A casual capsule: The Valstarino jacket three ways

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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

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Casper

Excellent post yet again Simon, thank you.
Do you use any flannel trouser which are not bespoke, and where do you get them?
All the ones I’ve seen around, Drakes, NoManWalksAlone, etc seems pretty lightweight, 11 oz at most, if the weight is given at all.
Regards.,
Casper

Grace

Nice outfit suggestions Simon! However, I’m not too keen on the way the colour of the shoes and jacket clash in outfit 3. Or is that just do to the lighting in the photograph?

Grace

It’s the difference in warmth of brown I think, if that makes sense. The jacket is a bit cooler in shade than the shoes, which are warmer and more reddish brown (love that colour by the way). Anyway, both go well with the trousers!

Oskar

Very useful indeed. I own an unlined Valstarino in the more classic midbrown, which I expect to be wearing more frequently again come Spring with this additional set of inspiration.

Benjamin

I’ve always liked the idea of a suede blouson jacket and yours looks great but how do these react to the inevitable rain (in London at least)?

I am reminded of the classic Seinfeld episode on the subject which is ruined by the rain as he is unwilling to reverse it to reveal the loud lining….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXdNgO94rKQ

Scott

Valstar is a superb line. That brown suede model you’re wearing is fantastic.

Anonymous

Simon

Do you think a navy tweed would work with jeans?

johnnydevore

Great Post. Thank you. I love the pictures.

May I ask about the cloth for the trousers? Bunch? Weight?

Many thanks.

johnnydevore

Thank you!

Luca

Hi Simon, I believe you are familiar with the PWVC suede bomber jacket. Having tried both (Valstarino and PWVC) I really prefer the PWVC: better fit (slimmer) and more versatile. What’s your opinion. The only reason I would go for the Valstarino is price and the fact that it’s somehow an iconic piece. Thanks!

Chris

Simon, I’ve had a look at the other Levi’s posts but couldn’t find it. Was wondering what the rise is for your mid rise denim. 10.5? Do any of the vintage 501s come close to the fit of your bespoke denim? Or Albam for that matter.

Chris

Thanks Simon, I can understand why you like your bespoke pair. Almost impossible to find a 11+ inch rise with such a slim leg. I take it the hem is about 15”. Have a nice holiday.

H

Chris – Would recommend looking at Blackhorse Lane Ateliers to find what you’re after. They’ve got a really great range of classic fits, are really quite special in make, and are relatively reasonably priced (at least compared to the Japanese brands they are competing with).

Worth trying them on if you can get to their London factory though – they run very large and the online fit photos are a bit misleading… My “E8″s fit like the photo of the “NW1″s – despite having sized down 2 waist sizes.

Chris

Looks promising, thanks

Anonymous

I’ve seen you outside that cafe a few times, looks cool. Might I ask the name?

Christopher

Great post! Unusual to see you thus often in casual outfits 🙂
I am wondering how the PS follower will be dressed at Christmas…for me it will be classic, flannel suit (dark grey or chalkstriped navy), pale blue or white shirt with elegant neckwear….and handkerchief

James

Great question. It might also be interesting to give some context with each outfit (with your chalkstripe navy suit option, it sounds like a formal affair…)

I’ll be going for navy flannels (with cuffs), pale blue oxford shirt and grey Luca Faloni cable knit sweater – with burgundy slippers (I’m at home in the country with the folks).

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all fellow PS followers – and to Simon in particular (along with thanks for another year of much valued and enjoyable content).

Christopher

Christmas is not quite formal but I like to celebrate it…I will be with my family and my family in law and we will have a perfect dinner after church!
Have a merry christmas!

Peter K

A much more casual affair at my house with some friends. Not sure yet exactly what I’ll wear but it will likely feature my selvedge jeans and knitwear.

Temperatures here in western Canada are forecast to drop to -25 C in the next few days so sweaters will be a staple this Christmas.

JB

I was wearing a white OCBD, light/mid-grey flannels a santa red chunky shawl cardigan and my dark brown B&L Sagans.

Anonymous

Simon,

This piece kind of feels like those paid for pieces that Bruce Boyer and others do for Drake’s (for example). Were you in any way paid / compensated to do this piece?

