This article was spurred by two things.
First, by a reader specifically asking for it, on another capsule post in this series (always a good sign). And second, by some consultancy work I’ve been doing, where the client had assembled an impressively detailed plan of their own for a versatile, quality wardrobe.
In response, below I’ve set out a complete proposed wardrobe, with links to the relevant clothing categories on Permanent Style (which of course includes coverage of makers) – and in the Wardrobe Building series there are pieces providing greater detail.
The big problem with a capsule wardrobe is that it varies so much depending on lifestyle and working environment.
Some PS readers still wear a suit every working day; some never wear one. A capsule wardrobe cannot hope to cater to both.
So here I’ve aimed somewhere in the middle. This is a wardrobe for someone that wears a jacket most of the time for work, sometimes just knitwear. And isn’t reduced to a T-shirt and sweatpants at the weekend.
Also, its aim is to create as many different outfits as possible, for a relatively small number of situations. In any capsule there is a tension between those two things, and I’ve aimed for the former.
Here, the objective is for everything to go with everything, so the clothes can be swapped around and produce the maximum number of combinations.
I’ll do a separate post suggesting how the wardrobe could be acquired over a few years, with different budgets.
1. Navy wool single-breasted jacket
2. Dark-brown wool or tweed single-breasted jacket
These should both be soft in construction, with a natural shoulder, enabling them to be worn with jeans as well as flannels.
They are both dark in colour, because things will be most versatile when the jackets are all dark and the trousers all light. And they are in wool, rather than cashmere or cotton.
The jackets should also be mid-weight, somewhere around 10-13oz. Layers will be fine for colder weather, and we’re not trying to properly cover hot weather.
3. Mid-grey flannels
4. Beige chinos/tailored cotton trousers
5. Mid-blue jeans
All of these should go with both the jackets. So keep the chinos smart for that reason, and the jeans too.
Having the jeans a mid-blue rather than dark indigo means they will go with the navy jacket, knitwear and much else, as well as colours like brown, green or cream.
6. Blue oxford shirts
7. Striped blue/white oxford shirts
8. White oxford shirts
How many shirts you need will depend on whether you wear one every day, and how regularly you wash everything. But perhaps two blue, one white and one stripe would be a good balance.
They don’t have to be in oxford cloth, but should sit sufficiently between casual and formal to work with both jeans and flannels. Oxford cloth is just particularly good at that.
And the most important thing in terms of style is that the collar works with and without a tie. Which will often be a button down, but doesn’t have to be.
9. Dark-brown suede loafer
10. Dark brown derby or chukka boot
Shoes might be the hardest category, just because so few move easily between casual and smart situations.
The suede loafer is probably the only one that really does it all. A calf loafer might be too smart for jeans; a suede derby often isn’t as versatile as a loafer.
So I’d suggest getting number 9, and then something else dark brown for 10: either calf or suede, boot or derby, depending on your circumstances.
11. Wool double-breasted overcoat, or raglan coat
12. Navy pea coat
The material of the overcoat is more important than the colour. Cashmere will be smart, tweed more casual, plain wool perfectly in the middle.
It can be any colour as long as it’s smart and goes with every colour of trouser. So most obviously navy, but dark brown or green might be more interesting – even grey herringbone, as long as it was different enough to the grey flannels.
A pea coat has the advantage of looking casual even in navy. And it would help if it was long enough to cover the sports jacket (like the Bridge Coat, above).
A raglan coat could make a nice substitute for either of these, with its smartness largely depending on colour and cloth.
13. Crewneck sweater(s)
14. Navy shawl-collar cardigan
Sweaters can be any colour that works with all the trousers and the two jackets. Navy might be most useful, but we also haven’t had any dark green yet, or indeed cream. Perhaps two of those.
The shawl-collar cardigan is great for many reasons, including the fact it’s an effective jacket substitute, and looks good over a T-shirt as well as a shirt.
15. Navy knitted tie
16. Dark-green striped club tie
In a wardrobe like this, it seems unlikely a tie will be worn often – but a knitted navy would go with everything, with wool a little more versatile than silk.
A club tie would be too smart for jeans or probably chinos, but it would very quickly dress up a jacket and flannels, so it’s worth adding.
White linen is always worth having, for the way it immediately smartens or dandifies. A good second would be a dark wool/silk – in green, burgundy or purple perhaps. It’s an area with a lot more freedom in colour and pattern.
Umbrella and gloves
Both of these have to go with everything else, being functional rather than decorative. So probably dark-brown leather gloves, and a dark-green canopied umbrella.
Hats too are very functional, and therefore have to go with everything. A navy or grey watch cap (smart beanie, above) is probably the most useful. It could be followed by a cap or brimmed hat, depending on which you’d wear more.
Functional, yes, but not as absolutely necessary as gloves or an umbrella. So perhaps this is another area (like handkerchiefs) to add colour or pattern. A mustard yellow, perhaps, or a burgundy spot. It’s also a relatively economic way to freshen up a small, focused wardrobe.
This list could become surprisingly long, if we start including bags, glasses/sunglasses, blousons, perhaps raincoats and of course warm-weather clothing.
But for a functional and very focused collection of clothing, this could serve many readers well.
Love love love this article! As there have been discussions (or arguments) in the comments sections regarding passions about sustainability and the planet, as well as those on more of a budget than some readers – this is a perfect article that has something for literally everyone!
Thank you for this, and I look forward to the next in the series 🙂
Cheers Taylor, pleased to hear it
Good morning Simon
This is a well thought out piece, which I think your readers will find very useful.
My everyday wardrobe pretty much mirrors this. I tend not to like SB peak lapels (except for a DJ), so would go notch here, and would advocate adding a pink OCBD to the mix as again it’s a perfect match for the jacket and trouser styles/colours suggested here.
Great article! I have mostly bought raw denim jeans the latest years (Blackhorse Lane) but not any mid-blue jeans. What kind of jeans would you think would be the best option for mid-blue jeans?
Mid-blue can be raw denim as well Carl – you just see less of it about. Blackhorse Lane might even have some.
See my bespoke Levi’s as a good example. Both pairs came from raw, but one is rather lighter and bluer than the other.
In the end, it’s just helpful in a capsule wardrobe if the denim is light enough to have enough contrast with a navy knit.
Indeed I have a BHL pair from organic raw denim and they are blue enough to easily work with a navy jacket.
Nice, thanks Robert
Completely agree with the list save one item: The brown jacket. Shouldn’t be a grey textured jacket (enough contrast with mid-grey flannels required) slightly more versatile as it doesn’t have the country associations of the brown and thus more wearable in the city (going out, being worn in a client meeting?
Also, what are your thoughts on brown vs green in a jacket? For me, both colours can be equally worn depending on the shade. I mean, I don’t see brown more versatile than green, to me they are in most cases interchangeable.
btw, which jacket is the one in the first picture? it looks like a Neapolitan made out of hopsack but haven’t seen featured in the blog yet.
I don’t think any grey jacket is really going to have enough contrast with grey flannels. Unless it’s very pale, and then it makes the other combinations harder as it’s easier if the jackets are dark, and the trousers light.
Oatmeal might be smarter, but again it has the issue of not working with the beige trousers.
In fact more important than this, is that the aim of the capsule is for everything to work with everything. So we need a jacket that is more casual, and can work with the jeans and chinos for example. This is not the jacket for those client meetings.
Brown and green and very similar in versatility, yes. I’d give the edge to brown, just, if only because I think it’s more common and smarter in darker tones than green is.
The first jacket is an image from this post. It is my mesh from Ettore de Cesare, shown here.
The brown jacket has a bit more pop to it and is better suited for a slightly casual wardrobe than, say, oatmeal or light grey. Dark brown and jeans make a lovely combination. Grey jacket over grey trousers can make for an interesting tonal look but is better suited as an alternative look than a staple wardrobe look.
That said, I’d consider adding a grey herringbone to the mix. Goes very well with jeans and is very versatile if you’re looking for a casual wardrobe. E.g., wear with tan trousers and blue shirt for a good daytime look, or with dark denim and a white shirt for a casual evening out.
Grey herringbone was my favorite go-to jacket back in my uni days: smart enough to wear on a date, but less stuffy and formal looking then the traditional navy blazer. Paired with jeans, it was casual enough to wear at a bar without looking completely out of place.
Yes, nice point. A herringbone would be nice. I guess I’d probably want a darker colour than mid-grey flannels ideally, but you can’t have everything
Great artcile Simon!!! regarding jackets – would you suggest flap or patch pockets?
Also, for beginners would you suggest bespoke or MTM jackets? I’m asking as I thought that it might be a good idea to try MTM first and see if the style works.
Thanks. Bespoke v MTM is a big area – have you read this article on it? That might be a good place to start.
On pockets, it depends how smart you want it to be. Flap will pretty much always be smarter than patch. I am writing a more detailed post on it though, which will be part of the Guide to Suit Style.
Thanks for the prompt reply Simon. I think that one of the key features that distinguish your website from all the others is the way that you interact with the readers. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
Regarding my earlier questions – I understand the merits of buying bespoke suits rather then MTM but it is less obvious to me when it comes to jackets (especially less constructed and more casual).
Regarding pockets- for your above recommendation (navy and brown), which type would you personally choose?
That’s so lovely to hear Ian, thank you.
To be honest, I’d apply the same rationale to your jackets as you do to your suits, when it comes to bespoke v MTM. Unless the jacket is very casual – like a workwear-esque, heavy cotton.
Either pocket could work on a sports jacket in navy or brown. But if you want it to work with chinos and jeans, as suggested here, then I’d go more casual, so patches
Personally, I’d recommend relatively inexpensive RTW/Off the Peg jackets and suits until you figure out what you like. And only then invest in bespoke or high end MTM.
If you focus on shopping for the right fit, and spend a little extra to adjust the jacket, you can get to 95% of the look of bespoke. It won’t last you as long, but almost every will compliment you and you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t for you so that you can avoid expensive mistakes.
Thanks. I already know what type of suits I like to wear (structured suits from SR) but i’m less sure about odd jackets. Since bespoke is very expensive I was leaning towards your idea of trying for style first (RTW or MTM) before going fully bespoke with my odd jackets. I am glad to see that I am not the only person that think that this is a good option.
Good morning Simon,
Where is the jacket from in the photos? It looks great.
There are several different jackets shown here. Which one were you referring to?
Great article, thank you, Simon. If only I had known all this years ago… time to give away some pieces as a gift to family members and some garments to charity then. Most inspirational, shall carry on following this space.
what’s the jacket you’re wearing in the first image Simon?
The first image is my mesh from Ettore de Cesare – here
You mention combining jeans with the navy jacket. Would you wear the first (mesh, Ettore de Cesare) jacket with mid-blue jeans? That feels like it’s pushing the extremes of more formal (at least within the scope of this wardrobe) jacket with less formal trousers? Maybe if the jacket didn’t have roped shoulders?
No I wouldn’t, it would be too smart.
