English Cut: Bringing bespoke tailoring into the general consciousness

Thomas Mahon's English Cut is a glimpse into the world of bespoke tailoring, a world I was completely unaware of prior to his web site. I was particularly fascinated by his description of how to recognise the work of Anderson & Sheppard by inspecting the pockets. It is this attention to detail that really makes the difference between good and great. I like to think that every now and then one of my own essays, say on the fine details of scroll bars or on supporting double-clicked radio buttons, also helped someone raise the quality of their software from good to great.

Mr. Mahon's partner in crime is Hugh Macleod who points out that the blog is the main driver of new business. Remember that the next time somebody tries to start a marketing blog. Mr. Mahon's web site shares his knowledge with us, teaching us about his craft, and does so in a conversationally engaging manner. Even when he's selling himself, he does so while praising his competition.

Comments (12)
  1. Gabe says:

    "It’s just a suit!"

    I’ve heard people say similar things about a $4000 computer, and the computer won’t last you 20 years like the suit will.

  2. Vorn says:

    $4,000 suits aren’t designed for the "it keeps me warm" people. Every stitch, every bit of fabric, every fastener, it’s all made to make the wearer look and feel like a king.

    Would I buy a $4,000 suit? Absolutely.


  3. Gene says:

    Yeow. I think someone is way, way, over the top.

    These are *clothes* people! If it keeps me warm and has a pocket to put my wallet, that’s all I need.

    $4000 for a suit! Crack monkeys.

  4. Lionell Griffith says:

    Get real. A $4000 suit? No way. Jeans, a T-shirt or Polo-shirt, and running shoes are good enough. Suits are for empty people who have nothing of substance to offer (ie. managers, con artists, etc.). What counts is what you have on the inside and what you can deliver. Your outside appearance is irrelevant to that.

    People who need to feel warm and fuzzy by what you are wearing aren’t worth the time an trouble to do anything with but ignore. People who can deliver only the warm and fuzzy to others are’t worth even that much.

    PS: Software written while wearing a suit and tie has bugs.

  5. Gabe says:

    While I can hardly imagine ever owning a $4k suit, I think there is definitely something to be said for fine craftsmanship. We’re talking about a suit cut to specification, made with hand-woven fabric. This is a quality item, a work of sartorial art if you will, not some crap thrown together in a Chinese sweatshop.

    Another important aspect of bespoke tailoring is that the tailor takes your measurements and designs a suit to fit you perfectly. Every cut, every seam specifically to fit your body. These are the type of clothes that are meant to be comfortable in regular daily wear.

    I’ve never owned a suit because those types of clothes are never comfortable; they never fit me right. That wouldn’t be the case with a bespoke suit. If I ever need a suit (and am rich enough), that is definitely the kind I would get.

    On the other hand, if I ever get rich enough and don’t need I suit, I would still like a tailor to make me jeans, some t-shirts, and some boxer shorts.

  6. dave says:

    "PS: Software written while wearing a suit and tie has bugs."

    software written while breathing has bugs.

  7. Hugh MacLeod says:

    Funnily enough, Gene, the more people who agree with you, the easier it is for us to make a sale.

    Because having a large part of the population firmly opposed to to the idea of buying a $4000 suit is actually WONDERFUL marketing for us. Nothing like a bit of controversy to spread the idea-virus.

    Kinda neat, no?

  8. JamesW says:

    I get my made to measure suits when I’m out in India. Every bit as much care taken, great fabric and the suit is made precisely too my measurements. It just costs $200 :)

  9. Marcel says:

    "PS: Software written while wearing a suit and tie has bugs."

    While I personally would not want to code dressed up like this, I think Raymond is known for wearing a tie to work every day. So writing this on his blog is kind of ironic.

  10. Hugh MacLeod says:

    Lionell, you comment makes me think of Oscar Wilde:

    "Only shallow people think appearances are unimportant."


  11. Gene says:

    I do have to admit, in the spirit of full disclosure, that while I wouldn’t spend $4K for a suit, I did spend $2K for racing leathers, and regularly spend $600/per for riding jackets. I insist my clothes have function as well as form.

    How can you say "a suit will last for 20 years" and feel honest?

    I have gone through many a jacket as my personal shape changed[1], and while they’re still hanging in the closet in perfect shape, they’re unwearable.

    [1] i.e. as I’ve gone from a skinny twit (150lbs) to a Fat Bastard (260lbs)

  12. hugh macleod says:

    Twenty years wear for a Savile Row suit is not uncommon, Gene.

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