Introducing: The PS linen overshirt

Friday, June 25th 2021
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For a long time, my favourite linen overshirt has been an old model from Drake’s - readers will have seen it previously here, and it’s been worn continuously and lovingly since. 

One of the reasons I liked that model was that it had just two chest pockets, with no hip pockets.

The inclusion of hip pockets - as well as other design details, like epaulettes or bellows - always pushes designs towards the Safari jacket for me, which is not the subtle or modern look I want.

After Drake’s discontinued the design, I tried the ‘Valerio’ overshirt from shirtmaker Luca Avitabile. This actually improved on my old favourite, because while there were only two visible pockets on the chest, two side-entry pockets were hidden in the same piece of material, just below. 

This seemed to be the best of both worlds. The design was outwardly simple, but there was a pocket at the waist if you ever did need more. 

Still, there were a couple of points that I wanted to change on Luca’s design, and so I asked him to make me a bespoke one with these tweaks. 

As has often happened in the past, this led to us collaborating on a ready-to-wear version, which is what is on sale on the PS Shop today

The main design change I made was to enlarge the size of those breast pockets. Because nice as they were, the shape was rather shallow and wide. It wasn’t big enough to accommodate a mobile phone, and even with a small wallet the horizontal shape was rather counter-intuitive. 

It took us a few iterations to get this right. The pocket couldn’t be too deep, or it would start interfering with the side-entry pocket below; but it needed to be large enough to hold most mobiles. 

In the end we settled on 13cm wide and 17.5cm tall, which seems to fit all but the biggest phones. 

The other change was fabrics. 

I’ve found it difficult in the past to find the right linen in ready-to-wear overshirts. Even the bespoke one I made with Budd back in 2014 proved to be too soft and not have enough body. 

The issue I had with some of Luca’s ones was colours in the Summer and finish in the Winter. 

The wool ones, for Winter or at least Autumn, use a worsted that is too shiny and smooth for my tastes. The linen Summer ones, on the other hand, come in two shades that are too strong - a mid-blue and a bright tobacco - while the navy and olive use a heavier, hopsack linen. 

These might seem like small differences, but I find material is absolutely crucial in an overshirt, given that’s all there is. It’s even more important than with a shirt, as it has to hang and drape nicely too. 

For our overshirts, therefore, I used the same Irish linen as the two bright colours, but in a classic dark navy and deep dusty brown. 

These two are the easiest, most useful colours of Summer overshirt for me. 

It’s easy to be attracted by lighter or brighter colours, but as you’re unlikely to have a whole wardrobe of these (unlike sports jackets) they do need to be versatile. And dark layers on top are more useful Summer trousers are more likely to be pale.  

One reader already asked which of the two I consider to be the most useful. 

To be honest, I think they’re just different. I find I wear navy the most, but it has the limitation of not being good with navy chinos or shorts. Brown is definitely better in that regard, but still I find I like and wear navy more.

The image above is taken from our recent shorts article, and shows the brown overshirt effectively. That dark, dusty shade is particularly nice with khaki, white, grey and cream. 

And then below, the navy is pictured with a slightly smarter combination: a chambray shirt and white-linen trousers. 

White trousers with navy is immediately quite smart, showy, perhaps even redolent of the Riviera. But it’s toned down by the texture and softer colour of the chambray. 

A navy overshirt can of course go with any colour of trouser apart from navy, just like a blazer, from pale green to biscuity brown. I quite like it with the pale green of these linen trousers, for example. 

The other outfit I’ve shown the overshirt with, is the same trousers with a dark-brown knitted T-shirt (from The Anthology). This is useful to demonstrate a halfway house between shirt and tee: something casual, but knitted so more refined. 

Like the shorts outfit above, it also shows how someone that doesn’t normally wear T-shirts (perhaps because they’re less flattering) can put an overshirt over the top to give them that collar at the neck. 

Plus of course, the shirt gives you a better place to put your wallet and phone.

The best geometry for a collar is something Luca and I definitely agree on. 

It must lie cleanly on the neck, but stay standing at the back when you put it up (as I often do with a T-shirt underneath). Once popped, the points of the collar should fold gracefully downwards, touching the body of the shirt. 

It’s not an easy combination, but generally it comes having more structure in the collar stand, and less in the collar itself. 

The sleeves, by the way, have a decent length placket, which makes it easy to roll them up if desired. It’s probably the most effective way to make the overshirt look more relaxed. 

Elsewhere, the overshirt is cut a touch longer than most - 78cm on this size Medium - but as it’s just linen, could be easily shortened - perhaps around 3cm before the hem gets too close to the waist pockets. 

