The day of disappointment arrives for all one's threads. However well made, or resilient the cloth, time will come a-calling, and renewal will be in the offing. And of all a man’s outerwear in need of regeneration, none is so intimate as one’s trousers. Though special for all that. A garment worthy of investment - not simply in capital, but in time. For when seeking out a pair of leg coverings that are a perfect execution of your sartorial ideal, everyday will not do.
And the quest starts in hope. It always does. And why wouldn’t it? To walk through any town, any city, is to be fed seductive, hungry, dreams of apparel cut to such a sparingly elegant ratio one would wish to spend each waking day, and dreaming hour with them. But in a world of, average sized, off-the-peg, it’ll do, fashion - the journey can only end in disappointment. And disappointment is a master without compassion. Leaving you abandoned in regret, whilst sporting a pair of trousers you could hang a ton of heartache on. Yet, the journey need not deliver such a bitter pill. Need not be a tale of compromise, after compromise, after compromise. The distance between a man and a perfect pair of trousers is closer than you think, and answers to the name of Spencers Trousers.
Set in the Friendly Works, in the hamlet of Friendly, Spencers Trousers have been swaddling men’s shanks in made-to-measure whistling breeches, the equal of any, since 1923. And all at a price point that would put most fashion jeans to shame. Although, when Reggie Spencer set up the company, his dream was to clothe aircraft, not legs. But aviation evolution rendered Reggie’s dream obsolete in the wake of WWI – as planes became more powerful, aluminium quickly became the aircraft skin of choice. But one dream’s dispatch saw the birth-song of another, and Spencers Trousers took to the stage. And flourished. Which was no surprise, being set in the heart of the Calder valley cloth making industry. A region known as Fustianopolis - such was the amount of manufacturing given over to the production of fustian cloths, such as corduroy and moleskin.
Spencers’ reputation for making quality breeches was swiftly established, and the company soon had full order books – much of which revolved around work-wear for utility companies. But as time passed, and the world turned, change came a-calling in the shape of Alan Oldfield, who bought the company from Reggie’s widow in 1977. A local man, and still owner, he has lived and breathed the rag trade since he walked out of education, and entered the world of bespoke tailoring. His first forays in the trade were in Halifax, then at such leading Savile Row establishments such as Henry Poole & Co, before working in the volume production of clothing. Alan, like Freddie, also had a dream – to make men’s fashion trousers at his own company, and Spencers would provide the means. The business prospered, and at one point they were selling a pair of strides every 2 minutes. But the world once again shifted – and this time the consequences lay heavy upon the UK rag trade – with cheap competition from India and China leaving the industry little more than a cypher in the UK, by the end of the 80’s. Yet Spencers survived the cull. Placing faith in their made-to-measure service, which had previously been a minor element of the business, it now became the whole business. And in their own particular way they have flourished, with a ‘in the know’ clientele that’s stretches the world over.
And so we return to you, bedecked in the Kegs of Compromise, how do we make you master of your whistling breeches – and a thing of singular beauty (or at least your southerly regions)? Easy. The path that leads from off-the-peg to made-to-measure is a simple one, and enjoyable, especially if one calls in for a fitting (though many take the online route). It’s an old school experience in all the right ways – with a service you thought died out with the passing of your grandparent’s youth. Directed upstairs to the light and airy cutting room, you’ll be taken in hand by Nigel Walker, who has, for 25yrs, been the alpha and omega of the made-to-measure service. He’ll record your proportions, and then let you loose on the materials. And what a choice there is – everything from brisk and businesslike chalk strips to reassuring tweed, and much that lies in between. Decision made, he’ll mark the cloth, deploy the scissors, and remove your trousers from the material, which will then be sent downstairs for sewing. And in 7 days you’ll have a set of breeches made to fit the idiosyncrasies of your form. And no-one else.
And as you stand in solitary majesty, like the sun, spare a thought for your friends and family in their flabby strides, and perhaps point them in the direction of sartorial salvation.