The Permanent Style readership survey (with prize)

Wednesday, December 18th 2019
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*Note: The competition is now closed, and the winner will be announced soon. Please feel free to carry on filling out the survey, but you will no longer be entered into the competition*

Permanent Style has always been about the readers. 

Word of mouth was what got us started, and shares and links are still our best source of loyal, long-term followers. Indeed, it's what powered us to our biggest month ever in October: 618,000 page views. Thank you for that.  

Feedback in the comments is also great: every post seems to generate at least two suggestions for future ones. At that rate coverage could grow exponentially.

But a lot of this personal, and anecdotal. Twenty commenters or fifty pop-up visitors don’t speak for the hundreds of thousands that actually read the site every month. 

So in an attempt to get more comprehensive, structured input, I’ve put together a readership survey for the first time - it is available here.

It asks for your opinion on what we should be covering, how we should be covering it, and in what format you’d best like to receive it. 

It also includes some questions on spending and demographics, intended to help us show the real depth and power of the PS readership. 

I would be enormously grateful if you would take 10 minutes to fill it out. 

There are 32 questions, and you can rattle through them pretty quickly - or if you prefer, take your time and leave some very detailed thoughts.

As an extra incentive, everyone that completes the survey will be entered into a draw, with the winner receiving £500 to spend in the PS shop. Just in time for Christmas. 

Of course, this will be just a sweetener to the dedicated Permanent Style reader - who likes nothing more than being asked their opinion about every brand, article and piece of clothing.

To everyone - whatever your motivation for completing the survey - I would like to repeat my personal, heartfelt thanks.  

You are the reason this site exists, and I am deeply grateful. The survey closes in a week. 

Simon

Use of data

The data received as part of this survey will only be used by Permanent Style and not communicated to any third parties. 

(This is not a ‘please take my watch survey’ - which seems to be the latest way influencers are trying to make money.)

Aggregated data might be used in public information about Permanent Style - for example, saying in our media pack that the average reader age is 45 - but no individual information. 

Email addresses will be used only to enter readers into the £500 draw. They will not be added to any newsletters or subscriptions. 

(Though if you want to sign up to the weekly newsletter, of course, you can do so here)

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Ernest

Forgot to ask this in the survey Simon, but would you consider developing a RTW line? It seems the products that you offer are rather successful.

Rob

The ‘What should PS cover more of? Travel, food’ etc question seems to have been accidentally set up as mandatory. Others can be skipped ok but not this one.

Anonymous

Given that your knowledge centres around a very specific focus, how would you incorporate travel, food etc into PS? Would you invite contributors who are experts in those areas, or would you presume to do it yourself?

Anonymous

I have completed the survey and put my thoughts across [who cant resist giving an opinion when asked?]. I think diversifying into some other areas possibly travel would be a welcome addition. I do sometimes wonder how much further the site can be taken based upon the current subject matter without recycling things and repetition. After all there is only a limited number of brands and makers in this field and having read reviews on lots of them is more of the same as interesting as it once was? Perhaps not.

Anonymous

I would really strongly disagree. Simon is amazing at what he does and should continue to hone his knowledge with a sharp focus.
There is also no reason why we should seek his advice for anything else, or why Simon would be a travel or food expert. Simon, as you have previously written – these things do not make you a gentleman nor is dressing well necessarily a barometer of other tastes or lifestyles

Robert

I agree that Simon does a great job on focusing men’s clothing style and that it should remain his focus. But I also believe there is room for travel and food insights, after all a well rounded gentleman should travel in style and appreciate a good meal.

Anonymous

As Simon has written so many times, this is not a blog about being a gentleman.

ben w

The problem is that the mandatory questions are set up without the correct range of answers.

Given the question “Which of these should PS focus more on?”, if I don’t think PS should focus more on any of them, even “other” isn’t a great option, because it suggests some other *positive* suggestion will be made (though it was the best of a bad lot and I did select “other” and put “none”). If you’re going to insist on an answer to a multiple-choice question, you have to make the the choices somewhat exhaustive! Otherwise you skew what you learn—perhaps someone doesn’t think PS should focus more on food at all, but chose “food” because it was there and was the least bad.

Anonymous

What really is lacking to that question is a button “No”.

Paul Boileau

I replied “other” and just made the point that I wasn’t really interested in the offerings listed.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, when will the survey close?

Darryl

Hello Simon
I did start to fill this in, but really I do object to being asked my income. So am afraid i did’nt wish to complete it. This appears to be a mandatory question.
Best regards

Sam

In light of last week’s ‘budget’ article, it would be very interesting to at one point see the income breakdown of the readership, or at least the average and mean.

