Strong Family Traditions: Celebrating Father's Day with Oliver Brown

Strong Family Traditions: Celebrating Father's Day with Oliver Brown

At Oliver Brown, our clothing often bridges generations, creating cherished memories for our customers on the most significant occasions. From wedding days to evening celebrations and the highlight of the racing year, Royal Ascot, our attire is woven into life's memorable moments. This Father’s Day, we share the story of Neil Strong and his two sons, Oli and Louis, who all wear Oliver Brown and share a special connection through a story of top hats restored and passed down through generations.

Neil Strong recalls how he first discovered Oliver Brown: "We have all been long-time customers and have always known about Oliver Brown’s reputation and quality. I was first introduced to Oliver Brown by my wife about 25 years ago at the original Sloane Street store. She was clearly spending more time in SW3 wanted to modernise my wardrobe! ." Louis playfully adds, "When one family member shops somewhere, it’s easy to follow suit, if you’ll pardon the pun." 

Neil, a supporter and committee member of The Rainbow Trust, attended a Charity Fundraising Evening at Windsor Races where Oliver Brown donated a felt top hat as a Silent Auction lot. Neil placed a bid and ended up winning. Not needing another top hat, Neil explained his situation to Kristian Ferner-Robson, the founder of Oliver Brown, who offered to change the voucher to a fitting, sizing, and refurbishment of Neil’s father’s and father-in-law’s silk top hats to fit both Oliver and Louis. This gesture created the hats that the Strong family wear today and embodies the idea of passing down top hats through generations.

Reflecting on memorable occasions, Oli reminisces, "One of the most memorable occasions I've worn Oliver Brown clothing was my wedding last June. I chose Oliver Brown because I knew their attire would provide the perfect blend of comfort and style. I purchased a new morning dress, which I then had adjusted to ensure it was the perfect fit. This was met with many compliments throughout the day, and the photos from the wedding are a lasting memory, of course helped by the well-fitting suit." Neil adds, "Wearing a smart new OB waistcoat to Oliver’s wedding to Isobel was very memorable. My new pink linen suit is also notable, especially when I wore it to a friend’s son’s 21st birthday party with the dress code 'Summer Glamour'." Louis shares, "My brother’s wedding stands out as one of the best days of 2023 and indeed my life. I was fitted for my morning suit, which I proudly wore all day. However, I was rather sweaty by the end…but I did look one of the smartest there!"

When reminiscing about their favourite memories involving Oliver Brown clothing, Neil highlights two occasions: "Firstly, seeing Oliver looking happy and smart in his OB tailcoat, trousers, and waistcoat at his wedding. More recently, Louis was outfitted for his live podcast at The City of London Club, interviewing Alastair Campbell with an audience of 250 guests." Louis recalls the experience, adding, "One particularly memorable experience with Oliver Brown was when I hosted a charity event in aid of The Charlie Watkins Foundation and Nick Kilhams Foundation, where I had the honour of interviewing Alastair Campbell for my podcast Headstrong. Oliver Brown fitted me in a beautiful suit that gave me the confidence I needed. Their attention to detail made a significant difference, and I received numerous compliments."

On Father’s Day, Neil reflects on the journey of being a father: "There are many proud moments, not only with my wonderful two sons but also with my beautiful daughter. It is quite a journey from the initial wonder at birth through all the stages of their lives. One of the proudest facts is my relationship with each of them, the communication, and the love we have for one another." Neil reflects on the importance of being there for his family, offering emotional support, advice, financial assistance, and open communication. "My wife and I have always maintained a warm and caring home, which encourages our children to visit regularly," he shares. "They often bring friends along to enjoy a full fridge and a stocked cellar."

Louis adds, "We grew up in the countryside, where both formalwear and rugged outfits were necessary." He continues, "Living in the countryside was a delight, offering ample time outdoors, unlike the city life we now lead. We were incredibly lucky with our upbringing and felt supported in all our endeavours."

Discussing their jobs and hobbies, Oliver mentions, "We're all fairly similar in our interests, though we've pursued different career paths. Our passions include sports and outdoor activities. My father works in insurance and asset management, Louis is an actor and full-time podcaster, and I fall somewhere in the middle, working with early-stage technology companies." Louis adds, "I run a mental health podcast called Headstrong, interviewing guests in the public eye. My passion for mental health fuels this endeavour. Away from work, I love cricket and try to go to Lords as much as I can."

When it comes to personal style, Louis describes his as "eclectic, vibrant, and comfortable," while Neil opts for "comfortable, traditional, and safe." Neil’s most important piece of clothing is his MCC tie, while Louis emphasises his love of a comfortable pair of shoes and a coordinating cap.

For Father’s Day, Neil will be at home in the Isles of Scilly with Oliver who has travelled down there, while Louis will be in Antigua watching the Cricket World Cup. Despite the distance, the family plans a Father’s Day celebration together at Lords for the first day of the first Test against the West Indies. Louis notes, "No specific traditions, though a barbecue always features strongly. Any day we gather as a family is a Father’s Day for me.

In terms of style advice, Neil recommends, "Wear what is comfortable, don’t be afraid of remarks, and remember your audience and occasion. It’s easier to remove a tie or jacket than to find one." Louis adds, "Express yourself and don’t be afraid of what others think."

From all of us at Oliver Brown, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day, celebrating the special bonds that bring families together through generations.

For more information about The Rainbow Trust and their invaluable work, please visit The Rainbow Trust. Louis' Headstrong podcast is available to listen to on Apple and Spotify. Please read about the amazing work of The Charlie Watkins Foundation and Nick Kilhams Foundation. For more information on our top hat resizing and refurbishment service, click here.

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