First impressions count for everything, especially when travelling on business. Today’s executive can start the day in Dubai and end it in Düsseldorf, and with an ever-expanding range of stylish options on offer there’s no excuse for not looking your best wherever you’re jetting to or from. One of the best examples of a city that caters to on-point business style is Stuttgart, where you can pick up a made-to-measure suit, expertly cut shirt, personalised belt and handmade shoes, often in the same afternoon.
German tailor Felix W launched in the city in 2008 and uses what it calls a ‘modular matrix’ – where clients try on different combinations of ready-made components until everything fits – to create beautiful made-to-measure businesswear. The process is refreshingly straightforward; customers work with Felix W’s specialist team of style advisers to create their ideal shirt (or, indeed, suit) from the extensive range of high-quality fabrics and finishings, selecting their preferred cut, collar, cuffs and perhaps a discreet monogram. Skilled makers at the Heilbronner Strasse workshop then use the information to create the finished garment, all in record time.
Another of Stuttgart’s bespoke havens is Buckles and Belts on Calwer Strasse. The store is committed to changing the way customers view one of the most overlooked accessories, the humble belt. In the store, visitors will find a vast array of the finest Italian leather belt straps in a variety of colours and hides, ready to be matched to their chosen buckle – perhaps a bold embossed brass plate or a simple, understated silver box frame.
When it comes to finding first-class footwear, one of the best places to go is Ludwig Reiter. Its Stuttgart store, also on Calwer Strasse, is filled with beautiful handmade shoes, all crafted by the brand’s own team of highly skilled shoemakers. The brand still adheres to the exacting manufacturing principles laid down by its eponymous founder in 1885; all Ludwig Reiter shoes follow between 200 and 300 individual production processes, from stencilling the leather and stitching the cuts together to joining the upper to the sole and leather finishing.
What sets Ludwig Reiter apart from other shoemakers is its welting process, whereby the leather upper and the inner sole are sewn together using a continuous leather strip – the welt – before the edging and the leather outer sole are then joined by a second seam. This means the leather upper and the outer sole are indirectly connected to one another, allowing unrivalled flexibility and comfort. It’s a traditional process, and one that many other shoemakers have abandoned as time has passed.
While expertly cut shirts, well-chosen accessories and handmade shoes are all essentials, the largest component of a successful business outfit is undoubtedly the suit, and just to the south of Stuttgart is the town where one of the most prominent German tailors was founded. Hugo Boss began creating suits in Metzingen almost a century ago, and today his eponymous label is one of the most successful German designer brands in the world.
For autumn/winter 2014/15, the brand’s Boss label has taken its inspiration from Scandinavian minimalism, resulting in a ready-to-wear collection focused on precision and contemporary design. Pieces include double-breasted boxy jackets, graphite grey pinstripe suits and workwear-inspired button-down shirts alongside cuffed slim-cut trousers, all in a polar-inspired palette of ocean blues and Arctic greys.
Hugo Boss’s seasonal collections are at the forefront of German fashion. For those wanting something more individual, however, there’s also the brand’s made-to-measure service. This offers customers the opportunity to experience the fusion of classic artisanship and cutting-edge technology that goes into a bespoke suit handmade by the label’s master tailors at its store on Stuttgart’s Königstrasse.
With an array of the finest fabrics, linings and buttons in different colours to choose from, clients will find that assembling their very own Boss made-to-measure suit is a genuine creative endeavour, resulting in a final product that is the perfect reflection of its owner. The customer’s signature is even embroidered inside the jacket and waistband – the ultimate testimony of the suit’s uniqueness.
What’s evident is that Stuttgart offers busy executives a wealth of high-quality, luxury and bespoke clothing options that combine German craftsmanship and hi-tech know-how, making the city the perfect place to sharpen up your boardroom – and in-flight – style.