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

 

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Mac

Hi Simon
Great outfits, I wish I’d been there.
Most of the guests wore suits. Would separates such as a navy cashmere jacket (neapolitan) and mid grey wool trousers have been appropriate if executed with some individuality/flair? ie. Do you think that occasions such as this always require a suit or can seperates be acceptable?

Anonymous

Simon
Where in London can we go shopping for Eidos? I look on with lust at lots of their things on no man walks alone, but don’t want to spend 300 dollars minimum without at least seeing or trying their clothes / cut

Néstor

Hi Simon,

Nice article. Interesting to know what other readers wear.

I have a question regarding grey odd trousers. Fresco/Crispaire are good options for hot weather as flannels are for cold but what do you wear in mild weather? Gabardines and other worsteds lack the texture needed. What cloth would you recommend for that? Maybe whipcords?

DE

I love this! What a great evening and some really interesting outfits. I hope you manage to arrange another one. On the subject of evening wear, one of the most beautiful smoking jackets I have ever seen was worn by David Linley to a dinner (about 20 years ago) – a midnight navy blue (almost black) corduroy with the softest, narrowest wale and grosgrain black lapel facings and button coverings. It looked stunning in the low light atmosphere of dinner and somehow combined formality with comfort – I wish I’d asked him who had made it, but sadly I wasn’t brave enough at the time!

Greg

Hi Simon

An interesting post. There are some nice looking clothes here

Given the interest in this event I wonder whether it might be worth arranging some type of meal, where readers paid to attend? A dare I say “dinner with Simon” ? Just a thought…

Keep up the good work

Best regards

Greg

Mac

Hi Simon

About your answer to Nestor’s question: did you mean you wear flannels all year round?

Richard

Hi Simon,

Do you know if Leslie’s smoking jacket was bespoke or RTW? Also, do you have an idea about the cloth used in David Man’s suit? I love the colour and would like to have something made in it.

Best wishes

Richard

Leslie

Dear Richard,

My smoking jacket was ready to wear but Ede’s do have a bespoke service.

Any other questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Best regards

Leslie

David Man

Hi Richard,
Apologies on the late reply. I believe the cloth was an end of line bunch and may no longer be available – this was over 2 years ago. If you are around London, do pay Choppin and Lodge a visit as i am sure they can find something very similar. I have asked C&L if they have any more information on the cloth and will pass it on to you it they do.
Best
David

Néstor Valiño Puigcerver

Thank you Simon! I was guessing the same.

I’m very cold-natured and even with the mild climate of my city I find myself wearing (thin) wool socks almost 6 months a year. I will have to find a compromise with heavyweight frescoes and lightweight flannels after all.

Best,

Hristo

Go for the heavy fresco.
A lightweight flannel would loose shape faster.
By the way my suit on the photo above is extremely light (200-240g plain weave mohair form VBC) and I had a several hours walk on a cold winter day in London prior to the dinner and had no problems with the temperature (I wore relatively thin wool over the calf socks).

john

Hi Simon,
Many thanks to all of you! It’s a real pleasure to watch these sharp outfits displaying a keen sense of style while conveying confidence and playfulness ! I must confess that this what I expect PS’ readers to communicate under such a circumstance wherever they happen to be living.
Now a follow up to Mac’s question – first comment – and your reply, Simon. Suppose that for such an event, one opted for a navy blazer and light grey trousers, but instead of black captoe oxfords, chose to wear a midnight antique oxfords of cleverley type – see Hanger Project – or a dark brown captoe oxfords polished à la Thomas (G&G). And then, to avoid straying too far, decided to wear a white shirt and a navy tie. Would such an outfit sartorially fit the bill for such an event?
So the shoe color were the unexpected thing he would introduce – just for fun (!) – the same way you chose your tie, I guess!
John

Franck

Did Leslie wear dinner trousers with silk on the side?

Leslie Cuthbert

Dear Franck,

Thanks for the question. In fact I wore midnight blue velvet trousers.

Although I have worn the smoking jacket with my bespoke black dinner trousers a number of times in the past I decided, given the unique nature of the evening, that I should go ‘full’ velvet!

