The Permanent Style Awards 2021: Charity, e-commerce, and best shoes

Monday, January 11th 2021
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It’s hard to use terms for this past year that haven’t already been overused, and lost most of their meaning along the way.

But there are certainly several issues and trends that have naturally emerged from it, and which I wanted to reflect in this year’s PS awards. 

Hopefully, the awards can be a focus point for discussion and consideration of these trends. PS posts are always best when they manage this, and there is something particularly pointed about stamping an award on a topic. 

Please vote in the first four categories below, by commenting at the bottom of this post. You can vote for as many as you want, in as many categories as you want. 

If you feel you are able, do leave your thoughts and opinions as well as your vote. I find it interesting, I know brands do too, and of course fellow readers enjoy the discussion and views the most. 

This year I would like to know which brand you think has been the most charitable, which has developed its e-commerce the best, which is best for ‘stay-at-home’ wear, and which you consider the best shoe brand - at a time when shoe companies are under particular pressure.

1 Best charitable action

Which brand has impressed you this year with its charitable work? 

There have been many deserving causes, most obviously those providing help to people hit badly by Covid-19, and those that have suffered from racism. But I want to open this up to anyone that has done something significant. 

It might be just giving money, it might be giving time and expertise, or making PPE. It might be setting up a programme to support different types of suppliers or designers - whatever it is, let’s shine a spotlight on that generosity.

2 Best e-commerce

A lot of brands have ramped up their e-commerce in 2020, or started doing it for the first time, through necessity. Some small traditional stores, unfortunately, have been left behind. 

Who do you think has done this best? And bear in mind all the things that make up good e-commerce: product information, measurements and advice, user experience, quick responses to inquiries. 

Perhaps most neglected of all: informed responses to inquiries.

There’s a huge difference between an automated chat box, and talking to Emily or Conor from Anderson & Sheppard on the phone. The latter is half the role of a physical shop, and it’s rare an online-only store has such knowledgeable people at the end of the line. 

3 Best stay-at-home wear

Which clothes have you appreciated most, being stuck at home for weeks on end? 

I’m really hoping it’s not sweatpants, but it might be great pyjamas, polos, slippers, chunky cardigans. Things that are not only comfortable, but which give you some pleasure in the wearing - pleasure not too dissimilar to that from wearing beautiful tailoring outside, out and about. 

This could also include - if it has been the thing you’ve enjoyed most - sportswear, for those daily exercise routines outside, back when it seemed like the only escape. 

4 Best shoe brand

Why best shoes?

Because I think this category of menswear will be particularly interesting in the next few years. Smart oxfords will be worn a lot less - but there’s still a great market for boots and loafers, if you can do it well. And comfort is ever more important - but can you provide that, without sacrificing the elegance that made you popular?

Let me know which shoe brand you think is adapting best to these changing times, on the following criteria: design, quality, value and service. 

Quality and value are often necessarily opposed: more expensive shoes will nearly always be higher quality, but they nearly always provide less per pound. Still, some brands do better or worse on both. 

Design is about staying relevant - probably, no winkle-pickers or dragon patinas - both in terms of the range on offer and the leathers and lasts. And service should need no explanation. 

5 Best artisan

As ever, this is an award for me. I list it here only so that you’re not surprised when a winner is announced. 

In the four years these awards have been running, I have always used one award as an excuse to recognise an artisan that I love. That has produced the most exquisite clothing for me, and which has been a pleasure to work with. 

This is too subjective to be subject to a reader vote. But it’s a nice thing for me to pick out - apart from the usual treadmill of reviews. It’s a moment to reflect. 

The previous winners have been Musella Dembech, Gaziano & Girling, and Sartoria Ciardi. You can read why I selected them each year, at those links. 

Have fun with the voting. I can’t wait to see what you pick. 

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Michelle

3 Best stay-at-home wear
Wool socks (slucks) from glenclyde
Rush grass slippers from MUJI, dont know how to explain, its this one:
https://www.muji.com/jp/ja/store/cmdty/detail/4550182103205
and the LLBean lined flannel robe
And mesh shorts for summer

Nick

1. No vote. I imagine a lot of brands can be named in this category and I am grateful to the ones who do so in a reserved manner. There’s nothing wrong about mentioning you made PPE, gave money etc, it’s just when it is obviously done to be ‘relevant’ or for a marketing campaign (I would consider Nike to be in this category) that’s when I find it a bit problematic. That being said, I think it would be nice if the award went to a brand that invests in training and education as I think that is something that can truly create a difference in the long term.
2. I find that there’s a number of bands that do it well (from the ones that I have used this year Anglo-Italian, Turnbull and Asser (very helpful when there was a mistake on my part), Cavour, the Armoury, Drake’s (although I find they consistently have minor issues during the sale period). But I cannot name one that would stand out. I think that in this category it’s easier to name the ones that aren’t so good.
3. Regular fit chinos, good slippers and for the first time I actually made extensive use of my dressing gown, in which I spend the hour I would normally be stuck on the tube.
4. Crockett and Jones. Not the best shoe out there but I would argue the best price to quality ratio with a huge selection of styles. Their relative affordability also mean you can wear them without worrying too much about the weather, scuffs etc.

Nick

Old RL chinos, Hilditch and Key gown, C&J slippers. Actually come to think of it, I have had these items for a very long time (probably 10 years) and basically never wore them – so the unifying theme here is bringing new life to things that were gathering dust.

James

1. No vote.
2. Rota Pantaloni. Outstanding trousers and really high quality e-commerce offer enabling the selection of cloths and trouser details in user friendly manner. I was especially impressed with their updates during the COVID lockdown. Although my trousers were delayed by several months during the COVID lockdown, I really appreciated the regular updates even when it would have been understandable to give none given the situation in Italy. Rota also sent me a nice mask and lovely tie when the trousers were eventually delivered.
3. Berwich jersey trousers via Oger.
4. TLB Majorca (Arista line)
5. No vote.

Mike

1. Private White for shifting into PPE quickly despite bureaucratic delays. Not charity perhaps but certainly good move to shorten supply chains.

2. Flax of London, great linen products, excellent service

3. Hamilton and Hare for all downtime wear

4. Crocket and Jones, price/quality point

5. sorry not my bag

Nik

+ 1 for Flax London. Wonderful quality linen clothes, great service and really nice people too

Sebastián P

3. Surprising as it is, a very cheap navy blazer from Zara that I bought many years ago. The lockdown has given me the opportunity to rewear this a lot, since I don’t really feel like I’m wearing tailoring when I wear it and it takes away my uneasiness of wearing a shirt with nothing on top (very used to suits and blazers, I guess). It works perfect for video calls and I don’t have to think a lot about not damaging it or something. Oh, and it also has a semi “sustainability” charm to it as well, I guess.

Looking forward to knowing the winner of 4

BT

1. No idea; prefer companies that do these things without shouting about them
2. The Armoury – incredible service, speed of shipping, and advice. Always incredibly responsive and has great pieces
3. I have tried to dress relatively smartly, but smart trousers and sports coat / a cashmere cardigan rather than suits. My standout has been Baudoin & Lange Sagans. Bought a pair back in March and have worn them almost every day since
4. Yohei Fukuda – especially now with the range of models available as MTO, with relatively quick turnaround times and incredible quality
5. I know you will decide, but I will propose Sartoria Corcos again

Owen

1. No vote though I take my hat off to all menswear brands and smaller shops that have managed to adapt and survive during the pandemic. Thank you.
2. I’d like to give Asket a shout out here. From the outset they have focused on the buyer experience e.g getting sizing right and making purchasing online a pain-free process. Good support when I have questions too.
3. Luca Faloni cashmere sweaters and zip cardigans. So comfortable and sufficiently zoomworthy over a t-shirt or shirt.
4. My entire shoe collection got cleaned, polished and bagged during the first few weeks of the pandemic. Since then it’s been Birkenstocks pretty much daily while working from home! My vote goes to Löf & Tung for a relevant selection each season, price/quality and customer service.

R Abbott

Just wondering, do you wear your Sagans at home? I love wearing them when I go out but find that the soles make too much noise when I’m walking around the house. Even though I got the version with rubber on the soles, mine are as loud as any dress shoes I’ve worn – almost as loud as a pair of heels! My wife has teased me about this on several occasions.

Darryl

1) No vote. The problem here is that the ones who shout about this can be seen as getting cheap publicity and the ones who don’t, we don’t know about! Generally brand ‘charity’ appears somewhat tawdry.
2) Scott Fraser Collection – when I had a couple of problems with a pair of trousers they went out of their way to put everything just as I wanted it.
3) Old Town Vauxhall trousers in a lovely thick corduroy – so comforting on a chilly day.
4) TLB – Fabulous shoes at a great prices. IMO the best quailty to price ratio I have come across.
5) No Vote

John

E-commerce – Anthology. They rapidly adapted to no trunk shows, offering a range of jackets in unique and carefully considered fabrics . They also generally bulked out their online store. Of the stores that I follow, Anthology were the quickest to adapt to the pandemic.

Artisan – Katherine Sargent. Katherine is making my wife a winter coat and has stood out to me on two points: 1) the care and detail she puts into garments and the tailoring process. She’a also extremely patient and happy to spend time explaining things. Each visit to her atelier has lasted for at least 1.5 hours. 2) Simply how pleasant and sincere she is. And not just in person; throughout this year she has sent personalized messages, remembering small details about us. That really made us feel that she knows and takes an interest in her clients.

