The Permanent Style Awards 2020: Value, investment and women

Wednesday, January 15th 2020
Share
||- Begin Content -||

The Permanent Style Awards this year are about pieces you love, value and would recommend. Plus local shops and the feminine eye. 

There are two awards intended to create a pool of ideas for everyone else: the value or budget piece you would most recommend, and the investment piece. Details on how we define those below. 

Then, we're asking which UK shop outside London you would endorse: a chance to highlight all local jewels. 

And finally, a panel of women in the industry will give their view on which men are the best dressed. But female readers are welcome to give their views as well. (Both of you.)  

As ever with the awards, please nominate your winners in the comments at the bottom of this post. Results will be announced next month. 

1. Best value clothing 2020

This category is intended to highlight budget products that you have found deliver value. A basic T-shirt that has held up really well; socks that have done sterling duty. 

‘Budget’, as we all know very well now, is relative. But I will define it here as a product that costs less than you would normally spend. 

So if a product was relatively cheap for what you spend on clothes, and it delivered far more than that in value, please nominate it. 

And tell us the brand, please, so we have someone to reward. 

 

2. Best investment clothing 2020

If a ‘value’ item is defined as less than you’d normally spend, I will define an ‘investment’ piece as something that cost more than normal. 

So a piece of tailoring, a pair of shoes, anything, as long as you spent a large amount on it (for you) and it has repaid that investment. 

These should be pieces that you’ve had for 3-5 years at a minimum, please. You need that long to know whether an investment piece is worthwhile. 

The budget category above can be more immediate - things from this year. But for this award I want to hear stories of saving up, buying big, and being rewarded over a long period. 

Again, please name brands. 

 

3. Best UK (non-London) menswear shop 2020

Shops in London get a lot of attention. That’s natural: most of the big brands and makers are here. 

But there are some great menswear shops around the rest of the UK too. Whether it’s The Bureau in Belfast or Kafka in Aberdeen, Old Sole in York or Old Town in Holt. 

I’d like to highlight them with this award, and give readers an opportunity to recommend ones they know personally. And if you’re not in the UK but have shopped with somewhere online, please do vote too. 

As with anything Permanent Style, we’re looking to reward quality, service and classic style. 

 

4. Best-dressed man 2020: Women’s award 

In the past two years we’ve done a best-dressed award (won by Ethan Newton) that was largely about the industry, and a best-dressed award (won by @Gusvs9) that was about readers. 

This year, I’m going to ask women who, from both these lists, they consider the best dressed. 

Of course, I’m not suggesting that all women have the same view. In my experience women have a huge range of opinions on what clothing they find attractive. 

But there are tendencies within those views, which are interesting. Such as leaning towards clothes that are not fussy, and men that appear relaxed and confident. Those tendencies also tend to be different from those among men. 

So to delve into this a little, I‘ve put together a panel of four women from the menswear industry, and will be asking them to vote on which men are the best dressed.

(Again, this is skewed by the fact the women work in menswear - but we can do a ‘non-industry’ one next year if this proves interesting.)

If there are women out there (and actually, Google guesses that it’s 373 of you per post) please do add your views in the comments. 

 

Finally, as in previous years there will be an award for Artisan of the Year 2020, given by me entirely subjectively, based on my experiences in the past year. 

Thank you one and all for giving us your views and recommendations. I look forward to reading them. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
143 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous

Best investment
Wedding tails from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. Bought them when I could barely afford them but I wear them 10 times a year, look great, always feel comfortable and feel like they will last me until I am in a wheelchair.

RoSaCe

1. Super solides (super strong?) socks from mes chaussettes rouges. I’ve been being some since they launched them and it seems they’re nearly indestructible, yet smart enough, with nice patterns added every year
2. A Cesare Attolini cashmere donegal brown sport coat. shoped 4 or 5 years ago. Very versatile, with flannels, cords, chinos, even blue jeans, of any colors.
3. Not living in the UK, can’t tell
4. Not concerned

Mateusz Tryjanowski

1. Best value clothing 2020

I’d say Poszetka.com (a Polish brand, but selling worldwide) and their tailoring. Entry-level in terms of price, mid-range (maybe lower mid, depending on a reference point) in terms of quality.

Joel

As best value I’d say my Levi’s calf leather belt which I’ve worn systematically with jeans (and I wear jeans more often than not) for about 15 years before it finally broke two months ago. The patina the buckle developed over the year made it quite unique. I saved it and plan to make a new belt with it.

Joel

You should send the buckle to Tanner Bates in Devon. They make great oak-bark tanned leather goods.

Carl Melin

Best budget: Falke Airport socks. I usually wear OTC socks with tailoring, like Sozzi Forest Green in merino. But Falke Airport (wool-cotton blend) in navy is perfect socks for jeans.
Best investment: Navy peacoat in melton wool from Private White and Dover shoes from Edward Green (in classic dark oak). Beautiful and works with everything except shorts or the smartest tailoring.

Diego

Carl – I have got to respectfully disagree with your budget selection. I am not a fan of Falke Airport. Within the Falke range I prefer the Milano. But if we are talking of value, I have not found an item that beats Uniqlo casual cotton socks. There are better socks but these just offer excellent quality/durability, comfort and dozen of colours at a price that most of the urban population can afford.

Christopher B.

Diego – I second your Uniqlo socks nomination, but I’ll take it a step further…

Best Value Clothing 2020

Supima Cotton Pique Socks – Uniqlo has carried a number of different styles of Supima cotton socks, but the actually percentage can vary quite a bit between these styles. The cotton pique version always has the highest percentage of cotton and is the softest. To top it all off, these socks are incredibly long lasting. I have had several pairs for several years now, and they still retain their shape and show no wear through on the soles yet.

Robin

Best value clothing – a down jacket from Hackett and a gillet from Suit Supply.

Best investment clothing 2020 – I would include both pieces above which are worn regularly.
Also add Incotex chinos ( brought at Sale otherwise becoming prohibitively expensive!). Incotex are a beautiful fit .
Another is Boglioli suit .
Boglioli make suits you can sleep in and so you wear them even when you don’t need to.

Best shop outside London – Walker Slater .
It’s got charm , a feel of quality, heritage and style …. I just wish it wasn’t based so far away (Edinburgh , and 2 shops in London).

Now looking forward to read others comments and explore their suggestions.

P.S. would be great to read how readers of PS relate what they read to more ‘affordable’ items on the high street .
For example , Simon writes about a £6k coat but a reader translates that on his high street as a £300 coat from Brand X which he gets tailored.

Note…. writing this i’ve just realised that I only shop for brands I’ve heard of through PS !

Patrick

1. Best value
RM Williams boots purchased about 10 years ago as seconds from their outlet store for around 75 pounds. Have had the soles replaced for the 3rd time after 2-3 wears per week over 10 years and the uppers are still holding up strong.

2. Best investment
St Crispins Split Toe Derby in a customised last. The quality of the construction and fit is impeccable. If you regularly polish your own shoes they are a piece of clothing that you appreciate all aspects of the construction and fit because of that intimate contact.

zo

where is the rm williams outlet store?

kevin buchan

long time reader first, time poster.
glad to see mention of kafka in aberdeen(not edinburgh) .
fabulous shop with wonderful service.
another mention should be made of Dicks in edinburgh .

zo

1) plenty that in this category. my massimo dutti grey cashmere herringbone blazer bought 4 years ago, still going strong. my navy woollen banana republic peacoat bought 5 years ago going even stronger. 2) black alden full strap cordovan. bought 6 years ago and will probably last forever. get great wear out of them. 3) live in london so no suggestions and 4) im a fan of milad abdi (fashion photographer) and would like nominate him for the short list.

Barry Kearney-Luc

Best investment – A pair of Alden Cordovan Tassel Loafers which I bought (invested) in January 1982.

