If you’ve never come across them let me take the opportunity to Joseph Turner, upmarket Gentleman’s outfitters based in Thirsk in North Yorkshire.
Joseph Turner are primarily catalogue, telephone and internet outfitters pitched about midway between Charles Tyrwhitt and Cordings in price terms. As Yorkshire based outfitters they are inclined to cater for those who fancy themselves as country gents. So if you’re looking for tweed and corduroy combinations they have a lovely range of cords in colourful hues and Tweed blazers in appropriately earthy colours. They are a full service outfitters so they’ll provide you with trousers, shirts, suits, blazers, shoes and hats. Not all of these will be Joseph Turner branded. Some of their shoes are provided by Loake, for example.
Whilst the majority of their trade is done by distance selling, whether by mail order, telephone or online, those like me who really like to try before you buy might consider stopping by their head office in Thirsk, where they maintain a small factory shop. There, you can not only sample a selection from their range, you can also find discounts on end of season items.Joseph Turner are a relatively recent entry to men’s outfitters. They have been around for the last 15 years or so. So they’ve had opportunity to develop their range, processes and skills. Their rootedness in Yorkshire means that they are well located and claim to have some of the best suppliers of quality fabrics and yarns on their doorstep.
However, they do have some way to go to catch up to the likes of Cordings who started operations over 175 years ago or even relative newcomers like Charles Tyrwhitt who celebrate their 30th Anniversary this year.So what are they like? It’s a mixed bag at a number of levels. They have an attractive and user friendly website, with inexpensive shipping costs. Even better they offer a free returns service, which means you can buy without having to worry about a second set of delivery charges if you don’t like it when it arrives. Orders are despatched within 24 hours and delivered within a few days of being placed.
That free returns service might come in handy. The colours of JT chinos are not well represented on the website. So if you are particularly taken by the look of the cornflower blue chinos above, as I was, you might be disappointed how much darker the colour actually is in the fabric. It looks much closer to the colour of the first pair in image below. I think you’ll agree that’s pretty different….In sharp contrast the colours of the cords seem pretty accurately captured. Oddly though, both pairs of JT cords I”m currently evaluating feature an attractive and unusual reverse single pleat. However, the display pictures have a conventional pleat. Go figure… They were also comically long, the 36L I tried seemed about 2 inches too long.
So I got my tape measure out. The inside leg measurement was spot on, 34 inches. However the measurement from trouser seat to waist was nearly 13 inches, about 1.5 inches longer than I might have expected. So the upside is that these cords can sit on your natural waist. The downside is that if you don’t wear them there they’ll be too long and the crotch may hang a bit low. Comfy but perhaps not the look most men want though I quite like it myself. The alternative is to go for a shorter inside leg than normal.
Overall, the cords feel like well made quality items, which I’d be happy to have in my collection, were they a little more competitively priced. The chinos, on the other hand I found underwhelming. Tyrwhitt is in no danger of being displaced as my favourite chino maker. Similarly, JT shirts seem to me not to be quite in the same bracket as Jermyn Street quality, nor do they offer the same range of sleeve lengths and fits for men like me. However, their Tweed Blazers bear comparison.
My overall impression is that Joseph Turner are not the most competitive on price, though I recognise it depends on who you compare them with. If you compare JT with Charles Tyrwhitt they are a certainly bit pricey. However, I’m not persuaded that JT represent better quality than CT. Compared to Cordings JT’s prices look more attractive. However, they cannot bear the comparison with Cordings. So despite its essentially attractive range of clothing JT is in danger of falling between a rock and a hard place. For most items I would probably look elsewhere. They represent neither the best value nor the best quality.
But I am taken by their cords…. Luxurious fabric. Vibrant colours. Reverse pleat. Maybe worth a second look….