Fine men's bespoke and made to measure tailoring

Why you need to think twice when buying a suit!

Sep 02 2013


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Thank goodness for IndustriALL Global Union who have been behind the introduction of an international agreement designed to improve working conditions and safety standards in Bangladeshi clothing factories.

It only took 1,100 people to die in one of the worlds worst industrial disasters for some western retailers to find their conscience – before that, all they were interested in were their profits.

But now 70 European based retailers, including H&M, Benetton and Carrefour will be responsible for all costs associated with improved inspections, training and other programs needed at Bangladeshi factories found to be in disrepair.

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However, let’s not get too excited. Bearing in mind that there are 3.6 million people working in Bangladeshi’s clothing sector earning £25 a month, this new agreement will only affect about one-fifth of more than 5,000 garment factories in Bangladesh.

And what about garment workers in China and India – who will be looking out for them?

1.       Why you need to care where your clothes are made

As a bespoke suit tailor with over 35 years in the clothing industry, I have always been conscious about where the suits I provide are made.

Here in the UK, we have a tendency to think more about the price rather than the actual quality of the garment or the conditions of the workers who make them.

You might think you are getting a good deal when you buy a cheap item of clothing – yes, it will look good to start with but take my advice, not only will the quality be lacking, but it will have a limited life span.

And can it really be acceptable to wear something which has been made by someone working in dreadful conditions being paid next to nothing?

That’s why we at Master Tailor have an open and honest ethos – all our suits are made in the EU and conform to EU legislation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2.       Aren’t cheap suits better value for money?

Absolutely not – remember you get what you pay for! There is nothing worse than seeing a three piece ‘tailored’ suit that doesn’t fit properly so this is not value for money, however much you paid.

But at the same time, you can spend a fortune on a ‘designer’ or branded three piece tailored suit and still come away with an ill fitting garment. As a bespoke suit tailor, I have had clients show me some of their designer suits and more often than not, they have been the wrong size, fit and shape for them.

To be honest, if you are paying £600 for a made to measure suit you will get a good suit but if you spend £900 on a ‘designer’ suit, you still get a suit that in reality is a £600 suit.

This is because many designers put their own individuality and expression into their suits and for this they charge the customer extortionate sums.

3.       How can I look my best?


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The key thing when buying a suit is to make sure it fits properly – of course, when you buy a made to measure suit, it should fit you like a glove. Here are my top tips for making sure you choose the right style.

If you are tall and slim


§         Avoid pinstripes as they emphasis narrowness

§         Wear a double breasted jacket

§         Wear pattern fabrics

§         Single breasted button three is fashionable but tend to lengthen the body

§         Avoid shirts with long collar points and narrow ties as they make the face look longer


If you are overweight


§         Avoid check designs and wear pinstripes and chalk stripes

§         Wear double breasted jackets as peaked lapels move the eye upwards from the waist

§         Wear medium to dark colours

§         Avoid button down or spread collar shirts – wear longer collar points

§         Wear a tie with a bold design


If you are short


§         Wear pinstripes and narrow chalk stripes

§         Wear a shorter length jacket as it will make you look taller

Remember a good suit should hug your shoulders and not slouch off them, whatever your shape.  

Is there anything the consumer can do to improve the conditions of clothing factories in the Far East, India and Bangladesh? What tips have you got for the perfect fitting suit?



Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice

How to wear a suit – the right way!

Aug 26 2013

It hasn’t been a good couple of months for Labour leader, Ed Miliband. Not only is he having to contend with the fury of Unite leader Len McCluskey over his plans to change how union members fund the Labour Party, but last week he became the victim of an egg pelting.

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And to top it all, 51% of voters say they do not like him – oh dear!

But in my view, he has far more serious things to worry about and should be concerned by the fact he isn’t wearing his suit properly.

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Every picture I see of him, I notice he fastens the lower button on his jacket instead, as it should be, just the top button.  If he wants to look like a Prime Minister in waiting, he needs to sort himself out and quickly.

Having been a made to measure tailor in North London for many years, I always tell my clients that the lower button on a suit jacket is just for show as the front of a jacket starts to curve away from this point once it is fastened and may cause tightness across the front – not a good look.

This is just one of the tips I give my customers. I often have to explain to them the finer points of how a suit should fit – it can make such a difference to how they look.

1. How can I make an impression?


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If you want to own the room as soon as you walk in, then you need to be wearing a perfectly fitting suit.  There is nothing like a first impression and it can make all the difference to what you want to do.

For instance, some years ago whilst on a beach holiday, I pulled myself away from the side of the pool, threw on my shorts and t-shirt to go into a neighbouring five star hotel to book a table for dinner.

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I approached the maître d’ of the restaurant and asked if I could book a table. He quickly advised that the restaurant for that night was full.

An hour later, I telephoned the restaurant to check availability for that evening and surprise surprise, I was able to book a table!

