Category Archives: Tom Talks

Practical Luxury for your Complete Lifestyle: Holland & Sherry

“Make every day a Holland & Sherry day!”  

– Dougal Munro, President, Holland & Sherry, Inc.

For most of their 175 plus year history, Holland & Sherry has been known primarily as a standard setting provider of luxury cloth used by prestigious tailors and luxury tailored clothing brands. That legacy continues today, stronger than ever. The exciting news is that the Holland & Sherry story is writing new chapters, extending the brand to other aspects of a complete luxury lifestyle.

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The Groom with the Awe Factor!

bride and groom

Cookie cutter. Very Traditonal. That was “nice”. Or worse yet, “that was kind of awkward!”

Not exactly what you want people to say after your once-in-a-lifetime wedding? How about none of the above!!! Why not just go for awesome? If ever there was a time to display the Awe Factor, your wedding is a pretty good candidate, no?

As with most things in life, if you closely follow a set of time-tested guidelines, listen to the advice of someone who you trust who has walked the path before you, your odds of avoiding awkward are 99.9%. That’s a good start. But, since you are well above average, shall we shoot a little higher?

To create the awe factor and have people (especially you and your Bride) remembering your wedding in the fondest of terms for years to come, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Don’t miss your own wedding.

I’m not suggesting that you might just forget about it, sleep in too long, or get seriously cold feet at the last minute. What I’m saying is – be present. Be in the moment. Often times the participants in a big event, be it the Super Bowl or your wedding, get so caught up in the both the minutiae and the hoopla that when it’s over the events of the day are at best a surreal, blurry memory. You don’t want to have to watch the video to remember your own wedding.

West coast client, Jack S., recounted to me that the best piece of pre-wedding advice he received was to take a brief “time out” with his bride during the reception. The advice giver told him that everything is going to move so fast, so many people are going to want to greet you and congratulate you, that I suggest you take a few minutes during the reception, pull your bride aside to a private space, and just talk about what you’ve been experiencing together. Tell her again how beautiful she is, how much you love her, and how excited you are to be spending the rest of your life with her. Jack said, “In retrospect, that was the best five minutes of the entire day.”

Look and feel your very best.

It’s time to bring your “A” game. Get plenty of rest. Groom the groom. Get dressed in a suit of clothes that makes you feel like the King who today is getting married to his Queen. The color needs to be right, the cloth must feel amazing, and the clothes should fit you like they were made for just one person – YOU.

well dressed groomsmen and ushers

smooth looking groom in sunglasses

3. Enlist extra Help.

Married just a few months ago, Brent F. designated one of his groomsmen (other than the Best Man) to keep an eye on everyone to make sure that they kept their ties tied, jackets on, and sunglasses off (His preference. In your case, the weather may require them…or you may just plain want a shot like the one above). “Seems like easy instructions for the pre-ceremony pictures,” said Brent, “but I was glad to have someone other than the photographer or myself reminding them.”

4. Get to Know your Guest List

We all know the feeling. You see someone whose name you know you should know, but you draw a blank in the moment. At best, you feel slightly awkward. There’s that word again. We want to avoid that “A” word. Leave the awkward moments to the less prepared. At worst, you embarrass yourself…in front of your bride….on your wedding day. Way to go, slick!

How about we try this: Before the wedding, get a copy of the guest list (especially her side of the family) and study it like it will be on the final exam. Ask your fiancé to tell you about these people, especially the ones you have yet to meet. If you can get a list with pictures, all the better. Then on your wedding day, one of those relatives will approach you and you will heroically say, “Cousin Bill, great to finally meet you. How did trout fishing go this year?” Yes, you really are that good. I know! You’ve got to care a little bit extra, beyond the average to do this. But she’s worth it, right?


