Dressing well is as much about propriety as it is about style, quality or personality.
This is particularly true at work, where there are often prescriptions, or at least expectations, about professionalism and clothing.
I have often talked over the years about sliding scales of formality – about how formal certain shoe styles are compared to each other, or ties, shirts etc. In this post, I wanted to set out a sliding scale for whole outfits.
In the ensembles below, I have changed one thing each time in order to make it more formal. So we start with something very casual, and with each new piece, become gradually smarter.
The different combinations are suitable to different work environments – or to different occasions. One for a normal work day; another for casual Friday; perhaps a last for the weekend.
With each swap, the propriety changes. The same outfit with a shirt rather than a T-shirt, or jacket rather than knitwear, transforms when and where it can be worn. Small changes make a big difference.
1. Ultra casual
We start with the most casual combination:
- The Sunspel Riviera T-shirts I like so much
- My bespoke Levi’s
- White Common Projects trainers
- A navy shawl-collar sweater from Anderson & Sheppard
These are all things that I have written about in the past on Permanent Style (at those links above) but I don’t think readers have ever seen me in such a casual combination. It’s what I often wear at home.
2. Add a shirt
Adding a shirt immediately and obviously takes the outfit up a notch in formality. (From Luca Avitabile, chambray button-down.)
Given the slight dressiness added by the shawl collar around the neck, and the sparkling-white Common Projects, this is an outfit I can see friends in creative industries wearing. When everyone else is in T-shirts and jeans, this is not too smart yet clearly implies extra style and presence.
3. Swap trainers for shoes
These first three elements – shirt, shoes and trousers – could have been swapped in any order. Flannels would have been an interesting look with the trainers, and these slip-ons could easily have come afterwards.
But I feel these are the steps most men are likely to dress up in, particularly given the popularity of jeans. The bespoke hatchgrain slip-ons from Gaziano & Girling work with denim because of their colour (mid-brown), their style (loafer) and to a certain extent their casual texture.
4. Flannels instead of jeans
Swapping jeans for flannels (bespoke, Anderson & Sheppard) is perhaps the biggest change in this step-by-step process. Jeans will never be appropriate in many offices, but once you’re in a shirt and trousers, this could even be worn in a law firm on a casual day.
Certainly, when men tell me they don’t know what to wear once they get rid of a suit, I would point them in the direction of this outfit and the next one: clearly smart, clearly well put together, but with none of the formality of a traditional, worsted suit.
5. Replace knitwear with jacket
The sports-jacket-and-odd-trouser outfit is perhaps the office attire of the future. It’s certainly something that could save tailoring as more and more people abandon the suit.
This combination is the simplest, easiest and most classic: navy jacket (bespoke, Solito), grey flannel trousers and a blue button-down shirt. The handkerchief will be too dandyish for many offices, but even if you remove it, you’re a hell of a lot more interesting than the guy in a suit and no tie. And this can be livened up with knitwear etc more easily too.
6. A tie: the finishing touch
A brown knitted-silk tie finishes off the outfit. Ties that are more casual – knits, wools, wovens – are easiest to wear with sports jackets, and a knitted silk sits bang in the middle of that range. A black knit-silk and darker brown shoes would be a step more formal.
With that finishing touch, we’ve run the gamut from slouch to sartorial; with every stage in between. And again, if you remove the handkerchief this wouldn’t be too dandyish for many offices.
So which would you wear, and when?
Images: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
Shot at the Anderson & Sheppard haberdashery, Clifford Street, London
Brilliant. These are the posts I love the most – very accessible for all. Thank you!
Sadly I have to wear a formal suit everyday!
Usually somewhere in the neighborhood of #6 with a necktie (I enjoy these), and sometimes even suit (double breasted and a flannel three-piece during the colder months). None of this is required of course (I teach at a large university), but I enjoy dressing reasonably well, and it helps put me in the right frame of mind. And who knows? A few more students might be a bit more inclooned to take what I tell them seriously. Maybe.
Heinz-Ulrich von B.
I, too, am a university professor like Heinz-Ulrich von B. The sport-jacket and odd-trouser combination is my everyday outfit, even though less than half of the male faculty abide by it. I try to live by the “look good, feel good” motto, however, and a few (very few) of my students have started expressing an interest in wearing something other than jeans, t-shirts and cargo pants. And yes, I ALWAYS wear a tie.
Great post, Simon!
This post is very good for forwarding to friends, which are not yet hooked up by style awareness.
Love it! Thanks. I basically wear each of these outfits from monday to sunday.
Outfit 1: Sundays spent at home, otherwise Outfit 2
Outfit 2: Sathurdays on the market
Outfit 3: Casualfriday maybe swapped with a sportcoat
Outfit 5+6: Normal days at the office. Tie deppendig on mood and maybe what kind of client I’ll see that day.
great article. Did nearly fall of my chair a bit seeing you in a t-shirt however.
It is surprising how many people believe that to make your work attire more casual you just put a full suit on, formal shoes and remove your tie!
A few more posts like this showing casual outfits would always be welcome, not just for the workplace. Pubs, Restaurants, Holidays etc.
I’d love to see casual outfits for summer time also, and for times when inclement weather in the British Isles forces one to wear outerwear while being too warm for knitwear underneath.
