A weekend wardrobe can be a particular challenge for guys that care about their clothes.
It should be relaxed and easy – not requiring much thought, and a nice change from the working week – yet cover a wide array of activities.
At one end of the spectrum, it must suit going to an art gallery and a nice lunch; at the other, playing with children on your hands and knees.
I’m sure it’s for this reason that readers have asked about clothes for the weekend so much recently.
So in this post I suggest one easy, capsule weekend wardrobe, based on things I wear a lot.
It starts with a base of oxford shirt and jeans, and then presents three alternatives for shoes, knitwear and jackets, to be swapped for different activities.
It is intended to be basic. As with all similar ‘capsule’ posts, it establishes the building blocks of a wardrobe, to be built on over time.
More unusual, characterful clothes can be added on top. I make a few suggestions of those at the end.
The starting point for these different looks is a button-down oxford shirt (in PS Oxford cloth) and jeans (bespoke Levi’s) pictured above.
There are of course lots of casual options. Chinos work very well, as does a good polo shirt.
But these two – the particular colours and the particular materials – are the most versatile. Good jeans can be used in every situation, as can a shirt this casual. As will hopefully be shown below.
As with all the clothes shown, quality and fit are crucial. Which is why my shirt and jeans are bespoke, in materials that I enjoy and know wear well.
Bespoke isn’t required for good fit, of course, but don’t forget that fit and quality are important with casual clothes as well as with tailoring.
(The fit may even be deliberately different – e.g. a wider-leg trouser – or the quality different – e.g. a coarser cotton. But their importance does not change.)
Shoes might be the most intuitive of the following three categories, just because guys are used to the idea of swapping shoes for different purposes.
The ones I’ve chosen (above) could all be called casual, but cover every weekend activity for me, apart from actual competitive sports or adverse weather.
The brown-suede chukka boots (Saint Crispin’s, on a personalised last) are the smartest, and great for an art gallery or most other strolls around town.
The white trainers are from Common Projects, and provide a slightly more casual alternative for similar activities. As set out in my trainers series, they work for those situations because of their quality, their simplicity, and their long last shape.
And the third are more sports shoes, here from Japanese brand Reproduction of Found. I’d use these where I’d be afraid of mucking up the Common Projects. So kicking a football around in the park with my children, for example.
In each of these sections I’m also showing one full outfit that makes use of the different pieces.
Above is the smartest, combining the chukka boots with a fine cashmere knit in a smart colour, and a smart raglan coat (the Donegal Overcoat I designed this season with Private White VC).
Despite the fact we’re working from a base of oxford shirt and jeans, the overall look is pretty smart. Even more so with darker denim.
The second obvious thing to swap for different looks is the jacket or coat.
Notice none of these are tailored jackets. It’s not that smart. But by simply changing the material, colour and length of what is pretty casual outerwear, most eventualities are covered.
The first option is the charcoal-wool donegal-shouldered coat mentioned above. This ‘balmacaan’ style is smart because of its length and colour, but casual because of its loose fit and raglan sleeve.
It dresses up jeans in this capsule wardrobe, but could also dress down tailoring.
The second option is the classic Valstarino suede blouson from Valstar. It’s been noted many times in the past how versatile this is, because of the nice suede and the button fastening (rather than zip).
A dark-brown suede would be more versatile still, but I’ve shown this mushroom colour because it looks so nice with blue denim, and because it avoids a clash with the brown chukkas.
And the third outerwear choice is a military-style utility jacket (shown in my arms above, and styled in the next section). Immediately more casual for its rough, rugged style.
This could just as easily be an M-65 field jacket – either way, it’s a much more casual, but still versatile option.
Those three jackets should cover pretty much every eventuality, just like the shoes.
With the utility jacket, I’d be happy on a wet day, wiping down a muddy dog. The Valstarino is obviously casual yet still luxurious. And any of them could be worn down the pub.
The combination in this section (above) shows the Valstarino with the Common Projects trainers, as well as the oxford shirt and denim of course. My default for going to the cafe with the newspaper.
Changing knitwear is more subtle than the other two categories, but still makes a big difference.
The three pieces here are an oatmeal-cashmere V-neck (Loro Piana, the smartest), a brown shetland crewneck (Anderson & Sheppard, in the middle) and a grey-cotton sweatshirt (Merz B Schwanen, the most casual).
Each sits where it does primarily because of its material, but also because of its colour and style: the shetland would be smarter in navy; the cashmere would be more casual in a crewneck.
They can easily be swapped between most of the other footwear and outerwear combinations.
Consider the donegal coat and the chukka boots, for example. All three of these sweaters could be worn with those two, resulting in differing levels of formality.
I wouldn’t wear the brown shetland under the Valstarino, but I would wear the other two – and the effect from luxe cashmere to cotton sportswear would be marked.
The combination I show in this section (above) is the most casual.
It combines the most relaxed of the sweaters – the grey cotton – with the utility jacket. Either the brown chukkas or Reproduction of Found trainers would be great on the feet.
It would look nice with a beanie too – either a smart cashmere PS watch cap or, at the casual end of the spectrum, a rolled wool one from someone like Heimat.
Not all of these 11 pieces of clothing work with every other one. I wouldn’t wear the sports shoes with the donegal, for example.
But there are many different combinations in there, and together they make up a small capsule collection that (for me) covers all eventualities with some satisfaction.
If you then want to add some more exciting (but potentially less versatile) options, I’d suggest some to consider would be:
- Tobacco suede boots
- Chelsea boots
- Bolder, more fashion-drive trainers
- Donegal in a brown or green, so more casual
- A camel-coloured polo coat
- Leather blouson rather than suede
- Roll neck, particularly at the smart end of the spectrum
- Hoodie, at the casual end
- Shawl-collar cardigan, great as a jacket alternative
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
Certainly like all the looks but particularly the M65 look.
On that note , I understand yours is a vintage, but where would your recommend one could purchase a new M65 ?
Just to be clear, this isn’t an M65 pictured?
Real McCoys would be my first place for a new one, though they’re not hard to find vintage
The utility jacket looks good, which brand is it?
You look very relaxed and perfect in this outfit. I definitely bookmark this page so, that whenever I want to order I can check this page. Nice post thanks for sharing. 🙂
Simon, does your St. Crispins chukka have leather or rubber soles?
Rubber. Thin rubber
All great suggestions and a reminder that these kind of posts are probably the most useful ones on this site. Especially for me where any of these combinations are probably some version of the office default.
I really like the color of the Valstar. Goes great with the blue hues as mentioned and not as common and obvious as a dark brown would be.
Why would the chukka boots crash with a dark brown Valstarino ? And is there a smart way to avoid that. You write that the dark brown Valstarino is more versatile. But how can it be considered versatile if you cant mix it with the most common color for semi-formal shoes?
It’s not a big thing, but personally I’d try to avoid a brown suede jacket and brown suede shoes/boots at the same time. I’d go for brown leather shoes, or a different colour of suede.
And you’re right, that is a problem with brown-suede outerwear – but it is the most versatile in every other respect, in terms of other clothing it can go with elsewhere.
I love the look of the oatmeal v neck, I’d love one like that but no way can I afford loro piana prices unfortunately, has anyone seen similar (in quality ideally if no colour) elsewhere?
John Smedley has its own online outlet (updated every other week or so), where prices are between 50% to a 1/3rd of the original price. Much of it might be in unusual colours or designs, but there are V necks in oatmeal at times. With patience you’d find what you’re after. There no difference in quality, it just pieces that might be of a previous season or have limited stock available I guess.
thanks Noel, I do look on there every now and again but I always seem to see weird patterns or fuschia tops designed for dwarfs or giants! I’l keep my eyes peeled and keep checking
Can’t speak for the relative quality of either piece but Kent Wang does one if you’re in the U.S. Not sure if they ship internationally.
Luca Faloni makes a lovely oatmeal cashmere v-neck, although it’s a slightly less fine gauge than the LP. I’ve had mine for about 4 years now and it still looks great (a good example of how quality in cashmere only really shows with time – I’ve had similar sweaters from J Crew that looked great brand new, but very quickly lost their shape).
Depending on your budget, look into Saman Amel. They offer mtm knitwear in Loro Piana cashmere, but they’re still a good deal cheaper than the LP ones.
Try Luca Faloni
Ian, give Luca Faloni a try.
Check out the fawn V-neck from Rubato.
A long awaited article indeed, excellent put together as always. Could you possibly share the brand of your field jacket which you wear on the photographs?
Sure sorry – it’s RRL
Interesting post as ever – am I correct in thinking this is the first time you’ve referred to wearing sports shoes? Any plans for an article on them; there’s a huge range of styles, some of which are wearable. Others…..not.
Yes it probably is, just because I wear them so rarely – and just for, well sports. If it’s something I want to not mind kicking a football in.
It’s not something I’d personally wear much and therefore really focus on. A full piece is unlikely therefore.
Simon, This is off topic. I’ll try anyway. Any big city can be dangerous, and looking fashionable and wearing a visible wristwatch could get a mugger’s attention. Have you noticed around London that muggings/attacks happen in such an unpredictable way on the weekend or weekday that it’s not worth trying to blend in with lower-end attire? I’m coming to London soon and although I won’t be flashing visual enticements – is it ill-advised to wear a higher-end wristwatch tucked under my sleeve?
No Robert, it’s not really an issue. If it’s big and gold and shiny, and you’re in a dodgier part of town at 2 in the morning, maybe. Otherwise you’ll be fine
Robert it’s a sad fact that daylight muggings in central London over watches etc is rife. Take great care.
Plimsolls aside (I hate those things) this would be a great selection for a flaneur wintering in Naples.
For us Brits I think we need something more substantive.
On the knitwear front I would heartily recommend the Inis Mean ‘Boatbuilder ‘.
For footwear I would go with the Joseph Cheaney Jackie III R Chuckka boot – great for the country, beach and city.
And with regard to outwear we must have something completely water proof and here, the PS/PW ‘Trench’ is an absolute killer. Apart from being a sartorial masterpiece – it is perfect for all occasions. As is the featured ‘Donegal Overcoat’ which I also own and would declare a versatile bull’s eye that would flatter any flaneur !
For the rest of it, I have two questions for Simon :
Firstly, are the bespoke Levi’s seriously a better option than the NW1 ?
Secondly, have you got a dog ? If so, I certainly wouldn’t suggest wiping a muddy one down in that utility jacket !
