Michael Browne: Building the perfect tailor
Michael Browne is one of the most talented and creative tailors I’ve known in my time writing PS.
He is also one of the nicest. We talked for years about whether and how he would set up on his own, and when he finally did - and moved into the current space on Berkeley Square - it was a big decision.
The magnitude of that decision perhaps reflects Michael's ambition for what he wanted to do. He wanted to not only make the best bespoke clothing in the world, but also change many of the processes that go into it.
A good example is the first fitting, which for many tailors makes use of a garment that is only roughly sewn together. You won't be able to see the line of the lapel; it may only have one arm.
They do this partly because the whole thing will be ripped down after that fitting, before being re-cut and put back together.
Michael deliberately makes his first fitting to a much higher level, with all the parts of the jacket in place and neatly basted together. Even though it will still all be ripped apart.
He does this because he thinks it helps the tailor and the cutter get a better idea of where the suit is going. It leads to more precision, and saves fittings in the long run.
Michael also insists on taking apart all those fittings and putting them back together himself, each time. Even though he now has two tailors and an apprentice to help him.
He does this because he finds otherwise small things are missed. If two people handle the garment, little things change. The sleeve is re-cut just to make it fit in the armhole, rather than in the way the cutter envisioned it.
At each fitting, some of the changes required will be caused by small errors that have snuck in, rather improving the overall fit. There's a re-adjustment every time.
In Michael's view, that's also why a second suit is often not exactly the same as the first one at completion.
All this is time-consuming of course, and as a result expensive. The drive towards perfection - of process as well as product - is a big reason Michael's suits start at £6500 (including VAT).
So far, this has been no barrier to growth.
When he started, the team was Michael, coatmaker Birgit (above) and some outworkers he had worked with previously. Now there is also a second room next door, housing another tailor and an apprentice.
I’ve covered Michael a little - in the Financial Times for example - but he’s barely needed the help. His rigour and style have shone through.
Another thing that eats up the time of these workers is the structural creativity of each suit. There is no default in terms of the shoulder padding, chest construction, or even how that padding sits on the shoulder.
With each new customer, Michael and Birgit discuss the best way to either make something that flatters the customer, or that suits the style he wants, using this full range of techniques.
In theory, much of this can be done by other tailors. But in my experience, there is too much emphasis on efficiency and house style to really be that open-minded.
One aspect of Michael's work that will be more familiar to readers is the creative finishing.
Michael was the first tailor I saw on the Row making Milanese buttonholes. Now they’re everywhere. He was also the first making a style point of lap seams, which is something I see frequently copied.
Today he's also playing with pleats in the back seam of jackets (where they'd be more normal on a coat). And the style he's become best known for recently - the body coat - is a simple idea based on both tailoring technique and practicality.
This is also what Michael means when he describes the work as 'couture'. There's more design involved, all centred around craft.
It's also about the customer. Everyone says they have conversations with the customer about what they would like, and why. When they will wear the suit, on what occasion, in what temperature.
Michael does that too, but he's also set up for the tailoring enthusiast who wants to talk about the different ways to flatter the figure, to give one impression or another.
We were talking recently about how he used large slanting pockets on a jacket to make a larger customer look slimmer. And how the angle of the pockets worked with the angle of the peak lapel.
These will not be new concepts for readers. But it occurred to me that while we know these things, and tailors know them too, they're rarely talked about. The tailor normally just asks, what kind of pockets do you want?
At a more basic finishing level, Michael and his team do everything you could ever expect from tailoring at this level. Closely padded chests; hand-sewn linings; breast pockets in the facings; the finest buttonholes.
Then there are little points of refinement. Like the peaks of peak lapels, which Michael is obsessive about. Or the precision of pocket jettings - which interestingly, is a point customers rarely notice, but I find other tailors often do. It's a place they look to see the quality of the work.
For Michael, who wants to produce nothing less than the finest bespoke in the world, any garment must hit all of these points. And it must just look beautiful in and of itself.
It must be practical and attractive as ornament. (Echoes, there, of the way some shoe obsessives think about footwear. But which rarely comes up in tailoring.)
Stylistically, what Michael is mostly asked to make is the things he wears himself.
He makes slim trousers in dense twills, worn with fine knitwear or skinny ties, look so good that this is what everyone orders (at least to begin with).
