New daily email and comments page, plus 1.2 million and counting!
Over the past six months, we've made several improvements to the website based on requests in last year's reader survey.
Some of the new pieces of functionality will not be that obvious, so I wanted to highlight them here to make sure everyone can benefit.
Please do comment if you find any errors, or there's anything new you'd like to request.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the incredible year we've had, in the face of such adversity. Traffic on Permanent Style has grown to 1.2 million unique visitors a year, with over 670,000 page views a month.
I find this quite staggering, and I want to repeat that expression of thanks: you make PS what it is today, and always have done. Thank you for your support, your comments and every other form of contribution.
New daily email
One of the things readers asked for last year was a new email - one which went out with every new article, rather than just our weekly summary.
The weekly summary is popular (just over 20,000 subscribers) and suited to those that don’t want to have to visit the site every day, or want to make sure they haven’t missed anything.
But a new-article alert is perhaps better suited to enthusiastic readers, or those that want to avoid missing a new product launch. The latter was a point made in the survey - that if something launches on Wednesday morning, some sizes might be sold out by the time the newsletter goes out, on Thursday afternoon.
So you can now sign up to the new-article alert here. You are of course welcome to sign up to both as well - and let us know if there are any other means of delivery you’d like.
Read all comments in one place
This new piece of functionality has been available for a few months, but I’ve never written about it - so I’m sure some readers don’t realise it’s there.
We’ve basically created a page where you can see all the latest comments from readers, and my replies. Given most comments are on articles that are more than a month old, chances are you’ll miss them unless you’ve subscribed to comments on a particular post.
And I think these ongoing conversations are a big part of the benefit of Permanent Style.
Several readers have left feedback on our Bridge Coat launch article here, following its availability again last year. There are now over 200 comments there, providing valuable advice and experience for anyone thinking of investing in one.
Another popular post is ‘If you only had five shoes’, the shoe chapter of our Wardrobe Building series. That gets new questions almost every day, and now has 216 comments. This is a perennial topic for young guys buying their first quality shoes, so it’s great that that resource carries on evolving.
Sometimes readers apologise about commenting on an old thread - don’t! The whole point of articles like those in the Wardrobe Building series, or Guide to Cloth series, is that they are extensive and nigh-on definitive - so they don’t go out of date and will always be useful. Your comments only make them more so.
The ‘Active threads’ page that lists all recent comments can be found here. There’s also a selection on the homepage, with a link to the full list. And that selection can be found under the adverts on all post pages too.
New guides and collections
Speaking of those Guides pages, we have introduced a few more in the past year, again following reader requests.
The first is called ‘The Essentials’ and is under the Style section of the site. This section deals with how to put clothes together - rather than how to buy, assess, or look after them. And the Essentials is the starting point for any new reader. It does what it says on the tin.
The second new section is Summer, which again is quite self-explanatory. We get so many questions from readers about how to dress for hot weather - often just in tropical countries, rather than in hot seasons. This is the destination for all those questions.
And third is the newest section, the Guide to Shirt Style. This is a partner to the Guide to Shirt Fabrics, looking at things like design and cut, rather than cloth. It will eventually be similar to the Guide to Suit Style in size, with its partner of the Guide to Cloth.
Finally, I find I often recommend ‘The Rules’ guide to readers, given how many of them ask about white in Winter or wearing shoes that aren’t darker than trousers. The articles in that guide set out why a rule exists, so you can understand what you lose when you break it (which everyone should do, just with that awareness).
The Video page, better Brands page, and better images
A lot of the other enhancements to the site have been small, but are no less useful.
- There’s a new Video section, where all our practical and style-focused video coverage can be found in one place. I know lots of readers like to watch these together.
- The Brands page has been corrected, so the brands there actually appear in alphabetical order, and other errors have been cleaned out. Look out for new filters on that page coming soon (that tagging has been a lot of work!).