Any other questions don’t hesitate to ask.

BespokeNYC

Love these pictures; looks like a really fun event with some excellent outfits. Also, great to see how many people traveled in especially – I was starting to think I was crazy for considering flying in from NYC! I definitely second the requests for another dinner.

Also, Ed, that Sporran is spectacular – well done!

Leslie Cuthbert

I second Martin’s comments as to the sporran!

Martin, for my part, it wouldn’t have been the same without your presence and your beautiful attire so many thanks for making the trip.

I am intending to visiting New York at the end of April/start of May and, if so, I hope that we will be able to meet up.

David

What great clothes and how nice to see such a variety of styles.
I was particularly taken by Leslie, Meekhal and Cheong’s looks. All deeply personal and so right for them.
On the lounge suit front – although life isn’t a competition I have to say, C&M have it hands down. Joe Morgan’s work is just jaw – droppingly beautiful. It has so much attitude without falling into pastiche. I just love it.
Unfortunately Simon I can’t say the same for the shirt and tie. It would have been so much better with a tabbed colour shirt and a tie with texture. Satin just doesn’t work I’m afraid.
That said, a couple of questions about C&M.
1) How does his cut and quality compare with Edward Sexton ?
2) If you were going to have him make you a suit that would cross over between casual and
smart environments what cloth would you look at ?
3) Does his cut work better on tall, thin men or is it adaptable ?

David

To be more specific:
If you’d borrowed Martin’s but in an appropriate colour for the C&M it would be perfect. It would have given the suit the balance and depth it needs.
The satin doesn’t work because it’s flat. I would hesitate to say it cheapens it because with a suit as magnificent as this that is impossible but it certainly doesn’t enhance it.
With regard to your response to my point two, wouldn’t a cashco or flannel bridge the gap?
I’ve seen Charlie Watts sport a couple that he wears very casually that were either from C&M or Sexton that looked very good.
For summer it’s easy – either seersucker or linen. It’s more the rest of the year I was looking to discuss.

Anonymous

For me the beautiful cut and balance of Oliver’s suit is the winner though I would have gone for turn-up trouser cuffs. On the matter of the dinner I get the sense that this could be the beginning of something much bigger. Perhaps a salon style event (slightly pre LFW..?), wherein readers could meet each other and attend a few symposiums, demonstrations, talks etc. specifically for them, perhaps across a few days. They could be arranged with many of your article subjects as speakers (tailors, bespoke shoemakers, manufacturers; luggage, umbrellas, ties etc.) ticketed events could be an option for specific events to cover costs etc. An option to buy some of the featured items could also be considered (a mini- trunk if you will) . A dinner/drinks event could be held as the highlight evening event. It is only a rough sketch but I see a seed here, that with some care and cultivation could grow the PS ideals across a wider audience in a more direct, tangible and involving way. Some of us retain a deep interest in the subject but shy away from ‘fashion’ events, sessions centred on bespoke, craft and artisnal quality would speak to a different audience. It would also be great to meet some of the other readers and commentors. Do please consider, it could go somewhere and become an annual event in itself.

Cecil

Simon is launching a pop up shop on Saville Row so you dreams will come true.

Dave Gahan

Simon, you are becoming Arkwright – a shopkeeper?

Robert Davro

Interesting; Luigi Solito could play Granville but who would play Nurse Gladys Emmanuel?

Matt S

I admire Mr Tabasso’s brown suit, as brown is difficult colour to get right for someone like him with a cool complexion. It’s the perfect kind of brown that can take the place of grey, both for occasions when a grey suit is a typical choice and for people who look best in grey. I rarely think of brown suits as versatile, but I rarely see them in that kind of brown.

Richard Jones

Hi Simon, your C&M suit is very special, and I personally think the tie is great. What shoes did you wear?
As posted above, I am also a very big fan of Oliver’s suit and combination. And I must also agree the trousers are crying out for turn-ups. However adding turn ups may result in Oliver looking shorter and more stocky – watching the video post the picture / outfit may not give a true reflection of his build. Something’s not quite right with the trousers, I’d be keen to know if you know what I mean, and perhaps advise what it is?
Congratulations on a great evening!