You are the interviewer

Tuesday, September 12th 2017
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A couple of weeks ago, readers expressed interest in seeing me interviewed, with suggested questions including 'where do you store everything', 'is a blog sustainable' and 'do you have any regrets about reviews'.

I thought about this, and I think readers would actually make the best interviewers. 

Many people have interviewed me over the years and the questions are pretty similar - how I started, what my first suit was, what I think of the future of tailoring etc. 

Readers know me better than any interviewer, and have more interesting questions. 

So, if you don't mind, I'd like you to submit questions to be answered. I'll pick what seem like the most interesting 15, and answer them. 

Please leave your questions in the comments at the end of this piece.

Or, if you'd rather leave a private comment or explanation for your question, email me at [email protected].

I'll publish the replies in a couple of weeks. 

Thank you, you beautiful nerds.*

(*Maybe favourite books/music/media is another interesting question?)

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Jon

Which bespoke item (with hindsight) do you consider you paid too much for?

Dominic

In the same vein, what do you consider has been your best value item?

(PS. I appreciate very much the effort you put into the site. It’s both an invaluable resource and an enjoyable read.)

JamieMcP

Moving away from clothes but still in the design realm. how would you describe your interior decoration preferences? and in the same vane what artists do you like.

Adam Jones

If you had to create a small capsule wardrobe from your vast collection what would it look like? Or an alternative question on the same lines would be – If I took away your entire wardrobe and asked you to start from scratch again, knowing what you know.. what would you buy first to create a capsule wardrobe?

Chris

Yes! Second this

Ansgar von Marienberg

What is your idea about the budget for clothes? Some people stick to a 5% (of income) rule. What is your opinion?
Best regards from Germany.

H

I don’t mind it rewording if you think that appropriate, but I’m interested in which suits/sports jackets/overcoats would be commissioned first if you were starting again.

Q: If you had to start your wardrobe from scratch and could only keep five existing pieces of tailoring, which ones would they be and why?

H

Its not a question as such, but I’d also add that I’m sure everyone would love it if the interview featured pictures of your wardrobe(s), shoe rack etc. There is a certain geekiness in building a classic collection of clothes, and I’m sure everyone would love to see what they are ultimately aspiring to.

Adam F

I’ll go for a different route….top 3 books and why

Dan Paul

Why not both?

Carl

How do you handle the wife? (At least before you were making money on the blog).

I have great difficulties explaining why I need all the suits, sport coats and shoes. Not including the hats she think is ridiculous.

Neil

Do you keep and consume media (all types) on a single smart phone / tablet – or traditional in that respect and carry individual / hard copy pieces in the wonderful bags you own?

Hristo

I think that ‘is a blog sustainable’ and ‘do you have any regrets about reviews’ are very interesting questions.
I would add:
– What are the things you would NOT buy again if your whole wardrobe suddenly disappers?
– Do you think that travelling to Naples, Rome, Milan, and Paris for fittings is worth it and would you do it if you was not a bloger?

I see that a lot of readers ask about your top items for a capsule wardrobe, but I think this is too individual to be useful. A minimalistic wardrobe depends too much on the individual lifestyle and location. This would be a topic for a separate article.

H

Something on building a business wardrobe would be very helpful, as would any pieces on curating a collection from scratch. Your posts on shoes and Neapolitan tailoring were especially good, possibly with the minor caveat that it may be better to put things in the order that you would buy them if you were doing it again – mentioning what you would omit.

The navy cashmere & hopsack came later down the list on the Neapolitan post, presumably because you already owned a navy blazer of a different cut, whereas someone starting from scratch would probably want one of those two in his starting 2-3. Likewise, I’m sure your Cifonelli and Camps de Luca would take precedence over the old Graham Brownes now.

A series like that would also save your interview post being clogged up by annoying capsule questions by the likes of me haha.

Harry

Yes! Particularly interested in your thoughts on a series like this for the freelancer/remote worker. My city suits are no longer getting the wear and I’m not sure what to invest in next!

Tim Fleming

How do fit in family and marriage, a day job, and a growing blog that must be at least a part-time job, not to mention all the travel involved with the blog?

It seems dizzying to think it could be sustainable… unless the day job is only part-time or I’m missing something here?