The body is cut fairly straight, but it’s also a little slimmer than some, perhaps vintage-inspired chores and overshirts. Check the measurements below against a shirt you already have to get an idea. It could be slimmed further if required. 

Oh, and I forgot to mention there’s also another, internal pocket, on the left hip. Also mobile-phone sized. 

Product details:

  • The PS Overshirt is made in 100% washed Irish linen, 290gm
  • The buttons are dark-brown horn
  • It is made in the Luca Avitabile atelier, Naples
  • It is a clean machine make: no handwork other than handsewn buttons, unlike PS shirts
  • The shirt has two breast pockets, two hidden waist pockets, and one internal hip pocket
  • It can be washed cool (30 degrees) and hung to dry, as with a fine linen shirt
  • It is available in dark navy and dark brown

Sizing: 

  • In the pictures, Simon is wearing a size Medium
  • The body is cut straight but slightly slim compared to other chores and overshirts
  • It is relatively long. Generally, an overshirt should reach somewhere between the bottom and halfway point of your seat
  • Alterations, as on a shirt, are easy. The only limitations are the waist pockets, if shortening the body, and reducing the length of the placket, if shortening the sleeve. 

Size chart:

Neck Chest Waist Shoulders Back length Sleeve Cuff
Small (44-46) 38.5cm 112 102 48 76 60 24
Medium (48-50) 40.5 118 110 50 78 62 25
Large (52-54) 42 124 116 52 79 64 26
Extra large (56-58) 44 130 124 54 81 66 27

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Rob

These look great. Thank you Simon and Luca for the effort you put into these things.
How do you think it will wash, by the way? Much shrinkage?

Joseph

Such a lovely piece. Congrats Simon, I’ve a feeling this will be another smash hit.

P.S. The last two links lead to the Selvedge Chambray shirt.

Bob

The over shirts looks great, but The links to the shop don’t work for me. And I neither can’t see them directly in the shop.

Ant

Hi Simon – very excited to be receiving mine soon! I’ll add a further comment when they arrive.

Tamaki

Hello Simon,
Congrats on the new product launch! The overshirt looks lovely and really practical summer outer layer.

Cheers,
Tamaki

Teo

Thanks a lot for the article, Simon, it’s really interesting to read the details on the development and especially your thoughts on how different clothes fit into a core wardrobe.
In terms of the overshirt, in the end, I went for navy. I was focussed on brown initially for its versatility as we discussed with you below the PS Shorts article, but somehow navy just caught my eye more and I felt I would be more likely to reach for it when getting dressed. Mine should be in the post already and I’m eagerly waiting to receive it.
Could I ask if the photos in the article and the product page are an accurate representation of the two colours? The reason I ask is that you mention it’s a dark navy but it looks somewhat lighter to me, at least in comparison with say, the PS bridge coat.

Michael

Hi Simon,
could it be possible to keep a pair in size L navy in stock until end of month? I am waiting for a bank transfer and I am afraid that the stock will be empty if not so. I do hope you understand.
thank you

Antoine

Dear Simon,
Congratulations on yet another great product.
Nevertheless, I’m afraid that the sleeves are quite short. Based on the size chart, I think I would need a size S, however, since I’ve got pretty long arms, a sleeve length of 60cm seems far too short. Even the length in the medium seems kind of short at 62cm, don’t you think? My shirts are normally cut to a sleeve length of 66cm. I guess there is no way these can be lengthened, am I right?
Best regards,
Antoine

Qd

Hi, brown in medium sold out already…?

Gabriele

Hi Simon, do you know if Luca would be willing to do an MTO for this design in a different color linen?

Gabriele

Thanks! I’ll make sure to reach out when it’s time for my next overshirt.

Justin

Hi Simon,
received the overshirt in navy on Friday and had the chance to use it over the weekend – it looks and feels great! Definitely will be a centerpiece of my summer wardrobe for years to come (will also get the brown when possible).
My question, however, is related to the MTO or MTM options as well but due to a different reason. Sadly, the DDP shipping option did not work for my country (EU) and had to go through some hiccups with the customs. As I am also on the waiting list for other products, the question would be, if it would be possible to keep some small stock at the producers site (Luca, Rota etc) to limit any possible problems with customs within the EU?
thanks!

Justin

Thanks for the quick reply, Simon and I understand your comment completely! Your team informed me that they are organizing feedback from the distribution service, so I am looking forward to that (I’m the once case from the latter mentioned country :D).
Regarding MTO or MTM, as these are usually cases where no returns happen and thus no additional costs would occur, maybe this option could be organised as an additional option whenever something launched is sold out (as here Luca for the overshirts)?

