I was particularly satisfied when I received this safari suit a few weeks ago, primarily because it validates a point which I've been trying to confirm.
For a while, I have been wrestling with the dilemma on how to best balance the 'demonstrating your own personality/ message' and the 'meeting social conformity' aspect in classic menswear.
Too much of the former, while you could certainly stand out, chances are you could end up being a 'peacock' and the garment wouldn't last for more than a few seasons, without doubt.
Too much of the latter, on the other hand, though you would remain 'timeless' in the traditional sense, you are fundamentally dressing for someone else and not being authentic to yourself.
And without infusing your own personality into it, the garment similarly wouldn't be able to stand against the test of time.
This is how this suit from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury becomes symbolic for me since it meets both ends of the spectrum.
In short, not only it speaks to what it is socially-acceptable (being in a dark olive shade which resembles a military-color), it also reflects my own personal philosophy on tailoring — paying homage to its traditions and being creative with it. (More on the suit's concept in this article)
In any case, unless my taste changes drastically in the years to come, this safari suit would be truly timeless (and durable to wear, of course).
Anyway, without further diversion from the main purpose of this piece, let's take a closer look at the suit's details.
To start off, let's look at the shoulders of the jacket.
In the piece on the fitting, I've mentioned how we've decided to slightly extend the shoulder line so that I could appear to have a broader frame.
And though I was concerned that it would be more difficult to pair the jacket with more casual trousers, I came to realize that this really matters little since it's more about personal style.
On top of that, I've also changed my mind once I saw the shoulder line, as well as the soft roping at the end since they resonate with the overall more military-like theme of the suit very beautifully.
Elsewhere, the gorge of the jacket (the point where the collar is attached to lapel) is rather well-balanced, sitting at around 3.5 inches from the shoulders.
This, by itself, is great until we consider where the breast pocket is placed in here.
While a conventional safari jacket/ shirt would always have a relatively lower breast pocket(s) than a regular blazer, this is not exactly what I have in mind since I am aiming for something that resembles more of the latter.
I suppose it is this creative differences that I had with W&S which led to this issue, despite the pocket had already been slightly raised back at the first fitting.
Fortunately, however, because this is fundamentally more like a patch pocket, this means the pocket is only sewn to the surface of the jacket; and this means there would have room for further alterations.
This is something that I've informed W&S, and I am most likely going to drop off the jacket when it gets chilly again.
This leads to the second feature which I want to point out — the front buttons.
Although originally intended to be a 3-roll-2 jacket, this ended up more like a three-button jacket for two reasons.
Firstly, the lapels do not roll in the way which you would usually see in a conventional 3-roll-2 jacket. Instead of having the top buttonhole as a part of the 'roll', the lapels actually end relatively close to where the former is at, as demonstrated in the picture above.
Secondly, the jacket is cut to have more drape around the chest specifically because of this additional button, say, than a W&S's house-style, single-button jacket; and even more so than a typical Neapolitan jacket.
But that doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. The case is rather the opposite.
Not only because I now have the flexibility to wear the jacket in both ways (as a 3-roll-2 or an actual three-button), but also the jacket's better drape resonates with the military theme of the jacket, which is all about strengthening the visual aspect of my torso.
Needless to say, it's fascinating to see how W&S added their personal style to these request, making a supposedly more Italian-design detail British.
In any case, the next jacket which I will be ordering from them is most likely going to be one with one (or two) button. Then, you could be able to take a look at its chest drape so see how different it would be.
Moving onto the trousers — they are even better than the first pair.
Though the previous cavalry twill trouser I had W&S made for me has an almost perfect silhouette (as suggested in the review here), it wasn't made with the consideration of my natural standing posture.
In brief, while I occasionally stand with my knees bending forward, I more often lock my knees tightly by pushing them backward; and this inevitably affects the trouser's leg line.
So after adding more room to the back of the knee during first-fitting, the trouser now has quite a clean leg line for most of the time.
Perhaps a more interesting feature to examine, however, is the ghurka's belt buckles.
Essentially something which I didn't discuss with W&S (since I want to see how they would interpret and present this style in their own way), the buckles are rather placed in a rather unusual part of the waistband.
Instead of sitting on top of the second pleat, the buckles are actually located between the two pleats; making them quite visually apparent and showy.
The choice of the buckles themselves is quite intriguing, considering regular ghurkas normally come with a vintage brass buckle or something identical to that.
The ones used here, on the other hand, not only are they silver, but also the prongs (the pins of the buckle) are quite long as well; making the trouser more formal than its conventional counterparts.
The only issue I have here is that the buckle on the right side is slightly tilted forwards for some reason (as demonstrated below). In any case, it's a rather minor issue and I'm certain that W&S would be able to fix this.
The cloth, by the way, is a mohair-wool-silk blend from Ariston, weighing at about 270g.
Since mohair is the most predominant material used in here, the cloth has quite a strong sheen (how it reflects light), as showcased in the pictures featured throughout this article.
Having worn the suit and traveling with it for almost a month now, I could also point out the cloth is very resilient in general, since it retains its shape very quickly even if you put the garment in the suitcase all the time.
Certainly, it's a cloth that I would recommend.
The shoes I'm wearing here, by the way, is from Gaziano & Girling on their DG70 last. They have proven to be one of the most versatile pair in my wardrobe so far.
Elsewhere, I'm wearing Lock & Co's Classic Panama Hat, a brown bespoke grenadine tie from Gentlemenclover, a blue spread collar shirt from Boggi Milano, and a pair of brown cotton socks from New and Lingwood.
Photography by The Suitstainable Man Team. Shot at Parcul Copiilor during my trip to Arad, Romania.