A Connolly tonal outfit: cream, grey and brown

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This outfit, worn on the last Saturday of our pop-up shop, is a good illustration of the kind of clothing that excites me at the moment.

It could be defined, perhaps, as casual but luxurious, muted but refined.

Casual, in that there’s no jacket, shirt and tie - and that the shapes are all relaxed and comfortable. Nothing is sharp or tight.

And yet it’s no less luxurious than more formal clothing, with thick cashmere knitwear, Fox flannel trousers, and top-end leather shoes.

The colours are muted. Yes, cream is quite bold, but there are no strong colours anywhere, and the most pleasing aspect is probably just the tonal combination of cream, brown and grey.

An alternative menswear uniform to white, navy and grey, perhaps.

And I call it refined because there is such close attention paid to those colours - as well as the materials that hold them.

The brown flannel trousers have to be dark and cold - Fox calls it char-brown. The grey of the coat can’t be too similar to either the brown or cream, but sit somewhere in between. And that coat needs pattern - otherwise nothing in the outfit would have any.

The coat and knitwear, being from Connolly, both have some fashion-forward details.

These appeal to me at the moment. Each has a slightly dropped shoulder, the coat has a big, rolling collar, and the sweater has an unusually long cuff (which is very cosy on a cold day, but can be folded back too).

The scarf at the neck (the ‘PS Square Scarf’, which I designed with Begg) is also a dandyish detail.

But these details are not the central appeal of the outfit, and are easily changed.

If you remove the scarf and replace the sweater with a classic design, you retain all the sophistication of the colour combination with none of the fashion.

Pick a blue oxford shirt, a cream shetland over the top (Trunk has some nice ones), brown flannel trousers and dark shoes, and you have something suited to a casual office, yet a little different to standard menswear combinations.

I can even see the loafers (Belgravia model, Edward Green) replaced with a black equivalent, given the relative coldness of the outfit.

I’ve got my eye on black-cordovan ones (EG Greenwich model), though Alden would be a lot cheaper, even outside the US.

The sweater is the Gigi model from Connolly, bought two seasons ago. Unfortunately cream isn’t currently available, but navy is. The coat is also not available, although again there are others in different colours.

The trousers were made by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury and the cloth is Fox CBT5/R1285/39 (13/14oz). PS Square Scarf in grey here.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my other two trouser commissions in the works are grey Spring Ram from Harrison’s, and brown covert cloth from Holland & Sherry.

Both should slot into this tonal wardrobe nicely.

Photography: Buzz Tang

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Peter Harris

I like this combo very much, but black shoes would kill it stone dead.



Very nice, though would you be tempted to go with suede shoes? Do you not find that polished shoes clash a bit with more “matte” looking, tonal outfits? They just always seem that little bit more formal.

Have you written separately about the coat anywhere? Can’t find it if so, but it’s very appealing.


Suede would have been fantastic with this outfit. Also, the EG Galway boot would work very well with this ensemble, adding a bit more of a masculine look. The more I study the color combinations, the more I like grey and brown together.


Definitely veering in this direction also. Intrigued how you do so in the summer.


Hey Simon, thank you for the alternative suggestion. If possible, could you recommend a maker for the knitted silk or cotton T-shirt that would be priced at a reasonable point being a t-shirt? Thanks!


The collar of the coat looks very nice. Wondering whether it will stays so (collars on pics generally look better than in real life).
The knit of the jumper looks great. I just find the cut too loose and would fear it gets even looser.


Hi Simon,

Would this outfit which you covered a while ago be the summer equivalent? https://www.permanentstyle.com/2017/07/the-hollywood-top-trouser-from-edward-sexton.html

Trying to think ahead and plan my summer wardrobe since warm weather is not that far off now.



I like this outfit; there seemed to be a time when menswear writers would advocate for wearing a sports jacket or suit as much as humanly possible based on the idea that it was objectively the most flattering thing a man could wear. This may even be true, but the feeling or vibe given by clothes probably matters a lot more than that.


Already sold out of Lighter denim shirts! Any more coming in?


Thanks, pinged an email over.


Love the color combination and the thickness of the knitwear. The dropped shoulder design however, has never really appealed to me, particularly with outerwear. What appeals to you about the drop shoulder look?


But less subtle than a raglan shoulder, wouldn’t you say?


And less effeminate.


Would raglan sleeves not do a similar job but less strange ?


Never been a fan either. It just looks like it’s one size too big (or two)…


I really like the subtleness of this look, I’m a big fan of monochromatic outfits. Could you please elaborate on your use of “cool” in your description? In my world (art & design) the word cool when describing a color would be mean the appearance of blue, as opposed to red which would produce a warm color. Brown is almost always warm as it has the presence of red.


Sam points out the issue of the shiny shoes – I understand your response. I think however, that the balance is slightly lost in the outfit as the thickness of the Connolly jersey and matte flannel trousers suggest an almost outdoor casualness that outweighs the shiny gentility of the loafer. I suggest a more casual (perhaps heavier) shoe (EG Weymouth suede shoes) or refined boot (EG Top Drawer/Tim Little Chelsea boots) would have given a better balance to the ensemble.

Alan Bee


I’d have thought you’d go for a pair of Bluchers/Derbies with that rig. The Belgravia loafers seem a bit out of place given the rest of the outfit. To my eyes, a double-soled pair of bluchers/derbies in Dark Brown or Burgundy would have set this off.

I second the first commenter on black loafers on this rig. A non-starter for me.



I find it interesting that you write luxurious almost as if the outfit would be generally only luxurious if it was formal.