Gary

Tim, those were my thoughts exactly.

As a husband and future father, I would like to address a more personal aspect of the industry – work/life balance.

As a father and husband yourself, how do you find a proper work/life balance as your role in the industry becomes more valuable and desired? I may be mistaken, but I thought I remembered that you had another job in the finance industry. Thus, working in two industries and being a family man must come with certain time management challenges.

If possible, could you address how you budget your time and maintain a level of sanity?

Anon

This! I often wonder this about you.

Zubair

Ooh I have whole bunch of questions Simon! First off, when you first started getting acquainted with dressing better (I don’t quite know how the journey started for you), did you ever go overboard into full peacock (conspicuously and exaggeratedly overdressed) territory?
Also, do you like Opera? What’s your favorite one? Or are you a more rock n’ roll or blues kind of person? What’s your favorite piece of music or favorite artist in that category?
Looking forward to the interview!!

Matt

Are there any items that you wish you hadn’t commissioned, either because you get practically no use from them or simply don’t like them anymore?

Patrick

You own pieces from most (known) bespoke houses in the world, you have tried countless styles, you own more bespoke clothes than any normal guy will ever own, you have tried luxury, affordable, the value-for-money and the rip-off, every single well-dressed man knows you and you are an accomplished writer, and even modern reporter, of the style from our times.
Whats missing?? Another review? Yet another jacket, an other suit? Answering another senseless question about “You say its good, but for that price wouldnt it be better to stick with XXXX?”
So my question again is:
Whats next?

Curtis

I think I’ve seen a bits and pieces about it (still newer reader) but some thoughts on your preferred grooming products would be great. I have a hard time finding comprehensive thoughts on nicer men’s skincare products generally. Would be great to have some insight into some of your favorites.

Per

You have children and I presume that you follow /followed them to and from school and kindergarten. Following children to school/kindergarten includes carrying loades of stuff, especially dirty and muddy clothes, backpacks, bicycle helmets and you name it. On top of that your own ballast, lap top etc. If it rains add handling an umbrella. This means that when you have left the children and finally enters the bus or train to work, you are glad if you have managed to keep the shoes and clothes in shape and not stained, and not having too big dark spots under your arms. I know you usually bike, but if you’re not, how do you deal with this situation, especially if you are off to a meeting the first thing when you arrive at work? I usually tend to compromise by not using my best shoes and choosing clothes that do not show stains (rough flannels and herringbone usually saves me) and keeping the better shoes and clothing at office, but this is by no means ideal.

Jeff

How do you develop and refine your story “pipeline” – is there a long term master plan or more of a monthly or seasonal plan?

Could you elaborate, to the extent you are comfortable, on the revenue model for your blog – advertisements only, appearance fees, you’ve received discounts, but have you been paid to write or wear anything? Not actual figures, just a bit more clarity.

Something we all deal with to some extent – fitness and changes in weight/fit of clothes – what do you do to keep fit/stay the same size, what, if anything has changed for you in this area since you started the blog?

What tailor have you not worked with that you are most excited about trying?

Anonymous

Simon, a cuppa tea or a cuppa coffee??

Divya

Oooh I have one! Paying attention to detail is an exhausting exercise! Over the years you must have formulated a top 5-10 point checklist for clothing items such as pants, shirts, blazers, ties etc that have to meet a certain criteria (10 may seem excessive but we are talking about you and well details.) What is that checklist? I would also like to add your site remains an invaluable source for women as well. As mentioned before I am building my husband’s wardrobe and your website is my reference guide. Period.

Pablo

Which is the city which most impacted on you when traveling for business (as a writer) and why? Thank you

Adam Pace

Simon,
A simple question, what is your favourite option for a ‘go to’ off the peg cotton white shirt?

D. Thompson

Bouncing off the idea of “what is next”, how about “how to recognise and develop ones style over time”. Time is important as dressing well is an “investment” in money and requires time to achieve a wardrobe (for most of us). I should be interested to know how you feel your style has developed from your teens into adulthood and maturity. Is there a common thread… for example I have always loved shoes. I went from wearing Air Jordans to (for “best”) wearing English bespoke. Likewise are there themes that inspire you… old film, nature or flowers etc. D.T.