JDV

1. Luxire MTM Trousers (Flannel, Linen and Chinos)
2. St. Crispins Brown Calf Adelaide, my Bespoke Overcoat from Sartoria Corcos or my LV Keepall that I own since 15 years? The LV Bag is of course something I wouldn‘t buy today, but the fact that I bought it used 15 years ago and still use it speaks for itself.
3. –
4. –

Nicolas

1. Best Value 2020
the whole offer of Natalino, from RTW trousers to knitwear, the cut and the quality could not be better for the price

Anonymous

Some interesting categories this year! I’ll look forward to reading everybody’s nominations.
Best budget buy for me has been Ollie Quinn glasses. About £100 inc lenses, but the acetate felt good, there was no squeaking or flex in the frame. I’ve spent more on glasses in the past and been less happy with the outcome . I’m currently awaiting a pair from Maison Bonnet, so too early to nominate it as an investment purchase, but the service and experience has been excellent.

Anonymous

1. Best Value
Sandro suede jacket
I bought it few months ago at less than half the price.
2. Best Investment
Black doublebreasted coat from Neil Barrett
3. /
4. /

Chingstein

1. Black Filson graphic t-shirt in 6.5 oz cotton. Made in the USA that I got on sale from Filson for USD25 three years ago. Almost good as new today despite weekly wear, but with a nice fade. Pairs well with….
2. The Flat Head SRJ-07 horsehide rider’s jacket. Leather sourced from Shinki Tannery and the Japanese attention to details. Creasing in the arms to die for.
3. Aphrodite 1994. Because I recently got a great deal (30% off!) on a spiffy pair of Paraboot Michael which was delivered to me in less than a week (I live in Hong Kong).

Tim

Best investment. Levis Lot 1, I got my first pair in May 05.

I wear them most days, all seasons except the summer. They just get better and better. And the aftercare from Lizzie is simply brilliant.

Tim

Oops. I meant May ’15 for my Levis. Not 05.

BV

First two categories are pretty broad and the last two are pretty narrow. I don’t think you will find many repeat answers (maybe a brand but not a precise item).

Ill wait for next year!

zo

that IS the fun, not just half lol

Lee

def. i enjoy this part the best

Papi

1) Best Value – SEH Kelly. It’s relatively cheap compared to most fashion brands and the clothes are good. Small runs each time with occasional refinements as time goes on and I like that they don’t have sales so if you want it, just buy it.

2) Best investment – Norwegian Rain Moscow coat. Keeps me warm in NYC weather, plus that collar!

3) Trunk Clothiers – Like their buys a lot.

4) Yukio Akamine

Rogey

For value, my picks are Alden (quality shoes at a fraction of the price of English shoes), Foster and Son ready to wear shoes, S.E.H. Kelly, and Kevin and Howlin, an old fashioned Dublin tweed shop that sells bulletproof tweed, not expensive for the quality. I’m still wearing a tweed overcoat I got there many years ago. Also, Crockett and Jones, for some fifteen year old chestnut monks, and Edward Green, for some twenty-one year old suede semi brogues. These shoes have been worn many mies and are still worn often.

For investment clothing, two jackets from Meyer and Mortimer: a wool Black Watch blazer made, according to my cutter, Brian Lewis, from the correct kilt cloth, subtle and beautiful, and a W. Bill Shetland tweed in a brown/tan multicolored glen plaid. It snaps and goes with a million things.

For favorite shops outside London, Dick’s, Stewart Christie, and Craig Banks, all in Edinburgh (Craig is one of my favorite people in the clothing business); Kevin and Howlin in Dublin; and Mettez in Paris (wonderful overcoats and trousers).

Peter K

Best value: Uniqlo extra fine merino knitwear.

Unexpectedly good quality for the price.

Best investment; A pair of Dack’s black captoe oxfords I purchased more than twenty year sago. I still wear them at least once per week.

Anonymous

What women will be on the panel? I’m asking for a friend 😉

Martins Onzuls

1. Best value. Maybe not the place to mention, but tk Maxx ralph lauren polos and cotton jumpers. Yes they are cheap, yes they are cotton not wool, but for me they LAST! My first Ralph lauren polo I got back in 2014, and only after next season I plan on getting rid of it… and for 40-50£… they are most definitely not 4 times worse than expensive pieces!
2. Best investment? I’d nominate 2.
1. Loake kempton chukkas (again, probably couple tiers below target audience, but its Goodyear and I paid less than 130£ new) it’s my 3rd season on them, and they look almost new.
2. Your bridge coat. Yes, I got it just back in October, but I was looking for a piece like this for like 5 years so I’m confident I’ll be wearing it for many years…

Joel

Value Award: Peregrine Clothing UK

Reasoning: They offer a great value for British-made, British-sourced knitwear with traceability. Their customer service is tremendous. Their chunky-knit cardigan is a steal at £125.

Jtkuga

Simon,

I don’t think I’ve ever seen you mention Peregrine. Is there a reason why? I’ve considered several of their pieces over the years…

Jasper

Best Value:
Suitsupply jackets. Mostly the Havana fit.
Luxire mtm trousers.
Technical parka’s by Krakatau (not classic tailoring but great value and cool to wear with jeans and tie..)

Joel

Best Investment Piece: Billiam Jeans

Reasoning: I have had several pair of Billiam Jeans over the years. They make quality bespoke and ready-to-wear jeans and casual clothes from high end selvage (mostly Cone Mills dead-stock ) denim. They have even collaborated with brands like Oliver Swinney. The brand was started as a college dream and now thrives as one of the few locally made clothiers here in South Carolina. At $350-500 a pair, they are high, but they last forever, age gracefully, offer denim types others dream of, and add details (Horween or Bakers belt patches) that separate from the rest. Plus, the crew at Billiam are great and ship world-wide!

Martin

Best value: S.E.H Kelly proper pant and Quoddy moccasins
Shop / website: Kafka

E L

1. Best Budget–Natalino Trousers. I have two pairs. They are less than half of what I would pay for Rota or Anglo-Italian. They are of lesser quality than these two brands, but the issues I have had have been relatively minor and easy to fix: a back pocket button falling off, a stray thread here and there, etc. More importantly though, 1) the fit and silhouette is good–high rise, ample room in thigh, tapered leg but not too narrow on the bottom that they get caught on my socks, 2) the fabric is good–my pairs are a 14oz brisbane moss which is something you can’t usually get at this price–which is very important both to how they look and to how they hold up, and 3) they look very good on me–they look like pants from a much higher price bracket.

2. Best Investment–When I first bought a Mercer and Sons shirt (oxford cloth and button-down collar of course), it seemed to me like a lot of money to spend on a shirt. However, I have found that 1) they hold up exceptionally well and look good even when they are worn-down and frayed, 2) I wear them with basically everything, even occasionally (gasp!) a navy suit (something that may not be acceptable outside America), 3) they are super comfortable once broken in, 4) in certain colors (e.g. blue, white, crimson and white stripe) they look very tasteful in a wide variety of situations, 5) they get the collar roll right–better than anyone else, 6) they form the backbone of my wardrobe as I probably wear one every day.

I feel the last point is especially important. I think part of having style is having something of a consistent look. Consider some great dressers–Yukio Akamine, Bruce Boyer, Kenji Kaga, Cary Grant–they all dress(ed) in a way that is pretty consistent from day to day. For instance, I can say you are dressed like Yukio Akamine today, and you would know what that means. When someone wears similar things day in and day out, those clothes really become an extension of the person wearing them and the person comes to look really natural and comfortable wearing them. Moreover, when people dress in a pretty consistent way, they tend to purchase things that are more complementary of each other. This leads to a more coherent wardrobe. All of this is to say that Mercer and Sons shirts are the least changing part of my wardrobe. They are more than adequate to the task of helping give me a consistent look, and thus perhaps some modicum of style.