Sadly I don’t get to wear a formal suit everyday.
Most excellent. Please oh please Simon might you do an article on heat at home and on holiday? It’s starting to get to that time when things are thawing in parts of Europe and we need to be prepared !
Is it possible to wear shorts and shoes? Socks? Good materials, how to cope with sweat and sun? So many questions!
Sure, will do.
Though flying to New York this afternoon where there’s a high of 2 degrees! Doesn’t feel very summery….
Sadly the standard of dress in my office is so low that pretty much anything which isn’t a shiny black / grey / navy suit from Marks & Spencer, or an open-neck shirt with a grey / navy jumper worn over the top is likely to stick out like a sore thumb.
In my office a navy jumper and open-necked shirt stick out as over-dressed because the norm is t-shirts, jeans, and trainers. The summer is worse – 3/4 length trousers, flipflops…
It’s a software company.
Oh dear. Does outfit number one work at all, outside of the summer?
There are a few of us in the office who dress at the outfit 2 and 3 levels and I often hit 4 (then again I’m a director). Your outfit number 1 is way above the office standard in terms of quality. Shoes seem to be a particular problem for a lot of men.
Apologies for going off-topic here – just wondering what your experience of the green loden SB coat has been? Does the colour really work with a suit?
Would you mind posting this on the coat post itself? That way we create a body of feedback and questions around that piece
Love this post. I get the point that with many of your outfit posts you’re trying to “push the limits” of combinations but it’s really helpful to see some more classic outfits showing how a few basic items can be combined in different ways. I guess the fact that many of these items work across outfits of different levels of formality shows why they’re classics. The pale blue BD shirt seems to be notably versatile, spanning the range from #2-6.
Does Luca make your short sleeve polos, too, or do you wear OB short sleeve polos?
OB, or increasingly Anderson & Sheppard
I’m an attorney for a law firm in Baltimore, and I’ve settled on the sport-jacket and odd-trouser combination at this juncture. More often than not, I also wear a tie. But, I distinctly remember the managing partner coming by my office to welcome me during my first week and he remarked on the fact that I was “still” wearing a tie. With but a few words, he had indicated the level of formality the office typically abides by. I do not believe I agreed considering that we are lawyers….
Lovely jacket Simon. What cloth is it made of please? I’m hoping to get my first bespoke suit for my wedding this year and have already scheduled an appointment with Solito in April. It’s a winter wedding so was hoping to go with something like a navy flannel (my preference was grey but I am under instructions that grey might clash). Would that work with Neapolitan tailoring in your opinion or would it be too much of a contradiction? Are there any other cloths you’re recommend for a winter suit? Thanks
How can grey clash? Never mind.
This is a Zegna mid-weight cashmere but I wouldn’t recommend it for a suit, just a jacket. Look to good flannels, 11oz and up. Could certainly work with Neapolitan tailoring
Thanks. Clash perhaps wasn’t the right word but my wife to be has suggested that navy would probably look better next to her white dress. Best to follow instructions!
Fantastic article Simon! It’s amazing to see how each alteration kicks it up a notch. Also nice to see you in some more casual outfits. Would love to read more about how you incorporate sartorial clothing into your weekend attire.
Nice series, very real-life. What’s your take on contrasting vs. matching socks, and their roles in the spectrum shown here? You went for blue with jeans and grey with flannels. Do you ever go for purple (green, burgundy, pink, … ), and when? Thanks.
Hard to answer in a comment – have a look at sock posts around the site if that’s ok
Hi Simon, great piece. The thing that struck me most is the comment that a simple white hank might be too “dandyish” for many/most workplaces. Is the implied suggestion that gents should/might discard this aspect of the outfit in some offices for fear of alienating themselves or creating the wrong impression? I certainly hope not!
Yes, I’m afraid so. It is the thing that probably looks most dandyish of everything here, and dressing in the workplace is about propriety and professionalism, as mentioned at the start
Anyone know where one might source a bespoke knitted tie? My body is too long to make do with OTR.
Could try a bespoke grenadine from here:
This is one of my favourite posts and will no doubt be referring to it in the future for inspiration. 4,5 and 6 will be fine where I work and tried a similar look to 6 about two weeks ago (but without the square and with a cashmere tie from Drakes). Loved it but ended up getting asked if I made the tie out of tracksuit bottoms. Sigh.
Such a beautiful jacket, thinking it’s the cashmere Solito jacket you wore in your scarf tutorial video. But I noticed a lot of your sports jackets fit a certain way, do you like them cut slimmer than your suits? Compared to your chest and waist measurements how much extra room do you prefer for your sports jackets to be cut with? Thanks Simon!
It doesn’t vary between jackets and suits, just different tailors or tailoring styles
More of these please! I think they are of practical interest to most readers – even those without the budget to invest in some of the other pieces you have profiled.
I particularly like the final photo which clearly demonstrates that (unless a formal suit is required) you have the basis for a very versatile “capsule wardrobe” here. Enjoy NY. Kind regards – Greg
How the heck do you do that? Very stylish no matter what the occasion. I’ll have to keep signing in to keep up.
what is it about Sunspel t-shirts that you like? I’ve tried a few and found the cut uber strange, especially around the armpit area. JS is better, although nothing special when it comes to the material itself (this goes across the whole range of garments from JS in all honesty).
