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Frederick Thomas London sells handmade tweed, linen, knitted and wedding ties as well as tie pins, tie clips, cufflinks, socks and pocket squares.

Frederick Thomas Blog

  • Got a wardrobe full of old suits, shirts and ties? Here’s what to do with them! The FT interview with Suited & Booted’s Maria Lenn.

    April 19, 2018

    This week, we speak to Maria Lenn at Suited & Booted about all of the great work they do, and why they need any suits, shirts and ties you can spare.

    If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a wardrobe full of suits, shirts and ties that you rarely – if ever – wear anymore. Perhaps it’s a suit that you bought on a whim, a tie that doesn’t really suit you or – whisper it – some stuff that is, if you’re honest with yourself, probably never going to fit again.

    Most of us do one of two things: leave them in the wardrobe to collect dust, or give them to a charity shop.

    And that’s what we did too – until we found out about Suited & Booted, a London-based charity that provides vulnerable, unemployed and low-income men with a suit, shirt and tie to wear to job interviews. (They also help them build a working wardrobe when they get a job too.)

    Check out their video for a great overview of what they do:

    So, when we had boxes full of excess stock in our stockroom, we decided to send a big box of our handmade ties along to the Suited & Booted team, so they could be put to good use.

    This week, we caught up with Maria Lenn, the founder and CEO of Suited & Booted to talk about the great work they do, why a great suit is so important and how you can help their cause.

    Hi Maria, thanks for chatting with us! Can you give us a quick overview of everything you and the Suited & Booted team do?

    We dress men to impress for job interviews, transforming appearance, confidence and self-perception. It is very important to us that our clients get the best possible assistance and advice from our stylists and interview coaches, and that they are dressed in clothes that they feel really proud of.

    We want them to feel as if they are being personally cared for in a gentlemen’s tailors. Our volunteer stylists include BAFTA winners, fashion college lecturers, BBC costume designers and others at the top of their profession.

    That's fantastic. How did Suited & Booted get started? What's the story behind it?

    We started in 2012. There was already a charity dressing women for job interviews but nothing for men and we realised that there was a huge need for men as well. We saw 800 clients in our first year and have grown steadily since then.

    And you help those men nail that initial first impression, right? Why is making a good first impression so important for your clients? And why do you think a nice suit plays such a large role in this?

    The first 30 seconds of an interview are crucial. Our clients go to their interviews dressed to impress, so they immediately make a strong and positive visual impact on the interviewer.

    A smart, well-fitting suit with shoes and accessories all contribute to that image.

    Equally important is that body language changes and our clients feel confident and motivated. ‘I never felt so professional in my life’ one client recently said to us.

    One volunteer stylist said that our clients light up the room. Sometimes our clients won’t take their suit off, they love it so much they want to keep wearing it. The suit is a uniform that breaks down barriers and our clients can go to their job interviews and into social situations shielded in confidence and wearing their armour.

    A referral agency said, ‘I wanted to thank you and your colleagues for your assistance with my client. The day after he went out in his new suit and was given a job in a restaurant. He said the suit made him feel like a new person and gave him confidence’

    It sounds like these suits, shirts and ties make a real difference to the lives of your clients.

    They do. We hear that over 50%, sometimes up to 70%, of the clients referred to us go on to get regular paid employment. Especially considering their circumstances and past problems, we are very proud of our clients.

    How many men do you help every year?

    Last year we helped over 1,300 men and this year we are aiming to increase that to 1,500. Our clients are all vulnerable men, referred to us by agencies and other charities. They include ex-offenders, care leavers, armed forces veterans and people recovering from mental health issues, but they all share a determination to get a job. However, they don’t possess, and can’t afford, suitable clothes for their interview and so we give each client a helping hand into the world of work.

    How can our readers help? Can they donate their clothing to you?

    Of course, they help us in various ways.

    We appreciate donations of good quality ‘interview-ready’ business clothes including suits, formal shirts and ties, as well as accessories like belts and pocket squares.

