We've said it before and we'll say it again: Softer cloths are coming in. That means softer texture and surfaces as a change from the smooth worsteds that have dominated for some time.

This was evident at the major textile fair, Premiere Vision,staged in Paris recently, where the world's top cloth makers and buyers got together to decide what the smart man will be wearing for Autumn/Winter 2007.


Legendary figure in Savile Row, Ron Pescod of Adeney and Boutroy, who has recently retired due to ill health. Here, he is wearing what looks like a flannel but which is actually a soft tweed, a Scottish District Check in the Dalhousie check.

Flannel is on the up. Famous Yorkshire mill Taylor and Lodge, noted for their classic worsted suitings, introduced a wide range of flannels in various counts (the number of threads per inch) and weights. Fox Brothers, one of the first to back the flannel trend, brought out new versions of flannel patterns that date back to their origins in 1782, reflecting some of the weight of the period too, all in British wool. From the Hield mill came some new black and white patterned flannels. And there were authentic West of England (the area of England traditionally noted for flannel) wool flannels from Marling and Evans and more from Sydney Shaw.

These names are all mill companies. Your tailor will deal with the woollen merchants, who supply bunches of cloths from various mills under their own names. However, they don't always include some of the more interesting designs in these bunches and your tailor may be able to get samples direct from the mill.

Further evidence of the soft trend included much softer qualities of Harris Tweed and some merino and cashmere suitings from Johnstons of Elgi n.

Interestingly, environmental concerns have lead to more interest into the source of fibres, according to the Sydney Shaw mill in Huddersfield - which uses some fibres from fleece of the Jacob sheep, which benefit from sustainable grazing.

And men are turning to heavier weights once more. After years of lighter and ever lighter cloths, wearers have come to realise that these just can't match the performance of heavier, more stable traditional weight cloths. Just because a cloth is a Super 200s (the count) doesn't make it a good suiting. And British wool as well as other wool and natural fibres have returned to pre-eminence over any synthetics.


How cloth can make you taller


LONGITUDINALLY Challenged Man may feel that romance is way over his head; all chance of a spontaneous embrace withers if you need to look around for a ladder to lean against the lady.  Be taller! Add clinches to your inches!

The basis of looking taller is much the same as that for looking slimmer, so similar rules apply to Horizontally Challenged Man.  He should avoid thick, furry or lumpy fabrics.  Stick to neat, taut cloths – worsteds rather than woollens in medium and lighter weights for town wear, and no heavier than a mid-weight flannel for country casual.

Think thin.  Give preference to vertical and closely spaced stripes of darker hues, or choose small motif patterns such as birdseye, pinheads and diagonals.  Avoid large checks, especially if colourful and contrasting.  Use muted designs if any. Eschew horizontal stripes and very pale colours; especially at leg level. 

Plain coloured shirts are best for you in terms of present fashion – white or pastel for formal, but as dark as you like for casual. Avoid bow ties, except in evening dress where they are essential.

Fancy waistcoats are a vulgarity.  Matching waistcoats give the longer line of continuity you need.  The double breasted waistcoat, because of its straightness and shortness will tend to lengthen your leg line.  Don’t shorten its visual image with the horizontal lines of trousers turn-ups, and wear trousers as narrow as possible in fashion terms (currently, slim narrow styles are fashion right.


:: What's In Savile Row Style ? ::


:: Woollen or Worsted? ::


What's the difference between Woollen and Worsted?

A woollen cloth is a wool cloth but a wool cloth is not necessarily a woollen. It could be a worsted. The difference is established prior to the spinning stage.

Wool fibres earmarked for a worsted cloth are combed - machinery arranges them in smooth long strands.

Fibres to be made into woollen cloth are carded. That means they are subjected to plates of spike-toothed machinery which tangle and scrape them together to form a thoroughly dense mass of both short and long fibres.

This ensures that the resultant cloths are fundamerntally different in appearance, lustre, colouring, weight, touch, warmth and other qualities such as reaction to shrinking and felting.

Worsteds are generally more lustrous, tend to resist creasing that shouldn't be there and to retain creases that should.

Woollens, on the other hand, are bulkier, rougher, often more colourful and certainly warmer - air is retained in the woollen thread and air is one of Nature's best insulators.