Introducing: The Sartorial Travel Guide

Wednesday, June 26th 2019
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UPDATE: The readers' special edition of this book sold out on its first day. It is now only available from the shops listed at the bottom of this page. The standard edition is available in bookshops and will be on the PS Shop in the future too. 

Over the past 10 years, there has been a welcome recovery in the small, crafted menswear shop.

Usually single stores, with dedicated staff often involved in the brand and product, they have come to typify the quality of clothing we celebrate on Permanent Style.

But I still don’t think they get enough attention. Big brands and department stores still dominate, with the independents often characterised as ‘cult’ shops.

This was the main reason I wanted to publish this new book, The Sartorial Travel Guide.

When I first began talking to Thames & Hudson about a follow-up to my last book with them, The Finest Menswear in the World, a way to publicise these stores was top of the list.

Using a large, international publisher like Thames & Hudson means the books will get a broad, mainstream release, and reach people beyond the Permanent Style readership and other fans of menswear. The book came out last week, and includes a list of my favourite 10-15 menswear stores in 10 different cities: London, Paris, Florence, Naples, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Milan, Stockholm and Melbourne.

There are then 15 single shops picked out in another 15 cities: so Optimo in Chicago, Michael Jondral in Hannover, Brio in Beijing and so on.

Each city has a map showing the rough locations of the shops - intended to give the reader an idea of which order to visit them in, rather than navigate (Google Maps is best there).

And then each city has a few 'focuses', where I go into more depth about the particular shop, its history and its offering.

Places that get that treatment include Connolly in London, Motoji in Tokyo, Ferdinando Caraceni in Milan, Leffot in New York and Charvet in Paris.

Most of the photography here is Jamie Ferguson’s, building on the trips we’ve done together around the world in recent years.

There are also two bonus sections.

In the first, four people in the industry write essays on the subject of retail. Anda Rowland of Anderson & Sheppard talks about the role of small shops; Wei Koh of The Rake picks out his favourites; Mark Cho from The Armoury gives his advice on travelling; and Mats Klingberg at Trunk talks about how he shops when abroad.

These add variety of taste as well as broad experience to the book. Mats is particularly good on Tokyo; Wei suggests jewellery and motorbike shops that wouldn't otherwise make it in.

I then contribute two features: one explaining how I plan what I wear when travelling, and one illustrating how I pack my clothes.

All in all I think it makes a neat, attractive travel package. Expert views, on the menswear shops worth travelling for.

Some of this has appeared on Permanent Style in recent years, of course, but not all. In particular the 15 extra shops, and some of the bonus sections.

I have also - for the first time with a publisher - been able to produce a limited edition, Permanent Style-branded version.

I did this primarily because I feel the priorities of PS readers are different to those of the normal book-buying audience.

While they might need something under £20, readers will value something a little more celebratory, and luxurious.

So the special edition comes in its own grey-cloth slipcase, with the title embossed in gold.

Each one is signed by me, and numbered. I did that on Monday at Trunk, and as per usual it took a very long time.

Still, only 300 are available, and half of those have already been bought by a select group of the shops.

I've listed those shops at the bottom of this post.

Anyone not close to a store can buy a copy online, on the PS Shop here. The price is £29 (no VAT, as books are exempt).

We had a nice little launch party for the book last week, hosted by four London shops featured: Anderson & Sheppard, Trunk Clothiers, Connolly and Drake’s.

Everyone invited their VIP customers, and we had a great time at the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone.

I do hope you like the book as much as they did. As with most books, it’s been two years in the making, so it’s great to have it out there.

And hopefully it helps a little towards spreading the word about the shops we love.

Shops carrying the limited edition:

  • The Armoury, New York and Hong Kong
  • Christian Kimber, Melbourne
  • Trunk Tailors, Melbourne
  • Ferdinando Caraceni, Milan
  • Barbarulo, Naples
  • No Man Walks Alone, New York
  • Leffot, New York
  • Sid Mashburn, Atlanta
  • Simone Abbarchi, Florence
  • Skoaktiebolaget, Stockholm
  • Michael Jondral, Hannover
  • Kevin Seah, Singapore
  • Benjamin Barker, Singapore
  • Linnegatan, Gothenburg
  • Trunk Clothiers, London
  • Connolly, London
  • Drake's, London
  • Anderson & Sheppard, London

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Anonymous

Simon
You still never seem to have spent any time in Rome…. It is obviously now far too hot, but I recommend changing this!