Conan

Pleased to see a handful of people mentioning Anthology. It is rare to see a tailoring brand being so thoughtful and woke.

I bought their t-shirts during their charity period and I have to say they are quite nice to wear. I then ordered two of their Lazymans and they served me very well for the rest of the year while I was working from home. I nominate them for 1, 2 and 3. Customer service is also first-class. They are prompt and helpful.

In terms of footwear, I always go for Cleverley and Baudoin&Lange as they are comfortable. I see that Foster has also been doing impressive things last year but it seems like they are no longer around? Or is it only a temporary effect due to the virus?

Best artisan also goes to Foster if they are still around and Nicholas Templeman although I do not own anything from them so my vote might be invalid as there is no personal experience involved.

RT

1. No vote
2. Luca Faloni, with Drake’s and Trunk close behind. I’ve had good experiences with remote purchases and advice with each of these companies.
3. Luca Faloni cashmere knitwear, with Drake’s shawl collar cardigan (and shirts in chambray and Oxford cloth) and Shetland pullovers from Trunk a very close joint second.
4. Crockett & Jones – for excellent value for money, a very wide range and consistently superb customer service over the many years I’ve been buying from them.

Rune

1. I dont know, I think listing the brands who did real charity is better then showing who did it best.
2. It may be lower budget than most in here, but I think Pini Parma has a great webshop and will respond to most inquiries.
3. Adret. I got a pair of their full cut stone linnen trousers and they have been perfect to use at home for a more casual elegance rather than officewear.
4. The brand that really caught my attention this year was Acme Shoes. I havent purchased any -yet-.
5. This one is tough, for me 2020 was a year without much extravagant new clothing, but Lorenzo Ciffonelli is always an inspiration with rather unique designs. I would add Seb Mckinnon and Conrad Jon Godly if we consider artists outside of tailoring and shoe making, but I gues thats out of scope for this vote 🙂

John

To keep up to date in my day job, I casually monitor a number of clothing and footwear brands across a variety of business areas. Not surprisingly perhaps most of these are in volume markets at price points that generally sit below Permanent Styl. That said the e-commerce development of both Loake and Daks in the last year has been notable, the former for their use of story and sales to drive business on line and the latter for its fashion forward offer, their use of video and look books and their designer interview series; they have also significantly improved the promotion of their ‘sales’. The one category I feel strongly enough about to nominate someone however, is the artisan category; in this I would nominate Eddie Doherty a jewellery designer / maker based in Holywood, Northern Ireland. With so much time spent in lockdown I wanted to commission a special piece for Christmas. Working through the design process with Eddie was both thought provoking and rewarding and at the end of that I ended up with a piece which is more than just jewellery it my be a physical and precious object but more importantly, it’s a story of ‘my family’.

MGBJ

1. No vote.
2. Luca Faloni. I’ve only ever had good experience with LF. Always responsive and personal service.
3. No vote.
4. Crockett & Jones. Struggle to knock them on any front. So consistent across quality – price – range.

Peter Hall

1 No real idea. Sorry
2. The Armoury. Zero risk retailers and just a phone call away
3. Private White VC Reporter shirt. Casual,but smart. Easy to pair with just about anything.
4. Crockett and Jones. They just ‘get’ shoes and are consistent and reliable. I could have added their Camden loafer into cat 3.

Alistair

2. Luca Faloni. I’ve been consistently impressed by their service and on the one occasion there was a delivery issue they resolved it very quickly.
3. Derek Rose. I’ve spent a lot of time in their sheepskin slippers this year! Their pyjamas are great too.
4. Saint Crispins.

Anonymous

Whilst C&J would always get my vote on the balance of quality/price I certainly wouldn’t consider them for adapting to the current situation… still no web orders, annual sale has been a bit of a mess with the idea of having to email each store individually to find out what they’ve on sale etc. I’m similar not convinced that simply sticking shoes onto Vibram Cleated soles either works nor ticks the box of our changing requirements under lockdown.

Given the situation I’ve not been making shoe purchases so cannot say if anyone else has reacted better, certainly G&Gs social media posts were little changed from business as usual.

Alex

Agree totally regarding C&J online/sale. The organisation of annual sale and lack of web orders has long been a minor irritation (although to be fair my other half used their mail order to buy me some boots for Christmas; she was however bemused at the process of having to email them rather than just buy online), but in not addressing this during the time of Covid they’ve really missed a trick.
This is coming from a very loyal customer with more pairs of C&J than I’d care to admit.

J.

1. Patagonia with its contribution to 1% for the Planet community
2. Stefano Bemer – vast improvement of their website vs. previous years, great service and follow up from the team in Florence
3. New & Lingwood dressing gown – rarely worn before
4. Stefano Bemer – with 2nd place very close runner-up, Baudoin & Lange
5. Lorenzo & Massimo Cifonelli – a very close call indeed with my all time favourites of (Enzo) Ciardi, (Marco) Cerrato and (Fiorenzo) D’Avino

Patrick S

2. Best e-commerce: Cavour or Skoaktiebolaget (that name tho). Both had items delivered in 2-3 days to continetal Europe from Scandinavia and Richard (Cavour) and the people from Skoaktiebolaget have been extremely forthcoming and knowledgeable.

4. Best shoe brand: TLB Mallorca Artista line. The unrivaled value for money kind in my opinion. Northampton just cannot compete with the cost of labour in spain and the make (from the insanely close cut heel, over the fudging to the slim waitst and overall sturdy feel) is outstanding for 420€.

Mark G

2. The Armoury for Best E-Commerce. It’s an area they have always stood out for attention to detail and communication, but their instagram and YouTube videos and product information became very relevant (and engaging) during this past year.

3/4: Combining a vote for Baudoin and Lange for stay-at-home wear and shoes. Their slippers, combined with some new introductions, are beautifully made and more useful this past year than ever. I was looking for a pair in the PS grey/brown in the spring after lockdowns began, and they offered to make one for me at the listed price with no MTO charges. The communication (WhatsApp, email, instagram) is excellent and personal.

5: Pommella Napoli for best artisan. Their bespoke trousers, but also for some newer introductions to meet the needs of the stay at home and more casual environment (PML) along with great advice and customer service.

Emm

1. No vote
2. Gabucci SE
3. T-shirt Velva Sheen, , Sweat-shirt, Merz B. Schwanen, regular fit chino, Unis, espadrille.
4. Carmina, great value.
5. C. de Swann Maroquinerie, local french craftsman Because I own a wallet for many years now and it ages gracefully. And because this kind of craft is infortunately endangered.

MB

1 No vote. Sorry!
2 Quite a lot of options but in the end I’d pick A&S Haberdashery. The website often provides measurements to help choose and if you have any queries then Emily is exceptionally helpful. Add in great aftercare (which they also facilitate remotely) and it’s a winner. I nearly picked Anglo-Italian as they make repeat custom very easy indeed and are also very helpful. Perhaps if I bought more knitwear at AI I’d have put them higher but as I’ve mostly bought trousers there it’s definitely the case that it’s best to go in the first time and get the measurements right.
3. Best stay at home wear? Lots of options. I think I end up picking AI because I’ve found the winter trousers so comfortable. The cords are a great weight for wearing at home or a trip to the shops and the washable chinos are very comfortable. I suspect if you’d asked in the summer then I might have picked something in linen though. I missed the office air con on hotter days!
4. Edward Green. Great range of shoe styles and they consistently make me very happy when I wear them. Most other shoe-makers at this quality level tend to be slightly more focused on shoes that are more suitable with tailoring but I find EG make a number of things that I enjoy wearing more casually too.

Z S

2 Best e-commerce:
Collaro: an online MTM Singaporean shop that ticks all boxes. Service is exceptional and quality is on par with mainstream European RTW such as Drakes, Berg & Berg with often lower price. Great new collection of winter fabrics.
Liverano&Liverano: Great service and awesome value. Although I find the RTW jackets a bit too short. The cut is influenced by the Japanese market and I have a fairly normal Asian build.
3 Best stay-at-home wear
Yukata, also known as summer kimono. Culturally ok to wear for most non-formal occasions indoor and outdoor but feels like a bathrobe. I have two that helped me to went through the London summer (didn’t wear them outdoor though) and now find them still wearable in colder days with heating full-on.
4 Best shoe brand
Edward Green: great selection of boots and loafers for all types of casual wear, would be better if they bring the full-strap loafer back.
Saint Crispins: same reasons with EG, but MTO and a different style.
There are now quite a few online MTO options from Asia with much better value, such as Yeossal in Singapore and Oct. Tenth based in Shanghai but can order through Sons of Henrey in Belgium. I have a pair from the latter ordered directly via their workshop in Shanghai and the result is more than impressive. I ordered a pair of split toe derby and they are the softest goodyear/hand welted shoes I’ve ever tried. Quality of the make is between C&J handgrade and EG, the suede of my pair feels a bit different from the suede EG uses, I guess it probably isn’t as good but still better than Carmina or Alden ones that I’ve tried. Lots of design options such as fiddle back waist and Cuban heel (although I have chosen neither) and I find their design more contemporary compared with some competitors. £330 with lasted shoe tree, I guess price maybe around €600 if order through Sons of Henrey, considering tax and also the middleman.But for these “design it yourself” online MTO shoes it might be difficult to imagine the final result when choosing the style and leather if you don’t want to just use designs from their archive.

