A typical ensemble at Trunk Clothiers
My name is David and I have been a fan of your work for quite a while now. As an undergraduate business student at Northeastern University (Boston, MA), I have gradually realised a passion for good style and writing – it should be no surprise that I am a dedicated reader!
I wanted to introduce myself because in less than a month, I will be in London to spend a summer studying at the London School of Economics. Originally from Los Angeles, I have never had the privilege of relatives or friends to visit in London. Surprisingly, I grew up influenced by a lot of the culture in the UK – nearly all the music and literature I enjoy come from your side of the pond. I was really hoping you could provide some advice when it comes to prioritizing my shopping. I realise this will probably be one of the only chances that I will have to spend a prolonged period in Europe and want to visit all the places that will have pieces I may not be able to get anywhere else. I am always willing to spend on quality pieces but I am still limited to some extent by a student budget (albeit backed by full-time work in industry).
For example, would you prioritize getting bespoke shirts or go with MTM? Would Crockett and Jones be a good place to pick up shoes? I think my budget will be around $1,000 for a suit and maybe another $1,000 for everything else.
Thanks in advance and I really do appreciate any tips you may have for me so I can build a wardrobe, one with permanent style! J
So what are the characteristics of a Graham Browne suit?
Have a search on this site for the name William. You’ll find more pictures than I could ever replicate in words
Good advice. If you have some time on your hands, you could also take the train to Northampton to look for shoes. There are several factory outlet shops where you might be able to find some good bargains. You’ll need to do a bit of research first – these are literally shops attached to the factories and they may only be open for a couple of days a week.
Simon – as always, you’re simply a terrific ambassador for all things UK and London and this is no exception. I moved here 12 years ago and have been a C&J and EG fan (much to annoyance of my wife!). The only one I would add to list is Drakes as every suit needs a new tie. I buy all my friends from USA (where I did my Masters) a Drakes tie and they have all become life long customers.
Love your site.
Indeed David. Drakes is on there, albeit a bit hidden
Drakes ties are actually made in central London (in a workshop in Clerkenwell), so it would make a great souvenir of your time here.
Not any more, the factory moved since Mark took over. And it was never open for people to just drop by
That’s too bad. Their Christmas sales at the factory were great. It was always nice to have a chat with Michael there also.
Oh yes I see. Thank you Simon
Oh yes I see. I also see that I missed the NY visit. Great. Ive also been meaning to ask you about SuitSupply. We have a NY location that a popular magazine just named ‘Best Mens Suits’. Is this embarrassing or is SuitSupply ok? Thank you Simon.
As far as I know they’re ok. Nice styling. But no experience of having anything made there
I’d agree with these recommendations. I no longer live in the UK but when I come back, the area I tend to make sure I hit is the one around Jerymn street – you can obviously get your shoe needs met around there and there are also lots of fairly traditional shops selling various interesting items. It gets better the further you get away from the picadilly circus end.
I’d also get some shirts made – if you can get the fit sorted whilst you are in London then you can continue to use them since ordering shirts from abroad is a lot easier than ordering suits. Alexander Boyd at Artillery Lane (near Liverpool street station and about 15 minutes walk from Graham Browne) is very good in my opinion – they are a bit pricey at about 175 pounds per shirt, but they nailed the fit with the very first shirt, and the construction quality is high and the range of construction options very broad.
An authentic shopping experience can be had in James Smith and Sons. It’s a wonderful umbrella shop that hasn’t changed for years. You may not actually buy anything (although their umbrellas are top notch) but it is a lovely place and very interesting. You’ll find the details on Google!
I would recommend Choppin & Lodge too as a bespoke tailor; Richard has an excellent eye for detail and is extremely helpful. Thanks for your earlier article which persuaded me to give Choppin & Lodge a try!
