So I have ordered a number of braces from Formal Tailor in the past. Always the same type: 3.5 button-ons. And they have been great. I went so far as to give FT a shout out in previous posts on this blog. Twice. Here and here.
So I was more than a little disappointed when I I decided to take my own advice from a fortnight ago and ordered another couple of pairs of my usual 3.5 button-on braces. But what arrived were dual clip.
Dual clip braces have two types of interchangeable attachments, both a clip and the button tabs. Whereas in regular button-on or clip on braces the leather tab holding the clips or button tabs is sewn in place, on dual clips it is held in place with press studs which allow you to interchange the two attachments. Theoretically dual clips allow you to have the best of both worlds, braces that work either as clip-ons or button-ons.
Initially, I thought no big deal. I’ll slide off the clips and I’ll keep them as button-ons. In fact, I even thought to myself that this mix up could prove useful. I am no fan of clip-on braces but if they were worn under a waistcoat and therefore not visible then perhaps I could use them on trousers that don’t have braces buttons. This might actually work out well!
Wrong! It was not so simple. The clips did not simply slide off. Instead they caught on the press stud and would not come off. Fearing I might damage the braces I thought I better not keep on with this.
I tried ringing customer service but as Formal Tailor is primarily web based, this was not as straightforward as it might appear. So I sent an email. No response.
About a week later later I tried ringing again, this time on the sales number, and explained my situation to the sales person only to be told that all button on braces orders were now being filled by sending dual clips. When I pointed out that I couldn’t easily slide the clips off I was informed that they needed to be ‘bent a bit’ in order to get them off.
So let me get this right, in order to get the button-on braces I paid for I need to do the work of bending clips, which I didn’t want in the first place, in order to remove them? Not cool!
If Formal Tailor have genuinely stopped selling button-on braces and are only selling dual clips then its website ought to be updated to say so. Moreover, FT need to offer better manufactured dual clip braces. I don’t expect to have to take a pair of pliers to my brand new braces in order to access the ‘dual’ function that these braces are meant to have.
More tricky is the fact that I ordered a pair of ‘silver’ button-on braces and a pair of white. The white one was at least in the right colour. However the closest colour to ‘silver’ available in the dual clips appears to be charcoal. This perhaps explains why the ‘silver’ button-on braces I ordered were delivered in a suspiciously dark grey colour. I recognise that websites can never convey colours exactly accurately but this is something else entirely.
So not the right type of braces, and not the right colour.
Not good enough Formal Tailor.