You’re bound to have heard of T.M. Lewin if you’re a guy who works in an office that requires you to wear clothes. It’s a very old clothing company that specialises in getting men looking good for business. They’ve been tailoring shirts, suits and ties since 1898 and, if you believe the marketing copy on their website, were actually the early pioneers of the modern, button-down business shirt.
T.M. Lewin have recently opened their very first dedicated shopfront in Brisbane, situated in Rowes Arcade opposite Queens Plaza. There’s a lot of money being spent at the moment to dress up Rowes Arcade, reinventing the tired, old space as a stylish shopping precinct. I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of this flagship store, which is actually one of the first fashion retailers to take up residence in the renewed Arcade. Other retailers should look out – T.M. Lewin have really set a high benchmark.
The store itself is nearly as handsome as the guys T.M.Lewin use in their catalogue. They’ve kept with the aesthetic you’d expect from a high-end tailor with London origins – it’s very classy and very masculine. There’s dark wood panelling on the walls, rich leather sofas and bentwood chairs in the dressing rooms. But there are also modern touches throughout – striking steel accents on the display furniture and large slabs of marble on the floor and counters.
The store was packed for the launch. All sorts of well dressed men – I met a few bankers, designers, lawyers, architects and a guy in IT – had poured in with the promise of free beer, free food and a free shirt (T.M. Lewin were very generous – they also gave me a tie and a pair of cufflinks). Despite the overall busyness, it didn’t take long before I was in the capable hands of a sales assistant. She was very personable and with a few quick flourishes with her tape measure, could recommend exactly which shirt would suit my body type.
There are two things that really impressed me here. Firstly, the sales assistant was so helpful and professional, even on what could perhaps be T.M. Lewin’s busiest night ever. I can only imagine how much better the service is on a regular shopping day.
Secondly, they actually found me a shirt that fit perfectly. That mightn’t be a big deal to a lot of guys, but my years of over indulgence have started to take their toll and I now sport what I assume is a rather charming pot belly. It makes me look cheerful and content, but makes shopping for clothes a real pain. Shirts that fit my neck, arms and shoulders often struggle around the middle. And what’s great for my middle is usually too long and billowy in the arms. It’s my own little cross to bear.
But no such trouble with T.M. Lewin. They suggested a slim fit shirt that honestly made me feel like a million dollars. It was perfect around the waist and had just the right sleeve length. I was not alone in my satisfaction. I shared the fitting area with a guy who looked like he lifted weights for a living and super tall, super thin guy. The sales assistants found perfect fits for them as well.
I think their success is in the wide range of sizes and cuts that are available. They’ve got four different cuts on offer for dress shirts (from regular to super fitted) with endless combinations of neck and sleeve sizes.
It seemed like T.M. Lewin had shirts in every conceivable fabric colour and pattern, within the limits of good taste. It sounds cheesy but they’ve really catered for everyone, whether you need something vibrant to say Senior Creative Director or something a little more reserved to say Special Counsel.
I’ve burned through most of my word count talking about how T.M. Lewin sells shirts that make young guys with big bellies feel great, and I think that’s generally alright. It would be remiss of me though not to say that they also sell a range of suits, casual wear, belts, ties, and cufflinks. They also sell a very stylish wooden-handled umbrella that made me say, “I should probably spend a lot of money on this wooden-handled umbrella.”
It only took one night and one shirt to make me a T.M. Lewin convert. I hope the sales assistants liked me as much as I liked them – we’re going to be seeing each other a lot more from now on.
You can visit the new T.M. Lewin store at Rowes Arcade, Shop 2, 235 Edward Street or check out their range at www.tmlewin.com.au.