Great as Instagram is, a definite flaw is its lack of an effective archive. There’s no way to search old images, so unless you save an image yourself, you can’t find old pieces or browse effectively. 

Just as important a frustration – for me – is that images cannot be grouped together. There are no larger features or presentations of a set of looks, which could present a certain outlook to the reader. 

As a small attempt to address that, I thought I’d try an experiment with Peter of the account @UrbanComposition. We selected a group of his images together, with the aim of creating something more helpful and perhaps long-lasting. 

By discussing the looks (and how they relate to each other) we also hope to be able to provide greater depth and analysis than you ever find on Instagram. 

This selection is intended to demonstrate how you can dress well across a range of activities: from work to leisure, manual labour to formal events. 



1. Suit and tie

“This suit is an example of how I dress for smart occasions, in particular for religious meetings, which are twice or three times a week. I’ve done that ever since I was a kid and it’s a nice reason to wear a suit and tie. 

The cloth is actually a wool corduroy, around 10oz. I don’t know the mill, but being wool it has more natural stretch than cotton, which makes it really comfortable. 

It was the first suit I had made by my now-current maker I Sarti Italiani, a workshop in Palermo, Sicily. I have family in Sicily so I go fairly often, and I stumbled across this place following a recommendation from the hotel. 

They make everything from low-quality, fused RTW all the way up to full bespoke. With this first commission, I had it done in a week while I was there, with one fitting. It was pretty good after that, though I later sent it back for some small changes.” 



2. Casual suit

“I usually wear a tie with a suit, but I don’t mind taking it off at some point in the day – usually because I’m hot. The day I was wearing this it was roasting, and I ripped my socks off too. It was unusual for a San Francisco summer day, above 30 degrees. 

We were going out to dinner, I think, and that’s when I took the tie off. I prefer to do that rather than remove my jacket when I’m hot, though my wife thinks it’s more logical to take the jacket off. I prefer keeping the jacket because the suit still feels complete. 

The shirt is from 100 Hands, and in a one-piece collar style so I think it works better without a tie than a standard collar. It looks less like a dress shirt.

The suit was the second full one that I Sarti Italiani made for me, and it’s a little more classic now. Longer jacket, slightly fuller trousers. 

The fabric is the ‘summer tweed’, something Derek at Die Workwear! did a while ago. I don’t have many formal suits – they’re mostly casual like this: tweeds, flannels, linens and plaids.”



3. Jacket and trousers

“This was at Pitti recently, which I guess is it’s own special occasion. Having that many buttons undone on a shirt would be ridiculous at any other time, but it was hellishly hot – as I’m sure you remember.

The trousers are 15oz linen, part of a suit, which wears surprisingly cool. Perfect for San Francisco actually.

The jacket is a vintage bolt from Hardy Minnis Riviera. I normally like cloths with more texture and this is rather smooth, but the colour appealed. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but then that does make it easier to convince my wife about – at least it’s different to everything else! 

I like white trousers and wear them a lot – those and tan. I have quite a few brown and tan jackets, and finding trousers to go with them can be tricky. But white always works. The closest for versatility is probably the lightest grey fresco.” 



4. Casual wear

“This is what you’ll see me in most of the time. When I’m not at work, when I’m not at a meeting or on a date. It’s casual, and very American: the khakis, the Alden boots, the M65. 

Actually, I’ve just noticed that all the shoes in these images are Alden – apart from when I’m on holiday. Nearly all my shoes are Alden or Saint Crispin’s. 

I know you said that a lot of readers ask about how they take their love of tailoring during the week, to weekend wear. Well I guess one common thread with me is that the colours are all muted – the khaki, the grey, the olive. I find generally that guys are more likely to stand out through colour than cut, so I tend to keep that subtle. 

In fact the colours are pretty similar to tailoring – you could wear tailored khaki trousers, green jacket, blue shirt and brown shoes. And another thread is that all the pieces and the styles are very classic: the blue oxford button-down shirt, the sweatshirt and so on.”



5. Casual wear with jeans

“I guess this might be one step down on the casual ladder, because it’s with jeans. Again, it’s something I wear a lot when I’m not working or dressed for a special occasion. 

