a little uncomfortable.

(The Hong Kong suits also featured this reinforcement along the top of the breast pocket, which I recently discovered high-end ready-to-wear brands do as well – such as old Kilgour stuff.)

Ready-to-wear trousers rarely feature these reinforcements, apparently, because they make the entire waistband in one operation by a machine. The linen cannot easily be inserted afterwards, or into just some of the waistbands.

The waist of the trousers was slightly too large (the drop from my legs to waist is rather extreme) and picture one below shows Russell marking that adjustment up. Picture two shows the adjustment marked on the rear of the trousers.
bb-trousers1
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Picture three shows the length of the trousers, which I asked for every so slightly shorter than pictured (we went for 3/8 of an inch shorter). While I do want a break in the front of my trousers, I want this to be slight. And the narrowness of the leg should mean there is minimal flapping when I walk.
bb-trousers3

The shoes, by the way, are oxblood wholecuts from Lodger – on the English contemporary last. Russell wanted to know, so I’m telling you too.

Finally, I did have a sneak peak at the jacket and a brief discussion about the length of the sleeves. I always like a half inch of shirt showing here (as a great locus of style) but the jacket sleeves at present do not reveal this. One problem is that I have rather long hands and fingers – so a short sleeve can look particularly short.

Russell said he would always go for between four and five inches of hand showing – and my sleeves were already revealing five. But I think I will still have the sleeves shortened slightly. Showing a little cuff is after all much more an Italian tradition than an English one.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.