Seersucker is a strangely attractive material. Light and made entirely of cotton, and usually available with stripes on a white background, it is ideal for the summer months. The strangeness is its texture. It is puckered. This therefore overcomes one of the difficulties of wearing jackets and trousers in warm weather. Garments made from seersucker come ‘ready crumpled’. It is said to have been popular among the poor of the United States. In the 1920s undergraduates at that country’s ‘Ivy League’ universities claimed the fabric for themselves, and thereafter it has enjoyed a regular place in the wardrobe of those gentlemen whose sartorial taste embraces an element of extravagance. Seersucker is not a material for the introvert. But it is certainly a material for me.
For half a century gentlemen who care about their clothes have had cause to be grateful to Mr Geoffrey Golding. For, since he opened his shop at number 220 Hatfield Road in the cathedral city dedicated to St Alban, this talented tailor has been making wonderful clothes for some of the grandest in the land. His tailoring skills have suited (in both senses) those who demand the very best. That is why, above the entrance to the shop, there are the Royal Arms (pictured). They signify that Mr Golding has a royal warrant. The practice of the Sovereign awarding warrants goes right back to the middle of the 12th century, when the most skilled trades people in the country would compete to supply their wares to the royal household. Today there are about 800 warrant holders, and in St Alban’s is one of them – G.D.Golding, Tailors “by appointment to Her Majesty The Queen”.
Unless we subscribe to the heresy of Antinomianism, we know that we all need a few rules by which to lead our lives. Human beings are not made for chaos, but for order – of the proper sort. We do not want to be oppressed, yet we know instinctively that anarchy would probably be the worst oppression of all. Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets on which were written The Ten Commandments. In my own, rather more modest, fashion I wish to respond to those correspondents who have asked for some guidance about the proper way in which a gentleman can maintain a decent appearance in a world which can be depressingly indifferent to standards of the sartorial sort. I therefore humbly offer to readers my own version of The Ten Commandments. Most of the Commandments are to do with matters of dress, although a couple relate to aspects of behaviour. One of my heroes - the French writer, Anglophile and conservative, Maurice Druon (1918-2009) - was once denounced as "starched, outdated, reactionary, egotistical, haughty and sinister". If these Commandments prompt as noble a tribute from my many detractors, I shall know that my efforts have not been in vain.
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Readers might care to look at the interview with Francis Bown on Keikari