Friday, December 22, 2006

'The Oyster': a suit

This is the ultimate in luxury from A Suit That Fits. Smoky, palpably-soft cashmere shot through with a delicate stripe. The softness of touch is complimented by an equally soft aesthetic in the powder-pink lining, which shimmers like mother of pearl.

This is not a suit to wear lightly. It's not a suit to overuse. It’s a piece of art, carefully crafted like a pot or a painting or a box inlaid with pearl. It requires sensitivity to appreciate it. To open the secrets inside. Slip it on and calmness sinks through you. You breathe an aura of light.

Buy it now from A Suit That Fits.

Friday, December 15, 2006

'The Accused': A Suit Review

When a man stands accused, he might as well look his best. This dark blue suit with its ultra-thin pinstripe - reminiscent of a convict's PJs - is perfect for the accused man who wants to retain some dignity in his life. It’s the suit to be caught in whilst brawling with pool-sticks after a night on the town. It’s the suit to be seen in in a court of law, just before being sent down. It’s the suit for the gangster. The suit for the thief. The suit for the hustler. The suit for the unrepentant hell-raiser…

It’s also the suit for the innocent man who wants to face his calumniators with pride.

So buy it now or go to hell! Visit A Suit That Fits.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'The Jewelled Gecko': A Suit Review

Grey means serious. Grey means elegant. Grey means powerfully conservative. Grey, in fact, means all of these things, but by no means is it a stranger to fun.
For those who take their style seriously but like to wear something bright, this is exactly what the doctor ordered - one of those combinations that work wonders on the eye. Here 'green' and 'grey' are put to stunning use, with the soft, inviting grey-ness of the cashmere-wool contrasting with the sumptuous greenness of the satin. The satin itself shimmers so gorgeously it’s practically incandescent!

Thanks to the minimalism of the flapless pockets, this suit has a particularly modern feel; the addition, however, of a slanted ticket pocket anchors it firmly in the tailoring traditions of the past. So if you feel like you’re equal parts seriousness, equal parts fun, order this suit today: we’re sure its 'green-greyness' will take your breath away! Lastly, if you're wondering why we've called it the 'Jewelled Gecko', it's because it combines the elegance of a jewel with the playful nature of a gecko. Visit A Suit That Fits for more.

Monday, December 11, 2006

'The Scholar': A Suit in Pictures

An eccentric English gentlemen asked us to create the perfect suit. This is what we came up with: a 21st century look with an edge of scholarly seriousness. Here we see the two-piece suit matched with a gorgeous satin-backed waistcoat for the complete look of bespoke elegance. Browse the photos below for a close-up of each immaculate finish; we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a work of stunning craftsmanship. What you don't see here is the flared leg, specially requested by the English 'gentleman', who turned out to be a bit of a hippy... See more at

Thursday, November 30, 2006

'The Urban Grey': A Suit Review

A youthful modish grey, this single-breasted double-buttoned suit is perfect for those who want to inject a bit of style into the office environment. With no trouser pleats and flapless pockets, the extras have been kept to an absolute minimum for a streamlined, ultra-chic effect. Brightened by a blood-red tie and a cut-away shirt-collar, this suit combines the formality of our standard model with a definite sense of modernity, balanced by the luxurious softness of wool. Appropriate for the office or any formal occasion, this classic suit is also the one to be spotted in during after-work drinks. Particularly suitable for those city boys who play as hard as they work.
To read more about this suit click here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'The Baroque': A Suit Review

With its opulent lining and elegantly tapered waist, this unusual suit - fresh from the garment house A Suit That Fits - has a definite touch of the baroque. Brilliantly fitted with a gorgeous lining, it clings like a lover to the sides of your chest, heightening every sensation. One touch of the pure wool fabric, liberally padded and lined with satin, and we guarantee you’ll never want to wear anything else. Sit in it for a while, as I am doing now, and you begin to notice all kinds of things. First there is the ticket pocket, a small flapped opening halfway down the torso on the left hand side, perfect for storing theatre tickets and other random things; then there is the fine slate pinstripe, quiet enough to make an impression without dominating the overall look. A suit, we think, that’ll add a whole new dimension to your wardrobe – the exotic look of the 21st century ‘corporate baroque'.
To read more about this suit click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Cinema and a Pale Yellow Jumper

What a cool evening I had last night. After ten minutes of waiting outside the wrong Odeon on Leicester Square (did you know there were two?) Sean rang me to see where I was. When we finally met he was wearing a lemon jumper and his hair looked blacker than before, as black as soot in fact. We shared coffee/toffee ice-cream in the Odeon and then watched The Prestige. Sitting in the cinema with someone called Sean was a strange thing, especially as my trips to the flicks with my ex Shaun (who I still feel a connection and love for) were always incredibly intense. Am I the only one who finds there's something sacred-like about cinema-going? Think about it. When you enter the auditorium, you leave behind the world of light and enter an utterly different dimension. Not only are the scenes projected before you often unlike anything you've ever experienced, you're forced to sit in silence or talk in a hushed whisper. At its most basic level, there's something incredibly beautiful, almost philosophical, about it, a bit like Plato's cave. You sit in a dark room, watching patterns of light fall against the wall, and when you turn around you see scores of faces, also whitened by the light: what could be more beautiful?

After the cinema we went - by Sean's recommendation - to the most marvelous restaurant in London: The Stockpot! I have to admit, as soon as we walked in the door, the clientele surprised me. An old man was sitting in the corner, sucking on his gums, while beside him an old woman, who looked like a bloated frog, stared blankly at a mountain of mash that was piled on her plate. The place itself was simple, slightly grim-looking depending on what you're used to, and decked out in cheap decorations. I felt like I'd stepped back in time to an innocent Britain, not yet fooled into thinking that by making something look nice you immediately improve its quality. The food was like the food you get at home (a British home, I mean): that is, charming and unpretensious. We had turkey, roast-potatoes, carrots and Cranberry sauce - a whole Christmas dinner in fact, Brussel Sprouts included - and left feeling full and very English.

