Black suede shoes, and cream knitwear

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Friday, May 20th 2016
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Yesterday's post raised a few questions about other aspects of the outfit - specifically the black suede shoes and cream-coloured cardigan. 

I think it's interested to discuss both together, for stylistically they have many things in common. 

Black suede shoes

I'm a fan of black suede shoes for their rarity. You see very few people wearing them, and the light-sucking texture of suede is rather unexpected. 

For that reason I think they work particularly well with smarter outfits than the one I was pictured in yesterday. For example a navy jacket, grey flannel trousers and open-necked white shirt is a great office combination, with black suede adding that touch of character. 

However, their applications are relatively limited beyond that. They are surprisingly striking (given their dark uniform colour), and I find I only wear them with such formal outfits or other, relatively monotone ones.

Grey jacket and cream cardigan

The cream cardigan is similar.

It is from Drake's - their sleeveless model - and I slimmed down the fit myself a little by sewing up the side seams. I love it. 

But again it is surprisingly striking, given it is not patterned or particularly bright. It stands out perhaps for being unusual, and pale, and I find I only wear it with quite simple outfits - usually involving grey jacket or trousers. 

By contrast, the navy and biscuit-coloured versions get worn all the time. To the extent that the navy is getting a little ragged. (But then I like that in knitwear...). 

Both are worth exploring, but in their way are as expressive as yellow socks or a bright-green handkerchief.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkfman

grey lamlana cloth

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Anders

Drake’s knitwear is made by William Lockie so you might just as well buy them with the original label at a better price. A Hume has the full range.
http://www.ahume.co.uk/William-Lockie-/Lambswool–Merino-Wool-and-Camelhair/William-Lockie–Leven-2-Ply-Lambswool-Cardigan-/p-88-112-251/

Rabster

These last few articles on colour and combinations have been fantastic .
As much as we like your high end stuff it’s these articles that apply across the board and within everyone’s reach .
Also, the new site design is brilliant , works a treat on mobile devices and takes the site up another notch .
Well done , Simon!

CJ

Got to mirror this sentiment!

Peter B

Hello Simon, I have what I think is an interesting question (at least to me it is). We all know navy is the smartest colour, but why?
I have always agreed with the notion, and thus not questioned it. Given your considerably more extensive knowledge on menswear perhaps you can answer this (or ask G. Bruce Boyer, who I hear is a reader – congrats!).

John

Hi Simon,
You are right about the rarity of the black suede. Indeed, they could add a touch of sharpness to an outfit. But being less versatile than other colors, I personally avoid them.
As to your cardigan, I wonder whether one couldn’t also use it as you once did with your odd waistcoat, yet worn with a navy blazer instead of a suit for evening events, for instance.
See here: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2012/11/the-odd-waistcoat-for-formal-occasions.html
Wouldn’t a cardigan downgrade the formality of the whole outfit on such occasions? I muss confess that I do not like waistcoats.
John

Ben

Hi Simon,

Long time reader, first time commenter here. You said you stitched up the sides of the cardigan, how did you do that? I have a sleeveless cardigan that is slightly baggy that I would like to do the same to.

Cheers,

Ben

Ben

That would be fantastic – being a fairly slight bloke I find even size XS (knitwear in particular) leaves too much room around the middle. Thanks also for running such a great resource – it’s such a handy reference!

Richard

I strongly disagree. The only proper suede shoes are a shade of brown; cream and black — NO and finally cardigans should not be worn under a suit or sport jacket.

Nick Inkster

Black suede, normally with a crepe sole, shoes are pretty common attire with a suit in Paris. Have a look next time you are there.

John

The crepe sole lends to such an outfit – no matter how smart the suit is – its casualness.

Anonymous

Hi Simon

What are your thoughts on wearing black suede chukka boots in a more casual setting? I’ve got my eye on the C&J Tetbury boots.

jamiemcp

I like black suede, as you say it is something slightly different but still quite formal and you can wear with a wide range of outfits. I tend to wear mine with grey flannels, a white shirt and a black knitted tie. but also wear with jeans. They do need to be a simple and clean shoe though.

I wear a lot of cardigans, and have the same issue as you, I am reasonably slim so find a lot of them a bit bellowy to wear with formal wear.

Glenn

Hi Simon
Thanks for the great website and your ongoing contribution – I sometimes wiince on your behalf at some of the comments although it is the Wild West Web and you can’t please all the people etc
Regarding this post I wanted to ask two specific questions – as well as the headlines aspects of cream knitwear, black suede shoes and jacket, a lower key element that makes this look work so well is the shirt, so may I ask:
– do you have your open neck/no tie shirts specifically tailored such that the collar stands so well, or is it a regular shirt for use with tie shirt, and what therefore is the collar style and cut please?
– one of the challenges with open neck no tie is how open – just a top button open can be a bit snug/tightly wound whilst two open buttons can look all too much and on certain shirts the midpoint is ideal – which you appear to have achieved – if so how? I know that in the US one organisation is selling a form of gel tabs that are hidden which allow this to be perfected – not sure if you have seen them?
Getting an open neck shirt to look just right is not easy – yet you have it spot on here – so any help you can provide would be most welcome – thanks in advance

Ben

Simon, I agree that black suede is awesome but not that versatile. How about green suede? At least i think green suede is okay with pants of grey and beige colors? Check out the shade of green in the link below:

https://pauw.com/en/men/suede-tassel-loafer-mod-530-saint-crispin-s-692m66000492430.html?color=1560

Ben

Thanks Simon! Why isn’t it a good idea to pair with suits?