Battle Hymn

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Wednesday, April 26th 2017
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This is going to sound rather cheesy.

Forgive me.

I believe in Permanent Style.

I believe in the value of investing in products made to last.

And I believe in style that lasts decades, even centuries. (Though maybe not forever).

I believe in the people that make the products that are made to last. Who work hard and long, for years and years, to become good enough to deserve to make them.

I believe in the beauty of dressing elegantly. Of dressing simply but intelligently.

Of looking like you are well dressed. And nothing more.

Fashions come and go.

Lately, there have been more people wearing luxury sweatpants, and sportswear to dinner. There has been talk of the cycle turning again.

I don't think these values of style and craft are going anywhere.

There may have been a fashion for suits, tie clips and handkerchiefs in recent years, and we (us; you; the many other blogs, fans and enthusiasts, who are much, much bigger than Permanent Style) may have benefited from it.

But we're still here. Just with fewer tie clips.

The media is still awful, just as it was 10 years when I began writing.

It may even be worse.

Magazines are nothing more than a parade of products, interspersed with unoriginal, sycophantic writing.

Social media is awash with people that define themselves by nothing more than a number, and then sell that number for another number.

But there are good signs.

Identikit department stories are struggling; independent men's stores are opening all over the world.

I believe we (mostly you) have had a hand in this.

Those who make a deliberate effort to know more, to buy better, and to tell others.

Who value a shoe more when it has been worn, and polished, and scratched, and polished, than when it came home in a shiny bag.

Who enjoy (note: enjoy, not fetishise) the roll of a perfect shirt collar.

I'm just as passionate as I was 10 years ago. (And try very hard not to take any of it for granted.)

Passionate about the unique, hand-wrought beauty of a bespoke jacket.

About the subtle sumptuousness of grey flannel, and calf leather, and white linen, and worn denim, and thick cashmere, and chalky printed silk.

I believe in it all.

Photography: Andy Barnham, from our book The Finest Menswear in the World

Photos taken from ateliers of (top to bottom): Zilli, Cifonelli, Anderson & Sheppard, Talarico, Breanish Tweed,Anderson & Sheppard, Drake's, Loro Piana, Cleverley

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Alec

Amen to that.

Anonymous

Bravo. Well said

John

Hi Simon,
I’ve really enjoyed reading this post!!! You have beautifully summed up what perhaps unites the community of PS readers across the world!
John

David

No cheesy, at all. Is perfect.
Congrats and long live Simon,

Benjamin

This resonates with me so much as I embark on my journey to start my own company.

Jeremy Gould

Hear hear!

Kev Fidler

Simon, I for one have benefited from the advice and information you have given in Permanent Style. Totally changed my outlook toward clothing, shoes and attitude in general to the way I dress. The comments section is sometimes as enlightening as the article, clearly some of your contributors are experienced in this world or have very valid opinions and experiences to tell.
Hence a suggestion. You would not wish for the articles to be clogged up with endless comment but is there a justification to add a discussion type of forum as an extra app on the site – occasionally a discussion just about gets going on here which tends to splutter out. I know general comments are moderated and to the downside of the occasional troll contributing but a more open discussion site would be of great benefit to us less sartorially educated souls.

DaveM

Love it! I’m on board with all of this.

Elva

Here’s my heartfelt Thank You!! for the enormous amount of work you do to keep this site a valuable resource for those who want to look their best.

Jeff from Chicago

Count me in.

Barry Pullen

Not that I ever wonder why this is my favorite blog. But if I ever did need a reason, today’s post was it.

Wes WP

4/27/15 was the “beginning of the end for me” (in the best possible way). It’s the day you posted the Jonathan Clay interview. I’d always known about high end suits and low end suits, and about the nature of bespoke – but I was not a “quality” guy – it was quantity. It was flashy Italian. It was little-known designers who were making machine made, ostentatiously top-stitched lapels. It was a terrible little chain of stores (now shuttered) – called Daffy’s – where brands like Gazzarrini and John Bartlett and FB (Fashion Brand) grew like wild ramps, and I was the gardener. Soon, I’d had a closet stocked with off-brand, off-price pieces – a motley crew of Italy’s worst: ill-fitting, far too short, far too tight, shiny, pattern-mismatched pieces, etc. (one coat by Eugenio Sorrentino had – literally – 8 buttons on each sleeve…it was a plaid nightmare crossbred with a band leader’s jacket).

