Saturday, 24 April 2021

The Onoto 5600

De la Rue Onoto 5600

I wrote an article about the umbrella and shirt collections some years ago.

I am sure that, like many others through the fullness of time, I have accumulated or acquired some interesting items of apparel during my life, some inherited, others acquired.

My late father was stockier and slightly taller than me, so I couldn't wear any of his clothing, though I do still have a waistcoat and several polo-neck jumpers of his.

I had an old Aquascutum overcoat of his altered unsuccessfully.

I inherited a miscellany of accessories, mainly gold and military cuff-links and a lovely, old Onoto fountain pen, dating from the 1930s.

I treasure it, to the extent that I have recently sold my Montblanc collection; and the De la Rue Onoto fountain pen, dating from the 1930s, is currently being serviced by Peter Twydle.

I am simply not using writing instruments as often these days: A few vintage Parker ballpoint pens and the Onoto 5600 are sufficient.

Some of the clothing is ancient and utterly useless, unless one is a courtier or a recipient of invitations to state banquets.

I acquired full evening dress from an old friend of my father's (Jim McClenaghan): a heavy worsted tail-coat with ribbed silk lapels; old, starched, white dress-shirt and white tie; white pique waist-coat; heavy black, double-braided trousers.

The top hat was acquired many years ago at Parsons & Parsons in Belfast.

The morning-coat is black; the waistcoat, dove grey and double-breasted.

I found the waistcoat in a charity shop.

I discovered one of my most precious acquisitions in a charity shop: a DINNER-JACKET dated 1933, in another charity shop.

It is beautifully made, with functional button cuffs and a very wide, ribbed silk lapel.

I simply had the jacket altered and had a few cuff buttons sown on.

I shan't disclose what it cost me; suffice it to say that it was a bargain ~ like a "find" on the Antiques Roadshow!

If anyone is interested, my best advice to them, if they are in their twenties or thirties, is to buy the very best clothing and footwear now.

That's what I did, and it has endured.

Most of my most precious clothing was acquired when I was in my early twenties: the Church's shoes from Harrod's and Austin Reed's store in Belfast; the Burberry trench-coat; the Aquascutum overcoat; five or six shirts from Turnbull & Asser.

If you invest in half-decent stuff today and look after it, only wearing it occasionally, it will provide decades or, indeed, a lifetime, of satisfaction and service.

First published in February, 2010.


Sandy said...

Sage advice Tim. However time does alter one's silhouette somewhat - at least in my case. I still have a very nice suit bought when I was a young man which I somehow doubt I will ever fit into again!
I bought a jacket from John McBride some years ago. It seemed a little large on fitting, and when I informed John I intended to lose some weight he ignored me! Of course he was right. It now fits perfectly!

Timothy Belmont said...

Ha ha! That was most judicious of John McB. I hear he's at Clarke & Dawe presently.

If I stopped my fitness routine, through ill-health or whatever, I'm sure couldn't fit into the ancient relics!

Stephen said...

Words of wisdom, as always.

Though I am concerned to here that Austin Reed is no more? Is that correct?


Timothy Belmont said...

Quite right, Stephen. They were at the very entrance to Queen's Arcade, Donegall Place end, City Hall side where there is a jewellery shop.

They had two floors so, even though they were compact, they crammed a lot in! I got the shoes upstairs; and, I recall, a navy blue blazer and grey trousers!

Stephen said...

"Hear", not "Here". But I assume you guessed that.

So where is left in Belfast for decent clothing? Parsons and Parsons?


Timothy Belmont said...

I wouldn't like to say. I'm afraid I don't set a great example! I have got a lot of my stuff elsewhere.

Oh - almost forgot - charity shops!

Stephen said...

You sell yourself short, Timothy. You seem quite a dapper chap.

Though I would assume the Dowager expressed her disgruntlement with you wearing those nice (semi)white trousers on grass!

All the best,


Timothy Belmont said...

Perhaps I'm overplaying the charity shops, Stephen! If there is an item - like a 1930s d-j! - I seek, I head for those places. It is infrequent and pot-luck.

Those trousers are described on the label as "stone" in colour!