Reader profile: Manish
Sometimes I feel a bit envious of brands holding trunk shows, because they meet so many more PS readers than I do.
I see people at occasional events, and of course the pop-ups once or twice a year, but that's about it.
So one of the nice things about starting this series was just chatting to people like Manish - about what clothes they buy, which they don't, and how their style has changed in the past 18 months.
That, of course, is also the benefit for other readers. These articles should provide a different perspective to my own - from people not in the industry, from different places and professions.
We'll try to keep to one a month or so, and keep them regular. I hope you enjoy the first installment.
Outfit 1: Casual
"Here I’m wearing Crockett & Jones Harvard loafers and W. Bill linen trousers from City tailors Graham Browne.
The shirt is an old Uniqlo-Christophe Lemaire collaboration, cost twenty-five quid, is thick with sweat, ice cream and beer by the end of each Summer and still gets more love from friends than any of my tailoring! If Hemingway had gone into the ice cream business I think he would have worn this shirt.
Do you think you spend a lot of money on clothes?
I don’t have any super-expensive bespoke tailoring, but yes, I think I do spend a lot of money and I think it’s important to acknowledge that so I appreciate how lucky I am to be in that position, and to remind myself to take care of the things I have bought.
I would add that, like many of your readers, clothing for me is more than just about looking good. It is also a passion and so maybe it’s better to compare what I spend on clothes against what others spend on their interests - for example following a football team home and away isn’t cheap either.
What job do you do, and how does that interact with what you wear?
I work in financial services in Canary Wharf and it’s a curious sartorial landscape. The vast majority of men are in ‘business casual’ which generally means a shirt and trousers, and the balance are in suit and tie.
The mid-ground – which I would assume to include jacket and trousers – is hardly ever seen and would be considered more dandy than a suit and tie, which I don’t feel is the case in most other working environments.
Pre-pandemic I would wear a suit and tie to the office every day, and that wasn’t really about style (although, of course, it wasn’t not about style either). It was mainly about having a uniform that was easy to pull together and expressed my intent for the day.
However, once I do go back to the office I am going to try and sit in the mid-ground a little more and wear a jacket and trousers. I sense that everyone’s views on work have been pulled into very different shapes over the last eighteen months, so it will be fascinating to see how people respond with their office attire.
Outfit 2: Semi-formal
I’m wearing penny loafers from Morjas and a shirt from Yuri & Yuri. The linen trousers are from Stoffa. I remember when I was being fitted for them it was the first time somebody had been bold enough to squeeze their fingers through my love handles to locate the top of my hips. The result is a pair of trousers that rest comfortably on the lip of the hip all day long.
The linen work jacket is from Anderson & Sheppard and I waited patiently for 18 months for that thing to go on sale on Mr Porter. When it eventually did it was only available in a medium and I was hoping to get a small, but over the years the jacket has worn in beautifully and now I’m so happy I’ve got the slouch and comfort of the bigger size.
What do you spend least money on?
I spend the least on watches, which is largely because I know sod all about calibers, crowns, cogs and crystals. I’m sure if I did I could quite easily get sucked into a horological black hole and want to buy expensive timepieces but for now, I’m really happy digging through eBay and Instagram for old Russian watches.
In the 60s and 70s, the Russian watch industry was making watches for both the domestic market and for foreign companies like Sekonda, so it’s not too hard to find vintage stock that is robustly made for a good price – I have six that all cost less than £60 each. My favourite maker is Raketa (meaning Rocket) not least because in Cyrillic the letter ‘R’ looks like a ‘P’ so more than one person has glanced at my watch and assumed I’m wearing a Patek.
How long have you been reading PS? What do you like about it?
I dug back through the archives to try and answer this question and it was late 2013/early 2014. What I like, and I think this is especially true of the last three or four years, is how you’ve been exploring the tension within the title and underlying credo of the site: Permanent Style.