Peter O

I agree with Darryl that Simon might ask himself why he did not consider the question regarding income to be quite sensitive and voluntary. Not just the question of income, but other questions not concerned with PS are mandatory to which some persons will react in various ways, none of which will please or help Simon.

Robin

Happy to disclose my income so that PS can cater for my budget.
On that note I would also add that as PS had evolved ( following It for almost 8 years) I have gone through periods of feeling very distant from the content .
The items reviewed are beyond my budget and, more Importantly, beyond my aspiration .

I’m not sure how or if you would remedy this .
Maybe we’ ve outgrown each other .
The recent article on budget items was fantastic.

Also their needs to be more context and reference to reviews . For example a £5000 plus suit is better than a reference piece in what way ?
Or is it only in terms of the cost of the lease of the premises.

To that end why not write / review a staple wardrobe that all readers can ‘aspire’ to .
Let me illustrate this point. I read PS for years , soaking in the information, and this year finally reached my aspiration of visiting Abbarchi to order MTM shirts .
My next aspirational goal , influenced by PS , is bespoke or MTM jackets / suits .
But now that you’re reviewing pieces beyond my budget . How or why would I aspire for a £4/500 shirt or £4/6000 plus suit ?

I have completed the survey and said more of the above.

Aside from that , Simon, PS is a great blog and I take the time to be critical because I do genuinely enjoy it so much .

Michael

I’d be interested in what most people believe should be a “reference” level of bespoke tailoring. Would people expect it be something with a cost advantage (e.g. a WW Chan/W&S/certain Neopolitan tailoring) or one of the big tailoring houses in London/Paris/[Italian city of your choice]?

Separately, but on a related note, recent comments have made me believe that a popular article might cover how to get into bespoke. The article could present a shortlist of tailors that provide value and genuine bespoke. If the article focused on the differences in style, price and accessibility then people beginning their journey might find it easier to locate their options and delve deeper into the process. Much of this information is already available but it’s not really centralised.

I think you could repeat this at different cost levels (some people will begin bespoke with a good tailor in Hong Kong, others will start by strolling down the row and some will start with a value tailor and move on to another tailor). In articles on higher “cost levels” it would be useful to indicate what “extra” you tend to get for the money, which would in turn help people make decisions about what to have in their wardrobe.

Peter K

An excellent idea. Another approach might be to compare what you get in bespoke versus RTW. As an example, what you get with bespoke in the same price range as a Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit or bespoke versus Kiton.

Or maybe what are the best value options within certain price ranges: RTW versus MTM versus bespoke at say, 1500, 3000, 6000.

Nicolas Stromback

Hey Simon, to be frank I dont understand all these comments on the coverage and price level. If one really follows you continiously then it should be clear that you review and comment quality garnments in a very wide price range. There are the W&S bespoke, Saman Amel as you mentioned, P Johnson etc, even Grahamn Brown in the lower price levels and then going up to Cifonelli and Michael Browne.

In my opinion this is what makes your site interesting, to read and hopefully understand a bit of how the bespoke process works with different tailors and brands.

To Robin I ask, why would you want to change this? Do you really only want to read about things that you can afford?

E L

Putting finances aside, most bespoke and mtm is not accessible to most people for geographic reasons. As such, more RTW coverage would be good.

Jackson Hart

…Agree with Nicholas…and frankly there are many readers who can and do purchase higher-end items only and need that coverage to help make decisions. You’ve covered a variety of price ranges, including Luxire and others in that range and I must say that I’ve enjoyed practically all of the articles/coverages – even the ones that cover shops I wouldn’t personally frequent And if some of your readers believe that the difference between an $8,000 suit and a $500 one is the cost of rent, then maybe some people aren’t paying attention; considering that you’ve focused on such differences many times – even once compared, side-by-side a MTM and bespoke from the same shop, illustrating the delta between a hand-padded lapel and a machine padded one.

Somalad

I have been unable to submit the form as two questions (19 and 20) which are mandatory are not working properly.

Damian

Hi Simon,

Best wishes for the festive season.

I have tried to complete the survey a couple of times and on each occasion it has been fine until I reached question nineteen at which point I have been unable to enter text and the page “wobbles” when I try to do so. I wonder if there is a glitch.

Regards,

Damian

Gonzague

Stylish lay out for this survey, good pick.

