Classic menswear and bespoke
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This post is to highlight an interview Derek of Die, Workwear did with me for Put this On. Not surprisingly, the interview is about classic menswear and bespoke.
Here’s a clip from the interview:
Riding the line
One of the reasons why I wanted to feature you is because your style has an admirable sense of restraint, but things always look good. I find many men often fall into one of two camps — those that are too dandy and those that are too conservative. One can look a bit affected, the other barely distinguishing themselves from other men who wear a coat and tie. Do you have suggestions on how to successfully ride that line?
Thank you for your kind words. Perhaps interestingly, I don’t feel I have much natural flair for dressing well. Could be that is why I’m so tied up in clothing. I’m not in a hurry, though. I’m in it for the long run. I try to buy items that can fill-in places in my wardrobe for decades. Clothing has to be useful and, ideally, of very high-quality. It doesn’t mean I only buy handmade navy blue and charcoal suits, brown tweed jackets, and welted black oxford shoes. Yet, if I order a bold plaid sports coat at the tailor, usually I have thought through beforehand, how I could use the jacket with shirt, tie, trousers and shoes.
I also think honesty and comfort are important to get clothing right. We all imitate, however it’s crucial that we don’t lose ground in that process. There must be a strong link between you as a person and the outer look. It shines through, if the link is missing. Apart from a diffuse psychological dimension, a specific and large component of the link between man and clothes is good fit. Man and clothing should be in harmony with each other, physically. Sometimes I feel I can put on clothes arbitrarily and it will turn out well as long as all garments and accessories are good quality made for me.
Tailors and shoemakers
I know you use many craftspeople around the world for your wardrobe. May I ask who are some of the ones you rely on most for your clothes? Do you have any favorites? And if so, why do you like those particular makers?
I’ve given up finding a favorite suit and a favorite maker. I can see excellent qualities (and sometimes shortcomings) in a suit I have from Loris Vestrucci in Florence and in a suit I have from Volkmar Arnulf in Berlin, although they make completely different suits. Often I discover details later on that I fancy, for instance the swelled chest on my Malcolm Plews suit, or the delicate soft shoulder points on my jackets from Francesco Guida. What unites the different suits is that they connect to different parts of me. At least that I delude myself into thinking.
For shoes I’ve experienced a huge difference between bespoke shoemakers. I have a bunch of bespoke shoes from Warsaw (Januszkiewicz and Kielman), which are fine and better fitting than ready-to-wear shoes. Then I ordered a pair with Klemann in Hamburg. That was a revelation. Fit, style and make are so more refined at Klemann’s. The price, of course, is far above that of the Polish shoemakers as well.