Monday, April 22, 2013

Recommended: The custom blazer from the king's tailor

Editor's note — This is part of a continuing Pinstripes and Tweed series on custom clothing

You may recall I was measured back in December at Benson & Clegg’s charming shop in the Piccadilly Arcade, which is just off Jermyn Street and only a couple of blocks from the legendary Savile Row.

While Benson & Clegg — tailor to the late King George VI, of “The King’s Speech” fame — offers a traditional bespoke service, made-to-measure is a more practicable option for Americans, as the multiple fittings required for bespoke cannot be done in a single trip to London.


The proprietors also make regular trips to both New York and Washington and are looking to take their trunk shows to other cities, which is great news for those who want to experience some of London’s finest tailoring without having to fly across five time zones.

The blazer, commissioned in traditional navy barathea weave from Yorkshire-based Dugdale Bros. & Co., has a spiffy green lining with hacking pockets, side vents, gilt buttons featuring an American eagle and half-canvassing. Cut in a trimmer fit with a shorter and more contemporary length, the blazer is very dashing and can be paired with just about everything.

If I had to do things differently, I probably would have had a ticket pocket added and might have considered a fifth button at the cuffs. Speaking of buttons, the bottom two buttons are made functional by Benson & Clegg upon delivery as sleeve length alterations with already functional surgeon’s cuffs can be difficult.

From an American perspective, the blazer is classic English style. The shoulders, while perfect in fit, are padded — a detail that some adherents of Ivy-style might find objectionable. One thing Benson & Clegg could do as it further expands into the U.S. market is offer a three-roll-two lapel, which at present is only available with the bespoke service.

The bottom line: Benson & Clegg’s made-to-measure service is exceptional quality at an incredible value. There is simply no substitute for the personal service, craftsmanship and tailoring expertise one gets with such an established and highly regarded tailor.

 — Dennis Lennox

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