Derek

Hi Z S, thanks for sharing.
I am quite interested in the Yukata wearing but do you recommend any places to purchase?

Maurice

1. Emma Willis and her team using their Swiss cotton shirtings to make scrubs for NHS critical care workers.
2. Husbands Paris. Has matured immensely in terms of e-commerce. Old website was quirky but minimal, new one is ‘on message’ in every way, plus full measurements for their RTW, which is essential I think.
3. Almost to my regret, padded camp slippers by The North Face. Sitting in front of a laptop all day, nothing else (not even thick woollen socks and cordovan shoes) will keep my toes from going numb with cold.
4. Foster and Son RTW. Lovely lasts, quality on a par with Edward Green but much more reasonably priced.

Charlie P

charity – hard to evaluate because if we know about it then by definition the brand is, to an extent at least, using it as a marketing tool, and thereby rather muddying the waters.
e commerce – Anglo Italian
stay at home – RRL shirts
shoes – paraboot

Anonymous

1. Turnbull & Asser and Emma Willis
2. Budd, Mason & Sons and Anglo Italian
3. John Smedley, Johnstons of Elgin, The Rugby Company and Pantherella
4. Crockett & Jones, George Cleverley and Walsh
5. Deakin & Francis, Budd and E. B. Meyrowitz

John

E-commerce – Trunk. Trunk started offering something at the start of the pandemic that few other retailers do – free global DHL delivery for all orders over 150 GBP. Not living in the EU, this makes a huge difference and is a very generous given DHL costs. For comparison, The Armoury charged me 30 GBP to send an 600 GBP item by standard post (taking 2 weeks to arrive). AI offers free delivery too, but minimum spend is 350 GBP.

Adrian L

1- The Anthology
2- Rota
3- None
4- None (did not buy any shoes this year)
5- None (did not make any purchase either)

M K

Simon, without disrespect, charity is no competition. Whoever got involved in some sort of charitable action is worth a round of applause.

No Man Walks Alone is a no-brainer choice. However, I also think The Anthology deserves an honourable mention. It is rare to see a young label doing such great things. I enjoy their great products as much as their good intention.

Rogey

Best e-commerce: AngloItalian.
Best shoes: Foster and Son RTW.

Joel

1. No Man Walks Along – they are very conscious of giving back.
2. HN White – Easy to navigate, great product and reasonable prices, along with customer service from the owner. No frills and no problems.
3. NA – Been going to work the whole time.
4. Crockett and Jones – While I look forward to trying TLB Artista, it’s hard to argue with the workmanship, service, adaptation, and range of Crockett and Jones.

Oliver

1. No idea
2. Asket’s website for information, choice and customer service.
3. Drakes camel hair shawl cardigan
4. Crockett & Jones for quality, price, choice, service and availability of stores

Jason

1. Private White VC for their sterling contribution to the PPE effort.
2. Begg & Co. These guys offer great products, a great site and excellent service.
3. Beautiful knitwear has been the go to category and my favourites have alternated between several A&S pieces and an old Dunhill shawl collar cardigan.
The cardigan is at least ten years old. It’s grey in colour and is 98% cashmere and 2% silk. It cost over £900 when purchased but on a cost per wear basis, has proved to be one of the most economical pieces I own.
4. Crockett & Jones – they make the most beautiful velvet slippers and with the exception of walking boots, that is what I’ve been wearing for much of last year. They cut a sartorial dash and are extremely comfortable!
5. Equus Leather – their quality is off the Richter scale.

Robert M

1. All of them! I see many commenters expressing doubts about corporate charity, presumably because firms have profit-related motivations. As much as I agree that it is not always the case that good consequences are everything (in other words, motivations matter), in a situation like in 2020, with the COVID and all, it seems to me that we just needed results. Consequently, whatever any company did to help, is good.
2. 40Colori. Their website might not be the best of them all, but their remote customer service is absolutely fantastic.
3. Baron slippers from Herring Shoes, t-shirts from Son of a Tailor (in terms of pure feel I’d probably go with Sunspel, but SoaT have the advantage of being MTM – all the RTW tees are just too short for me).
4. No vote.

Nicholas van der Vliet

1. Standard and Strange
2. Stoffa
3 Mes Chausettes Rouge
4 Cleverly/ Cheeney

Mark G

I’d add St Crispins for Shoes/Ecom. While low-tech, they have adapted well to doing the next best thing to bespoke remotely and offer a lot of options at a very high level of value.

Graham Morgan

1. As others have noted; I believe that this is difficult to fairly assess. Maybe you should drop this category?
2. Don’t have a clue – don’t buy much this way.
3. Blackhorse Lane Atelier jeans. Been wearing a lot more jeans throughout the week as opposed to just weekends. BLA offer high quality stitching and construction at an incredible price. They are also wonderful folks to deal with and care a lot about making superb quality garments.
4. Edward Green. Can you do better than the Dover or Galway? Very expensive for RTW but probably worth it.

Alex

As others have already mentioned, perhaps an article detailing the charitable work undertaken by some of the brands more regularly covered on PS would be of greater benefit than an award to the company that “did it best”? I appreciate the former will be covered to an extent by the post announcing the award, but choosing a “winner” in a category like this feels a little bit reductionist.

Sam

1. I wonder if you could just call out all the notable charitable activities you’re aware of? Or maybe even make a whole separate post for it? Having a specific award for just one seems a bit unfair potentially
2. No vote – I’d maybe say SEH Kelly, but continue to find their site a bit functionally outdated even if the products, copy and service are excellent
3. Chunk shawl collar cardigans. Bit of a cliche, but hey, they work
4. Crockett & Jones. Great new collections this year, excellent value for money. Wish they would sort out a proper transactional ecom site though, calling stores for stock is a bit retro
5. No vote

SJ

Great idea – so here goes:

1. Yosel Tiefenbrun – turning his operation to making standard and bespoke masks to keep his employees paid and also helped many folks out with free masks – I’m sure there are others who did a lot for their communities this year so may be a tough category

2. Braun Hamburg – detailed descriptions on size and fit plus they get back to you as you have questions – honorable mentions to Liverano and Michael Jondral

3. Iris von Arnim – buttery soft cashmere sweaters that are the epitome of comfort and style

4. Margiela Replica – stylish and supremely comfortable – I have them in every color of the rainbow and they look awesome with all casualwear

5. Paul Kruize – there isn’t a better artisan making jeans on the planet – on par with my favorite tailor (John Hitchcock) and shoemaker (Koji Suzuki) for marrying the holy trinity of fit, style and make

Carter Green

In reply to 1 – $300 per mask is hardly charitable!

Ash

1. No vote although lots of great British brands making PPE.
2. Mr Porter never fails.
3. Anything by Sunspel is great for stay at home. Chinos, shirts and t-shirts all excellent.
4. Church’s for me. I can’t knock C&J and I love mine but Church’s are so comfortable (all 9 pairs on various lasts.
5. No vote.

Andrew Poupart

1. Private White VC.
2. H.N. White
3. No vote
4. Edward Green

EL

1. IDK
2. The Armoury. Plenty of brands are responsive, quick to ship, easy to deal with, etc. so if you are choosing based on those criteria alone, it seems that there should be dozens of winners. With the Armoury’s video content this year, though, they have gone beyond all that in a way few other stores have (at least to my knowledge). They have done something to differentiate themselves and their online presence. They have also made their stores feel much more real and tangible to those who don’t live in NYC or HK. I feel an attachment to their stores in a way I don’t feel an attachment to other places I buy from online. Plus, they are very responsive, quick to ship, etc.
3. I don’t think you’ll get a clear-cut answer here.
4. Alden. For starters, their shoes are distinctive. I don’t think it makes sense to choose a maker whose shoes look like everyone else’s. You can tell that Aldens are Aldens pretty easily. Next, their shoes are comfortable. I have shoes on 3 of their lasts–the Barrie, the Van, and the Hampton–and they are all comfortable (especially the Hampton, which interesting has the most shape). Aesthetically tasteful. Sure, not all their shoes are beautiful, but I think their lasts are all very nice and well-proportioned, albeit not overly sleek. I mentioned the Hampton earlier, for instance. I have suede single monks on that last and the lack of adornment really highlights the overall shape nicely. The lines are very smooth and softly curved and the toe shape is beautiful. This is hard to find elsewhere. Other places make things to angular. Iconic shoes. Everyone is familiar with Alden’s unlined chukkas, unlined penny loafers, tassel loafers, and longwings. I also think that they have other shoes that are just as nice as these, but these are all icons. Nice casual options. In the peri and post-covid world people may dress more casually and they may want more comfortable options as well. Alden checks both boxes here. Reasonably affordable, albeit less so in Europe. Alden is more accessible to many and this matters. One could argue for a maker like Edward Green in this category–their shoes are very tasteful, they have iconic models, etc.–but very few people are able to buy from them. I think this makes a difference. Finally, their shoes look good in outfits. Other shoes may look better on their own, but few shoes mesh better with the rest of an outfit than Aldens. Like grey trousers, they don’t jump out at you, but they go really well with everything else.
5. NA

Romée

1. Many companies in the textile sector have been remarkable in France, producing masks for carers when there were none, as well as medical gowns. I would therefore pay an anonymous tribute to all those companies who did this to help their local hospital and not to communicate about their generosity.
2. Always had great experiences online with Exquisite Trimmings and Mes Chaussettes Rouges, so let’s say both of them.
3. During the whole confinement I wore a lot my Breton Saint James navy blue jumper.It went with everything, and was not too scruffy.
4. I could start from the price but I think it’s interesting to look at houses that have been able to keep a classic DNA by adapting to the evolution of the market which tends towards less formal and more casual. In this respect, Paraboots’ collaborations with Drake’s and Arpenteur are quite inspiring.We can of course find more expensive shoes, but they have managed to keep a correct quality, at a decent price a French confection, all while adapting to the market evolutions.
5.