5. Put on your Dancing Shoes!

Every wedding reception is different, but pretty much every one of them throughout all of history has included dancing. There are special dances: The Father of the Bride dancing with the Bride for example. But no dance is more important or potentially nerve racking than your first dance with your new bride. All eyes will be on the both of you. This is your opportunity to cinch the deal, convincing any remaining skeptics from your bride’s side of the family that she just married the smoothest dude on the planet. Not already giving J.T. (Justin Timberlake) or Gene Kelly a run for their money. Then take a few lessons. No shame there.

Not a comprehensive list, but some pretty good tips I think. The rest is up to you. Now go have some fun, groom. And don’t forget to thank me and the legion of other people who will help to make your wedding day awesome.

Awesome every day,


A Timeline for the Groom who doesn’t want to Sweat

(anymore than is absolutely necessary)

Some of the best advice I’ve ever read or heard about succeeding at most anything, including having an awesome wedding and a happy marriage, is to begin with the end in mind and work backwards to determine when and where to start.

So, where to begin? Try this one on, future groom. Assuming that you’ve got your girl, and that she said yes (critical step), the next step is to get a picture or a vision of how you want the day to look and feel. Who will be there? Will it be formal or more relaxed, in church or on the beach? Fortunately for you, this vision is probably already in “her” head, crystal clear, and in full detail. Whether that is actually the case or not, it will be good for both of you to get on the same page from the get go to avoid most of the misunderstandings, frustrated voice mails, and hurt feelings that might otherwise occur.

Great weddings don’t just happen. They require proper planning and precise execution. Unless yours is to be one of the “shotgun” variety, or for some other reason yours is to be a relatively short engagement period, you want to get out ahead of this thing way in advance. Since most marriages lead to children as well, I’m thinking that about nine months before the big day is when the timeline should begin. No further explanation necessary, right?

Nine Months before the wedding day, here is your checklist:

  • Announce your engagement to family and friends
  • Choose a Venue (the best ones sell out way in advance. Even this far in advance may be too late)
  • Set a Budget
  • Create a Guest List
  • Select your Groomsmen and Best Man
  • Send Save the Date Cards

Six Months out:

  • Secure an Officiant
  • Gift Registry (if you make it through this process and still like each other, then for sure it’s a match made in heaven)
  • Order Invitations
  • Select Photographer/Videographer
  • Hire DJ or Band
  • Hire a Caterer (if separate from venue)
  • Order a Wedding Cake
  • Arrange for Hotel Rooms and Transportation (getaway car, limos for guests, that sort of thing…)
  • Finalize plans for Wedding Night and Honeymoon

Three Months before the day (it’s getting closer):

  • Plan Rehearsal Dinner
  • Line up your Speakers/Readers
  • Line up/Hire any Special Music for the Ceremony
  • Pick out and order your Rings
  • And most importantly: Order clothing for you and your groomsmen (Custom designed and made with the help of your Tom James Clothier. Would you have it any other way?)

One Month before (So close you can feel it breathing down your neck now…):

  • Choose amazing gifts for your Bride
  • Select awesome thank you gifts for your Groomsmen
  • Get your Marriage License
  • Make a Wedding Day Checklist (leave no stone unturned, plan for eventualities, etc.)
  • Get a Haircut (a few days before)

Two Weeks Before

  • Attend the best Bachelor Party ever!

Wedding Day

  • Maybe get a little sleep the night before?
  • Shower, shave, etc.
  • Make sure that the Best Man has the rings and Marriage License
  • Get to the church (venue) on time (that is, when you’re supposed to be there, not just five minutes before your Bride is walking down the aisle)

One Hour before Show Time:

  • Get dressed
  • Tie your Bow Tie (do not wait until the last minute to do this like WAB did)
  • Consume a shot (or other appropriate amount) of your favorite beverage (calm the nerves; get your mind right…)
  • Take a deep breath. Relax and have fun. It’s your Wedding Day!

Ready are we now?

