This article has been submitted by one of our loyal customers, Jerry Tharapos. He is from Melbourne, Australia and has become such a regular customer that we thought it would be great to hear directly from him. Jerry has kindly written the following article. If you are a Herring customer and would like to feature then please get in touch as we would love to share more of your insights.
In recent times, there has been a lot written about style cues coming from the 20s and 30s. Probably because of a lot of period dramas. I have always loved that era, the colour, textures and patterns of the cloths. Things were so well made then, and bold and flamboyant.
About 30 years ago, I saw my boss wearing a double breasted Prince of Wales check suit and I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen.
I’ve bought many shoes from Herring. I have the standard must have’s but always get enticed by the spectator brogues and the colours that are a little bit left of centre. For instance, recently I bought a pair of olive wing-tip brogues and a pair of purple suede brogues. I’ve been buying shoes from Herring for about 5 years now. The customer service is always excellent and the range of shoes is quite diverse. I also do OK from the sales, twice a year. I started off buying from the classic range, now I appreciate the offering from the premium range and I have bought a number of pairs from the 1966 range. I have 3 sons and they enjoy Dad buying them Christmas and birthday presents from Herring. I mentioned that the customer service is excellent, and it is, but the point of difference is that there is a genuine desire to delight the customer and I am proud to say that the guys at Herring have now become my friends.
But shoes are only part of the story. I have also built up a good range of jackets and suits. Plaids, window pane and Prince of Wales check are de-rigueur in many different colours. I have a tailor in Melbourne that has similar tastes, so I am one of his best customers. And, I love hats. I have a small head so it is difficult to find something that fits me well. I also enjoy having a variety of styles and colours. So, the only option is to get them made by a milliner in Melbourne. She has made hats for Mick Fleetwood and his band and, apparently, one of his band members coveted a brown porkpie that she made for me. I told her she should have sold it for a bomb and made a significant profit!
When choosing my outfits I think there are three basic and essential ingredients that make a point of difference and style to a gentleman’s wardrobe. Let me explain in more detail.
Firstly, and most importantly, I think it has to be the shoes. Apparently women judge a man’s shoes twice as much as men judge a woman’s. So, they are the first thing you need to get right. My preference is for oxford semi-brogues and three colours are essential; chestnut, mahogany and burgundy. But of course you also need the classic; black “oxfords, not brogues”. The oxford is an elegant style for a dress shoe and a semi- or quarter-brogue creates enough interest without being over the top. Once you have the staples, you will begin to become more confident and then you can mix it up with different styles, colours, leathers and suedes. The Herring Fencote is an excellent example of this. No wonder it is a best seller. I often get asked about the number of shoes I have and the truth to that question is, “I do not know”, but I always get positive comments about them so does it matter?
Secondly I think about the body; the waistcoat. A waistcoat will always make a two-piece suit pop, even in a plain charcoal or navy. You can make a significant statement with the colour and cloth of a waistcoat. A subtle burgundy plaid waistcoat under a navy suit looks very classy. You can wear the same waistcoat with a suit, chinos or jeans and get a three wholly different looks. Three or four different waistcoats that compliment your existing wardrobe, have the affect of significantly increasing the number of options and outfits. Also, some nice suspenders (braces) under the waistcoat will also give a unique twist. Other men may not notice the suspenders (braces) but, like it is with good shoes, the ladies will notice the flash of colour under your waistcoat, and will be impressed.
Let’s top it off with the third ingredient – a hat. A Fedora is without question the one thing that will make your style complete. Again, the number three features here. Three essential colours need to be in your wardrobe; and they are brown, grey and navy blue. It is an unfortunate thing that men have stopped wearing hats but, thankfully, I believe that there is a resurgence of the Fedora. Once you have the staple colours, you can add more and become more adventurous. Would you wear a purple porkpie? Not sure about you, but my answer is, yes! And if you are even more daring you can get your hats custom made for a bespoke look. I often get asked, “how many hats do you have?”. Probably the best answer comes from Helen Mirren, playing Hedda Hopper in the recent movie, Trumbo, when asked, “New hat?” Her reply “… daily darling, daily.”
In the end, whilst other people’s views and advice can trigger some positive changes in what your wear, the real secret is to be comfortable with your own choices – “Know, first, who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly” – Epictetus.