That night, in bed, listening to Anna Netrebko sing Rachmaninov in her creamy white soprano, I cast my mind back to Sean's yellow jumper. Sitting opposite it after the darkness of the cinema had felt like being in the proximity of light, as if an essence of pale yellow had distilled in the air and could be touched if I reached out. Rolling over, I snuggled into the dark warmth of my duvet, shut my eyes and slept.

The above painting is by Xavier Pick, a contemporary London artist who makes beautiful pictures of London by night. To see more of his work or purchase paintings click

Alternatively, visit my classy London-based sponsors:
A Suit That Fits.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tockington Manor

I went to a Chroma reading last night at Waterstones on Oxford Street (Chroma is a literary journal in which my poems have appeared) to watch my writer-pal Brynn read his winning story, Spawn of the Regime. While he was chatting to Louise Hercules, this month's Chroma cover-girl, I sat down with a mince-pie and a glass of water and looked around at the crowd. Straight away, I found my eyes drawn to a familiar face on the other side of the room. It was a face I will never forget, probably because it's so closely associated with a time in my life in which I was happiest. "Caroline," I said, raising my voice above the crowd. "I knew it was you!" she said.

The most interesting thing about my friendship with Caroline (a friend of mine at primary school) was more the backdrop over which our friendship played out - the fact that the school we attended was such a special place - the stuff of dreams, really, or of Harry Potter as Caroline said last night. In the heart of the English countryside, Tockington Manor was surrounded by acres of grounds in which we could lose ourselves for hours: sometimes we'd read together quietly in the woods; sometimes we'd venture far into the trees and sit on a moss-covered rock that we called, oddly, 'the quarry'; sometimes we'd tell stories and fantasize we had magic powers; at all times, though, we were surrounded by nature, by rabbits running through the vast fields, by enormous oak-trees that swept their leaves across the green, and deep woods that rustled their leaves, and pear trees that grew against the old stone walls. It was as if the headmaster and his wife believed in the Romantic ideal that contact with nature is crucial to the instruction of sensitive beings - and I am grateful to my mother and the Toveys for allowing my soul to be attuned, at least for a time, to the natural rhythm of the universe. The experience was character-building and continues to influence my creativity today.
When I think about it now, and realise how far the lives of Caroline and myself have diverged, and how good that time was and how it's now gone, and the years of alcoholism that followed, I feel sad; until I think that other children are enjoying today what I enjoyed all that time ago. This is an extract from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which he writes about what I'm trying to say more lucidly than I ever could. It's called 'Frost At Midnight' and it's addressed to his son, Hartley:

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought!
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shall learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

This entry was made possible by A Suit That Fits.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Blackened Caryatids of St. Pancras Church

The other day I wrote the following lines:
Below the vast November sky the heat-cracked surface lies
half an inch up, baking and changed,
the roots are fruitlessly unearthed.
The blackened caryatids of St. Pancras Church stand like sentinels,
themselves unobserved – potential reminders of a cancerous London.

Something moves lugubriously in the earth. The armoured octopi have stirred;
their feelers snake past tarmac and stone, dreaming
of gustation, touch.
I still haven't got a clue what it means. I've tried to revise it, to try to make sense of it, to make it part of a 'whole', but every attempt seems to fail. It's very frustrating. The Caryatids and the roots undoubtedly obsess me, but I don't seem to have anything interesting to say about them. It's partly the way they stand that interests me, each of them spaced so gracefully apart, gazing into air, with one hip thrown wide. But the thing that obsesses me the most is the way they're so dirty. I don't know how long ago the above picture was taken, but now they're literally black. On the one hand they embody the beauty of the female form, but on the other hand they're marred by a thick pollutant. The first time I walked past them, there was something incredibly poignant about them. For a moment I felt as if they were speaking to me, that they existed just for me and wanted to tell me something - that they, the Caryatids, and everything they stood for, were being deformed by the crazy ugliness of the industrial/commercial world.
An old teacher of mine, Tim Liardet, said there comes a point in the writing of a poem when the writer should know what he's writing about; only then can he form a fully realised piece of work. I guess what I've been struggling with over the last few days is that I didn't know what I was trying to say. I thought it was something so deep in my unconscious that I was unable to bring it to light. Whatever it was, I thought, it's too garbled, too dream-like and fragmentary. But now I think I know what I'm saying. I know what it is the Caryatids have done to me. They've reached into my soul and reminded me what it feels like to strive for something greater - something not of this world -
This entry was made possible by A Suit That Fits.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Impressions of Paris

Yesterday I wanted to write about my weekend but every time I touched the keys the words failed to do justice to my thoughts. I wanted to write about the sunset over the Seine, the way the light falling on the water spread like the petals of a rose. I wanted to describe my friend's face, how his skin was oranged by the glow, and his pale eyes, usually so controlled, opened wonderously wide. I wanted to describe the gold light that illuminated the Tower, the way it shimmered every hour, and we stood in a dark room, looking out over the rooftops and silhouetted roofs, watching it sparkle in the gloom. I wanted to capture the impalpable haze, the way the soft white light broke through the blinds, and the trees along the Seine waved like plumes - lime green, red and gold. I wanted to describe the metro doors, how the violent clanging filled me with fear, how they herded us under like cattle and we disappeared in a holocaust of doors. But most of all I wanted to describe Sebastien's eyes, how their silent whiteness seemed to wipe out time, leaving nothing but their own white rays, and how I would have relinquished Paris even, if only they had smiled.
This blog-entry was made possible by A Suit That Fits.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Suit That Fits A Woman

Here at A Suit That Fits we've received substantial interest from women looking to buy men's suits. Of course we've been happy to oblige. There's nothing sexier, more mysterious, than a woman in a man's suit. When Marlene Dietrich donned the above number, eyes glowering above seductively wettened lips, she made an important statement about gender and the clothes we wear. Women, she said, need not let themselves be objectified to exert a powerful sexiness. Women can wear what the hell they like.

