Last year middleson had to buy his first proper work suit for a year long internship in a real job and what a painful process it was. Well priced suits in nice fabrics with a decent cut are hard to find, so when we were invited to look at Hammond & Co, a new Designer at Debenhams collaboration with Savile Row pin-up Patrick Grant (above, you may remember him as one part of the Great British Sewing Bee judging duo), i jumped at it. I know, tough job, but I take such hardships on the chin for TWR.
Patrick owns Norton & Co on Savile Row a company he relaunched in 2005 with great success, breathing new life and sales into a heritage Row name. Now he’s joined up with Debenhams to relaunch another name in the Norton family, Hammond & Co, as a well priced but good quality menswear range.
He reckons there’s a growing trend of younger chaps wanting to dress smart. “I’ve noticed young guys across Britain rediscovering joy of dressing in smarter, more urbane clothes, wearing jackets, tailored overcoats and tattershall shirts but it’s not that horribly cliched ‘classic with a twist’ style, it’s more urban, more updated. With Hammond & Co I wanted to have a range where you could find all the references to achieve that look.”
The range in the showroom is suspiciously beautiful, aren’t these (as often happens) lovely samples in the press room going to turn into pale imitations of themselves when we see production? “Well, most of what you see here is production,” replies Patrick, “and I’m wearing a Hammond & Co suit and shirt, both from production. Too many designer collabs try and be too clever, we wanted to produce simple, elegant clothes.”
I am impressed and the quality is gorgeous, what are the prices like? “The quality at its price point is astonishing” Patrick says, “I think it’s every bit as good as clothes I’ve seen in other menswear ranges that are twice the price”.
Where possible, the range uses British and European fabric mills and producers and Patrick highlights the navy overcoat as a gem, “it’s an 800g cloth weight, pure wool, double breasted great coat, absolutely lovely to wear and a phenimonally robust cloth, it could be in your wardrobe for 20 years” And it’s a reasonable £140″. The suits -some of which have matching waistcoat -are from £249 -£299 and all the hard patterns for the tailoring have been cut at Norton & Sons on Savile Row. Shirts, in a very classy stripe selection, are around £38, jackets are around £110.
So while I have Patrick’s expertise at my beck and call, I asked him what advice he’s give to young men buying their first suit, here are Patrick’s Top TIps for checking your suit fits;
For your first professional job you need a small, hard woking wardrobe of great pieces that fit well.
When you are buying the suit, put the trousers on and pull them up, it will feel like they are too high compared to other high street trousers you might have tried on but it gives a more elegant, Savile Row look.
Then put the jacket on and check it’s long enough, it should come to half way down your thumb, that’s how we measure it on Savile Row, it ought to cover your backside. The shoulders need sit well, the suit collar should grip the shirt, (try it on with a shirt done up properly).
Button the jacket up, there should be no shirt showing through the jacket, no horrible triangle of shirt below the last jacket button, it should be suit fabric all the way up to the top jacket button. And there should be no pulling on the button either, it’s a common mistake with fitted suits that people think they should be tight, the shape and fit of a suit comes from through from the side.
The waistbands on the Hammond & Co suit trousers all have split waistbands so they can be altered. Trouser length is personal but for a neutral position the front trouser hem should hit the bottom of your shoe laces and the back should reach the sole on your shoe.”
Patrick’s favourite pieces from the range include the greatcoat mentioned above and the white rugby shirt at £40 (he’s a good rugby player). My favourite pieces are the roll neck wool sweater at £40 and the Japanese-loom-woven denim jeans, a snip for the quality at £60 and check out the shirts, particularly the hairline stripe, very classy .
Available from about 50 Debenhams stores and online too. If you have a first suit to buy, then certainly head here first and even if you have an experienced and seasoned middleagedad who needs a good suit, it’s worth checking out. Not everything is instore yet I notice, so for some of the pieces I’ve mentioned (the great coat and the roll neck sweater) you may need to check back later in the season.