    We are absolutely desperate for interview shoes.

    We run on a very tight budget and get no support from the government or referring agencies, so financial donations, both one-off and regular, are always hugely welcome. We need volunteers with the relevant skills, and who can commit to a regular time each week or month, to work with us in our City centre as stylists and interview coaches.

    People can also help as wardrobe assistants: sorting, steaming, measuring and labelling the donated clothes. We especially need help with our administration if someone can spare us a day, or even two, per week.

    Here at Frederick Thomas, we intend to keep giving a steady stream of ties to Suited & Booted, and we'd love it if you could help out too.

    If you've got any suits, shirts, ties, shoes or accessories you no longer use that you can donate to this fantastic cause, head to suitedbootedcentre.org.uk/donations.

    Your donations might just turn somebody's life around.

  • Menswear 101: getting your tie length spot on

    April 9, 2018

    Remember when it was cool to wear your school tie so it was really, really short? Well, like pogs and yoyos, that’s just not cool anymore. More importantly, nailing your neckpiece so that it sits at the right tie length is an essential piece of the ‘always look great’ puzzle – and one that so many men get wrong.

    And we can’t say we blame you – if even the most powerful man in the world can’t get his tie length right, why should you be expected to?

    (Well, aside from the fact that it’s going to make you look 10x better, of course.)

    Look at that tie! Opinions on his politics and personality aside, do you really want to look like The Donald?

    THE ONLY TIE-LENGTH RULE YOU'LL EVER NEED TO KNOW:

    Whether you’re wearing a skinny tie, a traditional tie, a slim tie or a knitted tie, this rule never changes: make sure that your tie length just reaches the middle of your belt buckle. (If you’re not wearing a belt, make sure it sits around the middle of your waistband.)

    don draper tie length If in doubt, always ask yourself: what would Don Draper do?

    There is just one exception – if you’re wearing a flat-bottomed tie, make sure the tie length leaves the flat bottom at the top of the belt buckle or waistband.

    Why? Because flat-bottomed ties don’t taper to a point like a regular tie, wearing them to the middle of your belt buckle makes them look too long. Wearing them a little higher mimics the acceptable tie length of a pointed tie.

    BUT WHY THIS TIE LENGTH?

    Good question.

    There are a tonne of reasons – the most important being that it keeps everything in proportion. It keeps the lines neat and even, and provides that contrast and balance between the top half of your body and the bottom.

    Secondly, a correct tie length stops the tip of your tie poking out from underneath your jacket when you’re wearing it buttoned up. (This is the quickest way to make even the sharpest suit look sloppy.)

    And, thirdly – and perhaps most practically – it stops your tie from getting in the way when nature calls and you need to relieve yourself. (This is especially helpful after one too many.)

    And, as always, GQ have produced a killer video on this subject, that is well worth checking out:

    And that clears that up! If you've got any other menswear questions you'd like us to answer, hit us up on social media and we'll answer them on the blog!

  • Tying the knot? Here’s how to choose the perfect wedding tie.

    April 2, 2018

    Choosing what to wear to your own wedding, as a man, isn’t a thing you see discussed in many places. (And we’re not even talking about choosing the right wedding tie yet – even choosing the right wedding suit is hardly discussed.)

    To see what we mean, watch any episode of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ and you’ll normally see a good portion dedicated to choosing the dress and barely a few seconds picking the suits. (Most of the time, it’s a quick throwaway: ‘we’ve picked up our suits and now we’re off on the stag do’.)

    In fact, this scene from I Love You, Man is one of the only instances we can think of men actually planning what they’re ging to wear to their own wedding:

    (Now we’re resisting the temptation to stop writing this article and stick I Love You, Man on instead.)

    But, according to The Guardian, men are starting to take more of an active interest in what they’re wearing to their weddings. (They call these grooms ‘peacock grooms’, which we’re not really a fan of. At all, really.)