Christopher

Best value
A pair of chino from Uniqlo

Best Investment
Tough question…my Piccadilly shoes from Tricker’s, more than 10 years of good investment ;-)) a navy cardigan from GRP Tuscany and I guess my navy wool/cashmere pea coat from my Bangkok tailor

Anonymous

1. Best Value: Snow Whisper Pro socks by Wigwam. USD 18.00

While they might not be ideal for wearing with tailoring, they are virtually indestructible (I had a pair for nearly two decades). Colors vary–I have navy, orange, lime, grey, and black–making these socks highly versatile and usable with chinos, jeans, hiking, and even skiing if that is your thing (but it doesn’t have to be). They are also thin.

2. Best Investment Piece: Yokoo Scarves: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Yokoo USD 170.00

Yes, one can head over to Begg and Co. and find a cashmere scarf for much more, but one would be hard pressed to find a scarf with more personality than those made by Yokoo. Yes, they are giant. Yes, they are a statement piece. No, they are not for everyone. And no, you won’t wear it all the time. But it’s like having a comfy sleeping bag around your torso when you do.

Ryan Taylor

Best Value – Anglo Italian. Their pricing of trousers circa £300, shirts circa £160 and so on is standard for higher end brands, but their terrific customer service makes you feel happy to pay those prices.
Best Investment – I bought a dinner jacket and trousers from Hackett 17 years ago at a time when that outlay seemed enormous. It remains my black tie option now, and even though I’ve been able to enjoy higher level MTM and bespoke since then, it still fits brilliantly, and I still love wearing it.
Best shop outside London – I’d add a vote for Dicks of Edinburgh

Chris Tinkler

Best investments for me have to be some Swaine Adeney luggage that just looks better as it ages, plus a Harris tweed jacket and gaberdine trouser combo I got from Des Merrion that I use as my default smart / casual outfit in Autumn and Winter (plus cold spring days). The jacket is indestructible. Finally, I’ve had a Daks wool overcoat for about 20 years that still looks and feels new.
I’d also have to agree about the super strong cotton socks from Mes Chaussettes Rouges (for best value). The cotton lisle socks from them are gorgeous but are a little too fine for regular use. Viccel socks are also good but not quite as good as the M C R range. In addition Sainsbury’s Tu cotton T shirts last well, as do Sunspel traditional cotton boxers if they can be classed as a value item (strangely, the patterned boxers last better that the white ones).
I’d agree with Old Sole in York being included in the non-London UK shops, as it sells a lot of different clothes and men’s accessories as well as bought in and bespoke shoes. Stewart Christie in Edinburgh is another shop well worth the visit.

Charles Rundle

Best value clothing 2020
ASKET
“We can’t live without clothing, but we can make the pieces we choose to invest in count.”
Well made kit at a fair price. My go to.

2. Best investment clothing 2020
Church Westbury (Tan) I bought in 2008 I am a factory worker £7.50 a hour then (now £9.84 a hour) so it was a weeks work back then. Always smile when I wear them.

Best UK (non-London) menswear shop 2020
Aero Leather Clothing Ltd
Online and shop. Just well made kit. A WW2 Paratroopers Heavy Duty Roll Neck? Yes please!
Or 1920’s Eton Collared Sports Sweater (Nutmeg) sure!

Anonymous

Can only second Asket. High quality clothes at a fair price with a good fitting system to find the ideal size. Built almost my full ‘casual wear’ closet with them now.

Anonymous

Best value item: wrangler 29 usd Western denim shirt made popular by dieworkwear.com. The brand has history, the shirt has the right details and its 29 bucks.

P.F.

Great discussion:
1. Best value: Zara leather jacket bought in 2002 and still going strong. I have had it re-lined and repaired many times but it has acquired such a lovely patina and the leather is so soft that I doubt I can fall in love with any other leather jacket. 300€ at the time, so it was one of the pricier items of the shop.
2. Investment: Mackintosh trench coat with a detachable rabbit fur lining. Love the style and the drape.
3. Couldn’t say, non-UK based
4. Too little knowledge to nominate anyone.

David

(1) Best value – although very much fast fashion, I still have around 6 v-necked “under shirt” t-shirts from Old Navy (USA) from 2010 and have worn frequently, especially when dealing with baby spit up, etc (change at least twice a day). Innumerable washes and they’re still going strong and greys especially are nicely “patinated”. (Probably came in a 3 pack, less than $5 each). Proves that sometimes the good stuff is cheap or cheaper.

(2) Investment: Viberg / Division Road collaboration “slipper” / loafer in camel colour: beautiful, very responsive leather and moulds to the foot very well, “casually sophisticated”, as it were. 1 year on, and the leather has already changed to a caramel colour. Love them.

(3) Uk shop outside London doesn’t apply to me as I live in the USA.

David

Another great value piece – (150 Euro) Ted Baker interpretation of a military field jacket (M-65 is possibly) – four pockets, dark olive, light cotton. After 10 years, it gets better and better (per Michael Hill’s evangelising the cotton suit). Light enough for a summer evening, or wear a layer under it. Great for travel.

David

Last comment, I promise! As a cheaper alternative to Paraboot’s Michael, Kleman’s Padror are great value. After a year and a half of commuting (walking two to three miles daily), wearing them two to three days a week, the heavy rubber sole shows almost no wear. Apparently a history of being worn by the French police. Good value (around $220) and ugly stylish, I find them to be excellent and the (Norwegian?) welt is great for rain.

disneyrollergirl

Great shout, I just Goggled them and their women’s shoes look excellent too

Adam Jones

Best Value: – I have 2. Uniqlo – all things considered their knitwear is the best value £4£ available anywhere. Last and lasts, keeps its shape and hardly and pilling. And suit supply for tailoring. Best value tailoring our there and like Uniqlo £4£ best value RTW tailoring our there.

Best investment piece. Yours and PWVC bridge coat. Much more than I would ever spend on a RTW coat but it is one of the best items I have ever bought. I wear it casually and formally, if I could only ever have one coat that would be it. I know I have not owned it for 3-5 years but it’s in its second winter now and I cannot see myself ever needing or wanting to replace it

Brusephi

I would definitely second these nominations from Adam. With both Uniqlo and Suitsupply, there is tremendous value to be found if you choose carefully (e.g. one of my go-to ties is a navy blue tie from Suitsupply with a gorgeous tone of navy ).

PR

Best value: Uniqlo, have had some knitwear for 3+ years which has held it’s shape well.

Best investment: Edward Green, bought my first pair second hand about 8 years ago, had them re-soled and still regularly wear. Have about 5 other pairs all bought new which are top shelf.
-Honourable mention John Lobb for reasons listed above.

3/

4/

Courtney

1. Best Value Clothing 2020: Sunspel Melange Grey Undershirt. Thicker than the typical white undershirt and in grey which means it washes and holds up much better than basic white undershirts without yellowing.
2. Best Investment Clothing 2020: Burberry The Kensington Heritage Trench Coat in Navy Short. This was purchased 5 years ago as men’s wardrobe staple. The coat works well in the winter with heavier sports coats that I wore as a consultant. Its transitioned nicely to more casual tech wardrobe with jeans showing its flexibility. Honorable Mention: The PS Bridge Coat would be my choice, but it has not been 3-5 years. This coat has held up extremely well in the 18 months I’ve had it.
3. Best UK (non-London) menswear shop 2020: Beckett & Robb in the US for MTM suits. I’ve copied many of PS sports coats with Beckett & Robb sourcing the exact cloth. Great local service and reasonable price.

John Gil

Best budget – Falke socks.
Best menswear shop outside London – Zebel in Exeter.

Stephen

Investment Piece:

My choice for an investment piece required little thought; my Edward Green Dover’s in dark oak. The Dovers were my first foray into Edward Green and what I view as high level ready to wear shoes. Though I’ve acquired a fairly diverse collection of Edward Green and G&G shoes over the past few years these remain my favorite. The shade of brown is perfect. The styling is perfect. The apron is a real work of craftsmanship which I happily admire during every wear. The leather seems to only get softer and more beautiful with every wear. I just can’t find any faults.

