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Traditional British style men’s tailoring is big fashion news right now. Across the pond, our American cousins are clamouring to look like English aristos, a side effect due in no small part to the massive popularity shows like Downtown Abbey have found with the US telly watching public.
The trend has no doubt been boosted by the recent financial problems the UK has seen, with a return to nostalgia providing people with the comfort they need during times of economic strife. But it’s not just hard times and television shows that are entirely responsible for the recent return to a more refined style, the look has been sported by many influential male celebs such as David Beckham, actors Daniel Craig and George Clooney, and male model David Gandy to name but a few.
This enthusiastic sporting of trad tailoring by celebs is what has really put dressing like a dandy so firmly back into the mainstream, replacing the jeans, Vans, and ironic slogan t-shirts that were the go to choice of fashion conscious hipster men for so many years during the 2000’s.
Trad tailors like London’s oldest shirtmaker Turnbull and Asser are reporting a dramatic rise in sales of their bespoke shirts, and credit the new found popularity of custom tailoring as being partly due to the Downtown effect.
“I believe men in general have learned to dress a little better, and well-dressed programmes like Downtown do inspire them to dress correctly,” says Turnbull’s head cutter David Gale.
But whether its British men turning back to traditional styling details, or our American cousins clamouring for a piece of our sartorial savvy, dressing dapper is big news right now and the trend looks firmly set to stay for the considerable future.
There’s another reason too, why dressing like a posh boy is firmly back on trend. Traditionally tailored clothes hark back to a more innocent time, a world of manners and etiquette , a nicer, more idealistic age that appeals to our 21st century jaded, hard bitten senses.
We all want a piece of comforting luxury now, it’s become the sartorial equivalent of a bowl of rhubarb and custard or a plate of bangers and mash, something both quintessentially British and strangely reassuring. Somehow investing in a bespoke piece seems less extravagant, perhaps even more ethical in the long run, which is something we all seem to want more and more of these days, perhaps as a counterweight to our fast paced, increasingly throwaway culture.
Whereas once a traditional shoemakers like Foster and Sons, on London’s prestigious Jermyn Street, would have typically only seen the likes of the Eton set, now as the brand’s Chairman Richard Edgecliffe-Johnson reports, more and more style conscious middle class men are flocking to get shod in the brand’s luxury leather footwear.
And while customers from across the pond may initially be drawn in to dressing like a dapper gent because of the celebrity influence, they stay hooked because of the sheer quality of British craftmanship, and the unique attention to detail and luxury that just can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
British tailoring is still seen as the benchmark of quality globally and us Brits continue to innovate and impress. The number one reason this classic look is one that men love to return to again and again is because it never dates – after all, does dressing with all the panache of 007 ever really go out of style?