The Garmsman Dozen #1: Jon, from Great Britain

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Welcome to the first instalment of a new series I’ve decided to call “The Garmsman Dozen”. Garmsman? Street-lingo for Garment Man, and dozen because I send out a list of questions and ask for at least a dozen to be answered. Enough waffle though and over to Jon aka Heavyjon on Instagram.

Welcome to the Garmsman Dozen Jon!

Who are you, where do you live and what interests you?

Name: Jon, 40
Instagram: Heavyjon
Location: Sussex SE England
Job: Pharmaceutical Industry (sales and marketing ) i.e. Legal Drug Dealer
Hobbies: Sci-Fi Model making, Wargames painting and being a nerd.

Thinking back to your childhood, what were your most memorable or favourite clothes?

My Grandmother knitted EVERYTHING. Being a country boy my wellies played a massive part of my early style, and melting them to my feet and sock after harvest and burning the stubble. Wax jackets, my Uncle ‘Tiny’ really is, so at 7 I could steal his Barbour. My Paternal grandfathers WW2 Great Coat, he was a big man, and it was huge. I inherited it when he died. I loved the tee shirt my grandma ironed on an iron-on print of Yoda too. I was forced to wear a duffle coat when all my peers had snorkel parkas in the early 80’s. I hated it so much back then, but totally love them now, and looking back I was far cooler.

How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?

My style today is a mix of very well tailored Tweeds (Huntsman are a firm favourite), old 1920-1960’s specialist military gear, love a smock, some ventile and DPM. and a bit of turn of the century influenced work wear. Shoes are always Trickers Brogues, unless its boots. It’s the old thing of dress for the job you want, and I want to be a late 1900’s explorer or a country vet from the 1920’s.
 

How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?

Country Gent, Chap, Steampunk, Eclectic, occasionally cool and depending on the state go my facial hair (i.e. when I have a big handlebar moustache ) I get stopped by tourists in London a lot for photos. A lovely older Norwegian lady stopped me and told me I was a proper Englishman, like Sherlock Holmes last year. And at work, a senior manager did ask me last year if I was in fancy dress…

When looking for clothes, what factors play into your selections?

It’s the 4F’s for me: Function, Fabric, Fit and Fashion, generally in that order. I also whenever possible, get stuff made, by people I know, or have met. I really like stuff that’s mine, for me, and not for anyone else.

When putting together an outfit combination, do you spend a lot of time considering it?

Inordinate amounts of time, I blame this on the huge choice my wardrobe offers, but I also like dressing up, so that adds a few ‘minutes’.

Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?

Grail items would be my bespoke Dashing Tweeds Suit, my Lancashire Pike smock, my Huntsman tweeds, and my Maharishi Futura2000 FuSpliter Snorkel jacket.

Are you budget-conscious or spendthrift? Are you a single-shot shopper, or go large and buy bulk? Where are you on slow-fashion and buying less?

I buy far less new stuff now in my 40’s than in my 20’s. Slow and high quality, with that, comes the ££ so I get my kicks on buying a tonne of vintage stuff from Charity shops (average a suit and another piece a week, which keeps Ebay busy).

Having a large collection of clothes can lead to changing outfit on a daily basis, but if you were going to wear a single outfit the next two weeks, what would it be?

My outfit for two weeks: I’m a practical and very outdoors guy, so it’s Viberg Smoke jumper boots, Iron heart 25oz jeans, Merz B Schwanen Henley, North Sea Clothing Submariner sweater, Old Town tweed Jacket, Lancashire Pike smock, Triple Aught Design Shemagh, and Real McCoys Watch Cap. If it was two weeks at work, it’s the three-piece tweed suit, brogues, Norton and Son x Barbour waxed jacket and Tatton Baird hat.

What would you never wear?