My suit from Chittleborough & Morgan (above), which he helped make, was a peak-lapel three-piece in navy three-ply because that was what Michael wore. Chittleborough have made a lot of them since.
Michael has a strong sense of style, and customers want to buy into that. He's more likely to have a conversation with one of them about knitwear that works with his jackets than most other tailor, and to do so knowledgeably.
Given how many people ask about it, he may also do some little pieces of ready-to-wear specifically aimed to go with the bespoke.
When I finally made the decision to make something with Michael in his new set-up, it was driven by the same things.
The body coat - being fitted above - is essentially an overcoat that is cut to wear over knitwear, not a tailored jacket.
It will appeal to anyone that works in an office where jackets are rarely worn. Or to someone that already has several normal overcoats (me).
Or to someone (more niche this) that likes the close, tailored fit of a jacket and always wondered what a long version would look like.
Other than the closeness of the fit, it is largely the same as a normal overcoat though. It's usually made in overcoat material, at an overcoat length, and with a fairly standard notch lapel and two buttons.
The biggest difference in terms of cut is that there is more emphasis on the opening at the chest, and perhaps slightly open fronts.
Michael’s style is also towards the sleek, and as a result there is no belt interrupting the back - just a centre pleat and a vent.
There is an angled but straight breast pocket. And a fly cuff with a single hidden button.
The version I commissioned was a little less sleek and more classic, though. The material is a navy wool/cashmere (Michael has made them in black silk) and the buttons are a dark brown, rather than black or grey.
This was our second fitting, out of an expected four or five.
The body fit and balance were almost perfect from the start though - the discussion since has been more about shoulder width (I pushed slightly wider) and buttoning point (I went slightly lower).
It will have a notch lapel with a fairly small gorge - another small thing that Michael likes and adds drama to a normal notch lapel.
The next post will be the finished coat, in a few weeks’ time.
The cloth is Holland & Sherry 986021, wool/cashmere. Price of body coat in this cloth, £7500.
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man, except picture of navy suit, Luke Carby
Thanks Simon, sounds very exciting. I, personally, am not about the v sleek look but can appreciate the high level of work.
Do you know what has happened to Francis Paley? He was also at C&M and I think quite good. Is he to the same level and do you know what he is doing?
Francis was in Naples for a while, now he’s back in London and setting up on his own.
I couldn’t really comment on his work though.
Thanks. Useful to know as obviously same pedigree as Michael. Would be interested to hear & contrast from you on the differences between the two.
Extremely expensive but it’s evident that he’s a talented chap. Nice to read about new start ups. It takes a lot of courage to go out on your own. Hat off to anyone doing it.
Should be a lovely coat, but an eye watering price!
Little off topic, but do you add things like this to your Home Insurance or have a specialist Wardrobe insurance?
It’s on the general insurance, yes.
Is there ever a moment where you question why you’re spending this much money on these items, when your only reason to own them is to write about them for a blog/business? Does it ever feel inauthentic, in the sense that you’re not really a captain of industry besides the social media industry, if I can call it that?
That does occur to me sometimes, yes, but I think the combination of loving the product and the work so much, plus doing it as a job that so many people appreciate, is enough. If anything it’s less the money and more the style – if pieces were over the top in terms of style, and there was nowhere really appropriate to wear them, then I’d feel more inauthentic.
Does that make sense?
Hello Simon! Could you please write an article about the scale of formality of the various types of overcoats (e.g. Chesterfield, polo, greatcoat, balmacaan, etc.), and why is one style more formal than another? Thank you! 🙂
I’ve been meaning to work on something for a while, sorry, I’ll get to it.
Briefly though, the raglan sleeve is what makes a balmacaan casual. Then things that make a coat less formal are colour (eg polo in camel), more texture or pattern in the cloth (eg donegal), extra details (eg patch pockets on the polo coat) and then, broadly, a double-breasted is more formal than single.
Thank you for the reply! What you mention, all makes sense, however, it gets a little confusing too, as a double-breasted coat with an “ulster” collar is considered “casual” for some reason. I think it could make for a great article. Will look forward to reading it one day.
It is slightly more casual, yes. But only slightly. Something more akin to choosing patch pockets or not.
I spoke to Michael over the telephone a few years ago, I found him to be incredibly polite, patient and helpful.