Greg

Where do you see your watch collection and its possible growth in relation to stylistic choices? Would you say you have a collection that is set in stone or do you see yourself making changes to match your sense of style (which I presume undergoes changes over periods of time)?

David

Which items in each major category (suits, sportcoats, ties, shirts, trousers, shoes, knitwear, outerwear) bring you the most pleasure to wear? This is somewhat the opposite of the “which one item is most versatile” question that others have already asked, in that I’m less curious about utility/versatility and more interested in subjective experience. After all the items you’ve tried and owned, which still bring you the most joy to wear, and why?

Ethan

I’m pretty sure it’s overcoats haha

Philipp

Dear Simon,
I think it will be very handy if you will share some tips about how you keep fit. Because sometimes it is very challenging not to gain extra weight so yours clothing stop suit you. Thank you for incredible blog !

Chris

I take it you’re a 99% Invisible listener (…and I’m guessing from the footnote you may enjoy DFW)

Anonymous

David Foster Wallace (uses footnotes extensively in both his essays and novels!)

Anonymous

My goodness you do get asked some daft questions!

Anonymous

Great idea Simon… long overdue. High five to the reader that suggested it.

I have a few questions

1) How many Shirts, Ties, Jackets/Blazers/Sport Coats, Pochettes, Trousers, Belts/Braces(?) Suits and Shoes do you think you own and what would be the approximate value of it all, must be getting on for the 100’s of 1000’s by now surely?

2) How many Suits, Jackets, Trousers, Shirts and Shoes are a current work in process that you’re waiting to receive?

3) Where do you store/keep such a vast and extensive wardrobe, surely to God it doesn’t go in a big yellow storage type place?

4) What do you do with the older items that you’ve commissioned that perhaps aren’t to your taste or don’t fit you anymore – and the new pieces that you’ve commissioned which didn’t work out.

5) Would you ever sell any of the pieces you own. Ties, Jackets and Suits for example.

6) Favourite Salesman/Woman, Favourite House, Favourite Tailor, Favourite Cutter, Favourite Shirt/Tie, Jacket, Suit, Trouser and Shoe

Last but not least

7) What is your favourite meal Starter, Main and Desert

Thanks

Dave Carter

Questions 1 and 3 here have long been on my mind as I’ve followed your blog over the years

David

Do you have any experience with the American market? You have covered the UK, Spain, Italy, France, and Japan, but not the US. For your American readers, I am sure that (to the extent you have any experience with it) coverage of American companies and artisans would be much appreciated.

Don Ferrando

How about Germany/german bespoke tailoring?
Do you have any expierience/planning cover some of them!

Anonymous

Why do some of your readers assume you are some kind of fashion or lifestyle guru?

You have clearly gathered a lot of knowledge about the world of bespoke and artisan craft, but how would that lead someone to ask you for advice on skincare?

Gonzague

What would the Smart Bespoke Suit be like, meaning: retaining from bespoke tailoring only what really is necessary, allowing for an equivalent result but with shorter delays, lower price. As an example, not all of the stitching ought to be made/padded by hand,…

Luciano

Hi Simon. I am very curious about your wardrobe room. Is it bespoke (i.e. made by a carpenter on your own specifications) ? It must have quite a size, so I don’t believe is just a (big) cupboard.
Thank

Peter K

What’s your favorite way to relax? Assuming that with a job, blog and family you actually find time to relax.

Fred

Where is Permanent Style in five years?

Johnnydevore

Id goes in the same direction, as other asked; how does a typical day looks like?
I’m certain that varies a lot so maybe it would be more interessting to read how a perfect day would be.

Miles

Private clubs, much like bespoke clothing and the fine arts, represent the celebration and stylization of life as they condense and refine experience according to certain social and imaginative ideals.

To that end, which private Clubs of the world would make up your ideal ‘wardrobe’ of membership?

Anonymous

Great question! Would love to know what your top picks Simon. So much to choose from:

UK – Whites, Boodles, RAC, Pratts, Beefsteak, Garrick, Oriental, Reform, Caledonian, and 80 or so others.