I really like coats – ulsters, top coats, anything – because they’re a nice way to smarten up a casual outfit (as here) but also to casualise a suit. With a suit, the coat makes you look just smart, somehow, rather than dressed up. 

In this image the coat smartens up jeans, boots and a shetland sweater. The tweed coat is still very casual, but smarter than knitwear or that M65 from the previous image. 

I often buy casual wear that uses interesting patterns or materials – or with heritage. The coat is from Abercrombie & Fitch for example, which I would normally never shop with, but they did this one coat in an Abraham Moon cloth that I loved. And the shetland is from J Press, which has been doing sweaters like that for a long time.”



6. Work wear

“I’m a construction worker and foreman, so this is what I wear for work every day. If it’s really cold I’ll wear a hoodie, but usually I wear layers, so I can take them off when it gets too hot. It might be freezing in the morning on the 20th floor of a building with no walls, but then much hotter later. 

It’s great that I get to wear clothes like this as well as tailoring – I’m fortunate to have such a varied life. I wear canvas double-knee trousers, a denim jacket (this one’s actually reversible, to wool on the other side) and a chambray shirt. 

I often get asked whether fashion ‘workwear’ holds up to actual work. Well, the broad answer is that yes it often does, but you don’t need that expense. You need cloth that’s practical, yet hard-wearing (it’s always the cloth that goes, not the seams). 

When you spend more on workwear, what you usually get is an interesting material or manufacturing process – like hand-shuttle looms – rather than longevity. There’s cheap, disposable workwear of course, but if you jump from a $200 pair of work boots to $400, you don’t get longevity, you get an interesting leather or a company that pays its workers more. 

Generally with workwear I have to rotate things out after three years, and put them in my casual wardrobe – but then I like casual clothing that looks really beat up, so it works well.”



7. Holiday

“When I’m on vacation I think I tend to wear things that have a lot in common with tailoring, just in more relaxed styles and perhaps some casual elements. 

So here I’m wearing a linen safari jacket, a shirt underneath and cream trousers. But the safari is very light and loose, the shirt is not tucked in, and the trousers are a combat style with pockets (though still quite flush to the leg – the bulk of the pocket is at the back of the leg, though you can’t see that here). 

With shoes, I like to cover my toes. After so many years of work, my toes are pretty horrible – little children would run screaming if they saw them. So I wear closed-toe sandals, like these huaraches.

The jacket is from Ascot Chang. Everything has to have pockets, I hate carrying sunglasses on my head on in my pants pocket. I’ll just sit on them and break them.”



8. Black tie

“My wife and I go to the Opera or Symphony perhaps four times a year, so that’s a great excuse to wear black tie.

These days I’d say perhaps a third of the audience wears black tie, depending on the day of the week. Another third wears suits or a jacket and trousers – making some kind of effort – and one third wears anything at all, perhaps a tie-dye T-shirt and shorts. There’s no requirement to dress up, just a tradition. 

The tuxedo is from Eidos, the shoes are Alden, and the shirt is Borelli. I can’t remember where the tie is from – it might be vintage. 

Looking back over all these shots, I think the biggest mistake people make is treating casual clothes like tailoring. They need to look after suits; they need to beat the hell out of casual wear. 

My advice would be to get one pair of jeans, one pair of khakis, perhaps even just one sweater. And wear them until it really looks like you’ve worn them. They should be an extension of your personality.” 


You can follow Peter on Instagram @UrbanComposition. 

I Sarti Italiani is currently starting to travel outside of Sicily for the first time, to San Francisco. Suits start at €2000 plus VAT and cloth. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The brown summer tweets suit looks fantastic.

I like the look of the cloth, albeit not easy to tell exactly how heavy/textured it is.

I really like the styling and cut as well; trousers sit perfectly on the waist, the pleats are excellent and the funnel is as good as it gets. Shoulder and sleeve are also good on the jacket.



here you are matey – a whole post on the particular cloth


Despite it being the ‘holidays’ I hope this blog gets to all ….. it’s just BRILLANT.

Simon, we need more of this .
It’s got fit, style , tailoring , casual and it’s always great to learn about others .

The fact this guy’s a construction worker just goes to show how we should all dress at different levels but particularly smarten up if for no one else but ourselves .
The casual wear is just fantastic.

