Let's hear it for the little guy: Philip Statman wants a designer suit. He is short, but determined. He has to be
Saturday 24 July 1993
Three weeks later it arrived, dark-blue, with long trousers, and oh, those shoulders. With pride, at 13 I had become, well in advance of my time, the first bionic bar mitzvah boy.
Still perfectly formed but now 5ft 4in and size 36 short, I felt it was time for a foray to the sales, as a treat to myself and to celebrate my 40th birthday, another coming of age.
This was to be my year for an Armani, a Cerutti, a Valentino. I would no longer be intimidated by the large cut of Hugo Boss nor of sales assistants who in past years had described me in mock French accents as 'mince' or, even more unhelpfully, stared with an expression of disbelief ('Of all the clothes shops in all the world he has chosen ours and expects to be fitted]')
Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Austin Reed - there would be a suit out there on the peg just waiting to leap on to my back and be taken for a spin to the Cantina del Ponte on Friday night. At the first grand store I pass rows of designer suits.
'Show me a 36 short, please.'
'They all go on the first day, sir. Those you are looking at now are not for you, you are far too small.'
'But today is the first day,' I protest, my resolve showing signs of erosion.
Next stop, the shop next door: a logo on the front announces it specialises in the long and the tall. My mind, playing tricks, or perhaps simply overburdened by years in darkened auditoriums watching Sergio Leone movies, registers The Long, the Short and the Tall.
'Can you advise me?' I ask the salesman.
'Have you tried shopping at Newmarket?' he snorts. The Man with No Name takes out his revolver and plugs this wise-ass between the eyes.
Me? I shrug off the slight and head for Liberty, where I am confronted by rack after rack of designer wear.
'I'm small,' I say.
'I can see that,' replies the assistant.
'You do realise that this is the year of the small man?' I protest.
Try telling that to Kenzo. Eventually I find the rack for shorties: a row of rather traditional charcoal-grey suits.
Tired and dejected, I return to my office with thoughts veering wildly between the spectre of the Harrods children's department (again) and the hitherto unappealing charms of grunge.
But there is a third option: a trip to Milan. To Valentino, to sit in a comfy chair, to be pampered, fawned over, and yes (at last]), to be fitted out in designer made-to-measure - or as near as dammit. Me with my memories of Morry Levenberg, late of the Whitechapel Road.
Valentino. What a shop, what an experience. A small man walks in, a tall man walks out.
Simon Read: "Pension freedom is months away but if we don't act soon, the freedom may be to make an expensive mistake with our future"
30 January 2015 11:00 PM
The introduction of the new pension freedoms has been "alarmingly chaotic", reckons Nigel Green, chief executive of the financial consultancy deVere Group, He said this week: "The implementation of changes appears to be being rushed in a cynical attempt to woo older voters ahead of May's election."
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There has been continued criticism of banks' delaying tactics and failure to find those affected by by the UK’s biggest-ever financial mis-selling scandal
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Companies will be required to ask about health and lifestyle choices or marital status, to protect consumers who do not take up the government’s offer of the Pension Wise guidance guarantee service
23 January 2015 08:00 PM
I had dinner with the pensions minister Steve Webb this week. There was a wide-ranging discussion about the new pensions freedoms starting in April, and changes to the state pension. Crucially, I also got to ask Mr Webb whether he had any plans to have another look at the injustice that is frozen pensions.
23 January 2015 08:00 PM
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21 January 2015 12:32 PM
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20 January 2015 09:34 AM
Regulator’s investigation into the market found that around £160bn was held in easy access savings accounts that pay interest lower or equal to BoE base rate
17 January 2015 12:00 AM
Simon Read: Information is power. And it's in the wrong hands when people are cold-called by companies that know they're in debt
17 January 2015 12:00 AM
In debt? You're likely to be targeted by unscrupulous companies that hope to profit from your misfortune. They may try to pretend to be your friend by offering what they call "help" – but almost certainly that help will come with a cost and leave you worse off than you were before they got in touch.
17 January 2015 12:00 AM
In less than three months' time radical changes to pensions will take effect, providing investors with more freedom. Yet for those who prefer to make their own investment decisions, the choice of funds available is overwhelming. And an income drawdown account is also not particularly easy to manage.
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The minimum amount for which you can be forced into bankruptcy is being raised from £750 to £5,000
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