Alex Cooke, co-managing director and master cutter at Henry Poole & Co, points out the merits of a super lightweight suit and sports jacket.
When Alex Cooke was in Japan recently, a customer told him that he bought his winter suits from Henry Poole & Co but his summer clothes from a tailor in Italy. ‘He obviously didn’t realise we made lightweight jackets,’ says Alex. ‘It made me wake up and realise that we needed to make our customers more aware of our wonderful lightweight clothing.’
In fact, Henry Poole & Co has been making lightweight suits ever since the ex-managing director, Philip Parker, started making more relaxed clothing for customers who didn’t always want to wear a traditional suit. Clients in Austria, California and Florida particularly wanted a less formal summer silhouette. ‘I found when I wore lightweight suits or sports jackets myself that our customers immediately liked the look of them and asked for them’, says Alex. ‘On a recent US trip several people even said they wouldn’t go back to a heavier more formal look, coinciding with a marked swing away from fully rigid garments. Men want to dress powerfully but not in the same obvious way as before – whether he’s 35 or 70, a man wants to look like a 30-year-old man of the moment. There’s no need any more for the padded shoulder and beefy sleeve head’.
Nevertheless, Alex is quick to impress that opting for a lighter weight in no way compromises the signature Henry Poole silhouette. All the lightweight jackets still have the nipped in waist, slight flare at the hips and high arm holes to give the torso a flattering, lean look. ‘They never look flimsy or off-the-peg and retain that very bespoke look,’ he adds, ‘but the subtler shoulder line makes it look as if you’re not trying too hard.’
Henry Poole & Co uses 6 to 10 oz cloth (worsted wools, silk and linen mixes, linens and cottons) and very lightweight canvas intervals to ensure the jackets are comfortable and create minimum heat. ‘In the past we’d use three layers of canvas on the chest but now we’ve stripped it right down, sometimes to just one,’ explains Alex. ‘Plus the lining is buggy or half-line and we put it only across the shoulders at the back. Given linings tend to be synthetic, this makes a lot of difference to a jacket’s breathability.’
To sum up, a lightweight jacket ensures you are comfortable and cool but it is still made to last and retains the world-renowned and instantly recognisable Savile Row cut that is a guarantee of sartorial elegance.
Due to high demand, the colourway pictured is currently unavailable so please order alternative lightweight swatches from our website or telephone for a consultation.