How do those definitions expand and contract over time? How does something we once considered permanent transition to impermanent and vice versa? Is it possible to have a ‘permanent’ part when the ‘style’ part is so subjective?
I think the main reason that the site has been able to explore those broader questions is that you’ve never gotten too bogged down in dogma and have championed using the PS platform to explore and discuss things that I never thought would be covered when I started reading back in 2013. I’m thinking of articles like Tony Sylvester’s superb series of recent columns, the increased coverage on casual wear and highlighting other people’s styles that aren’t straight-up classical menswear.
Outfit 3: Formal
I’m wearing Alden tassel loafers, a Bryceland’s Oxford shirt and a cashmere tie from Drake’s factory store - may it rest in peace. The jacket has been made up in a Fox Brothers tweed and both it and the trousers are from The Anthology.
I wear a lot of my tailored jackets with black shoes, charcoal trousers and white shirts. The intellectual reasoning for this is that I like a contrasting gradient that leaves lighter colours nearer my face, plus I have dark skin and a dark beard (although that is whitening with each passing day) and so I find a white/cream shirt very pleasing.
However, I genuinely think the real reason for this mode of dressing is that it has just been ingrained in me as a boy by the different school uniforms I had to wear, all of which were as above but just topped with a polyester blazer.
What's your biggest tip for other readers in terms of building a wardrobe?
For those readers that are just starting out, I would advise taking it slow. Sadly life isn’t like a Hollywood makeover and any headlong dives into changing up the wardrobe will probably end up with you looking and feeling a little phoney.
Work with what you’ve got as a base. If you’re a jeans and T-shirt guy that’s cool! Maybe just trade up those jeans to start with and then in time the favourite band T-shirt gets rotated with one that doesn’t smell of Lynx Java (which is what all of my old band T-shirts still smell of).
For those that have a base, I would say trousers, trousers, trousers. Jeans are fantastic but so limiting. Jackets are the crowning glory but, in my view, you can still look sharp without them. But trousers? Once you have a few pairs of versatile and well-fitting trousers in the wardrobe it’s like when Dorothy opens the door in The Wizard of Oz – everything turns to technicolour.
How does your partner view what you wear?
With lust in her eyes! Seriously though my partner Gemma is so unbelievably supportive. I think a lot of us have been in positions where we’ve had to play down how much we’ve bought or what we’ve spent to people close to us, ‘Yes darling, I couldn’t believe Drake’s had another sale with all clothes in my size on heavy discount. And so soon after the last sale too.’
So I feel very lucky to be with someone who not only tolerates but actively encourages my interest. I think it also helps massively that she is a talented home sewer (@sewersaurus) and so we enjoy talking about cloth and construction - she’s always taking a look at how my seams are finished on different garments.
It’s wonderful to have an overlap in interests and I’m trying my damnedest to expand that overlap by getting Gemma to make clothes for me. I’ve got two beautiful camp collar shirts so far and I’m nudging/nagging her into making me a quilted vest for winter but her waitlist is longer than Sartoria Corcos!
What do you worry about most in terms of what you wear?
I think the last time we talked, Simon, was at an event that you hosted for Saman Amel – another brand that I have so much time and respect for. At the event, Dag said something insightful, in that supremely casual manner of his, which was about how the challenge for a lot of their customers was to be ‘elegant but relevant.’
I think I’m getting a little better at the first part of that statement, but if there’s anything I do worry about it’s about trying to fulfil the second part.
Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt
Manish is @the_daily_mirror on Instagram
Good idea for an article Simon. Very enjoyable getting an insight into the PS reader. I very much look forward to reading the future articles in this series. How did you go about finding and selecting readers?