In the actual text I said a wool jacket, so more of a woollen winter one, like a tweed or similar. That would be easier with jeans
Hi Simon. What about a navy cashmere like your old Solito. Would you wear it with mid wash denim trousers? Nice article.
It would be borderline. I’d prefer a wool to the cashmere
Could you not wear dark blue cashmere jacket with the jeans?
I wouldn’t, personally. I’d want something not quite as luxe and with that sheen. Ideally a wool. Even camelhair would be better.
It does depend a little bit on the weave and finish as well. Some cashmeres have much more of a sheen than others
Very nice article Simon ! And I am pleased to see I already own most of the pieces you recommend. I have one question though:
I don’t own a brown loafer, but I have a dark navy suede penny loafer which I bought last year at the Paraboot outlet near Grenoble, France. It is nice, but I don’t really see where it sits on the formality scale, being dark yet suede. For now I have only worn it in summer with a cream chino and blue shirt, but I would like to know your opinion about it.
Thank you for this, and for your wonderful blog!
Nice, good to know Virgile.
Navy is not an easy colour to wear in a shoe, and to be honest I no longer own any (despite a very large collection). It sounds like your combination is good, and in general I’d suggest it with plainer, more muted things. Like greys, creams and blues.
I own navy suede double monks and find them to be more versatile in the summer than I thought. They pair well with greys, tans, blues and pale colors if the upper half is also blue or navy. Before I better bought various other pairs in shades of brown. I struggle more in combining shoes in sand or tan color, since the trouser should be lighter. So there is only a color range from cream, bone to tan or denim in light blue denim left. What do you think, Simon?
Yes that’s true with tan or pale-coloured shoes, unless the shoe is casual enough to be worn with jeans.
I’ll suspend judgment on the combinations with blue-suede monks until I can see them in person
Thanks! I believe I was a one of the readers who requested such a post. I think the level of formality covered is spot on. (Adding suits is straightforward enough, and virtually everyone says the same thing: begin with navy, then move on to grey…)
One thing I’ve learned from your website is the value and versatility of muted colors, like oatmeal, tan, off white, olive, dark green, grey, etc. (I had never really noticed oatmeal before or appreciates it’s versatility). And that if you do have a rich color, everything else has to be muted. In this case, the brown jacket is relatively rich, but everything else in the capsule is fairly muted so that it can complement the jackets.
Nicely summarised, yes. I hope the post is what you wanted too
An excellent article that will, I’m sure, see much internet traffic and serve as a reference point for many for years to come. Of course there should be no surprises to regular readers of PS but seeing it laid out so concisely makes me realise how many men (myself included) probably have wardrobes stuffed full of individually attractive items that don’t combine well with others. Time for a cull, I think.
I’ve noticed that the ties I wear with suits tend to be different from the ones I wear with sports jackets: with the latter, I tend to wear fairly muted colors, often in wool; with the formal, I’m more likely to use silk and opt for a splash of color – unless it’s a fairly formal event. (The muted colors and wool material also works with suits, but silk ties don’t, with the exception of grenadine). What do you think accounts for the difference, particularly in colors? You would think that the brighter colors would go with the more casual sports jackets rather than the more formal suits, but that’s not the case.
I guess there are a few things at play there.
One is that the ties’ formality is affected by their material as well as their colour. So even a plain navy knit is arguably more casual than most printed or woven silks.
The second is that you’ve got more things you need to combine with the jackets and trousers – there are more moving parts. So it’s often helpful to keep the neckwear quite muted. It’s one less thing to try and work in.
Thanks, that make sense.
To correct an omission from my previous comment, I meant to say:
“(The muted colors and wool material also works with suits, but silk ties don’t work as well with sports jackets, with the exception of grenadine)”
Brilliant article, and a great one to send to a friend as a sort of ‘introductory PS article’.
In the image for ‘Ties’ is that the brown Escorial from Joshua Ellis? It works so well with the green of the tie.
Yes, that’s the Escorial Tweed
Thanks Simon. As a young (ish at 28) professional that has moved from finance to tech I am struggling with this transition. I have most items on this list but could expand my jacket and trouser selection.
I have enjoyed Drakes for some shirts, a linen suit and a pair of trousers but keen to try out Anglo for a brown jacket. Looking forward to your MTM review…
Which jacket is the one with the orange tie?
It’s from The Disguisery – here
It’s a lovely shade of blue (perhaps slate blue? hard to tell from looking at a screen). Less formal than a dark navy but still fairly smart.
Yes, true. To be honest I don’t find it anywhere near as useful as a navy, but on its own it is attractive.
Which trouser colours could go with that jacket besides lighter ones like tan / khaki / stone / cream? Charcoal? Dark green / olive?
Not really charcoal I find, but a very dark olive potentially, yes
Is your using it less primarily due to the color as opposed to the construction? Eg, the color looks like it would work with jeans but the extended shoulders would make it an odd fit. Perhaps you would use it more if it had a Neapolitan construction?
Yes, it’s mostly the colour. Although a Neapolitan make would probably be a little more versatile, yes
Very interesting and useful Simon. My next purchase on the list is shoes. I hadn’t thought about suede loafers nor chukka boots but now that I see them in this context I am liking that idea a lot. Would you say a suede loafer could work with navy of grey suits as well?
Yes. It will never be as smart as calf, or an oxford, and you’d ideally have those options as well. But it does work.
See the shoe capsule (part of the same guide as this) for more detail there
Regarding on Brown Jacket, doest the texture matter a lot?
I do have a dark brown LGB Taylor and Lodge twill suit, but i find that the jacket doesn’t really match with a jeans, instead the trouser is more versatile.
Yes, you need more texture and perhaps some subtle pattern – a plain twill is unlikely to work
This is great. The whole time I’ve been reading PS, this has been an ongoing thought exercise of mine: how to efficiently develop a versatile and timeless wardrobe. And the pieces you list are almost exactly what I’ve been coming to. All those other posts in aggregate have clearly been getting through! It’s really nice to feel that I’ve been educated through PS so that I’m “independently” coming to these same conclusions. (I’ve even done some year-by-year planning that you mention you’ll cover in a following post). Thank you Simon.
Hi can you recommend a good blue oxford button down shirt preferably under £150 ? I’ve decided it’s time to grow up from ralph polo ocbd’s , something with a good collar (apparently brooks bothers USED tohave a great collar ?) thanks
Well, I developed my perfect oxford button down, and we sell them on the PS shop. Exclusive material recreating the vintage look, perfect roll, hand sewing etc. Great value, and the best oxford I’ve ever worn for just over £200 with VAT.
But if you want that price, have a look at Anglo-Italian maybe.
thanks for that, to be honest the £150 was very much the top amount I can pay at this time ( damn those young children!) your PS Look excellent btw
check out Drakes too
If you are willing to buy from the US, Mercer and Sons probably has the best fabric and collar roll out there–though the large fit is not for everyone (under a jacket or sweater it is fine). The shirts are also far more durable than most other options I have tried, due to the sturdier cloth and baggier fit.
I also like O’Connell’s unlined oxfords. They are rtw. Not as baggy as Mercer, the collar and cloth are not quite as good, but they are still very nice in absolute terms and relative to other options I have tried. They also don’t cost as much as other options.
An online shirt maker might work for you. Proper Cloth has a good reputation and has ready made shirts to choose from as well.
I’ve bought from Spier and Mackay and like their very affordable shirts.
FWIW, Brooks Brothers has brought back their historical unstructured collar for the OCBD. I can’t vouch if it is as good as their historical ones–I’ve never owned them.
Berg & Berg have beautiful OCBD shirts in two cuts around the ~£130 mark, both featuring the best collar roll I’ve seen on a RTW BD shirt (though I can’t comment on the PS offering). The fabric is also impressively fine and smooth for the price. I tried Brooks Brothers at two intervals – 8 years ago and last year – but found them to be consistently over priced and overrated. The collar roll is non-existant, and their proudest point of differentiation is single-needle stitching which, as we know from this site, is functionally irrelevant. That said, with BB you get a choice of (I think as many as 5?) silhouettes and different sleeve lengths for each collar size, so if fit is an issue for you, they might just be worth it. Incidentally, my long arms are why I could never try the PS version.
Thanks for this article! I really like the idea of a capsule wardrobe – concision via versatility is an attractive concept, so this was a fun read – but how this, or any version would actually function as “complete” remains a complete mystery to me. For example, it sounds quite succinct to list three versatile shirts, but how in the world are five shirts (a reinforced, up-from-your-3 concession) going to get anyone through even half of our 365 days (of only a single year!)? And if someone, as you formulate, wears a jacket or knitwear most days to work, how in the world are two jackets and three sweaters, even with the most exhaustive rotational permutations, going to do the same? For me, these wardrobes just don’t add up – and I am literally talking about doing simple math and figuring out how much wear each item would require. I suspect these capsules are hardly “complete”, but are organizational exercises that are fun to dream up, no? Or maybe they are meant to function as a unified nested collection of versatile staples within an actually-complete wardrobe that would contain the many reliefs from these staples that even a mundane existence would need? Or maybe I’m just lacking the discipline to pull it off? Can anyone “actually” live within these the confines of these spartan capsules?
Alex, it’s complete as in it contains all the different categories of clothing.
No, most people would not be able to live with such a restrained wardrobe. But, many young readers are building up a quality wardrobe from scratch, and it will take them a good few years to acquire something like this. Which will all function well together, but have the back-up of all the clothes they previously owned.
It’s not hard to add clothes once you have these foundations. The harder thing is starting with a tight unit that all works together.
Was the reader who came to you with the organized list a young reader, or older and established/stable?
A little younger, but not the youngest
Re. Oxford button downs around £150. Drakes are my go-to here. They are £155 each at the moment, but they have a bundle deal if you buy 3 at a time.
Thanks for that I was thinking of looking at drakes or aglo italian, does anyone know how they compare?
Both are superb. The only issue for me is that Drake’s offer a limited range of basic colours in slim fit; seasonal colours are only available in their more generous fit, which is too baggy for me. Anglo Italian’s shirts are comparable to the Drake’s slim fit in the body and they have some tasteful alternatives to plain blue, white or blue-and-white stripe, such as navy, reverse stripe or denim. I’ve found that the Anglo Italian cotton is slightly crisper and therefore a little smarter, and that they wear a touch cooler. Try them in the shops to see which you prefer – you can’t go wrong with either.
I think this is the most practical and reasonable article I’ve ever read on PS. You kept the capsule extremely tight while also allowing for variance within the accessories. I myself am in the “never jacket at work” crowd, and I think another variant on this is someone who needs tailoring only for special occasions such as weddings. I think I could write the book on this lifestyle after my trials and tribulations.
On shoes specifically – your point that few shoes transition between casual and smart is a critical and underappreciated one. I’ve tried and mostly failed at buying cross-over footwear and agree that the suede or any rougher grain loafer is one candidate. But as soon as you go for a chunkier sole that looks great with denim or any work wear, it simply does not work with tailoring and vice versa. At this point I’ve invested mostly in my casual shoe rotation (black rough out work boots, brown rough out moc-style chukkas, black rough grain loafers, brown suede chunky loafers) and plan to get rid of a pair of tan calf derby shoes with a leather and Dainite sole. I have a pair of black Oxfords to wear with tailoring and with my tuxedo when necessary, and my next shoe purchase, if I decide it’s necessary, would be a dark brown dress shoe. Thanks Simon.