Just my opinion, based on the price of most things on PS, everything on here is luxurious…..Yes, I generally consider a luxury item based on price.

How do you define luxury?


I bought the Connolly Silk/Cashmere knit. Sadly it didn’t look right on me so I sent it back, but it was the nicest feeling sweater I ever felt and now struggle to find anything that is cashmere/silk with a 50/50 blend.


Luca Faloni have some very nice 70 cashmere 30 silk knits.


Thanks, I have an N Peal sweater which is 70/30 too but there is something special about the Connolly sweater in the 50/50. I don’t know how to describe other that beautifully lustrous. Soft with a very smooth hairless feel.


I think this outfit looks incredibly unisex.
My Grandmother has a very similar coat.
Personally I prefer a more masculine look.

David G

The perfect outfit for spring!!

Agree with whoever talked about how wrong black shoes would be with it, and also with comment about the slightly delicate loafers you are wearing.

Keep trying Simon! You will get it right in the end I am sure.


Simon, on the issue of luxury: do you think legacy is also an issue? You mention jeans, sweatshirts etc. – these items, respectively, are from the spheres of workwear and sportswear and, even when expensive, are never quite seen as true luxury items. Your items, both made from natural, luxurious fibres, come from a legacy that is neither of these (almost pre-war ‘country house’ leisure wear). I also contest Jason’s unisex claim – how and what might change were it to be more ‘masculine’, given the normality of the outfit? Knitwear and tailored trousers are a winter weekend staple for many men. So, for example, if the jersey were to be blue might this alter the impression?


Different topic: How can someone avoid discolouration on chinos (Khaki colour)?


Fading through wear


The sweater is susceptible to moth damage – mine soon developed a hole.

Lina Danie

Love your collection.thanks for sharing.


Hi Simon,

What are your thoughts on climate range for the Spring Ram fabric? I don’t see much online about how cool/warm it wears and what I have seen seems conflicting. I’m not worried about it being scratchy so lining isn’t a necessary consideration.

As always, appreciate your input.

george tsiliras

Simon i want to ask for a combination change instead of grey coat a camel coat the other elements keeps the same your opinion

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Would you say char brown flannel trousers is as versatile as charcoal flannel? What colour shirts or blazers would you recommend to pair the char brown flannels? I have never owned a pair of flannels and I am considering the char brown as something different, although charcoal would the default choice.




Continuing on Rupesh’s question and your input about the versatility. I find myself in a quandary with choosing two colors of Fox flannel to have made into trousers. Currently I only have 1 pair of grey flannel trousers (11 oz weight) in a shade that falls halfway between pale and mid grey. I want to purchase two of next most versatile colors. Would you go with (1) Fox Classic Charcoal and (2) Char-Brown? Or would you trade the Char-Brown for Mid Grey and risk the similar shade? All 370G 13/14oz. Rather an important decision because I am going to draw the line at 3 pairs of smart woolen flannel I’m afraid.


Excellent! Thank you. You’re saving me money.


I love the look of this pullover. It looks like a reasonably generous fit (I’m guessing you took a Medium). I usually find that even really good quality cashmere knitwear “grows” a little with wear. Have you found that it has stretched at all?

Lindsay McKee

Two points
1. Who was the maker of the shirt in this article?
2. I have a Swatch of that brown Fox flannel and it is fantastic.
What could you recommend say for a stronger fabric for the trousers, perhaps H&S Dakota etc

Lindsay McKee

Thanks Simon for your help on the trouser fabrics.
Apologies on the question regarding a shirt, so disregard that. So, the cream knitwear is from Connolly and the Scarf is from Begg?
Thanks again


Do you think the Char-Brown flannel by Fox would make a good double breasted suit?

Lindsay McKee

Very interesting, this one!!!
Taking the double breasted suit, if I were to commission one in Fox flannel, what other colours would you consider spectacular, not just in plain colours but allowing for texture like herringbone or even stripes? Something that best befits Fox flannel?
What about a few ideas here if you will, Simon?
A Navy / Blue or Black / Charcoal bold chalk stripe being examples in the classic formal side would be right up my alley!!!


I really love this look Simon. Do you remember the size of the overcoat (just in case is reissued)? I always struggle whit “oversize” items, I never know if you should pick your size or go one size down.

By the way, do you have any opinion on their Beige Trench Coat? It seems oversized as well but really nice, don’t know if the effect could be similar to your heeringbone or the trench is intended just for women.


Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Would you wear a navy overcoat with these trousers? I’m considering trousers in similar shade to be worn mostly with knitwear. Only overcoats I have are navy and olive green (loden). Thank you.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thank you.


Hi Simon
What kind of jackets work with these trousers? Would navy jackets work ok? And grey herringbone?

How about your silk dupioni with this?

Is this brown hard to pair with jackets?


Hi Simon, do you think dark brown Rubato chinos would have worked well with the outfit?

Many thanks,

Chris Lambert

Hi – do you remember the fabric and weight of the jacket?

Chris Lambert

Bummer! I’m trying to recreate it (since it won’t be back in production most likely) with a tailor so was just curious if you knew rough specs of the fabric. It’s a tricky find!


Hello Simon,
I noticed this wonderful looking Square Scarf that you collaborated on with Begg in the past. I was wondering if you ever had any plans to reintroduce it in the future; would love to pick one up.


Hi Simon, do you think a pair of dark brown trousers and a dark olive casual jacket with black/cream polo underneath would work?

Many thanks,


To me, I think they are not bad especially when I wear a cream polo rather than black on top. But what’s your thought on the photo below?


Great, thank you, Simon.