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Style Counsel: British Workwear Chic

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Style Counsel: British Workwear Chic

January 31, 2013

Will Brown and Marie Willey run a decidedly old-fashioned clothing business, yet seem to be unwittingly ahead of the curve.

When Brown, a fashion industry veteran, and Willey, a stylist, decamped from London to Norfolk 20 years ago (“to take a break from fashion”), the couple opened up a shop selling enamelware, twine, Welsh blankets, and the like. But the enthusiasm for retro housewares hadn’t yet caught on, so the couple went back to clothes, and Old Town, their line of classic British workwear, was born. The couple operate out of a tiny workshop in Holt above their store, producing clothes that feature a subtle utilitarian charm. Willey attributes Brown’s good sense and his blissful ignorance of fashion trends to their success: “Dull clothes stand out.”

Willey says that The Red Lion, Saint James (just off Pall Mall) “is a brilliant pub”. The old fashioned London pub serves as the backdrop for Old Town’s clothing featured below in their PIccadilly Pleasures slideshow; do play the soundtrack for the full pub experience. For more on the clothing go to Old Town.

Photography by Matt Hind.

Above: Mr Appleton wearing Old Town’s latest addition to their collection: the new short double breasted jacket.

Above: While most of the clothing is sold through the Old Town shop, a few select pieces are available at Labour and Wait in London.

Above: Ladies Shirt from £70.

Above: Bib Apron in cotton canvas: £36.

Above: Each piece of clothing is made to order in limited batches and comes wrapped in brown paper in a custom Old Town box.

Above: The Tradesmen in cotton drill; £185.

Above: The lapels and cut help set Old Town’s jackets apart. Several options are available; we like the notes on the Marshalsea: “A little bit of late Victoriana. Sherlock Holmes might have worn such a coat with a low crowned bowler and muffler to sneak into Walter Sickert’s painting ‘The gallery of the Old Bedford’.”

Read more of our Style Counsel posts.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 9, 2012.

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