Dear Simon, wonderful and very useful article. I find particularly interesting your argument for mid blue jeans for most of the menswear advice out there recommends dark indigo over mid blue denim.
Can I ask a question or two about the choice of overcoats? I see most of your overcoats are made DB. Is a stylising thig based mostly on fact that long bespoke DB is such a wonderful thing and shoes the beauty fo the cut more then a SB? Is it also a practical chpice? I’m considering to have a navy overcoat made to be worn both over suit and tie as well knitwear and cotton trousers and everything in between. What kind of collar would you recommend? Ulster collar as in your Liverano e Liverano or Edward Sexton, which I find more casual, or peak laples? I find peak lapels smarter. Would you wear a peak lapelled DB overcoat even with crew neck sweater and cotton trouser, even jeans? Thank you.
Yes, I just find a DB coat such a beautiful piece of clothing to wear. And it is practical, unless you really want something a lot more lightweight, or much more casual. And even then I’d be more likely to go to a raglan or a pea coat instead of an SB overcoat.
I’d recommend an Ulster for something you want to be more casual like that. But not as dramatic as the Sexton, more like the Liverano. And get it in a more casual wool or even tweed, not a cashmere, then it could look nice with jeans. Though if you’re concerned about that, you could go for a mid-grey tweed or herringbone rather than a navy
Thank you for your answer, Simon. I’m aiming for something fairly versatile I can wear casually but also with a suit and tie in the evening. I’d probably go for navy but less smart, somewhat rougher wool.
Nice plan, I think that would work well
Best. Article. Ever.
Long time reader (site and books), first time commenter. I cannot wait for the follow-up article on the acquisition process.
Thank you for all you do! You’ve been an inspiration over the years.
Great job, Simon. I think this is a very good capsule wardrobe. It foregoes most budgetary discrimination and just focuses on what works well for this kind of semi-casual dresser.
One suggestion, perhaps, is to switch out the navy cardigan for aN ecru or perhaps even a rust cardigan. Those colours also work with the trousers (depending on the tint of beige, perhaps) and add another flavour to the available palate.
Simon, I had the good fortune to see you at a symposium at Private White VC a year or two back and have been following your blog ever since. There is one thing that troubles me and where we diverge. I note that you favour the button-down cotton Oxford as your casual shirt of choice. I abhor the button-down collar – it is fiddly and to my eyes ugly. The buttons are always white/pearl and just look lazy to me. What is it about this collar that you appreciate so much? How can I get over this roadblock, or can you recommend casual shirts in Oxford cotton without the abomination of the button-down collar.
I think it must be quite personal and cultural, Stephen.
I like the button-down because it clearly separates the shirt as a casual piece. I also like the roll it creates around a jacket lapel, and the way that shape frames my face. I think it’s flattering. The history of it, and Ivy as a casual yet elegant style, appeals to me too.
I don’t know any oxfords off the top of my head without it, sorry.
Stephen, there are any number of MTM shirtmakers who could make for you an Oxford cloth shirt with any collar you like.
Hello Stephen, an Oxford Cloth shirt without the button down collar can be tricky to find. Drakes have one at the moment:
I also can’t wait for the follow up acquisition pieces.
Out of interest, what made your consultancy client’s “impressively detailed plan of their own for a versatile, quality wardrobe” so impressive?
The detail, basically. How they had thought through every category, made intelligent choices, then budgeted all of it and planned that budget over a couple of years. Very thorough!
What about an Oxford cloth with a tab collar?
I’ve never liked tab collars to be honest Hugh. They seem a little too fussy.
Sorry – wrong terminology. I meant hidden button down collar, where the buttons don’t go through to the front of the collar.
I personally really like button downs for how the stand and roll, but perhaps for Ben
Aha, I see, yes that would be better. Still not a style I like personally – it just seems a little fake. But that is very personal
Would you (and your client!) mind sharing that list?
Interesting article, as always.
Thanks. I can ask them, but I guess it’s pretty personal.
Simon, this article is superb and should be required reading, well done!
Pretty much mirrors my day to day wardrobe, less the loafers which are proably going to be my next buy. On the coat my go to winter coat is a dark blue bespoke polo from Peter Johnston. My C&J chuka boots have been my best ever purchse in cost to wear ratio.
My blue sports jacket is a Timothy Everest RTW which to be honest needs replacing. I will go bespoke again but cant quite decied if I should go Naples or England.
Perfect article. I am looking forward to the follow-ups you mention – particularly where the jackets you mention can be bought at different price points. Thank you very much.
Very welcome and much needed article and one which will always start a debate.
Might I add the following as a capsule ‘colour palette’ which would work in any combination
3 shirts in blue, white and pink
3 ties in burgundy , blue and green
3 trousers in grey, beige and navy
2 jackets in navy, grey or brown
3 woollens in burgundy, green and blue
Add to that a navy and grey suit which every gentleman should have .
I’m surprised you were so limited on shoes . I would at least add a black Oxford and a brown / burgundy derby .
Of course once you take in the British weather and seasons you could probably increase the amount of items 3 fold !
I was deliberately as limited as I possibly could be, and yet have everything work together and cover a range of situations. As small a capsule as possible, basically.
Obviously without suits in this particular wardrobe, black oxfords weren’t that useful.
What is the fabric and who is the producer of the dark green striped club tie. Exquisite.
It’s a shantung from Shibumi
Hi Simon. Regarding the tie, is this the same Shibumi shantung that you featured a number of years ago in the post from years ago (linked below) on the benefits of green shantung? From the picture, that one looks like it has an aubergine stripe between the thinner white ones, but I can’t quite tell. If indeed that tie has aubergine (or similar color) mixed in, would you still favor the green shantung/grenadine you feature in this article as more suited to the capsule wardrobe? Thanks so much.
It’s the same one, yes, no aubergine
This is a wonderful article and reminds me why I keep coming back. Your suggestions align very well with the items in my wardrobe that I realize I wear the most, and it points out some gaps or areas that I can justify upgrading to something of finer quality and construction.
Taking on board your caveat that this depends hugely on lifestyle, I think you’ve done a great job for the fledgling flaneur.
Without adding stuff because then it becomes superfluous. There are two things I would change :
Firstly, every flaneur requires a 3 seasons birth, deaths and marriages suit. This is an essential. Rocking up in a jacket and strides doesn’t show the correct level of respect and won’t cut it at these events. It’s an occasional use thing so I wouldn’t blow a king’s ransom on it, I’d just get something nice in navy or charcoal grey from the likes of Anglo-Italian (MTM) and I’d ditch your dark brown jacket to pay for it.
Secondly, on the coat front, I’d substitute a trench for the ‘pea coat’. Every flaneur gets wet and has to have something to protect them. Nothing looks more ridiculous than sashaying along in the pouring rain sans trench ! I’d thoroughly recommend the PS version but Private White have got some less expensive versions. I’d also compensate for the lack of ‘pea’ by buying something like the PS Donegal as my main overcoat because that can double as smart and casual.
Make these adjustments and you are good to go. You will quickly become a fully fledged flaneur and will be able to admire your reflection in all available glass – just don’t bump into any lampposts doing it !
Oh, and as a postscript. What a great time to be doing it with all those deals out there.
I guess it’s a matter of taste. I hardly ever use my trench. Unless it’s pouring down rain, I find that my full length navy overcoat, coupled with a large umbrella, provides ample protection.
At least where I live, trench coats have a dated vibe (think Dick Tracey). The only trenches I see around the streets of DC are either (1) ugly, loose fitting things primarily worn by people over 60, or (2) these ridiculously short coats that end several inches above the knee which seem to be on trend with younger men. These shorter trench coats are useless in terms of providing protection (you’re better off wearing a full length wool coat) but are very popular right now, for some reason.
lawyer. argentina. my 30-piece wardrobe:
1x dark navy wool/cashmere suit [bespoke]
1x charcoal grey flannel suit [bespoke]
1x dark navy wool/cashmere blazer [bespoke]
1x dark grey wool trousers [bespoke]
2x grey flannel trousers [bespoke]
1x beige brushed cotton trousers [bespoke]
1x dark olive brushed cotton trousers [bespoke]
1x khaki cotton chino trousers [the armoury]
1x blue denim jeans [uniqlo]
1x maroon crew neck shetland wool sweater [jamieson’s of shetland]
1x navy cashmere v-neck sweater [vintage]
2x white poplin cotton spread collar shirt [drakes]
2x white oxford cloth long point collar shirt [drakes]
2x white oxford cloth button down shirt [drakes]
1x navy rugby shirt [columbia knit]
3x white crew neck t-shirt [asket]
1x black calf oxford shoes [crockett & jones]
1x burgundy cordovan longwings shoes [alden #975]
1x burgundy cordovan penny loafers [alden #986]
1x chocolate brown suede chukka boots [alden #1492]
1x white common projects achilles low
1x navy moleskin bomber jacket [private white]
1x beige raglan raincoat [anglo-italian]
1x dark navy double-breasted cashmere overcoat [bespoke]
no handkerchiefs, no hats, no gloves, no umbrellas.
just 2 scarfs and 5 ties
Is there a weight and/or shade you’d recommend for the beige cotton trousers? Something more creamy, stone, or brown? I’d imagine a heavier cotton but with smart detailing.
I’d say fairly lightweight and paler in colour – probably closest to what would be called stone of those choices, though I feel beige is best.
As seen here.
Great work Simon!
I can definitely benefit from this article. It can be tough to determine a “proper” wardrobe where you’re transitioning to be an adult. Especially when your office attire is labelled as smart casual but you also would want a distinction between your office wear and weekend wear.
I’m from Singapore. And with the template set, tweaking it to be relevant in a humid country is doable along with your articles on capsule pieces
Well, my list of essentials is very similiar. Thanks for validating my ideas 🙂 So perhaps I will post a few ideas of my own – maybe somebody will find them useful.
– I don’t exactly agree that navy on top work that well with lighter jeans. But since it’s such a good color to have on jackets or knits, perhaps it would be beneficial to add a pair of chinos or cords in olive.
– One colour that works well for knitwear is burgundy. It seems to work great both with all of the trouser colors you suggested, and under all the jackets and coats. I find it understated and elegant.
– Number ten could be either suede wingtips or split toes – they could work both with jackets and jeans paired with knitwear
– For a more casual pair of gloves, gray cashmere or wool knits work very well.
Thanks Karol. Absolutely with you on the olive trousers and split-toe shoes
this is one of my favourite articles! At least it is that useful like your article „Which office are you?”, which I consult regularly for outfit ideas.
how time has changed, can you imagine not recommending at least one oxford (even if not captoe) in the past
Very true. In the past any working wardrobe would have been more like:
– Navy suit, grey suit
– Black oxford, brown oxford
– Blue and white poplin shirts
– Silk ties
PS at its very best – thank you Simon! A great article full of practical and achievable suggestions based on extensive thought and experience. Not forgetting the comments, entertaining and enlightening as always.