Anonymous

I also, perhaps biasedly, that the Romans have the best style of the Italians. Grandeur yet a charmingly relaxed louchness seems to pervade the city.

Robin

Looks fantastic .
Initially I thought it would be a boring A-Z of tailoring houses around the world.
Credit to the layout and photography .

I think you’ve created your own unique look with your website layout and writing which transposes into your publishing .

Now please , please , PLEEEEEAAASE step out into the British regions and highlight some of the tailoring .
Good or bad it needs exposure and PS has tremendous influence.

And yes the charlatans selling ‘custom’ bespoke (aka MTM) at outrageous prices will be exposed but so will the quiet individual making do in his / her unique way .

Once again congrats on your book .

Joel

I’d like this too, as I can’t afford Savile Row prices and there has to be tailors as good as SR elsewhere not charging the same (due to things like rent cost).

Anonymous

Agree with the pleases!

Richard

Another vote for the British regions.

Shem

Hi simon i plan to pick up the book here from Singapore. Was wondering though, would an increase in public awareness of these shops/brands increase consumption of these products and hence typically increase prices? Wouldn’t brands want to do that now that they have a larger consumer base to increase profit margins?

Jason

Looks like an absolute must have.
No self respecting flaneur should leave home without one !

Andy Poupart

Looks good. Purchased!

Joel

Looking forward to buying your book.

I trust that all the shops are still open as you started two years ago?

Alan Flusser did a similar book years ago, however, half the shops are now closed.

Joel

That’s a shame.

I’ve ordered my copy.

JDV

Do you know what he is doing now?

I.T.

Hi Simon! Interesting idea to publish a real hard copy book in this day and age. Aren’t you concerned though that it might become outdated pretty soon, considering how fast stores close and open these days?
I wonder if you included Vienna, Munich and Budapest on your list? I’m not sure I remember you ever cover any stores/brands from the above mentioned cities…
Thanks for all the fantastic info you share with us! Highest quality content!

David G

Simon

You continue to skip the many requests made of you to seek out the very many artisans working in the UK beyond London.

Why?

In the past you have said that the majority of your readers are outside the UK, but I imagine the majority of them are outside Italy too, so your argument fails.

Do tell.

David G

Ok. I suspect the reason that many of us would like you to spend a bit of time in the UK but outside of London is simply that you can get Row quality for a lot less money.

That in itself is a huge consideration for many who want to dress well but cannot afford London prices.

In addition, there are many other types of artisan who would benefit from a bit of “Buy British”.

And opening a sentence with “..oh dear..” is a touch patronising.

David G

Ok last comment here.

I just don’t buy “lack of access”. If I live in Birmingham, Savile Row is some distance away. So is York, or Carlisle, or Manchester. I still have to go from where I live to where the tailor is. “Access” is still something I would have to deal with.

And if one of your travelling Italians was coming to London, I would still have to “access” them from wherever I was in the UK.

I ‘m sorry but I think your “access” argument is flawed.

Regards

David G

Sorry, I was using Birmingham as an example, I don’t live there.

Forgive me if I didn’t make my point well; accessibility cannot be a reason as you give it, as whatever you want is probably not going to be on your doorstep and so you will have to travel to get it.

If you accept that argument, then wherever you start from Leeds might be as excessive as the Row, and if you can go there and get Row equivalent quality but save £1500, why wouldn’t you?

Anonymous

I would agree with those points and sympathise.
From the other side of the coin, however, some would say that the pursuit of value is quite important and not to be ignored. this is something regional tailors may well have.

Secondly, some would say there might be a bit of menswear snobbery in here… It is much more romantic and instagrammable to go to Caliendo & Solito rather than a tailor in York…. I understand that the fact the travel and are cheaper than SR is on your side, but I think for completenesses sake it would be a shame not to explore further (and who knows you might learn something in your own back yard!). Even just Steed!

Anonymous

Thanks Simon. As ever I do think you are the most down to Earth of the menswear writers out there.

