How to Spot a Drunken Tailor

This little piece isn’t going to directly improve your knowledge of Savile Row tailors. But if you’re around Savile Row on a Friday evening, I know a couple of watering holes that are a real education.

Tailors will frequent all the haunts of the West End. But we will always need at least a pint of Youngs Ale in The Windmill, and a Guinness in Mulligans.

It’s sometimes difficult to spot the difference between tailors and cutters. But here’s a couple of tips:

They’ll both be in suits. However, if you look closely the Tailor’s suit is better pressed. This is because he only wears his suit to and from work. When he’s in the workshop he’ll wear his “Sittin’ Drums” (old clothes). The Cutter will have been wearing his suit all day, tending customers in the front of the shop.

Picture(46).jpg(Mulligans Oyster Bar, behind Savile Row on Cork St.)

With a little observation and eavesdropping you’ll soon find them. The one complaining about a “skiffle” (i.e. a rushed job) will probably be the Tailor, who’s had pressure from a Cutter all week. Or if you hear constant moanings about how slow the trade has been recently, Congratulations! You’ve found yourself a Cutter.

But apart from that, they drink as heavily as each other.

If you’re not experienced enough to spot a bespoke suit from a single glance across the bar, a really simple guide is to check out the lapel hole. On Bespoke, it’ll be dead straight and look a bit longer than your used to seeing on ready-to-wear i.e. it should be an inch and 1/8th, exactly.

If the lapel hole is like that, chances are you’ve got someone in the trade. Savile Row bespoke only has the normal, short “keyhole” lapel holes (with the little round bits on the end) on the actual bottonholes. With a bit of luck, he’ll be drinking the sales tax off that “Bit o’ Private” he’s going to make for you.

If you’re not wanting to meet tailors or get a discount suit using the “folding stuff”, they’re still both great places. And the food and drink is as good as you’ll get anywhere; particularly well-known are the fabulous steak pies in The Windmill. Lovely.

Happy hunting.

(The Windmill, at the end of Savile Row, on Mill St.)

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About Thomas Mahon

Thomas Mahon is one of the most experienced tailors on Savile Row with a list of clients including royalty, celebrities and business icons. Tom has almost thirty years experience of hand tailoring in Savile Row including five years at Savile Row’s most famous and respected tailor, Anderson & Sheppard. His clients experience the traditions and expertise of the finest bespoke tailoring available today using a soft and unstructured style typical of Anderson & Sheppard. His workshop is based at Warwick Hall in Cumbria and also meets clients at his office in London, Tom also makes regular trips to visit his growing international client base in Europe, the USA and further afield. When not creating beautiful bespoke suits, travelling to see clients or sharing his sartorial advice with his internet followers, Tom enjoys teaching sailing and is the boats officer for the Sea Cadet Corps near his Cumbria home. For the full story visit
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