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Whitcomb & Shaftesbury Trousers: Prologue

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

As much as people may say it is not the most practicable color to wear in London, I love wearing cream-colored garments. It is versatile, goes well with almost everything, and bridges the gap between more formal and casual colors.

After a summer of wearing cream linen trousers intensively, however, I realized I actually don't have anything equivalent which I could wear during the colder seasons of the year.

It was around the same time that I came across to this beautiful ecru cavalry twill from Fox Brothers (picture above) couple of times. First at Simon's pop-up at Fortnums, and then at Merchant Fox's pop-up at Savile Row.

In fact, the cloth is actually quite a hot-selling item as well, with me being able to purchase the last 1.4 meters out of a single batch of cloth when I visited Fox's pop-up.

Anyway, the cloth is quite durable, particularly given the fact that it is a cavalry twill. Since it has a weight of 16/17 ounces, it is a perfect candidate for the Autumn/ Winter seasons.

With these perquisites all in place, I just need a tailor that could produce the garment fast enough while having a decent quality -- don't want to waste the precious fabric after all.

While I want the tailor house to be based in London, I am also confined by the fact that English tailors tend to take months to produce a garment.

It was then James (whom I previously purchased a wonderful tie from) referred me to the tailors that I've decided to use -- Whitcomb & Shaftesbury.

I went in on a fine Tuesday morning.

Upon arrival, I immediately received a warm welcome from Suresh who manages the company's operation in London, Emily the salesperson, and Sian the cutter. There is something about their hospitality which made me felt like I am going to the right place right away.

After chatting for a bit and knowing more about each other, as well as looking around its beautiful showroom; we then proceed to discussing the design of the trousers.

First off, I have to admit that I am shamelessly borrowing quite a few features from the trousers of my Tai Pan Row three-piece suit. This includes the tall waistband, the width of the turn-ups, as well as the coin pocket with flaps.

These features seem to be my personal favorite when it comes to trousers-design lately, nonetheless, so I think I'll stick to this principle for a while.

Of course, I made some adjustments as well. This includes replacing the buttons on the waistband with buckles to make it more clean, but more importantly the double inward pleats which I decided to go for.

Part of it is because it is a pair of high-waist trousers. But also if it is an outward pleat, the trousers would almost look identical to some of the Suitsupply trousers I own.

Well, not really. Without the inward pleats, the trousers would look too informal to match with my softer suit jackets especially considering it is quite a heavy material.

With that said, it would be a little while before the first-fitting, being at least 7 weeks later even with their 'Classic Bespoke Service'.

Unsurprisingly, that is much faster than many British tailors as well as Neapolitan trousers-makers since the garment would be cut by a Row tailor (in this case Sian), and shipped to India for the heavy-lifting part.

As for why I chose to commission a pair of trousers made by W&S; it is mainly because of the fascinating story behind the Classic Bespoke Service as well, but I'll leave that for another time.

Photography: Matthew Gilver Poon (


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