The man's suit is laden with authority. The mere act of wearing one is a masculine 'privilege' that gives men a level of power in society. The brilliance of gender-bending is not that it allows women to wear suits (there are plenty of women's suits out there), it's more the fact that it reveals gender to be an artificial construction capable of being mimicked and transformed. When people look at a butch lesbian and feel as if something's gone awry, it's because they're made aware of their subjection to a system of signs that empowers some whilst disempowering others. Rather than actually doing something about this, they deal with it in the easiest way possible: ostracize the problem-maker and stigmatize the lesbian. But a woman who dons a man's suit not only looks clever because she has the wherewithall to become a vehicle for a "Fuck you" message to the system, she also looks ultra-chic, her wardrobe having taken on resonances of meaning that go above and beyond the norm. Exposed, undermined, the veils of illusion lifted, the patriarchal structure loses its power and the seeds of revolution are sown. What this revolution will look like, nobody knows until it comes.

Join the gender-revolution. Visit A Suit That Fits.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dark Outside

Outside it is dark. A thousand windows glitter over London. Coldplay's 'Kingdom Come' plays on the radio, reminding me of my ex's belief that if he waited for me I'd be... his. Sadness spreads through me. Soon I'll be shooting out those doors - into the night - onto the pavement - the Tube - towards Warren Street where I'm meeting friends. Will any of it shake this heavy sadness? In our lunch break today Jen and I went ice-skating in Broadgate Arena; we circled beneath an unblemished sky on a rink that resembled a frozen pond. I wore a jacket by A Suit That Fits to keep me warm. I felt incredibly free.
Now I'm waiting for the clock to hit 5.30 so that I can go out into the cold.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Selling, Suiting and Writing...

This morning I had to pitch an article to the Pink Paper in the hope that they'd be interested in the company I work for. I've never liked selling myself or my writing. It's one of the reasons I became a writer. When it comes to expressing myself, I need time to find the most effective words. If I was super-confident, why would I need to write at all? Writing is for people who have trouble expressing themselves - until pen is put to paper, that is, when everything starts to flow. It's why I feel such connection when I write - as if something's been unlocked inside me. My blood literally starts to tingle. I can feel it buzzing in my arms. For the period it takes me to complete the piece, my mind is wholly absorbed.
Having to sell myself is an unavoidable nuisance. If you don't make people notice you, you simply don't get noticed. The same can be said for A Suit That Fits. It's my job as Junior Writer to get this company noticed. If I had to do it by speaking to people, I'd be the crappest sales rep in town. So thank God I can do it in writing... The difficulty comes when I think I'm a writer before I'm a seller, that I can only write effectively about what I feel inside. Luckily, A Suit That Fits make it easy. Not only are they the most exciting new garment house in London, their suits as exquisite as their marketing stunts are crazy, they understand the power of a few carefully-chosen words.
Visit their website here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Islington, Autumn and a Dream

For a change it wasn't hard to get out of bed this morning. The clocks went back a few days ago so my room was flooded with light. My room is bright even on grey days (the creamy walls and big, big windows create a suntrap above London) but this morning it was literally beaming. I'd woken from a dream in which friends from various walks of my life had gathered at an awards ceremony in a trendily-converted warehouse. My school-friend Jax looked strangely anaemic in a slinky, silver-grey dress, while another, Ant, played Tori Amos on an enormous grand piano. A lovely girl called Rachel (the daughter of my mother's friend) was giving some kind of speech, while a new acquaintance (a handsome banker with a sexy French accent) kept morphing into my ex and back again. It was odd to see so many people from different parts of my life gathered in the same room, but stranger still to wake in a dazzlingly sunlit room and realise with disappointment that it was nothing but a dream.
After showering and dressing and leaving my flat, I had to walk through Islington to pick up a parcel from the Royal Mail. The squares were literally a sea of leaves, and out in the open of Islington Green, the sunlight fell through the yellowing leaves and left me watery-eyed. The wind that whistled through the iron fences merely added to my discomfort; and as I stood, squinting at the bus-stop, I couldn't help noticing the clear blue sky, the coldness of which seemed to chill me through. If I only had a jacket from A Suit That Fits I'd be warm whilst appreciating autumn, I thought. I'd choose a fine brown pinstripe and wear it in keeping with this dying season. In the meantime, I thought, I'll shiver in the light... while the leaves fall down around me.
This blog was made possible by A Suit That Fits, who'll help you add some 'autumn' to your life.
The above painting is by Alex Cave. To buy similar paintings or to see more of his work click here.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I was sitting on the bus this morning, travelling into the city, when the sun shone through the windscreen and fell against my face. At first I looked away, dazzled by the light. Then, thinking better of it, I fixed my gaze ahead of me and let the sunlight fall where it liked. After the preceding week's greyness it was a stunning change to see these bright yellow rays. They seemed to wipe out the entire world, leaving nothing but their brightness. For a moment I forgot I was on a bus and became one with the yellow light.

One of winter's most valuable traits is the way it teaches us to appreciate the sun. In summer the sun is more or less constant and we forget how enjoyable it is. But when the air is chilly and the wind is keen, we realise how beautiful the sunlight is - simply because it's so fleeting. Here at A Suit That Fits we've devised a way to let you carry the sunlight with you, whatever the weather. Just order a jacket with a luminous gold lining and when you're feeling sad or blue, simply draw back the panels and cast your eyes across the gold - the sight will warm you through and through.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Sexy City-Worker Destroyed

City workers are a curious commodity. On the one hand they project a powerful style, epitomised by the pinstripe suit; on the other, they represent the pursuit of money in a solely economic world. Only this morning, as I was passing Bank, I noticed a young banker in line at the cash machine. There was something about him that stopped me in my tracks, and I stood fixated at the entrance to the Tube, casting my eyes up and down the stripes in his suit. The way they ran vertically down the length of his body seemed to accentuate every curve.