Not crazy about loafers with jeans, especially when the loafers are based on a longish last like on the photos, then again I generally dislike non-laced shoes, so that might affecting my judgment.
As for office areas, try the above in an engineering office (heavy industries, not software).
One last thing, is keeping the second button on a shirt unbuttoned a British thing? never seen so many men doing this, apart from perhaps warmer countries like Spain or Italy (and it’s not a majority of men anyway from what I’ve seen so far).
I never unbutton the second button in an office, no matter how hot it gets in my New York office in winter! It just seems wrong in a business context to show chest, particularly chest hair.
It does depend on the placement of that second button. I have mine place a little higher, so it doesn’t expose as much
Would you ever go with jeans and the sports jackets? Perhaps it would be 3A
Yes though not this one. Look up jacket and jeans on the site…
Not convinced those loafers go with the jeans. They seem too formal for jeans. Perhaps suede loafers would have been better?
Suede would be easier, yes
looking at those loafers I think it would be great to have an update on some of your bespoke items on how they are ageing. I was in 2 minds about the colour of these loafers in previous posts but you can see they are developing wonderfully. So much I am thinking a hatch loafer could be my next shoe.. because I actually think they go really well with the jeans.
Good call Adam, I’ll plan something along those lines
Excellent post Simon. I’ve always been a fan of these “guide” format posts, and it is always interesting to see how others work more formal pieces into casual ensembles.
I am a solicitor near Lincolns Inn London so its a suit and tie from choice Monday to Thursday. Outfit 6 for compulsory (shudder) casual Friday (unless in court) and Saturdays (no pocket square too ‘look at me’ for me ever to feel comfortable wearing one). Outfit 3 or 4 for Sundays with moleskins rather than jeans
great post. What’s your view on button-down-collar shirts with ties? Clearly, you approve in this post. Generally, in a business context I hate to see a tie and button-down shirt (a button down shirts I associate with more casual looks). As a rule I’ve never combined the two but admit it does look great in your post (I have a very similar-looking Emmett shirt and brown square end knitted tie again from Emmett). Many thanks, Rich.
It’s more casual, but can certainly work as long as you’re aware of that
I really like the proportions and roll of that shirt collar. It’s something that seems to be near impossible to find of R2W button downs in England, with most Jermyn shirt-makers seemingly favouring mean, shrunken little collars that produce no roll and can’t be worn properly with a tie. Can you recommend any UK-based retailers that offer Ivy-style OCBDs with a decent unlined collar? I’ve been looking at Drakes but it’s hard to gauge the quality of their shirts from the pictures on their website. Otherwise I might consider a US-based retailer if you can recommend one.
Drakes definitely worth looking at. Otherwise read my posts on Luca Avitabile and the Italians I use
If you want the real deal on OCBD with the button down, try Mercer in the US.
What an informative post. Thanks, Simon.
A question about the jeans and sweater combination: how much contrast is there between the color of the jeans and the color of the sweater in real life? I have a similar navy shawl collar sweater (albeit not a cardigan) and when I wear it with jeans I sometimes feel like I’m wearing too much blue. Perhaps leaving your cardigan open allows a glimpse of your contrasting shirt to break things up?
Yes, though you do need some contrast and this is helped by bluer or more heavily worn jeans.
Ultra-casual (according to PS) is how I come into the office now most of the time just out of spite, although I tend to add some Edward Green’s. Most coworkers (->law) are suit-only, although said suits appear to be made from the same material used for vinyl but spun into some ungodly thread. Also they colormatch ties and hanks. Also they tie their ties with windsor-knots, an especially disgusting misbehaviour and a pet-peeve of mine. I think as a next step I will get a full beard.
How do you get creases to hold in your flannels? Even after pressing my VBC flannels lose their crease after about two wears.
Italian flannels will generally be worse than English, and lighter rather than heavier.
What kind of socks (brand and material) are you wearing with your jeans and your flannels?
Blue linen and then grey wool, both Bresciani via Mes Chaussettes Rouges
Those loafers really do look dressy.
Hi Simon – What is the leg opening of your jeans? I find that most of my jeans look a bit off with common projects because the leg opening and the sleekness of the shoe are out of proportion.
Also, what material is that Solito jacket?
The jeans are 15 inches, quite narrow. Jacket material answered above, but it’s a Zegna cashmere
I’m not sure about the trainers. Very difficult to pull off for any man over the age of 25, they need to be absolutely pristine white and spotless. I’d be tempted to go for a pair of tods or a suede chukka. I guess that’s what makes a market! Love the patina on the G&Gs. John
I sort of agree on those trainers; I’m sure yours are nothing short of superlative in every aspect, but I’ve just seen some on a market that aren’t visually different for £5.99!
That’s a great look though, and scrolling down this post was an absolute joy.
Cheers. There will always be cheaper versions of everything. It’s about quality in feel and over time (as in everything we write about here)
What’s your view on tasseled loafers with jeans and chinos? I’ve always thought the tasseled loafer better suited to more formal trousers.
It tends to be slightly more formal, but it’s a small point
My office is quite casual but I wear variations on number 6 most days. I wear a suit maybe once a week. Just often enough that I no longer get asked if I am going to job interview.
Numbers 4 and 5 for casual Friday.
Does the formality change in the summer for you Simon? It certainly does in my office.
Good question. Usually no, just because you work in an air-conditioned environment where the temperature is still fine for a jacket and trousers, just lightweight. In fact I like wearing shoes without socks in the summer, but often find the office too cold for them
As always you have terrific articles dealing with men’s style. I was sorry that you didn’t mention socks. When a man sits cross legged, his shoes and socks are prominent to those viewing. In your photos, your socks were changed each time you varied your pants.
Hello Simon, great article! My one question is regarding shoes – would a double monk shoe fit to the latter two styles (with the jacket)? Im am yet to fully understand, where double monks stand in terms of formality.
It’s a tricky one. In theory the fastening style makes them casual, but they are often made on such elongated lasts, or so in such dressy/showy colours, that they become pretty smart. So they could certainly, but it would depend on those other aspects
Thank you, Simon, for the guidance! Mine are in dark brown with a slight polish, so I guess it might work, but I’ll better try in in front of a mirror at first. Just one follow up question, do you see monk strap shoes as a versatile style of shoe or quite the opposite? (the question is based on the fact, that I haven’t seen you wearing this kind of shoes on the posts)
As always, much appreciated!
I do have monk straps, though not that many. I would generally say that Oxfords and Derbys would be more versatile
Justin, FWIW I find double monks very versatile as a nice middle ground that can be worn with flannels, chinos or jeans – I think of them in a similar way to chukkas. Probably a bit too casual for a suit (except maybe a Neapolitan style) but good with most other options.
On the note of trouser crease where do you stand with trouser presses?
Very useful, avoids ironing, take up a lot of room
I was always curious if the continuous pressure and heat could damage any fabrics?
You wouldn’t put some delicate fabrics in there on full blast, like silks or very lightweight worsteds, but otherwise no
Great post Simon, top 10 for me for sure, hope to bump into you in March in A&S!
You very often feature fantastically high quality brands, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed some of these brands (especially albam), but they do tend to be towards the pricier side. With this in mind, what cheaper brands would you recommend? I’d especially love to find some wool trousers (~£100), Knitwear (~£150), and socks(~£10).
I generally write about quality, Gus, and frankly once you get to those price levels the quality is very similar across brands – and frankly there isn’t much to write about.
Also, to cover that kind of area well, you need to have an awareness of a much broader spread of brands (100s of them) and update it all the time. Because cheaper brands go in and out of business, the bigger ones change their factories every few years, and everyone changes their style and cut every six months. So it’s almost impossible to give a comprehensive recommendation.
By comparison, the world of quality and craft is much easier – and can give men a direct connection to the product and its makers
Simon has reviewed Viccel, a sock brand, favourably. Their socks fall into you suggested price range.
I recently ordered some socks from them and am happy with them.
For knitwear you might try Ralph Lauren. Trousers, maybe Howard Yount (a US brand). The trousers would be an online buy which might be tricky for getting the right fit.
I saw Viccel on this site as well. I think I’ll give them a try. Howard Yount looks Fantastic! They provide detailed measurements on their website so I’ll compare those with a well fitting pair I already have. Do have experiences with Yount’s shirts or knitwear? Also, when you say Ralph Lauren, which Ralph Lauren Brand do you mean? I had a nasty experience with Polo’s quality when I was younger and haven’t tried a RL product since.
I’m Canadian and due to our horrible current exchange rate haven’t tried Howard Yount yet. They get very favourable reviews as far as I know.
I was thinking Polo Ralph Lauren as it is in your suggested price range. Ralph Lauren Black Label is better quality but you might need a sale to find it in your range.
TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhitt might be another decent source for knitwear.
I’ve also looked Woolovers, which are very well priced but seem to be rather generously sized and I suspect they wouldn’t fit my slender frame very well.
I don’t know if you revisit the comments Gus but eBay can be a good source of knitwear. I purchased a new navy knit waistcoat there at a very good price.
And John Smedley operates an online outlet with very good prices on really nice knitwear. It often features some rather odd (to my eyes) colours and larger sizes but I am watching it patiently for things I would buy.
On the Solito jacket – what colour are the buttons?
Dark brown horn, with some good variation in the colours
Informative post. Always a pleasure reading your blog, gives me plenty to think about.
What’s your view on navy brushed flannel trousers as a standalone pair of trousers? Ie not part of a suit. Could they be worn in place of the grey flannel trousers? Obviously, the other items would have to be of a different colour.
No, not really. Navy trousers are very tough to wear on their own – some twills and hopsacks are fine, but grey is much much more versatile
Love the Solito jacket. Just curious, do you think navy fresco would be an acceptable material for an odd jacket? Or would it look too much like an orphaned suit jacket? I love the way the cashmere looks but it gets so hot in the summer here in NYC and I really need something a bit smarter than the tan cotton staple.
Fresco is tricky as an odd jacket. Try hopsack instead
Simon have you ever played with, or thought about, raw silk for a jacket?
Not raw silk, no, but it can be nice as a dressy option.
I have a slubby silk jacket from Vergallo that is nice:
Brilliant article Simon and so interesting.
