I have finally done it. I have submitted my order for the most expensive item of item that I have bought to date. The reasons are two fold.
First my current ‘Chesterfield’ (it really isn’t strictly a Chesterfield) from MUJI (costs something like £80 when I got it) is getting a bit worn and it won’t be long before it falls to pieces. My other coat is from Burton and that one is more or less dead from wear; the material (a sort of polyester shower proof ‘thing’) is pilling like mad and just looks horrid plus it is also falling apart.
Secondly, I need a non-black overcoat that looks and feels very different and very good. If I had bought an OTR overcoat from the venerable haberdashers of London, it would cost in the region of £400-450 (the sale is over). Plus, it would be difficult to actually get an overcoat that I like. But there is a better alternative that is, compared to OTR, cheaper and probably more better.
Bookster is a made to order tailors and haberdashers that specialise in making tweed garments. Not only that, you have the ability to customise a standard pattern with various ‘bespoke’ options. This makes it easy to create a combo that you like and at the price you like. The most important thing is the price. A custom overcoat from London would go for about £500-750+. At Bookster it is a mere £370! If you include all standard options it comes to arround £400-450. You see that you get a custom job instead of an OTR. This is the highlighting fact. Also, if you are a member of the Ask Andy forum (which I am) you also get a 5% discount to boot!
It is also the best time to order from them as they have kept the prices so low because of the patronage of Ask Andy but they said that they would be raising prices in the near future given the popularity and the financial hoo-harr.
I have been thinking of what cloth to use since the beginning of February. I have also been doing some minor research into coat styles and cloth weights. Primarily, I wanted a Chesterfield style coat that would be applicable for formal as well as informal wear. My research turned up contradicting results as to what the Chesterfield is.
The most conservative response is that it is SB 3B NL in black (or navy) plain wool cloth, with or without a velvet collar, not cuff buttons, fly front. I feel that altough this makes it suitable for formal occasions, it severaly limits it as a practical overcoat. After reading more, the Chesterfield can have variations such as use of charcoal grey, herringbone cloth, even brown tweed, etc. It can be BD and have PL. This is backed up by some pictorial evidence of old prints, etc. The Chesterfield must be a versatile overcoat and so one can customise. As long as it does not resemble a covert or polo coat then it is essentially a Chesterfield as long as it remains in the realm of sartorial standards.
The cloths offered by Bookster in grey were limited. The charcoal herringbone would have been ideal except the weight was not really suitable for an overcoat being around 17oz.
I wanted a heavier weight cloth so that I can survive the winter in. The herringbone is thinner than my MUJI cloth.
I browsed the heavier tweeds and found the Keepers tweed:
This was the heaviest weight of cloth on offer, around 24oz, which is ideal. It is a black and white tweed with a hint of brown. From far away it blends nicely together. I could picture it and it certainly would look more magnificent than the dark grey (as long as it is not ‘baggy’).
I ordered the cloth samples and thought about the look. I have been wearing black for a long time (I have several pairs of black trousers). It is time to remove myself from utter ‘goth’ style and wear more colourful garments. The Keepers tweed would not only fulfil this but is also formal enough IMHO.
The specifications are as follows:
1. Keepers tweed shell
2. Ruck ruby shot silk lining
3. Size 36
4. Regular sleeves (but include extra material just in case I want to lengthen them by an inch)
5. Extra long back (+ 2″)
6. 2 straight pockets/fly front
7. Black velvet collar
8. Black horn buttons
9. Peaked lapels (with buttonhole and stem loop)
10. 3 small cuff buttons
11. Slanted breast pocket (around 20 degrees from the horizontal)
Standard are single breasted 3 button.
It is going to cost somewhere in the region of £398 (inc. discount and P&P). That is cheaper than a good OTR from London! One has to wait for around 7 to 8 weeks though but that is the same period for a MTM suit anyways. Thus, if you know wear to look, you could get a really exceptionally good garment for less than high end OTR. Plus, it would probably last 100 times longer and fit better than those silly ‘designer’ bads of which 75% of the value comes from the brand name rather than the quality of the clothing itself.
And here is the finished product itself: