Work Wear: Teacher Nicholas Metcalfe
“I feel most comfortable wearing a suit in an environment like this… perhaps ironically,” says Nicholas Metcalfe. School has finished for the year and we’re stood inside an empty hall, a stage with a wooden lectern faces out towards a sea of blue plastic chairs (you remember the ones), motivational slogans and notices for after school clubs posted on the walls.
“Children aren’t fashion conscious in the way that you or I might be, but they can tell if you’re wearing an alright suit,” he adds with a laugh. “They’re very good at analysing what you wear!”
A long-time Drake’s customer and regular presence in 9 Savile Row, Nicholas is the deputy headteacher of a secondary school in North London. On the morning we meet, he’s wearing a well-worn waxed Coverall jacket in emerald, a cable-knit brushed Shetland in bright green, corduroy Games trousers and hand-sewn Alden loafers in brown snuff suede.
“I like to wear things that feel lived in a bit,” says Nicholas, “and that’s not just the teacher in me! Clothes that are a bit rumpled and imperfect. The way Hockney in his fifties dressed, the climbing rugby shirt with a slouchy suit. I have a Drake’s linen suit that my wife always says needs pressing. I tell her that it’s taken me months of lounging around to get the perfect look! On most school days I’ll wear a suit, and a knitted tie, sometimes with a Fair Isle or Shetland vest. The Crosby is also a great work shoe.”
“It wasn’t until I entered my forties that I really felt comfortable in my style,” says Nicholas. “I stopped worrying about trends, seasons, and things becoming worn in, or damaged. I remember when I got a mark on my first pair of suede Aldens, I wanted to cut off my foot! But now I think they look fantastic. They’re knackered and lived in.
“That’s what clothes should be all about, right? You want to wear them.”