What’s been your favourite post?

Wednesday, December 19th 2018
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As Permanent Style is now 11 years old (that past year went quickly…) I thought it would be nice to consider what my favourite 11 posts from that little-more-than-a-decade.

And I’d be really interested to hear what your favourite is too.

It’s nice asking readers this question when I meet them in the street, because the answer is rarely obvious.

It’s not the popular ‘How to’ posts, or the controversial reviews. It’s more likely to be something personal, related to a decision it helped them make, or a point in their lives.

Talking about posts is also a nice way for new readers to get into the archive. With almost 300,000 new people coming to the site every month, it’s not always easy to know where to start.

Yet the archive is heavily used: there are more comments every day on old posts (more than a year old) than on new ones.

Those old posts continue to be useful references, and become more so when people add to them.

And of course, it’s one area that social media really falls down.

Here are my favourite 11 posts from the last 11 years. And, for another perspective, the most popular and the most commented.

1. Bespoke tailoring: Cost, margin and valueOctober 2014

Everyone always says bespoke is great value for money, and it is. But things are more complicated than that - really, you just pay for different things. For work and manufacture, rather than design or communication.

2. Clothing is not important, November 2015

Sometimes the most satisfying posts are the ones that surprise people. And I like the parallel with cooking.

3. Robert Noble and Begg & CoNovember and December, 2014

Trips are all about romance, and my favourite trip posts will always be the ones that remind me of wonderful countryside and rich atmosphere. Driving around Scotland did that - going from Peebles for Robert Noble to Cumbernauld for Mackintosh to Ayr for Begg.

4. Sasuke, Master knife maker, November 2016

I remember arriving in Sakai in a taxi, hoping it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip. And then seeing an old man in the middle of the street, his face covered in charcoal. That’s when I knew it was going to be good.

5. How to wear a handkerchief, June 2018

This video series was satisfying just because there seemed to be such little good coverage out there. Every film tells you how to make a swan and put it in your jacket. None of them tells you that looks silly.

6. Cleverley Compendium, November 2010

Posts on Permanent Style used to be so much shorter. One thought or update and that was it. This compendium, collecting together all the posts on my first pair of bespoke shoes, would likely be in one or two posts today.

7. Materialism, not consumerism, December 2010

A timely post, also at Christmas, making the case for caring more about clothes. If that’s what materialism means, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it.

8. Which office are you? February 2016

A favourite with readers, and I can see why. It shows step by step how PS style can apply to anyone, in any office. There will be more like this.

9. I am not a gentleman, September 2015

It still perplexes me how people can think a gentleman is someone that dresses in black tie, drinks whisky, smokes cigars, drives a sports car, and treats women as one more of those hobbies.

10. The Rules and How to Break Them, August 2018

Collecting together a series of posts in one of our Guides is really satisfying. And there’s so much in here about menswear, its conventions, and when and why they matter

11. How great things age: Levi’s bespoke jeans, May 2018

There is no greater pleasure from good clothing than watching it age well, and getting even more pleasure out of it in year 5 than you did in year 1.

The most popular posts (by page view)

The most-read posts on Permanent Style are always the ones with the broadest appeal - how to do things, how to buy things, how to look after things.

They're posts with similar versions on many other websites, though hopefully we do them a little differently, with a little more substance and personality.

1 The difference between bespoke, MTM and RTW (74,219)

2 Five tips on suit alterations

3 Buy good English shoes

4 How to wear separate jackets and trousers

5 Which house style suits your body shape

6 Building a wardrobe: Neapolitan tailoring

7 Bespoke commissions what I should and shouldn’t have

8 Building a wardrobe, shoes

9 Italy’s mills and merchants explained

10 The guide to summer trouser cloths

11 Suit Style 3: The double breasted

The most commented posts

The posts that get people talking, or perhaps just arguing. Lots of reviews, lots of opinions.

1 The Permanent Style Awards (301 comments)

2 P Johnson tailoring - Review

3 B&Tailor jacket via Robin Pettersson: Review

4 Luxire shirt and trousers: Review

5 Tips on buying an overcoat

6 Whitcomb & Shaftesbury final suit - great value bespoke

7 Final review: A Suit That Fits

8 Which office are you? (Or, a sliding scale of formality)

9 Liverano & Liverano ulster coat: Review

10 You are the interviewer

11 Saman Amel made-to-measure jacket: Review

 

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Jon

J Adler review (always makes me smile)

Oskar

I’m pretty sure I’ve read all posts at some point. From the top of my mind ‘Which office are you’ was very useful in its eye-opening simplicity (step-by-step side-by-side illustration of the concept – perhaps redo with different levels of suit formalities, or so?). And your recent reflection on the Christmas sweater has lead to some ongoing pondering here. The print Style Guide, though not a post, continues to be another favourite reference.

Posts that I have subscribed to and still receive notifications on include among others A Guide to Linen, A Guide to Tweed, Coarse vs fine cottons in tailoring, Tips on buying an overcoat.. though to be fair, I don’t usually click through on the notifications. Perhaps more another measure of post relevance.

To the next 11! And Merry Christmas.

Robin

It’s been a joy reading PS over the years.
There no one else doing what you do as well (I wish there was so they’d be more to read and learn!).

Since reading PS I’ve introduced my wardrobe to Incotex, The Gigi, Boglioli, Trunk Clothiers, Drakes … to name but afew.

Over the years and particularly this year I’ve sensed you move more into ‘luxury’ and away from broader appeal . This can be evidenced from the lists in the above article.

For the future …….
I’d love to see more emphasis on ‘affordable’ bespoke and MTM.
Particularly with regards MTM , which I presume is what the majority of your readers can initially afford , it would be nice to get more guidance and maybe even highlight some of the shady ‘bespoke / MTM’ tailoring.
Your MTM articles have been huge hits based on comments.

When are you going to get round to the regions in the UK (and other countries) and highlight , not luxury or top end, but just everyday tailoring in the likes of Manchester , Birmingham , Liverpool, Edingburgh etc etc

Also it would be interesting to hear more from the characters in tailoring and maybe see yourself and Hugo Jacomet, who is the only other in the same league but more in vlogs, go head to head.

And finally with the ever growing PS community and increasing comments have you considered starting a forum ?
It would allow for more off topic and guidance from other readers .

Robin

Reference the forum I think somewhere where PS readers could post queries and recommend Tailors , retailers local to them .
Just something which would allow us to share views when you’ve gone a bit too over our budget or high brow !
There is currently AskAndyAboutClothes.com but it doesn’t have the clean look your site does.

My favourite posts ….
the P Johnson ( the comments section went wild !!),
the MTM comparison with Bespoke (YOU HAVE TO DO ANOTHER!! Maybe stick a RTW into the frame),
Bespoke tailoring : cost, margin profit and value,
Luxire ( because it allows me to get into the tailoring game).

James

For balance I would beg please not to start a forum. The internet becomes a very ugly (and repetitive) place once uncurated. There will soon just be a million posts saying “can I wear brown shoes to my wedding” and a million replies saying “please SEARCH the forums before posting – this has been covered many times!”

That an petty controversies over “x” or “y” being fairly/unfairly “banned” by the “mods”. No thanks.

Personally not at all interested in you and other blogger/vloggers “collabing” either.

My favorite post is a predictable one – which kind of office… I remember when we met (first and only time) for you to hand over your first book, you mentioned it as an idea and the reality is fantastic. More please!

Many thanks for years of great content. And Merry Christmas to you and yours

Robin

I must admit you have a point about forums becoming messy, James.

But I still think there needs to be something and hopefully the quality of the PS reader should contain any demise of topics descending into petty squabbles.

Other James

I suggest a simple test. Maybe Simon declines to curate comments on a somewhat controversial post and we get a better (or at least more public) idea of the quality of the readership and the level of debate we could expect in a forum.

I have a suspicion we would be a little disappointed.

Winot

A good compromise imo would be to have a live update sidebar showing most recent comments on historic articles. In other words if a reader posted a comment/question on an old article, other readers could see that and respond if they wished.

Michael Smith

Mussels Dembach -Bespoke at Home 20August 14
I thought this summaried perfectly the dedication and time involved in producing bespoke .
It has been a pleasure to see their progress in subsequent posts.

Mike

Marcus

I have two favourite numer one:
Liverano Ulster coat
Sexton grey flanell
Both because those are the most beautiful pieces of tailoring you presented in this blog (IMHO)

Sam

Favourite post is probably your Sartoria Panico suit review – it’s just been the thing I’ve been most envious of all year.

Jon’s comment prompted me to go back and re-read the J Adler review – with hindsight a lot of the comments give the distinct appearance of being quite “astroturfy” rather than genuine comments from customers. There were a suspicious number of very pleased customers coming out of the woodwork, particularly when compared to the quality of the work the brand produced (and continues to produce – if you check their website now the products don’t look any better) and what I’d assume to relatively slim sales base.

Is this something you’ve become more sceptical or aware of over the years? It’s not something I’ve been very conscious of on your site – this could just be because you don’t tend towards that much negativity in your reviews (not as a personal criticism, more because you’re commissioning from makers that tend to produce a pretty high quality of work).

Sam

P.S. to previous comment.

My favourite post from the whole archive rather than the last year is definitely “Which office are you?” I don’t always agree with your gradations of formality in these types of article, but this one hits the nail on the head and would be a useful introduction to the concept for anybody who is interested in developing their own style.

There’s also something weirdly satisfying about scrolling down the article and seeing your pose stay exactly the same but your outfits become gradually more dressy.

WES WP

Your piece on Jonathan Clay and the story of Italian suit manufacture changed my life. Please follow up with him and where things stand today: in terms of d’Avenza (under new leadership), and his own work in an ever-changing industry.

https://www.permanentstyle.com/2015/04/interview-jonathan-clay-and-the-story-of-italian-suit-manufacture.html

Chris

Definitely Which office are you (sliding scale of formality). As someone who hardly needs to wear a suit for work, it’s great to read something well thought out which encapsulates the whole range of possible office clothing.

Another was the capsule wardrobe post (one with the Three Days of the Condor Redford pic on the top). Although I do like the fact you never went down that whole capsule wardrobe route that every menswear site was doing for years now, I still found it useful.

Honorable mention to 5 tips for wearing trousers, a rather early post.

Rabster

11 yrs …WHOAH!!

What I’ve learned ( not in any order)…
Full canvas is preferential.

High armhole creates a more flattering silhouette.

Shoulders are probably the most important thing and least alterable.

Fit is most important.
Understand colour.

Bespoke is unaffordable.
MTM varies considerably in quality and plagued with pseudo-bespoke.
Branded clothes are a complete rip-off (MTM is looking to go that way unless checked by well informed customers )

I suspect some tailors/ cutters are pri-madonna’s (rather like some chefs) and certain aspects of tailoring are probably grossly overrated (do we really need 100% handwork ….would you prefer a builder who used zero technology and bragged about how much longer it took !?).

Sadly snobbery is still alive and well. Tailoring outside of small corners of England, Italy , France etc , is casually dismissed.
Despite the fact Chinese, Indian , Mauritian, East European etc cloth most of us in some shape or form .

You won’t appreciate expensive clothing until you’ve brought cheap and you won’t appreciate cheap until you’ve brought expensive.

Simon , as good as handmade shoes / tailoring is occasionally allow yourself the ‘luxury’ of affordable. I suspect your readers will appreciate it.

Has the student become the master ?

Thanks.

Sam

A good one that comes to mind is https://www.permanentstyle.com/2017/08/wear-a-jacket.html, because it accurately describes the formation of habits, and one good one in particular. Once you get used to viewing shirts as underwear, you can’t really go back.

https://www.permanentstyle.com/2018/08/how-i-filter-fashions.html as well.

GONZAGUE

Definitely WHITCOMB & SHAFTESBURY FINAL SUIT – GREAT VALUE BESPOKE as it:
– captures both the themes of cost/margins and the relative advantages of traditional bespoke. I find it was more revealing than the recent article where Edesim made a MtM and a bespoke jacket.
– in itself provides a valuable tip to readers: where to get quality bespoke at a reasonable price.
– it may restrain top houses from raising prices to non sense levels and bloggers from over praising those same houses more than they deserve .

GONZAGUE

The front pic looks like the Keymaker, in The Matrix.

James

Recently I found your ‘FIVE PARADIGMS OF CASUAL CLOTHING: WHICH DO YOU WEAR?’ very insightful and it explained why certain items in my wardrobe just don’t look right together. Many thanks

BespokeNYC

Congratulations on 11 great years! There are many men whose improved appearance (and slightly lighter wallets) can be directly attributed to your writing!

In addition to the ones you mentioned, I liked the one about jacket and jeans. I realize it’s a controversial look among iGents, but it’s still one of the only guides that really explains how to make it work (and why it so often doesn’t!)