Not sweating this one,


A Big Man in a little Coat doesn’t look Smart

How your Body Type determines the Cut of your Clothing

As quoted by Nicholas Antongiavanni (pen name), in his book The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style, Xenophon wrote in his Life of Cyrus (4th or 5th century B.C.) “It is not reasonable that a big man wear a little coat, or that a small man wear a big coat, and expect to look smart.”

Albeit getting the size of your clothing correct may not prove very challenging, getting the best “cut,” especially for a tailored jacket, often proves to be more elusive. Each variation of cut is designed to emphasize one thing and to downplay another. Since it could mean other things, when I speak of the “cut” of clothing, I am referring to the basic shape and style as well the proportions of a given garment.

For every body type there are particular cuts of clothing that simply look better than others. For men, body type is based on three main dimensional factors:

  • Height (Vertical)
  • Girth (Horizontal)
  • Proportion (Distribution)

To keep it simple, with the respect to the vertical dimension, a person is tall, average, or short (diminutive). Horizontally, a man is of ample girth (stout), average, or thin (slight). With regard to proportion, a man is V-shaped (chest wider than hips), average (chest and hips about the same), or A-shaped (hips noticeably wider than chest).

How would you describe/categorize your dimensions?
What cuts of clothing look best on you?

If you fit with “average” in all three categories, well lucky you! You can wear pretty much whatever you want and look good, assuming that what you choose is in good taste, appropriate to your level of maturity, station in life….that sort of thing. If, however, you fit into any one of the other categories, then what you choose to wear will require more thought and attention.

All of the following advice assumes that you want to use clothing to its best advantage – to create some illusion or ideal – whether to make yourself look taller, thinner, less imposing, or to improve your chance at a desired association or result. The basic idea then is to create a visual counter balance to anything that may be out of balance – to visually emphasize an opposite of your natural body type in order to balance your appearance.

Space will not permit an example of what to do for every body type, but the following should give you a framework to use for your individual situation.

Short (vertical)/Average (girth)/Average (proportion)

Two-button with a lower button position or a Three-button (soft roll), high armhole, high notch and narrow lapels, roped shoulder, with a coat length as short as possible while still covering the seat. Slightly more than average cutaway in front will allow more of the pant to be visible. No vents or pocket flaps.

Worn high on the waist, beltless, with a single pleat and no cuffs. The pant length should be as long as possible without breaking too much on top of the shoe.

All of those design details accentuate the vertical, working to create the illusion of height. A two-button coat with lower button position creates a long lapel while a three-button coat also draws out a vertical emphasis. The higher notch and more structured shoulder elevates the eye, and a higher waist, beltless pant provides the longest possible leg line, while a single pleat is trimmer than a pant with more pleats. A flat front pant would also work, though it would typically be worn lower, more on the hips. In that case, I would suggest less cut away on the jacket, because the goal for the vertically challenged is to continue all vertical lines as much as possible.


Two-button (or soft roll three button), easy-fit, standard notch and lapel width, natural shoulder, coat length that covers the seat or slightly longer. A tall man with ample girth will do better to keep coat details to a minimum. If of average girth or relatively thin, then he should wear more pattern and texture and add details such as pocket flaps and a ticket pocket. A tall, thin man will always look especially smart in double-breasted clothing as well.

Worn at the natural waist, with forward pleats (facing toward zipper) and cuffs, fitting with a bit of ease. This style will do the most to counter the effect of girth, especially when viewed from the profile. If the pants must be worn below an ample mid section, then they should be flat front and still have an easy fit. Pleats worn lower on the waist have no chance of draping properly. A man with ample girth or stout of build should never wear trim fitting clothing if he wants to be comfortable and look his best.

Those are but two examples, but, in any case, the goal along this line of thinking is to arrive at the best style and cut choice for your particular build. From that point, any deviations based on fashion or style preference will at least be better informed decisions, and you will find yourself wearing your clothing in comfort and with a more confident swagger.

Is there another body type you’d like to ask about?

Always a cut above,