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PJC in NoVa said:
According to this report from the Guardian 6 years ago, Blair has shirts (also suits) made by Raja Daswani of Kowloon Island, HK
I am based in HK and I know exactly the kind of quality that Raja can deliver. That sounds too good to be true. Maybe Blair shopped once upon a time in a tourist capacity, but never regularly as you can see from the way his shirt collars and cuffs shape and the cutting of the suits he wears when he attends the weekly Parliament Q&A session, he would be an extremely Raja customer if he really gets those clothes from Raja.

I think Blair has put on a lot of weight during his term. The first thing he should do is to slim up and then have a good consultation session with good dressers like Darren, Alan Flusser or Manton before having his tailored clothing orders placed. He needs to stay away from those political consultants who always advise their clients to wear blue suit, white shirts and red ties (The Washington Uniform as Manton puts).
 

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Talking of Blair's shirts, there was the famous "blue shirt" incident some years ago, when Blair took off his jacket to make a speech and revealed enormous perspiration patches. Anyone who perspires a lot (I'm being careful with my language here - horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow, so I believe) should know that blue shirts are the worst for that, especially end-on-end, which I suspect was what he was wearing. I remember some American style advisors saying at the time how appalled they were, and that if this ever happened in the US "heads would roll".
 

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There are very few well dressed politicians in the UK, for several reasons:

1. They're just not interested, like most British men, and treat the suit like a uniform to be discarded as quickly as possible, in favour of an England shirt and tracksuit bottoms
2. They're interested but are wary of appearing 'elitist' or stuffy - hence the tieless/jacketless look
3. Their armies of stylists, advisers etc, mostly women, have no clue either but pressurise them to dress in ill fitting ready to wear 'designer' clothing
4. They just don't know or care about clothes because nobody's ever pointed them in the right direction and they're far too busy anyway.


Looking at Blair, and especially Prescott, I am reminded of the cartoon that came out in '97 when Labour got in, which showed a Labour MP going into a tailor's and saying 'I'd like the off the peg look please'.
 

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During Blair's 97 campaign his style people (women I think, yes) advised him to dress to look "youthful" to improve his chances, possibly the first time this had ever happened in the history of British politics. The resulting "Bambi" look (such was his nickname) seems to have worked for him. So much so that the Conservative Party responded with a new "youthful" leader, William Hague (more skinhead than Bambi). Little good it did them, however.
 

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The last British prime minister to dress comme il faut was probably the ill-fated Anthony Eden, who succeeded Winston Churchill. His widow stated in an interview that the first thing she noticed about him were "his beautiful clothes."

It is interesting to note that: (1) he was not regarded by his contemporaries as a 'serious' man and (2) having waited (impatiently, by all accounts) a lifetime for Winnie finally to retire, he lasted 21 months as prime minister (although, in fairness, he did have to contend with the 'Suez crisis').

It is likely that Eden was thought by some 'stinkingly stylish'; that is to say, conspicuously well-dressed. Remember: this was England; WWII well within living memory, rationing (of food and clothes), which continued long after the cessation of hostilities, cold, damp and grey. And there, in the midst of all this post-war austerity, was the patrician Eden, whose clothes did not go unnoticed. None of which is surprising: why, the man even wore shiny mohair!

The point is that Eden could get away with it: he was blue-blooded, people knew 'their place' and their place was well-below the vantage point occupied by their 'betters'.

In a political world lead by opinion polls, sound-bytes, media presentation, etc, I find it hard to believe that front-row politicians' dress is not very, very carefully thought through; I can only conclude that the results are a careful compromise designed to give the least offence to the greatest number.

It is I think naive to suppose that (British) politicians - or any other man, for that matter - simply don't care about their appearance: men make choices when they dress each morning; they may not get it right, but they CHOOSE.

Tony Blair

Where to begin? Well, if you think he looks poorly attired at work, you ought to have seen him on holiday in Tuscany one August: white pants, white linen shirt (dehors pants, of course; he is British, after all) and BLACK SHOES!

