Reader profile: David

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This is the second in our series of articles meeting, and questioning, Permanent Style readers.

The first profiled Manish, who enthused about Russian watches and recommended that readers should start building a wardrobe with good trousers. It's worth a read, for the outfits as well as the comments, here.

Today we meet David, an Australian now living in London, and hear about setting a clothing budget, as well as how things have changed post-lockdown.

Outfit 1: Casual

Here I'm wearing a (very old) striped oxford shirt from PJohnson, a linen overshirt from Drakes and cotton trousers from Stòffa. On the feet are sneakers from Common Projects.

Are those brands you particularly identify with? 

I think I identify most with Saman Amel and Stòffa. To me, they have complimentary aesthetics and bridge the gap between the formal and casual in a way that feels relevant and tasteful.

It helps that both teams have been tremendous at getting to know me and giving me advice on what will work best. That way, I can pair a Saman Amel jacket with a pair of Stòffa trousers. Or a piece of Saman Amel knitwear with Stòffa outerwear.

Do you have any style icons, historical or current?

Most of the people I look to for inspiration are either currently in the industry or enthusiasts on Instagram. There are too many to name, but I think Andreas Weinas, Gustaf (@Gusvs9), Ethan Newton and Peter Zottolo all have great style. Jamie Ferguson brings a lot of fun and humour to his photography that I really enjoy.

What money-saving tip would you have for other readers?

It's probably trite, but setting a clothing budget for the year can be helpful. In the past, I've listed the items that I've wanted along with the likely price. The process of prioritising them helps me think about why I want a particular item of clothing and how I'll combine it with others in the wardrobe.

This helps maintain some level of discipline. Sometimes items will move onto the budget for the next year and that's ok.

How much time do you spend thinking about what to wear the next day?

Unless there's a special event happening the next day, I would normally choose what I'm going to wear on the day itself.

Most of the decision seems to revolve around whether I'm going to wear a jacket or not. That helps me refine my choice of shirt, trousers and shoes, and I try to have a core set ready to go that can be mixed and matched with one another to keep the decision time down. If I'm going into the office, it would usually be a suit or a smarter combination of jacket and trousers. A trip to the pub might be an oxford shirt, denim and sneakers.

Outfit 2: Semi-formal

Saman Amel made the navy jacket here, and it's paired with a navy popover from PJohnson, light-grey wool trousers from Stòffa and suede loafers from Crockett & Jones.

Do you think you spend a lot of money on clothes?

Yes, I think so. Certainly more than most in my social circle. While I get a lot of value from the clothes I buy, it's important for me to keep other priorities and hobbies in some kind of perspective.

These days, I try to think twice and imagine the various ways that I'll wear something before I put the money down. I'm not always able to avoid the occasional impulse purchase, but it usually means that I've thought about an item for a while before I actually move ahead with it. The good news is that most of the clothes I buy I keep wearing consistently, so maybe the process is working.

What do you spend most, and least, money on?

I'm going to say I spend the most on jackets; the experience of having one made and the look and feel of the final product is really enjoyable.

In recent years, I'd say I've spent the least on shoes. I have a few old pairs - black and brown oxfords, suede chukka boots - that keep finding their way into the rotation. As long as I maintain them and have the soles replaced every now and then, I'm able to keep using them and that really increases their value.

What job do you do, and how does that interact with what you wear?

I work in marketing at a financial services firm. While I don't deal directly with clients very often, I do wear suits to the office most days. Fairly early in my career I became interested in picking suits and shoes that helped me look professional without standing out.

When I moved from Sydney to London five years ago, I suddenly had access to a wider range of options and quickly started expanding to casual jackets, trousers and knitwear that I could wear at the end of the week and into the weekend.

One of the better choices I made (entirely by accident) was sticking to cold colour tones across almost everything I'd buy. That meant that I could combine a variety of different clothes from casual to formal without anything looking too out of place.

Outift 3: Formal

This grey suit is from Atelier Saman Amel and I'm wearing it with a shirt from Luca Avitabile, a tie from Vanda Fine Clothing and a pocket square from Viola Milano. Loake made the black oxfords, Trunk Clothiers provided the raincoat and the sunglasses are from Cubitts.