I second the comment about not becoming a forum (far too messy and petty) but perhaps there could be an opening for some articles in which you publish suggestions from readers (in the same vein as the city guides). There’s a huge amount of knowledge among PS readers and it would be great to see it in a curated form. An initial idea could be a round-up of regional UK tailors. You’ve explained on multiple occasions why it doesn’t make sense for you to try them out (and your rationale is completely logical!) but, given the number of times the issue is raised in comments, it’s clearly of interest to some readers.

Oh, and I loved the “breaking down the outfit” posts. More of those please!

Mark R

Many many useful posts: which office are you, the style guides, the Bespoke/MTM comparison, etc etc , but my favourite is still this one: THE FIRST FITTING PROCESS – WITH SARTORIA PASINATO.
It was a real change from what were often detailed and technical posts to one where we could see your real enjoyment in the bespoke process and product shine through.

Phil

Hi Simon,
Congrats on 11 years – great achievement…
Are you really gaining 300k new readers per month (3.6million per year)? Those figures are truly outstanding

Chancellor

I’m not sure these necessarily are my favourites, but this set of five encapsulates the ones that have been the most memorable, most valuable, and most influential to me.

1. Which Office are You?

I was pretty new to the site when I first read this, and it was a revelation in terms of the sliding scale or formality. It taught me how small changes can shift an outfit, and bridge the big space between my casual/weekend wear and my work (suit/sport coat with tie) outfits. Many others have highlighted this post, including you Simon, and I think that’s because no other site I know of would do something similar. It’s not the rules of dress codes, it’s not fashion, and it’s not prescriptive–it’s just a simple and logical illustration of the complexity of style.

2. How Shoes Should Fit
Foster & Son Bespoke Shoes: Review (for the diagrams!)
The Bespoke Shoemakers I Have Known
Building a Wardrobe: Shoes
The Divergent Styles of Cleverley and Gaziano & Girling
Cleverley Compendium

Shoes have been the area I struggle most in terms of fit and comfort for me. So shoes is where I’m making my first venture into bespoke. These five posts and one compendium were invaluable about framing my understanding of shoe fit, style, and construction before I sought out a shoemaker.

3. How to Buy a Quality Shirt
What is Worth Being Made Bespoke
Bespoke Commissions: What I Should and Shouldn’t Have
Bespoke v Made-to-Measure: Eduardo de Simone Jackets
How to Buy Good Value Clothes

While I can afford some more expensive clothing, I’m no rich investment banker and am pretty limited with what I can afford; I’m also philosophically averse to spending more on items without a clear functional benefit. I.e. I don’t want to buy expensive things for the sake of owning expensive things; I want to buy things that work better for me and my life. These four posts, have hit that mark. The first is extraordinarily helpful–I hope you will someday do equivalents for jackets, trousers, shoes, coats, and other items.

4. Which House Style Suits Your Body Shape
The Tailors I Have Known Part 1: London
The Tailors I Have Known Part 2: Italy, France, Spain, HK
The Guide to Tailor Styles (entire series)
Building a Wardrobe: Neapolitan tailoring
How Many Tailors do you Need?

As I start thinking of my first bespoke suit, a key consideration for me is what kind of tailor do I want. These posts and this series all are helping me get there. I particularly look forward to the Guide to Tailor Series and am excited when every new entry to it drops. I note that, as with my section on shoes, the “Tailors I Have Known” make this list. Overall, this highlights how important the exploration of differences in house styles on this blog is to me. Again, not something that will be found anywhere else.

5. The Guide to Cloth
The Guide to Shirt Fabrics

After fit (well covered across the internet), fabric/cloth is perhaps the next most important part of tailored clothing, yet never discussed elsewhere (the only other contender might be stylistic/aesthetic details, which again are covered by other sites, though arguably less well). These two series are invaluable resources for understanding cloth and fabric, how to choose them, and the technical details that produce these differences. Superb stuff.

If there’s a common theme to these five sets of posts, I think it is their focus on basic fundamentals of clothing (style choices, proper fit, construction, functional benefit, cloth differences) but their deep and intricate examination of them, something not found elsewhere. In scholarly fields, people write text books to explain the depths of fundamental issues. If such books exist for style, I don’t know of them, but Permanent Style is a nice substitute.

Philip P

My favourites were shopping guides (London, Florence and Tokyo). All very useful and handy. I was delighted to meet Simone Righi at Frasi when I visited Florence a week ago.
I will be interested to see updates on the these guides.

