These are the best off-the-peg suits you need right now
Style — 4 weeks
As well as being home to some of the world’s most influential gentlemen, Britain has produced some of the greatest – and most well-known – brands in the world. From motoring and menswear to fine wines and fragrances, here are the 50 Best Brands our nation has to offer…
Unrivalled in every sense of the word, there’s no doubt that Barbour deserves its place on this rarified list. Not only does the British fashion brand have a heritage-heavy great story behind it, it is also one of the best in the game for functional and beautiful outerwear guaranteed to last for years to come.
Headed up by James Eden, and with Nick Ashley, son of one of the most successful British designers in the world, Laura Ashley, as brand ambassador, Private White V.C has become the place to head for structured and stylish outerwear. Worn most famously by David Gandy, these chic garments are understated, meticulously-designed and virtually indestructible.
James Eden, CEO: “Unlike a lot of brands, we craft our garments in our own factory in Manchester, and take total ownership of the entire process, from fabric to finish. We think this does more than improve just quality.
“It shows that our garments are made with affection, consideration and passion- something that you can really feel when you pull on one of our pieces; they give you a stronger connection to your clothes, and a truer sense of ownership.”
Private White V.C
Every sophisticated, modern gentleman should be familiar with Oliver Spencer, which has over time become one of the world’s most sought-after and followed luxury menswear brands. From market stall to catwalk, Spencer abandoned studenthood in favour of a stall at Portobello Market and today, alongside developing his distinctive design style, Spencer has set new industry standards for uncompromising production and provenance.
Hackett is one of the most quintessentially British brands there is, combining years of second-to-none designs with perfect manufacturing and everything in between. Another success story from Portobello Road, the brand launched in 1979, and has gone on to become a specialist in formal men’s shirts – among other smart casual and undeniably stylish garments.
No such list would be complete without those stalwarts of the big British brands: Land Rover, a brand associated with all aspects of Great Britain – and for good reason too. The car brand was founded in 1948 and has been making waves off-road and throughout towns and cities all around the world ever since. With recent forays into electric vehicles, they are staying at the vanguard of progress, whilst honouring a heritage-laden legacy.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover: “Land Rover is an iconic British brand that’s on a journey of transformation. Our tireless commitment to offer vehicles customers love for life is at the core of everything we do and as we celebrate our 70th year we continue to create vehicles that are universally desirable while maintaining the essence of the unique nature of our brand.”
Purdey is a brand synonymous with the English countryside; one whose heritage is at the forefront of everything that it does and produces. Purdey has been going strong since 1814 and continues to be one of the most sought-after British brands there is, keeping you well kitted-out in great gear in the not-so-great British weather.
James Horne, CEO: “Every element of each Purdey product, whether it be guns and rifles or clothing and accessories, has been designed to the smallest detail to ensure the customer has something of outstanding quality that will last the test of time.
“The word ‘craftsmanship’ epitomises everything about Purdey and the world’s interest in the beauty of traditional British luxury. It is all about the care, attention to detail and quality that is produced.”
Something you might not know about Northampton – unless you hail from the East-Midlands town – is that it’s a place commonly associated with shoemaking, and has been since the Middle Ages. Crockett & Jones is arguably the best in this bastion of footwear, founded in 1889 and remaining wildly popular to this day for their handmade shoes and boots.
James Fox, Marketing Director: “It gives Crockett & Jones great pleasure to have been included in TGJ’s 50 Best British Brands for 2018. We have supported the TGJ, with great delight, from the very beginning. C&J’s company ethos is all about longevity: We bring quality and value to footwear, focusing on what our customers really want in their footwear collections. TGJ perfectly compliments this through their journalism and also the brands they choose to align themselves with.”
Crockett & Jones
Holland & Holland have been at the pinnacle of British gun making for over a century but the roots of the company are rather unconventional. The founder was not a gunmaker, but a London tobacconist.
But, from smokey beginnings, the brand has matured into one of the most highly-respected field sporting brands in the world, producing guns and accessories with unrivalled distinction and some of the best materials in the world.
Holland & Holland
When you think diamonds, you think Boodles. Customers travel from around the world to visit this luxury jewellers, whose reputation for quality and excellence has remained without parallel since it was established in 1798. Committed and focused on achieving excellence in all facets of design, craftsmanship and service, they are not just one of the finest and most refined brands in Britain, but the world.
A fragrance that’s worthy of a gentleman can be a difficult thing to come by. There’s so much competition out there, with many signature scents coming from the continent or our friends across the pond. But a fragrance in a league of its own – created in the heart of London and epitomising all the class and sophistication of a true gent – is Floris. James Bond creator Ian Fleming favoured the brand for his superspy, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you.
