The Summer Top Five: Adret, Anglo, Anthology, Connolly and Luca

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With stock delayed and most shops closed, there seemed less point in doing our regular Spring/Summer round-up earlier in the year. So here, rather later, is a Summer-targeted piece on items I've tried myself and especially recommend.

I've also kept this to five, rather the usual ten, in order to give me more space to get into the details on each product. Here's hoping you find something you like.

The Adret ‘Pablo’ popover

£365

I love so many things about Adret, and how Adam and Seto go about designing their clothes.

The natural colour palette, which is large yet surprisingly versatile - there are blacks, greens and tobacco there, yet they all work together. The materials, which are often unusual yet all soft, open and light. 

And the slow development and marketing. The best images are all hand-drawn by Adam - he spent most of lockdown hand-drawing a video - and most sales are by appointment.  They did open a showroom in central London for a few months, but that was closed at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Perhaps most of all, I love the ideal of simple, easy elegance. Drapey clothes in natural cloths, that feel put-together yet are the most un-starchy thing you could possibly wear.

Unfortunately, the cut of most of the clothes doesn’t work on me. The loose, longer fit is fine, though not my normal style, but the collars are usually too low, and the chest open. It just isn’t that flattering - though it looks great on Adam. I have a cream thermal that I love, but that’s it. 

However, we met up recently to try on some new developments, and found one other thing does work, which is the Pablo popover. This has a slightly higher collar and firm placket, which frames my face nicely. Below that, the shirt is all drape: loose body, sleeves begging to be rolled up. 

The material is beautiful - a super-washed denim, very light and soft. There are two colours, mid- and light blue, referred to as Prussian Blue (pictured) and Bleu de France respectively. 

As with many Adret pieces, there are also lots of nice details, such as splits in the side seams and a wider placket with just two buttons. 

Adret isn't for everyone, nor is it cheap, but I think the quality with which it's done makes it worth finding out whether it's for you.

The Anglo-Italian splash top

£255

The proportions of these first two pieces could not be more different. Where the Pablo hangs in long lines from the shoulders, the splash top cinches at the waist and then balloons in the chest. (Yet they’re both aimed at, and achieve, freedom of movement. Interesting that.)

The Anglo-Italian splash top is a waterproof shell, intended to be chucked over a polo shirt or knit when rain threatens. It reminds me of rowing waterproofs I wore at university, and is just as useful for sport as casualwear - I’ve been wearing mine to cycle over to play tennis, for example (the only racquet sport currently allowed.)

Like most good menswear we cover, though, it takes such a functional piece and elevates it. The material is a cotton blend from Millerain, which has a matte finish and a much nicer feel than the normal synthetics: like Ventile rather than Nylon. And the collar is a heavy cotton similar to a rugby shirt. 

They do come up very big in the chest, and I was unsure between a Small and a Medium, eventually going with the Medium as I will want to wear it over a sweatshirt. 

I also wasn’t sure about the embroidered patch, as I don't usually wear logos. But it is pretty subtle, and nice on something so plain. It’s also a lot better than ‘Ralph Lauren Rowing Club’ or similar fake sporting clubs. 

There isn’t much stock left of the splash top (just Large and X-Large), but worth registering your interest on the A-I site, for a pre-order. 

The Connolly Art Cardi

Cotton £365, cashmere £790

This is one more piece that challenges ideas of proportion. 

The Art cardigan is designed by Connolly to be long and slightly oversized. Yet, as often with good oversized pieces, it has enough interest and structure at the top to stop the whole piece look like it’s just falling off you. (My Connolly coat is similar.)

So it sits close on the back of the neck, and has a saddle shoulder that creates a horizontal line across the top of the chest. Those help the longer body and deep V-neck to fall down the body without given the impression of collapse. 

It’s not a style I would normally buy, but this is something I particularly value about the Classic Collection at Connolly: challenging my preconceptions and, in the process, reinforcing some while adapting others. 

I was wearing a smart shirt and fairly high-waisted tailored trousers when I visited the shop, and would normally wear a neat cardigan with such an outfit. But actually, the contrast between these sharp, fitted clothes and the loose Art Cardi was great. 

I bought the Small/Medium in cream cashmere, which isn’t currently on the website. But the dark-brown cotton was also nice - a dry, crunchy-feeling knit that would be better suited to the current weather. 