How does your partner view what you wear?

I think she quite likes most of what I wear, especially a dark suit or a navy jacket if we're going out to dinner, an event or a date. She has great taste and sometimes provides input on styles and cloth choices for me that have worked out well.

How do your friends?

It doesn't really come up in conversation, but that could be down to the kind of clothing I wear when I'm out with friends. I aim to wear something relevant for the situation, so the hope is that when I wear a jacket out to a dinner, or an oxford shirt to a weekend gathering, I don't stick out.

Everything tends to be a little more casual when I'm visiting friends in Australia due to the climate and the more relaxed culture; I'll wear a jacket and trousers in the cities but denim (or shorts) and sneakers when I'm travelling around. It doesn't attract much attention as a result.

Have you changed how you dress since the pandemic began? How?

I've definitely been dressing more casually over the past eighteen months or so. At the beginning of the pandemic, I started working from home full time and had no need of suits and ties. I started wearing chunky knitwear in place of a jacket and denim with sneakers more often.

Once the most recent lockdown ended here in the UK, the jackets and formal shoes came back into the rotation but I'm still wearing ties less often. I'm guessing longer-term I'll be dressing a little more casually than I did before, but that might allow me to experiment more with other styles and influences that I haven't considered.

How long have you been reading PS? What do you like about it?

I started reading Permanent Style fairly regularly about six or seven years ago. It was only when I moved to London and needed some guidance on brands that I started going through many of the articles.

The 'Building a wardrobe' series is great; it helped me prioritise purchases and avoid a few expensive mistakes. I also found the 'How to dress like...' series an interesting and insightful look at how everyone involved developed their style.

What's your biggest tip for other readers in terms of building a wardrobe?

I've found that brands and tailors that are able to give good style advice are particularly valuable. It's not always easy to imagine how a swatch of cloth will look when made into a suit or trousers, and the wrong choice might mean a garment that you don't ever wear.

If they're willing to invest the time, have a conversation and get to know you first, they can get a better sense of what's right for you and quickly hone in on a small selection of options. Their advice should only improve over the course of the relationship and this should hopefully translate into clothes that you want to keep wearing time and again.

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Martin Bayliss

A sensible and balanced view on what to wear and how to wear it. No twaddle about stitches per inch or the need for hand made buttonholes on his shirts. Real world.

Stephen

Yes good point. Real world. Like the idea of the very old oxford shirt, these ( for me anyway) look better the older they get, even when a little frayed – I think the term may be ‘foxed’.

L

I like these on a Friday. Perfect for easing into the weekend.I think id like to see a few more outfits though, three doesnt quite seem enough. I think it would also be interesting to know a bit mroe about interests outside of work and clothes. Im glad you ask the work question as it seems important for some reason but other interests would also be good.

Dominic

I have a similar navy jacket from Saman Amel which is the best value piece of tailoring I own. The colour means it can be very smart with a white shirt and tie, whilst the cut and texture means it can work more casually as David is wearing it here.

I’m enjoying this series, Simon. Please keep ’em coming.

Craig

Saman Amel *really* nailed his fit. He should stay with them forever!

One of your best profiles. His outfits are more wearable for most readers than more prominent menswear names, I think.

As much as I like green, when I’m in an urban location I just gravitate towards navy or cream for jackets, and reserve green for the trousers.

Jonathan Mitchell

He certainly dresses far better than the style icons that he mentioned.

Edward

I think i would have to disagree with you there although the i would say also that the ‘style icons’ he picked are not ones i would have – with perhaps the exception of Ethan Newton and Jamie. I find both Andreas and Gustaf far to straight, theres not enough edge or idiosyncrasy to either, no real character.
Whilst i admire Ethans style in some circumstances i do find it slightly to extreme/ contrived. Having said that i see the logic behind someone like Ethan being akin to, or serving a similar function as things presented at fashion weeks. They may be at the extreme end of what would be passible for a normal persons day to day but perhaps their role is more to inspire and exhibit ideas of style, taken to their extreme, which can then be picked up on and translated into more everyday looks by those watching.

