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Not every man visiting Savile Row has the time to wait weeks, even months, for a bespoke suit. And so, some 72 years ago, a fledgling ready-to-wear name joined the hallowed ranks of tailors to meet the needs of just chestersuit.jpgsuch customers.

Chester Barrie was the name and it is still there, pandering to those men who want a suit NOW but with a quality as near to that of its bespoke neighbours’ work as it is possible for a ready-to-wear or made-to-measure to be.

And as part of an on-going revamp of the brand, it has teamed up with one of the Row’s top talents, Edward Sexton, to create a collection of suits, jackets and topcoats that combine immaculate make with updated styling.

“I think Edward is brilliant,” said George Orris, international brand director of the company.  “The technical excellence that he has brought to the collection means that these garments are as near to bespoke as can be. He has re-invented the construction, worked on the shoulderline and the chest pieces, taken the armhole a little higher, put in more shape.

“The end result is still a classic suit but also more contemporary, more appealing to the younger man. It is an English look for international executives. And it is made in England.”

When the company first came to Savile Row in the 1930s, London was at the height of its fame as the international centre of male elegance. And those stars of stage and screen, and royalty, celebrities and men-about-town who visited the Row to have bespoke clothes made also visited Chester Barrie.

Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and style icon Cary Grant are amongst it starry roll call of past customers. And it took the classic English look around the world, chestercheck.jpgas exclusive stores ordered this brand.

But it has had its ups and downs, as is the way of things. It was acquired first by the Austin Reed Group in the 1970s and later by the SRG Group, and then the present owners,  Prominent Europe took over just four years ago.

Since then it has been the subject of a programme of development, now under the able direction of George Orris, a man with a wealth of experience in the British clothing industry.

He is well pleased with the full Chester Barrie collection now being marketed. This includes shirts and ties as well as the main tailored clothing, everything made to the same high standards as the suits. The next step is the opening of Chester Barrie shops in Milan, Verona and Venice early next year, with others to follow in France as well as Italy.chestergrey.jpg

The shop in Savile Row has been revamped. Here, customers can buy off-the-peg or choose from the same selection of cloth bunches as in the tailors’ shops for a made-to-measure outfit. The ready-to-wear styles may be bought in other up-market shops here and in the US, but the made-to-measure is only available in Savile Row.

It is once more flying the flag for British tailoring overseas. Savile Row’s bespoke craftsmen may be a trifle envious of Chester Barrie’s wider success but its commitment to quality and to emulating their standards as closely as possible makes it a good ambassador for the Row.

“I’m very happy with the way it is going,” says George Orris. “And I’m enjoying it immensely,” he adds with a smile.



WINTER 2011 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





contact Home - Contents in brief
contact Style 1 - Dressing up for the festive season
contact Style 2 - The Golden Mile stretches out
contact Style 3 - Anderson & Sheppard brought to book
contact Style 4 - Designer for men and women
contact Style 5 - For those who don't want to wait
contact Style 6 - Spectacles with a long history
contact Gold - Trail to celebrate Britain's pre-eminence
contact SUBSCRIPTION - Savile Row Style Magazine
contact Drinks - Wine from the dead of night
contact Travel - From Chile to Saint Tropez
contact Gifts - Personal treats and gift ideas
contact Antiques - Collectables from the men's dressing room
contact Watches - Timely rescue and diamond launch
contact Compendium - Links to the really best brands and services
contact Contact - Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row - listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive - Back Issues

A RISE in sales of pocket squares by a staggering 48 per cent is reported for this year by the retail chain Charles Tyrwhitt.

The pocket handkerchief follows the tie in being a totally unnecessary item that allows a man to add a touch of individuality and colour to an outfit, and formality to casual jackets. This spotted cotton from Tyrwhitt sells at £12.95


One of the fastest growing men’s chains since its launch in 1986 as a shirt shop, CT’s founder, Nick Wheeler, also reveals that sales of novelty cuff links are out-stripping traditional designs by two-to-one. Latest designs include such gems as an enamelled Tower Bridge, a thrupenny bit and a red 8d stamp.