- The Shop site now makes it clearer that we quote prices excluding VAT, and it now accepts both Apple Pay and PayPal.
- There's also an FAQs page, which should be a first port of call for anyone with a question related to the shop.
- And a tiny thing: the top post on the homepage now shows a higher-resolution image. You probably never noticed it didn’t, but it was bugging the hell out of me
Oh, and if anyone has any questions about how Brexit will affect shop orders, you can find the answers here. The short answer is, it doesn't much. The way we're handling it, those in the EU just pay local VAT rates now, rather than the UK Rate.
That’s it. Thank you everyone for your recommendations last year, and more will be coming in the next few months - including a ‘PS favourite’ brand list. Watch this space.
Regarding the video-section, I‘d find it most interesting to have an extensive video of how a Bespoke suit is made. From choising the cloth, how the patteen is cut, over several fittings to the finished suit. There are a videos out there that show some work been done, etc. But to my knowledge no well made extensive video. However maybe that might be quite a long video, almost documentary-like.
Yes, it would be quite long, but there’s no reason we couldn’t do it in sections, with our approach, questioning and commentary.
There is one on there dealing with the first part – choosing the style and cloth, with Vestrucci.
I would like to echo the above point. In particularly I would be interested in the aspects that are left unseen by us – padding, ironing etc. I think you could also do a comparison of how the iron is used in Naples and London, as I recently saw you bring that up in comments and it was a point I had never thought of before.
In relation to this post I personally would vote for a bit more ‘I wore this today’ content, but I imagine that’s for Instagram as opposed to the website. Also, I enjoyed the recent mock neck article. You mentioned that the style didn’t work for you, with which I agree but it was good to have an analysis of what doesn’t work as opposed to purely focusing on things that work.
But overall, I would like to thank you for the excellent work over the years and the addition of the comment update section is superb!
Thanks so much Nick.
And noted on the others. We do have a video coming on iron use, which is really interesting. That could perhaps be parcelled into the whole.
And yes, the ‘I wore this today’ things are usually on IG – posts or stories. There’s usually not as much to say about them as on a full article
Great Post Simon – nice to see that a lot of the request have been implemented.
As the comments – for me personally – add so much to the value of Permanent Style, I am still missing one major though: the ability to sort the comments starting with the newest.
Take your post on “If you only had five shoes: a capsule collection” for example. It has 216 comments by now. I’d be scrolling like a madman to get to the newest comments. Personally I revisit your older posts frequently, especially to educate myself about a brand or specific product that I am about to purchase.
I think it could very well just be added next to the “add your comment”-button.
Nice suggestion Felix, thank you. I’ll look to add that.
It’s testament to your success that not content with the considerable increase in your readership, you are striving to continuously improve PS.
One technical question on VAT. Do you know how this works in reverse post Brexit – for example I was looking at the Berg and Berg site yesterday and was wondering if the prices were tax paid or VAT upon receipt. Sorry I realise you are not GOV.UK! Just wondering if you know as I can’t find the information elsewhere.
All the best.
I believe it’s the same the other way around, so if you order from Sweden now, you should be paying UK VAT where you weren’t before.
However, it’s up to the brand whether they charge you that in advance (‘duty paid’ or ‘landed price’) or whether you pay it when the package arrives in the UK. Certainly, you shouldn’t pay the VAT twice – so if you’re paying the same rough price to Berg as before, you shouldn’t have to pay taxes when the package arrives in the UK. If you are charged more, the brand hasn’t instructed the courier correctly.
I would have thought most EU brands would state somewhere on their website which of these tax options they’re now offering.
