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Finally, wonderfully, the book on luxury craft I began writing three years ago is coming out: The Finest Menswear in the World.

– You can buy your own personalised copy of The Finest Menswear in the World in the Permanent Style shop –

It will be published by Thames & Hudson on September 14th. A hardcover, coffee-table book of some 200-odd pages, it is chock full of beautiful imagery from Andy Barnham and some rather in-depth writing from me. [Cover updated to show version without sales wrap]

Each of the 14 chapters runs through the aspects of an item of menswear that make it perhaps the finest in the world. So it explains the benefits in cut of a bespoke suit; then the benefits in make of a bespoke suit; it explains how styles vary between houses; and then that Cifonelli has all of those, plus perhaps the finest finishing and greatest creativity.

Brent Black makes some of the finest panama hats in the world because he hires the best weavers and doesn’t let them work for anyone else. Loro Piana makes among the best knitwear because of its quality control and often access to exclusive materials. Begg has an intrinsic advantage in focusing just on scarves. 

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Some of these points are necessarily subjective; often you are picking among pretty similar, high-end makers. But these distinctions are always clearly highlighted. And by running through all the objective points (a slip stitch on a tie; a hand-attached collar on a shirt), it educates the reader, helping them to make discerning choices wherever they buy.

Most books with a brand per chapter are little more than PR puff. They tell the story of the company and explain what they do, but there is no context, no relative analysis. There is a great deal more to The Finest Menswear in the World, its methodology and its writing. I think – I hope – that this separates it from anything that has come before.

There will a pre-order option open to readers soon, with a discount and signed copies.  

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The full list is:

  • Anderson & Sheppard (sports jackets)
  • Begg & Co (scarves)
  • Brent Black (panama hats)
  • Bresciani (socks)
  • Cifonelli (suits)
  • Cleverley (shoes)
  • Drake’s (ties) 
  • Dunhill (bags)
  • Kapital (jeans)
  • Kiton (shirts)
  • Loro Piana (knitwear)
  • Talarico (umbrellas)
  • Zilli (leather jackets)
  • Zimmerli (underwear)

(Note: given the international nature of the distribution, we tried to include brands that were available around the world. So it’s an advantage to Cifonelli and A&S that they travel, and we picked someone like Kiton over the purely bespoke shirtmakers who are usually very small. Price and value was also not a factor.)

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Sounds fab, Simon! My only worry is that it may be too personal to you. The title effectively denigrates the firms you’ve omitted as being lower in quality! The firms in the book won’t suit everyone else necessarily. I’d rather read less about underwear and jeans, and see more choices of tailors and shoemakers. Still, it’s your book! Looking forward to it.


Congrats on the book , Simon.
On the subject of “the finest menswear” , are these items to be worn daily or occasional .
Does luxury equate to longevity ?


I can already hear the army of keyboard warriors getting ready to rubbish every single brand picked!


I agree with Paul. Great idea, but same old same old your tastes …. But I bet it’s a good read.


Great, it sounds interesting, congratulations on finally publishing the book! Obviously not all brands might appeal to everyone. So yes, your post could probably benefit from a clear statement that the chosen brand is not there to be recommended or because it is “better” than another one, but simply because they make a very good (or the best) product. Thus, this making process can be seen as a reference in the industry as well as a very useful pinpoint for the readers?!
Finally, my first reaction to the cover was and remains quite shocked, I find it quite ghastly and unappealing, is it definitive?


Firstly congratulations! Getting any book published is an achievement in itself. I understand the thesis put forward but question the narrow application – however I am sure it will be an excellent and educational read (by the way is this the book formerly titled ‘True Luxury’?). As you have decided to focus on the best, rather than bespoke in general was this decision shaped by the earlier release of Roetzel’s, perhaps more general work on the subject, ‘Bespoke’? I also wondered why you had placed Dunhill as best luggage when, in previous posts, Hermes was, in your view, clearly the best? The same argument might be made re. Drakes vs. Charvet. I also question the rationale of excluding manufacturers due to limited distribution; in the case of Kiton shirts are they truly the best (vs. D’Avino, Matuozzo) or the best that is more widely available (thus, perhaps, defeating the central thesis). Talarico for umbrellas (vs. Maglia) is the converse as Maglia is more widely distibuted which begs the question why Talarico. Are the arguments for being the best therefore consistent? The questions might be a little pointed but as a long term admirer of this site and therefore your writing, I am interested in your editorial approach. For example do you make a case within the book as to why Cleverly is superior to say, Graziano and Girling (another of your favourites). That said I look forward to its release, the arguments it will make and the thinking and debate it will generate.

p.s. will you advise if you will be doing any signings/in store sessions.


What are you doing with “special numbers” of the other book and what will you be doing with “special numbers” of this book?


Thanks for the response Simon and your honesty re. editorial decisions (I didn’t realise Dunhill is of such high quality – good to know).
Best of luck for its release and will look forward to getting a copy in September… aside from signing sessions could you please advise of retailers (UK and international).


Congrats Simon. The topic is no doubt very subjective and I think your reference to this fact in the fifth paragraph is quite fitting, e.g some find Cifonelli suits much less appealing than suits from Camps de Luca…it nevertheless appears from your previous posts you are drawn to the former. One supposes people have their minds set on things they may like and the select choices may be viewed as the finest menswear in world in each category according to SC. That said, you pointed out the book was written 3 years ago (and you no doubt have experienced other fine brands and products since, e.g. Gaziano & Girling bespoke) would this fact be stated in the book? Good luck with everything.


I’m certain the content will be fantastic; but whoever was in charge of design (especially that front page) needs to spend some time learning about proper type setting and page layout. Doesn’t do justice to the writing and photographs at all.

It’s something I’m always aware of on the blogs and ecommerce sites of menswear businesses; these people spend vast amounts of time honing a keen eye for proportion, colour balance, shape, space and texture etc. yet their web design fails on almost all those counts. Perhaps they’re not involved with the setup of these sites (but you’d think at least someone from the business would be). Perhaps the ability to ‘see’ correctness of aesthetic and function in one area does not necessarily transfer to another, but it’s always bugged me.

Apologies for the put-down – I’m sure it’ll be a great read.

facebook_Duncan McPhie.10154161736244152

Congratulations and well done. Very best wishes,


Hi Simon,
Congrats for this release! Having read the comments and your replies, I wounder whether a more accurate title shouldn’t have been: “The Finest Menswear in the World: An Introduction”. It would have been clearer from the outset.


i second John’s idea. It seems to be finest menswear in Europe (with the exception of Kapital from Japan) specifically from Great Britain, France and Italy. No testing of Stateside, Japanese and German classic menswear.


As always Simon I enjoy reading your prespective on quality. I read with interest your comments on Dunhill luggage which I agree is fantastic. I’m always facinated with the number of small leather goods makers that produce incredible luggage that aren’t well known. For example, I recently saw a stunning leather and suede duffel bag from the Italian company Calabrese 1924 that was very well made and beautifull designed.


Simon, could you do a primer on suit cuts, i.e. Neapolitan, other Italian, British, etc? With all the differences, characteristics, pros and cons, recommendations. Or point me to an article you may have written on this previously, as I was unable to find it. Thanks!


Thanks, would be much appreciated!


And Ferdinando ???


Hello, Simon.
Many thanks for your book, one of the greatest book, describes quality of men’s clothes.
But the time goes by and may be it need little update. Are you still think that selected 14 makers deserves a place in the book, or did you find new favorites?
I also would like to clarify two important points. 1. Whether there is a rule in the book, one brand in one category (for example Loro Piana best in knitwear, but it also makes scarfs from vicuna and mink which perhaps finest than whispy from Begg & Co, and Kiton best in shirts, but Kiton ties all five-fold and cut one by one unlike Drake’s).
2. Simon I am very interested in your opinion on the categories that you have on the site, but which are not included in the book, could you give the world’s finest in the such categories like:
Belts –
Wallets –
Glasses –
Gloves –
Handkerchiefs –
Hats –
Perfumes –
I think many readers really interesting to know your choice in that categories.
Many thanks for your comments.


Hello, Simon.
So, 6-7 years have passed, and the book, which all we wanted to catch update, has not been updated. In addition, there has not been a big posts yet, except kinda short review of 3 tiers of quality and budgets in capsule collections.
You said earlier that you would love to share your views on new brands and new categories, but the publisher is dragging out negotiations for a new book.
How are things now, is the new book agreed?I’d really like to see your ratings in style the Mr. Hugo Jacomet did for suits and shoes ( (, but in other categories, like leather jackets, knitwear, jeans, bags, and anything else that you consider acceptable RTW purchases across a couple of dozen manufacturers based on your knowledge and ranking by quality even in subjective point. Hugo did an amazing job in two categories, but he doesn’t review leather and knitwear like you do, and ratings like that are sorely lacking.

3 . For the sake of example, Simon, could you present below and indicate 5-10 best manufacturers of leather jackets from your point of view in terms of quality from the simpler, but still worthy of the highest award, up to the highest possible quality. It is very interesting how you will place, for example, the French, whom you considered one of the best, and whether representatives of other countries will break into the rating.
Your opinion is incredibly interesting.


Yes, but I have already completely crawled out on the site information regarding leather jackets. Of course, I have my own selection in my head, but I’m interested in your expert opinion, because of course I did not have the opportunity to visit the same number of factories and get acquainted with the same number of top products. I absolutely agree that these ratings are still extremely useful.
Well, if you don’t want to systematize brands in order, you can assign stars to them, by analogy with Michelin restaurants. And then good, solid brands like Aero, Valstar will receive perhaps 1 out of 3 stars, and who, from your point of view, could get the maximum 3 stars of Simon’s finest product rating. According your book it’s Zilli, but who else 3 out of 3? Because in your capsule budgets post I didn’t find leather jackets category unfortunately.


Thank you, Simon. Yes, I think makers, especially with own brand, like Zilli and Seraphin schould be in prioritet position. That’s why I would add Hettabretz to your selection. I read what Hattabretz small maker with own manufacturing facilities in Bologna, style and quality pretty much like Zilli and Seraphin (good exotic leathers, and if information is correct make for Stefano Ricci, Brioni).