    Either way, it seems that the days of just renting a suit and being done with it are long behind us, and us men are starting to care a little more about what we wear on our wedding days.

    And, as we always say here on the FT blog, there’s nothing more important to your overall look than your tie.

    Choosing the right wedding tie can take a basic suit up a notch or two and turn a good suit into a great outfit.

    But with so many wedding ties available, how do you choose the right one?

    STEP ONE: START WITH THE COLOUR SCHEME OF YOUR WEDDING

     

    The very last thing you want is to stand at the altar and clash with the rest of the wedding party. (Even worse, you clash with your bride. That doesn’t send a good message, does it?)

    That’s why it’s a good idea to check the colour – or theme – of your wedding.

    You might have a rigid colour scheme, you might have a theme (say, like a festival wedding) or you might have no theme at all – but every single one of these options is going to affect the wedding tie you can choose from.

    STEP TWO: CHOOSE YOUR SUIT

     

    Unless you’re a proper tie-nut, we doubt your tie is going to be the first thing you choose.

    To start, choose a suit that you really like.

    GQ have a great guide on choosing a suit, featuring this quote from Kathryn Sargent, the Head Cutter (a title that sounds like a B-movie horror film from the 1970s) Gieves & Hawkes, No.1 Savile Row:

    I always think you should go for impact when choosing fabric for a wedding suit: something that's a bit heavier and will hold its shape. If it's a morning suit or a dinner suit you either go for barathea or wool mohair. They both create very sharp silhouettes. Alternatively, you can create a very draped, soft look. It depends what the client wants and what will flatter his figure.

    She also comments on dressing differently for a summer wedding:

    Light greys are very formal and British - you can't go wrong really with grey. Think of Prince Charles - that kind of colour is really elegant and will suit most skin tones. Don't go for a navy either - try more a mid-blue or grey-blue, they come up really fresh. You've got to think differently to business. If you're getting a casual suit and not a morning or dinner suit, what's the point of getting married in a dark cloth in the summer?

    On the whole, you need to consider whether you’re getting a suit that you’re going to wear again, or whether this is a one-off suit.

    From there, you need to pick a cut that suits your body, a material that suits the wedding theme (and the time of year) and of course, makes you look your very best.

    Simple, eh?

    Here is some more GQ content, this time on picking a suit that makes you look suave.

     

    STEP THREE: NOW START THINKING ABOUT YOUR WEDDING TIE

     

    OK, you’ve got the theme or colour scheme noted down and you know what suit you’re going to wear, now it’s time to choose your wedding tie.

    First, think about what time of year you’re getting married – and how formal your day is going to be.

    Summer weddings require thinner fabrics and lighter colours, while winter weddings lend themselves to richer colours and thicker fabrics. And, of course, the more formal the wedding, the more traditional your tie should be.

    In fact, there are so many variables, that it’s hard to give proper advice.

    In a nutshell, however, make sure your colour matches the rest of the wedding party, that it matches your suit (perhaps even pair it up with your pocket square or cufflinks) and – most importantly – that it makes you feel like 007. It’s your wedding day – it’s your chance to live out your suit-wearing fantasies, whether that’s drinking a shaken-not-stirred Vespa martini, channelling your inner Cary Grant or copying Mr Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love. (While we can’t attest to the quality of that film – and we’re a little embarrassed for having seen it – have you seen some of the suits he wears? Move over, Drive…)

    We wrote a post last month about choosing the right type for different types of wedding (you can read the whole thing here), but here are our recommendations:

    A TRADITIONAL WEDDING:

    Keep it classy and understated – monochromatic ties or a tie that matches the theme of the weddings are great, because big bold patterns or knitted ties can stand out against traditional suits, venues and wedding parties.

    A MORE RELAXED WEDDING:

    For a less formal wedding, we can’t get enough of a nice paisley wedding tie. You can keep the base colour traditional – a navy blue or grey – while also adding a nice flash of personality and colour. (With less traditional weddings, you can also afford to trim a little off the width of your tie, if you’ve got a slimmer frame.)