USA – The Brook, Knickerbocker, Metropolitan (DC), Pacific Union, California, Bohemian, Sommerset, Tavern, Philadelphia

Global – Travellers and Jockey (Paris), Caccia (Rome), Circolo Dell’Unione (Florence), Cercle Royal du Parc (Belgium), Autralian (Sydney), Circulo De Armas (Buenos Aires), Haagsche (Netherlands), Norske Selskab (Oslo), Cercle De La Terrasse (Geneva), Nya Sällskapet (Stockholm)

Peter

“Anything with a suggestion of pretension makes me run a mile.” Ha! Simon, you pose for photographs every day in custom multi-thousand dollar garments. That’s pretty rich mate.

Anonymous

Completely agree Simon. That isn’t too say that there aren’t people in clubs who are comfortable there, but there are far too many who aspire to it. that being said, I do quite like coching in Whites reading the paper.

Morton Andrew

Would you say your passion for the practical and technical side of bespoke craft generally a form of escapism?

Furthermore, which ready-to-wear 3 brands, in your own opinion, are consistent front runners’ for well cut and well-made coats, jackets and all other types of outerwear?

Phil

As your knowledge of style has grown deepened do you find yourself making judgements about people based on the clothes they are wearing? If so, how do you feel about this?

O

Good question

BespokeNYC

Some great questions here! Would definitely second the one about how your style has evolved over time (and why.) Recently it feels like there’s been more focus on casual pieces (or less businessey anyway) but perhaps that’s simply because business pieces are always going to be more limited in range so your collection is more “complete” now.

Related to that, I like the point about whether the blog is “sustainable” and have noticed that some once-prolific style writers have slowed down or even stopped in the last few years (e.g. Will Boehlke). Do you think there’s ever a logical end, or will there always be more to cover? Can you see yourself expanding your remit to cover broader lifestyle topics (as many female fashion bloggers seem to have done)?

As I write this, I struggle to fathom how you’d have the time, but I’d be interested to know other blogs, websites, publications you read that aren’t about the field of menswear.

Finally – this may be less relevant to you, as a family man – but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what to wear for a night out. I don’t mean for a nice dinner at a restaurant, but a night at a bar with friends. A jacket seems too much but it feels rather boring wearing a shirt like everybody else. Any standbys you might turn to? Sort of like a non-fashion person’s guide to looking a little bit more fashionable, while staying true to principles of tailored clothing. (Trigger warning: your answers might induce apoplexy among more conservative PS readers… ;D)

Marcus

Is there a look you’d like to be able to pull off, but feel you can’t?

What’s the worst satorial faux pas you’ve made as an adult – a choice of outfit that makes you cringe if you think of it?

Should more men wear hats again, and if so, which hats and when?

Ethan

was there ever any event, person or item that played a central part in your style or your choice to begin developing it. There definitely was for me !

all the best

Joel

Hi Simon

Very hard to comment/ ask a question because I can think of it, it’s probably already been asked, however, I will try a slightly different route aimed at you and sort of more aimed at Mrs Crompton.

For Mrs Crompton,

Simon is an expert in clothing, no argument, (sorry for the brown nosing). As Simon’s business is mainly about bespoke, which these days is not just for men but women too, have you considered doing a blog/joining/creating a sister blog on bespoke clothing for women?

Best regards

Joel

PS, Simon, please come back to me on my email about November….I bet no-one asked this question.

Joel

Hi Simon,

Question 2:

Have you worked with or considered collaborating with Hugo Jacomet of PG on a project such a book (Around the world in 80 Tailors- a different tailor from 80 different places/countries)?

All the best

Joel

Hristo

PG is full with “reviews” which are obvious advertisement (for example their reviews of Sartoria Formosa).
I don’t trust PG and I would not like seing a collaboration between PG and PS.

Joel

Do you feel the same about PG Simon?

