Our Autumn/Winter Top 10, 2019

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Welcome to our small but regular selection of interesting things this Autumn/Winter.

As ever, this is a highly personal list, which makes it both idiosyncratic and entirely without commercial angle - no one can ever and will ever be able to pay to appear. (They still ask, and readers do too - so it feels worth restating.)

Some previous names, some new ones, but all things I've tried out myself and can therefore recommend directly.

 

1 J.Girdwood cordovan notebook

https://www.jgirdwood.com/collections/leather-goods/products/cordovan-notebook-cover-burgundy

£425

I bought one of these from James during the pop-up, and it is beautiful to use. There will already be many big fans of cordovan out there, but the material is particularly nice when held and handled like this. Smooth yet tough, quickly moulding and ageing. 

It’s expensive, but neither cordovan nor hand-sewing are cheap. And you only need one (if you can be that restrained): it refills with Moleskin soft-cover notebooks. I particularly recommend the grey lined ones, as the grey elastic goes nicely over the top of the deep-red cordovan. 

 

2 Linnegatan 2 / 100 Hands brushed cotton shirt

http://www.linnegatan2.com/100-hands-black-line?blockid=5&catid=93

£247

Winter is an excuse for cosy shirts in a flannel or other brushed cotton, and this cloth is a particularly nice example. I have it in a bespoke shirt, and it’s warm yet not much bulkier than a normal oxford shirt, for example. The colour is also close enough to white to be very wearable.

Linnegatan’s shirt, made by 100 Hands, is a one-piece collar made with slightly longer collar points than usual, to allow it to curve nicely out from the neck and remain tucked under a jacket collar. 

 

3 Yard-O-Led Perfecta ballpen

https://www.yard-o-led.com/product/the-perfecta/perfecta-victorian-ballpen

£410

The decorative art that adorns Yard-O-Led pens has always appealed to me (as well as the fact they’re still made in Birmingham), but it wasn’t until last year that I finally got one. It now serves as attractive decoration to my desk - or even to a jacket pocket, supplanting the handkerchief with something no less beautiful but rather more useful. 

Given that the decoration was the appeal, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I chose the Perfecta from the Victorian range, with its swirling design, flared top and undulating clip. The only downside of this model is that it is a ballpen rather than a rollerball (oil-based rather than water-based ink, and therefore a little stickier/blobbier). I do also have fountain pens, before anyone asks, but find them too impractical when making notes on the hoof. 

 

4 Beige / Camber USA crewneck sweater

https://www.beige-habilleur.com/en/sweat-shirts-and-t-shirts/889-camber-usa-crewneck-sweatshirt-heather-grey-.html

€110

I visited Beige Habilleur while in Paris a couple of months ago, and tried on both the Barbarian and Camber products. They’re heavyweight, made for work and sport. Personally I have yet to accept rugby shirts as part of my wardrobe, but I got one of the Camber sweatshirts and it is really interesting. 

Oversized (even a Small, on me at 6 foot) and really tough, it’s the kind of thing to hike in or play in the park in (assuming you’re not do construction work in it, as originally intended). It’s 10% polyester, which helps with the toughness; cross-knit, which gives it horizontal stretch; and heavily brushed on the inside, making it warm. Different to other favourite hoodies like Merz b Schwanen or Loopwheeler in many ways (including price) but I’d readily play football in this, where I’d hesitate with either of the others. 

 

5 Berg & Berg western corduroy shirt

https://bergbergstore.com/products/fernando-turndown-collar-shirt-black

£219

Lightweight corduroy, like brushed cotton, is a cosy material in winter and I recently had a tan one made that has been lovely. The only downside is corduroy’s friction, which means it can stick a little under a jacket. 

Berg & Berg’s ‘Fernando’ shirt will probably not always be worn under tailoring, but the cut and collar do work well as such, and the combination of cord and western styling feels original. The breast pockets, too, are distinctive and perhaps subtler than similar shirts. The colours are interesting: white and navy will be quite simple to wear, but I’m trying black. Which might be just a little easier than burgundy. 

 

6 Richard James pale-grey cord trousers

£155

I've mentioned before that I find Richard James worth a look each season for its variations on classic menswear. I don't like some things (eg curved fronts on DB jackets) but the colours are often unusual and there's always tailoring at the heart of it.

