Wearing a grey linen shirt – or the virtues of grey with green

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A style post today, after several product and profile pieces in recent weeks. 

To break it down into bullets:

  • I love grey shirts, primarily with navy suits or jackets as an alternative to white and blue. It feels urban and modern
  • The problem is, with a grey shirt you are robbed of the most reliable colour for a trouser: grey 
  • One nice option is cream, which goes well with the grey shirt and leaves the jacket open, for navy, green, brown, anything
  • In the image here, taken during a humid week in Tokyo, I've opted for my dark-green 9oz-wool jacket from Solito
  • In many ways it's a summer equivalent to this winter outfit using my Escorial jacket


And the details of the pieces:

  • The shirt is from D'Avino, with all its consequent beautiful hand-sewn and hand-rolled details. 
  • The cream linen trousers are an Irish-woven W Bill, from my old Terry Haste suit
  • The shoes are my Foster's bespoke, looking better after their repatination 
  • The linen hank is white, contrasting nicely with the grey shirt and cream trouser. It is from Simonnot-Godard
  • And the portfolio is my vintage piece from Bentley's. Very practical for a day around town


Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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What is the difference between the product Terry Haste or Steven Hitchcock puts out now when compared with the ones they made when they were at Huntsman and A&S, respectively?


Then it would be pretty pointless to go to Huntsman or A&S for that matter since their suits costs less than those at Huntsman or A&S. Which beckons one important question. Should one follow the cutter or the House?



Maybe it’s the photo, but don’t you think it would be better to have the rise of the trousers higher in order not to show any shirt under the waist button?

By the way, which is the standard neapolitan button stance? It is higher than the english?




I remember that in one of your older articles (I think on a book signing event), you praised the benefit of an all-grey outfit (if I recall correctly, you were wearing the Edward Sexton DB). I guess the key is to have enough contrast (as always)? I find that a pale grey shirt works very well with a charcoal full suit or trousers for instance (actually often better than white or certain blues as it is enough contrast but not too much and gives a subtle transition in colours). Any thoughts?


Agreed, although I don’t find it any harder than say sky-blue shirt + navy suit… Pale grey or blue-greyish shirt is becoming my go-to combination with a charcoal suit. Almost any tie combination works with that (burgundy, navy grenadine, dark green, etc.).


Hi Simon
Love the ensemble. You’ve said before that you prefer button down (less formal) shirts when worn open without a tie. I almost never wear a tie. which type of collar do you think sits best, button down or cuttaway such as in your shirt above?

Nick Inkster

Call me old fashioned, but I haven’t worn a grey shirt since I was at school…….

I think I would prefer this rig with pale grey linen or fresco with a cream coloured shirt, shoes and hank to remain the same.


How long would you say is long enough for a button down collar? And I remember you recommended a linen cotton mixture over pure linen because it is softer. Isn´t it difficult to judge a fabrics softness from a tiny piece in a swach book?

Bertie Wooster

The angle of the notch on your lapel looks rather small for a Solito or Neapolitan jacket. I thought they do their notches more like ninety degrees. Is it the photo, or did you ask them to make the notch more English style?


Really, a thoughtful combination. The colors here – muted, urbane – I think really work best with fall and winter in mind. The Escorial jacket link speaks to that. Stoffa has a few links with palettes in mind. The deep green/gray combination, within a more casual context, works nicely.



The second photo is, I feel, one of the best photos published on this page.

The composition is great, and it shows a small technical detail of your tailoring – the hemline of your trousers. It’s thought provoking

Also-green socks ;P


Enjoyed this blog a lot over the years and found some very good advice – thank you for that – but I must say I am getting a bit bored of Mr Crompton modelling his extensive wardrobe. How about bringing in a bigger gentleman like David Walliams or someone more rotund like David Suchet (who wears rather nice suits when he is Hercule Poirot)?


Hi Simon!

I have yet to commission a linen shirt from Luca, most likely for next spring. Would you say linen is only useful for spring/summer months or could a heavier linen do the job for fall right up until the real winter hits us?


Hi Simon,
Your plea for grey shirts is arguably heeded this time with this post. Indeed, it can be an effective change of pace from white and blue ones.
Another teaching moment worth mentioning too: the versality of brown oxfords. Even a very sharp shoe like this one easily lends itself to being down or up graded, depending on one’s mood.


Great outfit as usual Simon! I really like the trousers. By the way, how far below your navel do you wear your trousers? Also, for higher waisted trousers, are side adjusters a better option than braces?


I recall seeing other grey shirts around on PermanentStyle, are they all linen ? I’m particularly struggling to find grey in cotton linen. What is the fabric batch of your davino grey shirt ? Thanks


If a linen shirt supposedly this grey linen of your’s if made in a popover style, could it then be wearable with workwear chinos?