Guy

Hi Simon,
Casual Southeastern USA based reader here. I have been reading for a bit over a year now. Most of what you cover is a bit more formal for my use, although I really enjoy learning and read most of your articles (I am in my late 20s).
Absolutely love this overshirt, I ordered one nearly immediately, Navy M, and it was my first ever purchase from your store. We have temperatures above 30 degrees C 5 months out of the year, and so I cherish the first autumn days (typically late October) when I can start wearing a Harrington jacket or bomber again. Having a second layer over a t shirt or collared shirt always makes me feel more confident and put together. If I can use this 4 out of our 5 summer months I will be super stoked.
I have high hopes to get a lot of use out of this overshirt, it really seems like the perfect piece for my level of formality, which is very close to the spread of formality that you have modeled the piece in.
As a final point I will also say that this was an expensive purchase for me clothing wise, however I decided to go for it because it looks awesome, seems extremely versatile, and I hope that the quality is such that I will get a decade worth of use out of it (which is how I try to purchase most things, quality over quantity, but doing so for clothes is still a newish venture for me, like I said this was my first ever purchase from you store, and I would rather go slow and not make too many wrong purchases). I think this one will be a huge win!
Cheers,
Guy

Guy

Simon,
My overshirt arrived today, and I have to say I am beyond pleased. I love the look, the fit is perfect, and I have never felt such nice linen!
Thanks again!
Guy

Chris K

Hi Simon,

yet another fantastic launch of what may prove to be one of the most useful pieces in my wardrobe during the summer months. Trust me when I say, the robustness of the Irish linen will be put to the test! In fact I’m glad mine should be arriving shortly, weather is set to heat up here in NI towards next week.

An excellent breakdown as usual, as well as the finer points and adaptations you’ve made. I’ll balance the argument regarding sleeve length as I’m glad you’ve gone shorter in this iteration. Given I’ll be wearing mine with a tee most of the time as well, regardless I think the slightly shorter length is a nice touch of style. I’m waiting to see how the body length looks, might need to trim off a cm or two, but it might actually be just right.

To my surprise, I followed through and went with dark brown, given my love for navy. It was close, but on balance I know the cold deep brown will sit better with my casual leaning wardrobe.

Ck

Stephen Dolman

Perhaps I missed it.
How much is it?

Joe Pickering

Hi Simon, love the look of this, and every minute that I don’t buy one feels more likely to result in them all being sold out…

Can I ask, do you think the navy could be worn with dark jeans, ie, raw denim that’s gone through the wash a few times? Not exactly summery, I realise, but as you know, here in the UK our weather’s so variable that mixing things up is sometimes necessary.

And finally… do/would you ever iron yours?

Cheers,
Joe

OP

Beautiful. Congratulations. The hat, by the way, is perfect.

David

Wow the brown ones went so fast. Could only get a navy one, sadly..

Noel

Hi Simon,

The brown one went quick! I’ve added myself to the waiting list.

How does the collar differ from the Valerio ? (You describe it but it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any difference)

Peter Hall

That’s a beautiful shirt,Simon. I will add my name to the PS team for when brown is back in stock.
You realise you have condemned the uk to 90 days of rain.

Craig

Dang, the brown in size medium sold out fast! I was checking the site every day in anticipation of the shirts going on sale after you mentioned them recently and still missed it. Any chances of a restock?

Craig

Good to know, I didn’t know there was one/overlooked it! I did grab a medium navy… Agree that the navy might be the more useful of the two, objectively speaking. I’m looking forward to using this as a summer jacket.

Tommy Mack

Those look fantastic. Great versatile core pieces for a summer casual wardrobe. The British weather is so variable, you can never have enough outer layers in different weights and fabrics!

I notice you say it’s cut a little longer than most overshirts. Do you think a size S would still look too long on a short guy? I’m 5’6″ so this is often a deal-breaker for me!

Alistair

Is there any chance of a restock given that the brown has sold out so quickly?

Justin

Hi Simon,

what if there were a number of interested readers who would be willing to make a pre-order, would make a restock realistic for this summer?

Thanks!

Justin

Understood, Simon! I did receive the heads up email but am on vacayion, so I read it sadly only today. I have written the support team to let me know, if something in size Medium comes back. I will jump right on it.

Paul F.

These over shirts look great, especially the brown one. I have one in navy linen from Drakes, which I like but which my wife (and colleagues) mocks me for wearing, contending that it makes me look like an artist about to paint a nude in a studio. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m wearing the over shirt wrong or whether others just don’t fancy the style. Have you or others received similar feedback along these lines with wearing over shirts?

