Thresher & Glenny isn’t the kind of place you are likely to just stumble across, tucked away as it is on Middle Temple Lane, just off Fleet Street. But this inauspicious little store could just be the oldest remaining tailor in the world: one that has survived through word of mouth, as it has since Lord Nelson used to call upon its services for his silk stockings.
In those days, military, naval and colonial officers made up a sizable portion of its clientele – a nod to which is made in-store, through a remarkable antique formal military dress jacket standing at attention by the front door.
The company has held a Royal Warrant since 1783, when it was appointed hosier to George III, a royal connection that still continues to this day.
The reason the great and good have been willing to put their sartorial life in the hands of one company is its attention to detail. What do kissing buttons on your (always working) cuffs say about you? What are the implications of three buttons, rather than two? Slanted pockets rather than straight?
The suits only bear subtle mention of the company that has crafted them, although they all have the signature peacock logo on the pocket flap – a seal that harks back to the nickname of the tailor, which was once located besides a pub called The Peacock.
And a fitting at Thresher & Glenny also comes with an additional bonus: the offer of a fine gin and tonic. What better way to pass an afternoon while you pick out that perfect suit and muse on the fact that, not only are you getting a spectacular handmade garment, but one that comes with 230 years of history folded into its seams.
Five tips for going bespoke
■ Wear the shoes you're likely to wear with the suit, and a comfortable shirt and tie.
■ Take a proper look at your body shape and regime. Don't hold your breath unless you really mean to make good on that Marathon promise; don't go after a long lunch unless that's how you spend most afternoons.
■ Don't be tempted by the dandyish impulse that often takes hold when devoting time to clothes. You don't want it to shout; rather whisper distinction.
■ Ask the important people in your life what styles and colours they believe best suits your character, age and role in life (then do your own thing anyway).
■ Look critically at the clothes of people in the public eye and work out if they're saying the right things. Newsnight is useful, Hollyoaks less so.