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 www.aSuitThatFits.com

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 www.asuitthatfits.com.

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."