Jason

Simon,
I don’t know who put this together for you but in a number of cases the questions were quite ambiguous and it was not clear if they referred to the technical performance of your site or editorial content.
Also, you may want to check to see if mine went thru’
The screen just flashed at the end and the whole thing disappeared. There was no thank you message – if you’ve lost mine – you’ve probably lost others.
Anyway – good luck with it all – I hope it all helps you develop this superb site.
Us flaneurs need it.
Jason.

zo

for questions 19 and 20, I’ve only counted items that have specifically been on the website, in your xmas list or product review or so on. I have not included ideas/inspiration borrowed. e.g. i got h&s cavalry twill trousers made from my tailor upon your recommendation/review.

ben

IMHO PS would be better suited (you bet that pun is fully intended) in not branching out to watches/food/travel/etc. Personally I prefer more specialized publications, when it comes to reading about my own interests, rather than sites that offer a broader coverage on more things but usually just end up being a ‘jack of all trades master of none’ type. But whatever direction you choose to go Simon, I’m certain that you will not disappoint.

Tamaki

Hi Simon,
Completed the survey. I wanted to take the opportunity to mention that doing a quantitative survey is a reflection of your analytical process of writing posts, which I particularly enjoy.

Cheers and happy holidays

Winot

Simon – could you let us know (a) whether the data about income will be associated with a name/email or pseudonymised and (b) how long the data will be retained.

Many thanks.

Robert

Like Darryl, the question on income made me not submit the survey. Sorry, all the best

Rory

Thanks for the wonderful content the past 8 years (where has the time gone?)

One suggestion I have is to create a FAQ, Q&A, or reference page.
Ex. I recently purchased some casual trousers. My instincts said stone and mid-grey would be a good pick, but it would have been nice to search one page, find your suggestion, names of a few brands at different price points to check into, as well as links to relevant articles.

and/or it may be worthwhile to create a page just for questions. I can’t remember how many times I have found good information in the comments section on a completely unrelated article and forgot where to find it again when I needed it.

Happy holidays!

Chris

To add to this, it may help if a reader can add hash tags to their comment. Since Simon seems to be quite active in the comment sections, he could “endorse” the comment which would allow for the comment to show up if a reader is searching for something in particular. For example, if a reader makes a comment about trousers they could add the “trouser” hash tag to their comment. When Simon reads the comment and endorses it, the comment is now searchable by hash tag via the search bar.

BespokeNYC

Totally agreed. Often the comments contain some really useful insights. Would love a better way to search back through them!

Alex

If I read a magazine about supercars, I’m not going to keep asking why they don’t review diesel hatchbacks.

Anonymous

It is entirely possible, regrettably, that Nicolas Stromback really doesn’t understand the budgetary constraints of others (his criticism of Robin). Or that they too can have a voice and opinion. Compassion and understanding for others is a positive trait to develop. We each have a role – the reasons for our ‘station in life’ are deeply philosophical but growing an understanding for others is one of the truly redeeming aspects of a considered life. Fine clothes and sartorial interests are purely superficial by comparison…as Simon once pointed out.
https://www.permanentstyle.com/2015/11/clothing-is-not-important.html

Chancellor

Re: question #10 about purchases of products recommended by PS. Should I count PS collaborations as recommended products, or are you interested only in products that you didn’t design?

Chancellor

Thanks. And before I confuse other reads, I meant to type “20” not “10”. Apologies!

Carl

Good poll. As a former pollster I think you should be careful about how you interpret the results. You may find that at lot of the readers probably like fast cars and good food. But that does not mean that we want Permanent Style to be a lifestyle site that writes about everything that interests upper middle class men. Sometimes you just want niche products. Classic menswear on PS and articles about wine, cars, jewelry, sports and food on other blogs and magazines.

BespokeNYC

Really interesting point Carl! I found myself genuinely torn on whether I wanted to see content about travel and food (both things I love) on PS (where I’m sure there are many like-minded readers, and Simon would approach them with an interesting perspective). And yet somehow it just feels like it would be wrong for the site to stray too far into “lifestyle” territory…

Darryl

I do think article on cars, food etc would be a mistake. The site would likely loose its identity and become just too generic. Having a tight focus on its subject is what makes PS so special. Clearly your readership spreads across quite a wide arc in terms of wealth, so I think further articles on RTW would be good provided this remains focussed on brands/makers who are bringing something new or special to the table.

Phil

Dear Simon,
I just forgot to add one Suggestion to what you should cover. I assume you have a propper loyal German readership but haven´t covered any of our tailors. We have some very skilled tailors, shirt makers and a wide range of artisans and manufacturers here. Some of them are very recomendable and allmost all of them are speaking propper English – in fact better than some Italian ones I´ve visited. I´d say some of them are worth a try and your German readership would be very pleased to get recommendations that don´t require a trip.

Apart from that, please don´t change much!!! I like your website as it is.

PJD

Heartily endorse the idea that PS not get into cars, travel, major fashion brands, etc. There are a multitude of sources for those upscale lifestyle items. The great thing about PS is that it’s a “niche” site that’s smart, well-written.

