For those of you who enjoyed the first part of this two part blog, where I spent an enjoyably hour with award winning Savile Row tailor and style influencer Alexandra from AW Bespoke Tailoring, here is the second part where Alex posed some thought provoking questions to me. Discussions were lively and the Tunnocks caramel wafers barely touched the sides as we debated some of fashions most serious topics.
- AW – What do you think of the fact that baggy trousers are coming back in this Summer?
TLG – I always liked Madness with their urban British ska, but was unsure why they wore sunglasses inside. As for baggy trousers for chaps, I think it can be done. Think 1940’s men’s suits with their loose trousers which hung well keeping a sharp crease down the front. But sadly that is not what is returning this summer. Cue a summer of me grimacing at the fashonistas. The upside is that I’ll be able to hum the baggy trousers tune each time I spot a particularly baggy pair in an attempt to make my wife laugh. Every cloud and all that.
AW – Yes, I think if you’re right, on the delightful Clark Gable or even Prince Charles, the former would be rather classy, but as you say- I think this is not the flavour they’re proposing this Summer. You like Madness and I think this is Madness.
- AW – What are your favourite old school tailoring quirks? For example a pocket watch and why you think pieces like this can make a real difference?
TLG – I’m a huge advocate of the pocket square and am never seen without one in my jacket pocket. They show attention to detail and allow a little flourish of exuberance. In the business world ties are becoming worn less so I often treat the pocket square as a tie substitute.
Check out my pocket square guide HERE
AW – I think accessories are ideal, as they give a chance to show off someone’s personality, without having to go full hog and wearing a wildly coloured suit for example. Where women have lipstick for added colour, men have pocket squares 🙂
- AW – What would you look for when buying a bespoke suit?
TLG – Buying a bespoke suit is all about fit, it is the main advantage over an off-the-peg suit. Buying bespoke allows your tailor to fit the suit in a way that will flatter your shape. In my eyes the most important thing to look for in a bespoke suit is a tailor that you trust, the rest will fall in place. But you knew that already didn’t you Alexandra?
AW – Well, what can I say. I know a very good Tailor 😉
- AW – Do you think that you can mix patterns together? Is there anyone you would advise not to?
TLG – Most certainly. I do it all the time but be careful not to make your look confused. The key is to not mix too many patterns but most of all do it with conviction. It you have the confidence it’s easy to pull it off but if you feel at all uncomfortable then don’t do it.
AW – I’d agree, that pattern overload can be too much. I think there’s a fine line between carefully selected clashing to someone who has simply got dressed in the dark.
- AW – What are your favourite fabrics?
TLG – I am a committed tweedaholic. Tweed is so versatile. From thick heavyweight winter tweed to much finer, soft lightweight tweed there really is a tweed for every occasion… ok, that might be pushing it, but I try to find as many occasions that I can to wear it as I can. It’s durable and hardwearing and as British as pie and mash. I like that #tweedandproud
AW – Tweed has made a huge comeback and is highly sustainable and the most renewable fabric, which in this day and age is a wonderful thing. It’s an un-wasted investment that looks so timeless.
- AW – What new menswear pieces have you seen recently that you really love?
TLG – I’ve seen a few three piece suits recently that combine a single breasted two button jacket with a double breasted waistcoat. I really like this look, it just looks sharp and with the waistcoats being double breasted they tend to hide the overindulgence of pork pie eating better than regular waistcoats.
AW – I have just designed one of these recently and also think they look rather elegant. The waistcoat gives a gentle nod to past eras whilst the jacket remains modern.
- AW – What main thing in Men’s fashion do you think people would be surprised to find out?
TLG – Jermyn Street in London is one of my favourite streets in the world. A sartorial treasure trove of shirt makers, shoe shops and tie makers. Half way up the street is a bronze statue of Beau Brummell who is credited with the invention of the modern suit. This is not a surprising fact, but Beau Brummell is credited with my weirdest sartorial fact. He used to claim that the best shoe shine was obtained by polishing them with Champagne! I prefer Saphir polish, any accompanying Champagne would be quaffed.
AW – I would always rather drink champagne, than shining my shoes with it. I can’t commit to no spillage after drinking one too many however 😉
- AW – What’s your favourite item of clothing and why?
TLG – I always have a classic navy blazer in my wardrobe. It can move from boardroom to bar without difficulty. Dressed up with a nice pair of smart trousers and a tie or dressed down with a pair of chinos and an open shirt it always works.
AW – You can’t’ lose with Navy and it’s such a classic colour. Recently I’ve been designing mine with real horne chocolate buttons (not the edible types) in place of the classic gold or silver blazer button.
- AW – Do you favour old school clothing to new styles?
TLG – Without question. If you base your wardrobe on the classics then they will serve you well. Remember that fashions come and go but style is forever, I live by this mantra and it works for me.
AW – I’m a big believer of if you like it and it looks good, create your own fashion. Luckily, Men’s fashion is fairly slow moving so isn’t such an issue. But timeless classics will always be a winner.
- AW – Where do you see Men’s fashion going?
TLG – In terms of tailoring I see windowpane check becoming used more for suits and jackets. I also suspect that waistcoats are making a bit more of a return, not just as part of a three piece suit but as a mismatched waistcoat with a jacket. I see already a trend for correspondent shoes becoming more widely worn, which can only be a good thing as it means that men are becoming more adventurous. My hopes for the future are that more men will start to take pride in themselves.
AW – Waistcoats are a genius way to slim a body down and to keep that waistline in check, a corset for men I say and can look great in the same colour and in contrast. I’ve noticed more customers choosing prince of Wales check. Look at Bond through the eras (Think Sean) and you’ll see this look was very in and very male chic. I do too. We stand united on that together (cue marching band)
Clever waistcoat trick – If you’re larger man, wear a dark coloured jacket with a lighter coloured waistcoat and if you’re slim, do the opposite.
- AW – Who’s style do you really love?
TLG – There is one man who I have always admired from a sartorial point of view. A man who refuses to follow fashion trends following only his own individual style. A man who works to preserve and promote some of the oldest tailoring trades, from Scottish Tweed to handmade English shoes. That person is HRH Prince Charles. Always impeccably turned out. He favours a four-in-hand tie knot coupled with a cutaway collar which is unusual but I think that it is such a fabulous look that I have adopted this combination myself as a nod to my appreciation of his style. The fact that we share a birthday has nothing to do with it!
AW – I agree fully, a thoroughly elegant man.
- AW – What do you find disappointing about men’s fashion?
TLG – The thing that I find most disappointing is that far too many men seem afraid to be different so wear the same dross as everyone else so that they fit in. There are scores of men who look like clones, in poorly fitting clothes from the high street and awful square toed shoes (a bit of a pet hate of mine). Take pride in yourself chaps, walk with your head high and be yourself and be brave.
AW – Here here! I went to Winter Wonderland this year and all I could see for miles was men wearing camel overcoats or navy peacoats, with very slim fitting trousers. Square toed shoes, I equally cannot abide by. Worse still are shoes with a large rim around the bottom. Waiter, another champagne please! No, that’s not champagne spilling on my shoes, thats my tears of pain, sir 😉