I would think black Chukka’s might be a bit more versatile….and would have provided some balance (that is if you are going to recommend 2 pairs of shoes, one should be black, one brown)…I am thinking evening, and the inevitable wardrobe additions that time will allow..
As well, For those who live in a warmer climate, the coat/jacket recommendations would need some changes…all in all thought quite good.
Thanks. I don’t think black shoes would work with the jeans and chinos as well unfortunately.
I’d only recommend adding black instead of brown if there were a suit in this wardrobe.
I think of you and Permanent Style as a bastion of solid, timeless clothing recommendations.
Curious, though, how do you think your recommendations would differ if you were writing in say 1980, 1990, or 2000?
Would there be many changes at all? And would they be in terms of pieces, or colours, or????
To be honest, I think it’s hard to know with much certainty, given I have really only lived as an adult, and in a working environment, since 2000 (I’m 39). Others that have lived longer might be in a better position to say.
However, I would say that the art of permanent style is not to remain constant in your wardrobe, but in your principles.
Clothes and cultures change, and it’s foolish to pretend they don’t. But you can remain constant in your passion for an understated, refined elegance.
Be interested in clothing and in fashions, and be open to change – just slowly and considerately.
That is how to dress with a permanent style. To be permanently stylish.
That’s off the top of my head. There are better aphorisms in there somewhere.
Hi Simon. Very useful article for someone building a good basic versatile wardrobe. The garments described could be picked up at various price points to get one started and over time be replaced with MTM or bespoke.
My only addition / alternative to a pea coat would be a Barbour or Belstaff jacket.
In response to question from Ian S on the OCBDs. Drakes sells their own make produced in the UK. The basics are around £ 150. They sometimes have a 3 shirt offer and a good sale (on at the moment). Also a number of the items in Simon’s selection can be purchased RTW from Drakes if you are average size or only need straightforward alterations. . Hope that’s helpful.
Another great article I’m sure I’ll be referring back to for some time. I wonder though if you might add notes beneath each photo providing details of the items being worn as you often do in other posts.
Sure. I find most readers already know the items featured, which is why I ask people to put in the comments if they don’t recognise something (usually because they are a fairly new reader)
Still in the middle: what kind of capsule felt/panama hats would you recommend? What color of felt/band color for a first felt hat? Thanks!
It depends a little on what else you’ll wear it with, but I’d probably say:
– Dark brown felt with a conservative band, will go with most things, smart and casual
– If you will wear it far more with suits and smart clothes, then maybe a dark grey felt
– A pale straw with a brown band is probably the most versatile. Darker or browner straw is more casual. Navy band is smarter
Love this! Can you please please make a summer version of this?
I guess there is an infinite variety of possible ones, but sure I can do a summer one
A very good article and lots of useful comments!
If I might add one, i would say that with the capsule recommend by Simon, the most versatile overcoat, in my opinion, would be a fairly strongly-textured, grey-herringbone coat (in a not-too-formal cut) – which of course Simon does mention.
– 3 piece navy suit, in heavy hopsack. The jacket would be suitable as a separate piece for warmer weather; the waistcoat would be useful to wear as a wedding guest
– Olive chinos
– Mid grey high twist wool trousers. The open weave makes them good for the summer, but 3 ply makes it heavy enough to wear on colder days
– 2 shirts (one blue, one white) in cotton-linen blend. Good for warmer days, and the slub makes the white shirt work with casual attire like jeans.
– Navy light weight long sleeve Friday polo
– As far as the second pair of shoes is concerned, I would either go with brown wingtips (I have a pair of brown MacNeil wingtips from Allen Edmonds that worn with both jeans and trousers) or a pair of dressy sneakers (leather, not canvas).
As far as sweaters go, I would include these four: navy merino crew neck, racing green merino crew neck, nocciola cashmere ribbed sweater from Luca Faloni, and a donegal (flecked) oatmeal colored sweater. The merino should be thin enough to layer (although I would go slightly thicker than your leaving soon version, to make it them suitable to wear with jeans). And the donegal sweater should be good when you need something sturdy.
I think your selection of coats is good. I would go (1) navy pea coat, (2) overcoat (either grey Donegal like the PS version, or grey herringbone), and (3) either a green waxed cotton jacket or a dark brown suede jacket. I personally don’t find trench coats that useful; unless you’re dealing with very frequent and heavy rain, the long overcoat and umbrella should provide enough protection).
I think these additions will keep your capsule pretty compact, while adding versatility to deal with warmer weather or the odd occasion where a suit is required.
This article is a true gem, Simon. Thank you for boiling it down and most notably for the trial and error it takes to get to this point.
I’d especially like to affirm your conclusion that a wardrobe consisting of dark and saturated colours in jackets/knitwear/coats – be it navy, dark brown, bottlegreen or aubergine, dark burgundy for the ones more daring – lighter, more greyish colours in trousers – beige, cream, grey etc. and the usual blue, white or pink shirts can be most efficiently swapped.
The article and the comments much appreciated. This is one to follow.
Leaving out a suit was perhaps a deliberate decision on your part, Simon, given that this is a list aimed towards young people acquiring some good, investment-quality clothing. I understand that. But may I offer a suggestion, nevertheless, for a suit that would handsomely round out this wardrobe, given that even a casual dresser will need to be wear a suit at least on a handful of occasions over the course of a few years? My suggestion would be a single-breasted, mid-gray (Oxford gray) flannel suit of medium weight, cut conservatively, and with a jacket that has either a three-button or a two-button closure. Such a suit will be very serviceable for a variety of occasions that call for formal dressing. What’s more it will probably be the most versatile suit one might own, working well with an assortment of shirts (oxford cloth button-downs, broadcloth short points or spread collars, and in basic colors like white, blue and pink, or patterns like stripes, checks and tattersalls) and an infinite variety of ties. This suit can also be paired nicely with brown or black shoes.
Just a thought, that’s all.
I would love to agree with you. Sadly, summers exist, which is why perhaps the navy worsted might just be better as the single “sincere” suit. Unless you live in a tweed heaven where it never gets warmer than 20C. In which case, please tell me where it is, I’ll pack up and move immediately 🙂
Good job. I do think a solid colour French cuff shirt offset with casual silk links is a stylish touch. When wearing a blue blazer, I also like to loosely tie a multi-colour silk and Pasmina scarf which hopefully helps to detract from my “bay window.”
Simon, I appreciate this. I learn from first enmeshing myself within a culture, then stepping back to learn the rules, after having gathered my own patterns and proclivities. This applies to style as well. I think now is the time for me to start trimming my “shotgun approach” to wardrobe. Seeing how and why you combined these pieces, makes sense. Of course, as a shoe polish guy, I’d have a hard time going for the suede loafers, but that’s just me. Thanks, again.
If I may ask, what makes a suede loafer more versatile than a suede derby (let’s assume a split toe)? Does it have something to do with the fact you can wear the loafer sockless? Thank you for your reply, and most of all, for the joyful article.
The loafer is just a little smarter than a derby. You could wear it more comfortably with smart tailoring
It’s perfect 👋well done. Rather staring with a bleue or a grey suit, in my humble opinion it came as third choice. What about a nice leather jacket with asymmetrical zip closure? Like Stoffa/atelier Bertrand/chapal. It goes well with the indigo denim.
Finally, I really appreciate your contribution to the world of classic menswear. Your point of view is not narrow minded . The content of PS YouTube Channel Is very good.
Nâzim from Paris.
Yes, a casual jacket like that would be a great addition. Though if it were to be versatile in the same way everything else is, and go with the widest variety of things, it would have to be fairly smart like the Stoffa or a Valstarino I think
Thank you Simon – this is incredibly helpful.
Are you able to share the exact materials and colours of the navy jacket and mid-grey trousers? I’m shortly going to have both these items made for me and I would love your guidance on the material used in your pieces.
Sure, though it might be easier if you let me know what kind of thing you’re after – eg more summer weight or winter?
Definitely summer, for both trousers and jacket…
We all love side pulls but…Who sells a brown belt that has a normal silver colored buckle that’s finish won’t rub off? The leather ages well but counting rubs off the brass and the buckle turns to rubbish. I’m desperate and willing to fork over whatever it takes. Nickle, unlacquered brass, sterling silver (impossible to find)??? Surely something short of a platinum coating…
In the second photo, blue jacket, gray pants, brown/orange knit tie? can you say where/what the tie is?
It’s from Shibumi. Everything there is listed on the original post here.
I love that colour and texture, but do find the tie rather too thin around the knot
I thought you’d recommend a navy umbrella before a dark green Simon?
And in a previous post I thought you’d recommend another overcoat over a peacoat, as a peacoat is less versatile?
Either would be fine in an umbrella, but given so much else is navy, nice to have something different in the umbrella. And it would still go with everything.
Whether another overcoat or a pea coat makes more sense depends a lot on the rest of the wardrobe. Here, everything is fairly casual and there is a good range of more casual clothing, with knitwear, jeans and boots. So a pea coat might be more useful.
Remember all the choices listed here are just what makes sense in terms of the capsule as a whole, and the kind of person I described. They are necessarily the best first piece for everyone, with every lifestyle and working environment
Fantastic article, Simon! Would an oatmeal jacket, like the one from Caliendo, be a good alternative for the brown one, or would you consider it as a 3rd in the row after the navy and the dark brown/tweed? Thank you in advance.
I’d probably consider it third, because it’s less casual so wouldn’t go as well with the jeans (in this capsule). And because combinations are a little more versatile when the jackets are all dark, the trousers all light
Wouldn’t an oatmeal colored jacket like the Caliendo be easier to pair with blue jeans than a navy jacket?
As far as color goes, the oatmeal should go with jeans of an shade of blue, whereas the navy jacket is trickier to pair. As you mentioned, it’s easier to pair with mid-blue jeans than with darker denim.
And beyond that, since navy is inherently a more formal color, not every navy jacket can go with jeans; only certain fabrics (e.g. tweeds) work.
Perhaps, though I think both would be fine if the jeans were mid-blue.
And the idea is that all the jackets go with all the trousers in this capsule. So you have the maximum number of outfits.
Hence not including oatmeal as it wouldn’t go with the paler trousers
Did you post a review for Solito Navy Cashmere Blazer?
Would you go with wool or cashmere for a blazer?
Not a separate one, no. I tend not to do a review of every piece, if I’ve had the same kind of thing before from a tailor (as I have had with Solito)
I’d pick between wool and cashmere largely based on formality. How smart do you want to be? Cashmere wouldn’t be great with jeans, for example, most of the time. But wool might be a little casual for smart trousers and a tie
Curious about the client story and the final consensus?
Sure – perhaps something for a separate article. I did another article recently reporting on client consultations, which seemed to be popular.
Simon you often write about the virtues of dark brown shoes but seldom mention plum museum or C8 cordovan. Where do they sit for you (for a capsule wardrobe as here or otherwise?).