Buying this pair of shoes was a real hurdle. I had started with Allen Edmonds at the beginning of my career and was happy in my ignorance of other brands. I discovered Alden once I visited a better men’s shop in town and after some searching online eventually stumbled upon and worked my way through Carmina, Enzo Bonafe, C&J, and Vass. I knew of Edward Green because there was a pair of Dovers for sale at my local Brooks Brothers but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the price. However that shade of brown was captivating. I couldn’t get it out of my head. My wardrobe starting getting a bit more casual so I was looking for something appropriate and a split toe was the style. I couldn’t find anything from any other maker that I liked style wise nor could anyone come close to the dark oak. So I thought about it all summer long, went back and forth in y mind a million times as the price was wildly more than I had ever spent, and one decided to stop thinking and clicked “buy.” I’ve been thrilled ever since.

Tom

Best Value:
ONNO hemp t-shirts. Great colors, inexpensive, nice fit and don’t stretch.
Best Investment:
An overcoat from J. Mueser in Loro Piana storm system fabric. Best tailor in the US right now.

Gary Mitchell

Living in Africa makes visiting decent shops difficult and so I need to buy online or wait and buy during Hong Kong/London visits. My go to shops are no surprise to anyone with Drakes, The Armoury, Trunk Clothier leading the list (mention of Brycelands having visited their Tokyo and HK shops, one day I will find time to try their suits offering; online ebay is a constant favourite and much of the casual (new with tags) bargains come from RRL but to answer more specifics:

Out of London online shops – Special mention to the excellent service from The Bureau and End clothing

Best value – Got to be Uniclo socks, having tried any and all expensive socks looking for the perfect ones I still end up wearing Uniclo; they even make it impossible to pick up a pair as its always ‘buy one get 9 pair free’ or some such nonsense and so each HK trip I come back loaded for bear. Uniclo white t-shirt deserve a mention…. I only wore the expensive offerings until it occured to me I could buy 12 Uniclo for the price of one exepsive one allowing me a new t-shirt every month.

Those special things – RM williams boots purchased in 1999 and still going strong (rebuilt in Australia once. The 20+/- Crockett and Jones shoes from 25 – 5 year old all giving stirling service. (I stick with this brand for smart/business wear becuse they fit and can be ordered over the phone and I know they will fit, C&J quality works well enought… I am always meaning to try others but difficult to try before buy. Boglioli suits, an easy purchase online as they certainly always come up trumps as a casual suit for African heat, other suits I have to fit in during UK/HK visits, always a long process. A bespoke blazer made in 1990 and still being worn (OK taken in, let out, taken in again, relined now but still being worn).

Vintage – Never knock the vintage, from bargain finds to my grandfathers overcoat I still wear on the rare days I get to enjoy the cold in UK.

That special thing(s) – Very old French army issued tuareg scarf that has seen service with me the world over and of course the 35 year old Barbour (worn/repaired/worn/repaired/etc).

Today – Armoury jeans, Alden chukka, Gitman shirt and vintage army safari jacket…….and Uniclo socks.

Favourite shop – Different shops for different clothes I guess but if a choice has to be made, Knize in Vienna, just because.

Best Investment – My first Anderson and Sheppard blue DB suit purchased 25 years ago with 2 months wages when I definitely could not afford it.

Heinrich

That‘s the moment to sing the praises of Uniqlo: While (for whatever reason) their formal jackets, suits and coats are crap, they do an absolutely stellar job when it comes to merino and cashmere.

Their merino jerseys sell at something below €50, but are every bit as good as ny other ones that I bought for maybe 4 to 6 times that price.

Cashmere is even more ridiculous: Costs about €100 and there is no noticeable difference to the turtlenecks I bought from other brands before for a much, much, much higher price. Sure, it‘s not Loro Piana, but whatever it is that they sell for €100 is — to me — on par with what I previously spend €500-€600 on.

Nicolas Stromback

Best value: J. Fitzpatrick leather/suede oxfords, from what I think was his first ever line. Still looking good and very comfortable at that price range.

Best investment: Dinner suit in super 130s from Saman Amel. It still feels like a piece of armour.

Julien

Best Value : cashmere rollnecks from Soft Goat. Super soft, nice colors and well made, for less than 200€.

Investment piece : definitely my P-13 chino from Brycelands. Very sturdy, wonderful cut (if you like high-rise). At first, it seems so thick that it can nearly stands by itself. But it softens after a few washes. It is a garnement made for a lifetime.

Winot

Best value: CORDINGS moleskin winter jeans – bought recently for £79 and they fit perfectly.

Investment piece: am I allowed a watch? LANGE & SOHNE ANNUAL CALENDAR (£31K) – more than I’ve ever spent on anything portable but has scratched the watch itch, I wear it daily, and will do do for the rest of my life.

Karl

1. The Natalino brand, especially their raglan coat. Great quality, even better price.
2. Barbour Beaufort wax jacket. It has lasted great and fits most occasions.
3. Don’t live in the U.K.

Ron Barry

1. Best value- my two pairs of natalino trousers. Absolutely love them. Enough thigh room, great drape and perfect high rise. I’d invest in that company if I could.

Anonymous

As an addendum to my earlier comment.
A few years ago I would have said Uniqlo merino knitwear as pound for pound it held up well. I have been disappointed with recent purchases which have pilled a lot. Is it just me? I probably will give it another chance though.
‘Investment purchase’- Tom Ford Steve McQueen cardigan in navy merino. Have had it for a few years and I do treat it much more kindly than less expensive knitwear, it still looks new. I look in the mirror and think James Bond- my partner looks at me and thinks middle aged man in a cardigan! That said, if the PS shawl collar cardigan was available at the time I may have gone for that instead.
Best shop outside London- Crockett and Jones Factory shop in Northampton- Tetbury chukka boots for £199. The staff work in the factory so are very knowledgeable. Opening times are restricted though – Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings only.

Barry Kearney-Luc

I forgot to mention a pair of Converse (pink) low cut which I bought in Los Angeles for US$ 7.00 in 1987.

Adam Lowe

Best Investment: Two items I bought back in 2012:
Lou Dalton rust coloured wool biker jacket in The Corner sale for 200.00. I still love wearing it when the time is right and still get compliments. I’ve never seen another autumn/winter jacket like it anywhere and all made in England.
The other is my pair of brown Jeffery West brogue boots. They need a bit of polish from year to year but only cost 185.00 in the sale. Also my Smedley charcoal rollie.
In the future I hope my Edward Sexton white button down shirt will also be in this classic category.

Best Value:
Anything from Ebay really. Charcoal herringbone PT01 trousers, woven Paul Smith loafers for 50.00. For new items I would say Pantherella socks.

Martin

1. Best value: suitsupply white leather sneakers. A tad over 100€, made in EU, over 2 years now with weekly wearing throughout the whole year, still in good shape, fits for almost every outfit.
2. Best investment: Private White Ventile mac coat. It was actually a gift, yet more than me (nor my girlfriend, who gave it to me) would spend on a single piece. I find myself wearing it a lot, good for mild south European autumns and winters over a sweater and a scarf.

Nick Inkster

Best investment is definitely my father’s DJ, which he had made by Hawkes & Co for his 21st birthday in 1946.

Sadly it doesn’t fit me, but it’s good looking at it every now and then.

Phil

Is this the same tailor as Jeeves and Hawkes, or is that somebody different? Not familiar with the tailors of those days really.

Thanks

Albie

Phil I think it become Hawkes and Curtis but not sure.

Simon will probably be able to tell us.

Simon

The name is Gieves and Hawkes.

Hawkes were the original occupier of 1 Savile Row, and they were bought by Gieves in the early 70’s.

Matt

Best value: has to be my vintage Burberry trench I got on eBay for under £100 about two years ago. Pre-loved clothing can be such great value
Best investment: Has to be my grey Suitsupply overcoat that cost me £300 (a lot of money for a student, probably very affordable for much of the readership). I got it 3 years ago, it’s simple, stylish, warm and still in great condition, which is all I could ask for, really.
Best shop outside London: I would say the Brogue Trader in Cardiff. I’ve bought both my pairs of Loakes there, it has a good selection of classic shoes and excellent customer service.