First impressions do count and you literally have seconds to get it right. If you want to learn how to wear a suit the right way, then you need to understand all the components of a suit.

2. How do I get the perfect fit?

When buying a made to measure suit in the UK, you need to pay attention to every aspect of the suit and how it fits your body. A made to measure suit should never just ‘hang’ on the shoulders – like it would if you bought it from the High Street.

Here is my step by step guide of what to look for when buying a bespoke suit:

The shoulders – a good suit should hug your shoulders and you in a firm, friendly way.

The collar – this should rise up about halfway on the shirt’s collar. If there is a space between the two, then this is not a good fit.

The gorge – this is where the lapels meet to create a V. Shorter men should get fitted with a high-gorge while tall men should get fitted with a low-gorge.

The lapel – nothing defines a suit louder than the lapels.

The pocket – wear your top pocket square to that all the attention is focussed on your chest and not your belly.

The sleeve – this is where you need to think about width. You should make sure these are tailored for a more sculpted look.

The buttons – as they say twos company, threes a crowd. Foolproof low buttons build a long, slim look.

Sleeve buttons – these should be functional as well as decorative. Leave a button undone if the suit was custom tailored for you. If you don’t, it won’t look right because sleeve buttons are designed to contribute to the slimming look of a jacket.

Sleeve buttons were designed to enable the sleeve to be rolled up, either for writing with a quill pen, or like in the old films where a Victorian doctor is washing his hands after being with a patient.

Jacket pockets – straight pockets really suit those with a larger build and are more traditional. However, slant pockets which have a slight upward angle are good choice.

Flaps – this gives your jacket a classic look.

Trousers – these should be trim with a flat-front but do make sure they stop at the top of your shoes.

3. What finishing touches can I add?

The tie – this is often the first thing that someone will notice about you. Try and keep it classy and bold and make sure it ends at your belt line. No longer, no shorter! Tuck the short end into the loop at the back of the tie.

A watch – every bespoke suit should have a timeless accessory so don’t skimp on the watch. A good tip is to consider a vintage model to finish off your look.

Shoes – I believe every man should own a pair of black lace-ups with real leather soles – anything less is unacceptable. Dress shoes should be as contoured as your suit and make sure you stay away from square toes.

4. Will this boost my confidence?

In my view, as a made to measure tailor in North London, a well-tailored suit will give you confidence like nothing else in your wardrobe.

When you have dressed for the part, you need to make sure you play the part so walk tall, stand to attention and control the space you exist in. What are you waiting for?

Have you ever found a made to measure suit has changed your life? Did it boost your confidence? How would you advise Ed Miliband to wear his suit?









Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Uncategorized

Why shouldn’t men wear red trousers?

Aug 10 2013

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Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber is in the news again, not for fighting with the paparazzi but for daring to wear red trousers – not a good thing according to the British public!

The Canadian pop star was snapped wearing an all in red number, including trousers, at one of his concerts.

But according to a recent poll, almost half said they weren’t keen on red trousers, while 24% admitted they didn’t “like it at all” when they saw men wearing them. Even celebrities, Jonathan Ross and Rio Ferdinand, keen advocates of wearing red, have failed to reverse opinions.


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And who has been responsible for this life-changing poll – none other than respected researchers YouGov, the organisation normally responsible for finding out which political party we like or dislike.

Apparently, red trousers are associated with “toffs” and “hipsters” but the first word that sprung to most people’s minds when asked what they thought about a man in red trousers was, would you believe it “red” – hardly an earth shattering revelation is it?

The next word associations were “gay” and “idiot” followed by “yuk”, “prat” and one too rude to repeat!

So what’s wrong with wearing red?  Socialite and fashion journalist Henry Conway wrote in a recent column that red trouser-wearing is something representative of the British upper-class.

As a men’s suit tailor, I just think there is nothing wrong with wearing what you want and I can’t understand why anyone would waste time trying to find out whether we like men wearing red trousers or not – has YouGov nothing better to do particularly with all that’s going on in the world?

A Monsieur Henri de Pantalon-Rouge celebrates the wearing of red trousers via a blog and website and I say good for him!

  1. Why you shouldn’t be dictated to by fashion 

Fashion is a funny thing – quite frankly people can look horrendous when trying to keep up with the latest trends. I also think that men who follow so called fashion really are incapable of thinking for themselves.

An example of this is during a recent business trip to Munich. Whilst waiting at Manchester airport, I had the unfortunate ‘pleasure’ of mingling with hordes of holiday makers jetting off on their annual vacation.


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And what a mismatch of clothes I saw – contrasting colours mixed with brand labels that looked just awful. These people were all following so-called fashion and it was not a pretty sight!

At Munich, however, during a four hour wait for my return flight home, I was amazed to see that the average German passenger was still casually dressed but was colour co-ordinated giving an air of self-confidence and well-being.

