Mostly harmless

A sartorial outlook from under the Northern lights

2 notes &

Anonymous asked: Professor Pingson, could you tell me please which trousers hem size do you usually wear? I am a tall guy I guess (190cm) and since I believe you are as tall or even taller than me I would like to know your opinion if I should wear trousers with 21cm of hem or with 22.5cm. Thank you.


Trouser hem size is always tricky because it depends on so many things. I am as you say rather tall (197cm), but for hem width I actually find shoe size to be a more important factor. Of course height and shoe size are to some extent correlated, but I have relatively small feet for my height (UK10.5) and I find that the sweet spot for my hem is around 18-19cm. With this width the hem covers about half or my shoe (pretty much all of the lacing on an oxford) and that’s what I feel suit me best. 

So I think it would be hard for me to suggest a hem size for you without knowing shoe size, and even knowing that it still comes down to personal preferences. 

Filed under ask anonymous

17 notes &


#drakeslondon #canali #crockett&jones #menswear #thisisengland

Can’t get more British than this. Oh wait, I guess black shoes to match the navy suit would indeed be one notch up on the scale of Britishness….


#drakeslondon #canali #crockett&jones #menswear #thisisengland

Can’t get more British than this. Oh wait, I guess black shoes to match the navy suit would indeed be one notch up on the scale of Britishness….

Filed under menswear cleav31

22 notes &

The rise and fall of Holliday & Brown


The story of Holliday & Brown is a story that is unfortunately rather common these days, starting out with a few artisans producing high-quality items and ending in one of those multi-national fashion conglomerates.

The story of Holliday & Brown began in 1919, when a young Aubrey Brown opened a small shop to sell silk ties in the Burlington Arcade in London’s Mayfair district. Aubrey and his brother Basil also shortly thereafter started a factory that produced the silk ties that were being displayed and sold in the newly opened shop. The Brown brothers quickly gained a reputation for producing first-rate ties with rather unusual designs and colour combinations and they soon became the most popular tie makers in London.


In 1926 Aubrey partnered with a close friend to establish “Holliday & Brown Ltd” that continued to produce and sell ties. Brown was as a fairly innovative businessman and he, among other things, pioneered the practice of touring the US to display his ties and thereby created a vastly greater market for their ties. Ties from Holliday & Brown quickly became known both for their superb quality andy unique designs and the ties quickly became one of the most coveted accessories in London.

The decades following the Second World War saw a period of rapid economic growth with low unemployment rates and inflation and this period has often been viewed as a ‘golden age’ for the British manufacturing industry. For Holliday & Brown their early success continued through this period as they became an international symbol of style. in the 1960s, following their world wide success, the company store relocated from the Burlington Arcade to the Savile Row. The success did last through the 1970s and the early 1980s but like many other British manufacturing firms they hit hard times in the late 1980s and  daly 1990s.

In 2000 Holliday & Brown was bought by Italian luxury and fashion brand Mantero, thus severing the ties with Britain after nearly 80 year. The Holliday & Brown brand itself was of minor interest to Mantero, and the real gem in the purchase was the extensive archive of more than 100 volumes containing old silk patternsdrawings, samples and designs that had been created over the course of near a century. Mantero had it’s sights set on the archive with the hope of re-issue prints for their own lines of ties, scarves and handkerchiefs. However, Matero also tried revive the Holliday & Brown brand itself. Early on they issued a number of new lines of ties, the most well-known was perhaps those done in collaboration with an other Italian luxury brand - Prada. There was also a briefbut unsuccessful, attempt to brach out to other items beside ties, including tailored clothing, but this collection rapidly failed. 


Today the brand appears to be on life support, with a few departments stores in the US and Japan carrying the brand in their stores. However, vintage Holliday & Brown ties are relatively easy to find in second hand stores and on online sites such as eBay. Surprisingly enough the ties can often be had for rather modest sums, despite the fact that the quality is really top-notch, on par with modern British tie makers such as Drake’s. If you browse online fora focused on tailored clothing, you will find a few enthusiasts singing the paris of Holliday & Brown (yours truly included of course) but largely it is a brand that has fallen by the ‘sartorial wayside’. 

Personally Holliday & Brown will always hold a special place in my sartorial heart. I can trace my interest in tailored clothing back to a 50oz. silk H&B tie that effectively served as my ‘gateway drug’ into tailored clothing (I still own it, it’s the fire engine red with teal medallions in the top two photos). I found myself invited to an event that required suit and tie and was in desperate need of updating both tie and shirt. I stopped by an old haberdashery in the city where I live (that alas no longer remains) and asked to be fitted for a shirt and a tie that would work with my navy blue suit, a 10 year old piece that at the time was the only suit I owned. When I was about to pay I was stunned by the fact that the tie was more expensive that the shirt, something that was almost unfathomable to me then (I know better now :-) ). I was too embarrassed to say anything so I just paid and took the shirt and tie home. As it turns out, that was a real stroke of genius as I quickly realised what a difference it makes to tie and wear a real, high-quality tie. Then and there I was hooked and the rest, as they say, is history….

Filed under menswear ties holliday & brown

40 notes &


The Friday challenge on StyleForum this week is “Summer ties” and I decided to throw my hat into the ring using a silk/cotton Mogador tie from Drake’s (via ExquisiteTrimmings). Mogador (or Mogadore) ties are classic summer staples and derive their names from the Moroccan city of Mogador (current day Essaouira) where this type of fabric has it’s origin. The Mogador fabric consists of a mix of silk and cotton yarns, with silk in the warp and cotton in the weft.

Mohair blazer by Dunhill | Belisario shirt | Drake’s Mogador tie | Turnbull & Asser cream silk PS | Oscar Jacobson cream linnen trousers | Tricker’s Kensington in beechnut calf

Filed under styleforum Friday challenge Drake's mogador dunhill belisario Turnbull & Asser Oscar Jacobson tricker's featured

1 note &

allthingsgentlemanly asked: Hi, thank you for taking part in my menswear research project, if you take a look at my blog you will find the links to the results. Have a great day 

Hi and thanks for sending me the results. I think that research into social media has the potential to yield lots of new and exciting insights. 

Filed under ask allthingsgentlemanly

44 notes &

A rare opportunity

This week’s Friday challenge on StyleForum was “Heavyweight tag team championship” - pair up with another forum member and wear an outfit centered around a common theme. As someone noticed in the thread:

Do you guys know what this challenge reminds me of?

When my daughter was like 7 or 8, she would call her bestest friend at night before bed, and they would meticulously plan to be wearing matching clothes to school the next day. 

I usually don’t dress up too much these days as I am on summer vacations, but I really couldn’t miss this opportunity. So I paired up with cleav31, who just happens to be one of my favourite posters on SF, and above you see 50% of the tag team “Checkmates(s)”. For 100% see here

Ermenegildo Zegna silk and cashmere SC | Belisario shirt | Holliday & Brown repp tie | Drake’s wool/silk PS | Charles Tyrwhitt lightweight flannel trousers | Edward Green Chelsea in mink suede

Filed under menswear styleforum Friday challenge ermenegildo zegna belisario holliday & brown Drake's Edward Green Charles Tyrwhitt cleav31