Julian

This piece is so perfectly relatable. David is like many of us here who make do with what we have learned here to be good quality makers and brands, but which do not necessarily break the bank. I wish a feature of a ‘David’ from more tropical climes could come next?

Edward

Would love to see someone from outside of London as well.

Neil Tang

I second that request for tropical climate. Also, enjoying this series and feature on David.

Peter Hall

Love the suit especially the length of the jacket. Traditionally stylish whilst being very modern

Ray_Bentos

I’m going to go against the grain. For me, this shows the difference between being stylish and being well dressed. David is clearly well-dressed; everything fits, is of good quality, and goes together. My issue is that it looks so affected… Rolling the sleeves of both shirt and overshirt is a menswear trope. He’s seen this and copied it because he thinks it’s what stylish people would do. In reality, if you’re hot you would take off the overshirt. This “look” would only come about naturally if he were getting ready to do the dishes.
I feel the same about the very high rise trousers, which are rarely seen outside menswear blogs. Although they are arguably flattering (you say leg-lengthening, I say Simon Cowell), or hark back to golden age of dressing well, I think they’re an anachronism mainly worn to show that you are “in the know” classic menswear.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, and I don’t mean this comment as a criticism of David, but dressing well using the classic menswear template can become a little uniform and ultimately stifling. The whole thing is a million miles away from someone like Gianluca Migliarotti, who is both well dressed and genuinely stylish.

James Cooper

Ray,
Those are the exact two things I noticed too, the rise of the trousers and the rolled up sleeves and I must agree with your sentiments. David is very well dressed though.

Triskel

Being genuinely well-dressed requires that one be comfortable in one’s clothes. If, James and Ray, you have both genuinely tried (and not for five minutes in a shop) high-rise trousers and don’t find them comfortable, fine. I have worn them for forty years and find them much more comfortable than low rise. But to castigate them as ‘anachronistic’ is unfair.

josh

I see a lot of what you’re saying but I have to disagree on high rise trousers. I couldn’t give less of a damn about the trends, high rise for me is comfort over anything else and I think that’s why many people do stick with them.

JB

It’s funny how people see things differently. To me, his trousers are hardly high rise, I would call them mid/natural rise rather.
When it come to having style compared to just being well dressed, it’s a tricky one. I find people who have style, dresses well but also have a sort of swag about them. It’s about attitude more than anything else.
More importantly, it’s impossible to determine if someone has style by looking at 3 still pictures on a screen.
I think David dresses very well judging by the info we have, and I salute him

WES WP

If clothing is about drawing the eye to certain points on the body, and flattering one’s body (which seems obvious), then in the semi-formal outfit either:

A) His pants are too high

OR

B) His jacket is too long

It’s likely an unpopular opinion on this board, but I would argue that such proportions on this gent make him look shorter, and that a shorter jacket (at the very least) would benefit him greatly. I think that Thom Browne has incepted me. While I don’t think I’d ever wear a Thom Browne suit, I have found two makers who “totally get my form,” (not off the peg, but with a few delicate surgical procedures). I couldn’t wear outfit 1 and 2. Wouldn’t work for my body, my style, or my look (or my personal aesthetic). I think outfit 1 is preposterously safe. It’s bulletproof. It’s a banker’s suit. No risk. No reward.

Outfit 2 has the problems (as I see it) that I’ve laid out.

These are all “clean” (more-or-less) outfits. They’ll raise no eyebrows.

I would like to see men dressing (consistently) specifically for their bodies vs. “dressing for tropes” (and perpetuating said tropes).

WES WP

When I was talking about 1, I was actually discussing 3 (just for clarity’s sake – I mixed them up).

I referenced Thom Browne for just one reason — I’d rather have a jacket length that skews towards Browne rather than Savile Row. When I see a gentleman dressed as a stereotypical banker who doesn’t need to meet clients in-person (much, if at all), I think “trope” vs. “classic.” He looks just fine in outfit 3. He’s achieved the trope perfectly. There’s nothing wrong with it.