In the bespoke shop recently (opposite the RTW shop) they've had a selection of ready-made trousers in a really good range of colours and materials. Pictured above are a pale-grey cord and olive Loro Piana Denim. Hems are unfinished are finished for free; other alterations can be paid for. The ones left are currently on sale, at £155 each.

 

7 Bryceland’s sunglasses

£345

Ethan has just brought out a range of Bryceland’s sunglasses, made with fellow Tokyo-resident Solakzade. I think they’re just on the line between distinctive and dandy. 

Cut from vintage acetate and inspired by a 1950s French design, the frames are chunky and fairly conservative were it not for two sharp corners around the outside bottom corners. And except for the colours. I like the green (very dark, almost black, shown top) with a dark lens, but they’re also offered in a light grey and pink (with dark or light lens options; grey above, pink below). The pink is the right pink; but it’s over the other side of the line - particularly with a light lens. 

 

8 P Johnson merino hoodie

https://row.pjt.com/collections/knitwear/products/navymerinohoodedjumper

$195

Whatever one might think about their tailoring or branding, I’ve always liked the ready-to-wear products at P Johnson, as well as the styling. This hoodie is a good example, made in a fine merino wool (and so harder wearing as well as not too expensive) and designed to be a layering piece under tailoring. There are also nice touches like the overlapping opening of the hood. 

I’ve liked fine hoodies like this for years, initially having some from Al Bazar in Milan, before upgrading to MTM ones from Saman Amel. I don’t usually wear them under tailoring though - more usually a gilet or shirt/jacket. 

 

9 Budd flannel dressing gown

https://www.buddshirts.co.uk/nightwear/mens/dressing-gowns

£750

Budd do their dressing gowns made to order, at a small uplift on the RTW price - £825 rather than £750 and I spotted this gorgeous wool-flannel one in the shop the other week: dark grey with black piping. 

Most dressing-gown designs and colours are too strong or bright for my taste, but this was perfect. Beautiful, yet a touch more masculine than the others. The make is excellent too - by Budd’s exclusive gownmaker in the UK, who trained with Sulka back in the day. You can see it in things like the width of the shawl, and the length and shape of the ties. 

This one isn’t on the website, but there’s a made-to-order system where you can order this or any other. 

 

10 Trunk shetland sweaters

https://www.trunkclothiers.com/products/trunk-berwick-shetland-crew-dark-olive

£160

Shetland sweaters are hardly unusual these days - they’re as much a staple of menswear ranges as oxford shirts or flannels. But I’d pick out the own-brand Trunk ones for a few reasons. First, they’re a circular knit, so no side seams, which gives the naturally stretchy shetland even more play. Second, the wool itself is a touch lighter and softer than most shetlands. And third, the colour selection is good. 

There isn’t the variation in the yarn that the Anderson & Sheppard ones have, but the grey, olive and straw are perfect, with cream and orange as bright options. I wish the blue was a dark navy, but that’s about it. The neckline is also quite high, which I like. 

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Paul Boileau

Thanks for the recs. I have an ancient silk T&A “Summer” dressing gown in beautiful madder silk which has unfortunately seen better days. I was looking for something more substantial to see me into my dotage and the Budd may be just the ticket! I seem to recall you had one made by Stephen Lachter ages ago? – has it held up ok?

Paul Boileau

I am very pleased with the Budd dressing gown I bought so thanks for the recommendation!

Lord Marbury

Simon what would you wear a black shirt with/under?

Scott

That dressing gown is outstanding! You mentioned that Budd has a made to order service. So, could the gown be made a bit longer then the standard length?

Gab

Hi Simon, what is your opinion on Berg&Berg quality? I have a few items of which I am satisfied but was curious of your opinion. Keep up the excellent work by the way.

Ryan G

Hi Simon, just out of curiosity, what are some of your favorite fountain pens? I agree that they aren’t always practical, but that hasn’t stopped me from building quite an extensive collection of them. My go-to favorites for daily use are Pelikan M800 and Montblanc 146/149 (depending on my activity). Parker Duofold Centennial is also a favorite.

