Comfortable yet elegant: A cosy winter combination

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*Note: The source of the material for the trousers has been corrected, below. It was Zegna denim, not Loro Piana. Still not available though!*

We haven’t done a simple outfit post in a while, so let’s talk about this one - worn for a recent interview in A Collected Man magazine. 

The jacket is my W Bill tweed from WW Chan in Hong Kong, which I was pleased with at the time and have only become more so since. 

The fit is good, and the style exactly what I prefer today: wider shouldered, lower buttoning, smart but still soft. It’s not a cut I’d wear with jeans, but it’s perfect for everything else. 

There is a bespoke elegance to a fit like this - it’s undeniable when you see the cleanliness of the back, or the 3D shape through the shoulder, sleeve and chest. But it’s very subtle. There’s nothing like a big shoulder, dramatic lapel or DB fastening to catch the eye. 

For how I like to dress, that’s ideal. 

When I first reviewed the jacket, I showed it with a slightly unusual indigo striped shirt. In a subsequent article on shirt collars, I wore it with the most simple of combinations: a blue shirt and grey flannels. 

The outfit today shows one more aspect of its versatility: the dark, cold, muted tones that I often favour, and have covered in several recent articles (see ‘Warm and cold colours’ and ‘The cold-colour capsule’).

The colours are very similar to this outfit, worn with last year’s Donegal Coat; the sweater is just charcoal rather than grey, and the trousers wool twill rather than denim. See also, the studio outfit shown at the bottom of this post announcing the Wax Walker. Charcoal, cream and brown again. 

For some reason this never feels boring or repetitive to me. Perhaps because I grew up wearing a similarly narrow spectrum for work in an office: grey or navy suit, white or blue shirt, black or brown shoes. 

The cold-capsule combination of brown, cream, black and grey or charcoal feels similar, just not as business-y. It’s also not something I see other people wearing that much. 

As a result, playing within a little world like this - and in the process focusing more on cut and texture than colour and pattern - feels both easy and personal. Which is a very appealing combination.

The outfit as a whole also feels cozy and comfortable. It’s perfect for those that have become used to clothing that is soft and unrestrictive over the past 18 months.

The cashmere roll neck is warm and reassuring, while the jacket over the top is cut loose - so it doesn’t pull at you even when buttoned. And the coat is a spongy blanket to wrap everything up in. 

There’s no hard shirt collar at the neck. The only place you feel held at all is on the waistband of the trouser. And there’s the option of a cashmere beanie folded up in the pockets, to be taken out for cold, wind or rain. 

The shoes aren’t sneakers, granted. There is no foam insole or cushioned sole. But these loafers have been worn and cared for long enough to be comfortable all day. And there are unlined versions too, such as these (same shape, just no tassels) which are more comfortable still. 

And if you can’t live without sneakers, I find the same combination works with smart chinos like these from Rubato and clean, slim sneakers like these from Mizuno/Margaret Howell. I’ve worn that combination too, and found myself sprinting for the bus a couple of times. 

The only thing I’d change in that combo would be a thicker gauge roll neck, or a lambswool one, to fit the casualness elsewhere (eg this Rubato). 

Speaking of roll necks, the one thing I find can harm their versatility is that they can look flimsy, even feminine, on their own - without the jacket. 

That’s certainly the case with the thinnest ones, such as this fine gauge from Edward Sexton, which I have in navy, or the mock necks from Michael Browne. The charcoal one I’m wearing in the pictures is a two-ply from Drake’s, which is just about OK. 

Anything thicker and chunkier looks great without a jacket on top, but then it’s so thick that you probably couldn’t wear one anyway. 

One suggestion is to push the sleeves of the roll neck up, to the same kind of length as you have when you roll the sleeves of a shirt. It stops the knit being such a big block, and makes it a little more casual too. 

The coat, of course, is from Connolly. I’ve had it a few years now, and originally covered it here

Connolly continue to carry the design in different fabrics, but there are no plans to stock this particular version. Still, the PS Donegal that’s coming this October will also be a mid-grey herringbone, and do the same job while being less unusual in style. 

The trousers were made by Pommella, in a wool twill from the Zegna Woollen Denim bunch. I don’t know why it was in there, as it’s nothing like denim, but in any case this cream isn't available by the cut length, I'm told, only as a roll for brands etc. 

I love these trousers - I think they’re a great example of tailored trousers that make an entire outfit elegant on their own, something Manish talked about in his recent article. I think this pair are one of only two or three I’ve received multiple compliments on. 

So I’ll let readers know if I ever find someone offering the cloth again. And if anyone else does before me, please let us know too. 

As mentioned, the pictures are from an interview in the watch magazine A Collected Man, available here

It covers some interesting areas. There’s always a little bit about my background and PS origins in these articles, as they’re aimed at non-PS readers. But that is minimal here, and we also cover sustainability, primary/secondary interests, and modern media. 