Plum I don’t particularly like as a colour, and museum calf I don’t (personally) like either. It just looks a little fake.
However, colour 8 cordovan can be very useful and flexible. Not up there with black and brown maybe, but close. I wear Alden loafers and split-toes in it a lot.
See split-toe here and loafer here
Looking forward to a follow up post on designing a multi-year plan and how to budget. If I were younger and on a tighter budget, I would go bespoke on the 2 sports coats and the double breasted overcoat, MTM on the trousers and maybe on the shirts as well, and off the rack for everything else.
In other words, plan on roughly one bespoke item per year. Eg, Bespoke navy sports jacket (or navy suit) in year 1, second bespoke sports jacket in year 2, and bespoke overcoat in year 3, and maybe bespoke shoes in year 4. If you go middle market on the bespoke and get everything else MTM or off the rack, that amounts to roughly 5000-6000 per year. Not an insubstantial sum, but well within the reach of a successful young professional, particularly one without a family to support!
Super useful, thank you, Simon.
On the suggestion of brown suede loafers as a key shoe, do you have any recommendations for good RTW makers that suit wider feet? I have used Crockett and Jones previously and, while their boots fit well, all their shoes I have tried seem a little narrow.
No, sorry John. It’s not an issue I have and not something I’ve looked into closely. I guess it is worth asking makers what range of widths they offer MTO though?
A bit late, but hopefully you will find it useful.
I would recommend you to try Alden loafers. I find their D width wider than Carmina.
I second Henry’s suggestion of Alden. Moreover, Alden offers more widths RTW than most shoe brands and also does made to order.
I have finally decided to spend the money needed on the navy wool SB blazer.
Since I am going to Naples in September this year, I was wondering if you have any particular tailor in mind for such a job in that area?
Your recommendations will be added to the short list of tailors I will be meeting meeting with (maybe there is an overlap?) a few tailors based on which I will decide who I feel most at ease with.
I’d recommend personally Ciardi and Caliendo. Please bear in mind, though, that you’ll need a few trips to Naples or a tailor to visit somewhere near you, to get something made adequately.
I’m commenting to follow up on a discussion we had on Instagram about a navy cashmere blazer being too smart to be worn with less formal trousers like jeans and chinos.
Would a cashmere blazer in beige or grey run the same risk of being too smart?
Yes, the cashmere would still be a risk factor there
In that case, which fabric would be correct for more casual navy? Meaning, one paired mostly with chinos/cords, with the occasional flannels. Tweed would be good, but cold weather only. Hopsack is often recommended, but I don’t know how well will it perform in different temperatures. Would it pair well with cold weather fabrics?
In the UK, I’d wear a soft lightweight tweed one nine months of the year. Or something like Moonbeam, which is 10/11oz.
In the summer, hopsack is too smart for chinos really. A linen herringbone is nice (Anglo-Italian have a RTW one I think). Or a wool/silk/linen mix
So in general, it seems that for a person who doesn’t wear sharp trousers often, jackets made from hopsack and cashmere aren’ that useful? In terms of jacketings cottons, linens and mixes for summer and cord/tweed for winter are what is left. This eliminates the need for non-textured shirts and ties. Am I correct?
Yes, smarter materials like hopsack and cashmere aren’t that useful, being smart.
But there is a whole world of wools you haven’t included there – shetlands, lambswools, tweeds. That’s where I would look for a casual winter jacket.
I’m afraid I’m not sure on your point about textured shirts and ties – could you elaborate?
I completely forgot about this question. I suppose my point was poplin shirts and plain silk ties are mostly used for “sharper” outfits. And because the more casual wardrobe lacks the sharp jackets or suits needed for them, it’s possible to get by with OCBD’s as the smartest shirt and grenadine or even knit as the smartest tie.
No worries, understood, and yes you’re right that those more casual shirt and tie materials are then fine for everything you would wear
Can any one recommend a cashmere half zip in oatmeal ? I really like the luca faloni ones but the camel they do is a bit darker than I’m looking for, speaking of luca faloni does anyone know how there cashmere and silk polo hold up after wearing / washing? I like the look of them but worry that it will look wrinkled quickly, thanks
Hi Simon, I am looking at a navy blazer made from wool with a basketweave, soft construction. Would this be a suitable blazer as all rounder (jeans, trousers etc) or would a hopsack or other weave be better? Thanks!
That should be fine with a soft construction, yes. Whereas hopsack is generally a little drier and sharper.
However, that’s really down to the high-twist fibre used, not the weave. So don’t worry too much about the weave, and just make sure to get a wool that is a bit more casual – like a soft tweed for example
This is a very informative piece, thanks Simon. I’m currently looking at solid soft navy coat to wear to work or dinner, whenever we’re allowed to do that again in New York. Would the soft, drape style work in an Anderson & Sheppard style be a versatile option? Or maybe something from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury?
Yes, either would be nice.
I wouldn’t recommend them for more casual wear, eg with jeans, but with smarter trousers they would both work well
I have navy cashmere overcoat
It’s a bit elegant for all occasions.
Such a great article Simon, I see you are recommending beige trousers/chinos. Would khaki – a bit darker be ok too or beige is better? Thank you
Yes, just keep in mind that there must be enough difference between them and the jackets and knitwewar. Also, a paler colour would usually look a bit smarter and therefore be easier to wear with smarter things in the collection
Would you recommend https://thearmoury.com/collections/chinos/products/cotton-model-a-sport-chinos?variant=32668807299143 shade of beige for the capsule?
I try to avoid army beige chino association (color wise), have you seen them in person and can comment on that?
I don’t think they have that association Henry, no, largely because of the look and feel of the material
what two ties would you add to a casual capsule wardrobe and in what color/fabric? Brown and grey?
It depends what you mean by casual I guess – I wouldn’t normally include ties in a casual collection. But certainly a navy knit (as listed here) and perhaps a brown or grey tie too, yes
Hello Simon, I have been enjoying your website for many years, thank you so much for such considered, knowledgeable information. I particularly enjoyed your Capsule Collection piece on assembling a basic wardrobe, and the youtube video regarding starting a wardrobe from scratch. Could you recommend some retailers for off the rack navy blazers and tweed sports jackets? My budget and location (country Australia) preclude higher end options at this stage. I check on Drakes for the blazer, if on sale they could be a possibility. For tweed, my impression is that Walker Slater has some good options in Herringbone Harris. I check Cordings as well, but usually not quite what I’m after. Like that beautiful brown Donegal you have! Thanks, any help greatly appreciated.
Thanks, I’m so pleased.
To be honest, I think this a price area where I’m going to struggle to make many effective recommendations. It’s just not a market I know that well.
Look at Berg & Berg too, though I suspect all of this might be a little out of your price range.
Sorry I can’t help more
Do you think for jacket #2 a dark green would suffice or would you suggest brown? Also interested if you recommend a pattern or just a a plain cloth? I am thinking about going to Anglo Italian and using one of their cloths. For reference jacket would be for country house weekends / dinners & drinks parties
Dark green can be nice too, there isn’t a lot to separate that and brown – mostly it’s just that people are a bit more used to wearing brown, and putting it with things.
It’s nice to have some pattern or texture in the jacket, but that can be just a little variation in the colours (like our Escorial Tweed), through a subtle herringbone, all the way to a strong windowpane check.
Great article and a fantastic website. I have been down the rabbit hole in a big way throughout lockdown devouring the articles and your content on youtube. I would love to see a feature where you address some wardrobe ideas for the main different male body shapes (triangle, square, inverted triangle, etc) . Whilst some body shapes such as the inverted triangle have a multitude of options available to them, others, such as the classic triangle where the hips are wider than the shoulders can be extremely problematic when trying to put together a flattering cohesive capsule wardrobe.
It is surprising what a dearth of information there is on the topic, apart from the standard “if you are carrying extra pounds, then you should opt for vertical stripes..” Any help would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work Simon
I guess a capsule wardrobe is more about what styles, colours and cloths you would pick for a small collection, rather than their proportions.
We have done some things on sizing here, if you haven’t read that?
Hi simon I’m only buying my second sportscoat after a navy one and I’m looking at either of the below. Which would be more versatile in your opinion?
Both would be nice I think, both subtle. But probably the first, the pow dark brown
Simon would you consider your brown Escorial to be a dark brown that meets the criteria of 2. Dark-brown wool or tweed single-breasted jacket? Or is it too light?
Yes, I think it does
Simon, what fabric is good to bridge between flannels and fresco/crispaire?
My weather here is typically 80 degrees fahrenheit or 26 celsius and i’ve been having trouble finding suitable cloths. What kind of cloth should I look for?
To be honest, I don’t find I need a bridge – they overlap. You get far less hot on your legs than on your body, and both can be worn into temperatures that overlap I find.
If you don’t find that, you could try a heavier high-twist, a lighter flannel (perhaps even worsted) or something like a corduory or cavalry twill, though then again the style is different obviously
Thanks, how heavy for high-twist and how light for flannel?
HI Simon, do you think that a dark grey chukka could replace the brown in this capsule wardrobe? Thanks
For me, no. A grey shoe is not very versatile – at the very least, because you can’t wear it with grey trousers, and it could look odd with grey jackets.
I’m new to this site. You’ve got great timeless style and an eye for luxury pieces.
Thanks for your very important work, and useful information. I really like your Mesh blazer, but don’t know if it casual and versatile enough to wear with chinos, and also if good as 9 months jacket. If not, what else can you advise for navy 3 seasons jacket to wear in Europe and UK, and most versatility?.
No, that mesh or hopsack is too smart for chinos really. Have you looked at the jacketings sections of the Guide to Cloth? They have lots more information in this area.
Thanks Simon, yes I checked. Unfortunately haven’t found any answer for myself. If versatility is fundamental, then what would you personally choose? You have perfect taste and experience with many fabrics, so your advise really helpful. Probably I would see some twill weave navy Escorial jacketing in navy around 12oz. Or any alternative? Thanks
There’s so much more detail there, and it depends a lot on your wardrobe too, but yes, if you want navy then that in a mid-weight wool would be good. Doesn’t have to be Escorial, and soft wool or tweed.
Is there such a thing as too many crew neck sweaters?
I want to build a casual capsule wardrobe and so far have burgundy and oyster colored crew necks. I also have 2 other sweaters I often wear…but am considering adding navy and grey crewnecks, which I prefer over v-necks.
I hesitate bc I don’t want to be known as the “sweater person” seen in knitwear all the time. How can I vary my wardrobe?
I don’t think that likely with something as ordinary as a crewneck, but you could try different weights or wools if you want some variety
Hello Simon, there seems to be more and more loafers available in recent years. From models unlined, slipper like, to the more structural and Goodyear welted. Slipper like models being better for summer but less durable, potentially unresoleable, sadly almost throwaway. More structural models being heavier and hotter in summer, but when loafers are at their most useful. Not to mention the complications of, tassels, horse bits, bows or penny. It leaves an interesting question, for me at least, which dark brown suede loafer would be the best to start with?
