Many a fine Savile Row suit has been ruined by the wrong choice of accessories and, it has to be admitted, many a bad suit transformed with the stylish application of a good supporting cast.
Scarves have been the primary fashion accessory for some time, and here we are not talking about something to keep the neck warm. Think TV historian, Michael Wood, noted for his stylishly, seemingly carelessly, draped scarves, or Johnny Depp, long scarf thrown over one shoulder, or David Beckham, who shows how to knot or not.
Styling requires length, so that the scarf may be wound round the neck, then knotted, or loosely wound and ends left dangling, or doubled up and wound, then one or both ends passed through the loop. It adds dash.
But the scarf is being upstaged in the style stakes by hats. Very much back, it is nice to see young be-suited men about town wearing fedoras with aplomb, and not simply as fun items. Wider brimmed models are more dramatic and worn by braver souls, but they will gain in favour as the hat wearing habit spreads.
Narrow ties are the choice of fashionistas amongst many brightly coloured plains, or patterned knits that make a statement worn with a classic suit – “I am not boring”. Another TV figure, Jon Snow, wears eye-catching versions that don’t really go with him or his clothes but he is trying. Bow ties are making a bit of a come back but need a certain je ne sais quoi to carry them off. Best with a Savile Row classic is a medium width silk tie which can be quite colourful and brightly patterned if it goes with the wearer.
Savile Row tailors still recommend that braces are the best support for trousers but belts are the preferred choice for many of their customers. Instead of the ubiquitous black, a leather of a different complexion can suggest a slightly more relaxed approach – but ornate buckles only with jeans or the more casual suit affairs.Plain gold oval or oblong cuff links have long been the traditional item of jewellery to just peak from beneath a coat cuff on a double cuffed shirt. Happily, men are now allowed far more excitement in ornamentation, even with classic suits, so cuff links have become much more innovative and a popular choice for presents. This means, alas, that some pretty dire examples are out there, leading to a resurgence of the classic.Finally, the foundation. It used to be said that one could tell a man by his shoes. A pair of well made, polished and cared-for shoes not only look good but will last, and, importantly, be comfortable. A pair of too-tight trousers may be uncomfortable but a pair of too-tight shoes can be excruciating and do lasting damage to feet.