I have been in London for a series of meeting over the last 48 hours but earlier today had a 2-hour window between my last meeting and my next.
I weighed up two options: I could sit in a café catching up on emails and whatever else I missed by being out of the office, or spend a couple of hours on Jermyn Street. I went for option 2. Surprise, surprise…..
If you’ve never visited Jermyn Street in SW1 you should think about doing so the next time you’re in central London. Better yet, plan a trip to central London with a Jermyn Street visit in mind.
Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, I’ve given up buying clothes for Lent, it’s still worth looking around at what is on offer. Moreover, the shop window displays offer great ideas for style and colour combinations.
On this visit I stopped in at all of my favourite stores, T M Lewin, Hawes & Curtis, Charles Tyrwhitt, Thomas Pink as well as a few others that I don’t often visit. Chief among these were a range of quality shoemakers: Church’s, John Lobb, Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, Barker’s, and Loake. But the greatest fun was to be had when visiting Bates. Here are the highlights.
T M Lewin
Their 5 shirts for £100 promotion is coming to an end in the next few days. A great jumper in burnt orange caught my eye, as did bow ties in grey cotton and purple and white polka dot silk. The TML woman range seems to be developing well and there is a new suit range for Spring.
Hawes & Curtis
The Flagship store opened a new basement level exclusively for tailoring earlier this year. Some interesting looking new suits, all on offer at £179 were on display. Regrettably, I didn’t have time to try any on. Certainly worth another visit some time soon.
Had a great time at CT trying on a few of their Spring shoe range. Their double monks at £125 were especially interesting, but the real star attraction was the blue brogues with contrast cream stitching at £175. They fit well and looked great. I confess however to being a bit disappointed with their £99 single monk in black. On the shelf it looked great but not on my feet.
Had a chat with one of the salesmen their who claimed to own over 200 pairs of shoes! I suggested he might need to join shopaholics anonymous…. Interestingly both at CT and at H&C the salesmen were especially complimentary about the green woollen tweed blazer I was wearing. The CT guy was shocked to discover it was from M&S; but that’s another story….
Crockett & Jones
Having tried on the double monks at CT I thought I would go see how those at C&J compared. Very attentive salesman, who like my experience at Allen Edmomds in the States actually put the shoes onto my feet as I tried them on.
Then again with the ‘cheaper’ double monks costing £350 and the high-grade leather costing £450, perhaps one should expect a little special attention.
These were obviously better quality, better fitting and better ites than those I tried on in Tyrwhitt’s. And yet I found myself thinking if I had £350 to spend on shoes I am not sure I would go to C&J. I’d probably buy 3 pairs form Tyrwhitt!
I have never been in the John Lobb store before today. The salesman had the sexiest French accent. How do these guys pull this off? The shoes were exquisite. My favourites were some double monks made from a single piece of leather. Then I noticed the prices, discreetly placed beside the shoes rather than the more common sticker underneath them: £940. But you know what? They looked like the cost about that. Did I mention they were exquisite? Didn’t dare to ask to try anything on
My visit to Barkers did not include any trying on. Not sure why. But by this time I was rapidly running out of time. The visit did confirm what I have long suspected; many of the Charles Tyrwhitt range of quality shoes are made by Barker. In some cases Tyrwhitt may have a colour that is unique but the style is exactly the same. This is certainly true of the Tyrwhitt double monks. But they are on sale for £175 at Tyrwhitt but £350 at Barker’s!
I had not appreciated before today that TP had a tailoring range. They are best known for their shirts, ties and cufflinks, and some of their posh socks left me salivating (just a little). However, they also have a small suit range. If these are as well tailored as their shirts then one can expect them to be well fitted and good quality. I certainly need to look into this a little more closely.
This was the high point of my Jermyn Street visit, not least because I was wearing a hat when I visited so they virtually beckoned me into the store. I learnt a great deal about hat types: homburg, trilby, fedora, bowler, etc as well as different materials, weights and firmness and brim widths.
I tried on a few, my favourite being ‘the Indi.’ The designer of the hat Harrison Ford wears in the Indiana Jones films had brought the design to Bates so you can buy what is essentially a replica of the Indiana Jones hat ‘the Indi!’ I very nearly did.
The salesman was so enthusiastic, his knowledge encyclopaedic and he recognised that he was very much dealing with a hat novice. A return visit when I have plenty of time to play with is on the cards.
I don’t normally look forward to London visits. However I have to say after today’s experiences I am already scanning my diary trying to work out whether I will have time for another Jermyn Street visit when am I next in the Big Smoke….