Further to this topic, I was disheartened to read yesterday that there seems to be more costs associated with importing from the EU now than was implied by the ‘tarrif-free’ headlines in the press, particularly for clothing items in the PS price range. According to the Guardian, items worth up to £135 should have UK VAT applied by the store automatically and so the final price should be the same. But smaller retailers are currently struggling or unable to collect this efficiently so consumers end up getting slapped with an additional VAT bill from the courier on arrival. Perhaps more worryingly, items over £135 are not considered to be VAT-paid, so 20% is charged on top upon arrival, seemingly regardless of whether EU sales tax is deducted first (as seems to be the case of Berg & Berg). Worse still, items of this value get the usual import customs duty (~12% for clothing) thrown on too. Then the courier admin fee may be a further percentage of the final value. Here‘s the article that explains this: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/jan/21/eu-website-purchases-the-import-charges-uk-customers-have-to-pay
Quite disheartening for those of us in the UK who are fans of EU brands such as B&B, but also Beige Habbilleur, Rubato, and so on…
Hi Josh. This isn’t really acct, it depends a lot on where the products are made, and how the brand decides to handle the VAT situation. See my post on Instagram for details, or the Brexit page of the PS Shop site.
Ah I see, thanks. So it seems that the duty asserted in the article is predicated on brands using a non-EU manufacturer for 55% of the final product? I’m a little confused about B&B in particular, because they suggest on the site that UK VAT is no longer included in their prices, but the prices themselves are unchanged. I’ll ask them directly. It would be interesting to hear how your sales have faired post-Brexit in a future piece, though I appreciate this might not be the right kind of content for the blog. Thanks, as always, for your attentive responses
No worries. Our sales have been very consistent actually, because we’ve taken the step of using DDP (duty/tax paid in advance) so for EU customers very little has changed.
I’m not sure about Berg & Berg – maybe UK VAT is deducted at checkout, as it would be for someone buying from the US for example?
So, I got a very quick and detailed response from Berg & Berg. Clearly, they’ve been getting this question a fair bit lately. It turns out that the Shopify e-commerce platform, on which their website is based, doesn’t allow them to alter prices by geographic location. This means that all customers, non-EU and EU alike, are currently charged the same amount. They said it would not be viable for them to manually refund their non-EU customers, so they are presently stuck with a single pricing model, and their couriers claim the additional taxes and duties on top of this where required in other countries – including the UK as of this year.
They did say they have repeatedly lobbied Shopify to allow regional pricing, but have so far not been given a solution. How unfortunate! Clearly in no way their fault, but unfortunately an immediate 20% price hike for those of us across the channel. I wonder if other smaller brands using similar third-party software will have the same obstacles in the near term. Glad to hear PS has weathered the changes at least!
Oddly, Josh, we use Shopify too and haven’t had this problem. I’ll drop them a line and see if I can help.
Oh nice, ok; thanks a lot! Another perk of following PS 😊
Hi Simon, I don’t suppose you were able to discover the reason for – or assist with – B&B’s Shopify localisation issues in the end? Their new season collection is calling to me in my dreams
I didn’t, no, sorry
Hi Simon, I’d love to have a Guide, or even an article or two , on Winterwear – one that explores quality materials and brands for down jackets / parkas / winter boots etc, and how to look as elegant and stylish as possible in such a situation. I’m slightly biased as I live in Toronto where we have snow for 6 months of the year, so I’m sure it may not be relevant to every reader, but I find this to be a big gap in menswear – not just from a product standpoint, but also from advice and analysis.
Thanks Ben, and good point. Boots I find are OK, unless you’re really tramping through snow or hiking. But down jackets and parkas are tough.
My only tip for now, is to look at things like Ventile for the outer fabric – see Nigel Cabourn for example – rather than synthetics, as it ages so much more attractively. And wear other coats, long heavy wools or shearling, for as long as the temperature allows
Ok great, thanks. And very much agree on the synthetic fabrics you get so often. Thoughts on something like a wool flannel / cashmere outer fabric (such as Loro Piana Storm System)? I think they look great, but I worry they’d deteriorate over time more quickly.
My experience is that those work well. I haven’t seen them deteriorate. However, I’d still say they’re not needed most of the time – people forget how water-resistant and naturally robust wool is
As a fellow Canadian, I second this request from Ben.