I do believe that jeans and indeed T-shirts are a no-go for anyone over 25. They are the demise of civilized society regardless of their cost and who made them and personally, i believe point towards a lazy choice.
I would kill for those Gaziano shoes, love the light grey flannels, dislike the shirt when buttoned up with a tie (button down and tie again a no-no for me as it look sloppy American) and, although i like and even own several knitted silk ties, i have yet to see an attractive knot on any of them. They just do not seem to work (any tips on this although i see in your images, even you seem to struggle). And lastly, i think the knit gauge on the shawl jumper is great, chunky but not overly so. I purchased mine from the now closed cashmere shop in Burlington Acvade (cannot recall the name) in camelhair and regret it. Too thick and bulky and actually too warm for London. When that comes out the central heating goes off! Again blue is a great choice – stay away from camel as i find it not versatile enough
Yes! I completely agree with knitted ties. I own a few, they’re great in theory but I’ve never seen them carried off in practise. Even on the Viola Milano website- and those lads can carry things off. As for the outfits in the article, the individual articles seem nice enough, but it’s all a bit dull. You might as well wear a suit. In the first with the jean t shirt etc. Everything’s blue and grey, there’s no pop or flair, why not try some cords to add a bit of textural variation- or something from the other side of the colour wheel- a burnt orange v neck under the cardigan? Same goes for the other outfits- everything is a neutral shade and the same texture. Nice clothes individually but crying out for some imagination concerning variation or colour somewhere.
Thanks John. Part of the point is the clothes are simple and monochrome, firstly because these are the easiest to combine in lots of different permutations, and second because we are demonstrating how quite sartorial clothes can be suited to any office environment.
Very enjoyable post. Would love to see a summer version for the warmer weather.
I’d second that idea Simon. From the amount of comment generated this must be one of your most popular posts.
Fantastic Post! Thank you Simon.
Unfortunately I work in the financial sector and I wear a suit everyday!
Great item (thanks) but what interested me were the large number of replies and what most people are saying they wear at work. In my industry (software) the norm is about minus 3 on your scale – anybody with clean trainers or a t-shirt that does not have a Star Wars character is unusual! I tend to go with number 3 but it would be impossible to go beyond number 4.
Great article idea Simon, 101 comments and counting! I like the path you have taken re. the neutral colours – pop colour can be individualised and added thereafter. A little feedback if you’ll allow; the seated pose (Ian Fleming called this the Clubman pose) isn’t helpful to the image. Understand that you wanted consistency but the raised leg obfuscates the shirt/tie area. With a little change the pose could have been retained but shot from an angle slightly to the side (camera lhs would have been better). Can I gently urge you to consider the range of poses and camera positions frequently used in men’s fashion to fully complement the garments featured. https://www.pinterest.com/explore/male-models-poses/
Love it. I’m posing with my jacket flung over my shoulder next time!
Great post Simon.
What kind of outerwear would you recommend with look 4, perhaps a harrington or field jacket? I always find it hard to match casual non-tailored jackets with proper trousers so I usually opt for chinos instead.
They would likely be too casual – I’d go for a casual overcoat like a tweed or the Stile Latino one I featured recently
I’ve a pair of black chinos (impulse buy!) that I’m trying to pair with a suitable pair of shoes. I’m thinking a pair of black penny loafers. Ideally, I’d have gone with a suede pair or a pebble grain variant. However, these are not readily available. I could them MTO but I’d rather explore other options.Would you say I could get away with a standard calf skin pair? Or perhaps a cordovan pair?
Yes, standard calf should be fine. Black is not easy though – you’re pretty much limited to black shoes!
Thanks for the advice. Was hoping the smooth calf would be OK. It was a case of I liked the fit in one colour and then bought several pairs in other colours…….including black. However, once I got to thinking about how to wear the black ones, I realised it was a bit of a silly buy! Still, I’m going to wear them with a John smedley charcoal long sleeve polo, so hopefully should be ok.
Beautiful post, a pleasure to read. Gentlemen should never underestimate simplicity. Look forward to reading more. C
Wonderful post Simon!
I took your advice and visited the Haberdashery back in December, I walked out of there with the shawl-collar cardigan and it’s terrific. I absolutely adored their shop and the lovely service I received from Emily was one of a kind. Will definitely visit there everytime I go to London.
Thanks for an outstanding blog.
This is excellent. Such a useful reference point and spells out the logical thought process one already has in the back of one’s mind.
Have you done a post on the G&G loafers? I searched but couldn’t see one. I see they are bespoke but are they based on a standard style? They seem an almost perfect bridge on level of formality (wholecut, but with lighter colour, hatchgrain etc).
Sorry if you have already answered this, I skimmed the comments and couldn’t see a response.
No, I haven’t. They were featured in the Rake at the time, but I didn’t write about them. I’ll plan something
Hi Simon, I know you rarely wear RTW trousers, but is there a manufacturer you would recommend buying RTW flannel trousers from? Thank you.
Not really Peter. It’s very hard, because to be able to recommend someone, you’d need to go through their full collection every year, they change so much. And they often change factories every 2-3 years, so the quality might also change.