I first saw the body coat on Wei-koh in an Instagram post a few months ago, took my breath away! Definitely my next commission.
It’s great to see how he’s progressed. I remember the first time you posted a little article from years ago about Chittleborough and Morgan, seeing his pictures there. It was also the first time I was introduced to he Milanese button hole. Thank you, Simon
Is this an ad?
You usually make it clear whether or not you get paid for something, but the info is missing here.
Did Michael offer to make this commission at a discounted price?
No it is not an ad.
I don’t normally mention whether I’m paid to write something, as I never am. All details on this dedicated page – it’s always the same policy, to discounts or payment, on the website or on Instagram.
The concept is very interesting. I think Michael used to call this a spring coat as well.
Aren’t we almost back at the era in menswear before the lounge suit was born? If one wears a waistcoat with it…
True, the article reads a little like an advertisement. You start with statements, intentions and well, beliefs, rather than describing the garment and the process itself as you do elsewhere.
Re: your policy, forgive me, but as a reader I wish Permanent Style could be as open as possible about each and every garment. E.g. was the G&H suit from June funded 100% ? Many newspapers already have a procedure in that respect with regard to travel reports and reviews by adding one line at the bottom of the article. It only adds to the publisher’s credibility. After all this is your job and I’m reading this 100% for free 😉
As a customer however, while it’s none of my business, I wish C&M had prepared Michael to take over the company. It’s the same spirit of perfection and honest gentleman-like focus on customers, the same stylized garment. But true, Michael has always had his own renewing ideas and a very high level of execution. Happy to read that he has made his own way. Looking forward to the finished garment 😊
As a relatively tall and slim gentleman, do you find a long, sleek overcoat like this makes you look disproportionately tall and thin–like a stick? I find that with overcoats that that don’t have any pocket flaps/patches, belts, etc. to break me up. Perhaps the more open chest (the “stick”-look is more when I fold the lapels over to protect the chest against the wind) and open fronts here help prevent that impression?
There’s definitely a risk of that, though it can be minimised with other things like something in the breast pocket, in the chest, and with the size of shoulders.
You’re right, the button position and open fronts help too.
A bit like Keanu’s coat in The Matrix 😉
An enjoyable read and nice to hear about such a talented chap flourishing (even at a price point slightly beyond the level I can currently justify to friends and family!).
One thing that struck me was whether you thought Michael had developed at a different rate (or in a different direction) as a result of setting out on his own and whether you thought that was common to tailors?
The question might have arisen in any number of articles but the style of the jackets pictured above looked quite distinct from your guide to C&M and I wondered if Michael’s creativity was the reason for that as most tailors seem to retain a very similar house style when they set-up shop on their own (e.g. the various A&S alumni).
Yes, good question and I think it’s mostly down to Michael and what he’s like – he was the same at Chittleborough too.
What kind of customers has he cultivated in the new business? You mentioned it was very successful. Im just curious as prices are far higher than even Savile Row tailors and wondering who is paying that kind of money.
Interestingly, some of the ones I know are tailoring enthusiasts, who buy the extra quality and work and understand it.
fair enough, I have a cut off in price beyond which I don’t care what the extra craft or features may well be, I just wouldn’t pay over that level for a certain item. A suit is still just a suit for wearing to a meeting, or restaurant, or wherever. I guess everyone has such a level of price in mind whether that is buying a suit at M&S, MTM service, or bespoke through different price levels.
Very true. For most people that buy sports cars, it’s not the same thing as a normal car to take people places.
I am one of hose enthusiasts. I am by no means rich and I first ran in to Michael at C&M. Actually inspired by Simons commission there.
His work is simply so good that once you have made a commission it is difficult to ever buy anything else. Or at least that is my opinion.
I typically buy one piece a year, since I can’t afford more than that, and hope to build up my wardrobe over time.
Michael is extremely courteous and makes you feel at ease.
what a level of experience. The pleasure generated by such a high-level sartorial experience is really evident in the words of the article. A small question about the photos, I notice that the overcoat´s fitting is performed without a jacket underneath. Since the overcoat will mostly be used with a jacket or knitwear, shouldn’t it be fitted that way from the beginnig?