On Levi’s, it really depends on how much you want made to measure – in terms of design or fit.
On getting the utility dirty, like most workwear, it will only look better once worn, dirtied, washed and worn again. One big difference from most tailoring
Simon – long time reader but first time poster. I just wanted to say that these “casual dressing” posts are great. Hopefully you can continue writing more in the same vein as I suspect I’m not the only reader who finds them very useful.
What are your thoughts on the practicality of the suede Valstar in the UK climate (i.e. as it rains, constantly).
Every time I see pictures of the jacket I’m immediately drawn but more often than not I then turn my head to look out of the window and it’s throwing it down.
I suspect you wouldn’t recommend wearing the jacket for any significant time in the rain and, for me, that feels quite impractical.
Thanks Mark, that’s good to know.
For practicality of suede, I’d see our video on looking after it – it’s more robust than most think, though still not for chucking if down – and the reversible one we did as a solution
Another excellent and welcomed post, and I echo the above comments.
Re reversible Valstarino, you mentioned earlier this year for some plans on a brown reversible one, is this still in the works?
Yes it is Chris, just confirming it at the moment. Would be next Spring. Email [email protected] if you want to be on the waiting list
well simon i think this is the kind of posts that at this stage of PS are more than welcome: pieces that build over previous pieces. i see this one as a continuation of the core casual wardrobe both in theme and style of writing. not that other posts were not connected to previous ones, but stylistically i find here a clear sequence of concepts. so, happy to see how you will continue deepening these ideas.
this capsule wardrobe is solid and my take on weekend wardrobe would not differ much from yours: maybe just loop in a rugby shirt or a casual sport coat (it does not get that cold down here to wear the donegal coat).
Very useful post. Thank you. Was the mushroom Valstarino a Mr. Porter exclusive? Can’t seem to find that color available.
It was from a few years ago
How robust and versatile did you find your Armoury x Real McCoy’s horsehide jacket? I seem to remember you had it caught in the rain–did it hold up well?
Yes, very much so. Horsehide gets better the more you have it in the rain.
Not that versatile though. Only suited to more casual, workwear looks
This is a particularly useful post for we retirees who only have the occasional need for more formal clothing. Simon, your weekend wear is my daily. My suit (Hemingway’s) just comes out a couple of times a month.
All look good. but would wear to visit someone or out for a meal. When running errands etc, a hoodie and jeans or khaki’s with a pair of trainers is easier. I’m not a fan of “dress trainers (sneakers as we call them)” Shoes or regular trainers for me.
Very nice article, I really enjoy your articles on more casual clothes, from blazers and sports jackets to sweatshirts and jeans since that’s the kind of clothes I wear the most.
How would you compare the Merz B Schwanen sweatshirt to your other Japanese Loopwheeler ones (in quality, fit, thickness and so on)? And what size is your sweatshirt?
Merz is very good, and is still loopwheel. I’ve found the Loopwheeler ones a little nicer, but it’s marginal. Also Loopwheeler is thicker.
My Merz is a Medium
You mentioned that the ones from Loopwheeler are thicker than the ones you’ve got from Merz. Are you able to comment on which Merz sweatshirt you’ve got? I know they’ve got a regular and a heavy variant.
Ah, it may well be the regular then. It was from Trunk and they only have one weight
Do you find that you prefer the thicker Loopwheeler version over the thinner Merz version? You said that the quality difference was marginal, so I would assume it would just come down to the weight of the fabric itself.
I did, yes. I would say the quality difference is actually fairly noticeable – I would pick the Loopwheeler today on that basis
If I may bring a third player into this discussion, The Real McCoy’s. I believe you have some sweatshirts from them as well, correct? How would they compare with Merz and Loopwheeler in your opinion?
Definitely superior to Merz and probably to Loopwheeler
I’m sure you’re aware of how difficult it is to get your hands on Loopwheeler outside of Japan. So that’s not really an option. I’ve got a navy crewneck sweatshirt from The Real McCoy’s. I’m looking to now get a grey sweatshirt. Obviously, the styling of their sweatshirt is very particular, and it is especially noticeable in the grey. The navy and milk look pretty good actually, so no problems there. I think you would probably agree. Other Japanese brands are pretty much in the same in that respect. Which only leaves Merz on the table for a loopwheeled grey sweatshirt. You mentioned that you don’t really like the regular weight Merz, but have you ever seen or have any experience with the heavy version of their sweatshirt? Do you think that the increased weight of the fabric would improve the quality of Merz in relation to The Real McCoy’s?
It wouldn’t really improve the quality, no, though it might feel better to you for having more of it.
To be honest I’d look to the other Japanese makes first, at someone like Clutch, Son of a Stag or American Classics, to see if there’s a grey there you like
from own experience I can recommend Merz Schwanen, but the sizes seems to be different between the type of sweater. In the crew neck I am wearing S (which is my standard size) and in the hoodie I had to change twice the size, from S to L.
Thanks to both for the reply and the info.
I’ll try the Merz B Schwanen to begin with since the Japanese one from the brand Loopwheeler seems quite difficult to get a hold of in Europe. And I’ve only heard good things about Merz before as well, now I’ll just have to decide if I should go for the heavy or medium thickness version…
I really like the colour of the suede jacket. Is the jacket RTW or MTM/bespoke? Would you say that it’s similar to the taupe suede that Stoffa use?
RTW. It’s slightly richer in colour than the Stoffa, but not too dissimilar
Thanks. I have an asymmetric jacket in dark brown suede from Stoffa, which I love, and I’ve been considering ordering one in taupe too, so it’s good to see something similar. If this was still available it would be a very interesting alternative.
Great post! I’m terrified of having “baggy Dad jeans” and appreciate that fit is key.
I’ve always believed that jeans should be worn with a belt (some style “rule” from, probably, British GQ magazine in the ’90s that I’ve stubbornly stuck by!) but you look great wearing them as they are. I have a white oxford button down shirt from Emmett that I’ll wear now with jeans on the strength of your post.
Great article Simon, really interesting. I’d say my office is now so casual and informal these outfits would actually be completely suitable for work, perhaps with chinos swapped in for jeans. I enjoy your articles on high-end tailoring, like the previous one on Michael Browne, but pieces like this are the most instructive.
Very practical advise on this post, thank you once again. Two questions. What is the reason you would not wear the shetland crew neck under the Valstarino? too chunky a sweater for it or is it mostly the clash in formality of the materials? Also, I was expecting to see the PS Bridge Coat make the list, any reason it is not?
A little too chunky, and a little too casual, yes.
The Bridge Coat would also have been a good one for this list, pretty much a good replacement for the donegal. I just couldn’t include them all.
Now in my mid 50’s I no longer think denim jeans are appropriate although denim shirts are timeless. Welcome your thoughts although I know you are decades younger !!
It’s hard to give real advice on, as I haven’t been that age. But I feel instinctively that there’s nothing wrong with denim on older guys. Just keep it slim but not skinny. And combine it well with casual things like casual shirts and boots.
As a sixty six year old flaneur I rail against the idea that denim is inappropriate.
If one stays in shape and has the appropriate jean cut, there are no barriers !
Really useful stuff; something similar for weekend dressing in hotter climates would also be very welcome please.
Do you have a link to where I can find the mushroom Valstar jacket?
It’s not current season I’m afraid – I’m not sure it’s available anywhere
May I know what is the size difference between your common project and the ROF sneakers?
You mean, what sizes are they both? What size did I take in each?
Yes what sizes do you take for both? 🙂
42 in Common Projects
43 in Reproduction of Found
“it avoids a clash with the brown chukkas. ”
Very interesting and convincing indeed although I could have worn both in dark brown.
Do shoes have to be darker than the rest?
And also maybe you can help: what colour of shoes would you recommend with chocolate brown slim trousers? Thank you.
No, shoes don’t have to be darker than the rest.
Often it’s better if they’re darker than the trousers, but that’s mostly with more formal clothing.
Brown trousers are not easy, but I’d suggest either a brown leather that’s even darker (leather might add some shine, creating needed contrast) or if the trouser is dark enough, black
Just curious – why no belt Simon?
Style point or am i right in thinking those jeans have no belt loops?
Style point – I generally dislike belts and had them taken off these jeans
How heavy did you go with your Balmacaan? I’ve recently made myself one in a 25 oz undyed wool and absolutely love the fact that it is so much heavier than my usual overcoats. I know it may not be as useful when the weather warms up but I’m loving having a proper battle weight overcoat. I was just interested in how heavy you went with yours and wondered if you would ever go any heavier?
Did you see the piece on the design of this coat Tom? It’s here:
I hadn’t but will enjoy having a read!
Which colour Shetland is your jumper? I popped today into Anderson and Sheppard to have a look at their Shetland jumpers, and allmost all of them looked too uniform in colour (maybe lightning was too bad?) When I mentioned that to them, they showed me moss green, nice colour variation but I would much prefer brown…
Mine is from two years ago I’m afraid. I’m not sure the same colour is still available.
At least it all shows how uncommercial this site is – nothing is available to buy any more!
Are you familiar with O’Connell’s in the US? They have a pretty wide range of Shetlands made by Laurence Odie (the best Shetland maker I have tried). They have a color called Autumn which looks very similar to the color Simon has here. The pictures on their website aren’t great, but there is good color variation. Die, Workwear! had a good picture of this color some years ago (article name: Taking a lot of Shet). Hope this helps.
I have pretty much eliminated collared shirts these days, except for special occasions. All that ironing! I am retired of course so it’s easier for me. However I am determined to remain smartly dressed.
I feel t-shirts, short or long sleeved can look fine as well as everything else is spot on, ie nice tailored jeans (blue, grey, beige), a cashmere jumper, crew or standup collar, a nice bomber jacket or one in suede, again fitted and with a baseball or standup collar. You can add a cashmere or other sport coat (a la Sam Amel) and high end sneakers. I also have a few cashmere (sorry, but I’m addicted to the stuff) overcoats, slim fitting, in navy and camel.
A cashmere scarf is essential and smart in our Australian winter.
What are your thoughts please?
I think just wearing crewnecks looks good on some people, less on other Rob. I find it doesn’t work that well with my relatively long neck.
And yes on crewnecks, but less so on T-shirts, short sleeved or long. They’re never going to be as smart or nice as a knit or collared shirt.
The nice thing about crew neck or roll neck is that if the material is good enough and fine enough (in terms of thickness), it can work equally well by itself or under a sports coat.