Thanks,
S

Anonymous

The Levi’s look great with that ‘fade’ and those ‘whiskers’ please tell me you haven’t washed them yet?

Qaindi

Hi Simon,

Firstly, love reading your posts and have been an avid reader of the site for some time.

I’ve been eyeing up this jacket for a while now. You mention you are wearing the jacket with a wool liner.

Is the wool liner bought separately?

Also if interested in the PWVC collaboration Trench, still available to place order?

Best regards,

ben w

How close-fitting are those chinos? It’s somewhat striking that the contours of your right hand and even fingers are clearly visible behind the pocket.

Anonymous

The chino/sock/trainer combo doesn’t work. The socks are wrong and look too dull and formal with this mix. Burgundy/scarlet/canary yellow would give much more interest.

Gary

Hey Simon,

Great post – definitely along the same lines that were discussed in the comments section of yesterday’s post.

Quick question that I was hoping you could weigh in on. Concerning the chinos, I’ve noticed several makers now using elastene in their cotton twill. Do you prefer this or do you stick with 100% cotton?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Gary

Thanks Simon for your feedback. In regards to quality, do you feel like it’s a positive, negative, or a wash (pun intended)?

Thanks again for humoring me.

John

Have you tried Levi’s 1954 version of the 501? I bet that model is a similar fit to your bespoke pair for those who aren’t ready to go out and go full bespoke.

TK

Regarding the suede-and-rain issue — do you recommend treating the Valstarino with a waterproofer, like the Saphir super invulner spray?

Marc Schmid

Hey Simon!
I’ve been a reader for quite some time now, but this is my first comment on your site.
Great article about the Valstarino! I’ve acquired the Drake’s version last spring and I wore it nearly everyday throughout spring and early autumn. In fact, your article about your tobacco suede blouson was the ignition for me to get one too. That being said, I probably wouldn’t go for a light colored version like the Drake’s, but non the less, i consider it one of my best acquirements in recent years.
Regards, Marc

Marc Schmid

… wouldn’t go for a light colored version like the Drake’s AGAIN …
That makes more sense, sorry for the missing word in the first post.

Hatim Amin

Thanks for the post. The quality is superb ; I tried the lighter brown one at Drake’s and loved it in a flash of a second and yes bought it too !! If its not a trouble can you wear it with various outfits as well !! Your blog upgraded my taste and although I didn’t go bespoke yet but at least I am fully aware of it now and started to build a wardrobe from the likes of Drake’s etc !!

Gordon

Hello Simon ,

Will the unlined version jacket be too much warm to wear during summer ?

Anonymous

Simon

Forgive me, but if you’re wearing a beanie, it’s supposed to cover your ears.

Merry Christmas.

Gordon Ang

I’m living in Singapore . Average weather is at 30 degree

Anonymous

Love the post, I’ve seen this online and you’ve convinced me to get on. In the valstarino, would you size up or down?

Jeldrik

Hello Simon,

could you tell us (me) how tall you are? So that I can estimate which size would suit me.

Would be very helpful.

Thank you (for your help and your nice article) and merry Christmas.
Jeldrik

Matt

Hey Simon- I really love the website and I particularly enjoyed this article. I like the versatility of the suede bomber and one has been on my to buy list.

Can you comment on the versatility of another dark suede color, such as army green?

Thanks!

Baba

Hi Simon, compliments of the season. I was wondering if you’d be doing the permanent style trench coat again. I couldn’t afford it when it came out initially, now that I can, my size (44) IS is no longer in stock. Thanks, Simon, for your fantastic post, which have had a great effect on my style – as attested by the “Lady of the Manor” , who now hardly complains about my dressing.

Baba

Many thanks. Will check with Private White.

Thomas

Long time reader, but first comment
I have owned an unlined Valstarino for a about a year (in green: not the usual color, but I love it!), but I recently wear it during a party and have some stains on the arm
Would you have any advice on how to remove stains on suede?
Thank you very much
Thomas

Thomas

Thank you Simon

Paddy

Hi Simon,

Out of the Valstar and Angloitalian flip bomber(which I came across from your blog)- which style do you reckon is more ‘dressy’/ versatile
The silhouette is exactly the same but just the collar is different…..so, I am now at a crossroad.

Thanks

Richard Jones

Hi Simon, is your belt black leather in outfit 2? Would you wear anything else other than white CP’s on your feet when wearing beige trousers with the black leather belt?

I hope that makes sense.

Anonymous

From a style point of view only the mix with chinos works as the style, colours, casualness and contemporary type are all complimentary – the other looks are too ‘first thing out of the wardrobe’ and as one reader points out the shoes don’t match. I think if you are to wear a suede jacket then suede shoes, or better, boots should be worn otherwse the two textures clash and the shiny shoes look too formal. In the chinos look you match it with matte white trainers – also good. Another commenor remarks about the beanie (aka watch cap) – they are correct – it should be worn higher at the front lower at the back… here Beckham displays correct form…
http://www.upscalehype.com/2013/05/david-beckham-wears-lanvin-contrast-collar-polo-shirt/.
When venturing outside of tailoring into street style the element of fashion begins to affect considerations of formality. Regretably, as with all things fashionable, these considerations alter with time.

Ben

Great post as always Simon. One question: if I have to buy a smart casual jacket that is shorter in length and can go with both casual and formal dressings, what will you choose? cotton ventile Harrington jacket of private white or this Valstarino suede bomber jacket? Any insights? Thanks a lot!

Ben

“This” means harrington jacket or the suede bomber? Thanks

Thomas

How would you comment on the quality of the suede of the Valstar jacket compared to other brands? I was looking into getting a suede jacket and I’ve been considering a few different options.

Steven.

Hi Simon,

Just wondering how you’d decide between this one and the seraphin brown suede jacket you commissioned?
Both very nice, if you were to have just one, curious as to which you think most versatile.
Great post

Max

Hi Simon,
What is the color of shoe cream/wax that you use for polishing the redwood dovers?

TTD

Hi Simon,

In London, where do you have your, or where do you recommend to have, shoes resoled?

Thanks

Tom

How high is Valstarino armhole? I usually find suede jackets has low armholes.

Martins Onzuls

Recently on shoegazing blog there was an article that it’s not the best idea to send shoes back to manufacturer, because they’ll use Goodyear machine and punch different holes in welt (4-5 resoles). It’s far better to find a good cobbler that will resole by hand using the same holes (much more resoles) but as a downside, most manufacturers won’t accept shoes thats been repaired somewhere else.

AG
AG

Thanks, Simon. I remember a tailor telling me that unlined jackets generally have a shorter shelf life because there is no lining to provide “support” to the actual outer material/skin (not sure if he was including leather in this, though). Is this true for something like a suede jacket? Would you consider purchasing a suede jacket that is unlined?

Hugh

Do you find the unlined version catching on shirt fabrics? I’m thinking about unlined tweed jackets as an analogy

Richard M

Simon–I usually have cuffs on my trousers but as chinos have their origin in army khakis, what do you think?

Giorgio

Hi Simon,
I am in the market for a Valstarino, the unlined version, and I am undecided between dark brown (coffee) and light brown (sandal). My first thought was to go dark, but then I tried on the sandal one and I must say it does make a lot of sense.

Considering I will be wearing it on everything, from formal to more casual attire, which colour would you advise on?

Giorgio

Thank you.
I have a pair of dark brown suede boots which I love in fact.
But let me reframe it: would you still go for dark brown, if you could get light brown for 30% less?

Giorgio

thank you – well solved!

Anonymous

Hi Simon. Would you use the Valstarino as a layering piece (i.e. underneath outerwear such as peacoat, topcoat, etc)? Or only as the outermost layer? Thanks.

Simon Hicks

Hi Simon – which colour is your jacket? Are Trunk the best place to pick one up in the UK? Mr Porter only seem to have the unlined version.

Simon

Guessing it is a slightly different shade of this one?

https://therake.com/valstar-valstarino-chocolate-brown-suede-a1-jacket.html

Daniel

What is the difference between lined and unlined version? The lined version is described as “Supple, non-stretchy suede” and the unlined as “Supple, slightly stretchy suede”. Is the leather differently treated or it is just the lining that changes the characteristics?

Juan Huertas

Simon, do you think the blouson (specifically, a Valstarino) would work on a tall guy? I’m 6’4” with relatively longer legs than torso, and I’m afraid the shorter blouson may accentuate that, but would much appreciate your opinion (will try to get ahold of one and try it on soon).