Good point Dan – we fitted it with knitwear underneath and without. But there are far fewer issues there than if it would be required to have a jacket under (more padding, structure and so on that would really lift up the shoulders)
simon, i remember from previous posts (even very old ones) that you remarked that generally tailors are not “stylish” people (or to take poor choices stylewise). being MB a stylish person himself, i think that is the reason why he is more open to have deeper discussions with the clients regarding the effects of the garment (and not only its features), and fortunely he is also able to translate that into the details of the product.
Good point, yes. Hence my point on knitwear and style advice – Michael is much more style-aware than a lot of tailors.
Of course, his style won’t be everyone else’s, but that isn’t a required part of the service either.
Francis Paley cut me a jacket at C & M before he left and it was on par with what Joe had cut previously for me. Not sure how much input/oversight Joe had on Paley’s cutting but I would not hesiatte to use him again if he is setting up his own shop.
Interesting to see that Browne is charging quite a premium to what Joe charges at C & M and I would have to seriously question whether it is worth it. Personally speaking I would stick with Joe who is charging 3.5k for a sports coat and 5k for a suit.
I’ve commissioned a suit from Joe 3 weeks ago. I wish he’d charge 5K. It’s currently 6K 😉 So not too far off from MB
Oh, that’s up…it was 5k last year for a 2 piece when I dropped by the shop.
Interesting. I hope Simon can keep us abreast of Francis’ development. I don’t where else to find info on development of young under the radar names
Francis is apparently teaming up with another former C&M alumnus Harry Mundy who went on to be a senior menswear designer for Vivienne Westwood. New company Paley Mundy using same logo as Harry did when himself. Shop open in 2020. Unknown prices. Whether house cut same as C&M or softened up due to his summer in Naples remains to be seen…
Thanks, very useful
Really useful and sounds an exciting collab between design and bespoke! Simon – almost certainly one for you to keep track of for us!
Have you heard anymore about this new venture?
I really like the idea of the body coat, made to be worn specifically with knitwear. Love it! Why did you decide to go with only two buttons? I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Three buttons would have introduced a little curve and roll to the fronts, which wasn’t the aim, and one button might have been a tiny bit over-stylised.
…and you don’t think bespoke is moving into the realms of luxe pricing…£7, 500 for a coat of wool cashmere mix? Even with your ‘highly positive’ review on work the issue is lack of reputation- Caraceni, Rubinacci, Cifonelli might reach these prices at a push – their cachet might carry them over the line but without reputation this sounds like an SR graduate’s pricing, with your help, flying high towards the sun?
I think bespoke is going in all directions. Made in India to a very high level and very good value at one end, and the best in class at the other end.
Reputation is an interesting point though – why do you think it should matter? Are you buying for the name?
No. It’s the tailors who are pricing for the name. Then they complain about the demise of tailoring and the takeover by high-street brands.
But then why do you say that a reason Michael Browne can’t charge that much is that he doesn’t have heritage?
Very interesting and clearly of extremely high quality.
That said, aesthetically he looks to be ploughing a very similar furrow to C&M and Edward Sexton which I consider to be increasingly wearable for ‘events’ rather than ‘day to day’ life.
It will fascinating to see how this works given the trend towards relaxed tailoring.
True – personally I think it’s particularly suited to a coat. Though it’s interesting how much less padding and roping this has than my Chittleborough suit, yet achieves something similar
I find it interesting that both you and Wei Koh commissioned MB bodycoats with notch lapels…when MB jackets mostly have peaked lapels and peaked lapels are more commonly seen in coats vs jackets. Was there something in the sleek lines of a bodycoat that looks better with notch?
I’m not sure that single-breasted coats more commonly have peaked lapels? But yes, Michael’s suits generally do.
In my case, I was interested in a notch lapel as it was one more thing that would make the coat less sharp or dramatic. And yet, the way he cuts the notch, which is fairly small, makes the lapel still fairly strong
I’m a fan of everything I’ve ever seen this guy make. Very interested in the finished coat.
In that post, I’d appreciate it if you can illustrate what you mean by Browne’s “making a style point of lap seams” and “playing with pleats in the back seam of jackets.” Also, what kind of peak does he like on his peak lapels?
On the lap seams – see the seam running up the back of my blue suit, pictured.
On the back seam and peak, I don’t have any illustrations I’m afraid.