When I read your interview with Clay on “suit levels” – all of that changed – forever. Something clicked that day, and it has (in some ways) made me a snob, but a private one. It changed what was good enough for me. It made me judge my own clothes, but no one else’s.

A splendid extension of your site is Meg Lukens Noonan’s The Coat Route – a thin volume that chronicles the author’s journey to understand why an overcoat would command $50,000.00. Something that is mandatory reading for any PS reader.

Continued success to us all…

wp

Grace

I just wanted to say thank you to you Simon! Even though I am a woman, I keep coming back to your blog exactly for pieces like this.

Juan Manuel

Heck, well written!

Colin

Simon….over the period how would you describe your personal style evolving and any style ‘faux pas’?!

Roy

Word perfect Simon, as usual

Fred

Why yes!
But may I ask what brought this on today?

Anonymous

Had you been on the Absinthe?

Anonymous

Re gin give 78 Degrees a go.
Great stuff.

Joseph

Ladies and gentlemen, the Permanent Style manifesto.

This inspired me even more to pursue training in bespoke tailoring, here in a country where there is no true bespoke (except perhaps for shoes) and very little decent MTM. Quite extraordinary how this is possible, really: of all establishments, it is a local fashion design school offering courses from a visiting Richard James cutter. Thought I’d try to start my journey there, and this post clinched it for me.

You’ve offered all of us more inspiration over the years than you can ever imagine, Simon. Long live PS.

RoshanYJ

After the better part of a decade as a reader, after meeting you briefly this March (and buying that gorgeous green herringbone cloth that Douglas had in the pop-up store), after commissions at half a dozen tailors in no small part thanks to you, and after many lessons learned and ideas sparked and beautiful pieces acquired and made mine, this post moved me to step out of lurker-mode and say ‘thank you’.

So thank you, Simon. Thank you for the inspiration and food for thought. Thank you for the confidence boost in daring to take the risks of bespoke. Thank you for the pleas for materialism (but not consumerism).

And most of all: thank you for caring, and for sharing.

Rui

Simon, thank you for the article.
Like you once wrote: more materialism, less consumerism.
Nowadays, many people find it hard to recognize quality. For them, unfortunately a brand is a sign of quality, hence luxury.
My rather recent “entrance” in the bespoke world only confirmed my thoughts: quality above quantity. Craftsmanship above mass production. Timeless pleasure above hasty instant gratification.
Keep on the good work.

Greg

Well said

Can’t forget having a little bit of fun along the way, though 🙂

Carl Sundell

Well spoken Simon, every word is so true.

No Surrender ! to the mass produced crap they are pushing out with phony branding, mass produced in sweat shops in the far east. A more sustainable world with well dressed people in it, that’s the future, and we will all benefit.

Damien Reynolds

Bravo!

Jeremy

Me too. Amen. Only you seem to be able to afford it without ceasing, and I merely muck up the window of Kilgour French and Stanbury with my nose pressed to the glass dreaming. What’s the secret?

JEA

Inspiring is what I call it. Beauty, elegance, quality, good taste, the satisfaction of doing something the right way yet tempering that with the right measure of originality — thank you, Simon, for fighting the good, at times lonely, but absolutely necessary fight.

Ned Bron

Getting a bespoke Mini Cooper convertible made at the factory. Collaborating with our friend, Anda Rowland. Picking it up at the factory in the UK, and then will ship it back to Charleston, South Carolina. Can’t wait.

David

Now that sounds like fun.
I specked an ALL 4 Clubman for my wife. They did an absolutely beautiful job. The quality is off the Richter scale and consequently I drive it all the time myself!
Her constant war cry is ‘where is my mini?’
I love it and you will love yours.

Ira Levine

Thank you, Simon, for your passionate advocacy of quality, traditional craftsmanship and genuine creativity at a time when these values have been sadly eroded by an era of instant gratification and obsession with the new and trendy. I also appreciate your role in helping to preserve an art form that, after centuries defining good taste for generations of men, is now endangered by adverse economics and the tyranny of marketing. Having been a “fashion journalist” myself at one time it’s clear enough to me how we got here and I’m grateful for your efforts to guide us back to where we belong in matters of style. There is an ethic behind the work you celebrate that runs much deeper than the passage of a tailor’s needle. Now more than ever it’s important to recognize and support that ethic.