I would start with a dark brown, penny loafer, in a normal Goodyear construction.
You don’t need to worry about heat that much if it’s your first pair – unless you live somewhere very hot.
Great question. I’ve just bought my first pair – C&J Harvard brown suede unlined with rubber City sole, as they were super comfortable. Now fretting I should have gone for the Boston as it’s lined and leather sole – longevity. Any advice or thoughts please?
I wouldn’t worry much about that Alex, as the rubber sole should be able to be replaced as well, and the lack of lining will only make a difference to longevity over years, and if you wear that one pair intensively.
Great – thank you Simon, much appreciated. I am starting on my Level A/B journey this year – your articles, experience and advice (as well as comments from fellow readers) are incredibly helpful
Oh good, that’s lovely to hear
Hey Simon – Who would you recommend for chinos for a business casual environment, for wearing with things like your Friday Polo or Everyday Denim/Oxford Cloth shirts with loafers or chukkas and occasional knitwear when in season? Thanks
I’d recommend Stoffa primarily – see here
On a different note… I’ve seen quite a few bloggers decry raw silk ties as a spring/summer choice. But it seems that you don’t mind wearing them with tweed – and in my opinion, it works well. On the other hand, wool tie with summer tailoring would look odd, would you agree?
Yes I would. Cloth material makes much less difference with ties than with anything else, but still, it does look warm wearing a wool tie in summer
Do you think an unlined chukka like the EG Shanklin would fit the rest of the wardrobe well, or would a lined version like the Banbury or Saint Crispins (all in Dark Brown Suede, of course) be more versatile for some reason? I’m leaning towards the Shanklin because I tend to find boots uncomfortable, so unlined will be a plus. But, I know the Shanklin will look a bit less smart, especially over time.
Yes, it would look a little more casual, partly due to the shape but also the make-up.
I wouldn’t wear it with tailoring personally.
Thank you for the reply. I always appreciate your dialogue and how much work it must be to keep up on, but it’s probably one of the greatest things of the community you’ve created. I will probably look into the St Crispin’s further. They look wonderful, and I like the shaped sole. It appears they are doing remote consultations as well.
They are, and thanks for the comment Mark, that’s lovely to know.
So you mean that Navy shawl-collar cardigan is more useful than Navy standard cardigan (with sleeves). A saleswoman told me that they don’t sell a lot of standard cardigan, so they did stop producing it. I suppose it’s better to wear a standard cardigan when you’re going a lot to the theater.
I wonder if what you recommand is better in terms of durability than standard cardigan. I think when people wear a backpack like me, it’s not durable either way. (2 years max)
In another article you said : “knitwear is probably the one where budget makes the least difference.” So maybe I won’t spend more than 200 euros.
I certainly wouldn’t wear a backpack over any fine clothing, whether tailoring or knitwear.
As to whether a shawl or a standard cardigan is more useful, it really depends whether you’re looking for something to wear under a jacket, or a substitute for one
Regarding chinos,do you recommend the Incotex regular fit? They have it on Trunk in two different colours. Which should be the first colour from those two to begin with? Would the chalk be more appropriate for fall? I find that the tan colour it’s little bit dark.
Personally I don’t like the Incotex fits today, as they’re all a little low in the rise and usually involve stretch.
But of those colours, yes chalk would probably be the most versatile.
I have a few questions. Can I wear the Private White moleskin bomber with a scarf when it’s cold? If so,what fabrics and colours do you recommend for the navy jacket?
Regarding pants, I saw that Trunk has some needle cord 5 pocket pants . Do you recommend them as part of a casual wardrobe with some suede chukka ,maybe some dark reddish brown leather wingtip and Oxford shirts with or without knitwear?
And what sweaters do you recommend from Trunk as the first ones in building a wardrobe? They have merino crew neck and gelong crew neck and Heimat textil U boat. I plan to wear these with some Oxford shirts under or some t-shirts.
– Yes, of course you can wear a scarf with the bomber. With a navy one, lots of colours look good: brown, green, grey. Pick a material that’s a little more casual perhaps.
– Yes, those cord trousers would be good. Though the wingtips might be a little too smart.
– The merino and geelong are great to start with. The Heimat is a little more unusual and a heavier, rougher wool
For owning two shoes, if you for sure want dark brown chukkas, should you go for a dark brown calf penny? Otherwise would two dark brown suede shoes, look too repetitive and be a little monotonous to wear?
It depends how you dress, and so how smart you need to be. If you don’t need the calf to be smart, then no there’s nothing wrong with having two pairs in suede.
I have the Private White moleskin bomber jacket in navy and i would like to purchase a pair of trousers and a sweater from Trunk. Do you think that the beige Duke trousers would work with a navy geelong sweater or a green one? They also have some grey( light grey and pebble grey) sweaters but I don’t think there is enough contrast to create with the beige trousers. What do you recommend? Thanks!
I think both the navy and the green would look nice
What I mean was that the beige trousers can work with the navy bomber ? I wanted the cream colour but it’s not available. You said once that skin complexion and colour it’s not that important but it counts for colours worn near the face. For a salt and pepper hair with light skin can grey melange work? Trunk has some nice sweaters but in pebble grey,vola eg. Thanks Simon
Ah, I see. I think that darker beige might be a little too dark for the bomber, probably.
Yes, grey melange can work near the face with that complexion. Though it helps if there’s something else around the face too, such as the white line of a T-shirt or a shirt collar.
Or perhaps cream would be better or these cords?https://www.trunkclothiers.com/products/trunk-welbeck-regular-one-pleat-corduroy-trousers-olive?variant=32184315150371
Thanks a lot Simon!
Cream will go with everything. Cords are nice but a little more casual
It’s seems my comment disappeared. Try to repost it
I love these series of capsule wardrobe. Great articles!
Now, I get a problem when I considering my next suit or sport coat. I think I need some suggestion.
I have a worsted navy suit, a worsted prince of wales checks suit in mid grey, both of them are about 280gm. And a tan Irish linen sport coat.
They works well in most of my time. But the winter is coming.
In my city, when it’s between April and November the average temperatures are really high. The lowest temperature in a day would be 20°C.There is no spring and fall here.
Until the coming of Winter, the highest temperature would drop to 25 °C ,and the lowest would be 15 °C.
Because I’m working in a very casual office environment. I think a sport coat works better than a suit.
But the material is hard to choose. Wearing linen in winter is a little weird. And It’s hard to layer linen when it drop to 15 °C at night.
In the contrast, common winter sport coat material is hard to use in this environment, too.
I think tweed is easy to be too warm here. Not to mention to layer it.
How can I choose my next sport coat or maybe a separated suit will be a choice?
Hi Jerry. No, the comment just has to be moderated before it appears. A message will have come up saying that, but perhaps you missed it.
It sounds like a sports jacket is the best option for you, and I would be looking at lightweight wools – around 9oz or so. Not linen and not tweed – have a look at jacketing bunches from the likes of Loro Piana, Drapers, Zegna and get a wool around that level.
Let me know how you get on.
Thank you Simon,
I agree with you. A 9oz to 10oz wool fabric in pattern might be the best choice.
Sadly, I met my tailor who also my good friend yesterday, I didn’t find a fabric with pattern in dark brown or olive that I liked. It seems that these two color is more usually used in winter fabric. Most of them in 9oz wool are solid color, I worry that they will be looked too formal for a sport coat.
I will keep trying to find out a fabric that can satisfy myself.
If I do my next sport coat, I will share it with you.
Thank you Simon!
I think a solid colour might be ok – just wear a patterned shirt and/or tie
I recently have the same problem with trousers.
I made cream.khaki.olive chinos recently. They works well with my sport jacket.
Yet, I start to think they creases easily sometimes. Jeans become my best friend now.
But I still want something else that casual enough with sport jacket , won’t crease a lot, and won’t be too hot in my country.
I love the grey flannel trousers that you shared.
what if a 270gram grey flannel trouser? Is it works?
Lightweight flannel like that is OK, but you do lose some of the elements that are nice about flannel, and they will crease more easily.
How about high-twist wools like Crispaire of Fresco? Smarter than flannel, but still great with a sports jacket.
High-twist in pale grey or mid grey? I have seen you share, they are really great look.
So,flannel trouser goes better with 11oz, in a chill temperature such as 15 Celsius?
Probably, yes on flannels, and mid-grey on high twists
Here’s an interesting one!
I might be digressing here!!
It’s about the actual wardrobe itself!!!!
Mine is not a built in wardrobe… Plenty of room for air to circulate…. but probably won’t keep the moths at bay. Also it is not an extravagantly expensive mahogany or cedarwood one, nor is built from a flat pack.
If I were to consider upgrading, I would be picky about doors that close properly, leaving no gaps that clothing, particularly shirting, gets jammed in the door… Yes it happens!!!, and be a proper wooden construction and not MDF or chipboard.
I would like to know where to obtain a proper wooden wardrobe, if possible in cedarwood, not a built in one but tall enough to hang coats in, with tie and knitwear drawers etc. It doesn’t have to be a luxury one that you would see in good sartorial books or even like the expensive luxury display cabinets or whatever that one may find in Savile Row tailors!
I know this sounds naive… But anyway……
Hello Simon. I’m in the midst of buying the capsule, and taking my first step as a well dressed gentleman; from a boy to a man. I am still studying, and cannot afford bespoke but have to rely on Suitsupply (SS) and the likes. I’ve bought my first pair of flannels, in mid-grey, high rise, double pleats, with turn ups, I love that look. I am about to go and get a another pair of trousers. SS have a light-brown, almost stone colour, it is in flannel. My question to you is if I can change out the cotton beige trousers you listed for those aforementioned SS trousers, in the same style as my mid-grey ones?
I think you’d find those pale flannel trousers not as useful, no.
You recommend some beige chinos,for that I am looking am BHL, they have a nice model, But what about the cotton trousers,what brands do you recommend?
Hi Simon, I love your writing style. This is my favorite capsule wardrobe blog so far. As someone that enjoys travel and indeed moving house, minimal clothes that are stylish and functional are essential. I love the combinations you suggested. Cheers
Lovely to hear, cheers Paul
I know you don’t recommend fresco for odd jackets, but I happen to have 2 (wish I read your site before), a navy and a light grey, what fabric do you recommend for pants to go with them? Thanks!
Well, I guess something pretty smart will make the best of that, but it’s not easy. A smooth worsted so the trousers aren’t too similar to the jacket perhaps. Or at the most casual, a sharp cotton or linen.
Will you have a fabric recommendation to beige cotton trousers that I can wear throughout the year, both summer and winter? thx!
Most cotton trousers you can wear throughout the year. If you’re looking to have something smart made that can go with those jackets, then look to the tailoring cottons, such as the Holland & Sherry cottons bunch. Ideally more like 11oz than 9oz
Are those single pleat grey flannels?
No, flat front
Does this colour work as the navy jacket or a plain navy be better?
I’d go with the plain navy. I haven’t seen that made up, but I don’t see many advantages of it over the plain
Which mill do you recommend for the plain navy?