Just wondering: how much would a 100% cashmere version cost? Love the style and concept of this bodycoat. Generally your idea of a more casual jacket goes with a softer type of tailoring (i.e. Neapolitan in most cases) so interesting to see this piece as a “longer jacket” which can be worn more casually (e.g. with knitwear). Guess it is one of these where you are “breaking the rule” on the margin but knowing why you are doing it. I do think a more “structured” jacket / coat when well put together with the rest of the outfit could look terrific and stylish as a “smart casual” look. I can imagine this bodycoat also work with a smart roll neck, jeans and say chukka boots.
I don’t know on a full cashmere version but it won’t be a big uplift. Most of the price is in the work and the time.
Michael seems to be a true artist as much as an artisan, thus the prices make some sense. The trousers you describe that are particularly popular, how much are they?
I’ll double check his price on trousers. I wasn’t referring to a particular design, by the way, merely the way he usually cuts them
Simon, I am curious what made you commission something from MB? Fine choice on the coat, I think. He has certainly a very bold house style, which I quite like personally.
In reviews like these, or maybe when you write about the finished garment, it would be useful and educational to present some comps on certain aspects around the commissioning/experience, like the process, the details, the finishing, the fitting(s) versus a few non-English peers like Cifonelli, Caraceni and Ciardi. I appreciate the house style and structure of the garments may differ between peers, but that is more down to personal choice, whereas the other items I mentioned above have more to do about craftsmanship.
I am raising these points because although I like MB’s style, his price range is at the higher end of the spectrum. And for example being a very satisfied client of Cifonelli and Ciardi, I would have to be convinced otherwise to try something else.
Hey J. Yes good point, and I was planning to include that in the piece on the final coat.
His clothing really needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated and understood. Without having seen it in person it’s easy to read about it and say – £7500 for a wool and cashmere coat that’s ridiculous but everything I’ve seen him wear looks incredible.
I mean no disrespect to any of the other tailors that may be reading this but his work makes everything else look rudimental – I say that as someone that works on savile row and seen and met most of the famed tailors.
It is obviously not for everyone financially or stylistically but if you can afford it and you want something that looks different to every other suit that you own made by a great guy go and see MB
There are so many issues re. this article:
it does read like an ad, with a small commentary about the commission. I also agree with other comments about transparency. I know you don’t receive payment but sizeable discounts are a form of benefit in kind: as there is never any detail about this readers reach for their own, perhaps negative, conclusions. As such it is worth considering your editorial approach to this, as in articles such as these, it undermines the otherwise rational argument for the feature.
Then the hype about couture – the French form for bespoke means little to menswear (as the usual connotation is feminine – the original meaning comes from sewing/dressmaking). Couture, in the French sense, is about selecting a current season fashion design (usually a dress) and having it made/altered to an individual’s form in an atelier.
About cost: it’s not about the name but the standing behind the name, or, in other words reputation (vs. ‘brand’ name). Reputation, through work of quality, is earned over time and can be lost overnight, it is therefore unusual for standalone new offerings, as good as they might be, to enter the market at the highest price point within that market.
Thanks. It wasn’t meant to sound like advertising, I’m just very enthusiastic about it.
On the cost, I understand why people might think that about readers conclusions, but every one I meet tells me overwhelmingly it makes no difference. I can afford to buy anything I want, and I’m not going to publish whether someone gives me a 30% discount or a 70% one.
On couture, I take your point and don’t mean to overhype it. I guess here, at the least, it suggests more of a design-led process, as that women’s couture is. Also traditional couture was much more interactive between client and couturier – suggestions were made around the season and an existing wardrobe. But that’s certainly not what most couture is like today.
And good point on reputation. I think Michael’s time at Chittleborough counts as having earned that reputation. The only difference is how many people know about it.
I just converted British Pounds to American Dollars. 7500 pounds equals $9,635.00. Wow. And a suit costs $8,351.00. Does a Aston Martin come with your purchase? In all seriousness, what exactly do you think justifies this price margin? I am not criticizing the purchase, just curious. Are his suits and coats that much better than other tailors you have purchased from?
Have you read the post Dan? I’d be repeating everything I’ve mentioned in there in terms of processes, work and finishing
Hi Simon, many thanks for your work.
Sorry to bump into this column with an non-consistent question. I will soon order my second bespoke suit. First was a navy 340g herringbone, single-breasted. I’d like to get another navy one, but which would be more breathable. My tailor offers me fabrics that feel too light for me. Would you have any advice of fabrics that could be both breathable and stiff enough to get a perfect line ? Thank you very much. Best regards.
