Spring/Summer Top 10: Chores, shirts and sweats

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1. Drake’s bright-red suede chore jacket

£1195

I’ve been asked a few times over the years about these suede chore jackets from Drake’s. Personally I tend to prefer blouson styles, and chore coats in cottons, particularly vintage ones. But since getting this a month ago I’ve become a convert, largely for the lovely feel of the heavy suede. 

I also loved the bright red. This might seem like an unusual choice, but I already had a Mont St Michel cotton in red, so I knew I’d like the colour with casual things like jeans and workwear chinos. And that’s how I’d wear this style of jacket - not with flannels or any smarter cottons. 

Unfortunately I had quite a lot of colour transfer with the jacket, with the red rubbing off on my jeans and sweatshirt. It all came out in the wash, but I took it back to Drake’s to get the inside rubbed down and treated (with a suede protector) and that largely got rid of the issue. They've now done this on all stock, but be aware there will still be a little transfer. The size shown is a 40.

2. Michael Browne mockneck 

£525

It might seem odd to include a mockneck in a Spring/Summer piece, but Michael Browne specifically designed this knit to be worn most of the year, as the lightest version of this style you can find. 

Made in a fine merino and silk, it’s certainly lightweight - I barely noticed I was wearing it the few times I have. It comes in cream and navy - I took the navy, in medium.

And in any case, Michael deserves a shout-out for launching his own website selling accessories and clothing in his impeccable style. It launches tomorrow here

3. AWMS: The beret

£59

This is another unlikely inclusion in a Spring/Summer write-up. My only excuse here is that Tony has just released them, and I wanted to cover it.

Tony is Tony Sylvester, whom readers may well know from his Instagram presence (@toneloki), work for Timothy Everest, and writings for various publications. He has started offering a small number of products that he loves, but finds difficult to source. These include leopard-print slippers, and now this beret.

It is strikingly different to most berets in being 'short flight', which means the volume of the beret is small, sitting close to the head. I find this easier to wear, and it avoids some associations, particularly military ones.

It is also, - I know Tony won't mind me saying - pretty rough and ready. The wool is not the finest, and nor is the make inside. But that is reflected in the price, and is what Tony wanted. 

4. Allevol T-shirts

£60

I tried one of these T-shirts from Allevol recently - a Japanese brand run by Taka Okabe of Clutch Cafe. They’re great in the same way as many other Japanese tees: circular knitted and heavy weight, but also have the same slight drawbacks of being slightly short and square in fit. 

The cotton, however, is quite dense, which I know some readers will prefer to the looser, slubbier feel of the Warehouse ones I’ve mentioned before. That knit also seems to mean they lose their shape less. 

Size-wise, I find I’m a little between sizes, liking the chest of the large, but waist of the medium. I ended up with the medium, and I think that was the right call. 

5. Husbands ‘Boy Scout’ shirt

€240

One of best ways to dress down tailoring is wearing casual shirts. Unfortunately while there are lots of denim shirts out there from tailoring brands, and the occasional chambray, there’s little else. 

Which is why I like this ‘Boy Scout’ shirt from Husbands in Paris. It’s made in a casual cotton twill that softens nicely with washing, and this shade of khaki - particularly as it fades - is quite a versatile one under tailoring, while remaining obviously casual. 

The proportions of the shirt aren’t perfect for me, but then they rarely are with RTW shirts. I just dart the waist and make sure the shoulders fit and the sleeves are long enough. Here I took a 15.5” neck. 

6. White socks: Tabio and WigWam

£35 and €22

As white socks have become more fashionable in recent years, I've had quite a few questions about my favourite pairs. My favourite cotton ones remain the AnonymousIsm ones recommended in the Autumn/Winter version of this list.

I know some people prefer wool socks though, particularly if their feet tend to cold rather than hot. In that case the best I've tried are Tabio wool rib ones, currently available at Trunk (above). The white is just the right shade of off-white, and the wool is fine enough that they feel lovely on the feet.