Anonymous

Excellent idea Simon. It is such a good idea that 15 questions simply isn’t enough to satisfy the curiosity of your readers so please extend to more (45?) across 3 articles?
A couple of questions..
– You have commissioned an excellent wardrobe (possibly one of the world’s best, certainly one of the most tasteful). Having assembled and covered the requirements for most eventualities what direction would you like to take on furthering this adventure into bespoke style?
– There are many great figures in the history of tailoring, who do you think had the most influence on the subject? (Scholte, Hayward etc., or even Bond)?
– Now that classic tailoring has been covered is it time to also look at other outdoor pursuits through Cordings, Grenfell, Barbour, Belstaff, Norton (SR – who used to specialise in ‘explorer’ wear).
– The great Bunny Roger seems to have commissioned more bespoke than any other in his very unique, influential but eccentric style – what item would you like to commission, but won’t (due to the restraint of good taste).
– Taking Roger’s lead what items would you like to commission to further develop a specific area (i.e. overcoats).
– Accepting that Bruce Boyer may be first who else has been the most influential, helpful and supportive in helping you to develop your blog. Also who are you most grateful to?
– Given your knowledge of style, clothing etc. have you considered an occassional foray into reviewing female bespoke…by extension do you influence your wife’s view on style (or vice-versa)?
– If you were to work on the Row making what role would you choose (i.e. cuttter), or would you prefer to make bespoke shoes?
– Do you ever, in weaker moment, venture forth in street style (high tops, athleisure, hoodie, carhartt jacket, trucker cap (a.k.a. flat cap).

Lastly, thank you!

Ben

This is a question I’ve always had for those with some position in the fashion industry who exhibits self-awareness. In advocating for a style on such a visible platform, one is constructing a strong identity for himself and attaching himself to a sympathetic community. Yet he doesn’t live merely in that community, but also others to which he presents himself in the clothing that he wears, others who do not share his values, who would scoff at his wardrobe. What’s your attitude toward the latter group and, as this previous question begs, toward dress in general? Is it a matter of self expression? Of social signaling? Of brand-building (profit)?

A more concrete prompt: would you ever throw on a jersey and some sneaks to attend a football match?

Roy

With the large following you have so expertly gathered through the blog and books and the success of the shop offerings and pop up shop, when are you giving up the day job to concentrate full time on your great passion for style?

Anonymous

Which films or television programming have you found most appealing sartorially and why? Any era is fair game.

Joseph

Perhaps this, Simon: in what proportions do different sources of inspiration (well-dressed men you admire, your childhood, contemporary and pop culture, and so on) influence your sartorial choices? How do these influences (if any) manifest in your decisions?

Dino

1. What car illustrates your style best? I would like this question repeated in a twofold manner: car ever and car currently in production aka modern era.

2. Apart from actually having this blog, what is your reasoning for paying attention to your attire to his degree.

3. What gives? We only have so much time and money and you seem to be devoting a fair amount of both to tailored clothing. Do you think this is being done against another domain of your life? I.e. What other part of your life is getting less commitment because of the attention to tailored clothing.

Ian

Simon you’ve mentioned your shoe wardrobe numbers some 40 odd shoes. If you have such a large rotation of shoes how often do you need to resolve them?

A.

Oh yes, when resole?

Ian

Yes sorry I meant resole! Honestly!

Alec

I’d be interested in how you see the industry evolving over the next 10 years.
It seems like we are living through a period of rapid change in the bespoke industry. Demand and supply for bespoke has been going through a long term decline in Europe but is exploding in Asia. The internet has allowed some artisans to develop cult followings almost over night while others eschew the medium almost entirely. The pace of trends in bespoke has accelerated (eg Neapolitan style suits was in fashion for at least 10 years, but now we see fads eg Gurka trousers, that last just 1 or 2 years) There is also an interesting trend in outsourcing where many MTM and even bespoke makers outsource part of the manufacturing process to workshops in India, China or Vietnam and some are achieving very good results. I’m curious as to what sort of industry you think we will be looking at in 10 years time.

Alfonso

Spot cleaning… I’m sure you’re not free from some spots. Do you always go to dry cleaner? Or is there something (we can) you do at home?

Robbie

Is there one character from the world of films, show business, literature, etc who has particularly influenced your dress style?

Wooster2

+1 for Per’s question regarding kids etc.
Secondly, how to look stylish without looking dandyesque and/or effimante? I love beautiful clothes, but work in a rather masculine environment where such traits are pretty much frowned upon.
And in a similar vein, how to look stylish without looking pretentious? I’m neither a millionaire nor a country gent, but love the clothes some of them they wear. So how to avoid looking like a impostor?