Lee butler

1. Uniglo merino jumpers. no pilling, wash well, had more comments on this than my Smedley ones 9the one i have is 5 years old now and still looks new)
2. Pal Zileri sartoriale wool and cashmere jacket. Cost me £350 in an 80% off closing down sale (Bicester Village). This was a huge amount to me, but it still looks and feels great 8 yrs on (had it tailored to fit better at Pinna and needles)
3. this one harder. Gere Menswear Lincoln, though they do not stock some of the more expensive/exclusive brands, I have always ended up spending more than planned – great, friendly staff. Nothing is too much trouble for them.

Tucker Braddock

Best Value: Brooksbrothers shirts at the bi-annual sale, but not them in general. I do not care for their clothing.
Best Investment: Sid Mashburn

Peter

Very interesting categories, Simon. I can only speak from experience on the first two.

1. On the casual side, I’m surprised no one has mentioned Vans slip-ons. Cost aside, they are probably the most versatile shoe out there, pairing well with everything from shorts to suits. Not many shoes have that distinction.
For something more dressy, old Chipp tiemakers aren’t particularly exquisite (no I tipped or hand rolled edges) but they do make a solid grenadine tie for $60, an insane deal for a hard to find staple.

2. My favorite investment piece is a reversible jacket in cavalry twill wool and denim purchased from Evan Kinori. As an apprentice it was far out of my price range but I knew it would serve me well and age gracefully. Years later it is probably my most worn jacket and is just now starting to get patina from work and leisure. Evan’s lookbooks are often very directional but I find his designs are simple yet unique, utilitarian but not overengineered, and are easy to fit into your wardrobe.
For a dressier investment piece: my first pair of St. Crispins, their split toe hand sewn in crust, are still my favorite five years on. Comfortable and lightweight, they are one of the few shoes I can wear all day and each year the patina just gets better.

Lina

1. –
2. –
3. –
4. Jake Grantham. I very much appreciate that certain softness, ease and relaxed put-togetherness, and the very natural way he combines tailoring with more casual items, never overdone, self-conscious or mannered. In fact, I think of my own style goal as somewhere around the female version of how he puts it all together. Was glad to hear I have 372 sister readers per post, by the way!

Charles Oxford

Best value: Anglo Italian MTM suits. Fantastic cut, choice of great fabrics, almost bespoke quality at less than half the cost. And Luca Avitabile shirts. So soft, so perfect. For casual wear, for sure Slowear/Incotex. Really classic for reasonable cost.

Best investment: any of the Alden cordovan shoes. Get better with time, last long enough to give to your children. Nothing quite like the longwing blucher.

Charles Oxford

One more in the value category: Joe Merino out of Amsterdam. Lovely heathered colours of super high quality merino sweaters in every pattern imaginable for around 100 euros. Such a find. They wear forever, much better than cashmere, and just the right weight.

David Lane

I will go off the path a bit for the value investment. A good mechanical watch can last many many years, and while I do love vintage pieces, they come with some quirks that can be frustrating and expensive. My value recommendation would be a Seiko SKX013 or a Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical watch. I find them both easy to wear with most fits outside of a suit and at 38mm are a good size for most wrists. They can both be easily worn on leather straps, suede or nylon nato straps, as well as a steel mesh or jubilee/oyster style bracelet. The Seiko is 250$-300$ US and the Khaki Field watch is 550$ US. They are both great casual pieces for the price, and if you absolutely need waterproof the Seiko is a 200m dive watch.

For the investment I could cop out and suggest another watch like a stainless steel Rolex or JLC Reverso, which are both great pieces, however I think a good overcoat is hard to beat. I have an 8 year old, raglan sleeve, tweed overcoat from O’Connell’s in Buffalo, NY. It is built like a tank and can be worn over a suit or with knitwear and jeans. It’s certainly an expensive off the rack coat at 1200$ US but will likely last a lifetime. I love the look of a camelhair polo coat or charcoal top coat, however, I find myself reaching for the old tweed piece over and over. If you have the means, a bespoke piece would be even better.

O’Connell’s is obviously not in London, nor the UK, but if you were ever to make a trek to a destination for singularly unique experience in menswear, O’Connell’s is not a bad choice. Although technically not a vintage shop, they have pieces from every decade since the 50’s and a veritable history lesson in Trad shops. Dig deep through those stack of trousers and look behind the rows of sweaters. I have never in my life seen so much packed into such an intimate space.

-DL

Fred

1. Best value clothing – Permanent Style Knitwear.
2. Investment 2020 – Hopefully, five bespoke shirts from 100 Hands. Waiting to receive them; order placed in late 2019.
3. na
4. na

Cotswold Blonde

MG Rivers knitwear for men.
The most stylish and dashing knits on the market. Perfect gifts, for him, and for her to borrow.

Evan Everhart

Best value for me, would be the woolen OTC Bresciani and Mazarin hosiery that I have been purchasing from Mes Chaussettes Rouges for some time now. My oldest pairs are about 5 years old, and still in fine shape. They are excellent value for cost, if you consider at least once weekly, at about $25. USD price 5 years ago including shipping (I purchased several pairs in different colors, all at once, so the shipping price would be less per pair), and consider how many successive weeks I have been wearing those socks 1 to 2 times per, the value is outstanding!

My other nominations for excellent value (and investment piece actually) are Church’s English shoes. My old ones that I got when I was in my teens. They’ve only gotten better with use and care. I am just barely getting to the point where they may need to be re-soled, 17 years later. I cannot speak to the present production shoes however, post Prada that is.

For the last two items, I have no dog in either of those races and frankly don’t care. I live in the United States, and am not a woman.

TreHer

1. Best Value(s): Levis 501 STF they break in amazingly and give the right fit for those with athletic legs and always on sale finishing is a bit sloppy but I dont mind trimming threads on jeans that cost less than $30 on sale. Vintage Ebay sportcoats and outerwear as well (southwick, Cornelliani, Belvest, RLPL) My Best find was a pair of $400 USD Canali Mid Grey flannel trousers that fit me like a glove on clearance for less than $50 USD at Nordstrom Rack they have been going strong for over 3 years of regular fall winter wear.

2. Best investment: as a young student in College my splurges arent very expensive for most but I saved for a few years to buy a Tudor Black Bay and by the time I had enough money saved they had switched to the in-house movements and the thicker cases which was disappointing. However, my sister moved to Virginia and I visited her and my brother in law for my 21st birthday. Lo and behold we walk into Tourneau and they have a new in box 1st gen black bay blue (my favorite) still wrapped in plastic from the factory. I purchased the watch at retail and have never looked back since. As an aviation student and future pilot I really have my eye on IWC for my next watch. However, my watches have taken a back seat to my wardrobe this year and my next investment will be a four ply lambswool shawl cardigan from William Lockie.

Simon Bird

My MG Rivers, navy jumper although only purchased a year ago, has proven to be understated quality for many an occasion, will almost certainly become an investment piece.
Otherwise my Belstaff Fieldmaster wax jacket has been perfect on many a unsettled day in the Cotswolds.

tilka

I can answer #1 with sport coats from Spier & Mackay. They are a very good value on sale, or even at full price. My first jacket from Spier was a 1/2 canvassed, super 110’s, navy tonal check, 3 roll 2, and it is still going strong 4 years, and a few alterations, later. I wouldn’t recommend the company for #3, though. The CS just isn’t great. Not awful, but not great.

MKA

Best all rounder. M G Rivers

Extremely versatile wear. Can rock a V-Neck all year round.

Not to mention the new accessories can pair with any outfit.

Excellent sourced materials, making the clothes 10/10

Laurent

Best value are either my Paraboot “Reims” loafers which I wear nearly every day in winter, or all my Aiglon knitted belts which I wear all the time.
Best investments were my Goyard “Boeing” duffle from 2006 and my Rubinacci SC from 2008.
Unfortunately I would not know about the other categories.

