With the continuous flow of content coming from Firenze, Milan and Paris, it’s been challenging to actually get some time to write, and although new season’s arrivals are fast landing at the stores, I wanted to share my love for tweed with all enthusiasts of this wintery fabric. For those of you who immediately associate tweed with older, rosed cheeked gentlemen, think again…tweed has been earning its own place in current style panoramas (while having never left a few particular ones), with young men sporting them in a variety of ways and social/cultural contexts. Its superb patterns and texture make it a perfect way to add visual interest to an outfit whilst incorporating somewhat of that revivalistic statement, a play between old and new.
However, in order to successfully pull it off and give it an up to date vibe, a few aspects should be taken into account, the most crucial of which is fit, as usual. Traditional tweed jackets tend to have broad shoulders accentuated by thick shoulder pads, as well as a longer waistline hitting at the lower thigh. Add to that the general weighty, thick nature of the fabric and you end up with an awkward fitting garment. Getting an updated version from the likes of Rugby or Gant Rugger is definitely an option, as is browsing thrift stores hoping to find a suitable version. If you opt for the latter, be sure to check the inner lining for the Harry’s Tweed authentication label and bear in mind the aforementioned details in your choice, taking for granted you’ll need to pay your tailor a visit.
Afterwards, just throw it on and proudly sport one of your best sport jackets yet. Warm enough to wear it on its own, its perfect for layering it with complementing elements for that rugged final look. Also, remember this is an investment piece you’ll be able to wear even during early Spring.
Store Info: Gentleman
Located in the building of one of Porto’s most famous and iconic markets, Bolhão, lies a store with more than a century of tailoring/bespoking history. Founded in 1936, Gentleman has been delivering high end custom clothing to gentlemen ever since. What started as a small business based on traditional tailoring techniques, has grown into a reputed store aimed at exporting items for such renowned brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera or David Spade. So much so, that their own factory employs around 40 professionals, all of which with years of experience. The result? Every piece they produce is a manifestation of years of accumulated knowledge and love for tailored clothing.
Unfortunately, it was only when I started Beyond Fabric that I learned about them…needless to say I’m a loyal customer since the first time I set foot indoors. After a recent business makeover, the store is now 5-storey high, taking full advantage of the building space. An interesting side note, all the walls are decorated with one of their own suit fabrics, in plaid grey.
At the entrance level you might think this is your usual store: a ready-to-wear section filled with shirts, sweaters, coats, slacks, chinos, blazers…the works. However, as you make your way up, you begin to realize how far from the truth your first perception was…
The second floor holds the bespoking essence of the store. As you enter the oval room, you are greeted by a variety of shirts, suits and most importantly, fabrics. This is where Gentleman shines…you are no longer tied to whatever options are lying on the shelves, you can “design” your own pieces. Apart from suits and shirts, you’ll be able to have made to your liking virtually any item…I’m talking vests, pocket squares, ties, sweaters, everything you can think of. Regarding fabrics, choices range from Ermenegildo Zegna, Belfast, Holland and Sherry to Thomas Mason, among others. This makes choosing just one all the more difficult, especially since you can’t see the finished piece, you have to envision it. A word of advice: research thoroughly prior to your visit and define your objectives, otherwise it’s easy to get lost among all the offerings.
Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll be guided by the in-house tailor, who will take your measures and accompany you throughout several fittings and adjustments until the final result. This whole experience makes your custom pieces all the more interesting and unique. Moreover, you’ll notice that contrary to common belief, bespoke items can be affordable (even more so than some ready-to-wear options).
The third and fourth floors are used as storage for the items in stock and the fifth floor houses an amazing wooden dome.
If you love exceptional one of a kind fitted clothing, or simply well made off-the-rack garments, be sure to pay them a visit!
The ground floor
The second floor
The dome on the 5th floor
Have it your way: the custom shirt
If you’ve been following me from the start, you know I have a thing for custom made/made to measure items. Luckily for me, Portugal has a strong textile industry, especially here in the north, and is well known for its specialized workforce in the area (it’s not a coincidence that major players such as Paul Smith or Our Legacy have their items produced here).
I was pleased to find out that Porto still maintains its tradition in what regards the tailoring business, with several stores and ateliers still being frequently visited by loyal customers. Apart from the traditional bespoke suit (usually the most sought after item at tailors), you should broaden your horizons as what you can have made to your liking. One of the best items, in terms of quality/price ratio, is shirts. Chances are, you’ve already considered this while browsing retailers for that specific shirt you envisioned: the fit is wrong, the pattern isn’t quite what you wished for and likewise for detailing and fabric. What if you could have exactly what you pictured, and more (since it would be unique and designed for your body), for the same or a fraction of the price of ready-to-wear options? Sounds appealing right?
I’ve been wanting to get one of a kind shirts for a while, something you won’t easily find on major retailers, and my wishes were granted by a local store with more than a century of bespoke/tailoring history. I payed them a visit and ordered a club collar oxford shirt in light blue, with contrasting white collar and cuffs (it will definitely make an impression). After carefully going through the multitude of available fabrics, I made my choice as regards the tone of blue and weight of the oxford cloth: I was aiming for something in between a dress shirt and your usual oxford button down.
I then tried on one of their slim fit shirts in order to evaluate the fit, and luckily enough the Medium size was spot on: usually, the shirt would be crafted according to my measurements, but in this case, they just had to adapt their own model to my requests.
A week after, my shirt was ready: