A casual capsule: The Valstarino jacket three ways

||- Begin Content -||

The blouson in general, but particularly in brown and especially in brown suede, has to be one of the most versatile pieces in a man's wardrobe.

The shape is short and neat enough to work well with smarter clothing; suede suggests a more dressy look; and dark brown is probably the most versatile of colours.

Designs like Valstar's 'Valstarino' jacket (shown here) are also helped by their button front (rather than zipped) and neat little pockets.

This post is intended to show how such a blouson can sit at the centre of a capsule wardrobe, with various other pieces rotating around it.

So we have three looks, all featuring the Valstarino but with different sets of shirt, trousers and shoes.

There are grades of formality (largely driven by the trousers and shoes) but most of the pieces can be worn in any combination.

You might shy away from trainers with flannels, or denim shirt with jeans, but the polo shirt could be worn with any of the three pairs of trousers, the chinos with any of the three shirts, and so on.

Versatility is the key to any capsule wardrobe, and these pieces are as versatile as it gets.

Outfit 1. My bespoke jeans from Levi's (mid-rise, Cone Mills denim) with a chambray shirt and cordovan shoes.

The shirt is the dressiest of the three. Even though it's chambray, it is the fine, dressy kind of chambray offered by most of the shirting mills, and is still quite smart.

The shoes are my Edward Green Windermeres - although the last time I had them resoled, I had the welt replaced and the double sole reduced to one, so they are a little smarter than the standard model.

I like the outfit as it is, but you can easily see how a navy polo could be worn instead of the shirt, or trainers on the feet.

Outfit 2. Beige Incotex chinos (via Trunk) worn with a navy Friday Polo and my much-worn Common Projects.

Beige is a great trouser colour, equally at home with brown, green or navy, and you can see how these chinos could work with any of the other shoes in the other outfits.

The Valstarino, by the way, is a size 40 slim fit, with a wool lining for winter.

Outfit 3. Rather smarter. Grey-flannel trousers with a denim shirt and Edward Green Dovers in the company's (relatively) new redwood colour.

The shoes and trousers elevate this combination into something smarter; but the shoes could also be worn with either the chinos or the denim, smartening up each.

The denim shirt is the most casual piece in the outfit, but if it were swapped for the chambray the whole would actually be quite smart.

If I were to take this exercise a step further, it would be to suggest a jacket as an alternative to the Valstarino - perhaps a brown or navy tweed.

That addition would create an extremely versatile capsule wardrobe.

Hopefully a post readers will find useful, given comments on Wednesday's anniversary post.


Valstarino jackets available in the UK at Drake's, Fenwick's and Mr Porter among others.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man