The other area I would be interested by is the more Teutonic styles. There is a whole great tradition there that has been unexplored by these pages! Admittedly much of it that comes to my mind is based in Rural Sports, as much as suiting etc. I bet, though, that there are some great regional Austrian producers and amazing artisans in Berlin!

Anonymous

Rome first though!

H

Would it be worth writing a single article like “New York Bespoke Tailors”, but for the UK regions outside London? Questions on it are asked so many times that there is a clear demand for it, but the reasons for not wanting to do so are equally understandable. This seems a reasonable compromise – and the comments section of said article would provide a single platform for readers to discuss it, rather than populating unrelated threads.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

These readers who point out what you haven’t covered need you to appoint an assistant who writes what about they want. There must be a second book written by an author under your guidance.

Joel

Hi Simon,

I don’t suppose you have a sort of list of respected UK tailors, shirtmakers, shoemakers etc outside of London, even if you haven’t used them, but may have heard good things about them?

Many thanks

Joel

I.T.

Thank you! Are you acquainted with Knize? Apparently, Vienna still has its bespoke traditions. Any interest in checking out the cobblers in Budapest?

Phil

Looks beautiful, that’s my next birthday present sorted I think. The look of it reminds me of an excellent book on Italian tailors by the journalist Yoshimi Hasegawa, which I’m currently working my way through.

My two pence worth on the regional tailors question: I think the reason this keeps coming up is simply curiosity. For example, I see a grand and very old looking ‘bespoke’ tailors every time I visit my brother in Edinburgh, and I’d be fascinated to know if it’s any good. But Simon’s reasons for not covering these establishments make perfect sense. So no complaint.

Carl

I have nothing against regional British tailors but still agree with Simon. There are regional tailors in most European countries but few of them are available for most people. Simon is sometimes writing about regional tailors in Italy but most of them are having trunk shows in other main cities. Permanent Style is now a “blog” with a global audience. Most of us visit London every other year but few of us visit Manchester, Dortmund or Marseilles (even if those cities all have tailoring).

Matt

The woeful state of UK public transportation outside the metropolis means that London-based tailors are often more accessible than those located in other parts of the country, even if those other tailors are geographically closer to where one lives.

For example, I live in Newcastle upon Tyne and can be in central London in just under 3 hours on the train. That’s slightly less time that it would take me to get to Manchester and a considerably less arduous journey than would be required to get somewhere like Birmingham, Bristol or Oxford.

Even as someone who considers themselves to be a stereotypical chippy northerner in most respects, I’m struggling to see the point of a slew of articles on regional tailors?

Most if not all will work in the same style as their London counterparts, perhaps offering slightly different degrees of structure and drape and as a general rule of thumb they’ll be a bit cheaper than buying in the capital – what more do you need to know?!

Joel

But wouldn’t it be nice if you found out there was a great tailor in Newcastle for half the price of SR?

Anonymous

I fully understand the desire not to cover tailors who are neither famous nor travelling however for those of us of more limited means the opportunity to find a diamond in the rough (area) would be great. We just need to find someone with Simon’s writting ability but of more limited means and no large overseas following yet.

Karthik

Hi Simon,

Any delivery issues? Ordered the book a few days ago, and apart from the customary “thank you for your order” e-mail, I haven’t heard anything!

Karthik

Many thanks, Simon.

Shem

Hey Simon,

Big fan of yours and I check this blog daily. Picked up the travel guide but was slightly disappointed after reading. Realised that most of the articles and features of shops/tailors have already been covered in the blog. Even articles by guests (e.g. Mark cho etc.) have already been published elsewhere before. The one area which I liked was at the end (e.g. how you pack) and wished there was more original content like that. Not sure if others agree but I would have liked to read your personal thoughts about travel in general and how you perhaps would dress differently, if at all, in the various countries, how one at different lifestages can pack on travel but still remain stylish (e.g. those with newborn, children etc.). Would also have loved to read how others (e.g. Mark Cho etc.) would pack as well when they travel. Just my 2 cents.

Greg

Simon,
I bought the book from the Sid Mashburn store in Atlanta and throughly enjoyed it!
In your next book would love to see more original content, like how to pack, etc.
Finally, kudos for the outstanding presentation of the book.
I have one of the signed copies with the slip case, outstanding!

Greg

Yes Simon, new content not on the blog would be of interest in your next book.