Robin

1 No vote

2 Mr Porter .
I’m a big fan when they heavily discount at sales and am amazed that they keep on top of my multiples purchases , returns and ‘re-purchases’.
The website and short videos are a real treat.

3 H&M and Uniqlo.
Your not going to like that , Simon , but to lounge around the house and play with the kids and never worry about what happens to what I’m wearing I happily throw on H&M or Uniqlos jogging bottoms, long sleeved t-shirt, and pullover or jogging top.

4 Cheaney and Loake .
Good year welted , quality shoes at a reasonable price and ‘mostly’ made in the UK.

P.S. there’s quite a few ‘brands’ I’d really like to have a go at !
maybe leave that for another day

R Abbott

I have several Uniqlo merino sweaters that I use when I’m with my 2 and 4 year old kids. The quality is decent and there’s no point in wearing anything very fine with them as it’s liable to get ruined. I have a mid-grey sweater that’s especially useful as it hides stains well.

Michael Maglaras

Simon…I too, am clueless about Point 1…although, you are right on to ask this question, and right on in probing deeply about it; Point 2…Drake’s and Anglo-Italian, are my hands down winners; Point 3, Orvis: Point 4….I join this gathering firmly with Crockett and Jones…they have stock in my size consistently, the price-point is right, and the value calculable. I have more than two dozen Edward Green’s in my collection, but the C&J shopping and selection experience has no snobbery, is always respectful, and is business-friendly. Point 5….HuitCinq….great straps, beautifully presented, and lovely on the wrist.

Jamie

2. I’d nominate Jake’s. He makes really lovely, thoughtfully-designed shirts. But it is his service that is so exemplary. Jake himself engages directly with customers, giving excellent, speedy, personal responses. It is a new online only business that really deserves to flourish. I would always mention Timothy Everest too. They’ve put a lot of work into their e-commerce recently and the personal service from Mo and Lee while the Redchurch Street store has been closed has been the best I’ve experienced from any brand.
4 This is probably a little niche for most of your readers but I’d nominate Marzeri Milano. It is a vegan footwear company that is probably the first to realise not all vegans want to wear sandals and DMs. They make lovely cap-toe Oxfords, brogues etc They also provide a brilliant, very personal and friendly service

Julian

1. No vote 
2.
Lanieri: Even though their online MTM offerings do not lie in the price range you usually cover, they offer a superb shopping experience. From detailed descriptions of the fabrics to a responsive and always helpful customer support, they make you feel comfortable ordering made to measure suits. 

Permanentstyle shop: I discovered your e-commerce last year and although I didn’t have the chance to contact customer support yet, the shopping experience is extremely practical, especially for customers that are interested in very particular and nuanced details of the garments. The product description, the introductory article and the respective reader’s comments offer highly helpful guidance when shopping on your site. In my case, this made me buy the Bridge coat and the Wax Walker without hesitation 🙂 

3.  Zimmerli
4. Tlb Mallorca (Artista) 

gusvs9

1. Stoffa
2. The Armoury and Skoaktiebolaget
3. Saman Amel and Baudoin & Lange
4. Baudoin & Lange and Saint Crispin’s
5. Sartoria Corcos

Noel

1. Private White VC. Their involvement in PPE was of course helpful. They also went for surgical gowns which require approval and are therefore harder to start making compared to scrubs. Furthermore, they have their shirt academy to train new people and therefore offer good manufacturing jobs locally.
Community clothing: a brand that’s perhaps below the baseline quality discussed here at Permanent Style. However they make an excellent product for the price (I wear their chinos and t shirts inside quite often) and their whole raison d’être is to use spare capacity at local manufacturing plants, safeguarding jobs. It’s a social enterprise so profit is not their main motive.
2. Private White VC (if one can recommend the same company for two awards, otherwise Drake’s). They have a very nice site, that calculates all local taxes so they are paid in advance (important for EU customers post Brexit). It’s been easy to swap items for a different size. (All applies to drake’s but I feel PVC has better customer service).
3. Colhay’s. I have their chunky cardigan and it’s a real pleasure to wear it. It’s warm, cosy and looks great. The only think stopping me from wearing it all the time is that it’s cream coloured and I have a 20 month old child.
4. Crockett and Jones. Great shoes at both mainline and hand grade price points. They may not have all the bells and whistles of newer brands like TLB Mallorca or Carmina but they consistently deliver a great product with attention to detail and no faults. They age beautifully. Their quality control is so good that some of the seconds I’ve bought have no visible fault (that I can see). Their AW20 collection was more casual and therefore took into consideration the changes brought by the pandemic, making sure they stay relevant. Furthermore, the customer service is excellent. In spite of their stores being closed because of the lockdown, they’ve run their winter sale, talking to customers directly and sending pictures of subs shoes when requested. I had an issue with shipping and their manager Chris Tan at 69 Jermyn street provided excellent service to sort out the problem. I have always felt a valued customer both when visiting their stores or when contacted by email or phone.

zo

1) not aware of any brand except one or two, so ill pass.

2) Mr Porter by far. drakes, AI, luca faloni, other retailers dont even come close to the incredibly smooth, fuss free, pleasurable e-commerce experience. generous no-fuss returns policy. helpful, knowledgeable staff always available on chat. unbeatable imo.

3) drawstring trousers, loose linen tops, shawl collar cardigans and shetlands. also loved being able to break into a pair of 1947 501 and another pair of full counts because i could wear them so much.

4) C&J chiltern and a pair of Vans suede slip ons. favourite footwear purchases of 2020.

R Abbott

1. No vote

2. Luca Faloni. I love there cashmere and decided to try one of their trousers. The trousers fit, and so I decided to keep them and cut off the tags. However, after a couple of hours of wear, I belatedly realized that even though the trousers fit, the rise was too low for my taste. The trousers felt like they were falling down if I put anything in the pockets (like my iPhone) even though they were not. Much to my surprise, even though the trousers had been worn for several hours and were not returnable, Rebecca at Luca Faloni accepted a return for credit – which I promptly used to buy one of their new denim shirts, which I love. The return shipping was free. I’ve had nothing but outstanding service but this went above and beyond.

3. Luca Faloni knitwear. My daily work-at-home uniform is corduroys or moleskin trousers or flannel with a Luca Faloni cable knit sweater on top. I usually wear it over a shirt, but sometimes, if I’m being lazy (or just feeling hot) I wear it over an undershirt.

4. No vote

Kim Halvorsen

1. Archibald of London naked campaign
2. Careofcarl.com Great variety of brands, good size charts and growing on articles about style
3. Merz B Schwanen loopwheel crew neck
4. C&J for its wide selection and price to quality ratio
5. Ricardo Bestetti RIP (Maverick adelaide)

Hayes

1 Best charitable action:
No Man Walks Alone, not a brand per say, but as a commerce site, NMWA went above and beyond this year. Starting with making a percentage of all sales donations to local food bank and other local charities, then pivoting to support to Racial Justice, matching customer donations to list of recommended no-profits such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other. Crossing the finish line strong with their commitment supporting (and mentoring) black designers and black owned companies.

2 Best e-commerce:
The Armoury and The Armoury YouTube channel/Mark Cho videos on IG.

3 Best stay-at-home wear:
The armory’s sport chino with a drake’s chambray knitwear became sort of my 2020 “uniform” during the warmer months. Then, Scott and Charters chunky cardigan from NMWA, or an older Lockie cashmere shawl cardigan worn with corduroy five pockets is the winter “uniform”
I also found joy on LL Bean flannel pajamas in blackwatch plaid (matching top and bottom with a button up style top)
4 Best shoe brand:
No opinion here. Although I bought another pair of Alden unlined chukkas this year.

Paul

1. No Man Walks alone. Nominated in comments already, but worth noting that 20% of gross margin was donated to Meals on Wheels. Very many UK clothing companies switched to making scrubs for healthcare staff, some already mentioned, I’d like to add renowned jeans manufacturer Huit to the list
2. Skoaktiebolaget are consistently top class.
3 Very different styles, but a close run thing between Luca Faloni and 18 East in frequency of wear
4 For the pure joy they bring each time I can wear them out – Gaziano & Girling. Honourable mention of Crockett and Jones for bringing two thirds of the benefits at one third of the price of G&G
5 Charlie Trevor of Equus leather continues to make beautiful things, my bridle leather belt with Damask buckle is an outstanding piece that just keeps getting better with wear.

CAM K

1. The Great British manufacturers that faced with the complete obliteration of their income deployed their highly skilled people, used their expertise in sourcing and distribution to get vitally important PPE to our frontline workers. You of course will not find any political digs here , but to deliver such high quality of the correct specification as quickly as they did deserves our admiration and a sense of pride in our neighbours – whomever they may be is certainly not misplaced and should be acknowledged and celebrated here.

