ME at the races!

‘How to?’ and ‘what not to wear?’ the eternal questions at this time of year, after Cheltenham and the Grand National, but before Ascot. So we have put together this, Track Dressing: How to avoid standing out for the wrong reasons at the races.

  • Wear a suit. This can be as jazzy or as classic as you like, but unless you’re standing in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot (Morning suits only), suits are essential. It doesn’t matter how you make the look interesting, or your own, as long as the suit is sharp. And by sharp, we do not mean spray-on tight. Take note. 

For a more relaxed day, a two piece is acceptable, but make sure you still look smart. Ascot has banned separates this year, along with cravats. Despite the fact that grey flannel trousers and a tweed jacket can sometimes be smarter than a shabby suit is apparently not being taken into consideration with the blanket rules!

  • Wear correct shoes. Nothing upsets us more here at ME HQ than the sight of a suit and trainers combo, so polish up your Oxfords, Brogues or Monk straps and finish the look properly.
  • Don’t be afraid to accessorize! The races are famous for a bit of peacocking, and it is the perfect chance to play around with pocket squares, tie pins and a slightly bolder tie. Pocket watch? Why not!
  • For a Morning Suit, keep things classic. White collared or detachable collared shirts are timeless when worn with Morning dress, with the above rules being applicable.  Personally, loud waistcoats can be a bit too much, but it is a chance to have some fun with formalwear. We suggest sticking to the classic sand/cream/duck egg blue combos, but why not add slips and take the look up a notch?

Lastly, make sure you are comfortable. It’s a long day! Trousers feeling a little tight? Coat a little large? Fancy something new to look the part? Pay us a visit in good time to make sure we can send you off looking your absolute sharpest.

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Antonia Ede
Making History

Beloved by many, we just adore this letter from Hardy Minnis' Hunt and Winterbotham archive, showing the letter written by the White House Special Assistant, requesting a length of rather special Fresco!

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Antonia Ede
Monthly merchant: Mr Geoff Wheeler
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How long have you been in the trade?
I've been in the trade 30years this year!

Where did you start?
I started as a cloth merchant at a French company called Dormeuil, then H Lesser and Dugdale Bros before heading to Huddersfield Fine Worsted.

What is it about the history of HFW that attracted you to the company? 
It's just the untapped size of the history, If you drill down into our history HFW are so important to the history of English cloth manufacturing! 

What is your favourite cloth, and from which bunch?
That’s a tricky one for me as our Bamboo collection is without doubt the best cloth I've ever worn for comfort and feel, but how can it compete with Fresco, which is almost a perfect cloth!

What garment of clothing could you not live without? 
Easy one, it's my Dugdale Dreadnought serge made by Huntsman and cut by a young cutter called Antonia!

In your opinion, who is the best dressed man alive today?
Prince Charles; he is smart and not over thought!

What was the first bespoke garment you ever got made, and by who/what cloth?
My first garment was a Tonic pair of trousers made by a tailor in East London, loved them! 


What is the definition of a beautiful cloth?
Tough one as you have cloth for different seasons and reasons, but I'd say it's that jacket you pick out of your wardrobe more then the others around it, is it the cloth or the cut probably a bit of both. 

Who do you see as the atypical Fresco client?
It's a client who understands cloth and tailoring and knows  the properties of fresco suit, the fact he can travel on business with a suit that sheds its wrinkles so well.
It is the ultimate travel suit.

Antonia Ede
Fresco Cloth *DECEMBER OFFER*
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We are delighted to be teaming up with the brilliant cloth merchants Hardy Minnis to offer our customers a fantastic 15% off orders using J and J Minnis' iconic Fresco cloth.

Fresco is one of the most distinctive British fabrics we know, and although generally used as a travel suiting, is fabulously versatile. It's name translating to 'fresh', we understand exactly why, with it's multiple yarn, high twisted wool allowing for an open weave, breathable cloth.
Due to the high twist, it has a very dry, coarse handle to it, which, despite feeling less 'luxe', allows for long lasting wear.

Nowadays, Fresco is available in over 36 different colours and designs, and the weights range from 8oz–15oz per yard (248g–465g per metre), whereas the original fresco from the 1950’s was usually between 11 oz -18oz (341g -558g per metre) and a plain weave. More recently, the designs have been becoming more lively, with stunning puppy tooth and stripes making their way into the bunches.

 

 

Antonia Ede
Our latest collaboration…. Courtney and Co.