Photography by Jonnie Craig

www.acollectedman.com

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Noel

Hi Simon,
Nice to read a new article about an outfit, they’re always a great source of inspiration! (looking forward to filters on the lookbook)

  1. Would a black roll neck work instead of charcoal?
  2. How similar is the trousers’ cloth to that of Fox Brothers that was removed at your behest? Perhaps that’s a possible alternative?

Thanks!

Noel

That was meant to be “rewoven” not “removed”

Carl

Nice pictures and well-written article. It may be the light but I think that the contrast in the first picture may be too high. A very dark top with quite light trousers. Another question. You are linking to the Michael Browne mockneck. It seems to be very nice knitwear but the price is extremely high. How would you describe its value?
Best!

Mait

Hei Simon

Is it just me or is the image on homepage for this article just a placeholder?

I must say I got a bit of a scare looking at the coat, I’ve been waiting for new donegal coat for a while thought maybe you decided to mix things up. Glad it isn’t so. By the way could you perhaps disclose if we can expect the new donegal coat this week or next?

Andrew Eckhardt

Alas! Alack! Good chance to hone my patience. Looking forward to news!

Andreas

Looks very nice, but I wouldn’t exactly call this a „winter outfit“, as the near-white trousers and socks, as well as the thin-soled loafers won’t get you through a European winter, even if you only walk from your doorstep to your car.

Noel

There seems to be a presumption that white or cream can’t be worn in winter. I think that when paired with muted colours like here it works quite well. It’s unusual without being strange or loud.

Triskel

I agree with Andreas. If you stand, or even walk, outside (even on a dry day) in winter the cold can really seep up through a thin sole (or even a normal sole, say 14 or less) and make your whole body incredibly cold, however many other clothes you are wearing. I find double sole shoes, though not elegant, a great help. But maybe this is personal and this is all about me!

Alex

Hi Simon – part of one of your responses in the Collected Man interview made me wonder – “as we just don’t have many good suit factories here, for example” – do we have any suit factories in the UK currently (as in, making RTW as opposed to tailor’s workshops making bespoke or MTO)?

Gary

Cheshire Bespoke went out of business a few years ago. The website of Tony Lutwyche’s tailoring business has disappeared. Wensum Tailoring, along with its brands such as Bladen, has gone out of business too.

BTW, Simon do you use cookies, especially tracking cookies, on Permanent Style? If so, is it possible to decline them as required by UK and European law?

Alex

Cheers Simon. I hope I’m not the only one here who finds that rather sad; the idea of the last factory in a country producing a particular product closing it’s doors forever!
Gary – thanks also. On Wensum, I believe they just closed down their UK factory (in Norfolk, IIRC) and moved to Mauritius, where they’re still operating. I was told some time ago they make the RTW lines for G&H and Richard James; no idea if this is still the case.

Veit

What brand / model / colour are the socks Simon? Thanks

Peter Hall

I think we will see more of these high contrast, quality outfits in future. These are both comfortable and stylish. It’s so easy to smarten up or down and wet – proof with boots.
I have worn a green wool cable knit under jackets for a similar style.

Varun Saxena

So I have a couple of questions:
1. How should a jacket be cut if it needs to be worn with jeans? I understand that a jean hangs differently when compared to a cotton or wool or a linen trouser. So a jacket must be cut differently
2. What’s the best jean fit that one must go if one wishes to wear it with a jacket?

Thomas

Simon, one of the reasons I have enjoyed PS for so many years is your almost Japanese like attention to detail. Your point about pushing up the sleeves of a roll neck is a perfect example. Great point that only you would have thought about. Keep them coming !! Thanks again..

David

Yes, definitely. Also, when to roll jeans etc.

Daniel

As long as we don’t go into rolling up jacket sleeves as in Miami Vice (the 80s version)

zo

Personally I think that sort of stuff is best if it comes from within…it would be a reflection of your style, attitude, comfort etc. Do men really need to be to told how best to roll up sleeves, or how to stand with hands in pockets? It’s best if it comes from the individual, otherwise it loses its nonchalance and looks contrived.
That said, a scientific analysis of who does what and what image it portrays would be interesting.

Steve

Yes it would be helpful if only to give a view as to how something drapes well or is of some purposefulness. But as Zo hinted this does come from within & we don’t want to be clones all striding, standing or sitting in a standard way, we need to develop individuality ourselves. I will for instance not wrap knitwear around my waist under a jacket, have turnupped jeans like John Wayne nor place my leather gloves in my top jacket or coat pocket- all too contrived & dandy. But observation on such matters might make readers be more introspective about bad habits they’ve picked up – hand in jacket pocket & thumb left out (POW), use your trouser pocket, that’s what they are for & why we have vents on jackets.
I’ll look forward to such articles Simon, then watch for any avid PS readers in the streets.

