My tailoring is taking a step up in the world. I’m having my first English bespoke suit made.

The tailor is Graham Browne, whom I have written about on this blog previously. They are located on Well Court, just off Bow Lane in the City. I had originally gone in there for alterations but decided to take the plunge with bespoke as well.

All my previous bespoke suits had been made by Edward Tam in Hong Kong but, while entirely satisfied with Edward’s work, I liked the fact that I would be able to get more of an insight into the bespoke process at Graham Browne.

Edward’s English is very good, but it is not always easy to have conversations about the finer points of jacket construction – the communication level is just not high enough. And, more importantly, I have never seen Edward’s suits being made. At Browne, the cutting is done on the premises, so I can witness that, and the sewing is done by a group based in north London, which again I will be able to visit. This will both enlighten me and, hopefully, provide some interesting reading.
gb-wools1
I wanted an investment suit, one that is conservative enough to last me a long time and get value out of the extra money spent on bespoke. But I was also keen to have a double-breasted suit – because it is so much harder to get a good fit off the peg.

So I went for mid-blue cloth, to be made into a 6×4 double-breasted suit. I always like to have some surface interest to the material – some texture, essentially – so I looked for herringbones with some variation in the blue. Pictured are two I decided between, eventually going for the Botany merino.

I do like buttons. Probably for similar reasons to the surface texture in the wool: I like little, subtle points of individuality. Not wearing my watch over my cuff, but having brown horn buttons on a blue suit, with a nice pattern to them. Again, pictured a few I picked between, with the final decision being number 4 on this picture.
gb-shoulders
Other style points: I like a relatively built-up shoulder on a jacket, as I have sloping shoulders myself; I like a slight rope to the sleevehead; and I like the gorge (where lapels and collar meet) set a little bit higher to give a longer, fuller sweep to the lapel – in this case 2.5 inches from the shoulder rather than Browne’s standard 3.5.

One last point to consider is that I will, obviously, never undo my jacket, even when sitting down. So any ways to make this more comfortable (possibly for hours on end) are a boon. Therefore the armholes will be cut rather small and high, to give maximum reach without pulling at the back of the jacket, and the sleevehead will be fuller for similar reasons – though with a roped shoulder there is already a little bit more material in the sleevehead anyway.

Next post at the first fitting, in two weeks.
gb-tweed

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Sputnik

How exciting! ill be checking out on the results…

How much

Horatio

I’m sure you’re going to get a wonderful suit, and I, too, am looking forward to seeing the results.

Could I ask you to post links to larger version of the pictures in this post (you know, the “click on the picture and you get a larger version of the same picture” kind of link)? I’d love to be able to see the materials in greater detail.

try the m and s db. its a great fit. they have a chalk stripe in blue

Anonymous

What’s happened to the buyout of Connock and Lockie by Graham Browne?

Things seem unchanged at C&L with Mr Craig still going strong.

Topher

Simon,

I apologize for digging this post up from the archives but I have a particular question that may be best answered when tagged to this post. I am looking at having a similar suit made and am wondering about the manufacturer of your ‘Botany Wool’ when doing research for it, I have come up with general histories of botany wool.

I live in Sydney and would love the connection.

thanks!

topher

RN

Dear Simon,

I wonder if I could ask your advice? I am planning to purchase a bespoke three piece dinner suit in the next few months. I would like it to be single-breasted, peak lapel, with a matching bibbed/u-shaped waistcoat. I am planning on a midnight blue material with silk grosgrain lapels.

I have made enquiries with a number of tailors. Unfortunately, the great houses of Savile Row are beyond my price range at the moment. I have therefore narrowed it down to three establishments: Two of these are bespoke tailors outside London, which have quoted between £2000 -£2500 each. In both of these cases the cutter/proprietor trained on Savile Row. One establishment produces the entire garment on their premises. The other measures, cuts and fits in store, but sends the garment away to independent coat/trouser makers (in the UK) for construction. In both these cases, as the cutter trained on Savile Row, for the price they are charging, I would hope/expect to be getting a SR quality suit, minus the expensive rent/rates overheads that the famous houses understandably have to pass on to their customers. Is this realistic? The final option is Graham Browne (£1350). I know that you have a lot of personal experience with them.

From a purely financial point of view, there is clearly one winner. If I went with Graham Browne, I could afford the dinner suit and almost an overcoat or lounge suit for the price of the others. However, it does make me think that for that price, there must be a catch somewhere?

This is where I would be grateful of you advice. What is the process with Graham Browne? Does the suit have a fully floating canvas? Is it made in the UK? How many fittings are necessary? Is this price realistic, or are extra added for things like working cuffs? Please could you explain to me how the construction fit and feel differs from the same suit cut on the row? Would you still recommend/consider them for yourself now that you have more experience with Savile Row?

I must say that I am really stuck as to what to do. The last thing I want, is to spend a lot of money, only to be disappointed with an inferior quality suit. Is this an example of the saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Harry Cameron

Im a recent convert to the bespoke suit market been buying my suits off the peg for years! Recently tried a company called Edit Suits Co in London, they were fantastic! Will have to check out Graham Browne in the future though. How did you find the end result?

Liamoliver

This is a very useful read up as i have recently started adding more bespoke garment in to my collections , I wondered how I could get the best for myself.Ideas and thoughts shared are pretty helpful and I hope I get my bespoke jacket tailored just the way I am expecting it from Manning Company. They are pretty good and popular bespoke tailors. http://www.manningcompany.com

Joe

Hi Simon,

This suit looks fantastic, and I see from interviews at around the time that you continued to speak well of GB.

I’m about to graduate. I’ve already made my first forays into bespoke with T&A. The dream, of course, is Anderson and Sheppard for suits, but with a criminal court practice hopefully beginning soon, I need to look good rather more quickly than I am capable of saving that amount of money. Would you still recommend Graham Browne to have one or two suits made to begin my career? I’ve seen and heard mixed reviews in other areas of the internet – the pictures in one post of an allegedly bespoke product were frankly appalling, but then some other customers have been delighted.

Look forward to hearing your take!

Joe

Joe

Thanks Simon. Would you say that to buy Graham Browne at £895 constitutes buying the best you can at that price when compared with buying RTW or MTM at the same price?

CS

Do you still not undo the button when you sit down? I understood it can hurt the suit long term?