Unless extreme, having a long neck is nothing to hide. If you have a long nice line extending from the back up to the nape of the neck, that can be very elegant. (In fact, a long neck is a quality they look for in the ballet world). I used to do competitive ballroom dancing as a hobby, and the men would actually try to raise the hairline in the back of their head by a half inch little (e.g., by shaving, if necessary) in order to create the appearance of a longer neck line.
That said, in terms of balance, pairing a long neck with a roll neck might look better than a crew neck. And conversely, if you have a short or squat neck, a top with a roll neck should be avoided.
Wow, I never knew that.
I can certainly see how a long neck would be considered more elegant – certainly compared to a rather short one.
I guess it’s mostly about proportion. In the same way someone with a long neck might have a higher collar, a crew neck sits rather far more down on the neck, and a collared shirt (or polo shirt) sits higher.
Personally I don’t think a crew neck under a jacket is flattering on me for that reason. It’s the whole suits-and-T-shirts thing. In my view, people seem to think it’s about how you wear it, but it’s more about the proportions of the wearer.
One of the problems with T-shirts, in my experience, is that they don’t look too good if you’re not muscular. Polos however are a nice middle ground. They’re more dressed up and less of a pain to care for than shirts. By the way, Simon, a post on ironing etc. would be more than welcome…
Nice point David, yes. The advantage of the flattering collar.
Noted on the ironing.
I love denim but I really dislike jeans worn with ‘smart’ clothing. Yet, I can’t work out if this is a blind spot all of my own or a genuine issue the rest of the world needs to be woken up to, and fast.
Good clothes, whether grunge, couture, Savile Row, work wear or athleisure should say ‘SEX!’, or at least attempt to, but jeans worn in this way say, ‘NO SEX!’ It’s too meek and mild. Too polite. Even worse than the Dad jean look, which at least says, ‘BAD SEX!’.
I love all the clothes Simon suggests in this piece but I just couldn’t bear to wear them with jeans. And chinos would be just as bad. But I concede that I can’t think of an alternative that would look good in my eyes. You could wear no trousers of course, but that would be likely to shout sex in a way no one wants.
I think the problem is dressing in this way lacks mystery. You look exactly what you are: polite, respectable, affluent, tasteful, safe. And none of those things have anything to do with glamour.
If you wear a bad suit and polyester shirt, people will assume you are a middle manager of some sort, but they can’t be absolutely sure. You could actually be a drug runner, alcoholic or escaped convict. There is still some small room for ambiguity, enough to lend even that uninspiring outfit more glamour than the smart jeans look is able to muster.
Anyone agree with me? If not, help me. It’ll make life easier. And casual dining less stressful.
“Good clothes, whether grunge, couture, Savile Row, work wear or athleisure should say ‘SEX!’, or at least attempt to, but jeans worn in this way say, ‘NO SEX!’ It’s too meek and mild. Too polite. Even worse than the Dad jean look, which at least says, ‘BAD SEX!'”
People unavoidably make certain inferences – and judgments – about people based on the clothes they wear; therefore personal style is really about what type of image, and ultimately what type of values, you want to project. Although sex appeal can be an element of that, it’s certainly not the be all and end all – especially for men. Although sex appeal can be more direct for women if they want to go in that direction (e.g., low neckline, high hemline, type of shoes, color of nail polish, etc.), for men, sex appeal tends to be more oblique. There’s nothing overtly sexual about a well cut suit, in the same way that there is about wearing a miniskirt with stilettos. The only exception I can think of for men is leather (which has a certain inherent sex appeal), but that’s the exception that proves the rule.
As for jeans, it really depends a lot on the type and what they’re paired with. Dark jeans can look quite elegant when paired with a sports coat. Lighter colored jeans can look quite sexy when paired with a leather jacket.
“I think the problem is dressing in this way lacks mystery. You look exactly what you are: polite, respectable, affluent, tasteful, safe. And none of those things have anything to do with glamour. If you wear a bad suit and polyester shirt, people will assume you are a middle manager of some sort, but they can’t be absolutely sure…”
I guess it really depends on the image you want to project – and, I suppose, the type of woman you’re interested in attracting. I personally don’t see anything glamorous or sexy about a bad suit and polyester shirt. And I don’t think the type of clothing pictured here has to be boring. It’s all a matter of fit, taste, quality of the materials, how it looks on you, and perhaps most importantly, what the event is. Finally, to state the obvious, I wouldn’t wear any of the outfits pictured here for a date night or to a night club, but then again, none of the outfits pictured here are intended to be worn for such an outing; the outfits here are really daywear weekend outfits.
I’m a little unsure what you are proposing to ‘sex’ up these outfits. A pair of open crotch leather chaps peut -etre ?
Seriously , this is a ‘capsule’ proposal and therefore provides just one choice of strides to get you through the weekend. In that scenario it is impossible to beat the ubiquitous jean. Any other choice (cords, moleskin, flannels or chinos) would fail with one or more of the sweater or coat proposals made.
Regarding the broader point that Simon’s looks lack glamour and mystery, you have a point. He certainly doesn’t come across as Serge Gainsborough or Bryan Ferry but that’s because he is clearly appealing to a broader church of flaneurs.
And by doing this he provides a great service and has created a somewhat unique niche.
There are a couple of items in this post that are truly excellent. One I already have (Donegal coat) and another (Levi’s bespoke) is giving me cause to ponder.
Levi’s have discontinued the particular type of 501s that I have long sported and I’m now obliged to go thru’ the trauma of finding an alternative.
This is where PS becomes particularly useful and Simon’s fastidious research comes into its own.
Set against this, when he gets the hoodies and the common projects out I run for the hills. But, in all probability, this will be when the 25 year old yuppies sit bolt upright.
At the end of the day Simon can only make proposals and each flaneur must make their own selection (or not) and plow their own glamorous/sexy furrow and in this regard I’d be fascinated to learn your choice of lunch strides !
Personally I think denim and tailoring goes extremely well together.
A weekend combo for me will be well faded jeans, a classic navy bespke SB blazer, white or pale blue OCDB, cardinal red socks, and espresso suede slip-ons. Works well for gallery/casual lunch in eg The Wolesely.
Swap the jeans for mid-grey flannels, and you’re set for cocktails at Duke’s/dinner at Murano.
Give it a try.
I have 2 Luca Faloni cashmere sweaters, which I love. Luca Faloni has great basics, and I find they’re excellent value. Not cheap but not ridiculously priced; all in all, excellent quality at a fair price.
Speaking of which, does anyone have any experience with Luca Faloni’s cashmere-silk blend, and how it compares with their pure cashmere? The crewtop in navy and oatmeal both look quite nice.
I love the way this section of Permanent Style is turning a little into a discussion between followers rather that simply a Q&A with Simon. His views will always be vital of course but it’s nice to see more opinions from others on various posts to get a greater feel for different viewpoints.
Simon, many thanks for this post. I’m curious about why you wouldn’t wear the shetland with the Valstarino. Is it the colors of these particular pieces?
See comment above Patrick
Sorry, but I forgot an important element. Like many here I am interested in your posts on casual dressing. In fact these are the ones which I read exclusively.
After a century of being corseted and constricted, comfort is king (apologies for the alliteration). I am delighted to see PS moving with the trend. Again, well done Simon. You have great instincts.
Good article, thank you. Thanks also to Alex and Jason for putting a smile on my face…leather chaps, ha!
The more I read this article the better it gets. You make a great point about shoes.
‘Shoes might be the most intuitive of the following three categories, just because guys are used to the idea of swapping shoes for different purposes.’ A suggestion, as an alternate, would be to swap the sports trainers for a more rugged outdoor shoe or boot for park walks and inclement weather and add something more weather-proof for the M65.
Nice point, yes. Boots would be better for walking, less for casual sports. Kids make a big difference there!
Extend to five days and this capsule would already be an elevated version of San Francisco/tech/silicon valley work wardrobe.
Thank-you for a really interesting and useful post. There’s some really good food for thought here.
My sartorial standards have certainly dropped since becoming a dad- a bunch of uniqlo merino crewnecks that get thrown in the washing machine as quickly as my son Jackson Pollocks them- perhaps, in his Way, he’s telling me to go upstairs and put on the William lockie camel hair cardigan and he’ll treat it with more respect.
I really like the deep V on the Loro Piana oatmeal sweater- any other makers with that kind of style? Also will look at upgrading the grey sweatshirt.
I think Jeans are too versatile not to be a key part of a capsule wardrobe like this. Getting the fit and quality right is key to avoiding the ‘dad jean’ look, although part of that is down to the ‘dad bod’ underneath the jeans.
A utility jacket is very functional for daddy day care, although I find a nice pea coat can elevate the rest of the outfit.
Rubato has that same deep V, but that’s also quite a distinct fit in other ways
Are you really advocating wearing a fashion house trainer costing £165 to go to the park to kick a football around with your children? Why not a shoe that is designed for sport?
Not for me thanks.
Yes I’m afraid I am. I want to like the design and the make too.
When I played football with my kids it was mainly for their benefit, rather than mine. And our garden was large enough for us to play there rather than have to go to the local park, so I could wear appropriate footwear rather than have to worry about people seeing me.
My kids got a bit of playground cred when their friends said “wow your Dad drives an Aston”. Don’t yours get bullied when you wear shoes like that to play footie in the park?
Thank you for this nice post, which is so useful! Especially the suede jacket fits so nicely, like second skin!_Could you also wear a thin wool sweater underneath, or would this make everything to bulky?
No, a fine knit could certainly work underneath
Thanks for the nod on the Valstrino – I’ve emailed your team and look forward to seeing/ordering it in the spring.
ON another note, I’ve been toying with a loopwheel for ages and your Merz b. Schwanen 346 hits the mark. Did you got for the normal or heavy version?
No worries Chris.
I think it’s the normal? The one weight stocked at Trunk in any case
Simon, you write you would not wear the Shetland with the suede jacket. Could you elaborate? Thanks. Mike
Hey Mike – it’s above in the comments.
could you perhaps do a post on tasteful sportswear some time (gym clothes or tennis)? I know you wrote something on some retro running brands a while ago, but some of those feel a little costumey to me. Are there any other specific go to brands for you, or would you also fall back to regular gear from Nike/Adidas etc.?
Have a nice evening!