Best,

Juan Huertas

Neil

Simon – could you comment on the versatility of a dark moss green Valstarino as opposed to the brown? Would you wear it with the outfits above? Thanks

MQ

Hi Simon! Have been following you for quite a while now, and came across this post through a comment on your Stoffa review. I was wondering based on the points of styling, quality, and price, how would you compare the Valastrino to your Stoffa flight jacket that you got?

Thanks!

Hugh

Would you wear a suede jacket with suede shoes Simon? Or would that be too much suede to be in good taste?

jason

Hi Simon – I would like to get a suede jacket – something like the Valstar, or the Purple Label one you have. I can find stocklists with the Valstar, but can’t find curent Purple Label ones that are to my liking. Any other brands you would recommend? I think Dunhill makes them as well. I also saw your review of the Craftsman Clothing M2M and the Stofa version – any M2M version you would recommend?

Albert de Graaf

Simon, belated complements on this post. (I read your website regularly but only found this one recently through a search.) I really value your suggestions on matters of: (1) the most versatile colours and styles in menswear, (2) capsule wardrobe items, (3) outfit combinations, and (4) casual and semi-formal clothing items. I’m sure many other readers do, too. Keep up the good work ‒ especially in these four areas!

Carl

I am thinking about buying a Valstarino in suede. Would you consider the “classic” brown, the dark brown or the navy one the most versatile model? I will probably not buy the classic brown as I think it is too casual for anything smarter than denim or chinos. But I have difficulties choosing between the dark brown and navy. I will probably most often have a PS oxford cloth shirt or thin knitwear under.

Jeff

Simon-
Wonderful posts. I have been hunting for a Valstar suede jacket but need a lining due to climate here. Your thoughts on waiting for a wool lining or going for goose filled suede jacket? I can’t tell if the goose filled would make it look puffy— which is not what I am going for, Thanks.

Jeff

Doesn’t your jacket have a wool lining?

Anonymous

If you already have an olive technical jacket and natural color G9 Harrington, what’s a good last casual jacket? Dark brown suede? The Valstar looks a bit similar to the G9

Jack

Great article thankyou Simon, I’d been checking out the valstarino for some time now, including reading your articles several times..and then just this past week the rake had them 30% off! Dark brown already sold out in my size (50) so went for navy. Only concern I have is as mentioned above it’s versatility with different pants..jeans you said may not work? I was thinking though it may be ok, as I’ve found often navy sweaters/blazers/polos can look fine when wearing brown accessories. Just wondering your further thought on this..jeans and navy chinos..?

Jack

Thankyou Simon, that makes sense, a bit too much the same tone if dark jeans or chinos. Navy seems like a nice semi-formal colour so looking forward to it

Fredrik

Hello Simon
Waking up an old article but I have just found your website and I love it. Very many helpful tips and good basic information.
A question, I have some C&J midbrown (“snuff suede”) chukka boots. Would that work together with the dark brown jacket?

Anonymous

Great post. Interesting that you said, at the end, that the EG Dovers could be worn with both the denim and chinos. Don’t you find them too formal for those trousers? I’m interested in your opinion since I am considering a pair of Dovers myself and want them to be as versatile as possible (already have a pair in dark oak which I find too dark for denim and most chinos). Thanks!

anon

Simon,

I’m curious about the Incotex chinos here. Are they casual enough to wear with a t-shirt and cardigan? They look like they dress up pretty well. I’m looking for a sporty chino that I can dress up or down like jeans, particularly for fall and winter, as opposed to a workwear chino (like the Army Chino Armoury sells). Thanks in advance.

Hugh

Anon,

I’ve had good experiences with the fit and material from Lost Monarch chinos.

Richard

Simon, my skin complexion is medium brown (think Rishi Suniak. Will the suede colour featured above be suitable for that skin tone?

Nuno Silva

Hi Simon,
Noticed a few times that you rarely use dark blue for jeans and prefer to keep them light or the standard blue jeans.
You don’t feel that dark blue jeans work well or just a question of the outfits you use normally.
Thank you

Nuno Silva

Thank you Simon, great jeans you showed there.