I can only say try the usual suspects – Hackett, Ralph Lauren etc and ask what flannel trousers they have. And there’s Anderson & Sheppard of course
I just bought shoes similar to the G&G ones here but instead from Ralph Lauren by Edward Green. Though they have no strap and may be a tad lighter. I believe they may basically be the Bamford model by EG. Would you say they could be worn similarly or would they not be formal enough?
With these trousers they certainly could be, yes
Was wondering what size are you wearing for the A&S cardigan?
I am around 1.83 cm and 70 kg. Please recommend a size. Thank you.
I wear medium. If you want more precise guidance best to phone the shop. Cheers
If You should change the loafer for a “winter” version which type of shoe would You go for? I am thinking of a chukka in brown suede – could it work? Or?
A chukka probably wouldn’t be smart enough, no. How about a split-toe derby in dark brown calf?
Thanks for the advice.
Are you wearing two different button down shirts here? A chambray made by Luca and another one? Or is there only one? I think only one but not 100% sure.
Yankee workaholic here from New York. I’m a former junior fashion designer turned corporate lawyer. I keep up with my love of classic clothing, always looking to acquire quality investment pieces that last. I don’t need much variety – I like the idea of a uniform. The advice you provide (in all media) is very helpful to me.
Though I work in “big league” corporate law, my particular firm is most likely the worst dressed firm in New York. Lots of suits sans tie, for example. My Monday – Thursday uniform is a navy blazer or sport coat, classic shirt with some pattern, and grey trousers.
I realize your advice of the usefulness of flannel trousers. My question is this: the flannels I have (all RL) are quite heavy — I imagine they are weightier than those you refer to in your writing. In New York, they work for October – March. I were to have pants made for me, can you suggest a weight (and perhaps a particular cloth) that would take more for a few months?
Have a look at high-twist cloths like Crispaire or Fresco. There’s some information on them around the site too if you search
Hi Simon, what’s the flannel pants’ fabric?
Holland & Sherry classic flannel, 11oz I believe
very interesting, good post
Would You ever consider wearing a tie in picture 4? If so would it still be the same brown Silk knit tie?
Yes, and yes a knit tie would be casual enough
Simon, can I ask which make of socks you were wearing in post 3 ?
as of late, I have been thinkg about trouser hems a lot and would like to ask your point of view regarding hems for (pale) grey flannel trousers (wintery cloth). Would it be something you would recommend? What would be the thinks i should definitely pay attention to before making the final decision whether or not to have hems on flannel trousers ? Thanks!
Hi Justin, I assume you mean turn-ups, or cuffs, rather than hems?
If so, the key thing is that turn-ups are less formal, and more suited to casual trousers or suits. After that it’s just a question of fashion – whether you like the style or not.
Sorry, yes – tur-ups. Would that mean that flannels with turn-ups would be more a casual friday wear in an office, where most of the men wear suits or orther kind of business formal wear, rather than everyday wear?
Yes, although it depends to a certain extent on your office
Thank you, Simon, for the very fast response and all the info! Have a great day!
Hello Simon, sorry to bother you again, but i would like to ask, if you have any advice for cleaning light-grey flannel trousers? I have bought a pair and like them so much, that I have worn the for the last few days, just to better understand how they feel. The only downside is, that they have gotten dirty where the inner ankle bones are (i don’t know, if its from one leg rubbing against the other or the boot of the other leg). The label says dry-clean only. So should I just do that, and how often would be often enough? Or is there first aid solution after coming home from a walk? Any advice would be appreciated. thanks!
Try sponging with water first, and patting dry. You can even try a very small amount of detergent
Your shirt is great, where is the cloth from?
Do you know when the cloth will be shipped? Luca is here in NYC at the back end of next week so I was hoping it would arrive before then and I could hand it to him. If not, perhaps I could adjust my shipping address to have it sent direct to him?
It should be with you by then. We’re shipping batches every day
A question about the tie! I’ ve got a dark brown knit tie for my birthday (chocolate). In what other combinations than the one you use it in (Blue jacket, Grey trousers) will a brown tie be udeful? I am thinking at light trousers (khaki) and ?
Quite a few, Frank.
– Khaki trousers and a green, blue or grey jacket
– Charcoal trousers and a grey jacket
– Dark green trousers and a brown or tan jacket
Simon, this is a brilliant post. I am looking to commission two blue jackets, to wear as separates in an office environment – one two button and one DB if i am brave enough. I like the elongated soft Napolitan shoulder (slightly elongated if possible as i am quite thin). I like what Solito and Caliendo did for you. Do you jnow when they are next in London and can you share contact details?
Elia is in town almost every couple of weeks – one reason he charges more. Luigi every 6 weeks or so. Contact details are on their respective websites – I suggest going through there
Thanks for the interesting article.
Is that a Cartier watch? Could you please let me know which model is it?….. I love the shape and the strap.
Look up the post ‘My Watches’
I just did, but I still couldn’t find the watch you are wearing here in the picture under section (4) of the article.
