In my continuous search for style I draw a lot of my inspiration from the period of the 1920s and 1930s - the so called golden age of men's fashion. One particular style of suit which became prevalent during this period is the Prince of Wales check, a bolder version of the Glen Plaid. I have never owned such a style, but have been searching for an appropriate such suit for some time. The majority of off-the-peg options are a grey/blue mix (and everyone seems to own one), but I wanted something a little different. I finally found the solution in the Hammond & Co by Patrick Grant range at the store Debenhams.
The most popular style in the 1920s/1930s was the double breasted suit, often seen worn by the then Prince of Wales Prince Edward, later to become HRH The Duke of Windsor.
The Hammond & Co suit came in a grey/blue three piece suit option or the grey/brown double breasted. I opted for the later. The suit was only available online, as an 'end of season' sale. I took a risk in guessing the size, clicked order, and 3 days later it arrived. Free delivery, and only £150! As soon as I touched the soft cloth of the suit I knew I had found a bargain. What a wonderful suit.
Firstly the fit. The jacket has soft shoulders, a generous roll on the lapel, and a tailored waist giving a sharp sillouette. I already own another Hammond & Co suit, so I knew in advance their sizing is not generous. I can purchase a suit from Marks and Spencer in a size 40" regular and it will fit perfectly. With Hammond & Co I need a 42" - they call it the 'tailored cut'. I remain confused in general with the (hopefully dying) trend of calling clothing 'tailored' - which seems to mean ultra slim cut to save money on the amount of fabric used!
The buttons on the jacket sleeve work, adding a nice touch not often found on off-the-peg suits. Another rarity is to find sleeves cut the correct length. The sleeves on the jacket are perfect, just touching my wrists, allowing for 1/2" of shirt cuff to show.
The trousers are very well cut. A straight leg, with adjustable side fasteners on the waistband.
No belt loops are an added refinement, adding to the tailored feel to the suit. However, I had to purchase a 34" waist because the suit only came in 2" intervals (I am a 33"). I am already finding the trousers a little loose, so I will be having my tailor add some buttons inside the waistband to enable me to use braces (suspenders) to improve the general drape of the trouser. The trousers are also lined to the knee.
The fabric is worsted wool, and has both a softness and a durable feel to it. Although the label showed the suit to have been made in Egypt (the rather impersonal number of the employee is on the label!), the material is woven in England.
I know I have used the word drape several times, but the overall feel of this suit is that it is draped on you, not hugging your body. I have not felt this comfortable in a suit since I wore my first bespoke suit a few years ago.
The suit now needed a road test! It is all well and good admiring oneself in the mirror and on the selfie photograph, but how will it stand up to being worn for hours on end? I had to visit Northern Ireland recently on business for a few days, so took the opportunity to wear the suit. This involved a train ride to Heathrow, an hour and a half at the airport lounge (sitting whilst on a one hour conference call on my mobile phone), a one hour flight, then a one hour drive to Portrush. I emerged from the rigours of this exhaustive trip in the suit as if I had just put it on. The weight and quality of the fabric seemed to allow it to avoid a crumpled look so often associated with travel, and it also bounced back into shape within minutes. Very impressive - especially for someone as obsessed as I am with well pressed and clean clothes!
Finally, I should mention its flexibility. On this particular business trip I was able to wear the trousers with a black cashmere sweater for a more relaxed look, and I tried wearing the jacket with an open necked shirt and dark jeans. The grey/brown colour mix in the check also means brown or black shoes work very well with it, adding even more flexibility (a later post will look in more detail at the flexible options of such a suit).
I am happy - I have managed to add a classic piece of clothing to my wardrobe, stay true to my love of the style of the 1920s/1930s, yet maintain a contemporary twist - all for £150!
Hammond & Co definitely gets my vote of approval.