In last week’s article we had the killer line “you don’t buy punk on your mum’s credit card.” And this week “They need to look after suits; they need to beat the hell out of casual wear. “

Simon, you do great with suits on this blog now maybe a bit more “beating the hell out of casual wear “.

And PLEASE more like this . It’s cheered me up so much this morning …. 🙂

P.S. I don’t think you lose anything in highlighting ‘rivals’ like this in the industry .
In fact everyone gains …. your blog for widening its scope , the reader from being introduced to other serious bloggers , instagrammers .
Bizarrely there are genuinely no losers !


Just seen his Instagram .
Definitely need an interview with this guy .


Why he makes the effort ?
Where and how did it all start ?
How he affords it ?
What influences him ?

Interestingly, it’s really because what he does for a living , construction , stands so opposed to how he chooses to dress .

Much respect to him .


Hi Rabster,
Good questions. Regarding your first question, I suppose I put effort into it because I like clothes, but I usually choose an outfit based on what I’ll be actually doing. For example, I won’t dress in head-to-toe workwear if I’m not going to the jobsite, nor will I wear a suit and tie unless I’m going to a religious meeting. For after-work activities or weekend pursuits, I’ll dress somewhere between very casual and smart casual, depending on the season and where I’ll be.
Perhaps Simon and I will address the other questions for a later date 🙂


As well, when shopping for casual wear, how do you pick your pieces and be sure they will get along what you already have nicely?

jaycel adkins

Workwear looks in cold climates look great via layering and all the iconic jackets a person can wear (jean, even hoodies/sweaters, chore coats, etc.). Any looks in workwear in hot climates (Florida, USA here), would be greatly appreciated in future posts of this series. Agreed about Instagram shortcomings.


Yeah, a feature on proper formal workwear for really hot environment would be lovely. You know, fabrics beyond linen or fresco, quality/weight etc. I think this will become relevant for more and more people since even countries known for their moderate climates get hotter each year.


The trousers are just wonderful – evidently spacious enough to be comfortable, and great pleats. They show that trousers which sit on the waist, and so help with a long leg look, are much more stylish than skinny, low-slung trousers. Thank you Peter and Simon


What a great peace. This guy obviously dresses to live and it shows.
He has great taste and exercises it well. I particularly liked his suit and summer selections.
I don’t like those M65 thingies – I just think there are much better equivilants but all in all – Bravo !


Out of genuine interest Jason, what would be your preferred alternatives to an M65? An earlier model (the M51 or M43), a different country’s offering, or something else altogether?

I’m currently thinking about an M51 (and am intrigued by a Belgian M64 or French F2) but the range of options, challenge of finding the right fit, and the recent discussion here on the authenticity of militaria worn by civilians has me wondering about other options…


Personally I’d go (indeed I did) for the Private White ‘spring’ Field Jacket.
The quality is off the Richter scale and it basically does the same job but is more stylish and easier to dress up or down.
I also think these faux military jackets are a bit ‘Boys Own’


I see it completely the other way around and would class the Private White (and others such as Aspesi & high street versions) as ‘faux’ military jackets. Peter’s looks like either a genuine vintage M65 or one of the modern exact replicas from a place like Alpha Industries or Real McCoy’s, and far more timeless and versatile in my book.


What a breath of (very) fresh air this is!

Somebody who knows how to wear clothes, who exudes style, looks perfectly at home in his environment, and who doesn’t fixate about stitching, or any of the other stuff which, Simon, I’m sorry to say is the opposite of where you are.

I don’t want to sound in any way offensive, but you have built your site around a kind of superior posture which leads to people writing in and asking your opinion on shoes color, button size and the like, with you providing a “knowledgeable” reply based on I’m not quite sure what.

The guy in this post knows how to dress, knows what he feels comfortable in, and provides simple inspiration to others.

I for one hope you can be less self focused and broaden this site’s perspective so that a wider view than yours can be shared with your readers, who may then learn something they can use in their own environments.

Not meant to sound critical, written with a really constructive intention.


