The Perfect Suit


Tucked away on BBC Four the other night was a great documentary called The Perfect Suit, exploring the history of the gentleman’s lounge suit and its place in the modern man’s wardrobe.

The programme follows excitable journalist Alastair Cooke, who only owns one suit (which he had to buy for his wedding) and confesses to seeing it as a stuffy businessman’s uniform, questioning its relevance in the twenty-first century. However, after a first-class education from, among others, Sir Paul Smith (pictured), Cooke begins to understand the suit’s role as a sort of psychological “suit of armour” for a man, as well a perfect advert for good design and craftmanship.

I had to smile at one part featuring London tailor Charlie Allen who, when asked why you shouldn’t fasten all the buttons on your jacket, gently asserts that “you would look like a newscaster”. Of course we all know what he means straight away — proof if any were needed that, far from being a stuffy uniform, a suit can speak volumes about its wearer.

This is fine viewing indeed for anyone interested in clothes.