Valentine’s Day has a long and varied history and can be a tricky situation to navigate, so we have put together our Savile Row Tailor Gentlemen’s Survival Guide.
Valentine’s Day has a long and varied history. English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was instrumental in developing the holiday of Valentine’s Day with his poem, Parlement of Foules, from 1382, which commemorated the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia with romantic themes and mention of Valentine’s Day.
More than 630 years on and we still celebrate this festival of love by exchanging gifts and showing someone special that they are an important part of our lives. But this event can be a tricky situation to navigate, so we have put together our Savile Row Tailor Gentlemen’s Survival Guide.
The practice of giving others a gift started in 18th century England and has continued to this day. Choosing an appropriate gift is not always the simplest of tasks, as you do not want to embarrass your date with a grand gesture, yet failing to give something at all can give the wrong message also.
Huntsman have two gifts perfect for these scenarios… a book about the Wardrobe of Cecil Beaton shows an understanding of heritage and a level of knowledge about fashion from the past. He had accounts with many Savile Row tailors; he bought his hats from Herbert Johnson and Lock & Co, his shirts from Excello in New York; and the clothes he bought from Lanz of Salzburg are now, along with other elements of his wardrobe, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the V&A, London.
The Ultimate Tweed Creation Experience is a gift for someone very special. For an utterly unique experience why not design your very own one of a kind tweed with Huntsman’s Creative Director. As a part of the creation process, you will be flown to Islay, Scotland, to watch the tweed being woven and enjoy some of the finest whiskies together.
If your date is a more relaxed affair, play with texture and detail rather than a suit. As a Savile Row Tailor, we would recommend the Blue Sussex cashmere single breasted one button sports jacket worn with the dark grey flannel flat front trouser and chestnut rollneck pullover. This combination shows style whilst allowing you to be comfortable.
A pre-dinner cocktail is the perfect start to any evening, not just because it relaxes the soul but an apéritif is the ideal lubricant to stimulate your appetite. Like its Italian counterpart, aperitivo, apéritif comes from the Latin aperire, meaning “to open.”
If your Valentine’s Day pre-dinner drink is beginning at home, start with Lillet Blanc, a classic French wine-based apéritif deliciously refreshing all on its own. Served chilled with a twist of orange or poured over ice with a splash of soda water.
If dining out, visit the newly-refurbished Kettner’s Townhouse, one of the oldest French restaurants in London which reopened in 2018. Try the signature “Romilly 29 11” named after the address in London’s Soho, a mixture of Star of Bombay, mango, lemon, and Ruinart champagne.
A gentleman does not sit first, order first or eat first. And please turn off your phone. Starting with these clear points will get your Valentine’s Day dinner date off to a great start. We would recommend booking a table at Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden, voted London’s most romantic restaurant time and time again. Influenced by the stylish country inns of Provence and Tuscany, Head Chef Marcellin Marc combines the freshest ingredients with a passion for bringing out inherent flavours in a contemporary approach to Provençal inspired dishes.
“Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey.”
― Ernest Hemingway
As the evening draws to an end, the opportunity for the long kiss goodnight approaches. We’re well aware that a vigorous kiss involving some petting could burn as many as 90 calories per hour, so now is a chance for you both to lose the kilos you gained during the meal earlier.
Aside from the physical benefits of a good kiss, we would recommend to any gentleman to download a copy of William Cane’s The Art of Kissing and brush up on those skills before taking the plunge on Valentine’s Day. Your date will thank you for it and hopefully secure a further date for you. Oh, and make sure to pack some breath mints for after dinner if a kiss is on the cards.