The last time Alex wore a dress it was a requirement of her high school graduation. She looked stunning of course (I tell her I so would have known I had crushes on girls sooner if we went to the same high school!). Since then she has looked even more stunning in button-up shirts, blazers, and waistcoats in particular. Tell me, she shouldn’t wear waistcoats after this picture:
Photo by Erica and Alex
Ok, it was the only picture I could find and you can’t even see all her outfit, but still!
Since her sister got hitched last year to the Erica of her dreams in trousers, shirt and neck scarf from Gresham Blake, Alex has been drooling over the same tailors in Brighton. Spending the last three years designing the perfect women’s suit–complete with cuffs that kick-out at the ends of the jacket–Gresham Blake knows what they are doing and Alex has dreamed of getting something made by them.
The flip-side of that dream were also some supporting facts: the shops on the high street (or the mall, by US equivalent) are difficult for Alex to navigate. At 5’2″, she wears a 14-18 depending on where we go (and which country), and the number of tailored pieces for women are slim pickings anyway. Reiss, New York & Co., J. Crew, and John Lewis just weren’t going to have what she was looking for or what would fit her (gorgeous, I have to say it!) hour-glass figure.
All that in mind, we made a date with her mum to down to Brighton and have a look at Gresham Blake!
Known for their combinations of stylish wools with bright accents, walking into their shop is like walking into a candy store. So many cuts, combos, accessories and options. Once the manager of the women’s department copped on that we meant business, she led us through the variety of options:
Off the Peg: The tailor carries a stock of trousers, shirts, waistcoats, and jackets in set fabrics & linings that you can buy ‘off the peg’ and have altered (at an additional price) to fit you just right. The suits are, of course, stunning, but Alex didn’t want navy with white pin stripes nor green & purple plaid–which led us to the sample books of fabrics.
Made to Measure: For ‘Made to Measure’, you take the standard style of Gresham Blake’s women’s suit and change the fabric, alterations included. Initially, Alex wanted a cream suit. The manager (who also makes the suits herself) fished up a sample book with a few cream fabrics, but with those it was going to increase the price by about 40%–and Alex would probably only wear it for the weddings, and rarely after. After consideration that it would be really nice for Alex to have a suit she could wear over and over again–leisurely and professionally–she picked out a beautiful light brown wool, with lilac lining. And then she hummed and hawed over it while we continued the discussion of options.
Even more suit options (more…)