As the cold October wind broke over me, banishing the underground heat, the man began to walk towards me, his jacket pulled tight around his waist. Panic was drawn in his dimly-lit eyes. I could see streaks of grey in his hair. And as he passed me and I turned to look, the bottom of his jacket flared open, suggesting the natural shape of his hips.

All those hours, I thought, have aged him. His face looks dark and drawn. He needs some sunshine to sweep away the gloom. A holiday, perhaps, or a romantic meal for two. Before I headed off into the burgeoning crowds, I watched him hook a finger and yank his collar slightly open. I caught a glimpse of shining leather. It was one of those necklaces people wear when they're returning from places like Thailand. Perhaps he's a surfer, I thought. A traveller in foreign lands. Whatever he was once, he's gradually fading now. Like a mummy wrapped in expensive linen...

Don't be a suit. Buy one! Visit A Suit That Fits.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thoughts of Ivory and Red

When our latest customer’s suit arrived this morning, my colleagues thought it had a touch of the Man from Del Monte. I found it decidedly more sinister than that.

Off-white, finely-woven, at first it conjured images of a pleasant, grey-haired man strolling contentedly beneath a hot Spanish sun. The ideal suit, we thought, for wearing at garden parties at the height of summer or for watching cricket on the village green. Just as we were beginning to get lost in these bucolic fantasies, we opened the jacket’s two front panels and our eyes began to reel. Beneath the ivory Del-Monte Man veneer lurked a devilish blood-red lining! No longer were we in any doubt as to this suit’s real nature. Bloody passion clearly boiled beneath what had first appeared serene.

Ivory and red. Ivory and red. The juxtaposition alarmed me. The outer fabric was like a skin, which opened like a gash; it made me think of elephants killed for their precious tusks; the red recalled their blood. I had to pack the suit away and take it to the post office immediately. What fertile imaginations our customers have, I thought, as I watched the parcel being carried away.

To exercise yours, visit A Suit That Fits.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Green Subversion Has Begun

Who would have thought that a bright green lining could look so freaking COOL? That's what occured to me this morning when I opened the parcel containing our customers' latest suits. The suit itself was a navy affair, made from the softest cashmere. It wasn't until I looked inside that my eyes started painfully reeling, in wonder at this stunning green. If you'd told me last week that this rather unpleasant colour could be stylish, even tasteful, I'd have laughed in your face. But having witnessed it in all its grandeur, stitched inside a classic navy suit, I can't help feeling I've been converted. There's always been a mystery about the colour green - an aura of antiquity and magic, of believing in things that perhaps aren't quite there. Not only is it the most superstitious colour (seamstresses, they say, never use green the night before a fashion show, for fear of bringing down bad luck), it's also the richest, most fertile. It's the colour of the earth after life-giving rain, of the blood that flows in nature's veins, of everything unappetising like snot and mould: no wonder then, that in this age of cold-hearted reason - when capital is worshipped in place of the earth - the colour green is laughed at and demeaned.

As I composed the paragraph above it occured to me what a subversive thing it would be to carry the colour green around London. Inside the flaps of my jacket, visible only to passers-by in unsettling corner-of-the-eye glimpses... perhaps, as I walked to work, it would send messages spinning through the Square Mile, strange little reminders of the importance of the earth and those mysteries that lie somewhere beyond the reach of science. Wear your green lining with pride. Visit 'A Suit That Fits', the only garment house in London in touch with the power of green.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Face Races! - a crazy new internet phenomenon

Combining narcissism with business is hardly a new idea. With anything successful these days, image is of the utmost importance. But a website that exploits this rule so egregiously by letting people advertise their webspace using images of their own face must come pretty close to genius. Nowhere is the blending of business with the skin-deep more apparent than in the crazy phenomenon called Face Races.
For a fee of 5 pounds you enter your photo. If people decide they like what they see they click on your face and are taken directly to your personal site or business. Not only do you get to see how your face compares in popularity with the rest, you also get to drive valuable traffic to your site. Unleash your narcissism and your business potential here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Early Morning in Bloomsbury

What is this confessional fever that grips me? Why must I chronicle every detail of my life? Is it because I fear it's a dream and believe that by fixing it on hundreds of screens I will somehow make it more lasting? When I woke this morning in Bloomsbury, the buildings through the blinds were orange in the sun, the sky was a delicious blue. My friend was pulling on his bespoke tailored suit, telling me not to get up, saying he'd set the alarm for later. But how could I sleep with this vision before me? This jacket so exquisitely tapered. These perfect white cuffs showing just below the sleeves. I wanted to reach up and pull him on top of me, to feel the cashmere bristling beneath my hands. Unfortunately he'd committed to breakfast with a banker. He had to go out into the cold.
I slept for what felt like days, but when I woke it was 8.00. The bed was a ball of warmth that had somehow turned me to lead. How was I going to get out of here when my bones were made of lead? I had no choice but to throw the duvet off me, dash it to the floor and crawl slowly toward the door. In the bathroom I stood beneath a warm downpour and looked out at Bloomsbury through the whirling steam. Such a cold grey place, everything so immaculate, the gardens so green. In all the big windows I saw people preparing to leave.
I dressed quickly in the cold; arrived at 'A Suit That Fits' with about 5 minutes to spare.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who needs the Eiffel Tower?

