Fashion: Up to the crease
Is It Worth It?; For those poor souls who have yet to master the intricate skill of hanging up a suit, help is at hand
Sunday 17 January 1999
Alfred Dunhill has now gone one step further with its Traveller range, which includes a suit and blazer designed to be virtually crease-resistant. The suit comes with two pairs of trousers for pounds 595 and is available in navy, grey or chalk stripe, in single or double-breasted styles and in a classic English silhouette. It claims to be the must-have item for the international businessman who can now "arrive in style with the ability to get straight down to work".
Blurb aside, the suit looks smart and traditional and really does live up to its claims, remaining crease-free even after a week in a carrier bag. However, its look, though classic, would hardly set the fashion- conscious on fire, and the special crease-proof fabric also feels rather lightweight, especially for the winter. For the same price, a well-dressed businessman could have a suit made to measure in his own choice of fabric or buy a designer off the peg in this season's style.
What's more, looking after a good suit in this day and age doesn't have to be a chore. Any respectable airline will hang up coats and jackets for business passengers and hand them back after landing. In the car you can hang up jackets in the back or you can lay them out on the rear shelf. And if you find yourself in a hotel room without a Corby trouser press while on business, you probably won't be needing a suit at all.
In other words, the ideal candidate for the Traveller suit is either a slob, or (more kindly) a busy man about town who hasn't got the time or inclination to hang up his suit when he gets home from work, so it lives in a pile on the floor.
Hugh Holland, managing director of Savile Row tailors Kilgour French Stanbury, believes that most tailors will steer clear of crease-resistant fabrics because their softness makes them difficult to handle.
"A crease-resistant suit is never going to be a great-looking suit," Holland claims. "The fabric becomes too lively [due to the treatment], like a piece of rubber and cannot take the kind of shapes Savile Row uses. There are other problems such as how do you put creases in the trousers and pleats?"
Despite its drawbacks, however, there is one type of traveller who will find this suit a godsend - the cyclist who pedals to work and faces the constant dilemma of whether to leave his suit in the office or crush it into his rucksack. Having saved all that money by not taking public transport, he'll be able to afford it, too.
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