Joseph Bullmore, Editor of Gentleman’s Journal: “I love that London’s premier perfumer is still run and owned by the same family. Edward Bodenham, current custodian of the Floris family values, has a nose like a bloodhound and an incredible eye for marketing. I’m very fond of the company’s new limited edition Islay number, which has some very distinctive peaty notes. “
Bentley has unparalleled heritage and stature in the ever-competitive automotive world. With restrictions on the rise, it’s an industry that is increasingly difficult to stand out in, and few have managed to keep such a British identity whilst adhering to limitations in emissions and design. But Bentley still produces some of the most coveted cars in the world – with each and every one of them handcrafted right here in Britain, in their Crewe factory.
Since 1904, Rolls-Royce has been making some of the most iconic cars around – not to mention introducing more automobile innovations than you can shake a V8 at. A name that’s heavily associated with English heritage and history, no best-of British brands list is complete without Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars: “Rolls-Royce motor cars are an expression of something I see as quintessentially British; that exhilarating and fertile tension that exists between rebellion and tradition. True British luxury is the result of an instinctive fluency in heritage but a restless urge to reinterpret it.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Top hats and fedoras are an accessory synonymous with the English gent, and Lock & Co are the brand to go to for such an item. Heritage and tradition are at the heart of Lock & Co’s ethos, and as the brand has been around since the 1600s, they know what they’re doing.
Richard Biedul, Brand Ambassador: “As rich in history as it is in innovation and design, Lock & Co. Hatters are to me, synonymous with the word quality. Proud of their British heritage but also astutely aware that it is no longer the 1676. Their contemporary approach to millinery and textiles has lead them to create my favorite hat of all time, the Watchman beanie, which I wear religiously come rain or shine...”
Lock & Co
For a brand that’s been going since 1893, Dunhill have an incredible way of staying contemporary and classic throughout every single season – and this eclectic but brand-strong history is a massive part of their charm. Dunhill has gone from selling everything from car parts to pipes and tobacco to some of the most sought after clothing in the world – both jacks and masters of almost all trades.
Joseph Bullmore, Gentleman’s Journal Editor: “The brand that started life as a London bridle maker has since put its marque on everything from perfume to backgammon boards to cigarettes. But it’s the house’s incredible leather goods that keep us coming back for more — No leather smells quite like dunhill leather.”
No best-of-British list would be complete without the inclusion of an incredible UK-based cashmere brand. Enter Johnstons of Elgin. Since they were first established in 1797, the company is still run by the same two families that started it, the Johnsons and the Harrisons. It is this stability at the heart of the brand, which has forged a powerful identity and deep understanding of quality production.
Alan Scott, Creative Director, Johnstons of Elgin: “For over 220 years, Johnstons of Elgin has produced the best cashmere in the UK. We’re thrilled that this has been recognised and to be included in the Best British Brands once more, alongside such good company.”
Johnston's of Elgin
In 1865, New & Lingwood opened as a uniform shop for Eton. Since then, the tailors have outfitted generation upon generation of students, dressing some of Britain’s most elite pupils in their tailcoats, wing-collared shirts and, in the early days, top hats and gloves. They are unorthodox, exuberant and truly fantastic at what they do.
Simon Maloney, Product & Marketing Director: “Britishness is at the very heart of New & Lingwood . It informs and inspires every collection, every piece of styling and directly influences the vast majority of our fabric choices and designs.
“Britain is home to many of the best woollen mills, silk weavers, shoemakers and tailors in the world and they in turn continue to fuel and define many of the world’s greatest brands. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be able to work with them and without their collaboration , our range would be far less rich. It’s the quality and character of these cloths that have characterised New & Lingwood for the past 150 years.
“The joy of working with GJ is that they completely understand the value and contribution of the British Menswear industry and support it through their sharp, informed and considered writing which is then punctuated and illustrated by their impeccable photography.”
New & Lingwood
Burberry is a rare example of a brand that has transcended its country of origin. British it may be, but Burberry has forged a reputation stronger than any nation. After a meteorically stylish rise since being established in 1856 by the eponymous Thomas Burberry, the brand has created fashion staples to become one of the most respected brands in the world – from the trench coat, to the iconic check.
Challenge almost any British gent to name a wine merchants, and the likelihood is they’ll answer Berry Bros. & Rudd. With a Royal Warrant from the Queen, and more prestigious wine awards than you can shake a corkscrew at, this brand is as British as you can get, and becomes more and more established with every year that passes – which, given its origins in 1698, is a lot.