Anonymous

Would you ever do a PS range that is affordable? Imagine the knowledge you could bring to a suit that cost £750 pounds. You could focus on the things that matter, and start to really democratize clothes.

Ethan

as nice as it would be inexpensive suiting is reliant on mass production in order to reduce cost…

Simon C

If you could travel back I time and wear the outfits worn during that era, what era would you choose (Roman, Elizabethan, American civil war, etc)?

Robert fernandes

That was nice talking on the topic and i appreciate your ideas they are different from the usual ones

Anonymous

Would you ever do a RTW suit collaboration? It would allow more and more people to access high quality, and “permanent style”, without having to shell out the thousands required for bespoke!

Alex

What habits or affectations do you like least in other men who attempt to dress well?

Ethan

that’s a great one !

BespokeNYC

Gotta be jeans and sheux surely…? ;D

Alex

What would you wear if you were a woman?

Koen

Hi Simon,

Thanks for this opportunity!

It is obvious that you take an interest in social standards, for instance the sustainability of artisan’s workshops, working conditions for apprentices, room for innovative practices and the like. This has led you to defend (justly, I would think) the prices of high end tailoring from occasional critical commenters. You have also distanced yourself from cheap marketing techniques that put forward a distorted picture of gentlemanship, and try to be as transparant as possible about the funding of your excellent blog. This leads me wondering whether there are other, shall I say ethical considerations you take into account when commissioning/ordering clothing? Even if a minor point (as opposed fit, make, style etc), I would not be suprised if many readers nowadays care for such issues as the environment, animal welfare, human rights etc and do take these into account when choosing a certain tailor/house. Those readers may find it problematic that a Row tailor proudly shows that he has obtained a royal warrant from the King of Bahrain or will ask their tailor whether he knows if the cloth merchant or mill secures that no animals were harmed in the process.

Thanks!

BespokeNYC

This is a really interesting point. I wish there were more universal accreditations for ethically / sustainably sourced wool like there are for food. The PETA videos showing how sheep are treated during shearing are pretty horrific, and yet PETA’s only solution is to stop buying wool completely, which I don’t think is very helpful! I saw that Patagonia announced its own ethical standards for the wool it now uses, but something at the industry level is sorely lacking.

Neil

Although I’m hoping for your articles to continue for decades, when the time comes for you to take a step back, will there be plans to ‘hand over the reigns’ of PS to aspiring independent menswear blogger(s) or retire the blog also?

Martin

Ever since the post on your beautiful desk and a comment about a Scandinavian table in one of the Japanese shops you covered I became very interested to read more about your taste in and knowledge of furniture.
The other topic would be jazz, not only the records but also the style in which the musicians dressed (Miles Davis´quintet with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for example, or Coleman Hawkins)

Anonymous

Has PS made you vainer?

Anonymous

What books/newspapers/magazines etc. do you read regularly?

What book has brought you the most joy to have read?

What are some of your favorite cultural diversions (museums, books, plays, music, films)?

ezequiel

– style gimmicks you stole from other gentlemen or who did/do you try to copy the most.
– style rules you follow religiously.
– sensations when you nail your outfit in the morning or sensations in general about dressing well (motivation, significance, meaning, advantages).
– anecdotes of snobbism, vanity, arrogance, frivolity.
– what do you expect when you meet another man for the first time?
– why all this?

Anonymous

Perhaps the question-and-answer format would be a bit mundane, but there seems to be a book here…working title: “What Would Simon Do?”

Alex

Have there been times when dressing well has made people react negatively towards you?

Walter Sickinger

According to some online research a Huntsman bespoke suit in 1960 cost 91 pounds which is equivalent to about 1300 pounds today. Why then does a bespoke suit today cost almost 4x this amount. What factors have changed to account for such a disparate increase in price?

Hunter

I truly appreciate your work Simon- the pleasure is ours, your readers, and the education tremendous. At my age, 59 years, I am at this point a collector. Your work inspires me to travel to the UK and find some of the items your present.

After reading all the messages and questions below there is one question we must discuss and possibly investigate. What is the best or most proper way for us to approach insuring our wardrobes? Your 40 pair bespoke shoes, how could you replace those if a casualty of a fire? Insurance can be a grim subject and I am curious to your approach.

