Arguably Savile Row's best tailor, Sir Hardy Amies revolutionised menswear and made it more accessible than ever before in the 1950s. By bringing a fresh modern twist to men's tailoring, as well and offering affordable off-the shelf suits that compared in quality to made to measure suits that had been the norm until then, he almost single-handedly democratised menswear and, and to this day, his progressive thinking is regarded as pivotal to the great revival of men’s tailoring.
From hosting the first ever ready-to-wear catwalk show for men in 1961, and famously dressing Her Majesty the Queen for over 50 years, Sir Hardy Amies’ heritage lives on not just through his eponymous brand but through the changes he brought to the industry.
Amies is regarded very highly when it comes to dressing for his taste and style (as well as - of course - for his candid and rather sharp sense of humour) with clean lines, chic silhouette and an effortless nonchalance about it.
To this day, Sir Amies’ heritage is reflected in his eponymous brand Hardy Amies on Savile Row, which unequivocally epitomises classic and elegant British tailoring.
“Dear boy, you can do anything when you have style.”
16 styles tips according to Sir Hardy Amies Extracts from ABC of Men's Fashion
“In principle your accessories, such as ties and shoes, should be more expensive than your base suit which, in this way, can achieve some reflected glory from them.”
“Approach to dressing is a delicate subject. A preoccupation with dress is unpleasant in a woman and repellent in a man. A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”
Art of dressing
“To achieve the nonchalance which is absolutely necessary for a man, one article at least must not match. For instance, you can wear a dark blue suit and tie with a pale blue shirt and navy blue socks, but you must then have a patterned silk handkerchief say in dark red or a paisley design of green and brown; or you could stick to a blue handkerchief and have dark red socks.”
“You should always try and buy, or get given, the most expensive belt possible. [...] It should preferably be the same colour as your shoes: and, if you are very natty, it could be in the same leather as your wrist strap."
“No one will now disagree that the well-dressed Englishman is the international beau ideal.[…] We cannot however rest here. Fashion must move on. It is the duty of the British designer to produce designs which are unmistakingly British but never aggressive insular.”
"No man ever has too many cuff-links. They are trophies of the chase."
“It is fashionable to be well groomed. […] Good grooming today means more than a clean face and body although these are essential. It means a complete athletic look; hence the increasing popularity of gymnasia and health clubs.”
“There is unfortunately no way of making by machine any satisfactory hem which reproduces the narrow rolled hem made by hand. This is important, because a handkerchief placed casually, as it should be, in the breast pocket is bound to display some of its hem. There is an excuse for extravagance here.”
“Harmony in clothes, as in marriage, is a matter of adjustment. Each item in your costume should have a degree of sympathy with the others. Contrasting colours can harmonise much more effectively than matching ones by setting each other off.”
“There is no such animal. You may be a ‘stock’ size so far as chest and leg measurements are concerned, but it is 99 per cent certain that you will have some idiosyncrasy of figure that makes you not abnormal but simply individual.”
“Quality in clothes is not only a matter of good looks, but also in most cases one of long life. You can not substitute economy for quality, because they are synonymous.”
“Colours look better in silk than in any other material; and the colours of a silk handkerchief are an admirable aid to the finished harmony of the costume.”
“All socks, particularly woollen, look well when finely ribbed. The ribs make the ankles look slim and help with the fit as they make the sock cling to the leg. […] There is not much fun in always buying plan socks.”
“To attain style in dress, you must look perfectly happy and relaxed in your clothes which must appear part of you rather than a wardrobe you have just donned."
“Should be as brief as wit and as clean as fun.”
“To discuss a man’s wardrobe is really to discuss a man’s life. For the kind of clothes he has in it reveals his way of life; and their condition and degree of fashionableness will show his character.”
Extracts from 'ABC of Men’s Fashion' - Hardy Amies, published by V&A Publishing 2008. First published by Newnes, 1964.
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