2. As you acknowledge above, getting real expert and friendly advice while shopping a digital platform sets apart the brands that really deliver on their customer experience. I was lucky enough to encounter this with both Drake’s and Blackhorse Lane Atelliers. The latter gets my vote as I was able to confidently order a new pair of high quality jeans despite having never tried on a pair from this brand. Drake’s can not win an award for e-commerce as despite receiving the same excellent and friendly service over the phone as I have come to expect and even enjoy in their shop. The launch of drakes archive was possibly the worst online shopping experience I have ever had (and I am being kind here). Sorry Drake’s I love you but it really was a disaster.

3. I purchased my first set of ‘proper’ Pyjamas from Derek Rose during lockdown. All of a sudden I found myself lingering over breakfast and morning coffee before hitting the shower when normally I would jump straight out of bed and into the shower. A Shawl collar cardigan has to have been the most indispensable item and I am very glad to have had my example from Campbell’s of Beauly to call upon.

4. Last year every time I went to put on a nice pair of shoes I ended up reverting to a sturdy pair of welted service boots, wellies or my leather hiking boots. I was also grateful for my suede slippers from John Lewis.

RP

1. Proper Cloth, if only because they’re NYC-based like me. In addition to providing masks, like many other retailers, they’re also supporting local hunger relief (Meals on Wheels). I agree with previous comments about this not being a ‘competition’ but rather highlighting anything positive during a tough situation.

2. Mes Chaussette Rouge.

3. No vote! I actually wear proper tailoring at home during working hours, then switch to ‘lounge wear’ when off the clock: hoodies, track pants, henleys, etc. Brands include anything from Uniqlo to Adidas and Champion.

4. Crockett and Jones (echoing the already loud chorus!)

5. Jörg Schauer – Stowa Watches

Christopher

1. no vote
2. Asket
3. Colhay‘s chunky cardigan in cream
4. in the past year I bought only one pair Meermin boots, good value for money. To be honest, my most versatile shoe is a chukka boot from Hackett, I guess they were produced in Spain ( maybe Carmina?) and my oldest and first goodyear welted is from Tricker’s (still in use after 13 years! )

Alexander

1) I would agree with many others hear that it would be helpful just to hear about the work many others have done, but do believe there is value in hearing the detailed work that some shops did. I would suggest:

Proper Cloth
Private White VC

2) E-Commerce is interesting because I think some consideration should be given to those that most improved.

Here I’d say again Proper Cloth (not necessarily the highest quality MTM, but I think get a good fit for more casual shirts, using good cloths). Most importantly I found them incredibly responsive, before the pandemic (willing to use pics to make slight adjustment) and have adapted to a good video consultation.

I’d also add EG, G&G, and J Fitzpatrick each nailed it with quick and informed responses and have very easily navigated site.

Finally I’d highlight Colhays website, though I did not email them with inquiries (as I have with the others I named) they have one of the most informative sites.

*Seems The Armoury has adapted extraordinarily well (though I have not purchased from them myself)

3) More of a recent purchase (past 2 months), and perhaps lower-end than many here, but Desmond & Dempsey brushed cotton pants have been a true blessing.

I’d also add Sunspel undershirt (as good loungewear).

J Fitzpatrick tassel loafers.

For workout gear – I’d say Tracksmith’s wool tops – absolute workhorse gear.

4) I’d agree with others regarding C&J not really adapting well (especially as someone from the US). Although I like TLB, I do think they are going the more dressy end with the Artista line.

Within that TLB range, I think Cobbler Union (though I have stopped buying from them as I invest in higher end shoes) has done a good job of adapting their silhouettes and materials to stay relevant, while also adapting their digital customer service.

Otherwise, I actually think Edward Green has stayed evergreen with its lasts and introducing variations on their existing line. As much as I love G&G, as I invest in higher end shoes (that offer good value), Edward Green is who I will be looking to for those shoes that can go from jeans to jacket+proper trousers, which is the direction that I think clothing is going. Good G&G dress shoes will always have a place (as my work environment will remain formal even after Covid), but Edward Green really bridges the casual-smart dress gap.

Nick B

1. The Rake – The Rake put on a thoughtful and well curated charity auction for Covid relief. Among the auction lots were bespoke pieces from some of the artisans covered on PS, as well as one of one prototype wristwatches and various other unique menswear and lifestyle items. Most items were accompanied by editorial pieces which made the auction all the more engaging.

2. The Armoury – I believe this is one of the best menswear stores in the world. The items they sell have timeless designs and considered material choices. Their style is smart, yet informal, particularly relevant in these times. Customer service is exemplary and their social media presence is first rate. It’s easy to go from social to purchase with confidence.

3. An old Budd bespoke denim shirt. I’ve come to appreciate denim over Oxford fabric, as I think it shows wear with more charm and character. A small hole in a faded denim shirt somehow looks just right, whereas a hole or rip in any other fabric looks untidy.

4. Edward Green – I think this is one of the best values in shoes out there. The make compares favorably with more expensive shoes I own. Many of their last shapes are suitable for informal dressing, and I am fond of the 202 in particular as it is comfortable and easy wearing. The material choices are great too. Plenty of suedes and textured leathers to choose from, again for casual dressing. Customer service is courteous. Custom orders take time, but good things usually do.

james6655

Charity: Marc Allen, Providence RI
E-comm: Maxwell and Co, Falmouth, MA
Stay at Home: VKN
Shoe Brand: Bontoni
Artisan: VK Nagrani, NYC

Mujtaba

(1) Tom James / Individualized Shirts – one of the few remaining North American domestic manufacturers of clothes that actually made PPE at scale

(2) Standard & Strange – I visited the shop in Oakland when I moved to the Bay Area in January to order my first pair of Japanese selvedge denim. Since then I have ordered many things online. They curate well and communicate well. I exchanged emails and messages with various staff members (including one of the owners) on topics ranging from fit to quality issues to factory unit economics to hobbies to personal style.

(3) Standard Issue Tees for lounge wear including tees, sweatpants and “slacker pants.” Very good value for comfortable, oversized, (US) domestically made clothes.

Outlier.nyc for incredible WFH pants: F. Cloth Yes pants are amazingly comfortable. The merino tees are also very soft and much higher quality than most merino on the market.

(4) This year I did not actually buy any more dress shoes, which is quite rare for me. But I guess I haven’t worn proper shoes since March. My favorite pair are my Austerity Brogues from Vass. Incredible quality, particularly at the price point. I would also love to try St. Crispins.

(5) Sartoria Corcos / Miyahara Kotaro. I received my first commission and it’s just so beautiful. The silhouette is more elegant than other bespoke tailors I have tried (WW Chan, I Sarti Italiani, B&Tailor and Solito). It took almost two years for delivery due to travel delays, but it was well worth it. I am glad he is a bit under the radar and love that he doesn’t take on more work than he can chew. He has simultaneously kept prices reasonable.

Chris Woody

1. Standard & Strange
Paid full staff salaries, donated to multiple charities including Black Lives causes, LA garment workers and clothing to the unhoused in their communities.
2. S.E.H. Kelly- Accurate and well written descriptions, quality that matches the intention, detailed and personalized care guides included with order. Timely and well informed responses to questions. Visually pleasing website.
3. The Real McCoy’s loop wheel sweatshirts
4. Viberg- boots, shoes that have moved beyond heritage and have that balance to the eye that I find in brands like Edward Green.

Andrew

1. Thursday boots donates ~100+ pairs of boots to a low SES school with 0 follow up publicity. Not covid related, not tied to profit/sales. A teacher from said school posted about it https://www.reddit.com/r/goodyearwelt/comments/kr471n/thursday_boots_donated_21_crates_of_new_shoes_to/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

Peter Zottolo

2020 was certainly one for the books, so I’m all for highlighting the good in an otherwise crummy year.
1) NMWA and Standard & Strange. Both took up charitable causes and encouraged those with means to support those in need in a way that didn’t browbeat. Inspiring, really.
2) Also NMWA. They have multiple ways to get a hold of them, respond timely and with real knowledge, take pains to color-correct photos, and I’ll bet no one knows that the chat box on their website is usually answered by Greg himself, not some faceless bot.
3) 18East makes comfortable clothes that I want to stay in all day (and sometimes do). In particular their yak cardigan has been the most worn article of clothing since lockdown.
4) I haven’t seen many shoes “pivot” during the past year, but personally I’ve been wearing more huaraches since lockdown. They’re comfortable, stylish, last longer than espadrilles while being just as light and airy. You’d be hard pressed to find a pair that cost more than $100.
5) Have fun picking this one 🙂