As usual, great advice. I would highly recommend Crockett & Jones. Since they opened in Birmingham, I made the switch from Churchs and have never looked back! Even better when I found that they make shoes for Cleverley, Fosters, Richard James and Paul Smith. With David’s buget I think he could stretch to C&J’s Handgrade Collection, which I am led to believe is the same grade of leather used by Edward Green.
As always, very interesting post. I was in C&J yesterday and the salesman mentioned that for their handgrade collection, they use the same Fraudenberg leather as Edward Green and John Lobb. You mentioned though that EG is your favorite, what would you say is the difference in quality/ material/ construction details etc. between C&J handgrade and EG?
I can’t make an objective comparison because I don’t own any C&J I’m afraid Omar. EG are my favourites because they are the best of all the readymade shoes I have (including Lobb).
As to shoes, do you remember your post on Ducker & Son? Well before reading that post, Hackett mentionned the same shoemaker to me. By sheer happenstance, I have got the opportunity to grab two pairs of their RTW range. They are very well crafted indeed! Now, I fully understand why the French have always benn flocking to London to go round for sales!…
As far as shoes go, you may also try Cheaney’s Imperial Collection. Though i can’t say how the quality of leather compares with the top end makes like EG, but in terms of quality of construction, they are by far the best i have seen amongst the RTW lines. They have tacked heels and proper, pronounced fiddle-back waists, likes of which which EG/ Lobb don’t do and at around £400, seems a very good deal.
Simon, if you have a chance to take a look at these at one of Cheaney’s shops in the City, your informed opinion would be very valuable.
Simon – hello. Off-topic, but looking for some advice. I live and work in a tropical climate, wear shirt and tie to the office, no jacket because of the heat. Recently damaged my knee and have to wear a knee brace to work for two months, too big to wear under trousers. Are shorts the only option and if so, any recommendations on style etc. What shoes do I wear? Long/no socks? Still ok to wear a tie? Please help..causing as much distress as the knee! Thank you.
Blimey. Sounds like you don’t have much choice but to wear shorts. A nice navy cotton I suppose? And yes, I see no reason why a tie shouldn’t still be fine. If you wanted it to be more casual, you could always for a weave, a grenadine, a knit or wool (in descending order of informality)
I just discovered your marvelous website while researching a pair of vintage Chelsea boots. The boots say “Made in England” and definitely have the quality of bespoke boots. The logo is so faded that I have not been able to match it to any existing Made in England logos. The boots look exactly like John Lobb Chelsea boots, but the logo on them is a coat of arms with the name in the middle which appears to be Worth…ough. Do you have any ideas? Thank you!
Judy in America
No, sorry. I’ll ask a few old hands in the industry though, see if I uncover anything.
Hi Simon, I finally have my first chance to visit London this month. I’ve read this post, along with your guide in 2015, on what stores to visit. If you have any updated suggestions on where to go, I’d love to hear them. I would love to buy some legitimate items in London.
I am traveling for a graduate class looking at London as a business hub, which says we should dress business casual—dressing comfortably but also respectful to the brands we will visit. With all the walking around the city, what this means is that most my American peers will wear sneakers, jeans, and maybe a button down shirt if they’re feeling ambitious. What would you suggest I wear, particularly noting the weather? If it were cooler I’d have a better sense of what to wear, but if it’s going to be fairly warm and humid, I’d love any suggestions that can help me be sensible and not overheat.
Lovely to hear it Paul.
I’d add to that list I did Adret, certainly, and also Clutch Cafe.
Jeans and sneakers will be a bit casual in most of the places you would visit. I would switch to loafers if you can, and ideally chinos or something smarter as trousers too. But the shoes would make the most difference – though no one is actually going to look at you oddly or make you feel uncomfortable.
In terms of weather, it’s rarely humid here, and heat can change a lot. It was hot at weekend, very cool today. Just wear the shirt and bring a jacket or jumper as well
Sounds great, Simon. Much appreciated. Can’t wait to explore the city and the brands in person that I’ve come to love.
I hope it’s enjoyable and fruitful Paul