Sports Wear, specifically football shirts; I hate with a passion most team sports, they’re extensions of some neolithic tribalism and too many synthetic fabrics. I love a bit of technical clothing, but not in neon, or team colours. Anything with a name on it really irks me, I’m not paid to advertise your gear, I’m not wearing your name on it GAP is a great example.
I also have an aversion to the NEXT, TOPMAN type department store shopping done by most men, it shows massive lack of imagination, it’s like only eating golden food, and having a Magnolia house.

What are your best tips for buying?

Browsing is great, but it shouldn’t be how you find clothes, styles or taste, it’s too random. Think about the 4 F’s I mentioned before, have in mind the function of what you plan for a garment, then look for a fabric and a fit that works, last think fashion, it comes and goes, but style is forever, and you’re never more stylish then when wearing a garment for a  specific job, that’s made well, and should last a lifetime.

Do you have a dream garment you’d love to own?

My grail pieces still stand. The 1950’d mountains rescue parka, was in my mind perfection in the 4Fs, they’re like hen’s teeth now, and I don’t have the £3000/£4000 to spare. Its also one of the jackets most influential to Nigel Cabourn, a man who made excellent clothes and designs from 2008/2013 buts sadly seems to have lost his way. My other grail would be a fully bespoke Huntsman three-piece suit. I’m lucky enough to own 5 vintage ones which I’ve had re-tailored, and they’re amazing, again cost is my main barrier.

Do you have any style icons, historic or current?

Shackleton and Scott, James Roberson Justice, Prince Micheal of Kent, Steve McQueen

If your clothes need repairs or alterations, do you do it yourself?

I can darn a bit, and do a button, anything much more and it’s off to my tailor.

How do you see your style evolving going forwards?

My style is pretty much set, after the last 20 years of it bedding in.

How do you think trends such as denim and heritage style will evolve and survive? What will be the next big thing?

What’s vintage to the young hipster seems to be 1980’s and 90’s tat. I see that evolving. Fashion changes, style never goes away.

Do you have a good style or garment based story?

Both my Grandfathers were style icons to me. One worked all my life in greenhouses as a gardener, yet always wore, shirt tie, cardigan and blazer or waistcoat and suit jacket. It got to over 40 degrees in the summer. He fought in Burma though, and ‘got a taste’ for the heat. My other grandfather, a large Norfolk farmer, with a massive ‘butchers belly’ and huge neck always wore braces, as belts would never do the trick. He also had an 18.5″ collar and could never get shirts that fit, so bought 16.5″ and cut off the collars. Maybe my love of braces and Henley tops come from him?
I’m a regular at the Tweed Run ( have done all the UK ones ) and have often been photographed there. One of these pictures is now the top Google image of ‘fat guy in tweed’. The Cabourn suit does me no favours it seems.
I was also ‘spotted’ by the then men’s fashion editor of GQ who put me in GQ Mens Style AW2011/12 in a rather lovely Huntsman Suit.
I’ve also appeared in ‘Cycle Style’ by Horst A Freidricks in my bespoke Dashing Tweeds
My association with the Handlebar Club, The Chap Magazine, and The Tweed Run has also meant appearances in Le Figaro, The Chap Magazine, and several other periodicals, as well as the odd bit of TV.
Thank you, Jon!
Did you miss the first Garmsman Dozens?

PS: If you have suggestions for participants, let me know. Or have your mother suggest you, if you’re a bit keen to suggest yourself. My email is WellDressedDad (@) gmail.com

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4 Comments

  • Roland 18/02/2018 at 10:13

    Great! Perfect inspiring read!

    Reply
  • Keith Douglas 18/02/2018 at 13:01

    A very interesting article. An excellent and elequent chap indeed.

    Reply
  • Jack Ford 27/02/2018 at 22:25

    Loved it, great section! I await more!

    Reply
    • nick 28/02/2018 at 08:03

      Thank’s Jack. Did you see Shaun’s contribution this last Sunday? Klaus is up this Sunday. It’s nice to see such a fine response 🙂

      Reply

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