    A NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING:

    If you’re having a non-traditional wedding, like a festival wedding or a barn wedding, then you can pretty much go wild. We love a good knitted tie for outdoor weddings, they keep the rustic theme running through your outfit and keep you looking sharp yet casual.

    If you’re looking for the perfect wedding tie for you and your groomsmen, head over to our wedding tie section – we’ve got everything imaginable on there, from traditional ties to paisley numbers through to – our favourite – the knitted wedding tie. Check them out!

  • Put your best foot forward: the 3 rules of wearing patterned men's socks

    March 21, 2018

    Ahhh, men’s patterned socks – the marmite of modern sartorial decisions. Some men love them, some men hate them.

    Us? We love them.

    We can’t get enough of quirky, in-your-face patterned men’s socks. (In the right circumstances, at least.)

    You see, wearing a pair of statement socks isn’t just a case of ‘pick the quirkiest socks you can 2find and throw them on with your suit’.

    There’s a lot more to it than that, and the stakes are higher.

    Pick the wrong tie or shirt, and, worst case scenario, your outfit looks a little off for the day.

    Pick the wrong statement socks and, even best case scenario, you look like Bozo the Clown.

    That’s why it pays to make sure you know the three rules of rocking patterned men’s socks.

    Luckily, we’re like the Yoda of statement socks, here to show you the path to exceptional sock game.

    So beware, for once you start down the sock path, forever will it dominate your style, consume you it will.

    (That’s probably not going to be the last Yoda quote. Sorry.)

    Rule #1: Learn when it’s OK to wear patterned men’s socks

    (Check out Canadian Prime Minister rocking the patterned socks - a great example of understated confidence.)

    Funerals. Weddings. Important work meetings. Black tie events. White tie events… The list goes on. Patterned men’s socks are definitely not right for formal events of any kind.

    By their very nature, patterned men’s socks are playful, anarchic and rule-breaking – they’re the Johnny Rotten of men’s accessories.

    Would you take Johnny Rotten to a job interview or a funeral?

    Thought not.

    Instead, save your statement socks for situations where showing your personality is a little more acceptable – around the office, at an informal(ish) event, etc…

    At these events, a pair of patterned men’s socks says ‘I know the rules, but I’m breaking them on purpose to have a little fun. Deal with it.’

    It’s bold. It’s confident. And it puts you a step ahead of everybody else in the room.

    Rule #2: Jump into the patterned men’s sock game with both feet, you must not.

    Jon Hamm rocking some patterned men's socks alongside some timeless menswear staples.

    If you’ve always been a black sock type of man, heading into the office with an in-your-face pair of orange beacon socks on isn’t going to work.

    Ease yourself into the statement sock world, you must.

    Start with a classic patterned sock – an argyle, paisley or striped sock in blacks, greys and blues for instance – and introduce them into your everyday wardrobe. They’ve been menswear staples for the best part a century, so you’re still playing it fairly safe while you broaden your horizons.

    Then, start experiment with different colours – getting brighter and brighter over time, until you can wear pops of bold patterns without anybody thinking you’re off to join the circus.

    Rule #3: Make sure your patterned men’s socks match your outfit

    Aaron Paul giving a masterclass in how to match your bold socks with the other colours in your outfit.

    Just because your socks are making a statement doesn’t mean they have to clash with everything you wear.

    Make sure your socks coordinate – coordinate, not match – with the rest of your outfit.

    An easy way to do this is to make sure that the colours in your socks don’t clash with any other colour you’re wearing.

    You can also take a colour that’s in your tie, for instance, and make sure a similar shade is on your socks. Even if it isn’t an exact match – bright orange matches with burnt orange, for instance – your admirers will see it all as a good match.

    That, friends, is the path to statement sock nirvana.

    One last tip: Don’t be afraid.