Mihai

Hi Simon,
I have salt and pepper hair ,i am a winter man as pointed in Colour for Men , Carole Jackson. Even though dark brown valstarino is a casual color would this color fit me better than navy? I find that navy it’s much flattering but again it’s a smart color. I want to wear the Jacket casually

David Wallace

I am 65 and not really sure whether blouson jackets, like the Valstarino are suitable for the older gentleman. I have a feeling of mutton dressed up as lamb. Do you agree?

If you do what might you suggest as an alternative?

Cheers!

Alex

Hi Simon, I really enjoy your articles thank you. My apologies for adding another comment querying the colour of the jacket in this article. I have been looking to purchase the dark brown myself, and found another called ‘caffe’, which appears very close but I think a touch lighter. Is that correct? Just finding it hard to tell online sorry.

John

Hi Simon, curious to know your thoughts on Drake’s dark brown suede chore jacket (https://www.drakes.com/clothing/coats-and-jackets/chocolate-brown-heavyweight-suede-five-pocket-chore-jacket) as a substitute to a dark brown Valstarino?

I want a dark brown suede jacket, but can only really justify one or the other. I find myself leaning towards a chore jacket as i generally think that longer jackets are more elegant, and – especially compared to a Valstarino – better for layering. I guess a chore jacket is more casual, but i would think barely so, given that they both use suede and suede is a more casual material. And i thought it would work with casual tailoring (i.e. nothing more formal than flannels and a button-down).

Interested to know your thoughts, and if you wear chore jackets yourself.

I don’t think this is something you have commented on, but please redirect me if so!

Many thanks.

Mbb355

What do you think of Drakes’ suede chore coat? More or less versatile than the Valstarino? Do you prefer the rust or chocolate?

P.F.

Dear Simon,

What is your opinion on this season’s Valstarinos? I’ve seen a lovely Harrys Tweed and Prince of Wales one, but have my doubts about the versatility of those as they are in a clearly winter cloth.

Regards!

KIM

Dear Simon, wonderful project! I need some advice for the sizing.
I’m about 5 ft 8.5 tall. My chest is 96cm and my shoulder is 44cm.
I tried size 48 of this Valstarino fully lined bomber jacket from my friends but it’s just too tight for me. I own G9 in size 40 and it’s slight loose which I can accept. (Again the 38 is too tight.)
I’m not positive about the shoulder part of the 52 and if I go for the 50 I do worry about “the tight” problem.
May I know what size you will recommend? Size 50 or 52?
Can you share your shoulder size for reference?

Alexander

Hi Simon,
I’m looking to add a versatile outerwear piece to my casual wardrobe. I am considering an olive field jacket (something like an M-65) and a brown or tobacco suede blouson. Which one would be more useful, considering I mostly have light blue shirts and tan/blue/grey pants?
Probably I will end up buying both as I really like those styles, but, given a limited budget, I was wondering which one you would get first.
Many Thanks
AR

Mbb355

Simon, relatedly, do you think the tobacco/”sandal” suede Valstarino also works formally? I’m sure you’d agree it’s less formal than the chocolate. The tobacco suede probably works with smart beige, olive, or navy chinos, but perhaps less well with grey flannels or frescos? Thanks.

BK

Hi Simon, I really like the jacket but concerned that at 6ft 5 tall it may be too short. What do you think? Thanks

Mbb355

Is it too incongruous to wear the Valstarino in a smart color (say, this “greige”: https://www.trunkclothiers.com/products/valstar-suede-valstarino-jacket-greige?variant=33040920707107) with mid-grey high-twist wool trousers in spring/summer? Or is the formality gap between the suede blouson and the crisp fresco too striking? Thanks.

Mbb355

I can certainly understand that. I will say I think Berg & Berg made it look good here: https://bergbergstore.com/blogs/editorials/mainly-grainy. But I agree that look might be hard for mere mortals like myself to pull off. Still I find myself drawn to that “high/low” style.

Noel

Hi Simon,

Would you consider swapping the light blue OCBD for a white one (either with chinos or jeans)? I’m wondering if that wouldn’t work better for an evening casual chic outfit given the higher contrast.

Noel

Fair point. Maybe a “casual evening outfit” if that make sense. Cream trousers for example seem less appropriate when it gets dark, regardless of their formality.