I hope to meet you sometime on the Row or Jermyn Street!

Romeo

Maybe this is a separate post, but how you arrange your wardrobe would be an interesting thing to see. You mentioned in previous posts that you keep some clothes at the office, some at home and some in storage. You also previously shared your working desk where you write your posts. But what are your tipps on what to keep where? And how do you keep it stylish? It would be great to also get some pics of good ways of getting more out of the beauty of your clothes by keeping them in different places in a beautiful way.

Michael Pascalis

Noticed the front balance for your coat was too long by 1 inch. PJ should also taken note of your sloping shoulders. Regards Michael Pascalis C/- O’Mast 17

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
-How much importance on a scale of 1 to 10 do you place upon being dressed well (by that I mean you can generally assume tailored attire) and being a gentleman? 10 being of most importance?
-Does being well dressed really “make the man”? a scale as above would be good to gauge your opinion.
-What else do you think makes a man? again some sense of scale based on your opinion would be nice.
Thanks.
J

Richard

I’m often wondering what kind of impact your clothing/style is making socially – in your day job, on the street, and in other social contexts. Are you getting compliments? Do people think you’re a bit over the top? Do people even notice?
Partly related to that question, I’m often wondering whether you’re actually wearing on a regular basis all the nice and sometimes very fancy suits you’re writing about on PS.

Matthew Brown

Hi Simon,
Two (possibly boring) questions around the economics of style:
1. Bespoke-level quality is available from a tiny number of producers, and bought by a tiny number of consumers. What changes in behaviour on the part of producers and/or consumers might change this, and open it up to a wider consumer base? What role might technology play in this?
2. As you have commented before, few craftsmen make much money from their talents. And yet offerors of low-value retail bands can make out like bandits. This seems to me unjust. What changes do you think need to take place in society, in order for craftsmen to earn the rewards that their skill and dedication arguably merit?
Thanks,
Matthew

Ian

Yes I wonder what technology will do to gain bespoke level tailoring. Obviously it would do away with handcrafting. But the life of some of these tailors seems hard. Especially in Italy!

Fergus

I can see an evolution in your style across the life of this blog, I’d like to hear how you think your style has changed through all the experiments you’ve made. I’d also like you to reflect on how your approach to dressing stylishly and appropriately has changed. Why did you choose certain tailors and cloths when you started and why have you changed your style over these years?

Anonymous

Is there anything that you secretly want but haven’t been able to bring yourself to commission (due to it being too flamboyant, expensive, wouldn’t get any use, you don’t have the he ne sais qoi to pull off etc)??
It’s easy to understand logical next steps of commissions, how a beautiful tweed catches your eye and you succumb etc. But what would be really interesting would be how and where you set your limits / parameters (if you do at all!)

Tristan Rayson-Hill

Dear Simon,

Some questions for you:
What item do you think twice before placing an order for having it made bespoke?
What is the item you have ordered and love but get the least wear from?

Kind regards,

Tristan

Joseph

May I suggest more? Haha.

1. If you could be a master practitioner of one craft out of all those you’ve written about, which one would it be and why?
2. Which piece of menswear would be a good analogy for yourself as a person?
3. What is the most unusual contrast that you’ve encountered between a person’s outfit and her/his personality?

Joe

Do you still think Northampton is a northern town?

Lina

I would love to hear your thoughts about womenswear – how does a woman dress beautifully; not in high fashion or in the current trends, without looking frumpy or staid? I suppose what I’m after is the women’s version of what you show here. Also, I would love to read an interview with your wife!

Anand

Hello Simon, I wonder whether you think that new technology (e.g 3D printing) could soon challenge traditional bespoke tailoring in terms of fit, quality and price? Would you give up the romance of hand-made suits, if machine manufacture could give you a better fitting garment? Thanks!

Dan Paul

More of a suggestion than a question, but why not make an AMA¹ on reddit? It’s simple to register and make it happen, although it would take some of your time to answer what shows up. It’s got a pretty active community.

¹Ask Me Anything. People ranging from anonymous specialists to celebrities do these.