Tony at work? He looks like any other non-descript free-world politico. I do however have the following (minor) cavils:

(1) am I alone in thinking that he could slick his hair back in a more dignified manner, as befits a PM? (Leave the - albeit, less exaggerated - tousled look to footballers, Kenneth Cole devotees and Soho hotels personnel)

(2) can anyone explain to me why he opts for centre vents? It is decidedly not British. Perhaps this is the first stage of transmogrification - from Blair to Bush.

(3) I cannot believe, as some have suggested, that his suits are made by Henry Poole & Co.

(4) I am informed that he is a devotee of Marinella ties: this is surely defamatory of Maurizio Marinella.

In sum: he looks crap, but the nation expects no more or less.
 

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Having worked for US politicians some time ago, I saw first-hand how dreadfully they dress. I always thought that Blair dressed reasonably well! At least his suits seem to fit!

I have now read several articles about his suits, each of which seems to name a different maker: the Guardian article says an HK tailor makes his suits. Assassino says Poole. I've read elsewhere that he regularly wore Richard James.

As for the center vent, I will note that two quintessential UK shops produce single breasted suits only with the center vents: Pakeman and Cordings.

Regardless of his politics, I think he looks OK. Cameron looks better. But neither of them are Jacques Chirac! He regularly looks the best of all of the Western leaders.
 

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We should all look so good, dressing as well but, I doubt that we do. As to the infamous "blue shirt" incident cited in another post, it is ironically refreshing to find a politician (even from across the pond) that is putting out a level of effort necessary to break a sweat! Why such would create such a stir is beyond me.
 

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Henry, the second part of your sentence does not make sense.

GreyFlannelMan, who or what in this world is Pakeman?

Cordings offers centre-vents for two reasons : first, Cordings springs from a sportswear tradition and, traditionally - in this country, at least - only (horse-) riding coats were, for good and obvious reasons, cut with centre vents ; the abomination that is the centre vent - abomination because it serves no aesthetic or functional purpose - has found favour in recent times with 'young fogeys' (for reasons best known and left to themselves). As I've said before, when a man places his hands in his trouser pockets, the centre vent opens to reveal his posterior (unlike the double- or side-vented coat, which conceals the same). Moreover if the centre vent is too deep or the rise of the trousers too low, it may open to reveal not only the derriere, but a fringe of disordered shirt.

Be that as it may, the centre vent - save for coats 'descended' from the riding-coat - are not British. Up to about 15 years ago, if one saw a man wearing a centre-vented suit coat, one could more or less guarantee that the wearer was an American (particularly if his pants were wide and skimming the tops of his low-vamp Cole-Haans). Infact, when the Row was still viable, you'd have had a job to persuade the old guys to put a centre-vent in your coat. Nowadays, of course, there is scarcely a tailor left who will not place his scissors at the disposal of his clients' sartorial sophistry.

The late Sir Hardy Amies has this to say in regard to politicians' habiliment: "Politicians [...] all wear suits. That the details of collar, buttons and cut are a little out of date lends solemnity to the occasion." See, The Englishman's Suit (Quartet, 1996), p45.
 

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Replace 'than' with 'think'.

The Earl of Home, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, was Prime Minister after Anthony Eden - from 1963 to 1964. I think he would have been somewhat taken aback to hear that you considered his dress not to have been 'comme il faut'!
 

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I've always thought he looks a mess. A real missed opportunity. I can't believe he wears Marinella ties, either. What's certain is that no-one's ever shown him how to tie a tie properly.
 

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One of my favorite or favourite TV shows is Prime Minister's Questions. If Tony would just dimple his necktie knot I think he could stay in office!

LondonFogey's analysis of why politicians look so bad might be applied more widely!! Good summary!
 

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re centre vents.

assassino go back to hardy amies' book, and read the (recent) history of double vents, from Pierre Cardin, Nutter to most manufacturers.

Leon
 
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