Rob

Paul – I would take that as a token of affection if I were you. Besides it’s actually quite a good gag.

Wes Richardson

I’ve found that the added material from side pockets accentuates my lovehandles, it’s become a deal breaker on overshirts for me

FMA

Simon,
Are you planning a restock? By the time I saw the post and went to the PS shop, both colours size medium were sold out.
Anyway, the overshirt looks amazing. I have an olive green linen from Drake’s, the new model, and I love it. Overshirts are really useful these days.
Cheers.
FMA

Robin

Love it !!
You’ve avoided giving it the (hideous) appearance of a safari jacket.
The hidden hip pockets look really great (although would be good to put a photo of the internal hip pocket). It’s really good the thought you’ve given to pockets being able to accommodate a mobile phone . In summer I will wear something with pockets just so I have somewhere to put my phone and wallet.
On the question of colour I think most men have navy trousers / chinos which then presents the problem of “blue on blue”. Brown above the waist is a colour most men can’t get their heads around. Although, I suspect colour is always a tricky balance especially given this is a ‘summer’ product.
P.S. I always think you ‘undersell’ your products.
This one especially needs to be shouted about from the rooftops.

MLS

Hi Simon,
Have you given up on your B.B. Montiecristo fedora completely?

Jay

Looks like the mediums are already out of stock.
Any plans to restock this season?

Magnus

Looks great. I hope to see a return of this item next summer.
Is the back plain, or does it have pleats of some kind?

James

My Valerio has a center box pleat, is this a change you made to the pattern?

Lewis

Looks great. Good decision to replace the bellow pockets on the hip with hidden pockets and the collar stand is important.

I actually think that many of the brand’s covered by Permanent Style get overshirts wrong (by attempting a more ‘tailored’ version) where more casual, workwear-focused brands get them right by simplifying the safari-style design. I have something similar: certainly not the fineness of make and material as the PS version and in heavy cotton rather than linen, but the simple styling makes it incredibly versatile. It could be longer, though, so another good decision for the PS overshirt.

Sadly I’m not in a position to upgrade at the moment but the PS version ticks all the boxes for me.

IMG_20210625_125531__01__01_compress77.jpg
Manuel

Hallo Simon,
very nice.
I have two questions:
1) Would you wear overshirts with tailored trousers, or just with more casual ones?
2) You seem to wear a lot of dark colours during the summer. Don’t wear they hotter than lighter colours? And isn’t that the reason why they might look a little bit out of place / season for some eyes?
Thanks,
Manuel

Peter O

Dear Simon,

I looked through all your text and read all the comments to see if you identified your T-shirt. Because of the width of its neck collar visible in tvosr two photographs, I assert it cannot be Sunspel. Am I wrong?

Peter O

Your beard looks good, Simon!

Peter O

Postscript: I mean the beige or off-white or cream or eggshell is not Sunspel, not the navy or black T- or perhaps V-shirt whose neck collar is indiscernible to my naked eye.

Mark

Hi Simon, is there any particular reason you choose normal shirt collar with collar band instead of Drake’s version camp collar? Do you think these two types of collar vary a lot in overshirt style?

Stanley

Nice work, It would be great if PS launch safari jacket too

JH

Simon, does this mean that you no longer wear your Armoury linen safari jacket? If so, what changed your mind?

Richard

Just received my navy in a L, as per your advice and fits like a dream and looks a million dollars. I’m working today and wearing stone chinos and a blue Oxford button down and your over shirt looks equally as smart as it does slightly laid back, if you get what I mean! And it goes without saying, the quality of the linen is exactly what I have come to expect from you, Simon. Last thing though and I wouldn’t dream on advising you how to run your business but you have seriously underestimated your market in terms of stock levels. Your polos, shorts, Valstarino jacket and now these are selling out far too quickly. You are either far too modest for your own good or you need to work on your maths. I suspect it’s more a case of the former!

Robert M

I know that there was already a question about MTO above, and you said that it’s probably impossible, but would there be a chance of MTM? Not changing anything about the design, colour, or material, just lengthening the body and the sleeves? Maybe I should ask Luca directly?
The design is fantastic but, as always, the sleeves are way too short for me and it would be such a shame not to be able to buy it.

Richard

Simon, I just received my suede valstarino jacket, another great item from you, thank you! I am passing through Rome for two nights in a few weeks, only European city on this trip from Los Angeles, are there any men’s shops that you would recommend I visit while there? Thank you.