    Wearing patterned men’s socks requires confidence. They’re in-your-face and brazen. They’ve got bags of bravado.

    So make sure you’re completely confident about wearing them, otherwise the effect is completely lost and you might as well stick to your dark socks.

    In other words: ‘fear is the path to the dark socks’.

    (That’s the last Yoda joke, promise.)

    Where do you come down on the patterned sock debate? Statement sock convert or black-sock-only purist?

    Let us know in the comments or on social media.

  • Tying the knot: the only 3 wedding ties you'll need to get ready for wedding season

    March 16, 2018

    Holy Matrimony, Batman!

    Did you know that every year, over 1 million people get engaged on Valentine’s Day? That’s 500,000 couples that will be planning on tying the knot over the next 18 months, and it’s almost certain that you’re going to get an invite or two in the post.

    The thing is, weddings aren’t as easy to dress for as they used to be.

    5 or 10 years ago, it used to be that you could get away with one nice suit, one nice tie and one nice shirt, and you’d be sorted for every wedding for the next few years.

    Not anymore.

    Oh no, with an endless list of different wedding types – festival weddings, barn weddings, traditional weddings, non-traditional weddings… – it’s got harder and harder to have a ready-to-go wedding outfit sitting in your wardrobe.

    Of course, the first steps are easy: get yourself a navy or dark grey suit and a crisp white shirt. You can’t go wrong with these – they’re classy, timeless and can be dressed up or down depending on the wedding without looking out of place or thrown together.

    The tricky part is picking your tie.

    Luckily, we’ve got your back.

    We’ve put together a quick guide to the only 3 wedding ties you’ll ever need. (And we’ve included wedding ties for every occasion, from your sister’s bohemian wedding in a stable full of hay bales, to your cousin’s fairy-tale, Disney princess wedding.)

     

    Wedding #1: The Traditional Wedding

    We know, the term traditional wedding is a little broad, so let’s be clear: these weddings usually take place at a church and then head back to a manor house (or somewhere similar) for the reception. Fairy-tale weddings, Disney-inspired weddings or the kind of thing you usually see on Don’t Tell The Bride fall into this category too.

    What wedding tie to wear?

    For these weddings, it’s always best to keep things traditional and classy.

    We suggest this ivory damask, paisley design tie.

    It’s classy and understated, but with a paisley pattern that adds an extra touch of texture to your outfit.

    It’s a winner, that’s for sure.

     

    Wedding #2: The Relaxed Wedding

    OK, here’s where things get a bit trickier. The relaxed wedding is different to the Very Relaxed Wedding (see below).

    The Relaxed Wedding usually takes place at a fancy registry office or local church, followed by a reception at a country pub. It is formal, followed by relaxed – and that’s super tricky to dress for.

    What wedding tie to wear?

    A Relaxed Wedding is a little closer to the Traditional Wedding than it is the Very Relaxed Wedding in terms of formality, so think of something formal that’s not going to look out of place at 1am after you’ve opened your top button and had a few drinks.

     

    This navy blue paisley tie does the trick nicely.

    Buttoned up in church, it looks the picture of sophistication (with just a hint of individual style) – and holds up equally well late at night, too.

    Wedding #3: The Very Relaxed Wedding

    This is the type of wedding we referred to earlier – the type of wedding that takes place in a barn or a stable or in a forest.

    They’re becoming more and more popular, so make sure you’ve got a wedding tie ready (just in case you become an emergency +1).

    What wedding tie to wear?

    It’s still a wedding, so you’ve got to be wedding-ish, but not too wedding-ish. Easy, right?

    Speaking from experience, you can’t go wrong with a knitted tie at a VRW. They’re still formal, but they’ve also got that relaxed vibe and rugged texture that’s just right for spending the day in a dusty field.

    (This maroon wedding tie, complete with subtle love hearts, is a fool-proof choice.)

    So there you have it, your go-to guide for every type of wedding you might get invited to this season. Did we miss one? Let us know! 

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