Paul

1) I’ll go for the Uniqlo fine merino wool gear as well. As seen many times in the wonderfull L’Etiquette magazine, they seem to have the right idea, picking the best value staple items and mixing with the expensive and fabulous.
The Drakes factory shop is also full of lovely things at incredible prices. But don’t tell anybody.
2) A Harris Tweed jacket and waistcoat by Mr Timothy Everest which never lets me down. They are thermo nuclear warm, can be worn with anything, and get better with age. Or anything I’ve ever bought from Connolly or Aero Leathers.
3) All Blues Co. Leeds. @allbluesco

Zo

Hush!
Simon, please delete this comment.

bertie

Uniqlo socks and merino knits

C&Js, Alden

DE

Best value: Uniqlo merino wool ‘V’ neck (navy and charcoal) – fantastic quality, long lasting, great cut and fabulous value.
Best investment: Oliver Brown antique black silk plush top hat – probably over 70 years old (owned by me for 5 years), eye wateringly expensive (think £ thousands), so much more beautiful than modern fur felt versions and will hold its value or can be passed onto my son.
Best retailer: Welsh & Jeffries, Eton is beloved by local residents and tourists as well as pupils at the famous Berkshire school. Offering everything from brightly coloured striped socks and boxer shorts, lambswool sweaters, corduroy trousers and rtw tweed jackets through to bespoke tailoring all at very reasonable prices with alterations on site and normally included in the price!

Colin

1. Best value: Shirtonomy shirts, once you’ve nailed the fit they are exceptional at the price point, particularly the formal button down. I’d like a higher collar height on some of their other styles though.
2. Best investment piece: Private White. Own many pieces and all are bullet proof, best longer term purchase being the Zip up Cashmere Bomber which is good for multi season and fairly versatile
3. Best non London store – Doherty Evans & Stott, Manchester
4. Best dressed: Guillaume Florent….French swagger

James

Best Investment
Issey Miyake pleated vest. I bought this in black perhaps 15 years ago. I wear it with black tie. It is elegant and comfortable. It fit when I weighed fifty pounds more than I do now. It fits at my current weight. It is a technological marvel. It gives me tremendous delight and has delighted everyone who has noticed it. Many people don’t notice it, which is part of its charm.

Ian A

I like the British Sheepskin company located in the West of England UK. I bought a black sheepskin Duffle coat from them in January 2017 for £750 and it has held up marvellously. It is super warm in the coldest of winter and in milder days you just don’t bother layering and it keeps that wind chill factor out. Stylish enough to wear with a suit but great with a knit or corduroy or if you really can’t abstain in winter …………….denim jeans!

Anonymous from AU

1. Best Value – 2 x Products from Uniqlo:
– Colour Cotton Socks come in a vast range of colours and I wear them with anything (Suits, jeans, linen trousers etc.) and they’re less than AUD $4 a pair
– U Crew Neck T-Shirts I’ve purchased (I have about 6 of them) are also versatile like any plain T-Shirt. I love the extended length of the sleeves and the thickness of the shirt gives it a great drape wen work with deconstructed tailoring, giving that extra relaxed look.

All of my other purchases of worthy mention are less than 3 years ago so I cannot comment in the other categories (Best investment would be a pair of Crockett & Jones’ loafers which are almost 3 years old).

Benjamin

Best value brand (by far, IMO) is Spier & McKay out of Toronto (and producing garments in China). Top quality fabrics from the best mills in Italy and the UK, and the kind of quality craftsmanship that’ll change your view on Chinese made garments. I own half a dozen sport costs and a suit from the brand, and they’re punching so far above their weight class that more established brands should be worried.

Jonas

Best value: Pedemeia socks https://pedemeia.pt/en/
For the past few years I’ve tried just about every knee high sock brand out there, but I have now settled on Pedemeia.

During the colder months I now exclusively use their ribbed knee high 100% merino socks. They are not too thick but still durable and I like the extra narrow ribbing. For summer I switch to their ribbed knee high 100% cotton socks. The ribbing isn’t quite as narrow, but narrow enough and the color holds up really well over time.

I’ve found most other brands inconsistent with sizes, durability and shrinkage varying wildly from one order to the next.

Anonymous

I’m a little curious, given the personal definition of value/investment, how you will deal with those “middle brands” (eg Crockett & Jones) who are going to be considered value for some but investment for others? Across the two categories they may get more votes than any others but looking at categories individually they may be out voted by brands that only fit in one.

The other interesting point is sales… a few have mentioned something was value because it was in a sale or outlet, does this fit with the ethos of it being a value item?

In terms of my nominations…

Investment – Crockett & Jones, to name a particular product it was the a pair of double monk toe caps that had lasted 8 or so years before being lost in a suitcase… their replacements (now with a pebble grain finish) are going strong at 3 years. Whilst most of my formal shoes are C&J they are still an investment for me and most could have been nominated but the monks were my first ever pair and I loved them dearly.

Value – Probably another vote for Uniqlo merino jumpers… I haven’t owned many much more expensive than this but they have lasted better than other things I have had… maybe this would change if my normal spending escalated to the levels where Luca Faloni or such became value to me but they are on my wish list for investment piece at the moment.

I really like the new categories and I am very excited to see the results of category 4.

I would nominate for category 2 best investment clothing the shoemaker Antonio Meccariello.
He is in a maybe unique position to be a true bespoke shoemaker who owns a factory with a production capacity of over 100 pairs per Month.
This means that after your first bespoke handmade and handwelted pair, you can ask him to for factory made shoes of his cheaper lines like Argentum using your bespoke last. So after the initial investment (which takes time and money), you can get later bespoke fit and comfort for price comparable to a RTW brand on this quality level.
I waited for my bespoke pair 3 years but I never regretted it and it was worth it. I only regret for not ordering earlier.

Paul Boileau

Category 1 Stemeso socks? 🙂

Kevin Tan

1. Best Value

Tabio Socks

One of the best value socks for around USD 14 – 20 depending on the model if bought in Tokyo (I recommend the Ginza shop in Ginza 6). I usually purchase around anywhere from 3-6 when I went to Tokyo before when I was overhauling my sock wardrobe. Now I only purchase around 1-2 pairs to replace old pairs or to add some new colors.

They have many different models such as silk, cotton, wool, blends at different price points. I usually go for the silk materials series and now get the silk with cotton cushioning (which is even more comfortable than the silk materials by itself). Although I live in a tropical country, while it is warmer, it is not too much since it is very fine.

2. Best Investment

Ciccio Sportcoat in Mid Blue 350gsm “Mockleno” from the Finmeresco book.

Very versatile, wearable in 3 seasons. Pricey at 460,000 JPY (~4,500 USD) but has served me very well over the years and will be a go-to in years to come.

3. Store outside London (But in UK)

Cannot comment on in-store experience since I’m outside the UK, but have heard good things about Bureau Belfast and End Clothing (which I’ve ordered from before).

Paul Boileau

1. I’ve also had good luck with Mes Chaussettes Rouges socks principally Bresciani and the super durable own brand. Could do with more patterns though.
2. Bespoke Foster and Sons black oxfords bought in the 90’s and still in use today after numerous resoles. Lightly worn now as I fear the end is nigh! Still make me smile when I wear them but haven’t felt the need (thankfully) for more bespoke shoes- I scratched that itch and moved on.
3. Pass
4. Yukio Akamine- very stylish and he smokes.