I don’t understand proportions (and never will) as well as Simon does, or most PS readers. I just feel like high waisted pants look extra “high” when paired with a long jacket. That’s why I invoke the name Thom Browne: Browne lives by the mantra – wear the suit, don’t let the suit wear you. Does he go too far? Yes. Does Outfit 2 look good on this wearer? If tailoring is “a game of millimeters” then the outfit is (to me) way, way off.

I think there are 1000 things that would flatter this subject more than the casual Outfit 1. But he looks relaxed in it. He looks comfortable. That matters off hours (and while on the clock, too, if you can manage it).

This subject possesses “Permanent Style,” no doubt. I, in all likelihood, do not.

WES WP

What’s most confusing, Simon, is (for the semi-formal outfit) – Why is David’s TOP jacket button (on the drop of his sport coat gorge) the exact same point as his trouser waistband? Even if it were the “bottom button” of his sport coat front matching up with the top of his pants – that’s still odd. [And I like a LOW button point]. Is that not – by the very definitions and standards of classical style – akin to wearing a necktie that extends past your kneecaps when you’re standing up? Is it not strange? It feels like the caricature of old men whose waistband is above their nipples. It’s almost that level of exaggeration…or is it? [Again – I’m just basing this on what makes common sense to me – there should be a clear separation between zones of the body – and what I’ve seen millions of men, over the years – wear]

WES WP

Thanks, Simon! It’s an ongoing education, I suppose. I have HUGE knowledge gaps, and I’m not afraid to ask dumb questions, because I know there are people here who have the answers…Most of what I do is intuitive, and that’s probably central to my successes, and failures.

JB

Actually, the whole idea of the suit/jacket and trousers is one coherent look. You don’t want separation between zones, you want one fluid look. It’s the same reason belts are not great with suits because it visually breaks the line between upper and lower body.
But I guess if you prefer Tom Browne aesthetics a lot of things will look long or high, especially these classic proportions.
While I can appreciate his sober color combinations of grey and white hues, I personally don’t understand why anyone would want to look like they stole their kids school uniform. But that’s the beauty of menswear and fashion, everyone’s taste are different and thank god, it’d be a very dull world otherwise.

WES WP

I’m with you, JB. I think it’s a valid point about TB suits. I’m not there yet; I’m just moving (glacially) in that direction: I hate the idea of a “pants break,” and I can’t tolerate any kind of heavy suiting anymore. Skinny legs, and all, I need something that I can wear and I don’t disappear.

WES WP

Sorry – I reversed Outfit 1 + 3

joshgtv

Agreed, but at least he doesn’t have a hand in a jacket pocket.

David Flores

I think being stylish will set a certain notoriety onto him. Reading his words “..without anything looking too out of place” that sounds coherent the way it presents himself.
How do we know he is not ready to do the dishes? 😉

Alexander

It’s interesting that you mention rolling the sleeves of both shirt and overshirt as a menswear trope, and that if one was hot one would just take off the overshirt. As someone that went through his teens in Southern California often wearing a sweater or zip up hoodie (it was a thing for the alt-look) with the sleeves rolled up, I can say that just rolling up the sleeves can often be enough to cool one down. In fact, I will still roll up my sleeve like that when wearing a sweater or overshirt. I never really thought of it as a trope because whenever I’ve done, it’s been purely for practical reasons of comfort.
Also, not sure if you noticed, but this is something Gianluca does as well, see the second picture in the “Being Yourself: How to Dress Like Gianluca Mifliarotti” (I have always tended to roll my sleeves in this manner – such that the base layer cannot be seen).
Though I suppose that’s the point of style to some extent, we all must find what’s pleasing to the eye, and what we are each comfortable with. For what’s worth, it seems like David has found what works for him and I think it works well.

Georgios

Very interesting clothes except from the first style which doesnt appeal to my style so much. I also noticed that every guy you interviewed has a pair of crocket and jones.

Mr Cubitt Crocket-Jones

Simon – are you “picking up” subjects exclusively in C&J and Cubitts stores?!?! On a serious note, how did you “find” David?

R Abbott

I like the semi-formal and formal outfit but the casual outfit doesn’t look so good. The colors work, but the linen overshirt looks messy and completely out of place paired with the high-waisted trousers.
Overshirts are very popular right now in menswear websites but in the real world, I see very few people actually wearing them and it’s a hard look to pull off. It doesn’t look right for a man beyond a certain age, in the same way that wearing an untucked shirt looks off if you’re over 25 or 30 years old. (I also used to wear my shirts untucked as a teenager, but eventually grew out of it).
Not every trend is worth following. For instance, take the newish trend of selling shirts with very short hems that are designed to be untucked. There’s even a company (UNTUCKit) that was set up to specialize in this look. To my eyes, this is a juvenile look that looks awful on most people. It also looks unauthentic – an older person with money to burn who is trying to look “relevant” by purchasing a shirt with just the right length so that he can be untucked without looking overly messy. In reality, it remains an unflattering look for most people. So much artifice and effort (the shirt has to be the perfect length…) for a look that is supposed to come across as unaffected.
Same with most overshirts. Although overshirts in suede (and occasionally in wool) can look good, an overshirt in linen mostly looks too much like an untucked shirt.

James

Simon could you ask how your subjects travel to work and how this affects their dress during the year?

Evatt Gibson

Simon, do you have a view on the popover? They seem to be quite popular right now. It’s nice to see one being worn effectively in a smarter context than usual.

Really enjoying this series of articles. Given that you’ve written before about vintage, capsule wardrobes, casual dressing etc. I think it would be nice to profile a reader on, dare I say, a lower budget.

Thanks for all the inspirational writing.

Evatt Gibson

It does although I was rather thinking of a reader with a more casual aesthetic rather than just showcasing cheaper clothing as you’ve written so well about applying principles of good dressing to all levels of dress.

Jason

Being of a different generation, I find all of this very interesting.
Personally, I think David dresses very well. He is interested in his clothes, has chosen well and looks happy which is the most important thing of all.

Oggi

David’s outfits look stylish.Cannot agree with the critics.As far as high rise trousers are concerned,David’s looks fine with a jacket,without one I would wear something covering the waistband like a thin sweater or a long sleeve polo with a tight hem.

Jon

Hyperlink to Manish’s post is missing from the second paragraph.

Dan

Interesting viewpoints. Amen to when he says moving to London opened a wider range of options. You guys who live in London are lucky. All those menswear options. I visited London a few years ago, and I had a great time visiting the Drake’s store, Crockett & Jones by Harrod’s and many others. Living in the southern USA, my only option to buy some of the clothing featured on this site is a several hour flight to NYC. That is what keeps me from doing it. Finally, his casual is not my idea of casual but to each his own.

Alexander

I’m really enjoying these reader profiles, and like David’s outfits. I really like Outfit 1, enjoying the color combination. I would not have necessarily thought of pairing that green with that blue stripe and those tan (?) pants, but the horn buttons really help.
Also, I’m surprised no one else has said anything about the socks in outfit two. They would not necessarily be my choice (they look almost white on my screen), but they do work (I might have gone with navy and grey stripes from mes chausettes rouge).
Love the suit. It feels very safe, but manages to look stylish. I suspect that the reason it looks good to the eye despite not being flashy is the fit, the proportions of the lapel, and the cut of the shirt collar.

Stefan

Interesting that he mentioned he only buy clothes in a colder color palette. I found myself look much better in cold colors as navy and grey than the warm colors as beige, sand, light brown, off white etc. When I read recommendations from people, the recommendations are always the same, you should have a navy jacket, a brown jacket and so on. During the 80’s it was a trend that you should buy the colors that fit you skin type, and I think that is overseen today. Of course some people look good in many colors, and great for them, but for myself I think its important to buy colors that really look good on you.

Kelvin.C

Love the semi-formal outfit! Guess its the way to go in the mid to longer term especially coming from a country where temperature hits above 30 all-year round. 🙂

Adrian

One question I would like to ask both Simon and all the Permanent Style profile quests is what percentage of their income do they spend on clothing?