Please also comment on Loro N685039 as my beige cotton pants.
There is little difference between the mills there – Holland & Sherry is the one I’ve tried.
I haven’t seen that LP swatch I’m afraid
Thank you I will check out the H&S.
For the beige cotton pants, do you recommend ones with a little frizzy feel (kinda like suede when touched)? Or without?
If you want something that is as smart as the jacket, then without
My apologies, I meant brushed cotton, still without ya?
Yes – it’s a small thing, but a brushed material will usually be a little more casual
For your one and only pair of Oxford shoes, would you get mid brown or dark brown Simon?
Would you advise for/against trying to transform a mid-brown shoe to become a super dark brown shoe? And how would you go about this — by using a darker polish? I’m wondering how possible is this and if it would be advised, for say a good quality RTW English shoe.
Dark brown most likely. It will go with a greater range of things.
This can be done, and look nice, but polish and/or cream will always be a little temperamental and not transform it as completely. You really want someone who does patina work, and can use dyes. I’d recommend the Jaunty Flaneur in the UK. See my G&G shoes here for a patina job – this is what they used to look like
It’s me again, thanks for all your suggestions so far!
for the dark brown wool jacket, what do you think of this?
I think it’s nice, but not perhaps as versatile as I was talking about in the piece.
The tweed highlighted here, by the way, will hopefully be rewoven by ourselves and Holland & Sherry next year. So it will be available to make for next Autum/Winter
Do you mean the one in the last photo?
As I am located in Hong Kong, there’s only 1-2 months of real winter, therefore I think having a tweed will not be as versatile as to something lighter weight which I can wear more during the year.
What do you think?
Yes, and OK, that’s a good point.
To be honest, it’s much harder to find these equivalents for warm weather. I’ve yet to find a warm-weather jacket that I think really works with jeans and tailored trousers, and which therefore fits into this versatile wardrobe.
oh i see!
I have commissioned the H&S hopsack as the navy wool jacket.
now just looking for the brown one, the brown anglo italian i linked is the darkest and most casual i can find after looking at many other options from other mills without getting to heavier weights.
Yes that will be a nice navy jacket, just not that casual. If you’re not so bothered about the casual side, I’d go for a dark brown wool/silk/linen.
See the post on summer jackets here.
But already much more casual compared to fresco right?
Unfortunately I think your w/s/l dark brown fabric is no longer available at Anglo Italian.
The brown one I linked before happens to be w/s/l as well, is it dark enough?
Only a bit more casual, but more importantly better as a jacket rather than a suit.
That one would ideally be darker, yes
Simon, would you say your recent post about your WW CHAN BESPOKE jacket in brown/black would be sufficienta the no. 2 jacket mentioned in the article?
Yes I would, at least in terms of colour. As discussed on the Chan article, my only concern is the cut working with jeans
Simon, I am wondering what you might make of a navy herringbone as the navy jacket in a wardrobe such as this, for example this one by Cavour. Thanks! https://cavour.co/en/product/2955/mod-2-loro-piana-herringbone-tweed
I think that looks like a good option, and herringbone is certainly good.
My only concern would be about texture, as it’s described as a flannel. But from what I can see it looks like it would have enough.
See post here for my discussion about navy jacket materials to suit a wardrobe like this.
Thanks Simon, much appreciated! I think the copy is simply wrong, as it refers to VBC flannel rather than LP tweed (seems probably copy pasted from a flannel trouser).
Seems something went wrong during an import of data, that messed up some of the copy for some reason. The fabric is from the Sopra Visso bunch by Loro Piana. Which has a more “English” hand than one would normally expect from LP.
Hi Simon. I’ve love this article on the website and I have come back to it many times. Tailoring isn’t really a big thing down here in Devon nor does my work fit with wearing it currently. I’m looking though to get some grey flannels to smarten up more and to wear with a number of different items in my capsule wardrobe (under construction). I think from reading your website mid grey would the best. Could you recommend any for between £200 – £300 – thank you for any help. Really enjoy the website by the way having just found it in the last year.
Nice to hear that. For grey flannels, I’d suggest you look at Anglo-Italian, Drake’s, and perhaps MTM from Anderson & Sheppard. If you want to go slightly cheaper, then other classic mens brands, like Hackett, are worth checking.
I would offer two brief suggestions if I may: Natalino is one, which may be familiar to some PS readers. They offer some pretty nice VBC flannels. Otherwise, I might suggest PS sponsor Cavour, who currently have some Loro Piana and VBC flannels on sale! (I have tried the former but not the latter, though am waiting on an order to ship just now.)
Nice, thanks Zy. Of course Berg & Berg too
What do you think of this jacket from Anthology for dark brown, as far as being part of the capsule wardrobe?
The colour is nice. I would be concerned a little bit that the material might be too smart to wear with jeans etc, but it’s very hard to tell just online.
Hi simon, I only own two sportscoats (navy and dark brown) from ring jacket and will likely only maintain at this number in view that I do not need to wear jackets for work and are purely for pleasure. Quite recently, while sitting down with the navy one, I notice patches appearing where my elbows meet the edge of my desk. I managed to get them out with some vigorous brushing but I made me think about the event how some of these may become permanent in the long run. Are the only two options to throw it out or get elbow patches? Speaking of the latter – I have never seen you in elbow patches (or talk about the subject in detail). Given that consumers are advised to buy less and repair more, I’m wondering why this topic has not been discussed more? To be honest, the only time I see elbow patches are the tacky jackets from Zara. I’m wondering if elbow patches can be done tastefully (if at all) to add durability to a favorite jacket
It is something we discussed in this video with Richard Anderson – he ran through the options he uses.
I’ve never needed elbow patches, but were I to have them, I’d go for suede over leather, probably, and something dark and muted. Very dark brown probably, or even black if it suited the colour of the jacket. Basically, get away from the colours and leathers you might expect.
I bought a mid-brown flannel jacket, I thought it was darker because of photos, and now I don’t know what trousers I should wear (mid-grey flannel ?). It’s not very versatile and I understand why you recommand darker most of the time for chukka boots and for jackets when we start a wardrobe.
Hopefully at least one shade of grey should work – might be pale or might be charcoal, but certainly one will have enough contrast. Then try beige or stone and similar colours too.
I wouldn’t generally recommend flannel for jackets either. I’m sure yours is fine, but usually it’s better for suits and trousers.
How often do you wash your oxfords? I know it’s not good to wash too frequently, but I notice I often get stains on the collars.
Usually every time I wear them. A little stain remover on the collar before you put them in the wash can help a lot with stains
Hi Simon – there is a companion piece you wrote discussing ideas for “middle ground” cloths for navy jackets. As you also suggested a brown jacket in the capsule, I wondered whether you had considered a similar article covering that?
I hadn’t Rob, but I can. I guess the issue with brown jackets is there is much more variation in terms of colours in the mix, the overall tone, and so on. It couldn’t be as comprehensive across brown jacketings. But I can very try and do something that summarises my favourites if that’s helpful
I think that would be great and I am sure others would find it helpful. The conundrum as I see it is that it may be possible to find a navy material which can straddle formal and informal – and be a real capsule item – but I am not sure that quite works with brown jackets. I think they will inevitably be more informal and maybe a bit more limited.
HOW DO I OBTAIN THE COST OF YOUR CLOTHING?
I haven’t included all brands and prices in this article because it would have taken up a lot of space, and most readers are familiar with most of the garments.
However, if there’s something you’re particularly interested in, please let me know and I’ll try to help
Looking at knitwear colours and to try expand from usual navy, been looking at a deep burgundy shawl neck cardigan. Do you think this colour would be limiting in a capsule wardrobe?
Thanks as always.
I don’t think it would be that versatile, no. I’d look at mid-grey, cream and even dark green or dark brown first
I’d like to ask your advice about something.
I’d like a pair of boots that would suit flannels, chinos and smarter jeans (which I know is exceptionally difficult!) to make packing for weekend breaks easier.
Do you think that these would cover all bases, or should I just give up on the idea: https://www.crockettandjones.com/collections/sale/products/eskdale-2-darkbrown-wax-calf?variant=36448417742920
I think it’s perfectly possible. I think those boots could look good, though suede might be easier to wear across all those categories, and if you think they’re not quite right for flannels, then try and find a model without a storm welt.
For example, I wear these in all those scenarios.
Thanks for looking at this, Simon; most kind. The suede looks really good.
What belts would you recommend to go with all? Braided brown leather belts? Suede? Any recommended brands?
I’d go with brown leather and brown suede, yes, either plain or braided.
I haven’t looked into belts for a while, but I will perhaps for a new piece. In the meantime Trunk, Anderson & Sheppard and Anglo-Italian all have good ranges. Rubato too.
Hi Simon, what are your thoughts on black and brown tassel loafers for 9 and 10? Or is black just too hard to coordinate with?
Black is usually going to be more limiting, but it depends what else you wear as well. It’s great with smart things, and then also with some casual combinations – often those that are more muted or use colder colours.
As a butch lesbian who wears exclusively men’s clothing, I really appreciate this. I find explanations and considerations for my personal and professional fashion I can’t find anywhere else. Thank you!
That’s great to hear – lovely when it applies to range of people
Could be a whole new market for Savile Row!!
Hello Simon, i need an advice. I am reading PS for many years now and decided to visit a tailor for first time to make me a MTM jacket. I want it to be very versatile but also very casual. My question is if the 280g 130s plain dark navy merino i found on huddersfield cloth sale section is a good choice for first casual jacket with soft shoulders and patched pockets? You said it should be all wool but i still dont know if you meant worsted wool or anything else. Thank you for your answer and best regards.
If you want it to be very casual, then I would look at something like grey herringbone, rather than navy. See article here on those jacket choices.
It is also better in a woollen, not a worsted, as worsted is usually smarter. The weight also sounds too light. But if you provide me with a link I can have a look
Hi Simon, thank you very much for your answer. Here is the link to cloth https://shop.huddersfieldtextiles.com/product/sal80-dark-navy-plain/ . Do you think is possible to make a casual jacket from this material to go with jeans and chinos?
I think it’s unlikely Matheiu. I’d like to see it in person if I could to be sure, but it looks too light and too fine – a superfine wool more suited to something smarter.
Have you seen this post where I recommend navy materials for a jacket like that?
Simon, thank you for your answer and link to a post which i never read before. It was an eye opener. I think i will go with moonbeam or 12oz donegal tweed i found on Magee1866 site. I also like cloth from Piacenza. Italy is very close to me, so there is no tax but i think they only do B2B.
Oh good, great to hear.
For the pants, what weight would you recommend?
Probably around 11oz for the flannels, something that or lighter for the jeans. There’s more on trouser weights and materials in the Guide to Cloth
I thought you said flannels are more fragile so no less than 13-14 Oz?
13 is my ideal weight, but for most people 11oz is fine
What weight would you use for twill pants like jeans, chinos and dress trousers?
Those three are all quite different Kyle, and the first two depend more on style. But for dress trousers, a good guide is to stay around 11oz or above, unless it’s for hot weather
What weight would you recommend for jeans and chinos meant for year round wear?