Sure Felix, I can try and do something. Simon
Simon, what about knitwear for warmer weather? For spring/summer, is there a point in getting cotton sweaters to use with shirt/chino outfits, or is fine merino better? I’m not really that fond of sweatshirts
I think it’s worth having one cotton and one fine merino, in something versatile like navy. But you won’t wear them anywhere near as much as in the winter
How would you compare the Blackhorse Lane E5 jeans to a pair of bespoke Levis?
Would you say the material on the E5 is better? (possibility to get alterations), but I really do love the colour the Levis.
With bespoke Levi’s you can have any material you want, from pretty much any good mill. So Levi’s certainly aren’t worse from that point of view. You can pick your material and your cut.
Okay, one more question. Why the gray sweatshirt? It keeps popping up on every men style blog I’ve seen. The grey and crewneck parts are obvious – the first sweater I bought was in this style exactly, and is the most versatile I got. But what makes cotton so good here, and why sweatshirt instead of sweater? I have never owned one, so I don’t quite understand the appeal.
A cotton sweatshirt is a lot more casual. And so a rather different look to wool, cashmere etc. Much more sporty. Indeed, I wear mine before and after sport, with shorts
So it doesn’t go under topcoats, peacoat, over ocbd or with cords?
It can do the last three certainly. And the first one if it’s casual (eg a tweed raglan coat)
Was wondering which sweater of the Merz b. Schwanen do you own? The mid-weight 346 or heavier weight 3S48. Also I’ve heard these sweaters shrink after the first wash, is it worth sizing up for that matter?
Thank you very much.
Mid-weight, and no mind hasn’t shrunk. Make sure to stretch it gently after washing
Would you have experience with both lined and unlined valstarinos ? Is it in your view different in shape (one « fluffier « ?), or warmth ?
I have tried both, yes, and the only difference I’ve really noticed is how easy one is to get on, and how nice it is to feel the inside of the suede on the other. Minimal difference in warmth
Wondering if there are any “bolder, more fashion-drive trainers” you particularly like ?
Not particularly. I think the most I would do in that area would be a similar trainer to those RoF, such as New Balance, in bright red or bright yellow.
Simon, you have not said much about your Reproduction of Found trainers, are they comfy and durable? And where can l get a pair, please.
Yes they are both comfortable and durable. I’m not sure they’re made much better than a Nike, and are of course more expensive. But they have the advantage of being more niche and unusual.
I got mine from Trunk, but I don’t think they stock them anymore
Since I tend to dress like that on a daily basis, which kinds of casual jackets would also work well with suede loafers? Leather might be too much, but would suede/wool/cotton blousons or olive m65 work?
Yes, the latter all would.
I’m revising this post because of the increased interest and relevance of the smart-casual/weekend wardrobe, and also for the wonderful looks you have put together.
One particular item that stood out for me was the Valstarino mushroom suede blouson. It’s lovely with the blue denim and as an overall look. Do you think you might consider this colour as a possible next colour for the PS Valstarino and put your spin on it?
Nice idea. Yes I’ll certainly consider it
Regarding MERZ B. SCHWANEN 346 CREW NECK SWEATSHIRT does it run small or I have to size up? Some shops says that they come with an 2cm extra length to compensate for shrinkage.I have a 42″ chest size.
I sized true to my normal size, personally
You mentioned about wearing a scarf with a crewneck sweater and I like the look of it. Would this look be suited with a bomber jacket and some jeans and can I wear the scarf also with a button down shirt along with crewneck?
Yes, certainly, that would be nice
What brands would you recommend for a pair of mid blue jeans? Bespoke Levi’s it’s not accessible in my country. Thanks
I’m not sure I know any on mid-blue to be honest. I’d always recommend raw denim, given how beautifully that wears and ages, but all the ones I know are dark indigo
Could a dark indigo jeans work with a navy Valstarino jacket?
Probably not, no
Could these jeans from BlackHorse Lane be considered as a mid blue jeans?
Still coming pack to this post and the others like it for reference. So, thank you!
I’m finding myself wearing jeans less and less. I own a pair of the Blackhorse Lane E8’s. they’re very good, but like all decent jeans, they’re uncomfortable and hard to make semi-formal, unless wearing a jacket or shirt.
Because of this I find myself wearing chinos. Following your excellent recommendations, I now own a few pairs of Incotex and love them, but looking for something harder wearing, like a jean, but with the benefits mentioned above that a chino can provide.
Have you tried the Blackhorse Lane chinos, or do you have any other recommendations, ideally UK retailers for ease of trying on?
I have tried the Blackhorse Lane ones, yes, but they were an old sample. I am in the process of checking on the current ones and doing more content on chinos more generally, so watch this space.
Unfortunately the PS scarf it’s not in stock. What similar scarves do you recommend from other brands?
The Anderson & Sheppard small ones are nice
Tad tangential but this seemed like the best thread. We’ve our first baby on the way in March, so amongst everything else I’m thinking about how I need to adapt my wardrobe. Any tips?
Well, I think comfortable clothes that are easy to wash! Denim and good cotton T-shirts, sweatshirts
Hi Simon. This post is a succinct gem but not consolidated into your ‘Building a wardrobe: Capsule collections’ page. I think it should be, as it might otherwise be lost to readers. Just a suggestion.
Aha, good point Flynn. Thanks – I’ll do that now
Any particular recommended brands for chinos? Thanks!
As mentioned above, more content coming on them.
What other garments could work for Spring? For bottoms, I am thinking at jeans,chinos, cotton trousers or cords.
But other than Oxford shirts what could fill up this wardrobe?
Long sleeve polo shirts, cotton sweaters, knitted t shirts?
I can’t think of other.
As for the polo shirts worn casually what brands do you recommend also for cotton sweaters The Friday polo as I read is not intended casually.
Hey Michael. This is a huge area, and not really one I can deal with in a comment I’m afraid. This capsule collection is narrow on purpose, with no change to shirt or trousers, and even that took a whole article!
I can answer a very specific question or two, but otherwise this will have to wait for future posts.
I am planning to add to my wardrobe few long sleeve polo shirts for spring. I do like the style of Friday polo shirt. Can they be worn casually with some jeans or chinos? As for a alternative,do you recommend John Smedley polos for a casual wardrobe? And as for colours other than navy,a light grey or green could work?
Yes, the Friday Polo can be worn more casually like that too. The only thing that is less casual is the collar – but we do have free returns, so you can try it and see.
Smedley polos are great, but a different style – they’re made more like a sweater than a shirt, and I’d usually wear something underneath. Also not as well made of course, but mostly different being knitwear.
Yes, either of those colours could work. Aim for more muted versions, eg olive green
I have a 106 cm chest size. What size would you recommend for the Friday polo? Perhaps M?
And regarding the Smedley polos which of the long sleeve models would you recommend? They have different names and each model has a different collar.
The best thing with the sizing is always to compare the measurements of the polo to something you already own and like. It’s much more accurate than going off your body measurements.
On the long-sleeve Smedleys, unfortunately there isn’t one I really like in all respects – that’s why we sell our Dartmoor knit. The closest they have is the Dorset, which has the best collar, but is a very loose fit.
What do you think about the collar size? I have a smaller head than average and a long face. Could the collar size work or it will be out of proportion?
It could be fine Michael, it will depend more on what you wear it with I think.
O have read many articles criticising jeans casual shirts tucked into by adressing them as style reserved only for men above 40.
Do you think men younger than 30 years of age tuck their shirts into jeans?
I don’t think it matters in the slightest, Binal.
Most men are not well dressed. So don’t go looking for averages, or what most men do.
After reading many of your articles I have a basic ideea of what clothes I should have and you’ve been really helpful.
Because of my job,a seafarer working on a ship, when I am at home I don’t work which makes my wardrobe to be as a weekend wardrobe most of the time. But I have discovered I like a nice pair of cotton trousers and sometimes dress as high/low dressing, mixing tailoring with workwear.
But when it comes to what clothes to wear on top under a casual jacket ( Harrington, bomber etc)for summer, my mind is completely blank.
I have an ideea of what trousers to get such as jeans,cotton trousers,linen drawstring ones. Other than a short sleeve polo shirt and some cotton/linen shirts I have no idea and your help would be much appreciated.
I have so many questions regarding this area and would be really helpful if you would write an article regarding weekend wardrobe for summer.
For example, what brand of polo shirts do you recommend to work with jeans but also with a pair of cotton trousers? The ones from Fedeli look more sportier and I don’t think would work with cotton trousers.
Thanks Michael, a really interesting area.
To be honest, there’s not much more I’d wear under a summer casual jacket other than a polo, a shirt, or maybe a T-shirt. It feels like that covers everything?
Or is it more than you can’t find the right pieces in those categories, like the polo you mention?
Yes, it’s more about the type of garments to wear.
As for polo shirts,what brand do you recommend that could work with tailored cotton trousers(sometimes I want to dress up but in the same time not to be out of place regarding other people) but could be ok with chinos and jeans?
Please keep in mind that my wardrobe is mainly a “weekend “ wardrobe.I noticed that some people wear short sleeve polo shirts tucked in which I am not a fan but then I haven’t tried that and I guess it’s more about how the polo fits and that could work only with tailored trousers.
As for colors should I start with navy, green,light grey and white?
And regarding T-shirts, I was looking at Warehouse Co but they are out of stock and found Sunspel Riviera T-shirts.
Are they ok with jeans and chinos and nothing on top( jacket for eg) ?With this look I do like to try tucking them and wear a belt with chinos. For colors the same as polos I guess.
I do have other questions but I don’t want to write a book about it. Waiting for your reply .
Thanks a lot Simon, I appreciate it!
For polo shirts, I like the Armoury ones, but I would always tuck them into tailored cotton trousers. Otherwise there’s little point them being smart and tailored really.
Sunspel Riviera T-shirts are a good staple, yes, and good with jeans and chinos.
So for the polo shirts they can be tucked in with tailored trousers but can they be worn untucked with chinos or jeans?
What do you think about Smedley polos or Sunspel? Are they good enough for trousers but ok with chinos?
Which brings me to my second question, belt loops or side adjusters on tailored trousers. I have to mention that my hips and legs are somewhat bigger than my upper body.
I guess that adding a belt will make my waist larger but I think it’s marginal. This effect is noticeable when worn without a jacket in summer.
What do you think?
Yes, they could be worn either way.
Sunspel is a good basic polo, similar in style to the Armoury, but I prefer the latter.
