‘Having just left
the army in 1927,
I made the decision to get
away from the formality of
an officer’s uniform. With interviews
in the city over the following
weeks in mind, I wandered
along London’s Oxford Street to visit
Mr Selfridge’s large emporium to purchase
a new outfit.
In the past I used a gentleman’s tailor in Cork
Street, next to Savile Row, but my finances no
longer permitted bespoke tailoring, nevertheless I
found a sturdy three-piece tweed suit in Selfridge’s
place, bought two white shirts with detachable collars
and cuffs and a handsome yellow paisley bow tie with a
matching silk square for my top pocket. I also found a splendid
pair of two-tone lace-up shoes in brown and white and given
the warm weather chose a straw boater - which I hoped to change for
a bowler in the near future.
Naturally I could no longer carry a military swagger stick so I completed my outfit with a fine silver-topped cane. To enhance my modern look I thought about acquiring one of the newfangled timepieces worn on the wrist, but having survived several incursions in India with my Camerer Cuss Rolex pocket watch, and despite the case being dented from a stray bullet, I favoured that. I returned to my lodgings in the Strand exhausted and sat down before the fireplace, poured myself a glass of port, lit my pipe and opened a letter that invited me for an interview the following day in the city (I cannot mention the name since that would be indelicate as I am not yet in their employ).
The following day, I strolled to the city quite exhilarated spruced up in my new clothes. It was a beautiful day, but I have to admit that it didn’t compare to the exhilaration in India of being shot at early in the morning.’
I’ve just read my grandfather’s diary and
I can’t believe all the fuss and bother he
went through buying his gear. I suppose he
looked cool in those days, but what a business.
I mean bow ties and two-tone shoes?
Can you imagine life in 2017 having to worry
about what you wear for work? I’m with
Barkers, Grove & Dean one of London’s leading
advertising agencies and I’d be laughed
at if I went to work in anything but a pair of
faded blue jeans carefully torn at the knees,
a pair of four-colour Nike running shoes, no
socks and a T-shirt with a portrait of Castro
chomping on a Havana cigar. Obviously I
have a mobile ’phone and my vaping machine
since I’m trying, hopelessly, to give
I loved the bit about grandfather’s pocket watch though. I’ve got three watches: a divers’ watch for looking sporty and a smartwatch that apparently does everything except boil an egg. The third is a Patek Philippe that my father gave me before he left the planet. He told me that he never actually owned it since he was merely looking after it for the next generation, but I don’t wear it ’cos I’d be mugged before I got to the end of the street and it’s quite possible there wouldn’t be another generation.
Source: Europa Star TIME.BUSINESS/TIME.KEEPER Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017