A guide to suits, and the Savile Row fold, from an expert
Andrew Ramroop, the only person of Indian origin to own a shop on Savile Row, London, talks bespoke suits, fits, and fitting them into suitcases. Men, take notesHT48HRS_Special Updated: Jul 02, 2016 10:19 IST
Andrew Ramroop, the only person of Indian origin to own a shop on Savile Row, London, talks bespoke suits, fits, and fitting them into suitcases. Men, take notes.
“Suits are full of joy. They’re the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile,” said Barney Stinson (played by actor Neil Patrick Harris) in the hit TV series, How I Met Your Mother. The much-loved character — seldom shown wearing anything other than a suit — lost no opportunity in extolling the many virtues of wearing one.
We’re sure Andrew Madan Ramroop OBE shares similar sentiments. Trinidad-born, London-based Ramroop is the owner of the 78-year-old establishment, Maurice Sedwell, on Savile Row — the Mecca of bespoke tailoring. He’s dressed British royalty (Princess Diana), Hollywood legends like Tony Curtis and Charles Gray, and athletes such as footballer Dwight Yorke and cricketer Brian Lara. He doesn’t like to talk about his clients much, but he does mention “a certain Indian steel magnate”. Our guess is as good as yours.
Neil Patrick Harris’s character, Barney Stinson, in the hit TV series, How I Met Your Mother was seldom shown wearing anything other than a suit. (Shutterstock)
Upon invitation by Indian Masters Tailors Association (IMTA)’s founder Anupama Sachdeva, Ramroop recently spent a month in the city training high-end tailors on developing their businesses. Ramroop tells us his ancestors (from Uttar Pradesh) travelled by the first ship that sailed from India to Trinidad, 160 years ago. “My roots are important to me,” he says.
The starting price for a hand-tailored suit at Maurice Sedwell will set you back by a neat £6,000 (approx Rs 5,44,490) and if you want Ramroop to personally tailor your suit, add an additional 40 per cent. That’s `7,62,290 for a suit. “Quality comes at a price,” chuckles Ramroop, adding. “It takes us 160 hours to create each bespoke suit — everything is beautifully handcrafted. We use only pure silk threads to sew our suits, not cotton.”
GUIDE TO SUITS
1) When buying a bespoke suit, ask to speak to a tailor, not a salesperson. You want someone who has technical knowledge and experience to communicate the value of bespoke.
2) Make sure the fit isn’t too tight: Everybody wants a suit that makes the waist seem narrow. But you don’t want to look as if you have outgrown your suit. The one way to tell if a suit fits well is to check that it is hugging the neck all around. Also, check if it feels comfortable along the shoulder blades and arms.
3) When travelling, the best way to pack a suit into a suitcase is to stuff the inside chest pockets with cellophane bags. This will support the chest and prevent the jacket from crumbling. Fold the lapel and collar flat. Then, put it in a cellophane suit cover and fold it in half; the air in the bag helps prevent creases. Creases are caused when fabric is exposed to heat, weight and moisture.
4) The amount of shirt showing at the cuff should be half the amount of shirt collar that shows above your jacket collar.
5) A common mistake to avoid when wearing a suit is to have your shirt showing under (between) the jacket waist button and above your trousers.
— By Andrew Madan Ramroop
The Savile Row Fold
When we first ask Ramroop about the famed Savile Row fold, he does not recognise it by name. But when we describe it to him, he’s taken aback. “There’s a name for it?” he asks, incredulous. Ramroop says he started folding trousers that way decades ago: “I have been practicing it since in my early twenties at Maurice Sedwell, when the wooden hangers were too slippery. We still do when we courier suits. Perhaps someone coined the phrase!”