If you consider yourself to be at all in the know concerning fashion, you’ll be well aware that Savile Row has become internationally famous as- and even a byword for- fine tailoring, Savile Row might look like an unassuming English street, but it hosts secrets and ghosts – some of the tailor’s premises being rumoured to be haunted – in fact, making it quintessentially English.
The street itself may be a small and strip-like thoroughfare in Mayfair, but it boasts an unparalleled range of some of the finest tailors in the world. The street was created in the 1730s as part of the vast Burlington Estate, and is named after the Duke of Burlington’s wife, Lady Dorothy Savile. Savile Row was originally a street of doctor’s surgeries, which is why tailors set up there, as the surgeons could afford to pay for their services.
Over the years, it hasn’t only been the place to go for the well-dressed man around town, but has attracted an international clientele, such is its mythic draw.
While such luminaries as Winston Churchill. Charlie Chaplin and Horatio Nelson patronised the row, Nelson’s nemesis Napoleon ordered so many clothes from the Row that he worked up a fearsome debt. To this day, everyone from Jude Law to Benedict Cumberbatch is using the Row’s services. However, just across Piccadilly in St James’s is another street of equal sartorial quality, Jermyn Street.
This is signalled by the statue of the first great English dandy, Beau Brummell, In its early days Jermyn Street was more residential than commercial, a bustling scene of houses, lodgings, hotels, taverns and schools, dominated by the beautiful Church of St. James’s designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Indeed, over the years, the street has been home to such luminaries as Sir Isaac Newton; William Pitt; Sir Walter Scott; the poet Thomas Gray; and creator of Vanity Fair, W. M. Thackeray.
In its over 300-year history Jermyn Street has always retained its distinctive character, whether in the ambience of the street, the services it offers, the shops and businesses and the people who own and run them. Of course, fashion and businesses come and go, but much of the original essence of Jermyn Street lingers on, to still provide a quintessentially English experience. Indeed, Jermyn Street arguably provides a superior shopping experience than Savile Row, due to its wide variety of shops, some selling at more realistic pricdes. Here you can find such classic English shirtmakers as Turnbull & Asser, New & Lingwood, Huntsman and Charles Tyrwhitt, as well as some of the best shoemakers in the country, including Edward Green.
Jermyn Street is a delight to visit, with its excellent restaurants, such as Wilton’s serving up classic British food, or Rowly’s, which has been praised as serving “the best steak and chips in the land.”
Of course, we’re not all lucky enough to be able to jet off to London to indulge in fine tailoring. Instead, you could take advantage of Charles Tyrwhitt’s excellent online service, to bring the finest English tailoring delivered to your door, with extra savings available through Groupon.