A Double-Breasted Chalkstripe

Sunday, May 23, 2010
I had another particularly excellent charity shop find last week. As with the Hackett suit I posted about a while back, I'm sometimes amazed at the kind of things that occasionally end up in charity shops being sold for 1/50th or even 1/100th of their original price. Anyway, last week I stumbled across a particularly good find - a Savile Row bespoke double-breasted suit in charcoal grey with a chalkstripe. The label says it was made in 1996, so it's a good 13-14 years old but, as you would hope with a Savile Row suit, is still in outstanding condition.

It's made of a lovely soft worsted wool which is nicer than on any other suit I own. More importantly, the jacket fitted me almost perfectly, while the trousers were just slightly too small. After a number of people had recommended them to me, I decided to go to Graham Browne in the City to get the adjustments made. As I'd been told, they are very good value and did an excellent job.

The name on the suit label happens to be that of a multi-millionaire businessman and d-list celebrity much loved by Tatler and the like. I can't be certain that my suit actually belonged to this gentleman, and not to someone else of the same name, however I have a feeling it did. The suit has a relatively unusual feature which I have seen on other suits owned by this gentleman in photos, so it does seem likely it was once his. The feature is a turned-back cuff on the sleeve, something I have only seen a few times before, and generally only on bespoke suits although, as with almost anything, I don't doubt there are some off-the-peg manufacturers who offer it.

I don't know that I'd have chosen this myself, if I were commissioning the suit, but it's an interesting feature that I've come to quite like having on just one of my suits. I don't quite know where this style derives from, or why it is so uncommon now. I think it adds a touch of informality which helps soften the rather traditional lines of a double breasted pin-stripe or chalk-stripe. At any rate, it's something a bit new and unusual, which is always good.