Smedley is very different, being made more like knitwear. It’s smarter.
On trouser details, see article here.
Thank you for the advice. What I meant above is that wearing a belt and having somewhat wider hips, the effect of a belt will be marginal in showing a wider waist. What do you think?
Also I do like the armoury polos however I can only buy from UK or EU because of higher taxes.
What do you think of Fedeli polo shirts? Or what other brand do you recommend for a polo?
Thank you Simon
I wouldn’t worry too much about the effect of your hips on that Michael.
Fedeli polos are nice, but a different style again. Very summery and soft. Not something I’d wear with smarter clothing for example
I am looking for some cotton linen shirts to wear with tailored cotton trousers perhaps with chinos or jeans. What colors would you recommend given that my wardrobe is mainly a weekend wardrobe. I do have light beige and olive cotton trousers.
Even though it’s mainly a weekend wardrobe, I still think you’ll find white useful, it’s so great in warmer months. I’d go for white, light blue, and a casual-looking white/blue stripe, like mine here.
Simon, what are your thoughts on something like the Informale utility vest for a weekend capsule wardrobe like this?
I think it’s cool. I’m always looking for interesting “third pieces” to wear over a shirt in lieu of a tailored jacket in warm weather, and this fits the bill. The lapels and buttons give it a quasi-tailored look, but the pleated patch pockets, faded cotton, and overall style keep it rugged. The pockets are immensely practical. And it has just the right amount of interest–unique enough that others are unlikely to own something similar, yet not showy or flashy and indeed quite classic. I originally thought something like this was too unusual for me, but I’ve since grown really interested in it, particularly since it’s just so practical for warm weather.
It’s hard to say really without having seen it in person. My question would be whether it was a little bit between two styles – a little too much going on to be worn with smart things, but also not the easiest pairing with very casual things, given the lapels and so on.
Personally I wouldn’t wear it I don’t think, but again hard to have much certainty in that without seeing it in person.
Understood. I had a similar concern about the Colhays merino sport shirt you featured in your recent “Top 10 Spring/Summer” article, as the shirts are a little too sleek for casual outfits but, without the collar, not quite elegant enough for smarter ensembles. I think the utility vest is more firmly casual (despite some tailored elements), looking basically like a sleeveless chore coat.
I am planning to acquire some linen trousers in my wardrobe.Since my wardrobe consists mainly of “weekend wardrobe” garments do you think that some pair of linen trousers in Summer could fit in?
Can you please recommend some linen trousers colour to begin with? Since I purchase trousers from Rota ,they have an online configurator with linen fabrics. Can you be kind to point out on their website which colours to start with?
Yes, linen trousers could work at the weekend. From that page I’d suggest perhaps the light beige herringbone, and the dark olive.
I own a pair of Doek ecru court sneakers but it seems they don’t work with ecru jeans or tailored cotton trousers. Do you think that a pair of Doek Oxford sneakers are better suited? And if yes what colour would you recommend since I have beige and olive trousers and ecru jeans , Ecru or navy ? I am looking to purchase a pair of navy espadrilles from Castaner for that matter.
I like the court sneakers with ecru jeans personally.
If you were going to get just one colour of the oxfords, I’d make it ecru too. It’s usually going to be the most versatile.
What’s your take on pairing Doek sneakers with tailored cotton trousers or linen trousers? Is the Oxford more suited or the Court as well?
The oxford is probably more suited – as here
You mentioned that you could also choose chinos and polo shirts. If you chose to go that route, how would you think about those items? In terms of chinos, what colour(s) would you recommend? In terms of polo shirts, what colour(s) and styles (pique or sweater/knitwear-style) would you recommend?
I think that’s a slightly in-depth question to answer in a comment, Quincy, though it’s a good one.
For chinos, I’d suggest reading the recent three or four posts we’ve done on chinos (including the comments)
For polos, I’ll try and do a separate post.
I took a look at some of the articles and saw you recommended a good starting point to be a pair of navy chinos and a pair of beige chinos. What would you say the differences are between a pair of navy chinos and a pair of dark wash jeans? Do you think both would be deemed essentials in a casual weekend wardrobe?
No not necessarily, good point. They are different in smartness and look, but also overlap a bit
You mentioned that you can also add a roll neck at the smarter end of the spectrum. I’ve always thought of roll necks as exclusively a F/W item, is that correct? So, once you’ve got a good rotation of mid-layers (crew neck or v-neck sweaters, sweatshirts) that are going to be appropriate for most of the year (as long as the weather permits), you can start getting more specific knitwear that’s more season specific. Is that the correct assumption with the secondary items? Do you think there would be any summer-specific items that would be similar to the roll neck, but just meant for the summer?
Yes, roll necks are more F/W, not because of any fashion point but just because of the practicality. If your Summers are very cold you can still wear them!
Yes, you can get more seasonal knitwear once you have more of the basics. Summer equivalents could be things like knitted polo shirts.
Do you suggest knitted polo shirts that are short sleeved or long sleeved?
They’re just different styles, but in general, if it’s not to be worn with a jacket, then short sleeved
What are your thoughts on linen shirts for the summer? Do you think they would be a good hot weather alternative?
What colour linen shirts would you recommend?
If it’s for a casual wardrobe like this, then I’d get blue first. Then white. And third, at some point, a blue/white stripe like Bengal or wider
What are your thoughts on the linen shirts from Luca Faloni? Do you recommend them in this context?
They are nice quality, but most are more designed for wearing untucked, and have a pretty low collar.
I was planning on wearing them mostly in casual settings either with jeans or chinos in the summer. I’m not really looking for any MTM shirts, but was leaning more towards RTW. In your opinion, if the styling of the shirt works for me, you think that the quality (fabric, construction, craftsmanship) is good/worth it for the price, correct?
Yes, it’s good value for that
What are your thoughts on a harrington jacket as a weekend option? I’m looking at the private white harrington in navy or green as a possible purchase. I have the pwvc peacoat in navy but it is a little heavy for spring/early autumn. I think the harrington could nicely fill this slot.
It’s a lovely weekend option, yes. Personally I tend to prefer suede blousons, but they’re a bit more luxe and smart.
Do you have any recommendations for good brands to shop with for a Harrington jacket? I know that the Baracuta G9 is the classic/original. What do you think of the brand/jacket in terms of quality? Is it worth the price, or are we paying a good bit more for the brand name and heritage?
You’re paying a little bit for that, but it’s still decent value. The Private White ones are good too. The Purple Label ones are also fantastic, but obviously very expensive
You mentioned that you included the brown shetland because of both the colour and the style. You also said that opting for a navy shetland instead would up the “smartness” of the sweater. Assuming we stay with the shetland, what are some other colour options that you would group in the same category as navy (smarter than brown) and brown (equally as smart as brown)?
Navy would always be the smartest, but I’d say that mid-grey or dark grey would be close, and cream wouldn’t be far off too.
Alongside brown I’d put most greens.
And then more casual still would be most of the bright colours – yellows and reds etc
On a similar note, how would you rank the versatility of these colours for knitwear? Would you consider navy, grey, cream, brown, and green as all equally versatile? Or would you maintain the same tier system as above?
I’d say the tier system applies, but to a lesser extent. Just as important is formality, and what else you wear. On formality, navy and grey are smarter than green and brown. On what else you wear, navy works well for me because I wear very few dark jeans or navy chinos. But for others that do, navy would not be that useful
You recommended a brown shetland here, but would you also equally recommend a green shetland in it’s place as well (given they’re in the same “formality” tier)? Particularly, one in an olive shade of green. In your opinion, is there anything that would push you towards one or the other if we’re just talking about browns and greens? I remember reading another post of yours about some of the lockdown outfits you’ve been wearing, and it featured a green shetland. Do you think that these 2 would be interchangeable or is there something else that you would consider when making the decision?
I think they’re pretty interchangeable, yes. The only thing would be if you wore brown or green trousers, eg chinos. Then I’d get the other colour.
See my olive shetland here.
I’ve got a brushed shetland sweater (brown) and a cashmere crewneck sweater (dolomiti grey from Luca Faloni). I was looking at a sweater from Andersen-Andersen as my next sweater purchase, particularly the Navy Crewneck in the navy blue colour. What are your thoughts? Do you think that it would be a good next sweater purchase or should I perhaps just get more brushed shetlands and cashmere crewnecks in other colours?
It depends – why are you going to Andersen-Andersen rather than staying with the ones you know? Different style?
Yes, I was looking at the Andersen-Andersen sweater for the different style. I’ve got the brushed shetland and the cashmere crewneck already (which you’ve mentioned in the article), but I was looking for something that is a little different while still remaining pretty basic/plain. Are you familiar with the brand at all? It’s a textured crewneck sweater in what was described to me as a “full cardigan stitch”. It’s got a bit of a taller neckline than a typical crewneck sweater, which I think would help frame my face a bit if I were to wear it without a collared shirt underneath (I remember reading this in another article you wrote a while back). I’m not really looking to go the turtleneck route just yet as I think it’s more of a strictly winter item. Overall, I thought the sweater checked a lot of boxes. What are your thoughts on the sweater?
I’m looking at the navy blue version, which the male model is wearing.
I haven’t tried that model, so it’s hard to say, but I have seen that style of collar. It’s nice in that it’s still pretty classic but a little unusual. At the same time, it is a little more of a risk because you’ve probably not tried that style and might find you don’t like it. Ideally you’d see it in person
The colour is great and that stitch is chunky, so maybe not quite as smart, but you might like that too
Assuming that you did go into a store and liked the collar of this particular sweater, how would you incorporate this sweater into this type of a capsule wardrobe? Where would it fit in the spectrum? Do you think it would be a good buy?
It could be a good replacement for the shetland sweater i think – a fairly casual material, but not a sweatshirt
I know that this grey sweatshirt is from Merz, but do you think you could also use the grey sweatshirt from Real McCoy’s in it’s place?
Certainly. I’d only say that from what I remember of the Real McCoys ones, they aren’t the same nice pale-grey, or as uniform (different textures or colours on collar and cuffs) which would both make them a little less smart, a bit more workwear
How would you compare the styling of the Merz grey sweatshirt with the styling of the Reigning Champ grey sweatshirt? Do you think they would be more comparable? What are your thoughts on the grey sweatshirt from Reigning Champ in general? Do you think it would be a better substitute than the Real McCoy’s version?