Thanks J. It was through people I’ve met personally, which is the easiest place to start I guess
It’s great to see Raketa mentioned here. I visited Raketa offices in Moscow a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to be given a tour of their archive by their CEO. Among the treasures there was a piece built for the Russian military in preparation for nuclear apocalypse, complete with inbuilt Geiger counter (see photo), Mikhail Gorbachev’s own Raketa, plus a series of watches worn by various cosmonauts (I can only attach one photo, unfortunately). Raketa has a fascinating history and some beautifully made watches. Manish is clearly a man of good taste!
Wow! Love that Joseph.
I hadn’t thought about being able to only attach one picture. Let me see if we can find a way round that.
Thanks. That would be great. I’ll enjoy digging out the old pics.
Thank you so much, Joseph. That Geiger watch is just bonkers brilliant!
You’re welcome. There was another watch belonging to a cosmonaut who had spent over a year in space after some engineering failure prevented his return. You can imagine how important this watch became to him as he counted the minutes down until he was able to return to earth. Talk about watches with a history!
Excellent profile! Beautiful, considered answers. I can’t wait for the next installment. Also, Manish needs Insta so we can get style inspiration from him!
Sorry, I should have added that – Manish is on Instgram, he’s @the_daily_mirror
Now you know who’s behind the chicken!
You’re too kind, Anon! My account is less ‘style inspiration’ and more ‘lamentable chicken puns’ but you’re very welcome 😊
Great outfits, love the tonal composition. I wish he wasn’t folding his arms in the last outfit photo as it distorts the silhouette of the jacket and I’d love to see how it’s actually shaped.
I wonder how many of us have Uniqlo shirts tucked away?
My favourite item is certainly the Fox tweed. Antique shops are certainly the place for watches(and Russian cameras).
My son is on his own sartorial journey-be elegant but relevant is solid advice.
Thank you both
So relatable .
I love how Manish just puts things together whilst trying to pursue better tailored clothes.
Cheap , unique , unusual Russian watches .
Black shoes with brown trousers ….love it !
Really interested to hear him mention trousers. As someone who took my first dive into tailoring with MTM shirts I was wondering where to go next . Jackets seem beyond my reach so trousers it might be next .
Also , being off similar skin tone , I’m interested to see how browns and beiges work so well on him .
Really nice article .
Thanks so much for your lovely and generous words.
My journey was exactly the same! Bespoke and MTM shirts were a nice gateway into the tailoring world and then I wondered what was next. Jackets are a wonderful investment but they can be expensive, time consuming to commission, potentially more difficult to get right and (depending on your lifestyle) not always totally essential – I know I’m sticking my neck on the line here by saying this on PS!! But good trousers are so key to a good look in my view. Best of luck with it!
So we’ll put , Manish .
Simon , I suspect many of your readers are in that position of “can’t afford bespoke jacket so what next (after MTM shirt and decent Goodyear welted shoes ? Trousers?”.
It’s why I can seem critical in my commentary on PS sometimes.
I know PS has tried to remedy this with MTM jackets but these are often way beyond budget.
Anyway more if this kind of thing and discussion .
Will do Robin
Who is the maker of that green suede bag?
Sorry, I should have mentioned that it is by Adret. It’s actually made of a heavy cotton canvas but that’s classic Adret – even their humblest things look luxurious!
Who sells these Adret bags?
Ah, The Raketa Copernik. Very nice watch! The Russian watches of that era are marvels of aesthetic restraint, and for that reason, have stood the test of time. Wonderful to see a fellow enthusiast sing their praises!
It’s a shame we can’t see the percentage increase in Google and eBay searches for Raketa after this article was published…
You can! Go to trends.google.com and see the popularity of any search term over time.
Excellent style coupled with fascinating reflections on that same sartorial acumen; what’s not to like? Great idea for a regular feature, Simon. I look forward to future installments.
Nice article but rather saddened by the final answer about being “relevant”. This is for two reasons. First, in broad terms, I think that it is damagingly presentist to equate an absolute virtue like “relevance” (who wants to be irrelevant?) with “what si currently fashionable or common”. Second, in tailoring-pecific terms because it is clear that the trends towards ever-incgreater informality is here to stay and, as a result, conformism of this sort will dictate an ever-narrower, less put-together ragne of clothing.
