Off the peg with T.M.Lewin – an insight into Britain’s favourite shirt maker and tailor

birminghamcityMaking in the region of three million shirts a year is no mean feat for  the much-loved British brand,  whose first store opened on London’s Jermyn Street way back in1898.   Today T.M. Lewin remains one of the finest formal wear brands  and leading retailer of high quality, affordable business wear with 92 UK stores, 44 stores internationally and a successful online business.

Obsessive about doing things differently, the founder of T.M.Lewin Thomas Mayes Lewin made a name for himself as one of the finest tailors of his day, and one of the original pioneers of the ‘coat shirt’ with buttons down the front –like the ones still worn today.

Lewin’s clothes were not only of  the highest quality, but also excellent value for money.  The two principles Thomas lived by 115 years ago remain a driving force behind the T.M.Lewin brand today.

As well as dressing professional businessmen and women, T.M.Lewin is now Official Formal Wear Provider to both the England men’s and women’s cricket teams and supply team suits to a number of football teams including The Irish FA, The Welsh FA and Birmingham City.

T.M.LewinThe Birmingham Gazette caught up with the team at their Birmingham branch and were taken on a journey of self discovery with some of the best tailoring advice you’ll find anywhere outside of Savile Row.

I’ve been a fan of T.M.Lewin shirts ever since I was given my first shirt to wear on a BBC WM work experience when I was 16. I remember it was a black, white narrow pinstripe (which I still wear today, nearly

20 years later). I wouldn’t say that shirts last forever, but that’s pretty impressive by any standards. So committed to quality are the company that they offer an unmatchable 90-day no quibble guarantee.

When I arrived for my appointment I was greeted by Rachel one of the senior advisers in the branch. Rachel helped take me through the range of suits and shirts sold in store. They also offer an incredibly stylish and affordable womenswear range including shirts, suits, knitwear, dresses and accessories.

I asked Rachel how they had selected such a fantastic women’s range – a really versatile capsule collection. “Womenswear isn’t a new thing for T.M.Lewin’, she said. . ‘But we realised a lot of women didn’t really know what we were about.   Over the last couple of seasons we’ve really struck gold.

We’ve introduced a strong collection of really versatile, flattering clothes that can be worn into the office, or out socially,  The pieces really compliment each other.”

Rachel moves on to show me the current men’s shirt collection.  Shirts are, after al, what T.M.Lewin is famous for.  There are so many to chose from, in all colours and styles – from bright blues, yellows and greens to radiant checks, brilliant whites and timeless pinstripes.  There really is something for every sartorial taste.

T.M.LewinWe go across to the suit section and Rachel leaves me to browse the bespoke quality jackets and trousers.

I admire the evening wear tuxedos, marvel at the shark grey lounge suits and finally decide to go for a deep blue, of sorts…or will I?

You see I can see myself wearing any of these suits, for a business lunch,  an important meeting, or occasion such as a wedding. Rachel comes over to save me from sinking further into the pit of indecision.  Her confidence and knowledge about the collection is reassuring rather than overpowering or intrusive.

She grabs her tape measure,  taking measurements around my neck, chest, waist, arm and leg – taking a second measurement between my elbow and cuff.

“How do you wear your shirts?”,  she says,  “with or without cufflinks?” Making a quick calculation, she explains that I need to go one size smaller so as to show just the perfect amount of cuff and accompanying links. I’ve got my eye on two suits,  the  Borough Slim Fit in Midnight Navy and a sleek and refined Birdseye Navy  – both lined with silk and milled from English wool. The Midnight Navy a little snug around the shoulders, the  Birdseye offers by far the best fit.

suit

It’s this dedication to quality that makes all the difference and it’s not difficult to understand why T.M.Lewin has so many loyal customers.

10 Top Style Tips From T.M.Lewin

A crisp, white shirt is one essential piece that will compliment a whole host of different looks and is suitable for just about any occasion. A breathable white cotton linen is especially good for helping you keep your cool in a heat wave.

A pocket square has the magical sartorial ability to instantly transform any look from drab to dapper. Choose classic white or experiment with brighter colours and patterns.

A classic pair of chinos is suitable year round for both formal and informal occasions.  You can’t go wrong with this wardrobe staple.

An supply of elegant cufflinks to coordinate with your collection of double cuff shirts. Choose from a kaleidoscope of colourful silk knots or opt for classic gold, silver or enamel.

A drawer full of smart socks can provide the last essential finishing touch. A bright colour or pattern can  be way to show your flair for style. But don’t get too carried away and avoid socks of the novelty variety.

A tie can say a lot about the person wearing it, so choose carefully.

Invest wisely and build a collection of plain and patterned, regular and skinny, so you always have options.

The essential black suit is particularly perfect for formal occasions.

In fact, a well-cut, properly fitted black suit is often the failsafe option. And a good quality dinner suit is one you’ll wear time and time again.

The wear-it-anywhere casual blazer is smart and versatile, the reason why it makes its return year after year. Weekdays or weekends, it could be one of the most versatile jackets you’ll ever own.

A decent belt or a pair of braces will keep your trousers hanging perfectly. Depending on the style you choose, they can also be statement-making.

A light Grey suit can be a lifesaver during the summer months when temperatures rise. They also make for ideal wedding guest attire. You really can’t go wrong.

To shop online, or to find your nearest T.M.Lewin store, visit their

website:  www.tmlewin.com