I haven’t tried Reigning Champ I’m afraid
Ah, alright, I see. Would you be able to perhaps give an opinion based on what you can see on their website? I’ve looked, but unfortunately I’m not able to get a Merz sweatshirt anywhere where I live. I don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to figure out duties and getting it shipped from the brand itself, so I’m confined to the brands I’m able to get locally. The 2 sweatshirts that I’ve got access to are The Real McCoy’s and Reigning Champ. You mentioned that The Real McCoy’s has a very workwear aesthetic, which I can see and don’t really want to go that route because it is a very specific look. I wanted something a bit more pale-grey and uniform (as you mentioned The Real McCoy’s ones weren’t). Opinions? Thoughts? Recommendations?
From what I know of Reigning Champ, they are not at the same quality level as Merz or Real McCoys. And that’s pretty clear from the price too.
If you don’t want the McCoy’s aesthetic, then there’s nothing wrong with RC, but it’s not the same quality of product.
As John pointed out, do you think that this (https://therealmccoys.com/collections/tops/products/10oz-sweatshirt-grey) grey sweatshirt would be considered a smarter option than this (https://therealmccoys.com/collections/tops/products/loopwheel-sweatshirt-grey) sweatshirt, which seems to be the most popular (I think?) sweatshirt from the brand? Or do you think they’re both skewed towards the workwear side and I’m just pulling at straws here.
Yes, the first would be smarter, I think you get the difference. That first one would be fine, not too workwear-like
Hi Terry, just to add that Real McCoys have a range of different sweatshirts, some of which have varying tones of grey, others don’t, and some have more chunky stitching, but other’s don’t.
If you want a smartish sweater then this is probably the better choice:
This is abit more rugged (v-stitching at the collar):
And this is two-tone:
These are short and boxy:
They also all have slightly different fits, body length and chest in particular. In particular, all of them are shorter than most sweatshirts. But, as long as you don’t wear low-rise trousers, this is actually a very flattering look (longer legs, larger chest/shoulders). I hesitated on this point for a while, but took the plunge with their quarter-zip sweatshirt that Simon recommended and absolutely love it.
In terms of outerwear, what do you think of adding a French chore jacket into this weekend capsule wardrobe? Where would the French chore jacket fit on the scale of smartness amongst the options you mentioned in the article?
A chore jacket like that would be at the same level of formality as the military utility jacket shown here, or a field jacket.
The only thing I’d say is, those military greens are particularly versatile as colours. You may find the blue of a French chore not quite as versatile.
I’ve seen French work jackets that come in a lot of different colours. Do you think that would mitigate that problem and make them more versatile? If so, what colours would you recommend for the jacket? I was thinking navy would be a good option? Do you recommend anything else?
True, sorry I was assuming you meant the classic bleu de travail.
Navy would be good, as long as you don’t wear navy chinos and the jeans aren’t that dark either. (Assuming with a collection like this we want to maximise versatility, so everything goes with everything)
No worries. I’m just not a huge fan of a lot of military inspired jackets I’ve seen in person so far, but the French work jacket seems like it would be a very easy to wear jacket with a similar throw it on with anything vibe. Thoughts? Would you still rank a navy French work jacket on par with the military green utility jacket? Or would it be a slightly smarter option? I’m looking for something that I can throw on for a brunch on the weekends, walking around the city, a casual dinner, drinks, or a picnic in the park, etc. All very casual events.
I don’t think it would be any different in terms of formality. Just what else it could go with, as mentioned
Alright, so you’re saying that the French chore jacket would basically be a replacement for the utility/M65 jacket and have pretty much the same use case as a style of jacket, right? On another note, in general, what other colours would you recommend for the French chore jacket?
Yes I am.
For the chore, I think the olive or navy/blue would probably be the most useful. Beyond that, you’re looking at brighter colours which would be lovely, but stand out more and perhaps not be something you’d want to wear all the time. Such as a yellow or dusty red (the latter mentioned here)
Awesome, thanks! Also, do you think it would be appropriate to layer a brushed shetland sweater under a chore jacket?
Yes, that would be nice
Do you have any brand recommendations for a good quality French chore jacket?
Look at Vetra or Mont St Michel
Is there any differences between the 2 brands? Which one do you prefer and why?
Vetra is a bigger brand and is more widely stocked, in more designs. Mont St Michel I prefer the feel of their work jackets, but they don’t do much and I haven’t seen them around for a while
Would you say that the quality of the 2 brands are the same?
What do you prefer about the feel of the Mont St Michel work jackets?
There isn’t much to talk about in terms of quality, as that style is just a basic machine make.
The MSM ones are a heavier, slightly waxier cotton, or at least the one I had was
So, in your opinion, you don’t think that the delta in price for what you get in a MSM vs. Vetra would be worth it compared to the delta you would pay for what you get for say regular denim vs. selvedge denim, regular sweats vs. loopwheel sweats, or regular knitwear vs. fully-fashioned knitwear. Correct?
No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s just that quality of make isn’t a big factor in that style of jacket. And neither is expensive. I’d pay the extra for MSM
I’ve been trying to find a store that stocks MSM in my city for a while, but haven’t had any luck yet. There are 2 stores that do stock Vetra, so I was thinking of going that route. The only option I have for MSM is to order it directly from the brand, in which case I would have to pay extra duties and shipping, which would inflate the price. Do you think that the quality of the Vetra jackets are notable as it’s a lot easier for be to get it or do you just stand by the MSM ones and recommend I go through and order it directly from them. I’m just wondering is the Vetra ones are indeed well made pieces worth a spot in a casual capsule like this one.
Vetra are well made, and I’d probably go with that. Less because of the cost, and more because you get to see and try it in person
You mentioned that an extension of the wardrobe could include a roll neck. Do you recommend a chunkier or thinner roll neck? If you were to suggest 1 roll neck, what color would you recommend? What about 2 roll necks?
I’ve talked about roll necks in a few other pieces – see here and here
Maybe worth having a look at those, and a more general search if you want more
Do you recommend sticking with the heathered grey (like the sweatshirt) when getting a hoodie as well? What are your thoughts on other colors such as navy or black?
It depends what other sweats you have, but yes I’d still start with grey. Then I’d go with blue or navy
It would be in context to a wardrobe pretty similar to this one. In terms of other sweats, I’ve just got a grey crewneck sweatshirt. I don’t own any sweatpants that I would be wearing outside though. I don’t want a hoodie strictly for home use though, I think a hoodie is generally appropriate to wear outside (at least where I live). Thoughts?
Yes I think a hoodie can be great in that respect, but it’s very much a personal style thing I think – some older guys feel it always looks a bit too young, and I get that. But if it suits their overall style, some people do it well at any age.
When people do it well at any age, what do you think differentiates people that do it well and people that don’t? Are there any considerations you would make when purchasing and eventually wearing a hoodie that you could chare?
The latter is a fairly big question. Let me think about that one and perhaps do a full article on it at some point.
I think when people do it well, it’s when they recognise that it’s a piece of sportswear, so maybe don’t wear everything else sporty. With jeans and suede boots, for example.
Aside from the hoodie, sweatshirt, and sneakers, are there any other common sportswear items that are core to the modern man’s wardrobe? I’m trying to think of other sportswear items to avoid when wearing a hoodie, but can’t think of any. I would probably be pairing it with some jeans (maybe even chinos sometimes) and possible some sneakers (maybe Common Projects). Do you think that a pair of suede desert boots would look nice as a sneaker alternative?
Yes, suede boots would be great. Either desert boots or normal-height boots.
On sportswear, sweatpants can be great at home but I wouldn’t wear them out myself
Yes, makes sense. I wouldn’t wear sweatpants out anywhere either. Do you think chinos would be fair game though?
Yes, chinos would be fine. A classic with a sweatshirt
If I’m going to be sticking to the standard grey and navy hoodie, what would you suggest as good colors for the chinos? Do I keep with the standard khaki, olive, and navy? Obviously avoid the navy hoodie with the navy chinos, but other than that, do you think it would work?
In terms of the footwear, just choose between either the CP sneakers or some suede boots.
Do you think that would be a nice casual outfit?
Yes, sounds fine. On chinos, maybe khaki, olive and beige (so rather paler than the khaki)
Is there a reason why you don’t like navy chinos for the grey hoodie?
No, they would work well. It’s just that they wouldn’t go with the navy
What about black? What are your thoughts on black hoodies?
Generally it won’t fit that well into a wardrobe like this, though it will help the more washed and faded it is
What do you think of a navy crewneck sweatshirt instead of the grey sweatshirt?
Still really nice. Only small issue will be if you wear jeans of a similar colour, and perhaps grey is nicer with a bigger range of shirt colours etc
In terms of shirt colors, which colors wouldn’t work with the navy sweatshirt? I’ve got the standard white and light blue OCBDs currently. My next purchase is likely going to be a blue-white stripe. Do you think these would be a problem with the navy sweatshirt?
In terms of pants, I can see a pair of raw denim not working for the first year or 2, but once the denim fades and beaks in, do you think it would be fair game? Until then, I’ve got a pair of khaki chinos.
Yes on the denim, I think you understand that you just want enough contrast there.
On the shirts, a stripe should be fine, though I’d also wear them with a T-shirt, and even bandana, sometimes.
Yeah, for sure. I think that a t-shirt + sweatshirt is a classic combo, but I was just curious because you said that a grey sweatshirt would pair better with a bigger range of shirts, so I wasn’t sure if I was missing something. I want to have the option of wearing it over an OCBD if I wanted to. Currently, I’ve just got the basic colors for each item so I should be fine in that regard?
Aside from the obvious dark jeans and navy chinos, are there any other drawbacks for the navy sweatshirt or do you also consider that a core color for the sweatshirt in addition to the universal grey? I see grey recommended almost everywhere, but I don’t see navy mentioned as much. So I wanted to see if you would consider navy an essential (extension or secondary) color for the sweatshirt.
I believe you have one, correct? I think remember seeing a couple pictures. Do you get a lot of wear out of it?
On shirts – yes, a grey will be nicer with a yellow or pink oxford for example.
But with those basic colours you’re fine, yes.
I’d say navy is more a secondary. I do get wear out of mine, but nowhere near as much as the greys, or indeed a cream/milk colour from Real McCoys
Oh, I hadn’t even thought about cream/milk. What items and colors do you typically wear with the cream/milk sweatshirt? Do you find it just as versatile as the grey, or would you rank it less versatile?