Not only do I work for the most vibrant garment house in London, I must live in the most buzzing city in the world. For me, it's symbolised by the BT Tower. Not that the Tower itself is that interesting (though I can't help finding it strangely beautiful); it's more, I think, what it represents. Above all it represents London. In the year 2000 I studied at UCL and lived directly under it. Today, when I sit up in bed I can see it shining, purple, in the sky. I wake up in the morning and leave my bed. The sun is a mere white disc in the sky. There's something about the mist, the way it wraps around the Tower, that makes me tingle through and through.

The first thing that happens when I get into work is that Jen gets out her croissants, still warm from the baker's in Notting Hill. After we've eaten them with tea, I begin to write about suits. At this time in the morning, when my eyes are still opening and my head feels numb, there's nothing more lovely to write about. It helps that the quality constantly amazes me, that the prices are great and the process ingenious. When I'm done I take the customers' appointments and make sure they have everything they desire. Whatever their shape, there's a suit that fits - that's the motto that drives us.

At the end of the day I walk back through the city. The people and the traffic are sometimes oppressive. The cold and the dark are discouraging. But something quickens and tingles in my blood. My heels click, my heart skips a beat, the Tower stands phallic and empurpled against the sky. I didn't expect it to happen, I don't think I had any choice, but now I'm sure I've fallen... I've fallen hopelessly in love with London.
Experience the magic of London yourself. Visit 'A Suit That Fits'.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 5 As of a Good Man, according to Dorothy

I met a woman last night. I can't tell you where without revealing things about myself I'm not willing to disclose, but I can tell you that her name was Dorothy and she dressed in only vintage clothes. She was enormous fun to be with and looked something like the woman in the picture above – that is, big-busted, sexy and free. Bizarrely we ended up in a chip shop off Tottenham Court Road, drinking tea and sharing a plate of chips. It was there she told me the 5 attributes that women look for in their ideal partner. She called them the '5 As'.

(As valued prospective shoppers of 'A Suit That Fits', I hope to help you in every way possible. By taking you through lovely Dorothy's formula, my goal is to make you more elligible to women. If achieving this means I have to life-coach a few of you, then so be it.)

The first characteristic Dorothy mentioned was appropriateness. What she meant by this I wasn't sure, and when I looked at her quizzically she said, "Ask yourself - is it appropriate to be with him?" I'm not officially dating anyone at the moment so I had to think back through my history of relationships and pluck one at randrom from the swirling void. At last I said, "Ok, so if I dated a kleptomaniac and we kept being chased by store security, it might not have been appropriate, right?" Dorothy smiled and nodded her head. "That’s right. But it needn’t be as dramatic as that, either. You may just not be ready. That would be inappropriate too. Or you may just have ended a long divorce... It wouldn't be appropriate to get involved with someone new."

Ok, so the next was availability. "Well that's easy," I said, "If you suspect he's married, dump him..." Dorothy shook her head. "It's not necessarily his marital status we're talking about. He may be completely single. He may be the most eligible bachelor in town. But his emotional availability is what's important. If he's unwilling to open up and engage with you, it may not be worth wasting your time." I took a sip of my tea. "I see! So if a guy disappears from your life without even telling you, it’s probably a case of him not being available in the first place?" Dorothy put her hand on my arm and looked at me sympathetically. "That's right, honey, that's right."

Third was attitude. By this she meant general zest for life. Joie de vivre or je ne sais quois. It's something Dorothy possesses in abundance so it's something she especially looks for in a man. Using my example of the poor fragile guy with the tendency to kleptomania, she asked me, what was his attitude to life? This time, I didn't have to think. "Oh he was great. Absolutely buzzing. He showered me with gifts... A definite yes on attitude." Dorothy lit a cigarette and sucked at the end with her sticky lips. She raised a severe black brow. "Sounds kinda unstable to me." I poured another cup. "But I like that in a man," she added breezily, "You've got to take the rough with the smooth, and if you want fun - I mean, real hysterical fun - you've got to accept some instability." I sighed. At last I'd nailed one of these slippery suckers.

Now for affluence. This one made me a tiny bit fearful. I'm not the richest of men. I live in an ex-council flat in a nondescript part of London on a writer's wage. Luckily she wasn't being quite so transparent. "Affluence," said Dorothy, "is more than just 'Is he rich?' It means 'Are your lifestyles suited?' There's no point dating someone so poor they can barely afford to eat. (i.e. me, I thought) What would you ever do with him? Likewise there's no point dating a billionaire you'd never keep up with and who'd make you feel small. There's nothing worse for the health of a relationship than inequality. It's why so many marriages fail. In the old-style hetero set-up women were horribly infantilised. The man had control of all the purse strings. The man paid all the bills..." I interrupted. "But things have changed since then!" Dorothy sighed. "Not as much as you think. Open your eyes. It's all around you. The same relationships of power remain. More importantly for you, you have to think, 'Can I share this guy's lifestyle? Can he share mine?'"

I opened my mouth to speak, but Dorothy had already moved on. "The final category is the most important." She paused and opened her eyes wide. "If you're going to be more than just friends with a guy, he has to be attractive." I smiled wryly, "Well of course." She curled her lips. "I can see where you're headed. I don't mean attractive in a purely aesthetic sense, although that is important. I mean in an all-round spiritual sense. Do you feel a connection that lies somewhere beyond words? Can you feel something swelling inside you when you're around him for any length of time? Does he make you want to kiss him lingeringly whilst lying snugly beside him? Does he hold you in a way that makes you tingle and swoon? Only the individual can answer this question. Appearance is often little to do with it." My spine was tingling. The way she described it hit the nail on the head. If only I had Dorothy with me always, I thought. Troubles with men would melt away. I'd never have to worry again.