David Daniels

1. Standard and Strange, USA. Besides having a very well-focused selection of goods (which are mostly not for me!), they have an extraordinary policy where each employee gets paid to spend a minimum of two hours per week on activism: volunteering time and skills to non-profit, community organizations for the social good. And they post their efforts and results right on their website for all to be inspired.
2. Mr Porter and Matches continue to offer this customer the best shopping experience and communication, consistently.
3. I continue to wear my full range of clothes these days, ‘odd’ jackets and trousers included, even occasionally donning a tie or suit for no reason at all! So, nothing of consequence to add here.
4. Tricker’s. The gradual inclusion of lighter construction, softer leathers and lightweight soles across their ranges, is notable. Although I assume this move is aimed at a younger customer used to a life in trainers, equally satisfied are others like me, who welcome the opportunity to mix the Tricker’s style and Goodyear of Blake construction with a softer footfall.
5. First, Tony Gaziano, Gaziano & Girling. For a decade, I’ve been trying his patience, but no tweak to my bespoke footwear has been too small for his attention. And he doesn’t rest until its right! Second, Gennaro and his father Antonio Sannino, shirtmakers in Napoli. Like most bespoke products, it can take awhile to get all the details right. But when a number of shirts all had a single measurement to adjust, instead, Sannino remade the entire order! This is surely an outstanding devotion to quality and service. And for a holiday gift, they sent local Napoli tomatoes and pasta to me… in Canada!

zo

yeah good point re trickers, the newer shoes are great design-wise and good bang for buck. have had fantastic experience with matchesfashion too

Gary Mitchell

1 – No vote
2 – End Clothing, always excellent and always helpful, always long telephone chats. Honorable mention to Hamilton and Hare and Drakes though.
3 – I spent a lot of time in RRL chino, Arcteryx pants or Orslow slim army fatigues on the bottom half with a range of polos or sweatshirts on the top half. All comfy for different reasons but if I have to make a call then Orslow have it.
4 – Crockett and Jones for reasons already mentioned but also for excellent customer service from the Burlington Arcade branch I use for the many many purchases
5 – I dont think we get a vote but John Lofgren boots and Himel Bros would get my vote.

Chris

1. The Anthology. Their t-shirts were great and they donated 100% profits.
2. Mr. Porter, hands down. It is for sure the best e-commerce platform available for men. Returns are super easy, wide range of product offering in which anyone can shop from there. No Man Walks Alone is also interesting, great willingness in introducing new labels that are unheard of. I also like Clutch, their curation is unique for the Western market. For a more specific style, I prefer The Anthology – product offering is concise with reasonable pricing, extremely responsive customer service, the site is straight forward.
3. John Smedley and RLPL
4. Common Projects or CQP?
5. IDK

Gus

1. Too many to single out, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Admirable but quite cringe for the followers on.

2. Mr Porter is still the benchmark for a seamless and flawless e-commerce experience. Yes, they may heavily discount and they may be the antithesis of independent retail which PS advocates and derives its existence – but they can’t be beaten. NMWA also provides an excellent service. Any independent physical retailer is always going to come up short against companies whose sole focus is online. At the other end of the spectrum, am amazed as to why Drake’s persist with such a clunky website.

3. Pair of battered and loved Levi 501s

4. I would say EG but their customer service is atrocious and very unaccommodating. Astonishing how they continue to neglect that part of the business. Perhaps they simply don’t care. Therefore, Foster and Son gets my vote. JM Weston also very good.

5. Over to you!

Zo

I agree re point 2. I can see Drake’s being nominated a lot above. Their website is so clunky and outdated and I don’t see why a lot of people think it’s award worthy. You can buy the same Drake’s products on Mr Porter where you will find better photos, better description, better size guide, a video, better website, live chat, better after sales service, 30 day returns (as opposed to 14 days at Drakes), incredibly smooth returns process, and a returns process where the package is collected from your doorstep (as opposed to dropping it off to a shop with Drakes)

Anonymous

Re. Drakes, my recent experiences haven’t been great. Unresponsive customer service and faulty items delivered. This may have been a one off but when something arrives with the stitching coming lose and a visible hole forming at the seam it’s not a great sign. Expected more and also found that the garment pulled in places and didn’t fit especially well. This is unusual as I am quite a normal size and find RTW generally fits me very well. They’ve dropped a peg or two in my estimations as a result

NickD

1. Thursday Boots for their donations. I’ll be honest, I’d have struggled to put anyone else in here, because I haven’t been aware of their charitable actions (I’ve no doubt there have been plenty), and I have no idea about Thursday Boot’s products.
2. Shoehealer – My regular cobbler in non COVID times and have been very helpful remotely when I’ve wanted to place orders or get repairs done. Excellent work and excellent customer service.
3. In the winter, shawl collar wool jumpers from North Sea Clothing.
4. Edward Green – consistently excellent quality, I’ve found the staff to be very helpful when I’ve seen/spoken to them (I know this isn’t everyone’s experience.) Honourable mentions to C&J and Tricker’s, but EG still gets 1st place.
5. No vote

Anonymous

1 – Patagonia without a doubt
2 – Marrkt
3 – Very old cordoruys that are basically pyjamas by now, and too worn and scuffed to wear beyond the shops
4 – Haven’t bought any shoes

H

2 – Mr Porter. As much as I want to prefer smaller independents, it really is the gold standard against which all others should be judged. I’d like to give an honourable mention to ADRET though, who do provide a fantastic ecommerce service but eschew the things which make Mr Porter great.

3 – Iffley Road Grey Loopback Sweatpants (I’m sorry). This winter I’ve been putting them on first thing in the morning with knitwear over a sports t-shirt, and then taking off the knitwear for my daily (pre-lunch) exercise. After lunch I’ll change into an oxford and smarter trousers for remote meetings, but they prevent changing three times before 2pm – which would feel excessive.

4 – Foster & Son’s RTW. Branching out from bespoke with their new factory is the sort of adaptation I like to see, and they are providing shoes which are at least equal to Edward Green in quality for a lower price. The lasts fit me very well personally and they are more comfortable than any other shoe I own – and I’ve heard others say this is true.

On a fairness point, I’d also love to see Fosters’ RTW get the positive press it deserves on PS. I’ve never asked but I would assume the negative review here harmed their bespoke business and I know they are having difficulties with financing. That doesn’t mean things done badly shouldn’t receive bad reviews (I’ve not tried their bespoke but have always known your reviews to be fair). However, when they do start doing something exceptionally, as they are with RTW, that should also be mentioned for balance.

Anonymous

Didn’t Fosters’ RTW operation went belly up?

Zo

Adret would be my ideal wfh attire if it wasn’t as inaccessible as it is…both physically and economically.

Anonymous

1. NMWA
2. The Armoury – went above and beyond with their online content, in addition to their usual excellent customer service.
3. Chunky shawl collar cardigans (Drake’s or PS’s), loopwheel sweat shirts from Real McCoys and house slippers from Hiro Yanagimachi.
4. Edward Green. Simply the best quality and a very broad range including many casual but smart styles.

Patrick

1. Archibald of London naked campaign for their honesty and transparency.

2. Anglo-Italian. Absolutely love their timeless classics, well made and so comfortable.
Exquisite Trimmings, my go-to for all accessories.
Honourable mention to The Armoury for their informative and engaging YouTube content over the current pandemic.

3. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Baudoin & Lange sagan loafers and UDESHI shawl collar cardigan, both of which I own in a number of colours.

4. Baudoin & Lange for their loafers and Crockett & Jones for everything else.

5. I’ve not been fortunate enough to jump into bespoke wares yet.

Dieter

1. No vote
2. Mr. Porter (and END for sportswear and sneakers)
3. Summer: shorts / chinos and T-shirt or poloshirt
Winter: corduroy trousers or heavy sweatpants (Real McCoys)
and cashmere crewneck (Johnstons of Elgin) or sweatshirt (Reigning Champ)
4. Crockett & Jones (Cheaney also recommended (slightly lower level)
5. No vote

Joe

(1) The Anthology.
(2) Permanent Style Shop – great reviews of the products, easy to use, highest quality artisans, expedient logistics and faultless returns policy (on the single occasion it was ever needed!). Simply it has everything you could ever want in a website. So while I know this won’t win in any category for obvious reasons, it should never the less be noted.
(3) I found the sunspel t-shirts comfortable to wear and lounge around the house in during the summer months. Their tee shirts in particular are a quality benchmark for me.
(4) Tutty Handmade Shoes Ireland. The Tutty family have been making hand made shoes for generations. They are also orthopaedic, orthotic and podiatric specialists which came as a most welcome benefit as I had a hip replacement earlier this year. Their shoes are a joy to wear and offer outstanding value for the money they cost.
(5) Finally a note of special praise for the Anthology team. They may be a small artisan but they pack a powerful punch for the quality of the clothes they provide especially at the price point at which they sell. However the personal touch in their customer service was a shining light for me in an otherwise challenging year all round.

NB

1. Abstain
2. Mr. Porter
3. Luca Faloni
4. Edward Green
5. Anderson & Sheppard (Know this Doesn’t Count)

Dennise Y. (Womenintailoring)

1. Don’t have anything in mind so strong that I could vouch for

2. Merchant Fox. I have had wonderful experiences in 2020 purchasing from them. This ranges from crystally clear product images, descriptions, seamless checkout, fast shipping, and overall just a clear and bugless site. Function just as I expect on mobile AND desktop. Being an ecommerce veteran myself, I sincerely wish all fabric merchants could take a lesson from them.

3. Uniqlo basics. Knit polo, cashmere/merino/cotton rollneck etc. I basically live in them during 2020 and the foreseeable future. Easy to care, great quality, elegant enough to pair with a jacket to hop on zoom calls.

4. St. Crispins. This is also couple with an outstanding website, fair price point, and of course, craftmanship.

5. Yuki Inoue of Sartorial Yuki Inoue Milano. A Japanese native who studied under F. Caraceni, he operates his own sartoria now. Yuki is a great cutter and makes great Milanese style jackets. Famous for soft lapel rolls, belly shape peak lapel, and clean shoulder line. For me as a customers, he is always on time, attentions to details, very attentive (during fitting and digital communication) and have a great eye of recommending fabric.

