Turnbull & Asser, the Royal Warrant shirt maker that has clothed the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Pablo Picasso, has introduced womenswear to its wardrobe. We try out the bespoke service in five easy steps
Select a store
With three boutiques and a hang-out at Harrods, you’ll need to pick an outpost. The Davies Street shop is our first port of call – although Jermyn Street has the same offering if you’re based in neighbouring St James’s. The neat, unnassuming shopfront is packed with colourful shirts and pocket squares, and while this may be targeted at men, staff are set on making fashion-savvy ladies feel equally at home. James Cook, the experienced store manager, can regale extraordinary tales of his two decades with the brand, while James Webb, assistant manager, and senior salespeople Ike Victor and Edward Powers make up the rest of the talented team.
Now begins the fitting process. Stand straight, shoulders back, but don’t breathe in... Being measured and weighed are two things that women tend to avoid when revamping a wardrobe. But for a fabulous fit you’ll need to suck it up – but don’t suck it in or your shirt will fail to fit. Turnbull & Asser are ever the professionals, and a quick whip around of a measuring tape – height, waist, shoulders, bust, arms – and it’s over. The stats are scribbled onto a piece of paper and sent off to the factory in Quedgeley, Gloucester.
Make the most of customisation for a shirt that really is one-of-a-kind. When Turnbull & Asser say bespoke, they really do mean bespoke. So when you get measured, take time to tell them what you like. Buttons can be moved according to the position of your bust (to avoid any gaping), or neck (should you wear necklaces of a certain length). You can also choose from hard collars, soft collars or the T&A signature collar. And fabrics? There are reams and reams of them. Plain, tartan, stripes or spots: you name it, they have it. Darts can be added for a nipped-in waist, cuffs shortened or your initials sewn in a tasteful monogram.
Try it out for size
Good things – and shirts – come to those who wait. Within two to three weeks you’ll be ready to don your first tailor-made Turnbull & Asser shirt. The team will summon you to the store for your first fitting. Now is your chance to voice any concerns, as this model will be replicated for a full set of six. Although the style will be the same, you can flick through the fabric book once more for different colour and pattern options.
The big reveal
Yes, the moment has arrived. You’re now in the same league as HRH Prince Philip. Approximately four and a half weeks later, your blouses are ready. Standing in front of the mirror you’ll follow the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Mary Quant, Twiggy and Joan Collins to be one among a select few women who have had items tailored at one of Mayfair’s finest shirt makers. One thing is for certain: you’ll never walk into a room worrying who wore it best.