“The most important thing is that the suit be well cut. Then it needn’t be particularly new or even particularly well pressed. It will always hang properly. I make my suits last for years. The other day, I took one that’s, oh, eight years old, in to be altered – have the lapels narrowed and the trousers taken in. I go to Stovel & Mason in Old Burlington Street where I’ve trained the cutter to what I like, and he never commits the classic fault of London tailors – leaving too much fullness in the seat of the trousers.
When it comes to combinations of patters and colors, my wife tells me that I run to reds and blues, but I assure you that it’s not conscious. I do like blues, and yellows, but not beige or tan. Combining the patters and colors is simply a question of getting a contrast. With a striped suit I wouldn’t wear a striped shirt. With a striped shirt I would wear a plain woven tie in a much deeper or brighter color. The thing to keep in mind really is that the shirt, tie, and suit can’t look all the same in color or scale of pattern, and, of course, not to be self-conscious about combination. The one thing that I am especially conscious of is combining ties and pocket handkerchiefs. I avoid matching them at all costs. The pocket handkerchief should be colored and patterned, but not matching the tie. Better to have it related, or even entirely unrelated, so long as they don’t look wrong together.”
For sports things, I go to Huntsman in Savile Row, but in any case I’m rather conservative about suits. Being an actor, I plan my clothes rather more. No one in public life can afford to overstep. One has a responsibility, and before I get anything new, I brood about it, try it out on my wife and daughters, and perhaps on someone in the Club. Once the suit is settled, then the only thing is shoes and linen. I usually wear proper shoes except when I’m traveling, then I wear these things [well-polished tan loafers] because they’re so comfortable on planes. Otherwise, I go to Maxwell’s in Dover Street, and I always have shoes with elastic sides. I’ve been having them made since shortly after the war, and I don’t even own any lace-ups any longer.