Shay

1. IDK
2. Mr Porter – even tough in recent years i find the site less relevant for me personally as tastes evolve i think the customer experience, content and product offering is the benchmark for any other e commerce. At the risk of sounding negative I have to echo the point raised about the Drake’s web site crashing every time they have a sale, bad form.
3. Shawl collar cardigan – William Lockie, 4 ply cashmere, I live in it. Reasonably priced when you consider what else is out there for that quality.
4. Baudoin & Lange – classic Sagan in suede – ticks many boxes – comfort, price, elegance customer service and i suspect quality (were worn heavily this year and holding up nicely); First product in a long time that did exactly what it is suppose to do. Was very skeptical initially when the sales guy at the store told me they will be the most comfortable shoe i will own but its true. I think if not already, they will be a part of every male shoe collection.

Eugene

1. No vote
2. No Man Walks Alone
3. Epaulet trousers – lots of soft fabrics available – been wearing Japanese Walnut cotton twill and light grey oxford shirting cloth the most
4. Crockett & Jones – strikes a perfect balance with high quality dress shoes available and robust casual boots, including shell cordovan. Alden doesn’t match C&J for the dress shoes, even though the boots are equal or in some cases superior. Also, neither break the bank – the marginal difference in quality to EG from C&J isn’t enough for the price differential- although I do love my EG too.
5. No Vote

Kevin

1. Not sure an award is necessary, everyone should be doing their part. They aren’t menswear companies, but I applaud the likes of Barstool Sports, who have raised over $20M USD for struggling small businesses.
2. Not original, but the Armoury has done an excellent job as always. Plus they’ve really tried hard to stay creative with daily videos, seasonal style guides, etc in a challenging environment.
3. Really enjoyed wearing comfortable knitwear like Inis Mean, Rubato and Ralph Lauren
4. It’s all about practicality these days, and I’ve been wearing my Blundstone boots the majority of the time. Definitely more on the workwear spectrum, but they are very well crafted, great value, and maintain good eye appeal.

Hans

2 Rota pantalone and M Jondral
3 Rota, 100 hands, John Smedley, Sunspel,
4 Edward Green
5 Sartoria Corcos

A.C.

Charity – (prefer those who don’t shout about it)

E-comm – Mr Porter

Stay at Home – Anderson & Sheppard (& Davidoff)

Shoe Brand – G&G

Artisan – EB Meyrowitz, Kent Haste & Lachter

Ed

Dear Simon,
In relation to e-commerce For us UK residents, I just had a shock with customs duties. For reasons I don’t fully understand I’ve been charged customs and duties equivalent to 40% of the face value of some clothes ordered from a European clothing retailer. Best I can work out is that this is vat plus potentially some charges added by the shipper to cover their form filling, buts it’s not wholly clear. A worrying development! Regards,

Noel

This has happened to me but the other way round when buying english made shoes from the EU (albeit the custom duty was ~7%). They did remove the VAT though and I got charged VAT locally (as expected) as well as a handling fee.

Simon is right that there shouldn’t be any duties paid for goods that are 55% British or European by value because of the free trade agreement. The problem is that a proof of origin document needs to be included with the customs declaration by the seller showing this is the case. If it’s not included then customs will assume the product came from somewhere else and duty will be liable. Getting all the paperwork sorted out might be tricky for smaller retailers.

Ed

1) sorry, don’t know
2) Michael jondral. Wonderful range and super responsive
3) permanent style button down shirt, Blackhorse Lane jeans, wooly socks from trunk and some Sabahs. I may have missed the point here but it’s a very happy change from suits!
4) paraboot aren’t the best shoe maker but they have some solid shoes with a bit of character which are great for long walks

zo

one up for paraboot, my reims are getting some great use out last few months.

Sven

4. I got a pair of Bay & Wall shoes which I am very fond of. They are complete newcomers, but they match your criteria, Simon, for being forward looking, combining style and comfort in a classic woven non-oxford-shoe. That is how I came to think they deserved a mention.

DE

1. Emma Willis making NHS scrubs.
2. Mr Porter – great brands (EG, T&A, A&S, EW, BC, LP, etc) and faultless service.
3. My N Peal cashmere hoodie and cardigans.
4. Edward Green – simply the best rtw shoes I own.

Patrick Bateman

1. No vote, although I wouldn’t give the award to a company that got involved in manufacturing PPE. This wasn’t charity and had a profit motive.
2. Mr Porter & YOOX. The customer service is excellent and the apps are really easy to use.
3. Sunspel. Comfy!
4. Cleverley. An upgrade for me this year on Cheaney.
5. No vote

Tadas

2. https://alexanderkraft.com/ in my opinion Alexander Kraft did a great job by launching his own brand and by advertising it on his social media channels (firstly, instagram). It is a pleasure to check his daily posts and stories where the brand creator himself wears the cloths he sells. The website is also very user-friendly and comprehensive.
3. Polo shirts from Reserved. Yes, Reserved is not a brand we discuss very often but it produces very comfortable polos for working from home.
4. Berwick 1707. I bought a pair of these shoes from a local store (oxford.lt) and wish to have more opportunities to put them on.
5. Andrius Sergejenko (http://bespoke.lt/en/). Savile Row experience in Lithuania. Wonderful artisan.

jackey c

1. Anthology. Even though those brands who did charitable works won’t shout out for it.I will still vote for Anthology because I bought their t-shirts during their charity period.

2. Anthology. I started to recognize this brand a year ago from Instagram. I really like their e-commerce store because I like how they are updating their webpage once awhile to share their product. I can see how much effort their team has inputed to each campaign.

3. Muji. Sweaters and soft pants are what I have been wearing in 2020 for most of the time. Muji offers comfortable clothes at a very affordable price.

4. CQP. I think their shoes are very tailored to my feet that I won’t feel tired after a long day of work. I think their price is also reasonable after looking at the structure and leatherwork of the sneaker.

5. Lorenzo Ciffonelli. Their uniqueness of design got me to vote for them.

LJH

1. NMWA
2. Trunk – great service and I enjoy their website.
3. Jeans or chinos, Oxford or flannel shirt. Astorflex greenflex desert boot. Does what a slipper does but you feel dressed.
4. Astorflex (see 3). My Aigle wellies for daily dog walks, I live in the country so they are essential great quality. The rest of my shoes have had the year off.
5. Brown in Town – tailor based in Bristol/London. Fits my budget, great service and super advice.

Michael Smith

1 Emma Willis – switched the factory to PPE on top of their long standing “Style for Soldiers “
2 Old Town. Not an e-commerce site as such but a lesson in clarity. Choose your style, fabric and size, ring up Marie, pay your money, wait while they make them…(Marie will tell you if you are making a mistake)
3 Anglo Italian – spent most of the year in their flannels and raglan jumper.
4 James Kearns – 4 pairs and counting….. astonishingly comfortable Derbies and slip-ons. Too old for his trainers!

At first sight an odd combination for a PS reader……

Alex

I’m a bit surprised to see so many people nominate Mr Porter for the e-commerce award. I’ve used them since their inception and have noted a steady deterioration in the overall service they provide during that time. They may be a slicker operation than many other smaller brands, but the levels of investment make the comparisons quite unfair in my opinion. Given the budgets Mr Porter can work with, it’s all the more surprising to me that the service isn’t better.

BA

Exactly.

Josh

Well said, Alex; I completely agree, and was about to note the same in my vote.

I also was an enthusiastic early adopter – discovering them even before finding PS, in fact – and have similarly noticed a steady evaporation of quality of service and, frankly, personality, particularly since the Yoox takeover. Their app in particular – and it seems a little churlish to criticise when no other retailer mentioned here is likely to have one – has recently taken a turn for the worse, being clunky, slow and quite frustrating to use. As noted, you may get convenient return pick-ups, but you are also paying for it with their standard fixed shipping costs on orders large and small. Their sale discounts certainly are eye-catching – and I note that many of the Mr Porter votes above seem to reference this as the main strength – but that’s no way to truly judge a retailer’s shopping experience.

To be sure, they run a massive and efficient global operation, but so do Amazon; a vote from the readers of this blog should hardly be going towards such a behemoth.

Anonymous

oh wow.. ive been using them since inception too and i have nothing but praise. I find the information on the website, the layout and the features are so good and seamless, that i never really need to contact customer service. more so now than before. and the very few times i have needed customer service, theyve been incredibly helpful. always a human, no chatbot. obviously they wont know about ins and outs of a drake’s jacket as much as the manufacturer themselves, but the videos, size guides, detailed descriptions etc more than compensate.

Joe

Yes, Mr Porter has definitely deteriorated over the last year or two, much less user friendly than it used to be.
Also their Instagram customer service is terrible, they refuse to answer simple questions about products on their posts.

Kevin

I agree, I’ve purchased from them a fair amount over the years but less so in the past couple years in part cause of the drop off in customer service, which is unfortunate.

W.S.

