We’ve all received invitations with the horrendous advice to dress in a smart casual way, a code invented to sell khaki cotton chinos, when every Englishman knows that a pair of wool flannel trousers and a simple tailored jacket has for generations been the relaxed off duty wardrobe of any gentleman.
However, the increasingly complex world of informal dress codes in the city has now replaced what was for generations the elegant attire of pinstripe suit and bowler hat. As tech companies take their style tropes from socially gauche geeks in hoodies, it has proved hard for tailoring to get down with kids and indeed as the kids grow up it’s equally hard for them to be weaned from their rompers. Now that these companies are entering the city, a new style of dressing is being sought.
Luckily, we have a solution for the style conundrum I call ‘The casual smart look’ and you may not be surprised that it has its origins in tweed. Tweed is one of the most socially mobile textiles. Unlike exclusive silks, velvets or Damasks, tweed woven in simple wool has been equally at home on the backs of labourer’s or lords throughout Great Britain for hundreds of years. Hoodies on the other hand, were invented by Champion in upstate New York in the 1930’s and initially worn exclusively by labourer’s, and then in successive years, by rappers, sportsmen and Mark Zuckerberg – and herein lies the problem.
The stable wardrobe for the young generation has it’s origins in American working class uniforms, whereas, the equivalent English lads have mostly aspired to dress like aristocrats. Just look what the working class Teddy Boys caused when they started to dress as Edwardian gentlemen – hence the moniker Teddy, and even rebellious punks as created by Westwood and McLaren who were wearing zip covered tweeds and tartans more at home with a 12 bore than on a Sex Pistol.
Our solution is to wear softly tailored modern urban tweeds in as relaxed a way as possible. The woven wool designs in broken checks and boucle pinstripes are inherently casual by design and when accessorised with relaxed knitwear and athletic footwear, you can create an elegant casual look that is ideal when discussing your hurdle rates and drawdowns at the next board meeting.
Stop by the shop on 26 Sackville Street, Mayfair to try on some of our casual smart tweeds!
All the best