Zubair

Oh my! This was certainly an emotional read! It doesn’t sound cheesy at all! Or perhaps I just enjoy cheesy and hence can’t tell it apart. Dear Simon, your blog means so much to me! I’ve learnt so much from you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I eagerly wait for much more to come! Also, I hope that someday I might take up a similar initiative!

Anonymous

Is this juxtaposed against ‘clothing is not important’ Nov 2015? No harm, I appreciate the points you make in both. However I need to pick you up on one point; that is on new stores opening. On a global basis you may be correct. However this is not the case for the UK things are getting harder for retailers. Take Richmond, London for example, in the last 18 months, 2 independant and one chain menswear store have closed due to rentier greed and increasingly high rates. If we are to see good, independant offerings in the UK greater efforts will need to be seen to support this sector. I’ve commented before re. the closure of Austin Reed etc. and we now see Jaeger in trouble. In fairness to PS I can’t think of another site that promotes quality menwear in a better way. I remain concerned however about the slow disappearance of these busnesses (vs. the rise of disposable fashion chains) as they often form the springboard to better quality bespoke style when funds later allow.

Talal Al Tuwaijri

Hear hear!!

Boris

Thanks for that short but great articles!

David

Well written – articulates the mission statement and endorses the core values.
Talking of which I was in A&S last week and picked up a phenomenal unlined work jacket in cord for my upcoming trip to Iceland & NYC (a difficult pack particularly when I always like one small case).
These jackets and the Safaris in heavy stub linen are real classics that can be dressed up or down and more than merit an article.
A&S have put some real thought into their offering.

Martin Whitaker

Absolutely right! Although I do think I may have a slight shoe fetish.

AMS

In opposition to WP above, I would say that the takeaway from Permanent Style as applied to the late lamented Northeast USA discount chain Daffys is, see things as they are, not as they are marketed. What is the fabric? What is the style? What is the quality of construction? Daffy’s was a bazaar of brands never advertised in the USA, but if you combed the racks you could find the hand stitching of a Truzzi shirt, or the good fabric and design in an Incotex trouser, or the high level of taste in a sportswear brand like Les Copains. All at tiny prices. With the intelligence this blog provides, men can get the best value for the money they have, whether the budget allows for champagne or just beer mostly. So I thank you for that.

Wes WP

Hi Andrew – I definitely have to agree with you. Daffy’s is where I cut my teeth (before discovering Yoox). I got introduced to some solid mid range brands (like Pino Lerario and Royal Hem) – that your old blog Yellow Baggers put me onto, and then I could find at Daffy’s. I think what I meant in my above post is that several years ago, I didn’t know that much about high armholes (or the freedom they allow for) or the idea of a more subtle, “shadow stripe” in jacketing fabric, or about pattern matching (on, say, a windowpane jacket). It’s really an evolution – maybe I’ll look at my current closet in 5 – 10 years and wonder what I was thinking – but I doubt it. Thanks, Andrew, as you were part of my early journey into understanding many things sartorial, and I wish you success with your newer blogs: Peurist and Pantsguy –

Best
Wes

AMS

Thanks for kind words but I am not Andrew.

Dan

Hear hear! Well said Simon.

I had dinner at Rules a few Saturdays ago and was quietly dismayed to see more than one person wearing luxury sweatpants in a 200+ year old restaurant. I suppose like most other fashions, this one will move on in time and it’ll be all tie bars and waistcoats again before long. Rather than pass (too much) judgement I instead decided to do as you have done here and consider some of the items I had chosen to wear that evening – their quality, why I bought them and how they made me feel by adding an additional sense of occasion to a nice evening out.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that among the items I had selected for that evening were a pair of really excellent J Girdwood socks, which I had of course purchased at the PS Savile Row pop-up. An example of exactly what you describe above; Permanent Style playing a direct part in ensuring that we know exactly where to find the highest quality menswear! Thank you, as ever.

Stefano

Such a beautiful post again. Thanks Simon.

Luca

Great post Simon! Exactly what I think but can’t express as good as you do!!!

martin crush

First class well said indeed, style, like true talent will outlast all,

Carla

THANK YOU for this post, as a small maker of bespoke leather in NYC, It gives me Hope.

Liviu A.

Much harm has been done in the name of originality, innovation or individuality — not only in menswear but also in the arts and other crafts — but it is as you say: elegant, simple, intelligent dressing will endure, whether the waves of fashion align with it or not.

Therefore, thank you Simon, not only for believing in Permanent Style, but for sharing it with us as well.

All the best,

Liviu