Well Simon the unfortunate Adam is simple way off base with his comments. Your knowledge of clothing, from the workmanship to the design, is what is valuable. This includes how the garment is constructed and the stitching, button color, lapels etc are all part of that. This post is a further example of this knowledge that you share with your readers. You’ve done a number of posts showing how to wear clothing, from formal to casual so, this one is simply a very well done expansion on that theme. Peter has superb taste and his perspective is very helpful and complementary to yours. Thanks again for an exceptional piece.



“Unfortunate Adam” here.

May I be direct? PS is a hugely valuable site, and Simon has done a lot to bring detail and knowledge where it previously didn’t exist. But a while ago somebody wrote a piece which referred to the “cult of Simon”, suggesting that his readers hung on his every word.

All I was trying to say in my previous post was that the guy in this article seems to exude a natural, born to, style, whereas Simon has “grown” into a style which he is now suggesting to his readers in something special.

Nothing wrong in that, but personally, having been a bespoke and style follower for about 25 years, I get more from looking at the type of pictures I see on Instagram etc than I do from reading blogs telling me what it right and what is less right. They seem to look natural to me. Simon, sorry, but you don’t.

Perhaps Simon you would prefer that I don’t post anything here in future?




This is a very strange comment, Adam. Most of us are reading Simon’s blog because we want to know what he’s been up to and hear his views on clothes and dressing well – and the views of guest contributors like Peter. His “knowledgeable” replies are based on knowledge, funnily enough. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’d know how much that knowledge has deepened and grown over the years. There’s nothing haughty about Simon or his writing.


Thanks for the kind words, Jason. It’s true; I do dress for the occasion and am fortunate to have a varied life.

Regarding the M-65, I like to think of it as having a place in everyone’s wardrobe like an A-1 due to its ubiquity, but I understand why some wouldn’t like it. Even I at times prefer clothing that is military-inspired rather than the original, such as the olive field jacket in the “Holiday” photo.


What an outstanding article!


“one pair of khakis”
I’ve been looking for some chinos to cover a range of use from casual tailoring at the smarter end to a jeans-alternative for use in v casual outfits at the casual end. I’m after something good quality and long-lasting. Any recommendations on brands to consider?
I know you’ve said before Simon that the Armoury army chinos last for ages, but I think they’re probably a bit too “workwear” to cover the range I’m after.
The other consideration (call me picky!) is colour – I find the shade of many chinos either too pale and washed out or quite saturated in a particular shade. I’m after a nice middle-ground khaki, probably washed or garment-dyed. I guess in my mind what I’m looking for is something like a chino version of the khaki PS shorts!


Instagram is great, but it has (no matter the subject) created an incrowd, always clapping each other’s shoulder. As far as menswear is concerned, I’m not sure if it’s the right place to look for understated elegance? We’re getting an aristocracy of the same faces everywhere and there’s no critical approach at all. Or perhaps the format isn’t right?
That said as a general remark, thanks to Peter for sharing his pictures & thoughts!


Agreed! That is why, as much as I love the brands and the clothes, the repeated interaction with Drake’s, Trunk, Brycelands, (Armoury though I find them v rude and condescending in store) etc has me wondering if there is more out there! Something subversive and not just the same faces. Simon still has the breadth of experience, and high quality writing skills, that makes him the best though


Great post, nice that it shows a variety of styles and clothes as, obviously, that’s what’s most people wear (ie everyone combines casual, formal, mix of both etc. In their wardrobe). Also, I really hope you don’t become just another blog looking at fashionable clothes of the day. For me your usp has always been the vast experience you have with bespoke makers which has allowed me over time to make decisions as to which maker to go to.



Peter is one of the best dressed men out there in my opinion, and is also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Great piece, thanks for sharing!


Thank you for the article, Simon.

Peter’s writings have been featured several times on Style Forum Journal. I truly admire his style…relaxed, understated, yet very sophisticated. A PS interview with him, would be much appreciated.


Been a fan of Peter’s style since before Instagram (he’s a longer running Tumblr page). He has a very clear and well-considered style in all three genres—formal, casual and work—and, perhaps more importantly, is very practical in his approach to wardrobe-construction. He cares less about brand than aesthetic/quality and is spot-on when it comes to what actually affects the durability of an item.

I am curious what his rep is among his construction buddies though. His workwear hardly represents the actual stuff I see on sites from NY to Boise.