If you wanted more of a classic Ivy look, you'd want a wider rib than those Tabio ones. Perfect in that regard are WigWam sports socks, which Beige in Paris is stocking.

They are the original Ivy sock, and unsurprisingly are therefore the perfect rib and colour. But they are pretty rough too, and 37% nylon. I'm sure some will like the authenticity and the fact they're made in the US, but I found them uncomfortable and mention them only by way of contrast.

7. Colhay’s merino sport shirt

£165

Ronnie at Colhay’s has just released his first Spring/Summer collection, and my favourite is the short-sleeved knit. 

It’s heavier than most short sleeves like this, but that has the advantage that you can wear them more into the Spring and Summer. And the colour selection overall is perfect - navy, cream, dark brown and dark olive. 

Fit-wise, I found this easier to fit than the knitwear. I was a solid 40, whereas with the other knits I find I’m between a 40 and a 42. 

8. Casatlantic Mogador cotton trousers

€150

This is only a brief mention, as I will do a fuller review piece on these trousers soon - many readers have been asking for one. 

In brief, I’d describe the Casatlantic trousers as being very high rise (34cm at the front), in a great cotton that’s sturdy yet not rough, and with a wide leg throughout the three models that largely just tapers more with the different styles. 

I took the Mogador in a size 32 in white, as for me they will be an occasional summer trouser, to wear with an untucked polo and canvas shoe or espadrilles - rather than an everyday chino.

9. RRL hand-knitted ranch cardigan

£1305

I have a real weakness for these cardigans, I think because they combine the menswear classic that is the shawl-collared cardigan, with a freedom to wear wildly different colours and patterns. 

I bought this one this season as a treat to myself (even though I know I should wait until the sale with most RL) safe in the knowledge that I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it, given how much I love my navy one and cream one

I found the weight was also good, which was nice because summer-weight ones are often pure cotton and too heavy as a result. This is a mix of linen, cotton and wooI. I took a medium.

10. The Real McCoy's quarter-zip sweatshirt

£225

Regular readers will know I like a knit with a collar whenever possible. This is tough with sweatshirts (unless you get a hoodie) as there are few of them around. I have an old one from The Flat Head, but it doesn't seem to be available any more.

Fortunately, The Real McCoy's have started regularly restocking the style above, which I really like. It's relatively lightweight for a traditional sweat (9oz) but the loopwheel cotton is great, and the collar does that thing my Stoffa polo never quite does, which is stay up at the back (if you want it that way) but fold gracefully down at the front.

If you already have more than enough grey sweatshirts, try this 'milk' colour. Not something to wear with kids around or while eating pasta, but surprisingly easy to wear for something that is white, not cream. I have that colour, size medium.

Photography: Brands own, Permanent Style, or Alex Natt @adnatt

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Georgey

Thanks simon. Nothing for me on this list (maybe if the mogador was more cream coloured) but really enjoy these lists.
two qs from me if ok:
Did you ever get round to Speciale on Portobello?
Anywhere for knitted cotton Ts (rather than fancy fabrics like cashmere & silk!)

MBB355

Berg & Berg also has cotton knitted tees and polos this season in nice colors:

https://bergbergstore.com/collections/t-shirts

Lucas

Hi Simon,

Wonderful suede jacket, would there be any fading do you think over time with this bright colour of red?

What would you say is the most versatile colour and style of a suede jacket if you were to have an everyday one?

Thanks as always

Burt

Interesting to see how some garments can make one look younger. That’s certainly the case with the red suede jacket, it suits you well.
Looking forward to the review of the Casatlantic trousers.

Robin

The Top 10 seasonal clothes are always interesting but , particularly at the price points, seem more ‘Luxury Style’ then Permanent Style.

Anonymous

Yes I would side with Simon on this (as a frequent complainer about budgets). Really happy to see a sub-£200 pair of trousers on here. Well done SC

Thomas

While most of the items featured by Simon are indeed at the upper range of what’s available in menswear, I, as a student with not a huge budget on clothes still find excellent styling inspiration for my day to day wear. I also look at Andreas Weinas and Mark Cho.

Thomas

Just read that article about the brands you feature and i fully agree with you. By the way, i have listened to the episode of HandCut Radio on which you participated. Is there any possibility you will be doing another one soon ?

Thomas

No, nothing in particular. I simply find your conversations with Aleks as you had on PS’s Youtube channel and HandCut Radio quite enjoyable to listen to.

Anonymous

I second that the Drake’s suede chores are fantastic, being the owner of the dark brown one. I’ve noticed a little rub-off on the beige chinos I’ve been wearing it with but nothing major. Would you recommend getting a lining put in Simon, or do you think it would change the feel of it? If so, would you line body and/or sleeves, in cotton or cupro? Thanks

Ian Skelly

I love summer, in fact living near Manchester, I have to say it is probably my favourite day of the year!

Alex

You get a whole day of it? How extravagant.

Josh

I always love these top 10s, particularly as an introduction to brands I haven’t previously tried, and this edition sets a very high bar. I’ve never heard of Casatlantic but their trousers look incredible, and the military infused style is exactly what I‘ve been looking for lately. Cheers, Simon!

Gary Mitchell

How does the Drakes jacket fit? I keep delaying getting one until I can call into UK but Covid etc means I may buy online, talked to the helpful guys in Drakes but I’m still struggling (its a pain returning things from her (Mozambique) if I order wrong size) I have all measurements but feeling they look to fit small…. anyway, any help appreciated.

Gary Mitchell

Thanks SImon, with your comments plus the Anonymous below I now think sizing up is the way…. I have a big chest but not the big stomach so my concerns with this sort of thing is that the chest fits but the rest of it feels huge…. your comments helped mate…. thanks again.

Anonymous

Gary for what it’s worth I went with a size up from my two other drakes cotton chore jackets. So a size larger than my usual chest size. Something about the thick suede and the fact it’s unlined with a slightly rough, grip-ey interior, made the larger size feel better and drape better when buttoned. Plus allows for a sweater or extra layer if I want.

Gary Mitchell

Thanks, I think….I was just deciding on ordering my chest size but what you say about the suede and grippy nature makes perfect sense and was something that was on my mind…. now I am re-thinking the size. Thanks again, that helps.

Rui

Simon,

I’ve been looking for a grey sweater that could go easily well under a tobacco suede blouson.
The ones from photos 1 and 9 seem to be a great choice.
Could you please tell me where are they from?
Thank you.

Jeldrik

Hi,

colhay’s merino sport shirt looks great. Quick question about merino t-shirts: How would you take care of them in summer – I mainly think of sweat.

Thanks!

chris k

Thanks for answering this Simon.

With Cashmere crew necks being an everyday work from home staple for me (work in software, so will be the uniform indefinitely bar the occasional office/client visit) I’ve been wondering this same thing.

Crew neck sweater, easy, a tee underneath means hand washing is minimal. However the Colhay’s knits fill a particular spring/summer hole for me, especially in Colhay’s usual colours, which I agree with you, are perfect (not only the colours, but the shades of those colours).
I was wondering how to go about washing as I wouldn’t want to wear a tee under it, just ruins it. Obviously going to require more hand washing than a sweater given this fact, but I can live with that.

Think I’ll go ahead and pull the trigger on the dark olive!

Thanks,
Ck

Peter Hall

Nice to see Husbands on the list. I have one of their wool submariner sweaters. Classic design,but I’d advise to go up a size.

Jon

Hi Simon
What shorts/chinos are you wearing with the navy t shirt?

Andrew

Simon has already given you something of an answer.