Attractiveness. The 5 As. Everything seemed so abundantly clear. The more I thought about it, the more I felt Dorothy's wisdom was transferable. As I watched her totter away on her 6 inch heels, I wondered if we could use her insights to help our customers look and feel great. If there's one thing we want our customers to believe it's that their suits make them look attractive - because they do. Our made-to-measure styles enhance the contours of the body to make you look the best you can - which, as a rule, is always enough. We take what Dorothy says seriously. For men to pass the most important test - that of attractiveness - they must dress becomingly and look presentable. They mustn't cause embarrassment by the clothes they wear.
If you're struggling with any of the 5 As, or you merely want to improve your style, contact 'A Suit That Fits' and tell us what's on your mind.
Dorothy has kindly promised to respond...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

London will be spotted purple...

Outside my office window, the rain beats London. The buildings shimmer in the wet. I sit behind my desk, contemplating the perfect satin lining for my new pinstripe suit. The stripe is a fine, glistening grey. The fabric is Midnight Blue. I'm tempted to opt for a matching lining, but part of me leans towards the bright. There are four vibrant colours to choose from. Luminous Gold, Lime Green, Blood Red and Royal Purple. I'm looking for something dark and striking. I'm divided between the purple and the red.

Thunder rolls over London. It breaks like the crack of a whip. I have a sample of purple satin, which I place next to the pinstriped cloth. Somehow the satin brings out the pinstripe, almost purpling the grey. The fabric smoulders as I fold it. The satin fibres shimmer in the light.
It's lunchtime now and my stomach begins to rumble. The rain has turned into a thick grey smudge. I think of a quote by D.H. Lawrence, comparing London to a dull grey stone under which we creep like insects. Before picking up my umbrella and heading off into the rain, I order the perfect fabric ensemble: a Midnight Blue suit with a purple satin lining. At least this way, I think, I'll carry colour around London. The inside of my jacket will flash in the light. No matter what the weather. No matter how deadeningly grey the day.
Try mixing and matching yourself at

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The quirkiest job in London

I must work for the quirkiest company in London. Apart from writing this blog - which, in itself, is weird enough - I cycle round East Central on a 1950s pushbike making sure our products are ironed and posted, measure our customers for their personalised suits and every so often stand around in the cold handing out leaflets. 'A Suit That Fits', in short, are a bewildering company to work for. The product is of the highest quality (made from the finest cashmere) and our customers are some of the most stylish men in London, but an undoubtable air of mystery hangs over all our proceedings. Only the other day, handing out leaflets in the rain to drum up interest in our suits, a number of guys walked by me and flashed me the linings of their jacket. I saw the label 'A Suit That Fits' and a smile of acknowledgement passed between us. It was as if we belonged to a club that only a select few had joined.
A fews day before that we brought the streets of London to a standstill by unleashing a painted naked guy to drum up interest from the unsuspecting public. There were gasps, jeers, reserved sidewise glances and many, many laughs as he strutted and strolled his way around the capitol. We saw an amazing increase in customer interest and many, many sales.
Our goal is to be the number one bespoke tailoring service in the UK. In the meantime we'll continue cycling around East Central, beautifying the British male with our stunning cashmere suits.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bespoke Icon of the Week: Olivier Martinez!

They've called him the French Brad Pitt, but here at A Suit That Fits we think he's classier than that. They've called him Mr Minogue, but his potential, we think, is infinitely more exciting than that. The current face of Yves Saint Laurent, Mr Martinez is officially 'l'homme du jour', and to mark the end of Paris Fashion Week we've decided to celebrate this master of style by offering him the title of Icon of the Week.
French men, it seems, have always been honoured as Europe's 'experts of sex' - think Serge Gainsbourg and Alain Delon - but never has a man combined sex appeal with style quite as well as this. With his slick black hair and enigmatic squint, his love of dark glasses and the tailored suit, he's certainly teaching his British counterpart a thing or two about looking good. But quickly, lest we forget, I'd like to remind you that is was here, not France, that tailoring actually began. If it wasn't for the stiff, British formality of style that emerged in London in the 1700s, perhaps Mr Martinez wouldn't be looking quite so good. And all things considered, we think we like him the way he is.
Be proud of your stiff British roots. Visit

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blue Sky and the Zen of Leafleting

This was the stunning blue sky over London this morning as I took to the streets to hand out leaflets for the exciting new garment house 'A Suit That Fits'. The last time I was out beneath a cold October sky for any significant period was probably during school football matches, when I'd stand, shivering, in the corner of the pitch, praying the ball wouldn't come near me. This morning was an entirely different affair, in some ways reaching heights of Zen-like proportion.

It started with a sinking in the pit of my stomach as I pitched my stall outside Moorgate Tube and realised I'd become what everybody hates: that nuisance on the corner who dispenses cards that nobody really wants. Responses varied from ignoring me completely to throwing me looks of pure, simple loathing, followed by a side-step and a firm 'No'. Only occasionally did someone smile and say, 'Thank you," which was usually followed by a swelling in my heart with which nothing could possibly compare. Never before have I observed the speed of this world with such clarity. It was frankly disturbing to see so many unhappy faces pouring from the Tube, too busy to acknowledge a poor leafleteer.

Beside me a Polish guy handed out 'City AM' papers to the passing bankers and traders. This guy was a miracle, I swear. Not only did he stand there looking reasonably comfortable in his thick Winter hat and gloves, he also never stopped smiling. There was I, becoming more and more browbeaten by the disinterested crowd, and he was smiling a beatific smile whilst hopping from foot to foot like a carol-singer left on the doorstep in the cold. I wanted to shake him by the hand - to somehow absorb his fighting spirit. For no matter how many frowns or gestures of disinterest he received, nothing could alter his cheerful demeanour.

