Monday, 7 February 2011

Royal Wedding Kit

With a Royal wedding only a couple of months away, there is great excitement on the fashion pages as to what Kate Middleton will be wearing for the great day. I am more concerned about what Prince William decides to wear. Will it be the whole morning coat kit or will he opt for uniform? It’s giving me sleepless nights.

The Royal Family have always worn morning dress well, from the Duke of Windsor to the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles always looks his best attired in tails and his sons carry on the tradition looking as though they have always worn it - which in a way they have, having been required to wear it at Eton.

Purely for commercial reasons, I am hoping that Prince William will choose to wear morning dress. If he does, it’s my betting is that it will be the most fashionable must have of the season. Unlike most men who leave sorting out their wedding kit until the last moment, I’m sure the Prince’s valet has already lined up a tailor to make his outfit, and that all the cutters on Savile Row are anxiously awaiting a call from the palace.

Given that Prince Charles favours Welsh and Jeffries, the long established military tailors, that’s a possibility. The proprietor, Malcolm Plews, has a renowned reputation with the shears on the Row. It could also be Henry Poole, the oldest tailors in the street, whose clients have previously included Winston Churchill - however, discretion being one of their hallmarks, they are not saying anything and nor am I!

So if you wish to look like the most fashionable man about town this year then I suggest you start with a black morning coat, ensuring that it is neat fitting and not too long. It should hang to just above the back of the knee. Take care that the sleeve length is correct to allow you to show a little bit of shirt cuff.

The trousers should be made from a worsted material in a dark grey/black stripe and cut longer in the rise so as there is no gap between waistcoat and trousers. They should taper gently and just break onto the shoes without turn ups. They can be either pleated or plain front, though for larger men pleats work better.

The waistcoat can be single or double-breasted in either buff or dove grey, made from a fine hopsack wool or Irish linen with pearl buttons.

An attached white cut-away collared shirt is the norm, though I believe nothing looks better than a white detached collar worn with a simple striped tunic shirt, but be sure to allow time when dressing as they can be a devil to fit. And the shirt must be double cuff, of course.

As it is customary to wear something old, a pair of discreet vintage cufflinks would be perfect, remembering that they should match your dress watch.

The tie should be of a neat open design in a woven silk. Try to find one with a light lining as it will slip through the stiff collar more easily; it will also give you a better knot.

An ivory silk handkerchief in the outside breast coat pocket adds to the overall effect, and be sure to keep an Irish linen handkerchief on hand because some one is sure to cry.

So often men let themselves down by wearing cheap shoes so invest in a decent pair of properly made black oxfords - Crockett and Jones has some good examples, or George Cleverley if you wish to go bespoke. It goes without saying that they should be well polished.

A good investment is a black silk top hat as they are no longer made and the price keeps going up. A trip to Hetherington Hats in Chelsea is not only an experience, but they also stock the largest selection in the world.

I am reliably informed by an inside source at the Palace that Prince William will definitely be wearing morning dress or uniform. Whatever it is, I am sure he will be impeccably well turned out.

Now, where did I put that invitation?

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