David Flores

Simon you’re correct about instagram and many similar issues apply to other social networks too, mainly that you’re not in total control of your content. Comments, likes, users, etc they all go to IG.
Fantastic post, thanks to Peter for sharing his thoughts.


Great article Simon. Really like this guy’s style. Classically American, with many timeless looks – almost a Hollywood quality. As with yourself Peter looks good in front of the camera and knows, esp. within Instagram, how to design and layer a look, achieving style and authenticity. The tailoring is beautiful, the linen suit is worthy of its own article. I also like the way Peter seems comfortable in all styles natural in workwear, natural in evening dress, comfortable in all. As you pointed to recently this is true authenticity. A follow-up would be welcome, perhaps expanding on your association (why you chose to feature, did you become aware of Peter through Instagram etc.). Of further interest would be your (you and Peter) approach to building your wardrobes and then, individually, how you might construct a look or outfit. Also, apart from natural style, is the comfort displayed in tailored items a reflection that they are also bespoke? Thank you.


Definitely one of my favorite pieces on Permanent Style. He looks comfortable, natural, and at ease in every single outfit, which is, I think, the greatest compliment that can be paid about one’s dressing style. Please, more pieces like this one! Well done.

Paul Boileau

Interesting article, thanks. I work in construction and can confirm this chap looks/ dresses nothing like the foremen I know! I’d need to look at his hands to get a true measure. I haven’t been to Pitti but have been to the Bauma plant fair which I think is more enjoyable.


is it a leap to assume that, because he says he works in construction, he is actually a builder on the tools?

I work in the restaurant business, but haven’t cooked anything commercially for about 20 years, and I drive a Bentley.


You’re welcome to a cup of coffee from my Thermos at my jobsite: 1500 Mission on the corner of Van Ness. It’s a complex of three buildings, a low, mid, and high rise, and you can ask any of the guys there if I get my hands dirty. I’m sure they’ll also share some other dirt on me too 🙂

Alternatively, here’s a link to all the pics at work I’ve posted in the past five years or so:

Adam Jones

Peter, I am actually visiting San Fran for the first time in September. Do you have any recommendations of menswear stores I should visit??


Hi Adam,

Unionmade and Reliquary are great for a variety of casual clothes, and if you’re into denim, then you can’t do better than Self Edge. For dressier menswear there’s the Alden Shop, Barneys, and the Wingtip. Feel free to message me on IG when you’re in town for a cup o joe.


Peter, do you ever use Wilkes Bashford ? If so, what do they do well?


It’s true; most guys wear the same overalls and hoodie day in and day out. Nothing wrong with that (I keep a pair in the gangbox for especially dirty work) but I enjoy rotating heavy denim, duck canvas, and flannel for a bit of variety.


A third of the audience wears tuxedos for the opera or symphony in San Francisco?? That’s most surprising. I live in New York, and the only time people wear black tie for the opera is the opening night at the Metropolitan. Maybe there are some black tie events at Carnegie Hall as well, but I’m not sure.
You look great in that tuxedo! You could easily pass for European royalty European royalty (and even they get it wrong at times)!


You may be right — the most recent opera I went to was the closing one of the season on a Saturday night, so there may have been a larger percentage dressed for the occasion. Midweek shows in the middle of the season definitely see less black tie, sadly.



Any plans to do any suit/jacket cloth runs here on permanent style? Something like the summer tweed.


Oh! Can’t wait!


Hi Simon and Peter,

Very interesting article, and personal views on clothing.

I am just relieved there is someone else in the construction industry who is as interested in clothes and style as myself! (I am a building surveyor by profession).



Great addition to your content mix, Simon, with a great character to kick it off with. Peter had my firm vote in your last “best dressed” competition that Gus eventually won.

Jumping to the very epilogue here.. I Sarti Italiani have travelled to Hamburg, Germany before in an earlier move to build a business out of Sicily. The two times they did come, first for the orders and then for a first fitting, I absolutely loved them and was very hopeful for the results. But they just won’t come back, for months now. So, Peter and everyone out in SF, make sure you get them to commit to a schedule when you place your orders. I’m sure they do great value tailoring work as can be seen in this article, but they do need to step up the rest of their organisation. All written in the best spirit here.. I understand this is a challenge for many a good “local” tailor who is tempted by the promise of a global clientele that comes along with some early Insta buzz.

