The Finishing Touch

Our tailoring ambassador Maurice Mullen examines the art of adornment

It was the French novelist Gustave Flaubert who first coined the phrase “God is in the detail”, and although at the time it wasn’t menswear he had in mind, how right he was. It's those considered little touches that elevate an outfit from the humdrum to the sublime and make one's look truly memorable.

Whether it's a panama with your linens, a trilby with your tweeds or a topper with your tails there are few wardrobes that can't be improved and Clements & Church customers already appreciate the joy of skilfully-curated look so, as summer approaches, consider the following auditions as the icing on your sartorial cake.

Lapel Pins
Rather than pierce the fine silk of your tie, why not consider making the buttonhole of your jacket the home to a conversation-starting piece of jewellery? This trend has long been popular with American men, whose lapels are adorned with everything from corporate logos to the US flag. In recent years, it has also crossed the Atlantic to great effect. The great London institution of Bentley & Skinner has been purveyors of exquisite jewels to fashionable males since 1880 and the ever-elegant Mark Evans and his team will always find something suitably whimsical. But should you feel that this is too “statement” for your daytime look, simply reserve it for after dark and allow it to dazzle on the lapel of your dinner jacket.

Bracelets & Pendants
There was a time not that long ago when I’d have advised approaching these with great caution, unless of course you happened to be a veteran of Glastonbury or a rapper. But latterly, men of all ages are upping the style stakes with finely crafted wrist and neckwear. Should you choose to avoid the obvious big names like Cartier and Gucci, brands to check out in this category include Tateossian and Shaun Leane. Their fresh, modern designs will add interest and depth without vanishing over the top. One top tip when it comes to slipping something precious around your neck is to ensure you get the length right. Too short and it says “superannuated flower child”, but too long and it’ll get caught on everything—and flying beads accompanied by decapitation is never a good look.


Hats
I often feel as if I’m the only man on a mission to bring back the old titfer. Why have they fallen out of favour
when a well-chosen hat can so completely transform an outfit? Whether it’s a Panama with your linens, a trilby with your tweeds or a topper with your tails there are few wardrobes that can’t be improved by an outfit? Whether it’s a Panama with your linens, a trilby with your tweeds or a topper with your tails there are few wardrobes that can’t be improved by some confidently worn headgear. Just make sure it fits perfectly and consider the shape of the face. The lovely folk at Bates in London’s St James’s will see you right but they, like me, draw the line at baseball caps on the over 25s. (I will however make an honourable exception for a shapka. It’s winter wear only of course but I have a black mink one that’s an absolute showstopper. If you want to get ahead and all that…)


Scarves & Pocket Squares
I regard an insouciantly arranged breast pocket square an essential with any outfit but take a tip from the Italians and
embrace the summer scarf too. Whether in silk twill or fine gauge cashmere this is one accessory anyone can carry off. Believe me, there are lengthy YouTube tutorials on the art of tying these but casually draped or wound around the neck works perfectly well. Alternatively, you can opt for my particular favourite—a 90cm x 90cm square draped around the shirt collar with a jacket on top just showing the edges of the fabric. An edge of vibrant colour against a dark suit adds real élan and brings a flavour of Milanese nightlife to your look.For some particularly beautiful examples, check out Rosemary Goodenough, rosemarygoodenough.co.uk, or Sabina Savage, sabinasavage.com.


The Manbag
Originally regarded as too “continental” for British tastes, these convenient mini holdalls are now a common sight and available at prices to suit all pockets. Why ruin the line of an expensive suit with bulging wallets and keys when a thoroughly masculine nécessaire will accommodate your bits and bobs? For the ultimate in luxury, go bespoke at Ethan K, ethan-k.com. When it comes to standing out, Eleanor Roosevelt put it best: “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” Here’s to a stylish summer.

TOP RIGHT KING OF COOL  Rapper LL Cool J rocks a jewelled lapel pin at the 58th Grammy Awards Exquisite Gold vermeil quill black leather wrap bracelet by Shaun Leane BOTTOM RIGHT Wonderfully detailed print scarves by Sabina Savage

Maurice Mullen is Head of Fashion and Luxury Goods,  London Evening Standard and ES Magazine

sean leane bracelet
Sabina Savage