But if you like the style, you’ll have the best luck searching for OG-107 fatigues to find a similar style, with the large “pork chop” pocket. There are no shortage of vintage versions available, and it’s just as easy to find current reproductions.

Darren Maggs

I really enjoy these top 10s. Had never heard of Casatlantic but it looks an incredible brand, I’m tempted by those trousers.

P.F.

Lovely recommendations! I especially like the Colhay’s knit which is a very smart-casual combination and the wonderful suede chore jacket.

That said, being a very keen beret wearer myself, I fail to see the attractiveness of Tony Sylvester’s “beret”. It appears to be more of a beanie with a tail (txertena in Basque language) than a beret. Short flight berets are nice and trendy, my grandfather would not leave the house without one, but this model does not appear to merit the name of beret as it does not have a flight. The sides are glued to the wearer’s head.

Aaron Daniels

I agree with you re the beret. I much prefer Ethan Newton’s berets Tony Sylvester’s. They avoid any military connotations still (to me, at least) but don’t look like an acorn.

Andy

What’s your view on the drakes patchwork suede CHores compared to solid colours like yours?

Out of the below, which one would you prefer?

https://www.brogueshop.com/products/brown-patchwork-heavyweight-suede-five-pocket-chore-jacket

https://www.toddsnyder.com/products/drakes-patchwork-suede-chore-coat-olive

Karol

When it comes to sweatshirts, charcoal looks nice as well, or perhaps black.

Triskel

Some good choices. Thanks for the ‘full disclosure’ on the Drakes suede. But I would be concerned that my lower layers would look bled-on when I took the suede off, that I would have to wash/clean them more often than I wanted to. Sorry to cavil, but is this really (in the terms of the Sale of Goods Act), and especially given the price, of merchantable quality?

Alex R

Good list Simon, and really like that Husbands shirt particularly. Also reminds me of LEJ, based in London, who make some really beautiful shirts that are great for wearing more casually.

Adam

Hi Simon,

did you take your usual size in the boy scout shirt? It looks quite wide in the pictures in Husband’s webshop. I usually have size 15″ but it has been sold out for a while and does not seem to come again. I’m wondering if I can go down to 14½”. Based on their size chart, the sleeve length should be ok.
What do you think? Does it shrink a lot after washing?

Tommy Mack

I think the quarter-zip sweater would be my pick. Has a nice vintage sportswear vibe without being slavishly retro.

MBB355

How would you wear the Colhays knitted tee? My confusion with those is that they’re too smart for casual wear but too casual for tailoring. I generally don’t think collar-less shirts look good under tailoring. When people wear them this way, I can’t help but think that they’re doing so solely for the sake of “variety”—to wear something other than a shirt simply because it’s “different” although it never looks as good. And this kind of tee seems incongruous with a pair of beat-up jeans or chinos. It’s probably best on its own with a pair of smart-ish trousers, like tailored cotton trousers, for a warm-weather smart casual look. But I agree the colors are spot on.

Frank

Do you think that the knitted tee from Colhay can be worn with Anglo Italian shaved chinos? (And maybe an Overshirt) ?

Benjamin

Dear Simon,
I like Colhay’s stuff generally. I recently bought their cream shawl collared cardigan and have hardly taken it off since. I also really like the look of the Colhay’s merino sport shirt. But, how would you wash it and how frequently? If you wear it next to the skin it would surely need washing after each wear. Then, how long do you think it would last?

Ben R

I actually purchased the 1/4 zip from Real McCoy’s a couple weeks ago. It is great. I also got the 9oz loop wheel shorts – they’re really nice!

Thinking about adding the hoody.

Sebastian

Hi Simon,

where are the green fatigue pants from worn with the Allevol T-shirt?

Thanks,
Sebastian

Ivan

Hi Simon, I’m looking for a army chino like your Armoury one. However, there is a tan chino from Casatlantic. As I know the Armoury new fit is not as “slim” as yours, I’m thinking whether Casatlantic can do the trick? Thxxx

Peter K

I love the RRL Ranch cardigans too. But oh my the prices are eyewatering!