If there's anything I can take away from my leafleting experience, it's the knowledge that the poor man is great in spirit. If I could choose between the hectic life of a city trader, too busy to acknowledge the humanity before my eyes, or the Zen-like richness of the Polish leafleteer, I'd easily choose the latter. On a similar note, if there's one other thing these city-suits miss as they scurry along the pavements, in and out of buses and tunnels in the ground, it's the beauty of the crystal clear sky that shimmers over London in October.
Be enlightened. Stand out from the crowd. Visit A Suit That Fits.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Suits That'll Make You Late

What better way of banishing the Monday morning blues than waking up in the bed of a handsome man who's just returned from the bathroom smelling of toothpaste and cologne and who is now slipping into a bespoke cashmere suit, fresh from the garment house A Suit That Fits? You watch as the trousers fit snuggly around his legs, close around the contours of his arse, then you reach over and put an arm around his neck, straightening the cashmere collar around his nape. All you want to do is pull him down on top of you but the clock is ticking, it's already 8.00 and you haven't even showered yet, have you?

Now it's too late. There's just no resisting. His suited embrace has begun to overwhelm you. As he presses himself against you, a single thought drifts through your mind: if only those suits were a little less enticing, if only your man was less irrestible in them, perhaps you'd make it into work on time... The morning passes in a blaze of desire. You stumble into the office at just gone 10, and when your colleagues ask you why you look so bedraggled you tell them: "It's A Suit That Fits."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Trip to Harrods

When I took my mother to Harrods today, I thought the unavailability of everything would depress me (I wanted to buy an umbrella, but the cheapest I could find was 15 quid). Instead, something happened that was rather unexpected. I was wandering confusedly from room to room, becoming more and more exhilarated by the sights and sounds, when suddenly I realised I was moved. Perhaps it was the music thudding from the walls. The thick mist of scent carried on the air. Or the crowds of people pressing around me. Whatever it was, it was powerful. As if I was breathing the consumerist fumes.
By the time we reached the Food Court I'd become like a child, pointing at everything in awe. An old lady sipping pink champagne at the fish bar was the most elegant thing I'd ever seen. I practically worshipped the green-slippered feet of an incredibly beautiful Japanese girl eating sushi in the corner. Even a group of Americans pointing at the plastic pig carcasses on the butcher's ceiling seemed so innocently happy I couldn't help sharing their amusement.
At the top of a pair of gold escalators we stood looking up at the glitzy, gold-plated walls, when suddenly, as if from nowhere, the tinkling strains of Gounod's 'Ave Maria' filled the air. By far my favourite piece of music, here, at the top of the escalators in Harrods, it was as if I'd never heard it before. These celestial notes, at once so familiar and so strange - almost too beautiful, in fact, to be made by human hands - were somehow perfectly suited to the glamour that surrounded us. I clutched my mother's arm. She was listening too. Not quite knowing what we'd just experienced, we walked happily down the escalator together.
Breathe the consumerist fumes yourself at

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Fetishised Body of Victoria Beckham

Before you visit A Suit That Fits and purchase one of their excellent suits, pause for a moment and let me inform you about the exact nature of this thing you're about to do. In this age of consumer capitalism, one Marxist concept remains tellingly accurate: the phenomenon of commodity fetishism. Marx distinguished between the 'use value' and the 'exchange value' of a product; the former, he argued, had little to do with the value of a product in the capitalist system; rather, capitalism created its own economy, in which the commodity's ability to be exchanged was the real determinant of its worth. Later Marxists, such as Herbert Marcuse, explored the 'fetishism of commodities' that arose from this system of exchange. Integral to this phenomenon, they said, was the belief that power resided in the product. Purchasing this product meant that power would be bestowed upon the owner.

One may argue that this 'power' is illusory, that by emphasising illusion, consumerism is shallow. But in the context of a society that values this illusion, its power is no longer illusory at all: it becomes the determining means by which some are empowered and others are excluded from power. Victoria Beckham is a case in point. By hiding her face behind Jackie O glasses and stuffing her ritually starved limbs into Rock & Republic jeans, she oozes the essence of consumer power, utilising the fetishism of commodities to bestow her body with a mystical power. Her greatest talent, then, is perhaps the way she adheres so rigidly to these rules; by adorning herself with a surplus of fetishised commodities, leaving us with no doubt as to the artificial, socially constructed nature of their power, her appearance contains a devastating critique of consumer capitalism itself. She is, in fact, a great deconstructionist; and whereas the theorists of old sat writing in their ivory towers, she is on the carpet, posing before the cameras, undermining the very system she upholds.

It's the same with this blog. Like any advertising endeavour, its existence relies on the fetishism of commodities. The belief that the bespoke tailored suit bestows power on its wearer is central to my attempt to get you to buy a suit from A Suit That Fits. The effect the suit produces is different to the mystique of Victoria Beckham. But it's certainly no less seductive, representing wealth, commerce and power. Its authority arises from an all together less mysterious, masculine physicality, which our culture - the City of London - fetishes above all else.

This blog entry was made possible by A Suit That Fits.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fashion... or should that be Fascism?

If there was one thing the Nazis understood above all else, it was the power of image. With their flags, their rallies and their militaristic uniforms, they whipped the German people into a frenzy of hope and expectation. The uniform itself was designed to appear noble and powerful; it went on to become one of the single most influential dress codes of the 20th century. By adopting the military look and promoting an overtly masculine presence, the Nazis appealed to the German desire for security in a time of economic hardship. They created a uniform for everyone, from students to nurses to the labor corps, and in the process they made everyone an extension of the Reich.

In Italy, meanwhile, the fascists were the first to utilise the devastating cool of a sheer black shirt and tie. Black has always represented the point where civilisation and barbarity meet, somehow mixing darkness with sophistication. But in the hands of Mussolini's violent fascists its dangerous allure was exploited to the max. The paramilitary Squadristi wore black turtle-neck sweaters, black shirts and ties and a black fez with tassles: the aim was to intimidate and the effect was achieved through fashion.

