Pocket Guide: Tom Chamberlin

The Rake's Editor attempts to teach us one of his favourite pastimes, backgammon, and talks us through some of his most treasured possessions.
Pocket Guide: Tom Chamberlin
“You’re so fucking boring, Tom, you only ever wear navy,” Terry Haste told Tom Chamberlin a few months ago (not, I might stress, how I talked the Editor of The Rake into starring in his own Pocket Guide). Readers, friends and followers of Tom may well be surprised not to see him in a navy double-breasted pinstripe, and he’s the first to admit that he doesn’t like change. “Why not be what the rest of the world refuses to be – reassuringly predictable?” he writes in our latest issue. But if there’s one person who can change Tom’s mind, it’s his tailor, and Haste’s success is illustrated in Tom’s latest project with the house. “My frame has always suited the British cut better, and my first bespoke suit was a navy three-piece with a DB waistcoat by Terry. That was back in 2012 and we’ve done about nine projects together since.” Introduced to Kent, Haste & Lachter by Nick Foulkes ("who had the grace not to fire me when I worked for him, despite my best efforts"), Tom has entrusted the house to make the morning suit for his wedding, several business suits and most recently, a sports coat that is decidedly different. “Terry has an amazing eye,” Tom explains. “He reads people and understands how they imagine themselves to look in a bespoke suit, then translates that. We spent ages looking through swatches as I wanted to push the boundaries without going over the top in case it didn’t work.” Despite trying something new, Tom’s inevitably well-versed in what suits him and what he likes, so the structure is a confident, masculine hourglass with roped shoulders and powerful peaked lapels ­– features that flatter a tall frame and commanding build. It’s this and a natural stage presence (perhaps from his degree in drama) that allows him to carry off clothes that others would drown in. Having grown up being dressed as “the red twin – my brother Joe was the blue twin”, wearing his father’s suits and now with a son himself, it’s not a stretch to suggest that his family has also influenced Tom’s sense of style. “I used to steal all my dad’s stuff, and now I have all my dad’s stuff. Other people would prefer the cash, but I’ll take my dad’s shoes.” His father, an ex-cavalry officer, is responsible for Tom’s taste for the finer things in life, from food to footwear. This March, Tom will celebrate his own son Harry’s first birthday, and sees it as a great honour to have beautiful things to pass on to him.   Click through the images below to find out more.
Tom is a loyal patron of Kent, Haste & Lachter, having been introduced to the tailoring house by menswear expert Nick Foulkes. His double-breasted sports coat is cut in an olive green Bateman Ogden tweed with an overcheck that, at first sight, appears red, but on closer inspection has lovely flecks of pink, orange and gold woven through. The inverted box pleat pockets and a half-belt in the back are personal touches Tom requested.
Tom’s signet ring is a Norfolk Penny signet ring, a family crest which he received on his 21st birthday. He wears two wedding bands, a chunkier one from Cartier and a more delicate one from Wartski, the Royal Family’s jeweller.
Another rule Tom lives by: “Try and match your socks with your tie, or match something. I like that the red in this Sera Fine silk tie picks out the red in the jacket’s overcheck and my socks.”
Tom wears a Girard-Perregaux 1966 in white gold with Grand Feu enamel dial. “I think it’s one of the best-looking dress watches ever made. It’s a real statesman’s watch; stunning, simple, elegant.”
“The Tudor Black Bay was a treat to myself when I started at The Rake. I received the Rolex from my father when I turned 30, and that’s earmarked for my son Harry. I’ve fallen more and more in love with Bell & Ross over the years, and love the [BR V2-94] Bellytanker.” Named after the tank on the belly of planes which were repurposed for motor racing in the 1950s, the peachy colour feels undeniably vintage. “Annoyingly, my wife looks rather good in all of them, so I have to share,” Tom jokes.
The Swaine Adeney board is over thirty years old, but in top condition. “It went untouched for a while, as my dad didn’t play, but I love the colour and the game. I was taught by the manager of the Bath & Racquets Club, Mario Pederzolli. There’s something about the kind nature of the game – you feel like all the world’s problems could be solved over a game of backgammon.”
“These are the first gift my wife ever gave me,” Tom says of his Jessica de Lotz plated gold initialled cufflinks. “She gave me another a pair on my wedding day. They have her fingerprint on them, and I hate flying, so when I have to fly I take them with me and it’s like she’s there holding my hand.”
Tom’s signature yellow socks are missing at Mark’s. “I think they’re called East India Saffron actually,” he corrects. “The only socks I wear are London Sock Company’s because they’re good quality and they pull up nice and high, plus they come in more interesting colours than usual.”   George Cleverley’s made-to-order Hague II model are his favourite shoes because “they have all the embellishments of a brogue but are a loafer.”
A smoking fanatic, Tom’s Fallon cigar case is a work of craftsmanship and can keep a cigar fresh for up to a week.
Steven Lachter makes a lot of Tom’s shirts. “The original shirt collar on this wore out so I took it in to be redone, but the fabric had been discontinued. Steven suggested going for the contrast collar and I actually prefer it. It’s a bit more unusual so, by default, is a bit more formal.”