Sunday, 17 August 2014

In Defence of Personal Taste

Another commentary piece this week, and one addressing a subject which is rather close to my heart, so please do forgive the incessant use of personal pronouns which are to follow. Having spent the last five weeks being fortunate enough to work in Mayfair and enjoy a stroll down Savile Row most lunchtimes, one thing that continues to impress is the sheer diversity of house cuts, styles of tailoring and particularly differences in the use of colour and pattern between tailors. 


For example, Norton & Sons will almost universally present in their window a clean and crisp silver-grey suit (possibly with a subtle worsted check) finished with a dark cashmere tie. Huntsman will offer a variety of loud tweeds, whilst Dege & Skinner may offer up a deeply traditional embroidered velvet smoking jacket, only a few doors down from Kilgour's daringly minimalistic grey sharkskin single breasted coat and black silk skinny tie. One of the great joys of Savile Row is this diversity; in the subtle differences in tradition and convention which mark each tailor apart. Different customers work with different tailors to suit their individual tastes. Without these differences, Savile Row would cease to exist and unremarkable boredom and homogeneity would reign supreme. Where would those who cared about their clothes go to?


 It is the caring individual's love of clothing that drives Savile Row as an entity, so in my humble view such things should be nurtured. I know for example that I'm a somewhat flamboyant dresser, but I enjoy being a flamboyant dresser and in my defence, everything that informs my dress sense is rooted in sartorial history and in a genuine appreciation and enjoyment of a maximalist approach to colour and pattern. So why gentlemen wandering up and down Savile Row in frankly unimaginative plain charcoal blazers and unremarkable white shirts feel the need to sneer (because certain parties have sneered) I do not know. It is important for those who engage with the world of tailoring to celebrate its individuality, without falling into the all too human pitfall of judging those who engage with their tailoring slightly differently - such divisions can easily do more harm than good and create tension and disunity, rather than a mutual respect for one another's style and clothes. Equally, those who have the luxury of bespoke suiting should not presume to judge those who cannot afford the same - I know many people who thoroughly enjoy wearing and feel good in considered and well thought through made-to-measure and off-the-peg outfits.


All fashion, like other forms of art (and I do like to think of tailoring as a kind of art-form in itself) is a deeply personal form of self-expression. That which is personal, is totally subjective and no one can be more right or wrong with respect to how fashion 'should be' for this reason. When writing, I often offer guidance as to the conventions of tailoring, or offer an insight into my own thought process - but I would never presume to critique or judge someone's personal taste in a negative fashion. If an individual feels more comfortable with the bottom button of his waistcoat done up, the world will not come to an end. In writing a blog offering style advice, I always aim to remember that such waffle is just that - advice. The joy of dressing is that rules can be retained, re-explored or even just down right rejected. If an individual looks and feels comfortable in their clothes - that is what matters and contrary to what some might think, it is that personal sense of comfort which brings with it an attractive and natural sense of style.


I sincerely hope that this offers some positive, rather than negative food for thought. Please rest assured that normal service will be resumed within the next few days, I have a fascinating insight into the world of bespoke shirt-making coming-up, so please stay tuned!

With kindest regards,

Aleks

3 comments:

  1. Very much enjoying your blog Aleksandar, looking forward to seeing the next posting.

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks Derek, a privilege to hear that you're enjoying, as always.

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    2. I hope I bump into you there one lunchtime and I would not sneer, but shake your hand warmly and congratulate you!

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