Fix up, look sharp, the old-school way

Here's our guide to getting yourself suited and booted like a gent from a bygone era

Fix up, look sharp, the old-school way


American Dede Vaughn and her husband Massimo have fitted out the Beatles and several American presidents – “Well, we dressed their lookalikes at Madame Tussauds,” says Dede – from their West Norwood vintage emporium. With more than a million items in stock (according to Dede, anyway), design teams from Comme des Garcons, Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani regularly hot-foot it to Cenci for inspiration. You can get tails, tuxes or myriad other suits from the 1930s onward, plus shirts, hats, braces and ties of all descriptions.

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A south London institution for 30 years, former newspaper printer Fred Harris took up selling shoes after losing his hand in a work accident. He sells quality footwear for remarkably cheap prices from a nondescript outlet just off the Walworth Road. Pick up Church’s and Loake brogues for around £100, plus Dr Martens, desert boots and loafers, while Fred, an original 1960s mod, regales you with stories from Fleet Street and the front line of footwear.

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Bringing an invigorating touch of danger to the typically staid world of male pampering, the appropriately named Legend Barbers on Old Street will steam your skin with hot towels, give you the closest cut-throat shave and then singe your ear hair with burning cotton buds. Relax with Turkish delights and rocket-strength sweet coffee while you experience proper old-school barbering from guys who don’t bother with the small talk.

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Dating from 1929, the Porchester Spa is a great place to bake your aching bones with extreme heat. Boasting two steam rooms, three Turkish hot rooms of differing temperatures and an enormous Finnish sauna (plus a freezing plunge pool to shock you back to consciousness) the beautifully restored building has a clientele of august characters and dodgy geezers discussing “jobs” out of the corner of their mouths who add to its old world charm.

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