Fit and flair: Oliver Brown’s bespoke service does away with luxury’s gimmicks
Forget stuffy – the British label makes the art and process of designing and creating your perfect individual piece a thoroughly welcoming experience
There are times in a man’s life when he needs to dress to impress, and only the most impeccably tailored bespoke suit will do. In order to ensure flawless fit, style and fabric for a special occasion – be it a wedding or big birthday – tailoring experiences don’t get any more personal or exacting than embarking on the 12–14 week journey of having a fully bespoke suit hand-crafted just for you.
For those who value a collaborative approach when it comes to creating a garment, the expert tailors at Oliver Brown, which has been located on Lower Sloane Street in Chelsea for almost 30 years, pride themselves on the close relationship they maintain between the cutter and the client throughout the bespoke process. Indeed, customers will have roughly three fittings with their tailor over the course of around three months – from initial consultation to finished product – making it as much about enjoying the immersive experience, as it is about receiving the final suit.
During the initial bespoke consultation, Oliver Brown’s Head Cutter Mike Deans (pictured) will get to know you and your style preferences and understand the requirements for how and when the suit will be worn, in order to help you select the appropriate cloth and provide guidance on the cut and design. Deans emphasises that the bespoke process at Oliver Brown is not an intimidating or stuffy ordeal.
“We aim to do away with the pretences and gimmickry of luxury and exclusivity,” he explains, “and instead focus on craft, connection and sharing our passion for high-quality tailoring. We love to take customers downstairs and show them around our workshop where the garments are made. It’s a less formal atmosphere, which allows customers to feel a closer connection to the process and the people making their garments. Having a suit made should be fun.”
While there’s no fixed house style, Deans aims to work out what complements the customer’s body shape, and which silhouette matches the formality and image they wish to project – from sharp, structured dinner suits, to soft, unstructured sports jackets. A comprehensive set of measurements will be taken during the first meeting, documenting your individual posture and stance, to ensure your suit fits you like a glove and is also incredibly comfortable to wear.
For a summer event, such as a wedding, Deans advises the biggest consideration will be cloth selection, with the choice of fabrics at Oliver Brown including cloths that are sourced from some of the oldest mills in the North of England and Scotland.
“A cloth we love to work with is high-twist wool, as it is extremely crease resistant as well as cool and breezy,” he says. “This means that you’ll be looking well turned out for all the wedding photos, but not suffering from the sweltering heat. If you want to wear the suit for future events, consider going for a more neutral colour that you can accessorise in a variety of ways. You don’t want it to look like a business suit, so think more mid blues and pale greys and consider the addition of details, like a peak lapel, that will add a bit more flair to the style.”
His last piece of advice on dressing for a summer wedding: “Don’t try to outdo the groom – it’s not a classy look…” You have been warned!
Once the material and design have been decided upon, every detail of the suit is then crafted by hand at Oliver Brown’s Chelsea workshop, culminating in 80–100 hours of craftsmanship. This includes pattern cutting, constructing the canvas lining and hand stitching, before perfecting the silhouette and checking that the finer details of drape, sleeve length and trouser break are to your liking.
With a two-piece bespoke suit starting at £3,750, going bespoke is an investment in the experience of conceiving a perfectly fitting suit, which you will wear for many years to come, and it will make you look and feel incredible.
To see the action up close, Oliver Brown will be opening a bespoke pop-up – located at its Jermyn Street store, and held between 2–8 October – that will include a window display takeover showcasing Deans creating bespoke garments, a move intended to highlight the artistry and precision that goes into the creation process.
This feature was taken from Gentleman’s Journal’s Summer 2023 issue. Read more about it here…
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