A little less, but only because it’s a touch smarter
Do you have any posts about or including your cream/milk sweatshirt that I can reference? I’m just looking for some ideas on how what I can wear with it and how to style it? Do you think you can just drop a cream/milk sweatshirt in place of a grey sweatshirt in most situations or are there any other considerations that you make?
I don’t have any images, no, although there is a similar one in this article
I would drop it into most outfits, yes. It’s just a little smarter, can be used with greys and blacks where a grey is better with colours
You mentioned elsewhere that the Merz sweatshirt is more “smart” and The Real McCoy’s is more “workwear”. Particularly, for the grey variant of the sweatshirt. In your opinion, is the cream/milk variant from The Real McCoy’s as smart as the Merz grey variant?
Good point. Yes I would say so
In your opinion, would you recommend getting a cream/milk sweatshirt before getting a navy sweatshirt? What would work with a cream/milk sweatshirt, but not a navy sweatshirt? What about vice versa?
Very few things would work with one but not the other – just the same colour as a trouser.
The risk is only that cream is the more unusual, and takes a little more care in terms of wear. If you’re in doubt, I’d get the navy.
What are your thoughts on the navy sweatshirt from The Real McCoy’s?
Nice colour. By the way, do you mind using one name rather than swapping names with each comment? It makes it easier for other readers. Thanks
I am currently owning a navy ,green and grey melange sweaters. I would like to buy a cream/oatmeal sweater. Any recommendations for something that could work with jeans and chinos? What is your thoughts on the oatmeal lambswool sweater from Colhays?
It’s good, I’d certainly recommend it. In lambswool or cashmere
What do you think of the orSlow US Army Shirt as the jacket option for the more casual spectrum of the scale? I know it’s the style of the jacket, but I’m not too sure about the big pockets found on M-65 jackets. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the 4 pockets make the M-65 a little less “smart” (although we’re already at the casual end of the spectrum anyways, so maybe I’m overthinking it). I’m in my late 20s and dress along these lines on the weekend when hanging out with friends, but if I’m going out to a local bar for a few drinks or a casual lunch and walk around the city, I feel like the 4 large pockets may be too much? The orSlow only has 2 chest pockets and wears more like an overshirt, so maybe it would be a good middle ground? Do you think that could work? How versatile do you think it would be? What are your thoughts on the style?
I think that could be a good middle ground, yes. The M-65 isn’t necessarily that much more casual, but it is more of a ‘style’ and more unusual because of the pockets and there being more going on
Can vouch for the OrSlow. The collar rolls really nicely into a mini lapel.
Danny – it definitely does look very nice with that mini lapel. How much wear would you say you get out of it? Is it a staple in your casual jacket rotation?
Yes, I was just not too sure about the 4 big pockets on the M-65. I tend to dress mostly on the casual end (especially in context to this blog) on the weekends and evenings when going out with friends, but for some reason I just feel like the M-65 may look out of place or too “costume-y” if I find myself out for brunch/lunch or grabbing a few drinks after dinner.
Do you think that the olive/military green color would be appropriate for casual evening/night events or would you only wear it during the day? This would be primarily for local natural wine/craft beer spots or a casual dinner at a bistro-type setting.
I think that depends a lot on those places, and what people wear Brentt. In my local pub it would be absolutely fine. But if I were going to a nice restaurant in town, I wouldn’t wear it
You replied to someone else’s comment saying that The Real McCoy’s sweatshirt was more on the workwear style of the spectrum. You also mentioned somewhere else that Common Projects are the smartest white sneaker. Do you think they could be worn in the same outfit without clashing formalities? I’ve got my eye on both, but don’t know if they could work together?
It’s not a huge difference, but in general no, I wouldn’t wear them together. A canvas shoe would be a better trainer with the Real McCoys style
Do you have any recommendations on well made canvas shoes? The only ones I’m aware of are Converse, but I’m guessing they’re on the same level as other brands in that space, which is not the best, obviously.
Absolutely. Look for Japanese makers like Doek or Shoes Like Pottery. You can see my Doek here
Do you think that canvas shoes should only be worn in the spring and summer? Or do you think it would also be appropriate in colder months (assuming it’s not snowing or raining) such as fall.
Sure, as long as it’s warm enough. If it’s your style, high-tops are a good colder-weather option as well.
The only thing to say is that some people find canvas trainers a little too young or casual in style (similar to hoodies) and I think that’s more of an issue with high-tops. So you boots might better there
So, you think that I should stick with low top canvas sneakers if I go that route in order to not look too “young”? Do you personally agree that high tops are meant for younger people because you do occasionally wear hoodies?
Yes I think you probably should.
However, the important thing is to learn the principle, and what effect it creates. Then decide whether it’s for you.
So I wouldn’t say high tops are just for younger people, or hoodies, and I wear both sometimes. But part of learning to dress well is just learning the effects things have, then deciding whether you like that or not.
What do you mean my learn the principles and what effects they create? I’m currently in my late 20s and just wanting to dress more intentionally and well. I don’t necessarily want to dress in tailoring, but wanted to maximize what I can do with casual clothing so it can be more timeless and classic. So being the best well dressed guy in the room, but not coming in a sport jacket for example. So I wanted to optimize a lot of the items that I’ve already got and make sure I’m getting a version of them that makes sense.
That’s a great aim. What I mean is, consider the principles that are given here, and then work out for yourself how you feel about them, rather than asking for rules that are too prescriptive. Have a read of this post.
In terms of the olive military jacket you mentioned in the post (along with olive military-inspired jackets in general), do you think there is a limit as to who can wear them? In terms of not wearing them in your 40s, 50s, 60s? Or do you think that pretty much anyone can wear them at any age assuming the dress code allows it to be worn?
Anyone I think. It’s not dependent on age. You see older Italian guys do that look really well with a navy roll neck and jeans, for example. And I do it and I’m in my 40s now!
The only thing it might depend on is where you live, and if military clothes have any particular associations
What are your thoughts on olive chinos? Do you think they would fit well into a wardrobe like this?
Yes, they’re great. It just means you need a different jacket than olive – if you’re aiming for maximum versatility, as we are in this exercise
What colours and materials do you think would pair well with a pair of olive chinos?
Lots and lots. Casual shirts, eg oxfords, in white, blue/white, pink, yellow, grey. Knits in cream, in black, even bright primary colours. So much!
This might be a silly question, but does mid-grey or navy knitwear pair well with olive chinos? What about a solid pale blue OCBD? I usually pair these with khaki chinos and dark denim respectively, but I’m wondering if olive chinos would work as an place holder with all these top options.
Yes they should all work. The only risk is the mid-grey knitwear, if it’s very similar in shade to the olive. But even then, a higher contrast shirt like white, or a belt in between would help
In terms of the belt, a brown suede belt would work, right? Also, how would I be able to tell if the mid-grey sweater is a similar shade to the olive chinos?
Yes, brown suede would be good.
On shade, just look at them yourself. Do the colours seem similarly dark or light?
They are both on the darker side of olive and grey, but they don’t seem to blend in with each other? You can distinctively tell one is a grey and the other is olive. Do you think that would work, or should I just avoid it to be on the safe side of things?
Is there anything I can do with my footwear perhaps to improve it?
It sounds like it should be ok, particularly with a belt. Footwear with some contrast, eg a leather rather than suede, might help too
I’ve always been more of a chino guy myself as I prefer the wider range of color options available. I was wondering what your thoughts were about subbing out the olive jacket for a denim jacket as the most casual jacket if I were wearing various colors of chinos rather than the jeans you prescribed? Do you think that the denim jacket is a timeless essential that everyone could benefit from having in their wardrobe? What are your thoughts on it’s versatility overall?
If you’re not wearing jeans, then yes that could work well.
I’d only say that a denim jacket is the kind of piece that can stand out more, or some people can dislike for associations with a biker aesthetic etc. But that might not apply to you
I’ve always thought of that connection with the biker aesthetic with leather jackets (in general), but more so with the double rider style jackets. I don’t think I’ve ever made that connection with a denim jacket (maybe it’s just where I’m from?). Do you think you could give some more advice on how you would go about styling a denim jacket? I’ve always thought of them as a classic jacket silhouette for men in the same way that a bomber, harrington, or M-65 jacket is.
Sure Alberto. I can try and do so in a separate piece some time
What kind of gloves would you recommend as a first pair that could work more casually sometimes with workwear? Something that could be worn with a peacoat or an M65 jacket for example. The Real Mccoy’s has a pair of yellow gloves . What do you think of them and what colour and model do you recommend ?
I’d go for a leather, rather than suede or something more luxurious like peccary. Probably something dark like black or dark brown, if you’re going to wear them frequently. Maybe yellow as a second or third pair.
I haven’t bought that kind of glove before – mine are dressier, and I wear fingerless wool ones with my casual jackets. But I’ll have a think about any brands I see. I’m sure the Real McCoy’s ones are good
I am interested in the workwear clothing reproduction . At Clutch Caffe they have this trouser in wool serge. Could they be worn casually? For example with a oatmeal lambswool crewneck and an m65 jacket Or a denim jacket?
what do you think of the trousers and would they look out of place? I will slim them a bit on the leg.
The combination sounds nice Michael, but I’m afraid I don’t know the particular trousers so can’t give specific feedback on them
The pair it’s in a charcoal wool serge.
I tried to have a search around the website regarding wool serge formality but haven’t found much. Are they more formal than flannel for example ? Could they be worn casually as a high/low dressing?
As for shoes, what colours and typw of leather do you recommend? Dark brown suede goes well?
Thank you Simon!
Thanks for the link Michael.
Usually serge is smart, smarter than flannel but not as much as fine suit cloths.
These trousers are not made as smart tailored trousers that you would get from a tailor, so they won’t be quite as smart in that regard though.
I’m sure they could be worn in contrast to something else, in a high/low manner, but that doesn’t depend on the trousers really, it’s what else you wear them with.
Yes, dark-brown suede would be fine
For example, I might wear them with a oatmeal lambswool sweater and an M65 jacket. Or swap the jacket with a denim one.
Could they be worn like that?
That would probably be fine Michael, yes.
If you don’t mind me saying so, though, you are asking for quite specific yes or no recommendations on items I haven’t tried in person. If you can, try to focus on the principles I talk about and make up your own mind as to what works and doesn’t.