Willingtolearn

Could you add a link to the moleskin notebook you referenced? I am hesitant to buy the leather cover without being able to add a good stock of the notebooks. Thanks

Jason

Simon,
Regarding the cordovan cover.
How does it compare to Equus who appear to have a similar product ?
I have an old Hermes that I am desperate to retire due to the ludicrous cost of refills.
Jason

Jason

Yard – O- Led is a fabulous company who make amazing handmade products.
The craftsmanship is off the Richter scale.
I’ve got the Viceroy Grand which is a rollerball and won’t write with anything else. The engraving is absolutely beautiful – the skill of the hand chipping is truly something to behold.
Bravo Simon for recommending Birmingham’s finest. It’s one of the best Christmas gifts going for somebody who appreciates real art.
No self-respecting flaneur should be without one !

George

Jason
I hate to be a negative commentator but the term flaneur really is a bit much to be used every single comment.

Jasom

George, sorry to be positive but I reserve the right to speak as I like and doubtless will keep flaneuring on !

Audrey

Hello Simon

Given your exquisite taste and appreciation of the finer things in life, I am interested to know what car you drive.

Thanks

Audrey

But without a car how do you manage simple family events? Taking your children to football or ballet, going for a trip to the seaside etc?

Nikita

Seems like you tried many sweatshirts over the years. Which ones are favorite? And how do you usually wear them? Just for home leisure and activities with children or for casual walk in the city? Have you tried Sunspel sweatshirts and hoodies? You seem to like their t-shirts but never commented about their sweats. And what’s your opinion on sweatpants?

Anonymous

In the park? What does this mean?

Sam

There is a middle-aged guy in my neighborhood who always wears carrot-shaped sweatpants and a hoodie, with a tweed jacket on top. It shouldn’t work, but it does, on him. He makes it look elegant, believe it or not.

Bast

What do you think of cuffs on jackets and in particular, dinner jackets?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

I had a question about Trunk’s Shetland sweaters – are they made of Shetland wool? Their website states they’re made out of lambswool, does that mean wool coming from Shetland lambs??

Keith Ellison

May I ask a question on a different topic? Would you caution against any suit in vicuna or vicuna/cashmere combinations? Kiton has an elegant vicuna/cashmere offering, but I am concerned that the trousers would not hold up — especially because I am a judge and do a lot of sitting. Keith

Matt

I want a monkey skull.

Robert

Simon,

Love this list – and tempted by the majority of them! I have a couple questions.

One of the first photos shows what appears to be a the skull of a young macaque with aged bone patina. May I ask – is this a resin example that can be found online (e.g. http://www.theevolutionstore.com) – or is the item the actual remains of the diminutive beast? Either way it’s a beautiful piece and would look great in a gentleman’s library.

Also, in the photo which features Bryceland sunglasses, there is a case (Sterling Silver?) that appears to be too thin/small to be a case for those sunglasses. The Brycelandco.com website doesn’t include cases. Please clarify the function of the beautiful case because it’s very attractive.

Cheers and thank you for sharing!

E L

I am not sure this top 10 is as useful as some of your past ones. Maybe the problem is the format (maybe 10 is too small a number) or that fall/winter items are still coming out. Still, a number of the things on this list (while they might be cool things) aren’t really fall/winter things, and a number of the other things are pretty niche. Aside from the shetlands, which I know plenty of sources for, I just don’t see myself buying anything on this list.

A couple formats that might be more helpful:

1. A piece where you highlight a few of your favorites in various categories, e.g. a few pieces of outerwear you really like, a few pieces of knitwear you like, a few pairs of rtw tailoring you like, etc. There are a lot of new interesting pieces that come out each season, and most of us will never get the chance to handle these pieces before ordering them (not everyone lives in NYC or London).

2. A piece where you highlight a few of your favorite pieces from various stores, e.g. a few of your favorite pieces from Drakes, or the Armoury, or Anglo-Italian, or elsewhere.

Bolaji

Bravo Simon, for not owning a car, especially in London.
I used to be very embarrassed giving the same reply before, but not anymore.
What we have, or do not have, should never define us in any way.
My lifelong motto: Live and let live.