Again, tip to the hat to Peter and Simon for this article.


Hi Oskar,

It’s true there have been some missteps at the beginning, but as far as I know, I Sarti Italiani planned to go to Hamburg and in ended up being a challenge for all parties involved to get together on the same dates. He is planning a visit in the fall though, so you might want to get in touch with the local contact in a couple of weeks or so for the details. As you can imagine, it’s a lot to manage for everyone involved: hotels, flights, coordination with local hosts, and the local host’s coordination with the clients. However, from what I understand they will dedicate more time and effort to streamline their traveling, and plan to make traveling a permanent part of their business.


This blog has provoked some interesting comments with some posters promoting more of this and some being slightly critical of Simon’s attention to detail.
For my part I would point out that the complete beauty of PS is Simon finding ,investigating and presenting high quality propositions.
Through PS I’ve discovered Equs Leather, Begg & Co, Private White and I love Cashmere. All of which have become important to me in one way and another and all represent real quality. In addition I’ve taken advantage of several of Simon’s projects. One in particular, the ‘PW Trench’ is an absolute masterpiece and is something that I know will cherish for years.
All of the aforementioned have come about because of Simon’s fastidious attention to detail and his accumulated knowledge and this is the real beauty of PS. Frankly I don’t need style advice or instructions on how to brief my tailor.
The limit of the blog as it stands is not being able to see the clothes in action. For me, a field jacket is not for posing in, it’s for wearing in the field – shooting in it, walking the dog in it – seeing how it performs in different weathers and in real life, That would be the ultimate. I don’t know how you do this but it’s the missing piece of the jigsaw – things need to be tested to destruction in the environment they are designed for.


If you can crack the code on that you really will have found the sartorial Holy Grail.

Paul Boileau

LOLZ at anonymous in his Bentley.
Actually Health and Safety requirements make dressing well on many construction sites redundant in the UK. What’s the point if one is required to wear hi-viz for all activities? Hoodies? Forget it- banned on many sites because the hood impairs vision/ hearing.


Simon & Peter,

Thank you so much for the article and the diversity found within it. I happen to share many similar circumstances with Peter, in both the secular field and in being able to share in a variety of clothing styles and options. Both formal several times a week, but also a bit more casual for both work and other ventures. I think what rings true in the article is the need to find the comfort that comes with something that is well made and works for you. That can differ person to person, but when you find it, it is gold. Can be a sweater, hoodie, boots, suit or tie.


Loved this post. It is fashion that is accessible to most of us and, sensible. I have subscribed to the Instagram post. Not so keen some of the more casual items of clothing but overall, good detail and a good commentary on them.
Thanks for sharing with us

Drew Milligan

Fantastic post! I really appreciate the simple but detailed breakdown of each look.

Regarding Instagram, I like to use the save feature (the little flag icon on the bottom right) and hold it down to save pictures to specific folders for outfit inspiration.


Really super, thanks!


A fantastic article and I really hope we see more of these in the future.

Simon – I know you’ve done an article summing up some of the most popular articles in PS history. I think an article on the top 5-10 most “liked” outfits on your Instagram feed would be really interesting as well. I’m fascinated by what grabs people’s attention – is it the most formal outfits, is it casual wear done right, is it the bolder palettes or does everyone end up liking the navy hopsack and grey fresco trousers?


Simon, Peter, this article is a real treat and a great reference point for constructing outfits. It’s one I will return to many times. Thanks.


Is the health crisis impacting any deliveries from PS to the USA? Are the cloth releases still happening? Like the chambray and white oxford?

Also how is the tougher oatmeal coming along? I wish to send it to Enzo, but I have a feeling his business is closed and the package I send will bounce back (or no shipments to Italy at all?). What to do?


Do you consider PS a blog or website? What’s the difference really? And why?


What if you have a site that combines both? Research and interviews, plus personal opinions, experiences and reflections?


Would you say PS started as a blog then moved towards becoming a website?


Any idea how tall Peter is? I feel like his height let’s him pull off so many looks with ease.


Anyone know Peter’s height? Just curious.