Tom Chamberlin

Forget the Budget – who is Rishi Sunak’s tailor?

Forget the Budget – who is Rishi Sunak’s tailor?
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I was at a straight forward shooting weekend up in North Yorkshire in early January. During elevenses, passions around Brexit and the general election were fiery even before the sloe gin had kicked in. From the estate owner to the gamekeepers and beaters, they all said the same thing, “we saw it coming”. They poured scorn on some MPs who had returned their seat, from both sides of the political divide. Most fascinatingly, they all agreed on something one of them said, “well we have Rishi Sunak as our MP and he is terrific.” I’ll take their word for it.

Not wanting to get too bogged down in the politics of the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, only days from his first budget, if you want to get a good idea about who he is as a politician, you should look at his clothes.

Sunak clearly has an excellent tailor. Navy single-breasted is a total classic but small judgments have been made either by him or a talented tailor that really impress. The lapel width is three and a half inches wide. He has not fallen into that Tom Ford trap of having peaked lapels on a single-breasted jacket, which was cool a decade ago but was always going to go out of fashion. ‘Notched’ (or ‘step’) lapels remain the go-to. The width is important as too wide, and his slight frame would seem broadened unfairly by the lapel, but too slim and it would make his head look like a lollipop.

The beauty of it all is the waist shape. The elegant trace of the waistline from the shoulder to the hem is masterful. He is tall but suiting has a treacherous ability to make the tall look shorter and the short look fatter. This suit takes full advantage of his height. The dead giveaway for any bespoke suit is the way it sits flush to the back of the shirt collar, and in this instance they may as well be fused together.

Outside of suiting we are very much in trendy-Dad-jumper territory. All the Ralph Lauren pullovers and half zip sweaters, incongruously shot with the freezing Yorkshire dales as the backdrop.

So what can we glean from this? Well the tailoring is probably British, which means that he has form in prioritising the skills of Britsh-based workers. He cares about sustainability, for what could be more sustainable than clothing made by hand by a master that will make the need for a replacement 20, 30, 40 years down the line, redundant.

Bespoke suits are usually made from ethically produced fabrics, which place high value on animal welfare and environmental friendliness. The best fabrics are usually milled in England or Italy, so we shouldn’t rule out his wiliness for cross-channel cooperation. He wears Oxford shoes so we can tell he’s proud of his educational roots. It also shows discerning expenditure on important things. The trendy-dad tops are an indicator of decent family values and his tie collection shows that, like all of us, there is room for improvement.