Geordie Willis, Creative Director: “We’re extremely proud to be recognised as a leading British Brand. For over 300 years we have strived to bring the world of wines and spirits to life for our customers around the world, balancing our heritage with innovation; learning from the past whilst constantly thinking about the future.”
Berry Bros & Rudd
When you think Savile Row, several brands spring to mind – chief amongst them, Hardy Amies. Sir Edwin Hardy Amies himself was best known as the official dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II. But, today, the tailor’s brand is one of the most highly respected in the world, with clients such as the Royal Family themselves on the books. So, purchase anything from this Savile Row stalwart, and you know you’ll be in good company.
Holding a Royal Warrant from the Britain’s monarchs is something that every British brand aspires to. Ettinger, among a handful of other purveyors of quality products on this list, have achieved this aim. Founded in 1934, the company has build a reputation almost as strong as its leather goods – one put together carefully and slowly, and likely to last a lifetime as a result.
Robert Ettinger, CEO: “Established in London by my father nearly eight five years ago, Ettinger is one of the few remaining and increasingly successful British leather goods manufacturers. Quality has always been at the heart of our manufacturing and we pride ourselves on designing and hand-crafting only the finest products. This includes accessories, bags and briefcases and all items are made at our factory in the midlands.”
Friend to Gentleman’s Journal, Paul Smith is one of the most successful designers in the world. Boasting a brand of stature, sophistication, success – and stripes – he is consistently and unapologetically proud of his British roots, which feature massively in most of his collections and individual designs. Paul Smith is a simple name – but one we will continue to hear for years and years to come.
Paul Smith: “A sense of modern Britishness is certainly at the core of Paul Smith. I hope people will think that there’s an elegant eccentricity to what I do, I try to add an element of the unexpected to classic designs.”
Every British household will likely have, tucked away somewhere, or burning bright for all to see, a hint of Jo Malone. Synonymous with British success, the brand is the very definition of sophisticated yet understated luxury, and has a history as varied and rich as its range of scents.
Henry Poole holds not one, but two, warrants from the Royal Family – which tells you all you need to know about the heritage, quality and traditions of the brand. Hailing again from Savile Row, the tailor cut its first suit in 1806, and still prides itself over two centuries later on creating some of the most beautiful bespoke suits in the world.
Turnbull & Asser recently celebrated their 130th year in the shirting industry and are yet another proud owner of a Royal Warrant. World-renowned for making some of the finest clothing in the world, Turnbull & Asser live on to be one of the most successful and well-known brands in the world. And, as with Floris, they’ve also created wares for 007 himself, one of the highest seals of approval for a British brand.
Mr. Jonathan Baker, COO: “We are elated to be part of the 50 Best British Brands, as selected by The Gentleman’s Journal. To see ourselves alongside such esteemed company makes us extremely proud.”
Turnbull & Asser
With a factory that sits in the middle of Gloucester in a beautiful 18th century townhouse, Emma Willis is about as British as it gets. The brand creates some of the most luxurious shirts, boxer shorts, pyjamas and dressing gowns in the world; clothes truly fit for a gentleman and bespoke items imbued with heritage that will last you a lifetime.
Emma Willis: “Thank you GJ for including us in your 50 Best Brands. Your sincere support for British craftsmanship and skills and our charity Style for Soldiers are exemplified in all the support you give us in the beautiful editorials you create. I can’t imagine how I styled my Jermyn Street shop now without the stunning Gentlemans Journal!”
John Smedley’s factory sits in Derbyshire, in the heart of the British countryside – and is about as English as you can get. The building has been sitting there since the brand was founded during the Industrial Revolution in 1784 and, as such, each garment produced by the company has a little piece of quintessential England woven into its very fabric.
Jess McGuire-Dudley, Marketing and Design Director at John Smedley: “With every operation, from cotton dyeing to final garment labelling and everything in between taking place at our home in Lea Mills, Derbyshire, we bear the Royal Warrant of HRH The Queen as a symbol of our commitment to producing the finest quality, British products. We’re a stalwart of British manufacturing and we intend to remain as loyal and committed to British manufacturing for another 230 years plus and beyond!”
Aspinal is one of the most well-known British brands for luxurious luggage and meticulously-made leather goods. Continuing to create some of the finest items in the world, and working with iconic British models such as David Gandy, this is a brand that acknowledges the joint importance of craftsmanship and image – and has succeeded in excelling in both.