Hi Nathan. You want a high-twist wool like Fresco or Crispaire. Have a look at our feature rounding up all high twists
Is Michael and his few staff doing everything in-house or are they outsourcing the actual tailoring?
They do the vast majority in-house – including, as mentioned above, Michael doing all of the creation, re-cutting and resewing of fittings.
But as mentioned he also uses some outworkers he’s worked with for years – as almost everyone does on Savile Row
You own some incredible coats, one that particularly stands out to me is a Green one I saw you in once. Where would this coat place in a list of your favourite coats and pieces overall.
Having such a large wardrobe how much do you get to wear pieces like the incredible but perhaps not the easiest to wear Navy suit he made you a few years ago?
Thanks, yes that is nice, a top coat for lighter weather – it was the colour that made it
Oddly, it’s not so hard to find times to wear that suit, because it’s so suited to particular occasions – evening ones, basically. It’s harder with lots of everyday things
Whether you can afford is immaterial, the issue is transparency and it will dog PS until a better method is found to deal with the issue. Quixotically if you can afford why would you seek/accept a discount? A humble suggestion might be to strike a standard (40%?). Then apply, consistently and transparently to all.
It doesn’t dog anything I’m afraid. I’m happy with it, and as I said the vast majority of readers are too.
I don’t seek or ask for discounts, ever.
A reputation can’t be held if only a small number of people are referred to and a reputation under one guise (working for someone else) is not necessarily valid under another (a new business). When the pressure of running a business over say, three to five years, is applied to quality of output a decision might then be reached on consistency of standard. Judging on the basis of a short period of existence is premature. That’s the difference between Caraceni, Cifonelli and MB. I do, of course, wish him well. If, as it may seem, he turns out to be Britain’s best bespoke tailor then all power to him.
Patek Philippe sold one of its watches for 31 millions Swiss Francs recently. Australian boat maker introduced auxiliary ship for superyachts just in the case that owner does not have enough storage space for cars, helicopters and other toys on board. But there is not enough money to make houses such as Grenfell Tower safe for its inhabitants. Young people can’t afford to pay their school tuition nor their own space to live in. The situation is like pre-1789 France or pre-1917 Russia.
But what does anything you’ve mentioned got to do with Michael Browne? I think it better leave the politically/personally motivated comments and speak about the subject at hand!
Not sure why what you pay – with your own money is so much of a constant issue to a seemingly larger and larger percentage of your readership Simon.
Perhaps if those readers were to read that your website in greater detail they’d see that you charge for the advertisement that is along the right hand side of the page this, I assume is obviously where and how you fund commissions like these.
Also, why do you care And what relevance does it have if he does recieve a discount – which if you thought about that for a moment some of the smaller tailors he uses would be making a loss on the pieces they make for him. Since as we know, the margin in bespoke is not anywhere near as great as is thought.
Perhaps you might stop posting people that question your integrity it’s completely thoughtless and boring
I do try to tell people it’s boring and no one cares. But they don’t believe me. It’s the arrogance of thinking that if they think it’s important, the other 20,000 people that read this post think that too.
Not that I’d agree with stifling discussion, but these points come up every article when the cost is mentioned and I don’t really know what it adds.
As a reader you need to decide whether you trust Simon’s integrity or not. If you do then it’s a bit moot if he paid £7,000 or £3,500 (or even nothing) – if the end result from the review justifies the full price then you’ll know if it’s worth it for a potential customer.
If you don’t trust his integrity then constant blog comments insisting he be more critical about a service that you (as a reader) have probably not experienced but he has just seem like a waste of everyone’s time.
As others have said, the size and success of PS makes me more inclined to trust it than smaller blogs operated as side gigs – there’s less incentive to give an unfair or inaccurate review given the amount no doubt brought in through ad revenue.
As far as this article goes, it does seem expensive to me, but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for charging as much as they can for their products. He wouldn’t charge that much if his customers weren’t willing to pay it.
The reason it may matter is because of impartiality as if those brands who give things to PS for free or heavy discount get exposure and those who dont get none then there is bias in coverage. The result is readers might think that going to X or Y or Z tailor are the only good ones out there because ones who do not give away things just aren’t covered or mentioned.
