A short stay in Mayfair can set you back as much as M$2,000 – at least that’s for a hotel anyway, there are probably cheaper digs to be found. The last stop on the Monopoly board was always the most prized and feared for prospective buyers and later arrivals respectively. So it is in reality for landowners and intrepid shoppers with anything less than a full-to-bursting wallet.
A compulsory stop on any trip to the sartorial heart of London is a quick stop to see Beau Brummell casting a bronzed eye through Piccadilly Arcade. The base of his statue reads ‘To be truly elegant one should not be noticed’, a swipe at the ostentatious style rampant in his day. I would partly agree with this sentiment, though, to be fair, his idea of not overdressing involved spending five hours a day preparing to go out and shining his shoes with champagne! Standing out, and thus being noticed, today can be achieved simply by dressing well, rather than adopting the smart-casual uniform of the modern office. Brummell championed well-fitted shirts and suits (and apparently very shiny shoes) - certainly nothing to disagree with there.
A quick trip around the corner, via a delicious pit stop at the cryptically named ‘Nuts, chocolate and coffee’, and I was at the London address most synonymous with men’s tailoring.
For all that the square mile has largely adopted a casual uniform, a couple of hours back on Savile Row reminded me that there are still some quarters where people are holding on to Brummel’s classic, yet understated sartorial legacy. Aside from the odd bum bag toting tourist everyone on the Row was immaculately turned out: perfectly fitted three-piece suits, highly polished Oxfords and classic monochrome ties. Accessories were kept to a minimum; Beau would have approved.
Looking around a couple of the stores and I remembered why I don’t shop (or even browse) in these parts more often. ‘£34,000 for the Hussars Jacket? Mmm, I’ll just have a think about it and get back to you.’ Even if they accepted Monopoly money I’m not sure I’d be taking them up on that offer.
Next up: Go directly to Whitechapel…
A bronzed Beau Brummell: love the passerby in the background something straight out of Boardwalk Empire!!
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