Turnbull and asser shirt tie copy 

Over the past few months, Turnbull & Asser has gone through an interesting experiment, attempting to extend its signature bright colours and clashing patterns from tailoring to casual wear.

While not all the results are to my taste, the methods employed by Dean (Gomilsek-Cole, head of design) to make that transition are worthy of exploration. He calls it the Informalist – as in the flip side of formal. “I prefer that than talking about things being casual. Casual implies a casual attitude to clothing, for me, whereas I know our customers take what they wear at the weekend just as seriously as during the week.”

The interesting thing is that Dean didn’t change any of the colours from Formalist to Informalist. He just softened them, through different weaving techniques and including other colours in the yarn or the weave, particularly greys. There are navy jackets, but they are corduroy, rather than worsted. Many of the materials are melanges, which immediately softens whatever it is woven into.

“I particularly used an indigo and pale-grey melange, to bring down colours like the magenta and imp-green that we are using on the formal side,” he says. “Then there are a lot of oxford weaves and herringbones in the shirts, which also serve to break up the colours. The formal side is largely poplin, which makes the colour much bolder.”
  

Turnbull and asser shirt jacket

 
“What’s really interesting [we both seem to use that word a lot…] is when you take a checked shirt, with say a grey base and bright colours on top, and then remove the weft of the check. Suddenly the check is a stripe, and you have this classic casual material in a slightly more formal pattern.”

With the casual shirts Dean has also achieved a lovely soft handle, by using slightly looser versions of those casual weaves. This replicates much of the feel you get from washed or otherwise treated shirts, but avoids that artificially faded look. The cotton is also not quite as fine – two-fold 80s rather than 120s. 

When it comes to styling, Dean admits that not many people will wear all his pieces together, as they are in the combinations here: “I’d love it if they did, but I know not everyone is a full dandy.” He does say that all of the pieces were deliberately designed to work together, however. So no matter how jarring some of the combinations might look, it’s worth starting by putting one or two of them together, and see how you like the affect.

    Turnbull and asser shirt

 
“Guys are actually used to wearing more colour at the weekend than during the week, so it’s easy to experiment with a subtle pattern – say one of our tiny ginghams – in a bold colour. And of course they are nearly universally softened with that grey in the weave.

“It may not look it at first glance, but the colour palette is actually very tight – the purples, blues, greens, are all very similar, which helps those combinations. You can ‘dial up’ the colour or dial it down.” 

You can get a better idea of that with the items on their own, on the Turnbull & Asser website.
  

Turnbull and asser jumper

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Anonymous

I don’t think I have ever seen such naff combinations. If this is what is in store for such a fine firm then I do truly lament.

Dean Gomilsek-Cole

It’s good to read comments both positive and negative as the pieces are doing what they meant to ; forcing an opinion from people obviously passionate about style,and the preservation thereof. During the history of Turnbull and Asser outrage at our colour combinations shown in our Jermyn Street window displays, were worn like a badge of honour, because we weren’t just fading into the background. Fabric development and experimentation has also always been a part of our history, so I’m not sure why this “should be left to the Italians”. Concerning colour as i mentioned in the interview with Simon colours can be dialled up or down ,dependent on taste, for boldness or subtlety, however every colour in this collection existed long before i did. No need for lamentations as this collection, loved or loathed, is only part of the whole that is Turnbull & Asser.

Toadvine

The results are truly horrendous.

Anonymous

The combinations are pretty poor, but I can see how some of the individual items, such as the shirts, could be interesting. I’ll suspend judgment until I see them first-hand

DE

As a long time T&A customer I am pleased to see the brand developing. I don’t agree with some of the other comments – Dean himself says that the outfits are unlikely to be worn together and when I met him a few weeks ago he told me that if you want the traditional ‘T&A look’ you will still be able to get it at the Jermyn Street store. Some of the ‘informalist’ methods Dean is using to modify similar colours by altering cloth weaves and using the revese of the fabrics I am certain will be copied by other shirtmakers it time. Many traditionalists dismissed the colouring techniques and ‘narrow waisted’ shoe designs of Cothay and Berluti when they first appeared, but that has caused many British makers (G&G, GC, EG, C&J and AS to name a few) to bring in new, longer and narrower lasts and employ the ‘antiquing look’ to their polishing finishes. I hope that T&A will continue to keep their ‘traditional’ clients happy whilst developing new ideas, techniques and materials that will drive menswear ever onward!