I would humbly and non-judgementally suggest to Mr Manish that non-conformists, dandies and people who pursue elegance outside of the mainstream are very much relevant, whether one wants to belong to those categories or not.
Hi Simon, thanks this is a great idea and, for me, more instructive than the How to Dress Like series. I have found the latter hard to relate to because the people featured, with a few exceptions, own clothing shops or brands and a big part of their style seems to be driven by the requirement of being a model for their brand/shop.
I agree wholeheartedly with JJ Katz’s final remark. I personally don’t care in the least if how I dress is considered relevant in mainstream terms. I do care though whether what I wear is appropriate for a given occasion and suited to my lifestyle.
To me the phrase “elegant but relevant” comes across as a very clever way to describe trend following.
Hi JJ Katz and A Borda
I think we’re actually in agreement but just have different views on how the phrase ‘elegant but relevant’ is to be interpreted.
My reading of Dag’s statement was about dressing in a way that was relevant to yourself as an individual, to your lifestyle and to the occasion at hand. I don’t feel it means being relevant to the the mainstream or whatever the prevailing trends are.
Funny how three words can be freighted with such different meanings for each of us 🙂
I see what you mean. As you correctly point out, the world “relevant” is very freighted (for me, anyway) because its common use in the sense that I had perceived. In its more authentic sense which you used it is, of course, a worthwhile quality to pursue.
Great read! And I totally agree with Mannish about trousers. It sometimes seems like 99% of guys either wear suits or jeans, but have literally no other options. Getting some grey flannels and tailored cottons in your life is the easiest way to open things up and create a myriad of new possibilities. I also agree that with a decent selection of trousers you can get by surprisingly well without a top end jacket. A nice overshirt, an unstructured workwear ‘blazer’, a smart blouson, a rollneck sweater – these (relatively) inexpensive things can take you a lot of places.
Well, what wonderful looks Mannish has put together, and what a natural interviewee he seems to be. Some welcome inspiration here, and I certainly look forward to future articles in this series.
May I ask where the spectacles are from? Thank you.
The glasses are from Cubitts. I like them largely because the brand are from King’s Cross and and name their glasses after different streets in the area. This appeals to me because I lived in King’s Cross for 13 years and because I am a sentimental fool. I was drawn to this particular model (Herbrand) because I lived on that street between 2003 and 2004 – shoutout to the guy who used to staple blankets on the outside of his ground floor windows to stop the kids from peering in.
This is actually awesome. Love this!
Hello Manish, I really like the W. Bill linen trousers in the first photo. Do you remember the cloth code/weight? And how did you find the process at Graham Browne?
They were about 12oz but let me see if I can dig up the code.
It’s been a little while since I’ve been in but Graham Browne were great – very flexible, quick turnaround and cheaper than quite a few of the quality RTW trousers on the market.
I’ve had several trousers made at Graham Browne + countless alterations on various garments. Great customer service, good chat. The guys in there are very helpful. They also run a discounts around Xmas time which is a good time to get some bulk trouser orders in. (the do jackets and coats too, but I’ve never tried).
A lot of wonderful insight here Manish — especially about being honest with yourself and those around you about what you spend. It seems maybe simple and common sense, but it’s deceptively not.
Curious if you have a schema for putting new things into your wardrobe, whether it’s a running list or just knowing broader categories you’d like filled.
Thank you so much for your kindness!
I totally agree it’s not as easy as it sounds and there’s a lot of factors at play, chief amongst them I think is that it’s still a bit weird to some folks for a bloke to say he likes buying clothes and so we minimise.