The only people who can afford a £7k coat are going to be the super rich. Its 10 times what a RTW one costs and about 1/10 of a pre tax good professional salary in London. I think its common sense that Simon didn’t buy this outright. The equivalent would be like him buying a Bugatti, and no disrespect but even as a successful blogger with a good income from this site, it would be suggest some kind of madness or a serious spending problem if he did so.
This coat, if it’s the same as shown in your Instagram story a while back is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen you wear since I follow you. It makes me want to search for a flight to London. But the I remember I can’t afford it. I admire his courage and confidence to position himself at the top of the market. That in itself is a good marketing strategy(of course, worthless if the product had no substance). What other commentators on this article don’t seem to understand is that there are a lot of people on this planet for whom price is irrelevant. If the product looks gorgeous, is well fitted, has great construction and superb finishing price doesn’t matter to them. These are the same kind of people dropping 3-4k a night for a hotel room and 80k for a crocodile Birkin for their wife or girlfriend.
Hi Simon. This has nothing, or little, to do with the post, but I wanted to write to thank you for the very beautiful Escorial cloth that I bought from James Ellis and have had made into a jacket. I was probably among the first purchasers of the oatmeal variant (I’ve never been able to resist pale greys, beiges and creams or off-whites). I had it made up by a tailor I’ve been using for 25 years or so in Hong Kong (not one of the very cheap ones). I used to be on the eastern diplomatic circuit there, and they have my body shape down pretty well by now. Anyway, the two button, double vent jacket they have made is more than just nice. I bought the buttons and lining silk from another recommendation of yours, Bernstein and Banley’s. Frankly, the cloth was so great that I could have worn it as a shawl and it would have looked good, so thanks again. Best wishes, Tom
I’m so, so pleased Tom. There’s nothing like putting that work into a product and then having it appreciated like that
I’ve been wearing “body coats” all these years without knowing it. I rarely want to wear a coat over tailoring.
I don’t think it’s exactly a unique concept, but I’m pleased to see it acknowledged as it’s a good look.
Browne’s tailoring looks superb. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished coat.
Respectfully 20,000 may read this blog but usually only 100 (mainly regulars) post a comment – that’s only .05% of readers. It’s a reach to claim you speak for all, if any. Even in this stream there are many who state this coat is priced at a stratosphere that is beyond them and a number make negative points accordingly. This range of views indicates that not everyone adheres to the party line and are perhaps correct to interrogate matters of commerce (Burt etc.) and value, though you might find it boring (and yes we have read the PS policy). Moreover your readership will come from a variety of backgrounds and income levels. As a reader of the site I simply ask you to consider that, now that you are full time, you might write from an unchecked bubble – always a danger for any writer. Secondly you write within a social context of growing division within societal wealth, as Andrew points to. For many in society £1,000 would be a very expensive clothing purchase, £7,500 beyond extreme and in the arena of the super-rich (Vali, Rups, Dan…). Always cleaving, however, across the articles, to the very expensive simply testifies to a snobbery (your first book was the Snob’s Guide) that some find (as indicated by comments) vulgar, off-putting, and socially unaware. Looking down on your readership, or being frustrated by a lack of complicity or agreement will, in the long term, disillusion your readers and diminish a site that has taken a decade to build.
Thanks, some good points in there.
I don’t claim to speak for all of them by any means. I was pointing out that many more read it than comment, and actually many more contact me personally or I meet personally than comment. Which is what gives me confidence in the direction.
I haven’t commented here for a very long time, but I’m moved to do so as Micheal has made two suits for me and they are both beautiful. His attention to detail is unsurpassed and he is unbelievably hard working. I have had suits made by most (with the exception of H Poole) of the houses on the Row but Micheal’s work stands in a class of its own.
why would you go around the whole Row having suits made by all? Didn’t you find one you actually liked?
Hello Rups, they all offer something different for example if I am a guest at a wedding the suits Micheal has made me are perfect, I have one in a summer weight and the other winter. For business I wear Norton and for an afternoon with friends in a cocktail bar Anderson & Shephard is the perfect lounger… I’m sure there are people out there who buy all their clothes in one place but I like variety in my wardrobe.
Great article, Simon. So so true about the first fitting. Excellent craft.
