Mr. Harry Highton

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Meet Mr. Harry Highton (@harryjamesh_) from London, Tailoring Consultant at Cad & The Dandy.

Harry, how do you define your style?

Classic cuts in contemporary monochrome. I’d say my style has been through a few iterations but, for the time being, it’s settled on a traditional silhouette with a twenty-first-century execution.

What does it mean for you to be a Modern Gentleman?

To me, to be a ‘modern gentleman’ means to know who you are and be comfortable with that, and then to encourage others to know who they are and be comfortable with themselves. Life, generally, is hard and knowing oneself is no exception. Once you’ve managed that, and it often takes a long time, you can properly focus on expanding your knowledge and understanding of everything else.

When it comes to style, where do you mostly get your inspiration from?

Three things: my maternal grandpa, vintage advertisements (particularly illustrations by JC Leyendecker and Tom Purvis), and my colleagues.

My grandpa—a farmer for over 75 years—was rarely seen without a tie and was never afraid to exercise his own sartorial flair. For example, for black tie he wore a soft yellow shirt with a faint black windowpane; traditionally wrong but uniquely elegant.

Leyendecker and, later, Purvis revolutionized advertising menswear and their influences can still be seen today: a long, slim leg, a short torso with broad shoulders, and, in the case of Leyendecker, a soft tonal colour palette. In Purvis’s works, it’s the same but he preferred a bold, contrasting colour palette.

Last, but by no means least, I’m fortunate enough to work in an industry where my colleagues, at Cad and in the wider industry, share my passion for tailoring and cloth. The other professionals around me are a constant source of inspiration.

What’s your personal style signifier?

My glasses. I’ve needed them since I started school and, as my eyesight worsens, I’m not safe to cross the street without them! I’m now in a position where I have more than one pair, and I like to rotate through them to compliment the rest of my outfit.

What are your favorite wardrobe essentials?

A very high-waisted trouser. Through no effort of my own, I have long legs and I find a high waistband enormously flattering. As such, a 12” rise on my suit trousers (14” on my evening dress trousers) is an absolute must-have.

What are your main passions and how do you cultivate them?

After tailoring, it’s gardening and music. I’m currently fortunate enough to have an outdoor space in London, and growing flowers and vegetables kept me sane whilst monotonously furloughed during the lockdowns. Nietzsche famously said that “Without music, life would be a mistake” and for me that specifically means Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Mahler. Their works serve as the soundtrack to commuting, relaxing at home, and of course gardening.

What does your ideal Sunday look like?

A long lie-in, plenty of food, and an evening watching a film.

Describe an interesting trip you have taken and tell us what’s the next destination on your bucket list.

I recently attended Pitti Uomo for the first time and I loved every second of it. Florence is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. To be there, amongst its stunning architecture and wonderful restaurants, in the company of menswear savants and industry leaders was privilege. Next on my list is Scandinavia, probably Sweden. It has as strong a menswear heritage as London or any other city, and is only a hop over the North Sea!

Tell us what can never be missing in your liquor cabinet.

Gin is the only spirit I really drink; I don’t like one that’s heavily flavoured or has too many botanicals and it has to be Navy Strength. My current favourite is Silent Pool’s Admiral Collingwood.

What are your three favorite books?

I’m going to cheat and list four; JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the RingsBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Erebus by Michael Palin, and The Longest Afternoon by Brendan Simms.

As a child, The Lord of the Rings sent my imagination soaring and defined years of play. Later, when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I suspect I fancied myself as similar to Brideshead’s narrator Charles, and pored over the book time and time again. Erebus and The Longest Afternoon are without a doubt the most exciting historical accounts I’ve ever read. Both narratives, which document the ill-fated expedition of Erebus and her sister ship Terror, and the story of the four hundred men who decided the outcome of the battle of Waterloo respectively, are as inspiring as they are absorbing.

What are your three favorite movies?

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy (for obvious reasons), Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, and Spotlight.

Master and Commander is a captivating depiction of life aboard a warship in the Napoleonic Wars. My best friend teases me that I’m a sucker for what he calls ‘admin films’, and Spotlight is probably the best example of this niche genre. Again, I have to cheekily cheat and add Granada Television’s 1981 series (not a movie, I know!) of Brideshead; not only is it an adaptation that’s unerringly faithful to the original novel, it’s also a definite source of inspiration for my personal style.

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