In regard with Valstarino suede jacket, do you think the suede jacket is of great quality of leather? what can differenciate it from other suede jacker? Thank you
The Valstarino suede is very good, without being the best in the world. You will see finer from Loro Piana or RL Purple Label for example. But then those are more expensive.
The quality will differentiate it from most suede jackets, and it is a very classic, wearable style
Cannot agree more! But Simon, is there anyway to tell a good suede jacket from an average one? Would love to take a look into this more. At the moment, is there any key points about Valstarino leather that differentiate itself from other suede? Thank you
It’s not an easy one, but points to watch are:
– Softness, pretty obvious and intuitive
– Body with that softness, ie feels like it has some substance, some slight sponginess, no matter how thin
– Smaller panels
– Being unlined
Valstarino leather does well on all these counts compared to most of the market, but not quite as well compared to the very top end, as mentioned
Thanks for the info! Definiately looking into Valstar for now! By the way, should we be expect to have the Valstar on Permanent Style restock anytime soon?
Thank you Simon
No, sorry, no upcoming restock
After owning jeans and chinos in green and khaki what do you think of a pair of tailored cotton trousers in navy? Something to wear with a M65 jacket or a denim jacket,knitwear or shirts ,more like a high/low because I want to dress better but not draw the attention especially since the trousers are tailored.
These are the pair from Rota.
Thank you and appreciate you reply!
Just to say first, none of this sounds like high/low. That is about extreme contrast, and there isn’t any of that here. More just dressing things down or up a little.
Navy is fine as a chino, except that you can’t wear it with navy knitwear or jackets. As a result I never really wear them.
The pair from Rota I wouldn’t get because they have stretch in them.
What would you consider to be high/low with a pair a navy tailored cotton trousers? In your high/low article , you were wearing an M65 with flannels and roll neck.
Is a big difference between cotton trousers and flannels?
Would you recommend a pair of flannel tailored trousers as a alternative to jeans or chinos?
You are right, I will look forward to a free stretch pair.
Yes there is a big difference. The point of high/low is that there is extreme contrast in formality or style – flannels are smart, traditionally part of a suit and tie. An M65 is a piece of military clothing, very casual and very unrefined.
If you’re at this stage in your sartorial journey, I wouldn’t worry too much about high/low. Just find normal combinations that you like.
What are your thoughts on flannel work shirts? Specifically, the checkered variants? What about chambray work shirts?
I think they can be a nice casual style option, but try to get one in a heavier material, with some real body. It should hand more like a lightweight jacket. Nice worn tucked in, or untucked over a T-shirt.
Chambray work shirts are a nice alternative to a dress shirt, in the same way as denim is
In terms of the flannel work shirts, are there any specific colours you would recommend or avoid?
Try and stay subtle. Checks but not too strong. And buffalo check is great, if everyone you see isn’t already wearing one (they’re having a bit of a moment)
When you say chambray work shirt, you’re referring to the versions that have the 2 chest pockets on both sides of the chest with the buttons and no pocket flaps and a non-button down collar, correct? I’ve also seen versions that look more like an oxford button down shirt, but made with the chambray fabric.
Yes I am. There are no clean dividing lines here, but it becomes more like a work shirt the more elements it has with actual old work shirts, which includes the two breast pockets and usually a non-spread collar non-button down
I’ve used an oxford shirt as my go to casual shirt for a while now, but I’m looking to add a bit more variety to my wardrobe. I was looking at an option as you mentioned it, a blue chambray “work shirt”. How would you wear it? What kind of items would you pair it with? What kinds of colors would you pair it with?
I’d wear it in the same ways I wear a chambray normally – the pockets would just make it a bit more casual.
See chambray styling examples here and here
Do you think that you would be able to style/wear the chambray work shirt (specifically) in the same way you would style/wear an oxford button down? Do you think they would be interchangeable?
No, an Oxford button down is much more versatile, both in terms of the colour and the style
What are your thoughts on black jeans? Do you like them? Would you recommend them?
I don’t really wear them, so hard to give much informed contact I’m afraid.
I find I don’t wear them because they seem quite ubiquitous at the moment, particularly on women, and because more of my wardrobe seems to suit paler blue denim. Still, it is something I should try in the future in order to be able to give better feedback.
As a thought experiment, do you think there are any situations or colors in which a pair of black jeans would work better than a pair of blue jeans? I’ve recently got a pair of raw indigo jeans, and while I was at the store again recently, I saw a few pairs of black jeans and thought that could also be a nice addition to my pant rotation. I do see a lot of black denim on both guys and girls around me.
Not better necessarily, but as a different look yes
What are your thoughts on wearing a pair of black jeans with the milk color hoodie from The Real McCoy’s? Do you think that would work?
I haven’t tried it myself, but I think it would be fine.
Do you think that a cream sweatshirt (“Milk” from The Real McCoy’s) could take the place of the grey sweatshirt in this capsule wardrobe? Do you think it would look good layered over a white/light blue oxford button down?
How would you think about a cream (similarly, the “Milk” from The Real McCoy’s) hoodie for a wardrobe like this? Do you think it would work? (I believe you have one yourself, correct? How much wear do you get out of it?)
It would look good, but it’s never going to be as versatile as grey. Grey would be better with other types of trousers and colours, and stand out less. If versatility if your key aim, then go for grey.
Same for the hoodie, but how much you’d wear it depends how much you wear hoodies.
In terms of the the sweatshirt, I was trying to decide primarily between getting one (both options from The Real McCoy’s) in either milk or navy. Where I live, I couldn’t find a retailer that stocks Merz or Loopwheeler, so TRM is the only high quality/loopwheel option for me. In terms of the grey TRM sweatshirt, it looks very vintage/workwear and perhaps not the ideal aesthetic. In another comment, you said that the milk TRM sweatshirt is smarter than the grey TRM sweatshirt, so I was going off your advice there. Similarly, you also said that you would get the navy TRM sweatshirt before getting the milk TRM sweatshirt. Assuming I don’t have a grey sweatshirt, would you still recommend getting a navy sweatshirt before getting the one in milk? Which do you think would be a better first option? Also, you said you get a lot more wear out of your milk TRM sweatshirt than your navy sweatshirts? That’s why I was leaning that way. Thoughts?
Alberto, are you saying you don’t really have any good sweatshirts currently? If so I would go with Merz if you can, even just ordering online, in grey.
TRM is heavier and shorter, and I worry that if it’s a style you’re not used to, you might find it too unusual in cut and weight. Merz is much more standard
I’ve got other sweatshirts, but they’re just cheaper (non-loopwheel) ones. I’ve been to a store in my city that stocks TRM sweatshirts and have tried them on in person. I like the fit and feel, but I just didn’t particularly like the aesthetic of the grey version – the cuffs and collars were darker than the rest of the sweatshirt and it was heavily heathered. However, the milk and navy versions didn’t have these problems. I hesitate to order Merz online because ideally I’d want to try it on in person. So, I’m trying to decide between getting the milk or navy sweatshirts from TRM. Which one would you recommend?
I see. I think probably the navy then. I think you’ll wear it more often than the cream
Alright, thanks for the advice. I’ll go with the navy.
What are your thoughts about also picking up the sweatshirt in milk? What are your thoughts on the color? Do you think it would be a good option? I’ve seen a couple of posts on your blog where you’re wearing a milk hoodie, but none with a sweatshirt (do you own one?). If so, how much wear do you get out of it?
I do own a milk-coloured sweatshirt, yes, the collared version from Real McCoys. It’s nice, just stands out a little more, and you have to be more careful with it re stains
I would imagine that because of the collar, your mileage may vary, but how much wear do you get out of the milk sweatshirt compared to the other sweatshirts you have?
A fair amount, maybe half what a grey gets
How much are you wearing your navy sweatshirt?
About the same as the cream, Alberto
In an outfit with denim and work boots as here – do you think the formality/fineness of the knitwear needs to be in the same register as matches the workboots? For example would a fine knit merino be out of place if the wearer has Vibergs in, and require looking to more chunky wool, a cable knit, Shetland or sweatshirt?
Yes, I think so. A fine merino would be too smart.
This is actually something I’ll be addressing in an upcoming post.
Really interesting, thanks.
Going the other way though – what do you think about Incotex-style (the slightly more refined) chinos with these kind of boots… might it work?
In moving over to workwear chinos I worry about authenticity- I’m not quite cool enough for the “shoreditch trucker” look that might go with adding workwear chinos to work boots and sweatshirt. Am personally normally more at home in your “Italian smooth”/“drakes”/“preppy”/British country types of casual wear (from that brilliant article of yours some years ago)
I have enjoyed wearing more robust knitwear (eg loopwheel sweats or hairy shetlands) with refined Incotex-style chinos and a slim trainer, and wonder if I could still use my workboots with these, or if it’ll look odd and is better kept with selvedge denim.
Cheers as always and looking forward to this coming article. It’s these subtleties of register & tone that I love about Permanentstyle.
Oh good, nice to hear.
I think the work boots will be out of place with the slim refined chinos to be honest. Wrong casual category (and pleased you liked that categorisation!)
Simon, this article is fantastic. I personally find it covers my weekdays as well, and I really appreciate the ability to be with my kids in these practical suggestions. Q – what trousers would you add next here? Workwear chinos or Ecru denim?
Workwear chinos I think. But ecru denim good too – just not as kid proof!
What chukka or desert boot do you recommend that could be worn with some wide legged jeans and workwear chinos but that could also go with some slimmer ones?
I was thinking at Sanders brit chukka or the desert boot from Anglo Italian.
Thank you Simon!
Either would be good, yes. Particularly the Anglo if you’re wearing it with those wider jeans and chinos
I do have the chocolate desert boot from Anglo Italian and I was thinking at snuff suede for a second pair. How would you wear that snuff suede in terms of pairing with trousers/jeans?
Snuff is great with mid-blue jeans and olive chinos, plus paler colours like beige or stone chinos, or white jeans. Never as versatile as the dark brown though
Hi Simon, can i ask for your opinion please? I am looking for a casual jacket that can be worn with jeans/chinos/hoodies/quarter-zip sweatshirts – i.e. very casual stuff – and am struggling to identify a style that works. You mention an m-65 here, but i struggle with all the military detailings. I was tempted by a Real McCoys m-65, but the epaulets are just too much for me. Are there other styles of casual jackets that would work? I’ve been looking for months but have been unable to find anything.
How about a suede blouson? Have you seen this piece about the styles of jacket like that?