James Marwood

I’ve been enjoying the new Informalist collection, and whilst I agree the combinations are more for display then wear I think there are some really fun combinations to be made.

Gus

Particularly outlandish. Leave the material experimentation to the Italians.

Gus

The English produce some of the finest cloths for tailoring, no question. From my experience and observation, the Italians are just very good at experimentation. They appear to be ahead of the curve both aesthetically and technically. As Dean pointed out, it is positive that the blog is provoking discussion on such things!

Anonymous

As someone has already mentioned, it’s great to finally see T&A develop amd start to get more recognition because it really is a fantastic brand!
They never used to advertise now they’re in GQ and the like just about every month which can only be good for business. Not sure on DGC’s pieces on this article but some of the other stuff is lovely
they closed the Harrods concession a while ago where they had some fantastic passionate amd very knowledgable staff which in my experience is a rarity.
continue to keep up the good work T&A get another concession in Harrods!

Dan

I’ve a bit of a soft spot for T&A despite the fact I’ll never own one of their shirts as their blocks don’t suit me and won’t go with their minimum 6 order on bespoke.
I was at a “behind the scenes of Jermyn St” last week and was very disappointed that whilst they were part of the event they did nothing for the event, all the other retailers either had workshops open or talks etc.

Litigator

Not sure I’m convinced by this. They’ve always done a fine range of “informal” clothes, particularly knitwear and trousers which, whilst not modern, are certainly well made and timeless. The brand has developed in other ways too – e.g. making certain of their rtw shirts and knitwear to more of a “tailored/slim” fit. But these shirts and ties they are coming out with in the informalist range don’t do it for me. New & Lingwood do some really nice informal shirts without the loud colours – e.g. brushed cotton. Hilditch and Key also do a good range of informal shirts. And those two brands are probably at least a third less dear than T&A. Separately, I was sad to see the T&A store in the City (Old Broad Street) pack up last week – none of the other Jermyn mob have a presence in the area (Harvie & Hudson left Lime Street last year too), which is real shame.

Sir Fopling Flutter

This is particularly notable given that the City has the highest concentration of men who still wear a shirt and tie every day. TM Lewin, which has dozens of locations, has definitely won.

Anonymous

Hi Simon
The question I have in my mind is … are you convinced by any of the new designs? Convinced enough to get one or is your move to Luca Avitabile permanent and you wouldn’t go back ? Also, if you don’t mind, could I ask what you did with your old T&A shirts. Do you still wear them or have you disposed of them permanently? I ask as I’m considering a similar transition but have a reasonable investment in T &A, about 18 bespoke shirts which are still very wearable.

Walter Quimby

I do not like these combinations together. Separately some of these pieces are stunning. Something for everyone I suppose.

Dean Gomilsek-Cole

Hi Walter, thanks for your comments. The pieces combined are rich for some palettes, but as you say each ingredient individually can make a real focal point for a more subdued ensemble.
Kind Regards
Dean

Erich

I understand the need to develop, but these lack taste or style- look as if they were done by someone with a low end fashion or high street background who doesn’t understand either T&A or style. Dire.

Ben

Truly hideous. Destined for the T&A sale. Laughable attempts to modernise the brand. Mr Benn, Beatles etc pocket squares all end up on sale. The directors want a younger clientele. This is not the way to do it. The new season jackets border on clown like. No wonder the T&A profit to turnover ratio is less than robust.