Troy

1. Budget – All things bought on ebay?
Mentions for vintage – Aubin&Wills, John Lewis Merino Knits (the ones with the sheep tags), Morley gloves
New – Uniqlo Merino Cardigans, Saint James Bretons, Howlin Shetlands

2. Investment
Margaret Howell – Black Ventile Raincoat
Fabric feels great, soft but sturdy, surprisingly versatile in black, long belt, deep inside pockets, long length, tight collar.
Viberg – Waxed Flesh Service Boot
Will probably outlive me

3.
Leeds – All Blues Co
Manchester – Oi Polloi

David

1. Best value: Denim casual shirts by Ermenegildo Zegna, hard wearing and great finish.
1a. Bespoke West Indian Sea Island Cotton shirts Turnbull & Asser superb, for a great look and silk like feel. Not expensive in comparison to other shirt makers.
2. Best investment: Bespoke overcoat superbly cut by Leon at Anderson & Sheppard. Cut to be worn short over a waistcoat, lightweight sweaters or cardigans but not over a suit jacket. With these warmer winters I shall hardly ever find the need for one of my heavier overcoats which were cut longer by A&S to be worn over suit jackets.
4. Best dressed: Prince Charles, an icon for timeless British style, clothing and crafts.

Misbah

Value for money, Crockett & Jones Hallam Oxfords in dark brown. C&J are mainstays for me. I like a number of models on the 348 last. The range is good for formal and casual use.

Investment, Edward Green Asquith Oxfords in dark oak antique on the 888 last. So versatile, a go to shoe. I’d rather wear these than walking shoes. A shame that EG didn’t persevere with its more chiseled 890 last.

Tip of the hat to Simon for guiding & convincing me towards quality crafted footwear as a key component of well presented appearance.

Peter Davenport

Best Menswear Shop outside London

I would like to nominate the inimitable Rhodes-Wood of Harrogate, an enticing emporium that has been bringing the style and elegance of Savile Row and the best of European sartorial elegance to discerning customers in Yorkshire for 20 years. Owner and founder Jeremy Beaumont and his team always provide a warm and knowledgable welcome. In my view it is the finest menswear store in the North of England – if not the entire country – with an extensive range of RTW and MTM suiting, spirts jackets, handmade shirts, ties, outer-wear, knitwear, shoes and a wide selection of gentleman’s accessories

Peter

BespokeNYC

Really interesting categories this year!!

1. Best value – a Uniqlo lightweight vest. Yes, it’s a bit of a “midtown uniform” but it’s so useful for traveling, packs down to nothing and can even be worn with tailoring. I got it about 7 years ago and then spent a while trying to upgrade it before realizing I really didn’t need to
2. Best investment piece – (excluding bespoke tailoring pieces because they all fall under that category for me) Thom Sweeney heavy cashmere cardigan. I’d wanted a shawl collar cardigan for ages but, when I saw this one with it’s extra thick luxurious cashmere, I knew it was a bit of an indulgence. I also thought it wouldn’t get all that much wear, being cream, but it’s actually become a staple and, even though it’s extremely thick and warm when buttoned up, when worn open I can still wear it inside in overheated offices.
3. Don’t live in the UK so can’t really comment here. Would End Clothing count as they’re based in Newcastle??

Oskar

1. Uniqlo Pyjamas
2. A 1997 Stone Island wool pea coat (the previous time they were peak-hyped), still going strong every winter, once re-buttoned by the company for free (!), prohibitively expensive back then when I was in 12th grade (thanks again Mum!)
3. n/a
4. a. Industry: Jake Grantham; b. Private: Peter Zottolo

James

1. For value, I’d have to go with my one and only watch. It’s a Seiko SARB033 purchased a little over 2 years ago. At around £250 it’s certainly not even close to expensive as watches go, but for someone who hadn’t worn a watch in 20 years it was a bit of a punt. Having scoured Simon’s watch articles (and adjusted to a different budget) I decided I wanted an automatic that that could just about do double duty – a dress watch and something more casual. I think the SARB033 does that reasonably well, and having worn it daily for a couple of years have come to love it. Nominally it was purchased to mark the birth of my son, who is now fascinated with it and insists on putting it on my wrist each morning. This has rapidly become a ritual I enjoy hugely (for as long as it lasts), only adding to it’s value to me. Well serviced (and not lost) it should eventually become his.

2) My Drakes cashmere shawl collar cardigan in flannel grey. Absolutely my favourite piece of clothing. Something I had coveted for a long time, but thought I’d never justify. I actually went into Clifford street to pick up the Lambswool version (navy or charcoal as they have never done a lighter grey wool one I don’t think; Lockie might though) and was served by the charming Mr Phillips who very kindly pointed out that the cashmere flannel grey one was being discontinued and that he’d part with one for a not dissimilar price to the lambswool version. To say I bit his hand off would be an understatement. It’s probably a size too large (which almost caused a return after immediate pangs of buyers remorse) but given that I use it almost exclusively for plodding round the house that’s come to be part of it’s charm. I slip it on to replace my jacket at the end of the day and feel the stress bleed out of me. It’s been worn cradling my son, unwrapping Christmas presents, lent to my wife when she’s cold, and been a comfort when I’ve been sick or struggling. If it’s an investment, I’m already seeing a return. The only problem is that I now want the navy too!

4. Wish I had one. If anyone knows of some good shops in the Berkshire area (there must be a few with Ascot, Windsor etc.) I’m very keen to spend my money at a local bricks and mortar shop rather than online (though as others have commented, END has been consistently excellent). Simon – would a reader sourced, but PS vetted directory of some sorts be possible? If the infrastructure could be set up, it could readily work for the US also?

Oliver

Best value items this year – Asket fine T-shirts and Natalino Trousers

Best investment – Saint Crispin shoes on a personalised last

Peter

Only number 1
For me easily skolyx. From my point of view they have affected the quality shoe market in many ways, from being very early in starting to sell spanish shoes(yanko) with a quality comparable to some of the english makers at a lower pricepoint, to starting their own brand producing great, affordable shoes with specs usually much more expensive. They were also headlining the process of developing tlb artista, which, right now, probably is the pinnacle in the quality vs cost game, read more about it here: https://shoegazing.com/2019/03/20/report-tlb-mallorca-artista/ . They also have the best socks I’ve ever used.

Shane

1. Had a few thoughts for value. Clark’s desert boots – Classic, versatile, look better as they get battered and a great price. Barbour waxed jackets (particularly if picked up on sale) – again absolute classics that improve with age and can be worn with everything from jeans to suits. Natalino trousers – for the price are fantastic. Vans authentics- great summer shoes. And as said repeatedly, Uniqlo knitwear. Their ultra light down jackets are good value too.

2. As for investment, my Alden LHS in snuff suede are the most I have spent on shoes but have been worth every penny. Same can be said for Common Projects Achilles Lows in white. Anonymousysm fair isle socks a little pricey but great with boots. And anything from Private White VC is absolutely worth the extra few quid !

3. Not based in the UK so can’t comment.

4. Jean Rousseau watch straps.

Shane

Sorry, clearly hadn’t read the categories properly ! My recommendation for Jean Rousseau was for artisan, but I see that’s not a category for a public vote.
Also had a think and End Clothing in Newcastle (and online) and Oi Polloi in Manchester get my votes for non London shops. I actually prefer their stores up north to their London branches.

Paul H

Hi Simon, long time reader, first time commenter. Thank you for all the information and advice to date. My top value vote goes to Sam Hober bespoke ties. Workmanship and service are excellent in general and the price point make their ties an outstanding value.

Second readily goes to Simone Abbarchi (thank you PS!). Wonderful experience visiting his Florence shop and of course beautiful shirts!

Andreas Klow

Best investment.

Dark oak Dovers by Edward Green.

Best value.

Poszetka

Samuel

Dear Simon,
My question probably relates to 4. Best-dressed man 2020: Women’s award: what is a (similar, if not comparable) blog, portal, website and the like such as permanentstyle.com that primarily addresses style conscious women? And I certainly do not mean the many fashion magazines!
Many thanks.
Regards,
Samuel

Paul Fournier

Hi Simon,

I’d go for:
1. Craftsman clothing G1 flight jacket – great price for an MTM leather piece, well made and durable from what I can see for now

2. Loro Piana baby cashmere parka – bought at -60% at their outlet but still quite expensive. However, it’s an amazing investment piece as it’s easily worn over tailoring or jeans and a sweater. Works even when it’s -15°C outside. There’s a beaver collar which is lovely but I’m sure that won’t be to everyone’s liking

3. No idea

4. Sarah Ann Murray, hands down

Simon C (not Crompton)

Best investment – brown suede Church brogues.
Best store outside of London – Doherty, Evans & Stott in Manchester. Great products, great guys.