Omri

The gown is beautiful. I believe it is available from the Merchant Fox. I am not sure if it the same one, though it is made by Budd: https://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/collections/gowns/products/fox-flannel-glen-check-dressing-gown

FIDELIO

Hi Simon.
I’m looking to purchase a grey roll neck and just saw your post on the Private White site about theirs. Looks nice. I was about to get the one Drake’s has for this season which is a bit chunky and I merino but looks very similar. Also looked at Luca Faloni’s which is cashmere but seems lighter. How do you compare the private white to those two? What is more versatile, a chunky one or something like the Luca Faloni?

FIDELIO

Thank you Simon.
What size do you take on the Private White cashmere rollneck? Can it be used under a jacket or just outerwear?

SanFi

Thanks for the list, Simon!

I don’t understand why the Camber is priced at over 100 Euro when you can easily order it elsewhere for about half that price….

Moreover, you could probably order even more cheaply by direct order from Camber if you shop in bulk. I am also curious how this sweatshirt stands up to similarly styled but cheaper options like Champion….

Timo

Hi Simon, I enjoy reading this kind of posts. Do you know exactly what fabric that shirt is made of? I would very much like to have a comparable bespoke or made to measure shirt made for the winter.

Bill

What size do you wear in the Trunk Berwick Crew sweater?

I’m guessing small as that was your reply in the Luca Faloni thread. I normally wear a 39 or 15.5 in shirts but when I measured my existing sweaters against the posted LF measurements small (36) looks to be best option.

I can’t find any actual measurements for the Trunk Berwick. I’m in the US so I can’t try them on…

Bill

https://www.permanentstyle.com/2016/10/luca-faloni-knitwear-a-high-quality-staple.html

You said medium first and then said “correction – mine are a small.”

I wear a 5 in a Merz B Schwann sweatshirt. I feel like I’m a little between sizes – sleeves would probably be a little short if I sized down.

FIDELIO

Hi Simon,
Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year. Wanted to buy a Berwick shetland in medium grey (I usually get your size and it has generally worked well). However they are out of the medium. I am tempted to buy a small as based on the measurements the difference seems only a couple of centimeters. Did you ever try the small?

Bill McAdams

thanks – I just purchased a grey and camel beige cashmere crewneck (exchanging for navy – as the camel seems darker in person and is harder to match w/ trousers). Beautiful sweaters and nice fit… I also picked up their long sleeve Brera polo in Navy (also in small) – and really like this piece too.

Zo

Re point no. 5, how do you wear your tan cord shirt? i have a one and find it difficult to wear because a) the colour is too strong and b) any attempt to reign in the colour palette fails because, as you say, the fabric is difficult to layer under anything.

Robert

Hi Simon – How would you compare Trunk vs Anderson & Sheppard in terms of Cashmere Crew Necks?

Felix

Hi Simon,

obviously an old post but I thought my question fits here best. I’d like to buy a high-quality and non-dandyish dressing gown (i.e., no New & Lingwood silk prints for me, though they are beautiful), but I am a little unsure about what prices are appropriate here. There are some cashmere offerings that are consistently priced at >2k (which is too much for me), and there are surprisingly little offerings in wool, but very similar designs are priced at ca. 400 at Derek Rose and at ca. 700 at, e.g., Budd. At the same time, T&A asks for 400 even for something made of cotton shirting. Is there any logic behind these prices, and could you point me at, so to say, the Crockett and Jones of wool dressing gowns, by which I mean something of decent quality but not blatantly overpriced? Thanks a lot for your insights, and keep up the great work, always looking forward to new articles.

Felix

Thanks for your input. Yes, it’s surprising – apparently there are more high-end or somewhat costumey options than there are solid basics. Would be interesting to know the differences between Budd and Derek Rose, but I guess I’ll just stick to the latter then.

Pradeep

Simon,
Do you like burgundy shirts? And can it be worn with charcoal grey trousees

Anonymous

Hi Simon, what do you think of Trunk’s Berwick crewnewck in Burnt Orange (https://www.trunkclothiers.com/products/trunk-berwick-shetland-crew-sweater-burnt-orange?variant=32328601731107)? Would you wear it? If yes, how would you style it? Thanks.

Anonymous

Much appreciated!

If Imay ask, what do you think about their brown option?