And his price is sound. Well worth it. You are paying for old old craft which he has taken the time to learn.
ps. I have never spoken to Simon let alone met Simon but he did a very very nice article on me. In my opinion he’s a class act.
Can you give me information about the white seersucker shirt that Michael is wearing?
It’s made by Wil Whiting. I don’t know the cloth, but quite a few mills offer white seersucker these days. Start with Albini/Thomas Mason
The earlier post from Chris – about feeling inauthentic, and Captains of Industry – was interesting and made me think about aspirational wardrobe and personal purchases. Are Michael Browne creations and Cartier/Patek watches only meant for top earners? If an average income guy saves like mad and purchases an aspirational item – should he feel inauthentic because that item is above his station? I’m glad you’re out there doing these acquisitions and collaborations, making us feel part of the process and showing us what is possible.
Been reading and enjoying your site for a couple of years now. Thank you for providing such a comprehensive, detail-oriented, and independent resource. I have learned an awful lot from your articles.
The images on this article have raised a question in my mind that I’m not sure you have addressed anywhere in the archive. Namely: should one press a crease along the length of a dress shirt sleeve?
I was raised by a father with no particular talent for stylish dressing, and was taught that pressing a crease into one’s sleeve was the mark of a lazy ironer. More recently, though, I have ordered some dress shirts (from TM Lewin; I am very far from in the tax bracket of your average reader) that were delivered with sharp creases pressed in their sleeves. And now I see both Mr Browne and yourself seem to have sleeve creases here.
I know that rules are made to be flaunted, but when would you generally advise for or against a crease?
Thank you for the comment, and I’m very pleased you’ve found the site so useful.
It is certainly a traditional rule that sleeves shouldn’t have creases in them, and they can be ironed appropriately.
But it’s long been ignored by anyone selling mainstream shirts, such as TM Lewin. In part I’m sure because it’s harder to fold up a shirt and sell it that way without a crease.
Personally, it’s something I sometimes do but don’t think is that important. I generally avoid such creases, but it doesn’t bother me if there is one. Particularly as the shirt will become wrinkled and both lose and gain creases very quickly as soon as you start wearing it.
It’s also harder for me to do as I store my shirts (out of necessity of space) folded rather than hung.
Love how clean the back look on the C&M.
If I absolutely want the cleanest/structured coat (don’t care for drape), roped shoulder, who would you go?
Camps De Luca
Michael Browne probably. But they are also different styles – so make sure you’re happy with the other differences explained in the pieces I’ve written on all three
I know that it’s almost been a whole year since this article, but I spent that year hoping for a ‘How to Dress Like’ Michael Browne – and if one is not in the works, could I make a request that you endeavour to do one? Haha
Thanks for all you do.
Sure Taylor, no problem. Just not quite as many pics of Michael himself around!
Hence the request! If anyone can convince him to share more of his style I’m sure you could 🙂
A more special suit from Michael would be really interesting. Something in the like of his double breasted seersucker jacket but in the vain of a suit!
Wow. Michael designed my first ever ‘proper’ suit when he was at Cad & the Dandy in… 2011? It still fits me (fast metabolism) and is beautiful. I really treasure it. C&tD is what you might call a ‘volume’ operation but I was struck by Michael’s particular manner and care. I assumed that that’s just what tailors were like (I have since been disappointed).
Anyway, I feel jolly lucky to wear the work of someone who has become so noted.
I am owner and customer of Camps de Luca’s bespoke suits. I had sewing experience with Brioni and Dalcuore also. However, there is no limit to perfection and after reading your post about 3 levels of quality and budgets within capsule collections, I was very curious if you consider Camps de Luca suits to be in the highest category C along with Cifonelli, Liverano and Michael Brown? Is there any other way for me to go in search of the highest quality of finishing and tailoring, is there an atelier superior to the French CdL in this area?
I was also pleased with your rather flattering review of Brioni bespoke, are you also classify Brioni as category C (top in the world), or consider category B more fair, where you ranked Neapolitan ateliers like Dalcuore.
I would certainly put Camps de Luca at the top in that category, yes. Others in Milan and Rome such as the branches of Caraceni also belong in that category, perhaps more so than Liverano. I wouldn’t say there is anyone superior to those.
I would say Brioni is in between perhaps. The finishing is very good, but overall it’s not being made to the same level as these top bespoke tailors.