"Does everyone have trouble completing an ensemble around spectator oxfords, an extremely casual color combination on an extremely formal shoe?"
Laced spectators are usually paired with light colored suits, or odd jackets and trousers. Cream or tan, light gray and light blue are all fine complements and I've worn a chestnut and pearl pair effectively with chocolate linen as well.
On the other hand, spectators are a bit too elegant for chinos and denim, and I don't think they work with dark suits.
"I recently had my first bespoke suit made and was so pleased with the results that I commissioned another. However, it is the selection of material that has given me the most trouble. I have a very difficult time selecting from the samples. It is very dificult to envision how an entire suit will look, how the fabric will drape, how the light will reflect off of it, and, quite frankly, what the color really is. Marching in to a local retailer is not much help either. While I might find a material I like, there is no guarantee my tailor will be able to match it. The best solution would seem to be to go to Savile Row where they can show me a bolt of cloth, or send me around the corner to Lesser or W. Bill. Failing that, what would you suggest?"
The first-time customer who is shown several hundred fabric books and asked to choose is going to be over-whelmed. No two ways about it.
Visiting cloth suppliers where you can see bolts will help, and that can be done in the U.S. and continental Europe as well as the UK. But it's also important do some research in advance and decide what you are seeking before you visit your tailor. If you know your next purchase should be a Fall weight navy suit with a little pattern, you eliminate the irrelevent 80% of the choices.
While you're learning, the best advice I can give you is to stick with the better suppliers. You are unlikely to be disappointed in the realization of a choice from sources like Lesser and Harrisons.
Sunday, June 3, 2007