Matt

Is that photo-shoot recent? If so, you must have only narrowly missed having “007” plastered in the background of every shot…

limekiln

I find that trousers which break lightly on your foot (as these do) look too short at the back unless they’re very “skinny” – the male calf muscle sometimes hoists the material up from the heel especially after walking. Suddenly, viewed from the side the trouser bottom looks like it slopes up to the back and the overall look becomes a bit “off”, maybe even comical.
The first top-to-toe photo in A Collected Man (where you’re side on to the camera) shows this effect.
A military hem tends to solve this – even just a ½” drop at the back can make all the difference. What are your views on this?

DKP

Very handsome outfit. You mention the cut of the jacket isn’t one you’d wear with jeans which begs the question- what’s the best cut for wearing with jeans?

David

Simon – the jacket looks great and I’m pleased to see you still rate Chan very highly. They’ve made for me too and I think they do good work.
Perhaps this is a topic for another post, but after all your experience with other tailors, I’m interested to hear your perspective on how Chan compares. They’re on the more affordable end of bespoke, but if you’re so pleased with their fit, what are the reasons why someone would pick one of the very high end tailors instead? A particular house style? A more flamboyant cut? (And this is not about Chan specifically. The same goes for the other Red Gang tailors or even the reliable but unflamboyant City tailors)

Matt S

Superb outfit! I particularly like the trouser cloth. I’ve been looking for a cream or pale beige wool twill in a medium weight (around 290-400 g) but haven’t found one. The gabardines I find are all 250-260 g and don’t have much body. I’m looking for something lighter than cavalry twill, which is too heavy for the warmer half of autumn and winter. Do you have any suggestions?

Toby

Hi Matt

Drapers have 11oz gaberdine and 70:30 Wool:Cotton options that you might like

https://drapersitaly.it/it-it/collezione/12001/
https://drapersitaly.it/it-it/collezione/12020/

Aaron

One suggestion is to push the sleeves of the roll neck up, to the same kind of length as you have when you roll the sleeves of a shirt.’
Do you ever find this ends with the jumper cuffs becoming stretched out? I find it does and then ends up sliding down my hand.

Simon

A little off topic, but colour related. Which of the Fox teba’s would you go for colour wise (grey herringbone, brown herringbone, char brown – https://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/collections/jackets).
I have my eye on the char brown which i think is a similar colour to the jacket you’re wearing here. Based on this article I take it you think it works with cream and grey trousers? Do you think it would also work with raw denim and maybe navy (or even olive) trousers?
Thanks!

Peter

If I may, I think the JLC is too dressy a watch to wear with this outfit. Better suited to evening/DJ wear. Your BLRO would be OK, but something more “stylish”, such as a Panerai or Bremont would go even better. Although I know watches are not a primary interest of yours.

Peter

Yes, I like the sound of the Reverso with black jeans and grey cashmere. But then the question is what colour shoes? I was looking at the JLC on an Ostrich strap the other day, which would certainly be less formal than black, but perhaps a touch more versatile.

Peter

Yes, I would definitely go dark brown suede. Black leather in my eye is too formal to wear with jeans.
The ostrich is hard to describe, but if I said matte, mottled pigskin colour does that make sense?

Peter

Yes, sorry, but we were talking about black jeans. Agree black penny loafers may judge about work with dark denim.

Brent Van Eaton

That is great, cheers,,,,

Edward

Damn you Simon – after seeing that coat, you sent me on a quest over the last three years to get my hands on one because, as you stated, they no longer make it using that particular cloth; I finally managed to find a mint condition secondhand one that I snapped up immediately and wore out for the first time this week (to a film premiere no less!) and the amount of compliments I received for it were unprecedented… I must admit I love the weight and fit of it too, it’s very ‘roomy’ but still drapes beautifully.

Kudos to your wonderful, wonderful taste good sir!

Stephan

Hello Simon,
you mention your preferred color scheme is cream, charcoal, dark-brown and black. In this outfit the cream can be found in the trousers. In other posts you wrote, cream trousers are best suited for sunny days.
How would you change the colors of the items, if the day is not sunny, rather dark and cloudy? This effects especially the trousers. Would the cream trousers be to light? Or would you let out the cream item and use another color instead?
Cheers,
Stephan

Stephan

Interesting thoughts, Simon. It seems, you can never have enough different grey toned and cream colored clothing items to be versatile. This seems to work especially with neutrals.

It seems, that different tones in colors are unusual. I think of pale/light red/yellow etc. Therefore you are limited, to apply this?

Would this apply also for the neutral tan (lighter, mid to dark)? How would the color-scheme change, if tan comes into play instead of cream?

Cheers,
Stephan