There’s a nice piece on the cardigan by Isabel at Connolly here - featuring Jo Ellison and Donald Glover (Childish Gambino).

The Anthology knitted T-shirt

$90

I’ve long been a fan of knitted (knitted together, fully fashioned) T-shirts as an elegant alternative to a collared shirt. 

I wear them with tailored trousers under a casual top - and although I wouldn’t wear a T-shirt with a suit, this is the tee I would wear if I did. A regular cut-and-sew T-shirt just looks sloppy. 

My favourites are from Connolly, and Smedley does some nice ones. But both are fine-gauge knits, whether in merino or cotton, and smart as a result. The Anthology tee uses a thicker gauge, which makes the cotton chunkier and the look more casual. I still wouldn’t wear it with jeans, but the look with trousers is more relaxed. 

The cut is inspired by vintage sportswear, and you can see that in the higher collar (also helps under tailoring), bulky chest and nipped-in waist. Personally I rather like this style, and find it flattering (in the same way I like an extended shoulder and drape on a suit). But the original run was rather too short in the length for me, as I commented on Instagram - really only suited to high-rise trousers, up on the natural waist. 

Fortunately the latest run is a little longer. Still a vintage silhouette, but I can wear them with my tailored trousers, which are more of a mid-rise. If you wear low-rise - as most modern trousers are, and something like Incotex chinos are - you’ll still probably find them too short. 

I wear the navy, in Large. I tried ecru as well, but it is closer to beige than cream, and didn’t work that well with my skin colour. I’m also tempted by mustard. 

The Anthology deserve a big shout-out, by the way, for giving all the proceeds from the first run to Covid-related charities. 

Luca Avitabile ‘Valerio’ overshirt

€270

Every shirtmaker sells overshirts these days. It makes sense: it’s a whole new category for them, yet with a make that’s not that different from a shirt. 

I’ve tried many, and as previously mentioned have a preference for ones without bulky pockets. Usually without hip pockets at all. They're just so much cleaner without, and pockets can easily overwhelm what is a very simple, lightweight piece. 

Luca Avitabile, who makes many of my bespoke shirts and all of the PS shirts, has a version called the Valerio which is one of the best for several reasons. 

The biggest is that the hip pocket is a side-entry design that sits very cleanly, and you’d barely notice unless you were using it. Both chest and hip pockets are made from the same piece of material, laid on top of the body. 

The second is the material, which is very crisp, lightweight linen - lighter than the Armoury one I have, and not as soft as the Drake’s one I also wear a lot. The colour of the tobacco version is also less saturated and slightly darker than that Armoury version, making it a little easier to wear. 

And finally, the lining of the collar and cuffs is relatively stiff compared to others. Certainly than the Drake’s ones. This keeps them sharp, and fits well with the crisp feel of the linen. The whole is smarter , though still wearable with jeans. 

If I was going to change one thing on the Valerio, it would be the breast pockets, which could be a little deeper. You can’t get anything taller than a card case in there. But otherwise it ticks all the boxes for an overshirt. 

Also available in an indigo blue. I wear Medium.  

Photography and image credits to stated brands, except top Anglo-Italian image, Ted Mendez

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Anonymous

I have no idea how to find or look @ Adret!

Anonymous

Ahhh the assumption that everyone has Instagram! I must be one of the few in my 20’s that don’t, but there we are!

Alex

Love the Luca Avitabile overshirt (and still loving tobacco linen) but unfortunately it’s only available in Large now.

Afraid the logo on the Anglo-Italian Splash Top is a deal breaker for me though, and the oversized fit on the Connolly cardigan reminds me of days when cardigans were almost exclusively worn by OAPs!

Ben

Agreed on the logo on the Anglo-Italian Splash Top being a deal breaker.

Kenny

Such big and prominent logos are a deal breaker for me too. I can’t understand why Anglo Italian have started put logos on garments.

Drake’s have put a flag (looks like a child drew it) on the polo shirts and sweatshirts this year. Unsurprisingly, they have been difficult to shift and are now half price in the sale. Who is going to pay £125 for a pique polo with a silly logo?

Sunspel offers better quality at lower prices – and no logos!!

Anonymous

Hi Alex, we’ll have couple of Medium in tobacco ready next week. If you could email me at [email protected] I’ll be happy to keep one for you.

Ted

Interesting items especially the Connolly cardigan. The Adret and Anglo prices are a little difficult to stomach in my opinion.

