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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Online Source: Bromleys



This site has been in ‘The Directory’ for a while now, and I’ve even put my money where my mouth is and purchased a shirt and a couple of ties through them over the last few months. Therefore it seemed long over due that I should phone them up and find out a little more about them.

There is something understandably daunting about trusting your luck to an online only business. With so many cropping up in recent years, unless you’ve received a recommendation from a trusted source, it is difficult to know who to trust. Just who is at the other end of that internet connection? Anyway, I got on the phone and gave Bromleys a call; and I wasn’t disappointed. It turns out the website is run, and owned, by a very friendly and rather interesting fellow by the name of Mike Campey.

Based in Wakefield, just south of Leeds, Mike founded the business back in 1999, but self-effacingly described himself to me as a “real factory lad”. Mike’s first job came in 1964 after leaving school at age 15, where he went into the clothing factories which were, at the time, still thriving industries. He eventually rose to become a Special Measures Cutter.

If you’re unfamiliar with tailoring history, this was the era of the Burtons and Hepworth suit making factories, when the man in the streets suit was predominantly made-to-measure, all done on a vast scale.

The collapse of the UK’s heavy textile industry left Mike seeking an alternative career. His options, as he described them to me, were not tempting. So he decided to try and trade on what he knew. According to Mike, at the time Leeds was a very different place to the one it is now. Excepting for one local outfitter it was rather short of good quality clothing shops. The next closest option was the middle of the road Austin Reed. Spotting a gap in the market, his idea was “to bring Jermyn Street to Leeds”. Originally he’d wanted to open a shop, in fact he wanted a “Department Store of quality” but couldn’t find the backers. In the end he decided upon mail order, and utilising his numerous connections on two of the most prestigious tailoring streets in London, traded with the motto “The Best of Jermyn Street and Savile Row”. The arrival of the internet allowed him to transfer the concept online, and business has boomed ever since. Mike tells me that America is now one of his biggest markets, and that he “sells more English shirts to foreigners than to the English”.

The website itself has a really nice range of good quality kit, and all fairly priced. He covers everything from collar studs to hipflasks. Everything in fact that a discerning gent might want for a classic wardrobe; that is in fact the website’s address, www.classicwardrobe.com and the accompanying motto is ‘Timeless Classic Dressing’. No idle boast either. The site even sells sock suspenders and, a favourite bit of kit of mine, arm bands.


Mike seems to have a good eye on the whole; all the items sold pair well, so if you buy a shirt you should also be able to find a tie that sits nicely (the shirt and tie pictured for example).

I thought the shirts, in particular, represented good value. In the case of Hilditch & Key lines, you can often buy them cheaper through Bromleys than if you were to go to the Jermyn Street shop direct (except perhaps at peak sales time). In fact it’s worth regularly checking the site; I’ve found that reductions don’t necessarily follow the traditional summer and winter sales pattern. If you’re on a bit of a budget the site is a very good way of getting a nice wardrobe together at a reasonable cost, and maintaining it year round. But then the internet should have its advantages. Other brands carried include; Budd of Piccadilly, Coles, Mark Stephen Marengo and Cleeve of London.

This last brand, Cleeve, has impressed me greatly. I bought the shirt you see pictured above, through Bromleys. I’m actually tracking down the makers, and as soon as I’ve got all the background info I’ll do a full post on the company.

But, back to Bromleys. The site is easily navigable and postage charges are reasonable, although like most retail websites it pays to order multiple items at once –particularly if they’re low cost. Everything arrives beautifully boxed and neatly wrapped in tissue paper. What more could you asked for?

Taken in the round, it’s a very sound site that knows exactly what it's doing and what it’s about. And whether you live outside of London; you’re not keen on wondering around shops; or, like me, you happily mix your shopping habits depending on what you want, this is a very useful website to have in your back pocket.

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1 Comments:
Blogger http://oneworldholiday.blogspot.com/ said... Bromley is great i like your article. thanks for sharing.
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