Given their penchant for style, is it any wonder that the Fascists found sympathetic bedfellows in the world of fashion? The values of fashion, like Fascism, are skin-deep, ruled by image, sensation and seduction. Designers, like dictators, manipulate the power of image to draw gasps and sighs from their captured audiences; they conjure a whole ideology in a single aesthetic instance. Coco Chanel was one leading lumière of the fashion world who couldn't resist the 'Nazi chic' (she even dated a Nazi officer). Hugo Boss was another. Before and during World War II, he designed the uniforms of Hitler's elite killing troop, the SS, and manufactured them with slave labour. (The factory was later labelled an "opportunist of the Third Reich" and fined 80,000 Marks.) And finally, it comes as no surprise that some of the last century's biggest fashion spenders have been the wives of brutal dictators. Think Imelda Marcos and Eva Peron.

What this says about fashion is unclear, other than the fact that our tendency to be seduced by appearance becomes dangerous when exploited by cunning politicians. One of the benefits of consumer capitalism is that its proliferation of different styles prevents society from becoming monomaniacal, thus neutralising the inherent power of fashion. Fashion, in fact, becomes a commodity rather than a weapon - which, although in some ways sad, is clearly a necessary precaution. When George Bush dons a military uniform whilst engaging in political affairs (and to be frank, that image isn't quite as absurd as it should be) - only then do we need to worry.

This blog entry was made possible by A Suit That Fits.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bespoke Icon of the Week: David Cameron!

My feelings towards this man are complex to say the least. He's certainly powerful, sexy and devastatingly stylish. His skin is immaculate and his hair is beautiful. But at the end of the day he's still a Conservative. If he really cared about the environment, the health service, society's poorest families, why didn't he join New Labour? You never can trust a Conservative. Not even one with gleaming skin.
The thing that most troubles me is his appearance. At least in the old days you knew where you stood. There were two types of Tory politician. Those who looked like they'd walked out of a massage parlour and those who resembled freshly dug corpses. Either way it was easy to despise them. Mr Cameron, however, is changing all the rules. Young and beautiful, clearly moisturised, he's proving that one needn't look like a blood-sucking Conservative to be one. All you need are some half-decent beauty products and a bespoke tailored suit and you too can be beautiful.
On a more serious note, Mr Cameron's devilishly smart appearance highlights one of the most widespread but largely unacknowledged problems that exist in our society today. Whilst the Conservative Party leader is measured and dressed by the world's finest tailors, the majority of the British population are deprived of this pleasure because they're unable to afford the extortionate prices of bespoke tailored suits. 'A Suit That Fits' exists to address this problem. We are a London-based garment house that provides bespoke tailored suits at prices our customers can afford. Give us your measurements and your style preferences and we create the look you want from just £110. Visit to find out more.

London: Crown Jewel of Fashion since 1700

Having moved very recently to London, all I hear is "Welcome to London!" "Welcome to London!" Sometimes this is said in a serious tone, as if becoming a 'Londoner' is something to be congratulated on. At other times it is accompanied with an ironic twist of a smile and a sharp glint in the eye, as if to say, "Welcome, but we'll see how long you're still smiling." All in all it is very welcoming. Even the shopkeepers smile and say, "How are you?" But more importantly, there's something in the air, something that's proving particularly felicitous for a fashion writer new to London. Everywhere I go - Paddington, Victoria, King's Cross - rolling screens display pouting, life-size models, all of whom move endlessly down pristine catwalks whilst enchanted faces gaze from the sidelines. I find myself stopping among the London hordes, disturbing the businessmen who walk hurriedly by me, whilst I stare, entranced by these impassive creatures. It's enough to take your breath away.

The explanation: it's London Fashion Week.

Before I get too carried away, I'd like to remind you all of the imporant role that London has played in the changing history of men's style, from the earliest days of the Restoration through to the innovations of the Swinging Sixties and the 21st century focus on online tailoring, exemplified by the cutting-edge garment house 'A Suit That Fits'.

The earliest equivalent of the modern day catwalk can be found in the 18th century, when the male members of London's top aristocratic families would parade up and down Hyde Park to show off their beautiful clothes; this was known as the 'Fashionable Hour', though it was, in fact, three hours, from 4.30 to 7.30. Given what we know about 18th century fashion, it must have been an impressive sight. Hand-sewn coats with wide skirts pleated into tight waists were worn over breeches and ruffled shirts. These were often blood red or deep blue or a more subdued black or brown, all of which were popular with the 18th century gentlemen. Today one can only imagine the sight of it - hundreds of gentlemen in brightly coloured coats sauntering beneath a pale blue sky in Hyde Park. "Such a blaze of splendour," said one commentator, "is now to be seen nowhere but in London..."

Towards the end of the 18th century, a strange phenomenon began to spread through the theatres, opera houses and parks of London: the rise of the dandy. The dandy was a sophisticated young man, usually characterised by immaculate personal cleanliness and close attention to appearance. He wore high-collared linen shirts and perfectly tailored pantaloons, partly inspired by the garments of the working class masses, who dominated France after the French Revolution. Whilst the Terror raged on the other side of the channel, a certain darkness, or severity of expression, reigned on the London scene, with black becoming increasingly popular.

With the dawn of the postmodern era in the 20th century and the sexual revolution of the 1960s, all these styles and more were borrowed and blended to create unusual, retro looks. London swung to a different beat and boho-chic was all the rage. Think Mick Jagger, a kind of drug-addled Romantic in ruffled shirt and silk-cravat, or the Beatles, sharp-suited Englishmen with Beatnik hair. Styles proliferated and no 'look' predominated. The individual wore what he wanted when he wanted to wear it.

Now, in the 21st century, grunge is out and tailoring is back. Brand new garment houses such as A Suit That Fits are offering quality tailoring at affordable prices. Thanks to this modern innovation in fashion, even Joe Bloggs can take part in the ancient history of tailoring. When Paul Smith unveiled his collection this week, the beauty of bespoke tailoring was vindicated once more. The suit is evidently the thing to be in.