As a men’s suit tailor, this is what I try to instil in my clients. Some of them like to look at current trends, but at the same time want to add their own touches to make them stand out from everyone else.

Quite recently I made a 100% bright yellow two-piece linen tailored suit for a very large well-built gentlemen – he looked amazing and was very pleased to be able to express his own interpretation of fashion.

  1. How can I look stylish? 

Men’s clothes need to reflect the busy lives they lead but I always advise my clients to choose a style and fabric that suits their size and shape. This is a key factor when buying clothes – you need them to complement your figure.

Remember no-one has a perfect shape so don’t compromise on fit and style, especially when your tailored suits can be made to fit you. Choosing a suit shouldn’t be rushed, it’s rather like drinking a fine wine!

When getting measured for a suit, a good suit tailor will always discuss with you your current wardrobe – your likes and dislikes. This way you will get the suit you want.

  1. What type of fabric should I choose? 

A suit is only as good as the fabric it is made from. A knowledgeable suit tailor should talk with passion when discussing the various weaves, materials, fibres and counts of wool. These days, fabrics are getting lighter in weight and the counts of wool finer.

Here are some to the types of fabric you might get told about:

Pinstripe – a fine or broken vertical line
Chalk stripe – a thicker stripe
Bird’s eye – a diamond shape
Prince of Wales – a square check design
Herringbone – the weave resembles the bones of a Herringbone fish
Tweed– usually woven from coarse wool – ideal for sports jackets or country suits
Flannel – a smooth woollen cloth
Cavalry twill – a diagonal weave usually made into trousers

A good tip is to ask your tailor to let you have some samples of cloth before you make a decision. Don’t be shy, he can only say no!

Are there any other colour trousers that men shouldn’t wear? What has been your fashion faux pas?

Category: made to measure, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News, Tailoring Secrets

Having a suit made in the Far East? Why you need to be careful

Aug 01 2013


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Have you noticed how clothes sizes seem to vary? A 32” waist trouser can be one size in one shop and a completely different size in another. No longer can you buy a suit off the peg and expect it to fit according to the size advertised.

And what do you do if you can’t mix and match and you are a 36” waist but 40” chest – this is just one of the problems when buying a ready to wear suit.

Of course, as a custom suit tailor, I am going to always recommend you invest in a custom made suit and preferably under my supervision. However, I know many of you when on business in the Far East will be tempted by the cheaper prices and quick turnaround.

But be careful. While many tailors in the Far East are amongst the finest craftsmen in the world, there are some who claim their suits are bespoke and hand tailored when in fact they are not.

A client of mine told me a story recently about the first time he ordered a made to measure suit in Hong Kong. It was delivered to his hotel 22 hours later but just as he was leaving for the airport, so he was unable to try it on.
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Once at home, he discovered that one shoulder was a good inch wider than the other, the sleeves were so tight he could not bend his arms and the trousers were so well-fitting they resembled the stovepipe pants favoured by rockers in the 1950s!

Even though his name had been sewn on the inside pocket of the jacket, it was quite obvious that the suit had been made for a very thin person with a substantial deformity.

It remained hanging in his wardrobe for some time to remind him never to buy a made to measure suit in Hong Kong again.

1. What do I need to watch out for?


Anna Powell courtesy of The Guardian

There is a big difference between European sizing patterns and Far Eastern sizing patterns with the latter not always suited to the European shape and fit.

In women’s ready to wear clothing, this has been a big problem because many clothes are now made in the Far East as well as India and Bangladesh and they don’t fit European women properly. One frustrated shopper, computer programmer Anna Powell-Smith set up a website after reading an article which criticised shops for their misleading labelling.

What Size Am I? asks women to enter their bust, waist and hip measurements, then calculates what dress size they should go for at a range of High Street retailers.

2. How can I make sure the tailor I choose will make my  suit?


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Unfortunately, you can’t. Most workshops in the Far East only employ a few staff so if they have too many orders, your order is more than likely going to be outsourced to someone else.

The danger of this is that you don’t know if the material you chose for your custom made suit is the same one and if it has been put together to the same standards as used by the tailor you employed.

Most of these custom suit tailors have one objective – to put suits together as quickly and cheaply as possible. Remember 24-hour suits will be made from a cheap fabric which is more than likely not going to last 24 hours!

  1. How bespoke will my suit be? 

Be very careful of adverts claiming to offer bespoke or hand tailored suits. If a suit is a genuine bespoke suit it means it will be made to Savile Row standards which can cost £2000 or more.  If you‘re not paying that, then it could be nothing more than a poor substitute.

I had this recently when a new client showed me a suit that had been advertised as ‘hand made’. I didn’t have to look very hard to see it had been machine-made and many shortcuts in putting it together had been taken. To be honest it looked like a cheap blazer and for that, he had paid over £300.