I keep a little list of things I would like to buy in an attempt to keep me focussed – the A&S jacket is a good example of something I really loved but had to wait and hope it would become a touch more affordable. I do have a spreadsheet of the trousers that I own (hey, I work in financial services) with each cell shaded in a colour that represents each trouser. It’s really helpful as most of my trousers aren’t visible in my wardrobe – they’re either hanging underneath shirts or folded away – and so the spreadsheet is quite a neat colour map that shows what I do need and, more importantly, what I don’t need. The spreadsheet is nerdy, anal and a little bit sad. I am immensely proud of it!
The color coded list is brilliant. Sadly, my mind just doesn’t skew that way. Which is probably why I find it inspired — and definitely nerdy (but hey, we’re here we’re frequenters of this website aren’t we?)
Like others here, I have found myself frequently answering questions about clothing and inevitably expense. It’s always a question of resource allocation though, which is where your point about it being a hobby comes in.
PS. Love the chicken.
I have followed Manish for quite some time and he’s definitely one of the most inspiring guys out there. Chuffed to see him on here too.
Oh and PS, that bit about bending the truth slightly on how much we spend to loved ones really made me laugh out of pure recognition.
What a fantastic sense of style Manish has. Particularly in trousers, as he expands on. This is also an area I am actively investing in (along with shoes). I’m tired of wearing jeans all the time.
The bit about the Raketa watch struck a nerve – my grandad gave me one and I foolishly managed to break it a few years ago. What a clumsy thing to do.
Lots of interesting ideas here. Thank you both very much. Manish, what is the watch you are wearing with outfit 3?
It’s an old Sekonda Raketa from eBay.
When he described the fashion custom of his working environment, he might have provided photographs of what he abstractly describes to illustrate what he means.
I think most people who have worked in an office have a pretty good idea what he means to be honest
Move over Simon. There’s a new kid on the block 🙂
Enjoyable and relatable read Manish.
Having worked in the Canary Wharf zone back in the 1990s, it was Mon-Thurs everyone in a suit and each Friday was like the last day of term in civvies.
That’s so interesting! I think the components in the Wharf are still the same but the ratio has just been reversed.
And many many blessings upon you for referring to me as a “kid” 😊
Really enjoyed this article. *googles Raketa watches*
A splendid idea to have pieces about readers. Good thinking, Simon. I look forward to other readers talking about their clothes.
Thanks, great to know
Really enjoyed reading this ‘new’ feature and have often thought it would appeal to PS readers, so well done Simon for making this happen. Manish’s wit and candour is also very refreshing. I do most of the things he does too, like laying ambushes for the Mr Porter sales to get those really expensive stuff. But that Uniqlo shirt must have been the steal of the season! Can stop drooling over outfit no.1 and enjoyed the colour gradient in outfit no.2.
*An innocent query for Simon … would you ever do anything in print along PS lines? If not, why won’t you?
You mean a printed shirt? I don’t like them as much as woven patterns to be honest, outside of occasional Summer shirts, but it is something I’ve considered in the past
Sorry, I meant a PS Magazine … perhaps a biannual could work. Have you ever considered this?
Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Yes, we have looked at this in the past, and I would consider it again.
In fact, we started off that process in 2015 – we produced an Annual called ‘Permanent Style 2015’ (original, I know).
We were planning on doing the same next year, but decided instead to do something that focused on a particular topic, rather than just the best of the year’s articles. That’s how the Style Guide was born.
And then the third in the series was another guide on a topic, this time on Tailoring Styles, called Bespoke Style. But we produced that to a slightly higher level so it was more of a book than a magazine.
Still, I do think there is room out there for something really good in print.
Hey Simon, Thanks for your usual candour. I felt you must have thought about it. And I’m sure you’ll pick the right moment to launch too. B
Really enjoyed this feature. As much as I enjoy content focused on you Simon it’s great to see clothes on different shapes and personalities; it really does reinforce the range of possibilities out there.
Oh good, that was the plan and the hope!
Outfit 3, the tweed checked jacket with grey trousers, oxford shirt, and striped cashmere tie, looks smashing.