Aspinal CEO, Lisa Montague: “Aspinal of London is a pioneering and fast-growing British brand that started online and enjoys very close contact with its customers, appealing to stylish men and women and solving all their gift conundrums with beautifully crafted leather goods, all of which can be personalised, exquisitely packaged and delivered to surprise and delight friends and family. Our home is in leafy West Sussex, our flagship store in St. James’s London and our designs are treasured in town and country, at home and abroad.”
Aspinal of London
Asprey: a brand that has been setting standards since the 1700s and who continues to hold its place in the British market today. Creators of some of the world’s finest silverware, watches, leather and handbags, Asprey firmly holds its place as one of England’s most loved, most respected and most diverse British brands.
Sunspel was founded in 1860, at the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution and during a period of earth-shaking, world-wide change. Thomas Hill, Sunspel’s founder, set out with a vision that still epitomises the brand today: To create simple, everyday clothing from beautiful fabrics. The company’s success comes down to this simplicity, and long may it continue.
Kent and Curwen was established in 1926 by two English gentlemen – no points for guessing their names – and began its life as a manufacturer of military, club and college repp ties that helped define rakish 20th century British style. The brand now creates items that serve as the foundation of a gentleman’s modern day style, building its foundations on foundation pieces, and creating a solid footing as one of the most quintessentially British brands on this list.
Kent & Curwen
Creators of some of the most incredible leather shoes in the world, Oliver Sweeney firmly holds its place, year after year, as being one of the most sought-after and well-respected British brands in the world. Oliver Sweeney have been creating incredible, comfortable and beautifully designed shoes for 25 years and continue to be one the world leaders in their field.
Levison Wood, Brand Partner: “Oliver Sweeney combines that rare blend of luxury, quality and solid practicality. Their craftsmen go the extra mile to ensure that every product is hand finished to the highest standard and the design process is reassuringly detail conscious. I’ve loved collaborating with the team and coming up with some surprising innovative pieces like the explorers espadrille and a new range of bags.”
Every gentleman should have a taste for the finer things in life, and that includes a beautiful bottle of sparkling wine. For over 25 years, the Nyetimber Vineyard has been creating the finest English sparkling wine – believe it or not, it does exist – and it’s the bubbly your flutes have be waiting for.
Cherie Spriggs, Head Winemaker: “At Nyetimber, we are driven by a pursuit of producing exceptional sparkling wines and a passion for British craftsmanship, which is why we are delighted to have been recognised as one of the top fifty British brands by Gentleman’s Journal. We continue to pioneer and demonstrate the superb qualities of this nation for wine production, and what it means to be a leading British luxury brand.”
When you think whisky, you think Glenfiddich. The Scottish brand has been creating the finest drams a gentleman can drink since 1886 and, with the distillery still sitting in remote Scotland, Glenfiddich is as British a brand as it gets.
Since launching in 1707 on Duke Street, this bastion of British cuisine has made some great gastronomic leaps. In 1738, they invented the Scotch Egg – the perfect snack for travellers. In 1886, they introduced the might Baked Bean to Britain for the first time. And, in 1922, they provided the food for the UK’s first Everest expedition – including 60 tins of quail in foie gras and four dozen bottles of champagne. Now that’s what we call luxury eating.
Fortnum & Mason
Creators some of the most beautiful stationery and bags in the world since they were founded in 1887, Smythson continues to operate with the aim of making the ordinary extraordinary and the everyday timeless. Rooted in deep heritage, they represent over 125 years of British luxury leather goods at their most refined, with an enduring dedication to unrivalled craftsmanship.
No visit to Savile Row is complete without a trip to Kilgour, one of the finest British tailors in the world. Heritage is a huge part of the brand and, year after year, its collections and craftsmanship solidify its place as a true luxury establishment.
Huntsman truly defines Britain: It is home to some of the most beautifully bespoke, tailored garments, and inhabits a Savile Row shop that has seen some of the world’s best suiting since the mid-1880s. The most iconic gentleman in modern history have worn Huntsman, and the brand handle their considerable heritage with as much care and deference as they do every order.
Joseph Bullmore, Gentleman’s Journal Editor: “Huntsman is that remarkable new breed of Savile Row Tailor — they’re well aware of their incredible history but they look constantly to the future. That’s one of the things that Pierre LaGrange, Huntsman’s proprietor since 2013, has brought to the table, along with a new-found confidence to their branding and advertising (just look at their brilliant partnership with the Kingsman film franchise.) As for the tailoring itself, I love their striking but timeless signature style.”
The standard bearer in the legendary shoemaker capital of Northampton, Church’s has been the nation’s go-to brand for durable and stylish shoes for over a century. So, if you’re after some flawless Chelsea boots, Derbys or Oxfords, this is the label to look into.