Andrew Poupart

A bright red jacket? Who are you and what have you done with Simon? 😉

Peter K

I await the open shirt and gold medallion. 🙂

James Gomis

Hi Simon you mention that the Colhay’s shirt is on the heavier side? It also looks like a somewhat tight knit. I’m a bit concerned that it would wear too hot/humid for NY summers.

Dan

Hi Simon,
I have a doubt with the RRL cardigan in particular, and with the complete brand in general.
I really like the style of the RRL garments, particulary the knitwear. Indeed I own a varity of them. But at the same time i am convinced that only the style and brand feeling can not justify the overprice. In terms of quality and hand craft (or the lack of it) I have my serious doubts that the price is justified. Obviously, there are a lot and many factors that define a purchase (for example the absolute subjetive of how much do you like an item), but in your opinion, it is justified the product/price relationship ?
I found the same issue with purple label, when you compare it with another existings brands like A&S (for example) and you see that the price triplicates.
thanks in advance for your opinon,
Dan.

Rodrigo

The thing with RRL is, with most of their products (say raw denim, henley shirts or leather jackets) your can probably find a similarly priced or cheaper item of superior quality. For instance, a shearling bomber from Eastman or The Real Mccoy’s is generally better made. That’s not the case with their southwest inspired knitwear, such as Simon’s cardigan above. In that example, there simply isn’t a competing product we can compare RRL’s offering to. Pendleton’s cardigan’s for instance, are much simpler, and frankly less interesting. In essence, if you like the aesthetic, they are really the only game in town.

E. E.

Wanted to say how much I enjoy this post and others like it. Living in the mid-western US (a few hundred miles from Chicago), I do not have ready access to the type of bespoke or even high-quality MTM clothing that this site is mostly devoted to. So I very much value reliable coverage of heritage or true quality artisan brands (as opposed to those that are merely priced according to support heavy marketing of the name on the label) especially those with online stores.
With appreciation,
-E. E.

MBB355

I think my favorite item listed here is the Michael Browne mock neck. I’m always looking for warm-weather dress-shirt alternatives, like your Dartmoor, and this seems to fit the bill. I especially like the stitching/texture on the collar, which makes an otherwise smooth and fine piece appear slightly more rugged. Do you think the ecru would tend to “wash out” a lot of guys’ complexions? I’m reminded of another knitwear piece where you noted that, when it comes to cream rollnecks, guys should opt for more rugged, textured pieces (which have the disadvantage that they can’t be worn in warmer weather). I think maybe, even if true, the washed-out effect might dissipate if worn under a jacket. Thanks.

RTK

$1600 USD for a sweater made in China ? The RRL is an interesting design if you like the western look but you can buy
better quality UK or Italian made sweaters for half the price!

RTK

I have seen this cardigan in person and the design and quality are of reasonable quality. It was marked down to $600 when last I saw one available locally which was a much more palatable price.

S.H.

Hi Simon,

I have long enjoyed reading your seasonal “Best/Top” articles. Along that line, I am wondering if there will be a “Best Cloths of Spring/Summer 2021” coming soon or if that series has been discontinued. If so, I would be the first of many (I’m sure) to say I’m sad to see it’s been discontinued.

Anonymous

I have actually found these pieces useful when choosing cloth for my own commissions. Cloth selection is surprisingly difficult and the shear volume of choice can be overwhelming. These pieces have proved useful to learn about pattern and cloth composition, weights etc even if the cloths featured are no longer available.

Perhaps a useful post would be you seasonal selection of cloths taken from across the spectrum perhaps rather than just new seasonal releases.

Rob O

Great list as always. I have the Drakes chore coat in dark brown and love its rugged classiness with a denim shirt. However, one thing I worry about is rain and I wear it less often as a result. I have treated it with the Saphir but wonder if that’s sufficient. Have you treated yours and does it hold up?