J. Patrick Truhn

April 18, 2016. The images of you wearing your Sexton overcoat convey a supreme self-confidence that I’ve never seen equalled in your other posts. I love the back of the Cifonelli as well, and the amazing drape and fabric of the Connolly, but that Sexton coat seems to capture the essence of who you are. I also enjoyed, of course, the August 3, 2018 post, in which I was featured wearing a favourite suit.

Tom

Simon, it’s really interesting to know which articles continue to get lots of follow-up comments, even years after the initial posting. I find the site’s current format highly useful without a forum, but one useful aspect that a forum typically has is the ability for readers to see where recent comments have been made. Perhaps there is a way to add a drop-down indicating “hot” posts?

The article I tend to return to is on Whitcomb & Shaftesbury.

Anonymous

Agree

Peter O

Dear Simon,
I like all your articles, especially when you compare.
Furthermore your articles are getting always better.

Richard L

Aside from Which Office?, my favourite, and one helped set this site apart from others, was “I work in an office.” And as your new “uniform” attests, I feel you’ve stayed entirely consistent with that spirit. Those posts help, as we still need to be taken seriously at work, yet we want to enjoy ourselves a little too – thanks!

Tom

Hi Simon, thanks – yes I mean posts most recently commented on. One way to do this might be to exclude (on a running basis) the last five or ten posts (or even those from the last 6 or 12 months), to encourage ongoing engagement with older posts.

Phil

I read most posts, with the exception of the more technical ones, like the guides to cloths, which I find beyond me; or anything on polo shirts, an item of clothing I’ve never liked for some reason.

The city guides are great, and I have actually used and found very useful Milan, Naples, and even Tokyo – despite living there. Can’t think of many more potential candidate cities, though, – Rome?

Interviews are good – could be more of those. My experience of people in the tailoring business is that they are good talkers, with plenty to say – Ethan Newton springs to mind.

Reviews are always interesting particular the ones for lesser known brands, or more affordable bespoke like Saman Amel, or those very nice and not unreasonably priced suits from small European houses.

Having said that, I do very much enjoy the super expensive stuff too (Liverano, Ciffonelli) even if it does make me feel like a hungry street urchin gazing at the cakes in the window of a posh cafe..

Kevin

One of my favorites would have to be the Liverano ulster coat post given that I’m currently having an ulster made by Millers Oath in NYC and using some of the exact measurements on the collar and lapels because I love everything about that particular aspect of the coat so much. I also loved the Leffot post back in 2008 because it introduced me to a fantastic store in my own back yard that I previously knew nothing about. Lastly I would say that the accompanying photo’s are priceless. It’s so helpful to read your thoughts on an article of clothing and be able to follow along visually, or to see what a particular color, texture, pattern, etc looks like in a living piece as opposed to just a swatch of fabric. I can, and do, disagree at times on brands/tailors, styles, etc. but your posts are always thoughtful, extremely detailed, and balanced (pros/cons) which allow us readers to walk away feeling like we are, if nothing else, well informed and prepared as we continue our never ending sartorial hunts.

Eugene

I really liked the posts about your bespoke leather jacket from G&H. It was outside the normal tailored clothing arena which made it more interesting. It would be great to see another followup about how it ages every 12 months.

Nigel C

Simon. I am going to be a bit contrary. Congratulations on eleven years. PS has been a source of inspiration and information seemingly now for as long as I can remember.
For me it’s not about a favourite post but about the variety of the posts that have been made over he eleven years. Some inform, some challenge, some make you wonder, some I’m not fussed about, some inspire me to change or to do ( or buy ) things. The cool thing is the variety, the thought and attention to detail that makes each visit to the site worthwhile. I love that not every post is for me, it means there are options and ideas to explore.
That said ‘Which office are you?’ does stand out. Simple idea really but thought provoking and informative. Harder to execute than it looked too I’m sure.
N

Anonymous

Not quite what you’re asking, but I think your best commission as far as cut is the Donegal from Hitchcock. I think the drape cut flatters you better than the Neapolitan and that Hitchcock’s coats look especially good on you. I also think you’d look excellent in a coat from Steed.

John

THE D’AVINO SHIRT WORKSHOP

Love when you bring attention to craftspeople who are being forgotten or ignored and I love the idea of you roaming southern Italy in a linen suit and a Panama hat. It’s all so helpful, anti-corporate (helping craftspeople instead of investors), and so grand tour. I also believe that there are two types of shirts in this world – shirts made near Napoli, and everything else. Plus the photography was gorgeous.

Tom

Nice addition of the “Other Active Threads”!