Located in London’s St James district, D R Harris is one the capital’s oldest pharmacies and holds the warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales thanks to its worldly range of shaving creams, colognes and soaps. Not only does the packaging boast a classic aesthetic, but its products are still produced by hand-made, traditional methods, guaranteeing the user the most gentlemanly of grooming routines.
D R Harris
Hatched in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, Aston Martin – with it’s elegant, flowing aesthetic and powerful build – leads the pack when it comes to luxury cars. Moreover, with a tight association to Britain’s most famous super spy, its credentials are only further elevated.
One of Savile Row’s more contemporary masters, Richard James has assembled a famous fan base (including George Clooney, David Beckham and Daniel Craig) thanks to his slimmer, more modern take on the traditional British tailoring. His playful use of pastel hues has also helped inject some colour into an industry that’s otherwise dominated by muted aesthetics.
Established in the mid-Nineties by Nick Jones as the remedy to dated members’ clubs, Soho House was marketed as a “home from home” for the capital’s creatives. Since then, it’s evolved into a global juggernaut with no fewer than 18 locations spanning Europe and North America.
When it comes to cutting luxury goods, few do it as well as Graff. Not only does the jeweller laser engrave most of its diamonds with a unique Gemological Institute of America tracking number (a feature that allows you to track each stone’s origins, but it also ensures that none of its products are bought or sold in areas where there are conflict diamonds trades).
Francois Graff, CEO of Graff: “As a British brand founded in London in 1960, we are proud of our London headquarters and our Mayfair atelier – it is a hive of expertise and innovation, where our designers and master craftsmen consistently strive for perfection. While we now operate on a global level, with almost sixty stores worldwide, we remain a family-run, British business”
With an arsenal of rare ingredients, as well as approval from Queen Victoria (the former monarch granted the rights for the original brand, Crown Perfumery, to use crown-shaped bottle stoppers in the shape of her own headpiece), Clive Christian is the undisputed flag bearer of British-made fragrances. For a true upgrade to your grooming cupboard, try the label’s 1872 scent.
If you were to ask any petrolhead what car they’d want in their garage, the chances are that they’ll ask for an Jaguar E-Type. Billed as the ‘most beautiful car in the world’ by Enzo Ferrari, this set of wheels redefined people’s expectations of what could be expected from a moderately-priced sports automobile, and as a result firmly cementing the company’s status in the upper echelons of the design industry.
Today, Jaguar’s worldly portfolio has been furthered bolstered by contemporary models such as the F-Type and C-X75, the latter having featured in 2015’s Spectre.
Oliver Cheshire, Brand Ambassador, on his F-Type: “The F-TYPE is one special car. It looks and sounds mean because of its long beautiful bonnet and double barrel exhaust, but still manages to stay elegant and classy. I truly love the F-TYPE and every time I see mine it puts a smile on my face and that’s the purpose of owning a sports car, I guess!”
Heading out of the city this weekend? Let Farlows kit you out. Supplying the finest fishing tackle and shooting attire since 1840, this iconic Pall Mall store carries a range of high-quality stock that’ll see you through your countryside escape in the most stylish (and practical) way possible.
After growing up in Herefordshire and growing potatoes for over 20 years, William Chase evolved his company into the international crisp brand Tyrrels. To make things even more fun, he then expanded to vodka, and 10 years ago this year, bottled his first batch of Chase Vodka. It’s vodka, but not as you know it. In fact, it’s better.
James Chase: “As a proud independent, family run business we are delighted to be included amongst a stella line up of Great British Brands. We founded Chase in 2008 to pioneer Single-Estate spirits from the potatoes grown on our farm here in Herefordshire.”
Covering one million square feet and renowned for its luxury goods and celebrity-endorsed products, Harrod’s is the closest thing you can get to a retail mecca. Despite the rise of e-commerce, the fact that the green and gold London institute can still attract over 15 million customers a year is a testament to its reputation as the world’s greatest department store.
At Goodwood, the brand’s vision is to create and maintain a financially healthy group of businesses that – both individually and through collaboration – help to protect their heritage and anticipate future challenges and opportunities. Through conscientious, progressive management of the Estate, they have successfully strived to promote prosperity, health and wellbeing.
In a world of sneaker drops and fluctuating trends, Edward Green stands tall. With shoes that are cut and crafted by hand from the world’s best leathers, and utilising time-consuming processes such as the hand-cutting of materials, this Northampton-based company guarantees quality with every step
Look out for the Gentleman’s Journal Best British Brands logo on chosen brands’ websites.
Want another list? Here’s our rundown of the 18 things that make a gentleman in 2018…