Ben Vago

Simon, I love your blog and what you do. It is so spot on. I love he hyper-focused nature. Like with a business, sometimes when they try to “scale” and diversify, they lose their core/essence. To me, PS is about “clothes” and its orbit. I love the travel guides you have done as they are sartorially focused. I wouldn’t stray to far. If I want to read about watches, I have other places to go.

TCN

I would hope that all of your readers would understand that there are certain demographics that any third-party would want to see, rough income and age levels of readership being just a few of those. Everyone here is free to not participate in the survey. Personally, I can’t imagine how a fairly anonymous income range answer would be harmful, especially if it is intended to help a website (that we all enjoy free of charge) continue its operations.

Anonymous

‘more powerful is the data of people that visit and buy in the PS Shop, visit and buy from brands that advertise, and that visit and buy in the pop-up.’ (you from last article’s comment stream).

If you’re looking to service the readership that buys from advertisers it isn’t a problem – its your site – but when selling site readership and marketing data to advertisers (and retaining personal data aggregation within PS) it also means that, progressively, the vicarious readership that makes up the bulk of numbers may be left aside in content considerations as you market to click-through buyers. Otherwise what is the logic in gathering the information? I also think it a mistake to prioritise income (i.e. income reporting is mandatory) within the data trawl over feedback on thematic content.

Note: Please be careful that you maintain the quite strict and legally binding responsibilities under GDPR guidelines.

(FYI. You must have a privacy notice up front that details use. It’s my guess that you will utilise data to formulate key financial user info. for advertisers with the purpose of better monetising the site. Participants must therefore opt-in to any data use. Data capture, storage, destruction must be secure etc.).

Dario

I agree with everyone who said that the content should keep being what it is now – I wouldn’t think of asking Henry Catchpole about bespoke suits, for example 😉
About the prices of the things reviewed/offered here, I have been reading the site for some time now, living in Argentina, where on top of the geographical reasons, the price of a Cifonelli suit was my annual salary. So I couldn’t afford even a pair of socks listed here. But I managed to build a wardrobe in other ways, by thrifting and being handed some clothes and then altering them, all with the knowledge acquired on this site and a few others.
Now, I got a job in and moved to Europe, and while I still won’t be able to shell out 6000 euros for a suit to wear to milongas on Saturdays, I might be able to afford some of the nice RTW/MTM offered and reviewed here. And I think I’m more prepared to make informed decisions when I walk into those shops now, that if I had been reading only about what I could afford.
By the way, I answered the survey considering how I used this site until now, and not how I could use it from now on.

Anonymous

Echoing the other comments that:

1. PS is a wonderful site as it is
2. I really have no interest in it focusing on food, cars, watches, etc.

Kevin

I would say, please for the love of god DON’T CHANGE! I am very happy with the site as it is.

As for other areas of interest? I wouldn’t go to Jeremy Clarkson for style advice, and wouldn’t really want to see car reviews on PS no matter how well written they were (and I know Simon could do a great job, though I think has mentioned cars aren’t much of a passion).

I would perhaps be interested in seeing a review of such online MTM shops such as Beckett and Robb and Articles of Style (Articles of Style for instance has some of the best customer service I have ever experienced). While not bespoke, I am happy with the results and would be curious to see other such shops around the world, or if this business model is thriving.

I am guessing most/many readers do not live near major tailoring houses, and the online option is perhaps the next best bet for most.

Anonymous

I’ve had a couple of thoughts since completing the survey yesterday.
A section on regional UK tailors, perhaps readers/customers experience rather than your own as I don’t imagine that you would come to Leeds for a MTM suit, but some of your readers might.
More events like the Huntsman dinners, perhaps along different themes, although that was a good selection criteria for what must have been very over-subscribed.
To reiterate, please please please no travel, watches, food, cocktail recipes, hifi, supercars, cigars or guidance on how to find her G-spot.
I would be interested in your experience of PS going from a hobby/side hustle to full time job. Your experience of monetising. Your thoughts on social media as a business tool. This would have application and interest to a lot of us as it applies across a number of industries/sectors- maybe even a PS event/talk on this.
Also more on the business side of tailoring, craft etc.
That’s all I’ve got. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous

the growth of this site, in a very competitive marketplace is a story I would really like to hear.

JB

Hi Simon.
Just a note, as for how many products I’ve purchased through here, I did put 5, but I’ve counted every Friday polo. It occurred to me perhaps you’d count that as one. Anyway, happy Christmas and keep up the good work.

Anonymous

I went to the survey and skipped 3 questions, such as the one asking me for my income, which I should not be required to provide irrespective of any disclaimers as to the use of data. I left some detailed answers to repay your quality service with some detailed input. However, the survey form will not allow me to complete it without answering all the questions. If that is your approach, you might have said so and I, and presumably others, would have saved time. In the end, I just gave up and left the survey site.