Rob

Hi Simon,
My brown overshirt arrived today. I am delighted with it and, as you would expect from something made by Luca’s team in Naples, the quality is excellent. I already have a Valerio in midnight blue so can make a couple of comparisons which may be helpful for some:
(i) the original Valerio is much roomier in the body and the sleeves are quite long (too long for my arms anyway). Yours is slimmer, has shorter arms and fits me perfectly as a result. The length is also perfect.
(ii) your new version solved the biggest issue I have with the Valerio – the pockets being FAR too low. Possibly 2 inches lower than yours. I think that’s because the top of the pocket lines up with the armhole, but on an XL (sadly the size for a rotund chap like me) the armhole is just bigger to accommodate a variety of sizes, and as a result the position of the pocket looks a bit peculiar as a result.
(iii) think I actually prefer hopsack linen material in the Valerio and commend Luca for that choice. I really like the “rumpling” which makes it feel casual. Maybe the brown should be hopsack whilst the navy should be the smarter Irish linen.
Anyway, I now have two lovely items in my wardrobe which will both get a lot of use. Thanks for the effort you and Luca have put into this. There’s definitely room for a third if you decide to repeat this next year…..
Best wishes,

Rob

67608667-25D3-456E-A697-33DB21556301.jpeg
Teo

Received mine in navy (M) today. It’s lovely, the fabric feels very high-quality, the colour is just right, not too dark / not too light. The proportions work very well for me and the sleeve length is bang on – I’d love if they remained the same length in any next iterations. Matt horn buttons as always very much appreciated. I’ll be definitely getting the brown next year!

Winot

Ditto on all counts (the XL in navy for me).

Budd made me a bespoke overskirt in brown linen a few years back and I rarely wear it – it hadn’t occurred to me that the lower patch pockets were a design problem but you are absolutely right. The hidden pockets on your version are genius.

John

Hi Simon,
A great inspiration! This is definitely a lovely piece!
John

Carl

How large is the hip pocket? I often work with an iPad Mini but I guess that the pocket is too small for that.

Craig

I’ve worn this extensively over the last ten days and I think it’s a grand slam. It’s a great alternative to a summer jacket, the pockets are very useful, and it doesn’t look like a costume in the way that safari jackets do, with their very noticeable four patch pockets. I gave it a wash to shrink the sleeves a bit and it fits like it was tailored for me specifically, which is odd because my proportions often make RTW require alterations.

I would love to see a version in cream, a color I know you love for odd jackets, and one which I’ve come around to loving as well.

Hywel Jones

Whilst I wasn’t quick enough to order the PS overshirt in brown. I’ve just received an olive hop sack linen overshirt from Luca and am really pleased with it. The fit is spot on and I particularly like the quality buttons. I will be wearing it for the whole month of August. I’m just waiting for some brown cotton canvas stoffa trousers and try to see if it’s works with the overshirt. I might see if Luca can do a Bespoke overshirt in a dark beige.
Simon have you got any plans to offer different colours next summer?

Chris K

Hi Simon,

I just received my brown linen overshirt back from Luca yesterday, after a small length alteration. Seeing today’s forecast where I live had 20 degree highs, there was little self convincing required.

It really is a joy to wear, and I can’t think of a base in my lifestyle it won’t cover. Today see’s it over a Sunspel tee, navy chinos and CQP sneakers. Tommorow, perhaps desert boots. It really is a very smart option for stepping outside the door and looking subtly considered, working with ease over even the most casual of outfits (by my standards, probably many PS readers as well), as I’ve described.

I already can’t wait for next years iteration, to add to the summer outerwear arsenal. For someone that likes to wear a jacket outside the house, even in the warmest of weather, there’s really no alternative to an overshirt like this. And the Irish Linen? Rumples like leather, and I absolutely love that. Will be even better in a few years no doubt.

Ck

MBB355

I wanted to add praise for this fantastic piece. I’ve mentioned a few times my frustration with living in a warm climate as it’s difficult to wear elegant layers like the PS Donegal or Bridge Coat, or the Indulgent Shawl Cardigan. This overshirt goes a long way toward curing that problem. I love the dark, cold brown color, the lightweight linen that breathes and remains beautiful even when rumpled, the perfectly shaped collar that looks great down or popped, and just about everything else. I wore it on top of a PS Oxford at a casual outdoor reception, remained comfortable even in the summer heat, and received several compliments to boot. Thanks so much for these ingenious designs that truly fill market gaps and are just a joy to wear.

DKP

@Simon – What distinguishes an overshirt from a chore jacket? I’ve seen both with identical designs, both in the same fabric. Is that perhaps because one is being mis-marketed or is there in fact very little to separate the two?