It’s there – the Cartier. The strap is just different
Simon, I’ve asked several alterations tailors in my area this question, but I’m not sure they understood what I really want. So here goes: in traditional country tweeds, there is often a stitch, much like a quilt stitch, running along all the edges of the jacket — notably the lapels — and is not dissimilar from pick stitching. But I’ve read that this stitch runs all the way through the canvas layers and serves the purpose of supporting the floating layers when the garment (inevitably) gets wet. Some call it a ‘swelled edge.’ (https://www.google.com/search?q=swelled+edge+suit&rlz=1C1NHXL_enCA730US731&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo4belmv_fAhWLTN8KHUT3DYgQ_AUIDigB&biw=1707&bih=817&dpr=1.13#imgrc=ipfGkzM9ztCw6M🙂
So my questions are these: 1) what is that stitch properly called? 2) is it just a running stitch? 3) can it be added to a finished garment for look?
Thanks in advance.
1) It can be called a swelled edge, or just a run of pick stitching.
2) It’s not quite a running stitch as the stitches aren’t even.
3) No, I don’t believe you can add it to a finished garment, though I may be wrong
Simon, I would like to ask a question relating to the first outfit: Do you usually wear your t-shirts tucked into the pants or do you leave them untucked?
I leave them untucked Michael, unless they’re under something like knitwear
Thank you, Simon. That sounds perfectly reasonable.
By the way: I really appreciate your highly sophisticated approach to describe and interpret the stylish properties of menswear clothing. Please do not change this attitude and your style in writing articles!
Thanks Michael, that’s nice to hear
I am always in a suit even though my office environment is ultra casual. I just like dressing up.
Great article! In my workplace, a shirt and tie is compulsory but a jacket/blazer would be seen as overdressed. Do you think a shirt and tie without a jacket is still a good luck or would you opt for a more casual alternative to a jacket to put over the shirt? What alternatives would work? Thanks!
Most of the time no, I don’t think a shirt and tie without a jacket is great. If I did wear that, it would be a more casual tie, like a square-ended knitted silk.
A casual alternative to a jacket might be an overshirt or a cardigan perhaps
I’ve been taking a look at older posts (amazing how well your older posts hold up – guess that site title is more than just for shoe).
In any case curious how you’d feel about these hatch grain loafers with denim now. I know I asked another post about the G&G Chadwick and you thought those might not work as well with jeans, and I truly ask out of curiosity in terms of the difference. Is it the color and texture that make the difference here, or how the jean tapers?
I am considering a pair of G&G loafers for myself in the middle of next year and trying to decide between Corniche and Chadwick in terms of versatility, I do tend more towards tassels than penny.
As a side note, you convinced me to try G&G earlier this year – black oxfords (and you were right, I see why they are worth it now), and since they are ending the 20% of sale and I recently got a promotion I decided to buy the Hayes (I know I should have gone brown, but I couldn’t help it I think their Rioja will go well with grey and navy) as an X-Mas gift to myself.
In any case, I think I can comfortably do 2-3 G&G/Edward Green level shoes a year. I am trying to heed some of the advice you’ve given and using the “if you only had 5 shoes” as a template (already mucked that up with the Rioja). So any advice you can give on Corniche vs Chadwick would be helpful.
Shoes 4 & 5 are pretty set, a brown Oxford (Chelsea from Edward Green) and either a Dover or suede Banbury.
Thanks for the timeless content.
No worries Alexander.
I think you’re right, I would think twice about wearing those loafers with jeans. I think they still just about work because of the texture, but I’d ideally go with something in a more casual make and last.
If you’re aiming for that capsule wardrobe, and this is your loafer, then I wouldn’t go with G&G at all – the makes are all a little too formal. I’d go with an Edward Green Belgravia in brown suede
I need to ask, what you’re saying about G&G notwithstanding – would the Crompton work about the same as your bespoke model (for far future reference).
Would the Piccadilly in brown suede work just as well? It may be one of the few penny loafers that I like. Seems to me like suede Piccadilly and Begravia work with separates, flannels, and denim.
I am definitely using the capsule as a good base for buying higher end shoes, want to maximize usage. So, in my mind I have something of 6 shoe collection in mind –
1. Black Captoe Oxford (G&G)
2. Rioja Oxford – Hayes model (G&G)
3. Was considering the Corniche (G&G)
4. Antique Brown Chelsea (Edward Green)
5. Banbury in suede (Edward Green) or Dover in brown or burgundy Utah (Edward Green
6. Piccadilly in brown calf skin or suede (Edward Green)
For some reason my brain wants to get the G&G part out of the way first. If you are willing to take the time to offer thoughts (or any commenter) they’d be welcome. As I look at the list, the Monaco (G&G) in black calf might make more sense than #3.
Yes I think the Crompton would work as well.
The Piccadilly would too, but it’s less dressy (eg less slim waist) and therefore a little more casual.
Personally I think you should go slowly, as your thoughts might change over time, and you’re next should be numbers 5 or 6.
Thank you. And yes, slow is the goal 2 (maybe 3) a year….only reason I got the first two so close together was that Covid left me some unspent money and the raise+promotion situation recently.
I think 3 (new 6) is being moved to the very bottom of the list.
On 5 – I lean towards the dover in burgundy Utah (I get the sense it would work with denim and flannel trousers, most non-suit/non jacket outfits) – but any concern about it being burgundy? Suede Banbury after that and brown Dover in smooth calf would be my least favorite option – any thoughts (obviously I’m only picking one)?
