Over time most people work out that certain outfitters suit their personality and style for particular wardrobe items and offer a good trade off between price and quality. So they default to certain outfitters for certain items.
In my case for ties I very much like Charles Tyrwhitt. Theirs are beautiful and well made things with a range of bold spots or stripes or more subtle patterns. M&S also offer a good range of ties and Primark, every now and then, seems to come up with a corker for under a fiver.
For shirts I am a big fan of Hawes & Curtis. Their fit works for my body shape, in particular their slim fit range, and their Winchester shirts are fabulous. T M Lewin is another favourite shirt maker with an ever-evolving range. TML’s new button down collar slim fit shirts are great for the summer months.
For suits I am a fan of M&S. Their sartorial range works for my body shape and is a good trade off between quality and price. Hawes & Curtis are just beginning to introduce a suit range which seems a good product but is very limited. T M Lewin’s suits are excellent, if a little conservative, and Charles Tyrwhitt also has a good range. I have also over the years bought suits from Burton, Primark, George @ASDA and TU @ Sainsbury’s.
Shoes are a much more mixed picture. This is in part because shoes cover such a wide price range. I admire shoes from Church’s, Barker and Allen Edmonds. New kids on the block Graziano Girling make some of the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen.
However, since I can’t afford £300 to £600 on a pair of shoes I tend to shop lower down in the shoe hierarchy. Loake Shoemakers produce a range of shoes with wonderful shapes which are not hideously expensive.
T K Maxx is also a great place to find good shoes at discounted prices. M&S, Debenhams, and Javari.co.uk have very good online ranges as does Next. However, I have found to my surprise one or two great shoes at Tesco of all places.
If I were are after a one-stop-shop gentleman outfitters I would probably go to Charles Tyrwhitt or M&S, depending on my budget. In either store I can be outfitted from head to toe without needing to take out a small mortgage to afford it.
The experience of being outfitted in Charles Tyrwhitt would be much more pleasant than in M&S; but then it should be, you could be spending around twice as much at Charles Tyrwhitt.
Nonetheless, if I were to identify one outfitter as my overall favourite it would be T M Lewin. TML don’t sell shoes so could not be a one-stop-shop, but they do sell pretty much everything else that you need.
TML maintain a good number of shops across the country so wherever you live you won’t have too far to go to find your nearest TML shop. For someone who recently moved from the Southeast of England to the Northeast of England it is nice to know that I still have a (nearly) local TML shop.
Moreover, if you travel through some of our larger train stations or airports you will often find a T M Lewin shop on the concourse.
In their Jermyn Street store they still have proper tailors as well as salespeople so they can advise on fit and fabric. They can also make alterations to suits or shirts to make sure they fit well.
Most weeks TML has some promotional offer whether it’s 4 shirts for £100, 3 ties for £60, or 50% off suits. For a keen bargain hunter like me that’s difficult to resist.
Perhaps best of all I like the ambience of the shops. They are happy for me to turn up and browse, offering assistance when it is requested but not trying to sell me something because I have crossed the threshold.
There may be more exclusive Jermyn Street gentlemen outfitters. However, T M Lewin is my favourite.