Huntsman dinner: The reader outfits

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velvet jacket embroidery cuff

As mentioned in my original post about this reader competition, our aim was to explore the different forms formalwear can take today. 

Men will always have a need to dress up, in order to appear appropriately for a smarter, more important and more formal occasion. Often, those occasions will take place in the evening. 

But what constitutes more formal dress varies considerably today, largely between social and professional groups.

For some, nothing less than a dinner jacket will do; for others, the mere wearing of any jacket is enough.

(And of course it changes, much more slowly, over the years.)

swinging six sporran bespoke kilt

We wanted to reflect that variety in the readers we selected to come to our dinner.

So I deliberately included a tuxedo and a velvet jacket, several suits, a piece of non-English formalwear (the Pakistani achkan) and a light-coloured woollen suit. The latter, worn by David, is by far the most formal thing he would ever wear.

Everyone might have a different spectrum, but they were all at the same end of it.

lange und sohne watch

An inevitable result of this approach is that the dinner itself was not homogenous.

Hopefully my readers - beautiful nerds that they are - can forgive this touch of inconsistency in the name of a broader exercise. 

boutonniere flower bespoke solito suit

Thank you to all readers that submitted - over 100 of you.

I'm so sorry that only a few were able to come. I have to say I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to turn down so many people. 

If it's any consolation, the 10 that came had a great time, flew in from around the world (San Francisco, New York, Stockholm, Munich...) and made me promise to do it again, with different readers.

vintage cufflink worn as boutonniere

Other notes:

  • I wanted a variety in approaches to style, including those that differ to my own. So there a windsor knots, handkerchief-less breast pockets and so on. 
  • I also wanted variety in age and experience of tailoring. So there are RTW pieces here, made to measure and bespoke, from different parts of the globe.


1 Cheong Yong

cheong yong and huntsman

Cheong, who came in from San Francisco, wore a double-breasted, dark blue dinner jacket made by Thomas Mahon at English Cut.

It was a relatively conservative choice, but with little personal touches: a batwing grosgrain bowtie, vintage shirt studs in light-grey mother of pearl with a tiny white pearl in the middle, and a vintage cufflink worn as a decoration for the buttonhole. 

The shirt, with marcella bib front, was made by WW Chan with slightly larger buttonholes to fit his preferred cufflinks, also vintage pearls.


2 Hristo Stefanov

hristo stefanov huntsman dinner

Hristo, of Bulgarian origin but living and working in Germany, wore his favourite suit: a navy-blue mohair Solito two piece that he says must have been worn over 200 times. 

The dark colour of the suit and the mohair cloth gave it an evening feel, which was enhanced by the plain-white shirt (Emanuel Berg) and sheen of a blue/silver jacquard tie from E&G Cappelli. 

The flower in his buttonhole was picked up in London that day, and benefitted from small, largely unopened buds that were therefore less likely to wilt.

Vintage silver/onyx cufflinks, braces, black cordovan shoes from Alden.


3 Edmund Schenecker

edmund schenecker at huntsman dinner

As mentioned in our first post on this readers dinner, Edmund is a long-time, deep fan of Scottish culture and paid homage to the upcoming birthday of Robert Burns in his dress. 

The Prince Charlie coatee and waistcoat were made by tailor Chris Despos in Chicago in midnight-blue barathea, while the kilt was made by Kinloch Anderson in Edinburgh from the Bluebonnet Tartan of Texas.

The navy hose had garter flashings in the same tartan, and on the feet were Glyndebourne ghillie brogues from Edward Green.

The sporran is vintage, made in 1953. Based on the design it was likely made for an officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment. Black mink with white-mink tassels in the traditional 'swinging six' configuration.


4 Oliver Gibson

oliver gibson huntsman dinner

Oliver wore his first bespoke suit: a light-grey double-breasted worsted suit from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. 

He wore the same thing to his wedding, and it is my favourite wedding outfit: white shirt, Macclesfield tie (here, Tom Ford), white hank and black shoes. Beautiful A. Lange & Sohne on his wrist. 


5 Meekal Hashmi

meekal hashmi

Although born and bred in the UK, Meekal's Pakistani roots mean he often wears the traditional achkan to formal events, in black with white cotton trousers. 

This example was made by an old military tailor in Lahore.

The achkan and is generally worn in black on formal occasions and by government ministers, although interestingly, as with the suit, there are many different versions for different types of event. Those worn for weddings, for example, are much more colourful and flamboyant.


6 Ben Chew

ben chew at permanent style dinner

Ben wore a mid-grey birdseye suit made for him in Hong Kong by WW Chan. 

Ben usually doesn't wear a pocket handkerchief on smart occasions and went without to the dinner.

As with most of the suits worn, it was accompanied by a white shirt, silk tie and black oxfords. 


7 Martin Tabasso

martin tabasso permanent style dinner

Martin, who came in from New York, echoed the formal ideas of dark monochrome seen elsewhere, but here in shades of brown. 

He has long been a fan of brown, and told us all of the first time he worked on a trading floor in London, where he was berated by the senior staff for his brown shoes. They didn't actually say 'no brown in town', but it was close. 

Martin's cashmere suit is from Kiton, with some grey shot through the brown to give it that shadowed, muted look.

The white tab-collar shirt was made in Turin by Gianfranco Rao and was worn with a simple 7-fold Kiton tie. The silk pocket handkerchief provides some light relief with a dash of colour and pattern.


8 Leslie Cuthbert

leslie cuthbert at huntsman dinner

Leslie, a lawyer working in London, wore an Ede & Ravenscroft velvet jacket with some lovely frogging.

I particularly liked the way the turn-back cuff was worked up to the frogging on the sleeves (shown at top). 

Worn with a velvet waistcoat, blue bow tie and patent leather shoes. 


9 David Man

david man at huntsman

David's lightweight woollen suit was made by Choppin & Lodge, with a double-breasted waistcoat in the same material (an admitted weakness of several others at the table). 

Stripped back to its most formal combination with white spread-collar shirt, navy tie and white linen handkerchief. 


10 Nicolas Stromback

nicolas stromback huntsman dinner

An ex-swimmer, Nicolas hasn't had bespoke made but loves the fit of Eidos made to measure.

(Quote of the evening: "It helps a lot with my back, the wings. Obviously, I work out." Leslie: "Perhaps just as obviously, I don't!")

As with much of the Eidos oeuvre, the cloth is unique to them and is a really interesting mix of blues and greys, in wool/cashmere. Black, too, in the check, which Nicolas reflected in his black tie with white shirt. 

That shirt is Nicolas's first with Luca Avitabile. Burgundy/pink/cream Christian Kimber pocket square. 


11 Last but not least...

simon crompton

Easily spotted on the evening by the attentive readers, I was wearing my Chittleborough & Morgan twill suit, with a pale-blue shirt from Luca and a gold satin tie. 

As mentioned elsewhere, I do like satin in the evening but it looks a lot less garish with a blue background. 

Pocket square from Rampley & Co in dark greens and greys, with a white border. Pink-gold lapel chain from The Armoury. 


Photography: Wayne Lennon