Jesse B.

Best value: Without a doubt Spier & Mackay sportcoats.

Best investment: Alden LHS loafers in shell cordovan or snuff suede. Absolute staples in my collection for years now and many more to come.

Christopher

Best value :
Spier and Mackay ( Canada) Trousers and Sport coats

MW

This might be overkill, but I have four for best value and one for investment.

Value–
1) Patrick Johnson: navy wool sport coat. What can I say? It is the quintessential item of tailoring. $1000 for an MTM garment that has a very good fit and solid make. I wear it all the time for work and sometimes socially. If I divide the cost by the number of times I have worn it, it is almost definitely my “best value” tailored jacket.
2) Luxire: wool (khaki and grey birdseye) and cotton (dark brown moleskin) trousers. Now I have three total. The fit is not perfect, but it is very good considering that I provided the measurements of the garment. I wear them all the time. Each piece was less than $150 each. The make, fit, and price are unbeatable versus the rest of the custom trousers (PJT, Stoffa, Mr. Ned) even though I like the others. These pants are my day-in day-out trousers for work.
3) Ratio: custom button down collar shirts. I have custom shirts from Ratio, Proper Cloth, CEGO, Simone Abbarchi, Individualized Shirts, Kent Wang, PJT and others. Ratio is on the more affordable end of the spectrum and has been the easiest to the fit right. The options are decent and the construction is similar to the others.
4) Carmina shoes. I rotate three loafers from Carmina, along with my Aldens, as my regular work shoes. I wear them way more than my nicer Vass and way more than my more affordable AE and Meermin. I think they are a wonderful medium. And I love the variety of lasts, styles, and materials.
5*) I no longer wear these much since I have moved on to MTM shirts for the better fit, but I still love my Kamakura shirts. I probably own about 15, and maybe at one point purchased 20-25. The value for quality is unbeatable in RTW shirting.

Investment:
My Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 with black dial. It could be my one watch for life.

Jasper

Best value:

Cordings chino’s and moleskin trousers!
Great fabrics and solid construction. They come unhemmed which is nesesarry due to my length. (I’m tall and often trousers are to short) after bringing them to a tailor to change the style a bit they are really great and age really nicely.

Daniel

For budget/value – Spier and Mackay sport coats for a combo of construction/fabrics/aesthetic/price point. Shirts and other things are great too but their true punching above weight product is their sport coat.

Investment – the sid Mashburn in store experience. Investment is always relative as you suggest but their higher end things are great and shopping online is convenient, but the in store experience is fantastic and fun.

Tom

1. Sunspel black trunk underwear. Comfortable and last an age
2. Either my first pair of ‘proper’ Northampton Goodyear welted shoes, The ‘Tetbury’ chukka from C+J or my Alden x Drakes suede Indy boots. These took a while to wear in but are ageing well and are incredibly comfortable. I was considering my MTO Gaziano and Girling ‘Sinatra’ black whole cut. They were a considerable investment and I do love wearing them but it is occasional
3. Dick’s, Edinburgh

Paul R

1. Best value:
Been said many times already but Uniqlo merino knitwear is great. Got about 15 sweaters of various colours and neck lines, many quite old, all still in good condition despite much usage. Even if they do develop holes I use them for cold day cycling or even skiing and they work fantastically. Their cashmere is good but a bit more variable in quality.
Might be pushing the definition of value but APC stuff is great – got a navy heavy coat by them and it’s last beautifully.
2. Investment:
Frank Clegg leather goods. My commuter bag is a stunning and is ageing well.

VICTOR BESNARD

1. Navy Uniqlo Merino Wool Crewneck
2. Black Gucci horsebit loafers
3. Not too familiar with British shops outside of London
4. I would like to nominate @andreaseoul_cho

Mr B.

1 – Budget: Cordings… almost everything but certainly their cotton jeans and lambs wool jumpers. Cordings today seem to be what M&S was when I was a boy – good quality basics, largely made in the UK for a fair price. Although not necessarily the cheapest they are practical, built to last, and do so.
2 – Investment: Barbour jacket… bought 10 years ago, given a hard life / lots of use but still beautiful in a vintage, cared for, sort of way. Of course in PS terms not an investment at all (relatively) and in many way could be considered a budget item given the $/days value.
3 – UK menswear: The Harrogate outlet for Cordings or in terms of an independent then Rhodes Wood for their old fashioned service if nothing else

Stewart

Jason

Sadly I could only give my advice on Q3.
For the best menswear store outside London, I would say Dick’s Edinburgh definitely deserve the title. It has a good selection of different quality brands and good service.

Jen

4. Gun to head Aleks Cvetkovic. Honorable mentions: Takumi Oshima / Shuhei Nishiguchi

Gail

My husband is constantly quoting you so I thought I’d add my £.02p’s worth.

1) Best budget item: Sunspel tees. Well made and they do the job. Although my husband would like to take advantage of Patrick Grant’s new made in UK tees, which I think are about £30.

2) The best investment piece he’s made so far is a pair of black Edward Green captoes he bought for our wedding. Since then he’s worn them with most of his suits (and he really appreciated your recent article on black clothing).

3) My husband also loves Walker Slater when we can get there, and I do too. They have wonderful selections for both men and women, which is fairly rare.

4) Both of us like many of the personalities you have featured in the past but we feel many of them are aspirational and relatively narrow in focus, despite their handsome outfits. The exception to this is Peter Zottolo, who looks comfortable, easygoing, and most of all, relatable in the way he dresses.

disneyrollergirl

Another female POV here – hope I’m not too late!

My budget piece is Agnes b’s T-shirts. Either the boxy Brando style, or the striped ones made out of the same fabric used for rugby shirts. Indestructable. My runner up is Muji’s tennis shoes, around £25 I think, super minimalist with an ergonomic sole and great for summer.

My investment piece is my Church’s Shannon shoes. Just keep getting them resoled and they keep on going. I know they’re ‘not as good as they used to be’, but they do the trick for me.

Shop outside London: Taisce in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Beautiful UK-made outerwear and very well curated and visual merchandised.

Best dressed man: Can’t think so playing safe with Paul Smith

Joel 2

For investment, I have a pair of Gucci lug sole ankle shoes that are 22 years old. Had the sole replaced a bunch of times but they are great.

Also for both value and investment a pair of Charles Tyrrwitt socks also from 15+ years ago. Very thick cotton casual socks sadly no longer made by CT. I’d love some suggestions for a replacement pair.

Jonathan

3. Already mentioned – Dicks in Edinburgh is a great wee shop. They do excellent chunky Scottish jumpers as well as relaxed fit Italian jackets. They mainly source from smallish family run businesses and it’s a refreshing alternative to the huge pile-them-high stores. Friendly staff and welcoming to well behaved dogs so gets my vote!

Roger Seegobin

Best Value: DU/ER 24 hr. T-shirt ( Canadian Brand ), Monocle T- shirt, made in Japan; Brand of Monocle being the magazine out of London.
Best Investment: Black Goat cashmere sweaters ( Canadian Brand ) of which I have 4.
Carmina shoes ( Spain ) Vegano Burdeos slip on, purchased in 2013.

PaulS

Best value – I was inspired by Simon’s pieces on his Edward Sexton greatcoat and on Vintage clothing. So while the ES greatcoat was far out of my budget, with some searching I was able to find a stunning olive green pure wool greatcoat from the 1960’s. It is even cut in at the waist so fits beautifully. I would rather buy a high quality vintage piece than brand new mass market RTW high street clothes. You just need some patience.

Investment piece – Gieves and Hawkes shotgun Chelsea boots. These are a beautiful tonal chestnut brown and the leather was blasted with shot to give the boots a distinctive finish across the toe. Unlike any other pair of boots I have seen. Supremely comfortable too, even after nearly 8 years.