Edward Rising

Which is better, having one tailor who gradually learns your shape and preferences or keep experimenting until you find your perfect tailer?

Boris

Since clothes questions have been very much covered by others, I’ll try something else.
Favourite media?
For music: analog or digital and what is your setup for listening (if any)?
Any interest in videogames?

Wen

Hi Simon,

I might be a bit late but I had a few questions along the lines of:

Do you know how to make a suit / shirt? Have you thought about becoming a bespoke tailor yourself? Why don’t you start your own brand?

Cheers!

JB

Would you consider trying MTM from say Cesare Attolini or Orazio Luciano, or is timing (which I assume would be one of the key differences from such high end MTM) not enough of an issue for you, that you’d rather spend the money on bespoke?

Jay K

Is it true that many bespoke/made-in-London MTM offerings from Savile Row are actually manufactured by independent tailors in Soho? Can we therefore get the same quality by going direct to Soho businesses, or do the Savile row firms have unique access to the best cutters?

Jay K

Interesting, thanks v much. Curious that this is normal in England, while unusual in France and Italy.

To your opening sentence: Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes, Richard Anderson, Richard James and Hardy Amies do offer MTM alongside bespoke tailoring, I believe.

I recall that you aren’t particularly into MTM yourself, but do you have any observations about MTM’s role in the future of Savile Row firms?

Jay K

Hmm, I had an appalling experience with Hardy Amies once and will never set foot again, but I’ve not spotted anything that puts them in a markedly different segment to, say, Gieves. Is there something beneath the surface going on?

To give a similar example of what I mean, I personally rate Crockett & Jones solidly above Church’s, but would still place both in the same market.

Very interesting observation on the direction of “real” bespoke houses that are less Retail-oriented. The logic is all there: I can pick up Huntsman RTW for £2,200 and spend a few hundred having it tailored (by those independent tailors in Soho!) and still make a profit against the ~£3000 MTM offer. However, I reckon all three options taken together give them a broader consumer appeal without diluting the brand, cannibalising revenue or racking up operating costs. That will probably prove very attractive to those houses.

That would be my view, as someone less deeply involved with those businesses – perhaps I’ve been silly and missed something. There’s definitely division among the ranks of the bespoke-driven houses though. I saw horror in the eyes of an A&S staff member when I mentioned Richard Anderson and Huntsman do MTM!

Anonymous

Very very interested as to who in soho you use?

Jay K

Assuming that’s directed at me (while not wanting to hijack the thread) I’ve used Pinnas and Needles for alterations in the last few years. I haven’t found better. Actually having a suit made there at the moment (they have a Neapolitan/Sardinian cutter). Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

The problem I see with offering RTW and bespoke without MTM in the middle is that I *assume* (there are several assumptions here) it will reduce revenue. I assume that very few bespoke customers will trade down to MTM. I assume that many RTW customers at these houses are a few years away from trading up to bespoke, but would be able to go the extra ~£800 for MTM. I also assume there are a few customers who can’t afford Savile Row bespoke that would rather have MTM or bespoke from a less vaunted house than RTW from a Savile Row firm. On that basis, the only way for revenues to go is up and so Huntsman have it right from a financial standpoint. Of course, if the risk of trading down from bespoke to MTM is greater than I’ve guessed, then it’s as you say.

There’s a similar-but-different point in there about branding as well. I would think RTW+bespoke is much more likely to water down a brand than MTM+bespoke. I would say Huntsman’s RTW+MTM+bespoke setup is driving it in the direction of “suit house” faster than Richard Anderson’s MTM+bespoke approach.

This would merit a bit of further research, assuming(!) that it’s not been done before. Let’s pick a university business school to do it and convince the Savile Row Bespoke Association to fund it.

Anonymous

Jay K – How did the bespoke turn out? Highly curious!

Jay K

Looks great! Went ahead with Pinnas & Needles bespoke. Took a few fittings but great result in the end. Their cutter flies in regularly from Sicily, which reflects what Simon said above about how tailors can’t go off and do bespoke on their own. Don’t think I should do a full review on someone else’s blog but in short, yes I’d recommend

Anonymous

What are the three sport coats you’ve used most this summer, and the three you’re most looking forward to wearing this fall?