When Will mentioned The Chinese Gardens of Friendship, my mind naturally gravitated towards the idea of a graveyard dedicated to those who have been friend zoned.

However, according to my mate it was ‘the destination’ for a successful date. I rolled my eyes, but I went to sus it out anyway. Now if any of you have amazing mates you’d know that following their suggestion may be the death of you.

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Sit there they said. It’s safe they said.

My maiden tour of the Chinese Gardens really brought out the yin and the yang. Adding to the excitement was the fact that it was also my virgin run of my suit “The Thynne”. Judging from my past experiences I suspected things weren’t going to end well (so much for the warnings at the entrance to be respectful). If the five elements – earth, fire, water, metal and wood- were disrupted, blame it on The Thynne.

The Ying Yang
The Yin Yang. It’s happening…

This aggressive ‘peak lapelled’ thorn in the side of Taoist tranquillity came to me after being posed the question of which suit best describes you. So when The Thynne was pulled out of the back by the staff at M.J. Bale it felt like I was looking in a mirror. Its soft and short-lived fuzzy flannel is swathed in a fine hounds tooth and a pink windowpane overcheck which, let’s us be real peach ice tea, is not very easy on the eyes at first. However like every other first timer it only takes a little bit of time to get comfortable with it. But I’ll be honest — before I bought The Thynne I repeatedly showed it to randoms to gauge their reaction. Shock and horror was the general consensus, with the exception of an elderly man who swore that he’d wear it if he was younger and 60kgs lighter. Somehow it didn’t deter me.

M.J. Bale The Thynne
Lapels just big enough to land a private plane.

A statement fabric deserves to be embodied in bold details that follow suit and The Thynne does just that. Already exuding so much excess the designers at M.J. Bale also decided to add a ticket pocket to the thing which is like throwing a pebble into a tsunami. After realising this I thought why not throw in a 6cm trouser cuff as well. My tailor just walked off, shaking his head as he was looking down at the ground. He reluctantly took the trousers from me whilst faintly murmuring in Chinese. I’m pretty sure he was praying to his ancestors for my soul.

M.J. Bale The Thynne 2
6cm cuff. Apologies to my tailor for going through this painful ordeal.

When it came to the other elements I wanted to keep it consistently bold colourwise but restrained texturally. The pocket square that I made was perfect for harmonising the scale of the suit’s patterns and for adding a donkey punch of colour whilst the sneaky polka dot sock ushered in an element of playfulness which complemented my Christian Kimber suede tassel loafers (my favourite).

A suit as loud as The Thynne should probably stay out of the office. However a little bit of mischief never offended anyone (except perhaps the Chinese Garden staff).

 

Mike wears:

The Thynne – M.J. Bale

Geometric Pocket Square – Self made

Purple twill silk tie – M.J. Bale

Suede Tassel Loafers – Christian Kimber