Roger Seegobin

Simon can the Anthology Tee be ordered on line and shipped to Canada? If so please forward info.
Thank You.
Roger Seegobin.

dachshund

Brilliant a high-end splash top! Shame it doesn’t have the little tail at the back!

Anonymous

Simon

I am really surprised to see you promoting an item with a logo on it. This must be a first for PS.

Anonymous

Simon, any views on the Valerio wool overshirt?

Justin

Simon, how would you compare the Valerio overshirt to the CPO Shacket from Private White? I know it is cotton and believe they see it more as a jacket, but from a style stand point? And if you would have to choose one, which one would you prefer?

Thanks!

Anonymous

Hi Simon, would like to know what’s your opinion on The Anthology’s Lazyman jacket, particularly the Indigo version (https://www.theanthology.net/shop/lazyman-jacket/indigo)? Thanks!

Ricky Takhar

Simon,

I’ve been looking at the LA overshirt for a few weeks, how do you find the medium? The measurements seem like quote a relaxed fit.

The details look great, not to mention the relatively affordable price when compared to other over shirts at this level.

Somalad

Fashion is typically as post-modern as it is possible to be. In trying to ‘say something new’ every quarter/season, clothes end up being produced only in the context of their relationship to what went before. The problem is that the relationship with the wearer suffers. ‘Fashion’ doesn’t seek to (though it may accidentally) enhance the wearer’s physical qualities, it is too busy talking to itself. For the most part this blog has been a riposte to that attitude; classical tailoring (though it may disagree around the fringes about precisely how to do things) is only interested in the quality of the item and its relationship to the wearer. You make this point in the name of your blog far more elegantly than I have in 50 words.

That said, each of the items in this article is, to my eye, (well made though they may be) pretty fashion conscious (the Luca Avitabile shirt excepted), which I suppose is another way of my saying I find them somewhat ugly. Unusual, unflattering proportions; all statement, no style.

Do you think (and I do not mean this critically) that you are becoming, over time, more interested in fashion, because you have spent so much time focussing on classical tailoring, which by its nature is static?

Alex

As someone who for many years has taken pride in eschewing fashion over style (as I suspect would go for many PS readers), I remember being struck by an observation made by Nick Sullivan of Esquire magazine, that it’s impossible or even undesirable to completely divorce fashion and style as they both influence each other, and that without fashion having an effect on even classical menswear, we’d still be walking around in hose and ruffs!

While the nature of the modern fashion industry has much to condemn it (pushing excess consumption for consumptions sake with the resulting environmental cost amongst other things), avoiding it out of a desire to preserve classical menswear in aspic (not that I’m accusing you of such a position; just making a general point) fails to look either forward to how classical menswear might evolve or backwards to how it reached the point it is now.

Anonymous

I like the Adret look and their look book images are great. I have to say though that i find the ‘slow marketing’, holding page website thing a bit tedious. I get the push back against fast fashion and traditional forms of marketing/ retail but I find it to be rather inconvenient and slightly pretentious. As a customer I want to see the full range, perhaps have some product shots, material and care details etc. so I can make an informed decision before investing.

At the end of the day brands are reliant on their customers and therefor some concessions should be made to make it accessible to them. If find it slightly arrogant o expect your customers to have to do to much work and it makes the whole thing a bit elitist in a way I find off putting.

R Abbott

The bills the look of theAnthology knitted T. Will probably pick one up.

I don’t get the Connolly cardigan. I’m sure it’s well made (given the reputation of the maker – and it should be given the price) but the baggy cut is unflattering bordering on ugly. Looks like one of my grandfather’s misshapen cardigans. Hopefully it looks better in person…

R Abbott

If you get the chance, it might be helpful to add pictures of you wearing the items featured here that you happen to own. Thanks as always!

Nick

I bought an Adret knit cotton shirt when they had a pop-up shop in princess arcade last year (very nice, unusual but is a subtle way), they charge like the light brigade, but I think I would occasionally cave if they had somewhere physical to see the pieces.

Shem

Hi simon any thoughts about Paul and shark? Thinking of getting a polo from them

https://colonyclothing.net/products/paul-and-shark-polo-t-shirt?variant=32461923909710

Ben

Hi Simon,
Great picks – just had a similar top to this Pablo named the ‘Leonardo’ from the Italian company Naked. Navy soft cord fabric, with button down, rolled collar, button cuffs and long placket. Without any stretch it felt rather different when putting it on, but a lovely drape and feeling to wear, already one of my favs.