Rob O

Thank you, I will give that a look

Bertie Wooster

Hi Simon

As a UK resident, if I order one of these items and they ship from overseas into the UK, do I get charged duty? Is there a value threshold formula or % rate here or is it pretty random and inconsistent? Thank you

Mark

Please add my endorsement for Colhay’s merino sport shirt. Definitely slim-cut, I sized up to XL for a 42″ chest. I appreciate the snug neck, the longer short sleeves, and the shorter but trim body length that complements higher rise trousers. I chose the camel which comes in a very appealing shade, more like a deep taupe. Would love it in medium grey if it was offered.

shem

hi simon, are you aware one can purchase elevated tshirts which are not loopwheeled/heavyweight and have longer sleeves. The ones by drake’s fit me right up the alley (https://www.drakes.com/clothing/t-shirts/white-cotton-crew-neck-hiking-t-shirt) but the price is quite obscene. On the other hand, quality ones by most workwear brands are often too short in the sleeve. I live in singapore and real mccoy type loopwheel tees are too heavy in weight to be comfortable. Wondering if there are elevated alternatives instead of uniqlo ones

H

Shem – I’ve been wearing Asket (not to be confused with Arket) t-shirts for years if you’re looking for a fairly priced quality staple.

£30 per piece, made in Portugal, very good sizing range. I would recommend.

JASON

What are your opinions on the Asket chinos? How is the quality and value for the price? I’m looking for some basic casual chinos for the weekend.

Peter Z.

I would like to second the Michael Browne mockneck. It’s really nice and the style is not showy at all in the flesh. I liked it so much I bought the Ecru and Navy. It’s the nicest knitwear I have bought in a while. The super 160s wool doesn’t feel too fine to the point it is fragile. It frames the face rather nicely.
Best,
Peter

Aaron

In regards to s/s knitwear, have you got any recommendations for brands that do linen knitwear, particularly cardigans?

Felix

Inis Meain does quite a lot of linen knitwear.

3NMa

Hi Simon!
Great article as always. I’m wondering what glasses are in the picture of the Allevol t-shirt.

Malcolm

I went for the Real McCoys quarter-zip sweatshirt in medium (I normally take the same size as you) but I’ve found it rather neat and that’s with nothing underneath. You haven’t has a problem with the size? Do you layer it?
Thanks Malcolm

Brian

Hi Simon
How do you think the Drakes chore coat in dark brown suede compares to the Valstar suede chore in terms of quality and versatility?
https://www.mrporter.com/en-gb/mens/product/valstar/clothing/leather-jackets/suede-chore-jacket/46353151655706292
Iappreciate that you may not have tried the Valstar version but based on your knowledge and experience of both brands, your opinion would be appreciated.
Thanks

Brian

Brilliant. Thanks Simon, looking forward to it.

A. L.

Hi Simon, do you machine wash your Colhay’s merino sport shirt? Would it shrink? Thanks

Craig

The Michael Browne mock neck is very nice. It’s a bit expensive but I will get a lot of use out of it. I wear roll necks throughout the winter and fall, both underneath jackets and on their own. To have one that can be comfortably worn in hot weather is great. It’s incredibly cool wearing. I have it in black, which works best for me but the other colors look great too.

Clive

I really like the Drakes chore jacket but am not convinced I would wear the red enough. As I am very distant from London, I am struggling to compare the rust and chocolate versions online. Have you seen them both and if so which do you think would be the most flexible – with jeans to grey flannels? I’m inclining to chocolate but wondering if I am being too cautious. Any advice gratefully received!

Mike K

Simon, i am considering the quarter-zip sweatshirt from TRM and am wondering how you are finding it a few months down the line? I recall you are not normally a fan of zipped sweatshirts. In particular, do you find the collar stays up, and is the length ok for you? Thanks

Mike

Thanks Simon, that’s very helpful. Order placed!