Sometimes, you will find the adverts also claim to use the latest technology to capture your measurements but the reality is they just use a digital camera, so be warned! 

  1. How can I tell if the fabric they offer is good  quality?

Many tailors in the Far East will give the impression the fabrics they offer are European made but most times they are Far Eastern copies.

Warning signs are when you are told that the ideal fabric for a suit for work should be manmade. Or you are told that the cloth they will use will be cashmere or 130’s pure wool when in fact it is a cheap copy.

It you are told it is cashmere, you should always check it. The best way to do this is to rub it against your chin, which is the most sensitive part of the skin. If it itches, then it is definitely not pure cashmere!

Another test is to see if looks shiny like silk. If it has a shine it might mean that it contains rayon which can make the fabric feel very soft.

Have you had any suit nightmares? What advice would you give to anyone buying a made to measure suit?

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Shirts, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice

How to Dress for Business – My Top Tips!

Jul 25 2013


courtesy of The Huffington Post

I hear the strangest stories in my job, but perhaps nothing quite as strange as that of Swedish train drivers swapping their trousers for skirts after their bosses banned them from wearing shorts in the hot weather!

What makes it worse is that the train company, Arriva, described wearing the skirts as “decent and proper” when representing the company. Have they gone mad? Read More

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Shirts, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice

Other people’s perception of who we are

Nov 22 2012

One of my customers a Nigerian lawyer living in Fulham London was recently telling me about people’s perceptions about how we dress. He likes his bespoke suits to be well fitted and look very sharp. When walking down his street wearing a suit on his way to work people nod or say hello in a polite and friendly manner. By contrast if he is going to the gym on a dark evening wearing a hooded top the same ‘people’ look at him with a terrified expression in case he is a ‘hoodie’. It is the same person but his clothes do make a difference. This reinforces the fact we are all judged by our appearance and also how easy it is to create the wrong impression.


Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News

A suit and a Camera

Nov 22 2012

Recently I commissioned some photography for one of our other websites. The photographer was an excellent chap called Andy Snaith . I was struck by the similarities between the eye for detail of a professional tailor and that of the photographer. A suit that doesn’t fit or is badly made is the same as a simple snapshot. The photo may seem ok until you compare the same result from the professional photographer. If you have never had a professionally made to measure suit you cannot appreciate the difference when compared to ‘off the peg’

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, made to measure, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News

Travel in comfort and arrive in style

Feb 05 2012

One concern of many customers who travel on business is that they want their suits to have minimal creasing. We can now offer either a high twist wool/polyester with Lycra which has a very soft handle and is a pleasure to wear for all our made to measure suits. Plus the prices are quite reasonable!

Alternatively we have some new Fresco suit cloths from J J Minnnis. This is the travel original cloth brought up to date. The Fresco weave was patented in Huddersfield in 1907 by Martin & Sons (part of the same group). You can now enjoy wearing modern made to measure suit designs that incorporate proven technology that is over 100 years old. Many mills also have their own high twist travel suit cloths but don’t really compare to the 1907 original. There is a wide choice of designs and including some fabrics that have a linen look without the creasing. If you would like to view either of the travel ranges please either call or email and I would be delighted to show them to you.

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suit Cloth, Suits, Tailoring Advice, Tailoring News, Tailoring Secrets

A busy week, Munich, Monaco and London!

Feb 05 2012

I am always asked how I spend my days and still always turn up with the goods on time every time.

Last week was a very busy week. On Tuesday I flew to Munich for the day to personally deliver some suits and jackets to a Russian client. On Wednesday I drove to Heathrow and on Thursday flew to Nice to meet two Norwegian clients in Monaco (I did have a leisurely lunch at the Café de Paris) Flew back to London that night. On Friday I met other clients in Savile Row and the city. Saturday saw a trip to Ascot and then headed back to Yorkshire.  Fortunately my Blackberry and ipad kept me in touch with my office and other clients.

I certainly do meet a lot of very interesting people and I really appreciate their trust and confidence in my ability. In turn I always try to make sure that they receive the care and attention to every last detail.

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Suits

A difficult choice

Feb 05 2012

Some customers find it difficult to make a decision as to which fabric to choose for their new made to measure suit. I am always very patient with them as the choices on offer are so vast. Sometimes I see a suit fabric and I know straight away it is right for the customer. Other times it needs some discussion as to the type of garment, how and when it is to be worn, their body size and complexion is also a factor as well.  Choosing suit cloth is like choosing a fine wine you need to savour the different weights, textures, designs, and various natural fibre blends to eventually reach a decision. If after reading this you decide to buy a bespoke or made to measure suit don’t be embarrassed if you take your time. I will fully understand and be very patient!

Category: Bespoke Suits, Business Suits, Designer Suits, Suits, Tailoring Advice


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