On the Piccadilly – I take their mink (dark brown) suede will work with everything from denim to informal suits? While the calfskin might be too formal for denim? Would the Belgravia be interchangeable with the Piccadilly (assuming the same material is chosen)?
You’re really helping my 2-3 year buying plans btw – you’re articles make me slow down considerably and be judicious in my choices – so thanks for that.
Oh good, lovely to hear.
Yes the Piccadilly would go with all of that, in suede not calf.
The Belgravia would be a straight swap, just a little more of a style.
I would avoid burgundy. I know it seems boring all these shoes being the same colours, but it’s what you need if you want variation elsewhere.
Go for Banbury first probably
Thank you. I guess I just need to do some soul searching on Piccadilly vs Belgravia (my consultant – aka fiancee, is suggesting Piccadilly, but I need to sit on it some more).
I suppose I already made the mistake of buying Burgundy early (though I’d argue the Hayes takes the place of a black loafer, minus the ability to wear with some more casual pieces – and in a non-Covid world I will still be in a smart suit most of the time).
Point taken, I suppose if I do a suede Edward Green loafer 3rd, the derby is less of a priority, so a suede Banbury it is as shoe #4…and Brown Oxford from Edward Green 5th.
From there I can circle back about #6: Contenders being Corniche vs Dover in burgundy vs G&G Stamford vs EG Clapham in Brown Suede (G&G Stamford in the lead right now).
In any case, thank you very much for all your time, I really owe a consultant’s fee…guess I really should buy something from the shop.
Also to clarify things the G&G Corniche I’m considering as #6 is the brown suede one, though I can be convinced about the Black calf version.
No problem, pleased I could help
I lied, one last question (if you’re willing to answer) because I’m a relatively strict planner when it comes to these things and like to sort of set things in stone (at least within 1 year timelines). Understanding that I’ve settled on an outline for shoes 3-5 (to buy over the next year – two years) I realized something that might help set my choice in stone.
If I am considering the G&G Corniche in mink suede as somewhere around shoe 7-10 (granted that’s a long time from now)….should it be Piccadilly over Belgravia? I figure:
1) the Belgravia in suede will work with jeans while the Corniche will not; AND
2) the Corniche in mink suede will work with more structured and formal tailoring where the Belgravia will not; AND
3) Outside of 1 and 2 there will be a great deal of overlap between these two brown suede tassel loafers
Thus, it would make more sense to choose the Piccadilly since it is an altogether different style for the first suede loafer given the consideration of a second suede loafer later? Or is this a non-issue that I should not concern myself with? If it’s a non-issue then I probably settle on Belgravia in suede, if it is an issue then the Piccadilly.
I think I would just stop you there to be honest Alexander. You’re trying to plan this out too far ahead. Buy for what you need now and have in mind perhaps the next year, but don’t start influencing shoes 3 or 4 by 7-10. It’s just too far down the road.
Hey Simon – could I make a request for an article suggesting ways to make the navy blazer/grey trousers outfit subtly distinctive? I feel like it’s such a foundational look, but can be a little boring. Things like swapping the plain button-down for a polo or piece of knitwear occur, equally adding pattern through a scarf or handkerchief, but I’d love your sharp take on it!
Sure Charlie, nice idea. I’ll plan something
I love these type of articles as I think one of the biggest struggles for the average man is business casual! Is there a middle ground between 3 and 4? So not jeans but perhaps something less formal than the flannels? Would chinos work (and what colour)?
Yes, absolutely. A beige chino would sit nicely.
You could also play with the footwear and use brown suede to be more casual than the leather loafer
My favourite kind of posts.
Simon, hi could you say more please about the blazer material and the source of the material.
It’s a 9oz cashmere, from Zegna, but I wouldn’t actually recommend it. It didn’t wear very well, and I’d recommend something like the cashmere used here instead
Perfect thank you.
How to differentiate stylish from dandy?
Would socks with loafers in a casual outfit like t shirt and jeans look affected or stylish?
I think you have to gauge that yourself Joshua – though have a look at this post perhaps.
Judge what is the right balance for you between self-expression and standing out too much.
This article is so helpful for showing how to elevate or lower an outfit for any occasion. I will add it to my favourites. With a few changes you could go from the pub to the CEOs office! Thank you Simon.
In addition – With outfits 5 and 6, do you think a pair of suede chukka boots would look acceptable as an alternative to slip on shoes?
Further to our speaking on the “Five paradigms” and having looked at this page as per your suggestion, I write as follows:
I think I would fall into the most formal category, i.e. six, however the article doesn’t quite answer my initial question (which is probably because I did not have enough time to write it more succinctly!).
Essentially I like tweed (a lot) and want to wear it at work but what should I wear to keep myself as cool as possible? For some reason I have the phrase “buggy lined” in my head; is that relevant? And presumably I am better off favouring a more informal style, such as Neapolitan? If so, what? Please advise.
Sure, happy to help. If you want to be cooler in tweed, then first of all go for something in perhaps 11oz rather than 15oz. You can then have half lining (buggy) or even less, though this will make a relatively small difference given the outer material. Personally I usually have them with full lining. And yes, a Neapolitan make or a lighter make from an English tailor (eg I’ve had that from Dege and Gieves on PS, and Poole do it too now) will mean a lighter canvas in the front which will also be a touch cooler.