One thing I’d certainly like is for you to not lose your broader audience who can’t keep up with for example 4 figure shoes, exclusive Parisian tailored suits .
I appreciate you’ve done more MTM last year but maybe mention if possible what is also available at more ‘reasonable prices’ whilst writing about exclusive items.
To be honest I’m not sure the latter is useful, given it is mere mentioning, and can’t serve as anything really like a recommendation I strive to deserve for other things. There’s little value in a list.
However, for the market we do cover – from high-end MTM to the very best bespoke – we will certainly be filling out more of the lower end over the next year. Having spend a good few years surveying all of the finest tailors.
You’ve done Carmina, tlb, luxire, Uniqlo, now it’s natalino and yeossal turn? (just casting my voice for lower priced brand reviews I’d like to see, especially yeossal shoes and polos)
Well, Uniqlo only as an example of what you don’t get for that price – we haven’t done anything else at that level. Carmina and TLB are more at the level of good MTM suiting, for me.
Congrats on a great year. Looking forward to the next year of articles.
May I ask you a question? I am in the beginning of my sartorial journey. I have so far only purchased mtm suits from the Munro program (Suit supply) around 700 GBP. I would like to take the next step and been looking at Saman Amel, I live pretty close to Stockholm. I know it’s a mtm service, but if you compare how the suits are cutted and so on with other brands, at which level do I found Saman Amel? If you compare it to Corneliani for example, it is on the same level or higher? I do like the style of saman amel more than the look of Corneliani. Perhaps this is a rookie question, but as I said, I am not that experienced yet in higher end suits. Thankful if your could give your opinion about it. Many thanks.
Sounds like a good plan. Saman Amel offer a couple of different quality levels, but the highest one (as I’ve reviewed) is definitely a better quality of make than the likes of Corneliani.
If you’re interested in questions about quality of suits in general, by the way, I suggest reading this post and this one.
Some welcome enhancements and thoroughly deserved site growth; thanks for an informative and insightful year!
Cheers Josh, nice to hear
Actually I suddenly remembered one suggestion I have from a usability perspective 🙂 I mainly browse on my phone, and find the automatic slideshow transition function when clicking and viewing the photos of articles to be a tad arcane. As a mobile user, I’m much more accustomed to tapping (or even swiping) through a collection of photos at my own pace. I can’t recall if the automatic transition happens on a conventional desktop browser, but I would personally find that odd too. An overhauled photo viewer that allowed zooming in would also be a real bonus on a small screen. Cheers
Great suggestion, thanks Josh
Also Canadian. Workwear is a good solution for me – oiled leather and cordovan boots stand up well to salt and are easy to wipe clean. Jeans over merino tights are practical when it’s slushy. Chunky rollnecks add some smartness, and I wear an OCBD underneath if I’ll be spending any time indoors.
I’ve had a lot of bad parkas. Only Cabourne appeals to me now, but I don’t have the courage to pull the trigger.
I receive PS on Thursday in North America. When I open it up, I see that a lot of the articles are several days old.
As to timeliness, how was the “publication” day chosen? I guess I could set a reminder to check PS on Monday, but still wondering what the difference would be in sending it out earlier in the week, rather than later (responses, page views, etc.)?
Well, whatever day of the week it is sent on, the articles will be several days old. That is always going to be the case with a weekly email.
If you don’t want them to be several days old, then you can sign up to the new post-alert email, which you will then get three times a week, every time a new post is published.
In terms of the day of the week the newsletter goes out (and indeed time of day) this was based on looking at our analytics, and seeing when most readers were active on the site. So hopefully it times with when they would be most likely to want to read it anyway.
I hope that answers your question
Hi Simon. Are you still sending an email with the trunk show calendar?
No, we stopped doing this last Autumn. It wasn’t really possible to keep on paying the guy doing it, given there were no trunk shows to list!