A quick question if I may regarding shirt collars – My neck is shorter and shoulders level and squared off, which is quite the opposite to your build, although similar in height: weight.
I tried the Anglo Italian OC button down shirt from your recommendation recently and love their collar roll, but can’t help feeling all these high collar stances fit people with your build much better.
Long shot but can you think if it’s possible and/or know anywhere (outside of bespoke) to try for shirts with lower collar stance for shorter neck and wider shoulders, to avoid Harry Hill connotations, but still keeping that beautiful collar roll we love ?

Being in Aus these days the articles on business style in more casual and comfortable ways for the heat always appreciated – dressing for our corporate but very relaxed market is always a challenge.
Further congrats on PS – in my opinion the Authority and also the most personal site, leading the market by a country mile still – Wife thinks it’s too inspiring /dangerous to read with a glass of red in hand though.. perhaps drawing these impromptu online trips recently to F Clegg, Anglo Italian, Smythson, Faber to name a few…
Best and thanks,
Ben

Jonathan

Hi Simon, have you tried any of the knitwear from Adret? I like the looks on their insta page but it’s hard to get a complete sense of the fit. Thanks.

R Abbott

You mentioned the Lazyman in another comment. Both the grey and navy look like interesting options – based on the product pictures, it looks like they’re quite versatile, to the extent that you can dress them up with a tie (most likely a knit or wool tie). Are they as comfortable as they look like in the images? And what do you think of them in terms of value? I don’t mind spending on quality but + $600 seems like a lot for what’s essentially an uncanvassed, unstructured garment. Particularly the navy one – although nice looking in the product pictures, $675 seems like a lot for a garment made of terry cloth. (My favorite bathrobe is made of terry cloth, but it’s a bathrobe…) The $625 grey version is made of wool and looks like better value overall (the herringbone looks quite striking in pictures). The $575 indigo version made out of a wool-silk-linen mix also looks quite nice.

Andrew

Simon, May I ask what size you have in the grey?

Josh

Hi, Simon; love the selection and appreciate the detailed breakdown of each style. Am hook, line and sunk on the Anthology tees and figured from the site measurements that they fit true to (UK) sizes. I just noticed, however, that you took the large despite normally medium to small, if I remember correctly? I was wondering if you could share whether you found the t-shirts run small, or perhaps sized up intentionally for the extra length or stylistic reasons? I’d be really grateful for any additional insight before taking the plunge to import from HK! May I also add that your content this year has had me hooked like never before, and the site has made for wonderful lockdown reading. Cheers!

Christopher

Hi Simon, thanks for this nice selection.

Too bad Adret doesn’t have an e-shop (yet), kinda hard meeting them if you don’t live in London.

As for the Anthology t-shirts, I have the ecru and mustard ones, and I highly recommend the mustard. It pairs beautifully with navy or, even better, military/dark green. It also adds some colour to the outfit without being flashy at all.
On my side, I’m also tempted by the navy, but from the photos I can’t decide if it’s too close to black or not.

JB

I find myself quite drawn visually to the growing trend of over sized garments. They’re still on the right side of super baggy 90’s stuff (although I’m sure they’ll get there soon enough). The main issue I find is fitting it on myself. Being a larger guy, as you know, adding volume is rarely flattering. I guess pieces designed to be worn like Adret etc might mitigate this a bit, but I still struggle with it. I’ll most likely keep admiring it from afar, possibly managing a louche linen shirt for august.

Stanford Chiou

I too am a larger guy, and I find myself wearing oversized clothing a couple of sizes too small. An RTW garment “correctly” sized for my chest will be invariably be too long, *especially* in the sleeves. But if I wear an oversized garment a couple of sizes too small, it will often look flatteringly “fitted” on my frame.

That being said, the Connolly cardigan is a bridge too far for me because it’s likely to peak out from the seat of a jacket.

Karsten

Hi Simon,
how is the way to order items from Adret? Maybe I missed something, but I didn’t find a hint neither on their Instagram nor on the website. Your advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Karsten

Mohammed

Greetings Simon,

How do you recommend washing linen overshirts? Machine wash or dry-clean?

Cheers.

