The Permanent Style Guides

Monday, August 13th 2018
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After 10 years, 2000 posts and 40,000 comments, there is a lot of content on Permanent Style. But readers tell me it can be daunting for a first-time visitor.

So over the next few months I will be collecting together some of the most useful reference articles into separate Guides.

These will cover subjects like building a wardrobe and ‘how to dress like’, as well as advice on buying quality clothing.

Of course, there are also series that have already built up into references, such as the Guide to Cloth, so these will be added too.

You will be able to find them in a new section at the top left of the site - in a drop-down menu called, appropriately, Guides.

There are currently five in there, at a variety of different stages, but all of which are still growing.

The Guide to Cloth is pretty good now, but new posts will be added every couple of months. The Guide to Shirt Fabrics has really only just begun, and we’ll be trying to add one a month to that. The Tailor Style series, looking at all my bespoke suits in numbers, will probably grow fastest.

Do let me know if there are any posts you think would be good to add to these guides - or any new groupings that would be helpful for PS newcomers.

I know a lot of readers have been visiting for many years, and some (impressively) remember posts better than I do.

Each Guide will have its own homepage, listing its contents, so these can be linked to from other posts to help new readers.

For those that have been here for a while, and are well up on their Logical Waistcoat Theory and Italian Background, linking to these old pieces should avoid too much repetition.

Old posts will also be reviewed and updated: sometimes to add more references and imagery, sometimes because I just don’t agree with myself 10 years later.

Please do let me know what you think, as you always do. In comments, by email, or in person a the next pop-up.


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How to buy RTW guide?


I think both quality and style. What to look for in quality, overview of key brands / shops, how to budget properly, benefits of RTW (mainly a style focus)


Agreed – how to identify quality in RTW guide would be brilliant.

Ian F

Excellent move. Given that the Guide to Suit Style understandably concentrates on coat variations, would you perhaps consider a dedicated guide for trousers? There are so many style points illustrated in those you have had made (flat front, pleats, side adjusters, belts, braces, hand-work etc.) and as trousers will often be bought and used as separate garments I think there could be a case for gathering information about them in one place.

JJ Katz

Great idea


I am so impressed that you manage to do all this. Are you ever tempted to get an employee or start curating content from contributors on some pieces (to free up your capacity?)

Kev Fidler

Simon, you mention updating some of your older posts including where “you don’t agree with yourself”. Are you intending to highlight where these changes are and importantly why you have changed your mind? This would be useful to know in terms of your experience, your taste maturing etc.


I’d welcome that as well. When you started you were a consumer like us. Many have or have had similar questions, ideas, opinions at the beginning of their journey from the high street jungle into the realm of permanent style. We are all developping our style during that journey, so much of your ideas will be recognizable 🙂


Certainly a good initiative to aid new visitors finding an entry.

I got your Style Guide in print before the weekend and have been slowly taking it in a chapter a day. I already found a lot of new inspiration that shouldn’t really be new given I’m everything but a new visitor to PS. But still, the organisation of the images in separate chapters along with the crisp “mental notes” on why things work is really helpful. Plus, handsome as you are, the other folks add some welcome variety as well and offer complementing perspectives on styles that you would hardly choose for yourself.

So – how about implementing the book chapters as separate Guides as in “Guide to Suits”, “Guide to Jackets”, “Guide to Casual” etc.? Each emphasising style in action over technical theory. Plus, how about adding some of the other guys to the Lookbook that is already implemented online and add a feature to filter that by the book chapter categories? There are already many of your friends featured around the site and captured in beautiful images. That would be something like the Style Guide Light without the added notes, but still tremendously helpful. Even for the image inventory of just yourself that’s already included in the online Lookbook, I’d think that filtering it by those book chapters would extract even greater value, and it shouldn’t be too much of a headache to implement technically.

Looking forward to seeing this progress!

Peter K

Guides to business dress and a guide to casual dress would be useful.

And perhaps a guide to shoes.


What happened to Choppin & Lodge in London? You reviewed a cotton suit a few years ago but its website had gone when i checked over the weekend. It’s useful to know when reviewed firms go under or get taken over.


Don’t forget to group together all the capsule posts (and to add the long-awaited shirt capsule). Thanks!


I think the most important thing is a good back-up of all your great articles.


Good to see the idea of capsule guides come forward. On the reviewing and updating of old posts some advice..please don’t. It is like wiping out the footprints of a journey and pretending you didn’t make a wrong turn there or a miscalculation somewhere else. You may not agree with all you wrote but in another five years you may yet change again. I and many others have been reading PS since the beginning – to revise and perhaps rewrite will diminish the evolution of PS and apply an obfuscation as to the site’s genesis. It may be minor but something of value will be lost should it occur. Everything has a beginning – be proud of how far PS has come.


Thanks for this effort Simon. It really makes it easier to find articles!

One suggestion would be to have an article or a series of articles that looks at men’s fashion from a different perspective: instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts, explore the issue of how people use fashion to project a particular image, and how how different styles or fashion choices can help create different images, to reflect one’s identity and even one’s values. (This is an inescapable part of reality—even someone who doesn’t care at all for fashion and dresses haphazardly conveys a particular image). For instance, as an attorney, I want to look stylish and elegant, but without ever looking like a dandy or overly rakish—I want to be taken seriously. Conversely, a professional football player who buys a suit to put on in front of the TV cameras has a very different purpose in mind. He doesn’t wear a suit for a living; for him, a suit is an opportunity to show off his personality.

Another interesting article would be to address challenges of dressing in the modern workforce. In a way, things were simply 50 years ago—professional men all tended to wear the same thing. This was true even 30 years ago. I remember as a child wondering why my father always wore the same suit to work every day. In fact, he owned 8 or 9 pinstripe suits off the rack—they all happened to look the same! Casual Fridays did not exist. Obviously, the starting point for any professional man has to be to figure out what the baseline is at your office—you don’t want to go in wearing dark there piece suit if everyone else is dressed in chinos and polo shirts (as is often the case in the West Coast); conversely, you don’t want to be significantly more informal (e.g., if everyone else is wearing a suit, you probably shouldn’t wear separates). There are obvious costs to dressing incorrectly—you come across as looking like you have no awareness of the culture, don’t fit in, etc. On a basic level, this isn’t too difficult. But an interesting challenge is how to deviate slightly from the baseline if you don’t want to look out of place but want to look slightly more formal (or informal); how to retain your own sense of style without looking out of place.

You’ve touched on all of these issues to a certain degree with your articles and posts on levels of formality, but it would be fun if you could address these issues directly. I’d love hear what you have to say!


That would be very nice. Obviously practical applications will vary depending on the particular situation, but some general advice would be useful.


A guide to shoes and other footwearwould be outstanding


Excellent idea. You’ve had some posts on style but some practical advice on how to judge quality (and perhaps your impression of some of the major RTW brands) would also be great. The sense I get is that the number of people who buy bespoke and MTM suits greatly outnumber those who buy bespoke or MTM shoes. I don’t know a single person who has purchased bespoke shoes.


Dear Simon,
This is fantastic, thanks for this, and kudos!
A suggestion: the guides’ links would look nicer if they had thumbnail photos as illustrations, like your other posts do.