1. Best charitable action: Not followed closely enough to decide.
2. Best e-commerce: Mr Porter is a behemoth of ecomm that really cannot be compared to those who started out because of Covid, such as Stockholm based Lund & Lund (https://lundochlund.com) who recently started an online store and provide both personal touch and a great photo/information despite being super tiny store and team.
3. Best stay-at-home wear: Uniqlo cotton drawstring slacks paired with old cashmere crewnecks.
4. Best shoe brand: Stefano Bemer, pure love in a shoe box!
5. Best artisan: Adriano Meneghetti (https://www.store.adrianomeneghetti.com), a newcomer with a beautiful belts.

Anonymous

For number 1, Charitable Contribution, I nominate the joint effort by Cad & The Dandy and Huntsman to create and distribute medical grade scrubs to the NHS during the Covid 19 pandemic. This was a prime example of tailoring houses working together and using their resources to aid healthcare at its most necessary time.
Number 2: No Vote.
Number 3: At home wear. dressing gowns/robes either custom or RTW from Paul Stuart in New York. they are incredibly well made and styled with sartorial details like turn back cuffs and peak lapels.
Number 4 Best Shoe Brand: No discussion. John Lobb.
Best Artisan: L’ Arte Nascosta. a new brand that gathers a group of Italian artisans and promotes the quest to reconnect with the human touch. their motto is “commission not consume”.

Peter

1. no idea
2. Michael Jondral (Michael is a brand for himself and in his e-commerce-shop you can get every information you need and additional a talk to himself)
3. Loro Piana and Baudoin & Lange
4. Saint Crispins
5. Sartoria Ciardi, D´Avino, Marco Cerrato, Cesare Attolini

Per Rosendahl Jacobsen

1 – Best charitable action: No vote just deep appreciation.
2 – Best e-commerce: MR PORTER.
3 – Best stay-at-home wear: Schostal dal Roma 1870 – exquisite cotton and cashmere knee-length socks and soft pyjamas.
4 – Best shoe brand: Crockett & Jones (value for money and family brand)
5 – Best artisan: Sartoria Ciardi

Josh

1. Echoing votes above for PWVC who produced PPE at the start of the pandemic; I have a feeling Blackhorse Lane did too, and more generally do a lot of community work? I understand from above you’re now planning to represent a list of companies who’ve made an impact, so the double-vote should be warranted 🙂
2. This will probably be no surprise based on my comment history, though I’m sad to see this will be their first vote here: Berg & Berg’s website and e-commerce experience have been impeccable. The site itself is low-key, but distinctive and robust; easy to browse, and provides a seamless purchasing experience. As a small team, their customer service is honest, knowledgeable, and consistent; you really can build something of a client-store relationship, and they listen to and quickly act upon feedback too. I also appreciate their Drake’s-like, in-house effort to produce engaging social media content, helping to really showcase and make the most of the smallish collections.
3. I’ve taken the opportunity to break in my first pair of BHL denim jeans. In general I’ve been smartening up throughout the lockdowns, rather than smartening down, and am consistently garnering confused questions about my insistent shirt wearing 😅 Honourable mention to Berg & Berg‘s Bernhard rollnecks, which have paired so nicely with jeans.
4. I’ve been postponing shoe purchases for budget reasons. I am eyeing up some Reproduction of Found german military sneakers, and Crockett & Jones chukkas and loafers… 🔜
5. Excited to see your pick!

Paul Thompson

1. I’d highlight the Love My Old Connolly initiative early on in the pandemic, they were selling their old inventory and giving all the profits to help the people of Beirut.
2. I’ve had wonderful service via Instagram and email from Tatton Baird Hatters in Utah. They produce lovely work. Instagram has been great for making contact with small makers. I’m yet to find an acceptable eCommerce website experience!
3. Long woollen socks from New And Lingwood and a heavy wool cardigan from Harley have been my winter warmers at home.
4. Two small shoe brands in London are my picks. Fabulous Cuban heel boots from DP James to go with Husbands style strides, 60s influenced but looking great right now. Also great loafers from Horatio Footwear. Not formal in the slightest, and both brands are well made and great value.

Peter

I have to join the chorus on Foster and Son RTW. They offered a terrific product with wonderful service. Their last range is limited but elegant and fits me like a glove. I was so pleased with their Oxfords I even bought a pair of slippers so I could continue to enjoy the brand at home. I do hope they can continue to produce, and if they do I will be a customer.

Anglo-Italian always delivers with beautiful style, wonderful materials, just-right fit, and excellent service. In such a short time they have crafted a top to bottom look for the modern, youthful, traditional menswear dresser. It’s an impressive accomplishment.

Cameron

1. No Man Walks Alone.
2. No Man Walks Alone have valiantly continued their great customer service and product selection. Hemrajani are a close second (challenges with lockdowns, but great responsiveness from Divij Hemrajani when production was possible. Thank you Divji).
3. PS The Finest Cardigan. In Texas summers it is the perfect weight for the air-conditioning. During “winter” it fits nicely under a jacket (coat).
4. Crockett & Jones. And, after following advice from Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project to condition and apply a mirror shine to the shoes, I feel like I have a new collection.
5. During the wretched year that 2020 was, purchases of Simonnot Goddard’s limited release vintage pocket handkerchiefs were a delight.

Shane

1. Charity:
I think there was a great collective effort in general to help out when PPE was lacking in the early days of the pandemic, by a wide range of companies, and anyone who chipped into this effort deserves praise.

2. E-commerce:
Given the necessary store closures, it has been fascinating to see how retailers have adapted and upgraded their online presence, to offer an element of the in store experience from home.
The Armoury is the winner for me – their videos series has been informative and entertaining. Something to look forward to during lockdown.
Drake’s as always have been great, particularly the way in which they released several mini-collections throughout the year, each with its own lookbook. The new Perennials campaign is fantastic too.
In terms of direct customer service, Anglo Italian stand out. Excellent fast communication and extremely helpful.
Finally, I have also enjoyed Sid Mashburn’s regular live Q&As, Mr Porter is always a smooth easy transaction and for sportswear, the Nike webstore is great, with particularly stress free returns.

3. Stay-at-home: William Lockie shawl collar cardigan, Drake’s Submariner Polo Necks, Sunspel sweatshirts, worn in RRL chinos, LVC 1947 501s, oxford and denim shirts, Anonymousism socks and Monocle slippers in Winter, Drake’s espadrilles in summer.

4. Shoes: Another vote for Crockett and Jones and Baudoin and Lange here I’m afraid. C&J for winter, Sagans for summer. Alden also deserve a mention, as their suede LHS are incredibly comfortable and versatile.

5. Best artisan: NA

Alex

Charity- anthology
Artisan -Michael Browne
E-commerce- A&S Haberdashery
Shoe brand- Edward green (based on style)
work from home wear – as sad as it may sound on this blog ( I would certainly have denounced it pre-COVID)
Black Sweatpants with white T-shirt below shirt. Allows me to protect my precious clothes from pointless wear at home, less dry cleaning and steaming. It’s also much more ecological as now I wear a shirt 2-3 days as I essentially only put it for 1-2h a day during video meetings. Also found out that my RTW generic shirts do just fine for video conferencing with my D’avino shirts only for when I go out. Also dress up every chance I have to go out which aren’t many. (No brand nomination here- just some old things that don’t matter anymore)

WCC

1. No vote
2. No Man Walks Alone. Excellent selection and Customer Service
3. Merz B Schwanen loopwheel crew shirts, Scott & Charter chunky cardigan, Townview leather moccasins
4. Edward Green. 202 and 606 lasts fits perfectly out of the box. Runner up: Crockett & Jones for affordability, selection and value
5. Chester Mox (wallets and other small leather accessories)

Owen R

1. Anthology and No Man Walks Alone.
2. Same as above
3. Anthology Lazyman Jacket, Baudoin & Lange, A&S cashmere
4. Edward Green, Baudoin & Lange, Foster & Son for their recent range
5. None

JB

1. I would say LVMH actually, for very early on swapping perfume manufacturing to hand sanitizer in a time where it was short of stock everywhere.

2. Asket.

3. Sweden hasn’t had a lockdown, so working from home have been fairly minimal for me personally. But at home I swear by Asket long sleeved tee’s and uniqlo denim.

4. I’m sure the newer additions to the B&L assortment are great, but their persistence that their one last/shoe fits everyone prevents me from doing so. At least 50% of Sagan owners I’ve spoken too agrees they need to introduce a wider fit.
Instead I would like to nominate Morjas. Great customer service, generous return windows and fast handling.

Jonas Johansson

1. Private White WC
2. Care of Carl – Scandinavian webstore doing things the right way, not least with excellent content.
3. No vote
4. TLB Mallorca – As many others, thoroughly impressed with the bang for the buck here, Artista look and feel way more expensive than they are.
5. Yohei Fukuda

Flynn

1. Private White VC: Many have done similar this past year, but I have a soft spot for public institutions such as the NHS that operate despite inept governance and policy hindering rather than helping their mission. Hence my bias to those that seem to share that opinion.
2. Luca Faloni: Provide information relevant to purchasing, particularly sizing, and knowledgeable responses. While I like the innovation of NoManWalksAlone with their implementation of Virtusize, it’s been rather hit-and-miss in my experience (their service is impeccable, however).
3. Drake’s button-down oxford shirt and AG Jeans Tellis model for sheer lazy comfort.
4. Gaziano & Girling: Perhaps not on top when it comes to value, but in all other respects including timely customer service (from the other side of the planet) are exemplary. My first pair have been a revelation.