Wolf

Simon,

Given your recommendation of the Anthology t-shirt in this article and your article on the Baudoin & Lange “Ginkgo” shoes, I was about to purchase one in navy.

However, right before purchasing my eyes skimmed over the following sentence on their website: “This [shirt] is made of fine-gauge organic cotton from an ethically run cotton farm in Xinjiang, wholly handpicked and sustainably farmed.”

Given that Chinese oppression of the Uighur population is approaching or meets some legal benchmarks for genocide, I will not knowingly purchase any product (a) which has part of its supply originate in Xinjiang and/or (b) forced-labor was used in its production in China.

Given the attention you have paid to “sustainability” in the past, you have demonstrated at least a nominal interest in ethical clothing production. I cannot trust Anthology’s claim that the cotton was “ethically” produced. I recommend that you do not either—and cease purchasing or recommending this t-shirt—unless you have better information than presented on their website.

Wolf

The Anthology

Hi Wolf,

Really appreciate this message. Your consciousness in ethical trade is exactly something that we have always been aware of. The Anthology takes pride in nurturing and providing. Whilst providing the best quality apparels, we also never forget about contributing and ensuring our craftsmen fair wages, treatments and reasonable working environment. We are believers of companies that offers not only good quality and designs.

The Anthology Team

Stanford Chiou

I’m a great admirer of the Anthology, and look forward to the opportunity to commission garments once international travel resumes in earnest.

However, the use of cotton from Xinjiang is already a lightning rod (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50312010) and likely to become moreso as further details emerge about what’s happening there.

The Anthology can be nimble and responsive in ways that Uniqlo and Muji cannot, and should take this opportunity to get ahead of what is a potentially radioactive controversy.

Good luck.

Anonymous

When you get the chance, could you post a picture of yourself wearing the art cardi? Due to your comment about the proportions, would be great to see how it looks on you and how you would wear it.

shem

Hi simon, are you aware if adret will have an online store? I saw your instagram story and really like some of the shoes I see on display at their brick and mortar, but I’m in Asia!

Jeldrik

Hi,

I like Adret’s stuff quite a bit. But the prices seem a bit exaggerated to me – especially when you consider that they produce entirely in Indonesia (where wages are certainly lower than in the UK).

What do you say, Simon, about Adret’s value-for-money?

Jeldrik

Thank you for your helpful answer!

Best
Jeldrik

Rob

I’m slowly building the wardrobe and have gone for a LA overshirt in linen. It is rather lovely and I think I will use it a lot. The only query/concern is that whilst it seems the perfect size and length, the chest pockets sit VERY low (well below nipple-level) and look slightly odd as a result. Do you think that is intended? I suppose it is inevitable because it is co-joined with the side pockets.

I agree that the winter version needs to be a darker colour and more matte.

Gabriele

Voicing my interest for an olive linen version of the overshirt if it ends up happening!

Lewis

Hi Simon,

Would you be kind enough to comment on the utility of an indigo overshirt vs. navy, as I’m considering buying Luca’s version. I feel I’d normally opt for navy, but perhaps I’m being narrow-minded and indigo could be just as useful. I’m hesitant.

You mention a redesign underway with Luca, would you retain the current two colours offered (tobacco and indigo) given the choice ?

Thanks for your always useful input.

David H

Hi Simon,
any update on the redesign?

Rob

Eeek! I seem to have missed out on the re-design. Never mind. I think this will be a well-worn item, so I think I can justify two (even one with VERY low chest pockets). Hopefully these will be in colours other than Midnight Blue ………. Maybe a dark brown, olive, tobacco or something else subtle and complimentary.

Chris K

Hi Simon, hope you’re well.
As this is perhaps the most relevant post, I thought I’d ask here.
Can you disclose any further information about the upcoming collab with Luca A?
Now that the warm weather has hit, I’m left in a pickle, unable to reach for the knitwear on days I can’t be bothered wearing a shirt (most days to be honest right now), at this point, a linen over shirt is the perfect replacement over the next few months.
Can I ask, what tweaks you’ve made to the existing Valerio? What colours will be available? I’d honestly be tempted to buy a couple.
Lastly, I have tried sending a couple of emails to PS support, however I’ve had no response. I’m sure the team is busy, or have I missed a detail regards a new process when emailing?
Thanks and much appreciated as always man,
Chris

Chris K

Sounding fantastic, thank’s very much Simon!

Ck