January 23 2011
The palpable sense of loss when John Simons closed his Covent Garden store last year was only laid to rest when the man, who since the 1950s has single-handedly established US Ivy League style at the heart of the modern male wardrobe, reopened in Marylebone just before Christmas.
Barely a week goes by without a friend or colleague calling or texting to ask me if I’ve been. Naturally, I was there on day one, rifling through shelves of button-down shirts, pawing racks of flat-front chinos and rails of American sport jackets. Bass Weejun (fourth picture), Brooks Brothers, Florsheim, Grenfell, Pendleton, Ralph Lauren and Sebago – elite American brands.
For men who cite Cary Grant and Steve McQueen as style icons and marvel at the perfection of Miles Davis’s green button-down shirt on the cover of the 1958 Milestones album, John Simons is the Holy Grail. Here is the missing link between Savile Row and Hollywood. Mid-Atlantic tailoring for men who want to be smart – but never stuffy.
John Simons isn’t just about knowing his brands, though. His real talent is knowing his customers. He’ll look me over, allow for a modest shift in size, and then present me with the perfect tweed jacket, a pair of Bermuda-weight dog-tooth slacks, or some Venetian “dress” loafers. And he’ll be bang on the money in size, shape, colour, and “look”, every time.
“I match people to clothes,” says Simons, professorially. “It’s a knack.” Welcome back.