IF I should substitute the blue single breasted jacket with something more casual i.e. https://angloitalian.com/products/buttons-through-cardigan-wool-cashmere-navy or https://www.fransboonestore.com/products/drumohr-knitted-jacket-merino-wool-navy-blu?variant=30195843301456 which model should I choose? In terms of versality?
I’ve both a blue jacket and a shawl collar but these days I find the jacket a little over the top if I look at what others are wearing! If they finally wear a jacket it’s typical a very short modern jacket. And I think the shawl is often to warm.
They’re both nice Frank, the latter style is just more like a jacket, the former more like a cardigan. They’ll be equally as versatile, but it depends what look you want – smarter or more casual
yesterday I found that wonderful article on Bryceland’s homepage. https://www.brycelandsco.com/blogs/news/the-core-of-things
But I guess you already read it…
best regards and a have a nice day
I have, it’s lovely. Ethan has such a way with words
this article is as always very helpful.
I wonder which trousers would be in the capsule as alternative to the flannels?
Grey colored to be used in the city and together with black shoes, but unlike the flannels washable (if you have kids).
Grey chinos? I remember, you are not fond of them.
Grey corduroy? Maybe too rural for the city?
Other grey trousers?
What do you think?
There isn’t really an easy alternative I’m afraid. If you want a smart trouser to be worn in the city, it’s not going to be one that’s machine washable without seriously undermining what they’re made of
Simon: Great article. The principle behind it just rings true to me. I wrote out all the items in the article and crossed out the ones I already had. This little exercise made me appreciate my existing wardrobe a lot more (and actually using it, not to mention), while also making it clear which items are most needed.
And what I need most right now are the mid-grey flannels (and a green tie). I’m just not sold on flannel.
Is there another combination of colour and cloth, that is as versatile? Mid-grey whipcord/covert/cavalry? Or are the twills a little too formal to be truly versatile?
I think that’s the issue, yes – the twills are often a bit shiny, and if not, even then a bit sharp. They either still look like formal wear, or they look a bit rural. Nothing hits that sweet spot between the two like flannel
Big fan of the blog. Any chance you remember where the Dark-green striped tie came from ?
Thanks a lot
It was Shibumi. Also seen here
I’d love your advice on suede vs. calf derbies for #10. What are your thoughts on wearing dark-brown suede shoes with a dark-brown suede jacket? Would the jacket militate in favor of calf?
If I did go with calf, would these derbies from Crocket & Jones be dark enough to be versatile — or would you suggest I look for a darker pair? https://us.crockettandjones.com/collections/norwich/products/norwich-darkbrown-calf
Thanks very much for this great article,
I don’t mind a brown jacket with brown shoes, but it might be a bit much if both are brown suede – I do wear it sometimes, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. See here.
I would go darker than those C&J ones, yes. That’s not really dark brown. It’s also a fairly smart derby for a casual thing like a suede jacket.
I was wondering what you though about this fabric (https://cavour.co/en/product/4320/brittish-exclusive-pow-jacket) for a sports jacket for versatility. Thank you in advance.
It’s nice. Not the most versatile as I’d only wear it with quite pale trousers and maybe dark brown. But still nice.
They just need to correct the spelling!
Hi Simon, how about charcoal grey rather than mid-grey flannels? Would it be less versatile?
Unless you dress quite smartly a lot of the time (white shirts, black shoes) then yes it will be.
Also see here for more
Hi Simon, I was wondering whether you think stone chinos could work similarly to beige chinos? Or even substitute for beige? I am aware that they are different colours, but sometimes stone looks easier and cleaner. Could you briefly explain their difference and versatileness?
They’re pretty close, there isn’t a big difference. Stone is sometimes a touch smarter, and a little easier to wear with colder colours, but it’s a small difference.
Stone could certainly work easily here
I see. Thanks for the explanation.
I know that your suggestion is navy for the first suit
but to be a little bit more specific,is it Navy blue or mid night blue.
And since i live in tropical country which colour you think i might suit better.
Dark navy. Midnight blue is the colour you think looks like black, it’s essentially black unless you peer closely. Get dark navy, and if in doubt between two shades, the darker one.
Hi Simon, apologies if it was asked in one of the comments above (searching ‘boot’ didn’t yield results).
If you had to make a capsule boot wardrobe, how many would you have, and which one would you pick? Please assume you already have Saint Crispin dark brown suede chukka boots.
I have my eyes on Edward Green Galway in mink suede. I find it hard to justify in the same material, and a very close shade of brown (at least on my screen).
Would love to hear your thoughts, and thank you in advance.
On another note, when can we expect the fall/ winter ‘22 season-preview email?
And have you considered changing the neck size for the RTW shirts? From what I’ve seen, it’s more common to pair size M with 15.5-15.75 neck size.
On boots, I guess a lot of it depends how often you wear them as a style – some where them almost all the time rather then a derby or even oxford, others hardly at all.
But for me, in the spirit of this capsule, I’d have perhaps three: a brown-suede chukka (slightly smart), a brown suede or leather chunkier boot (like the EG Cranleigh) and a work boot like my Vibergs or an Alden in cordovan
Oh, and sorry the email for A/W will come in early August I think
I wanted to ask a couple of questions about how to extend this wardrobe. I have found the cream chinos here extremely useful, but find they look a bit too baggy and crumpled with tailoring, even though they are “Italian-style” smart Incotex in a heavy cotton twill. I found this was much more pronounced with beige than cream, too. Would it be reasonably to say that some cream wool trousers would be a strong addition to this capsule to elevate the jackets? If so do you have any fabrics you could recommend? I can’t find anything Ivory or cream in covert or cavalry twill. Is cream flannel possible and does that look good or a bit like a cricket trouser?
Finally, I was struck by the absence of grey suits here. Even if not needed for work, I’d have assumed that every man needs a grey winter and summer suit for short-notice events where this is expected and the odd jackets won’t cut it. Is that still true do you think?
Yes, chinos with tailoring is a tricky one, and something I don’t do much.
I wouldn’t go for cream wool trousers though, I’d go for something else for trousers to wear with jackets like that, such as a mid-grey or a light grey. See post here on my top trousers there.
I think the need for a grey suit depends a lot of your local society and circumstances. For many people today, yes a jacket is enough. But things have changed quite a lot in that regard in recent years so what’s considered appropriate is different in different places.
Thanks Simon. I perhaps should have clarified – I meant that I would like to expand my selectionn of trousers to pair with my navy and grey jacket capsule. Already have a mid/dark/light grey flannel, a beige cotton chino, some smart denim and some brown cords. I find that only the flannels/cords really work at the upper end but would like the brightness of cream. Not sure about the type of wool and where to go – I can’t easily tell the difference between gabardine, covert, cavalry twill and cream flannel – and am worried about spending so much to end up with something not quite right.
I wouldn’t go with cream flannel, it will be too bright to be versatile. So will wool gabardine.
I think you should aim for a worsted wool twill that isn’t too bright. It may be a covert or cav twill, but it may not. Something like my pair here, or something a little greyer even
Thanks Simon, that’s very helpful.
A non-bright wool twill sounds like the answer. Are there specific fabric makers you recommend looking at seasonal bunches for, and specific weights that tend to work well?
Outside of cavalry and covert cloths, are there other specific wool twill types to look for and ones to avoid?
Not especially on makers, but weights around 10-12oz. The frustrating thing with this category of cloth is the offerings do tend to be quite seasonal and come in and out of bunches too.
Equally with names for cloths – there is no name for just a basic wool twill, without the double twill of a cavalry or the colour/density definition of covert.
Thank you Simon,
Do you think this Stoffa basketweave cotton might be a good option to put with odd jackets, or will it suffer the same issues as chinos with tailoring?
I have the basketweave and find it the same with tailoring – see my review here
Great article – has been most useful to me. My wife is wanting to build her own capsule wardrobe and asked me if there is a Permanent Style for women as she likes how I dress (inspired by your work). Have you considered a capsule article(s) for women or can you recommended any similar resources, please? Thanks!
Unfortunately there isn’t really a PS equivalent for women, though many people have asked about one over the years. I even know people who have tried to start them. The key problem is the fashions change so quickly, even just in terms of cuts, compared to men, that it’s hard to talk with longevity and then also hard for brands to exist with the same attitude.
I’m sure something is possible that tries to pick the best there is out there, but I haven’t seen it and it would be more difficult.
I’m afraid I wouldn’t know enough about women’s clothing to write something, but perhaps I can try and ask a woman friend, a writer ideally, to do one.
Thanks ever so much for your response, Simon.
Hello. After reading this article when changing my style I’ve bought most the essentials mentioned. However, I’ve torn through the crotch in all my trousers, the flannels go first after a few weeks, thicker wools take a bit more time but eventually there’s a hole in the crotch area, the fabrick starts to wear out thin until eventually a tare appears.
I was hoping for advice. Obviously I cannot buy off the rack anymore because of my athletic build. I cannot afford bespoke. I believe my only option is MTM but how should I have the trousers done in regards to size around thighs and booty? How many
CM’s should I add to my measurements to have ample room around that area?
Trousers shouldn’t be going through that quickly unless they are very tight. It might be how they are being worn or cared for perhaps.
– Flannels and other smart materials are delicate and can’t be used for things like cycling or equally vigorous activities
– Wool is much weaker when it is damp. Try to avoid wearing them two days in a row so they have time to fully dry out from sweat etc
– Do not dry clean until you absolutely have to. It too will destroy the material slowly
Because they were originally intended for active use in the outdoors, ‘country’ fabrics will be more durable than flannels and fine worsteds.
Hello simon can recomend me a suit and jacket to appopriate for university
i think separate is better i would like to hear about your opinion
It depends almost entirely on what other people where at the university you’re going to go to. At mine I don’t think anyone ever wore a jacket or a suit
Yes then do you recommend me wearing casual at this age?! Or i want to wear after school do you
any suggestion for jacket or suit? I want to collect now .. i think
im not that in to desinger clothing
I would have thought so, yes. It depends a lot on your social context, but I would be going for more casual things certainly
Simon, what are the jacket, trousers and shirts in the first two images? Beautiful fabrics?
First image: navy cashmere, white oxford, grey flannels, from this post
Second image: blue tweed, blue end on end shirt, knitted silk tie, grey high-twist trousers. Details here
Do you think this dark brown jacket can work with jeans?
I wouldn’t say so John, the material a little slick and smart
What trousers would you say it can go well with?
Gray or charcoal flannels? Maybe high twist mid gray wool trousers, or dark green linen for warmer weather?
yes certainly, plus any shade of beige or cream
Perhaps a separate new article on knitwear could be added to the wardrobe building series as I feel it’s glaringly absent. Albeit I found knitwear mentioned in this post.
I always look forward to seeing a new post added to the wardrobe building series which has helped me and others tremendously.
Thanks Lindsay, good point and I’ll plan something.
Is the shawl cardigan in the photo above the Permanent Style indulgent cardigan or another brand?
It’s the very short merino shawl from Anderson & Sheppard