I loved this! I’ve been following Manish for a long time on instagram, and was pleased with his recent return to posting. He seems like a really pleasant guy
as nice as outfit 2 is, imo the (tobacco?) linen jacket washes out his complexion. The pink, brown and black work really well together and he pulls off those colours well.
Nice read. I do not follow Manish on Instagram but when his account appears in the recommended accounts I do spend some time looking at his outfits. Really interesting style. Nice to see the men behind the chicken!
Ah the late lamented (by us at least) Drakes factory store. The excitement of finding not only a bargain, but something not seen in the mainstream collection such as sample, collaboration or a ‘made for’. Whilst they have the online archive it not the same as the look and feel of the factory store. At least there’s the avoided spend!
One up this sentiment. Hopefully one day they will bring it back.
I totally agree on all points. I also miss that cabinet in the centre of the shop floor which (I believe) was from the Natural History Museum.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece!
Such a great idea for a series of articles! One of the great things about PS is the community it fosters. This certainly only enhances that aspect of the site.
I would add my thumb up to the prospect of having posts devoted to featuring PS readers! A very good idea!
By now, all long-time PS readers could easily spot, even in a huge crowd, who might well be a PS reader! Mind you, not because they are necessarily wearing, say, G&G’s oxfords or loafers. Even among those who whould happen to be wearing them, one could identify those who look like PS readers!
How then is that possible when obviously they are not wearing a uniform?
I’m going to say it was an air of informed good taste. Hopefully
It would be great to see more posts like this looking at different sartorial journeys. Btw absolutely love that Fox tonal brown gun club fabric.
Thanks. It is the beginning of a regular series, so hopefully the others fulfil what you’re looking for
What a freakin’ gent. This was as charming as it was insightful. Three cheers for Manish!
I second that Jessica!
Thank you Jessica and BB. You are both far too kind!!
This was a lovely read. It was nice to learn more about someone I follow and admire on instagram and another perspective.
What kind of fabric are the charcoal trousers made from? Looks like a high-twist wool. But perhaps that fabric is a little incoherent with the heavy tweed on top?
You’re eagle-eyed! Yes, they are indeed a Dugdale high-twist wool. Personally I don’t mind mixing the tweed with these trousers too much but I do agree that something like flannel would have been more coherent, unfortunately my flannels were at the dry cleaners when we did the shoot!
That’s some Gun Club check. Well done.
Common things right away:
☑ have an Uniqlo shirt
☑ wait for Mr Porter sales
☑ downplaying costs
☑ supportive partner
☑ unbelievable luck finding sale items in my size
Great article Manish
Thank you David! Looks like we’re both very fortunate fellas!
He’s right about that shirt…
Manish is such a lovely guy. Purely by chance we became connected on social media. I’m always in awe of his style, and kindness when we’ve had exchanges. So refreshing to see a man with impeccable taste, that doesn’t purely revolve in a world of menswear professionals. Top man.
Cheers Craig! That is so so nice of you to say. I always value your kindness and generosity when we chat on social media as well. Wishing you all the best!
Very slickly dressed gentleman. I went straight to his Instagram feed for tips for myself. Great article, keep up the good work. A.P
Thanks so much, Anthony! That’s lovely to hear!
Has the Drake’s factory store closed? When and why did this happen?
Yes, it closed a while ago, with the manufacturing being moved to Canada Water and the office team to Savile Row.
I don’t know all the ins and outs, but certainly when they took on the big space on Savile Row, it made sense to have the offices downstairs and then it was harder to justify keeping Haberdasher
Impressive article..another well dressed man who has watches made in Russia..good for him…peace
Hello Mr Manish, I really like these pants of yours:
Would you be so kind and tell me the brand?
Revisiting this after the most recent article on wearing pink, and that semi formal outfit is pure class Manish – such a great combo of tones and items on that outfit!