We are seriously excited to have received our first batch of Courtney and Co buttons recently, after a long hunt for a new style. Don’t get us wrong, we adore horn buttons, but they seem to be getting heavier set recently, and we want something that feels a bit more like the older, more delicate buttons you find on vintage pieces.

So, that’s where David comes in. He (like us) loves all things hand crafted, and in his words: ‘when the opportunity presented itself to ‘rescue’ the manufacturing of natural buttons in the UK we jumped at the chance. Enthused and guided by a romantic and nostalgic desire to save and restore what was once a great industry in the UK, we have invested in machines and engaged experienced button-makers who could be persuaded to pass on their skills’.

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Button blanks - jute bags containing Corozo (and horn in the background) at the start of the process -the raw material, so to speak.

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Polishing barrels showing finished buttons in the foreground. They use traditional techniques to polish buttons and use such things as pumice stone and wooden/ceramic pegs. The buttons are introduced to the barrels and are turned for days, depending on the finish required. A top quality horn button can be polished this way for up to two weeks!

And these aren’t just any old buttons: they are made from so called ‘vegetable Ivory’, Corozo. Fundamentally, it is a nut but is every bit as hard as a regular horn button. And to top it off is fully ecologically sustainable. Grown on a Tagua Palm in Central America, the plant requires no human harvesting, as the nuts naturally fall to the ground when ripe. With each tree producing around 1800 nuts a year and living for around a century, we are lucky to have such a bountiful supply at our fingertips!
With their head office in Gloucestershire, Courtney and Co are bringing button making out of the shadows, with a horn button line in the pipeline.

Below: A double breasted blazer with our new buttons, and a close-up detail of a cuff.

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A double breasted blazer with our new buttons,

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and a close up detail of a cuff

We are over the moon to be working with them, and cannot wait to see where they go! 

Visit www.courtneyandco.uk for more info.

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Women of Saville Row
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'Women of Saville Row' is a creative radio feature made by emerging radio / audio producer Clare Lynch (clarelynchsoho). The piece is a conversation between three extraordinary women talking about working in the bespoke tailoring trade. Their voices are heard alongside the sounds of them hard at work in their workrooms in central London.

Antonia Ede
A big adventure
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Part of the reason for branching out and starting Montague Ede was a chance to do something a bit different, a bit fun and a bit more creative. There is absolutely no reason why bespoke tailoring shouldn’t be a bit lighthearted, whether it be creating ridiculous pockets for niche objects or finding the loudest lining ever created for a flash of character on a pocket flap.

So when artist Olly Williams (www.ollysuzi.com) approached me to cut him something a bit different, I leapt at the opportunity.


Olly had obtained a length of tweed from the island of Jura, which was woven with the surrounding Scottish landscape in mind. The tone of the yarn combined with the ‘rough and ready’ tweed is sympathetic to the environment the cloth is designed to be worn in, and Olly’s request of a shooting coat he could ‘fling on’ and do anything in was perfect.

Taking Olly’s frame and the aesthetic he had in mind, we decided to cut the coat with bellow patch pockets, a storm collar and gun pleats at the back. Suede elbow patches and trim on the edge of the pockets in olive green really complimented the piece. Add to that Bernstein and Banley’s shark print lining through the sleeves, and you have yourself a blinder of a coat.


Antonia Ede
The Great British Wardrobe Overhaul Part 3
 

So, for the final installment, I asked our very patient intern and my even more patient colleague what they thought the last article of clothing for the ultimate wardrobe detox should be, and although they both said a jacket, they disagreed on what. SO. I thought back to the ‘homework’ Rachel has been doing each week since interning with us, a film we set each week for her to watch.

This is mostly for costume/style reasons, or because of cultural importance to us. Past films have been The Thomas Crown Affair (original) and The man In The Grey Flannel Suit (reason not necessary). The film for this week, however is Bullitt. Steve McQueen at his best; a broody cop with iconic sixties style.

To me, this is the missing jigsaw piece: the Bullitt Jacket. Totally versatile, this classic throw-on- and-go coat that works with either chinos, flannels or jeans. A rollneck or an open collared shirt with a cravat. Having made one for a client back at Hardy Amies, he still claims it as one of his favourite garments ever. We made it from a classic Scabal jacketing, however the cloth market is flooded with possible fabrics, from a tweed to a cashmere. As the ideal spring coat, we look forward to seeing more of these on the street in coming months!

 
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