The Tusting brand was introduced to me by David Evans from Grey Fox blog. They're a family run brand who produce beautiful, leather bags for both men and women, made in their factory in Buckinghamshire.
I've previously had the pleasure of working with Gillian Tusting alongside David on a couple of occasions, so I was super happy to be asked to work on a new and exciting project that Gillian had dreamed up - "Styling the Tustings" which was a ruse for David and I to get her husband and son's wardrobes in order. Clever girl!
The Husband - Alistair Tusting
Get him a new suit, plus a smart casual outfit for when he leaves the gorgeous countryside where the factory is situated, to come into London for meetings. Special request by Gillian (don't tell Alistair).......get him out of his fleece! Alistair is early fifties, just over 6 foot with square shoulders, 42" chest and 34" waist.
The Son - Fin Tusting
Get him some clothes suitable for interviews for media related jobs. Not too formal but smart enough to show respect and acknowledge the interview is important, whilst showing creativity. Fin is eighteen, with a 38" chest and 30" waist and long legs.
With Tusting being a British manufacturer and David being an avid supporter of Made In Britain, we decided to aim for UK made products or if that was not possible, a British brand to include in our choices for the shoot.
Our first port of call for Alistair was to see tailor(ess) Susannah Hall. She and Grey Fox have worked together frequently in the past, and as all her tailoring is done in Yorkshire she was a natural choice for the suit. She expertly guided him through the thousands of fabric choices and talked him through all the options of lapels, pocket detailing, vents, lining and all the other things you've probably never considered closely until you have a bespoke suit made. The final choice was a mid weight navy worsted wool herringbone (to see him through all seasons) with a subtle spot lining.
Crockett & Jones
Before looking at any other clothes we jumped in feet first at Crockett & Jones. Fin went straight for the Skye brogue boots in chestnut leather - an excellent choice, which looked great with turned up trousers to give a young but classic look and of course a brogue boot is the perfect companion to jeans.
Alistair's default option would be to go for leather brogues, but with Grey Fox and I there to encourage him to think of something different he opted for chocolate brown suede instead. We thought this was a really great, versatile option - smart and dark enough to go with the navy suit, but casual enough to work with chinos or jeans too.
Next we headed to Cordings of Piccadilly where after nearly succumbing to a mild case of "too many stylists spoil the look", we chose a lightweight check wool, silk and linen tweed jacket for Alistair. In terms of weight as well as colour, this worked well. He already has navy chinos and jeans which would go with it, so at this point David, Nino (the shop manager) and I got bold! We whipped him right out of his comfort zone with some washed in pink gaberdine trousers which picked up the red check in the jacket. He admitted they looked good and agreed to get them, but only if we allowed him to get some 'back in the safety zone' dark tan jeans. Yes we acquiesced - after all we know how useful they'll be.
Our next port of call was Budd shirtmakers - a tiny gem of a shop in Piccadilly Arcade. The guys in here were super helpful, and didn't seem to mind the team invasion at all. In here Fin tried one of their slim fit shirts which was perfect for him - at the moment they're only made to order but will be coming in as ready to wear later in the year. We experimented with a cravat and neckerchief for him in an outfit but the look he loved most was with an ancient madder paisley bow tie. It added a fun, creative touch to the white shirt, jeans and khaki jacket as pictured. We also tried out an ancient madder scarf in a similar paisley design with one of the Realm and Empire jackets.
Alistair invested in more pink (it was obviously growing on him!) in the form of a striped shirt and a gorgeous forest green tie to go with the Cordings jacket. Although this wasn't the most obvious choice, it anchored the lighter colours and went with the green check that was also in the jacket so it pulled it all together really well.
Harvie & Hudson
It was lovely to be reacquainted with Richard Harvie as I used to borrow clothes from Harvie & Hudson many years ago when I was styling photo shoots. He was very obliging and let us try on lots of jackets for Alistair. In the end none of them quite fit the bill for us as they were a bit of a crossover on what he already had and we didn't want to buy for the sake of it. We did purchase a pale blue shirt though which he needed and you just can't go wrong with pale blue can you? Should you desire another colour though, this is the place to go as they have a dizzying array of colours to choose from.
On to Jigsaw menswear in St James. This is somewhere I shop with clients regularly, though I find a surprising amount of men are still unaware that Jigsaw does any menswear. Here Fin got some black lightweight trousers which were a good basic and when rolled up showed off the Crockett & Jones boots as well as giving a less formal, younger look. We also tried a fab khaki 'Italian check donkey jacket' which was a more wintery version of the Realm and Empire cotton one, and comes into stores on 10th August. There was also a formal camel 'Epsom' coat which looked great with a navy patterned Simon Carter shirt, Forge denim jeans and the trusty boots.
Forge Denim was David's suggestion as they are a small brand based in Sheffield and everything is made in the UK. They were super lovely and helpful when I asked if we could borrow some items for our project and they sent us some slim taper, Japanese raw dark denim jeans. They fitted Fin really well and the dark wash looks smart, so could even be worn for interviews with a blazer if it's an interview with a casually dressed company. (Look at their team photos before you go for the interview to gauge this.) Again, the boots looked amazing with them!
Realm & Empire
These were Fin's favourite jackets - he loved the khaki cotton one which was like a blazer but had a back pocket to make it more unusual. This could be styled in a more dressed up way, like we did with the Budd white shirt and bow tie, or worn simply with a t-shirt and jeans. He also loved a sand coloured one with an olive pocket which was a little more casual.
When Gillian told me Fin was fond of a mad shirt or two, I immediately thought of Simon Carter! His natty prints certainly fit the bill and being a fellow South Londoner he was the obvious choice to include in our shoot. Unfortunately we didn't have time to get to the shop in Shepherd Market but we dressed up the neutral coloured 'Birds in Landscape' shirt with a burgundy Jigsaw knitted tie and the khaki jacket and black trousers and styled the navy 'Koi Carp' one with jeans and the camel coat.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing how we experimented and put looks together in this shoot. I'm very grateful to all the brands who let us descend upon their shops! I had a super fun day styling with David 'Grey Fox' Evans, Gillian gave us her seal of approval throughout and I do hope Alistair and Fin enjoy wearing their new outfits.
All the amazing photos here are by Polskey - AKA Olivia.
If you'd like to shop in Jermyn Street and beyond then get in touch to find out more about my personal shopping trips.