Meet our Jermyn Street Store Manager, Michael Searle. He puts a striped shirt and tie together like nobody else.
My dad was a Jermyn Street man, and once I reached 10 years of age, I started to visit him at work. Mum would bring me up on the weekends. He was at Harvie & Hudson, then at Woods & Brown, which was on Sackville Street, but sadly isn’t there any more. That’s where I had my first real introduction to menswear. I helped Dad in the school holidays, and I used to be given little offcuts of fabric, empty some huge sacks filled with cloth remnants under the stairs, and then try to match the patterns for bespoke shirt repairs. I really enjoyed piecing different bits together.
I also used to run errands around central London, or drop shirts off for clients, and it opened my eyes to the West End. I even remember having a Turnbull & Asser box of matches as a teenager that I’d picked up somewhere, and my dad saying, ‘Oh, they’re our rivals, they are.’ Even so, I didn’t go into shirts straight away. Initially, I worked in designer fashion, and managed a number of departments at Selfridges. I enjoyed the work but missed Jermyn Street. Returning to Turnbull was a natural move; a position became available in 1991, I interviewed and that was it.
I was made Turnbull’s Jermyn Street store manager in 2007, a proud moment. There are so many quirks here that make the job great fun. I enjoy not quite knowing what each day will hold; you open the door and you’re not sure who’s going to come in, which customers are going to need something in particular, what will need chasing or delegating. I’m a people person and love working with our team, and also serving customers.
We have some fascinating people come into the store and I love the mix of it. I’m still proud to be able to look after Jermyn Street today. Sometimes there’s so much to do that you can’t even think about it, but there are other moments when you think, ‘Wow, we’re actually looking after this shop.’ It’s very special. My wardrobe is relatively classic – it’s my job to represent the company, after all. Even so, I’ve always been drawn to our exclusive fabrics and the way that the seasonal shirt and tie collections click together. I love art, colour and form, and I think the way the design team consider our shirts and ties as pairings is magical.
I tend to wear the Prince of Wales collar, which is available primarily as a bespoke collar – its slightly wider spread suits me.
I also like square double cuffs and the way they reveal a flash of colour beneath a suit. I’ve got a wardrobe full of striped shirts at home. I love stripes; a good repeating stripe in the shirt will lock together with a patterned tie brilliantly, every time. Of course, we’re a shop, but we’ll tell someone if we don’t think what they’re looking at works for them; that’s what we’re there for, to give good advice and suggest alternatives. I love a confident shirt and tie, but every customer is after something different. Our job is to help them make the right choices. I love it.
Put together your own shirts and ties at or down, with our 71-72 Jermyn Street , St James’s.