||- Begin Content -||

A couple of weeks ago, when our little Indian summer here in the UK came to an end, I started the process of switching my wardrobe around for colder weather. 

I keep winter sweaters, roll necks, coats and heavy tweeds stored in the attic, and slowly change things at this time of year (switching back in March or April).

This is always exciting, and inevitably the things I bring down first are my favourite pieces - the ones I’m most excited about. 

That’s interesting in itself, if anyone looking at capsule wardrobes is interested to know what my favourite winter pieces are. 

But this year I think it was particularly revealing, because it illustrated changing times for clothing: fewer suits, more jackets; fewer formal materials, more casual jackets in general. 

This article is a description and an explanation of what I picked. 

My main wardrobe can hold 20 pieces of tailoring: two rails, 10 on the top and 10 on the bottom.

(See this post for pictures of that wardrobe, and my storage in general.)

Usually these rails would be nearly all tailoring, with around half suits and half jackets. This winter, I took down 10 jackets, just 3 suits, and filled the rest with more casual outerwear: leather blousons, suede over shirts, chore jackets and so on. (I’ll talk long coats later.)

As I’m in town only 2 or 3 days a week, rather than 4 or 5 before, I simply have less use for tailoring. I wear it every opportunity I can, and look forward to doing so, but I don’t feel appropriate wearing a jacket during the day around the suburb where I live. 

So, what were these 10 jackets and 3 suits that I was most looking forward to? They were:

Now, that’s a lot of jackets by any standards. But when you consider all the things left out - Hitchcock jackets, Cifonelli, Solito etc - it is a decent bit of editing. 

Some of the choices were required by the need to create a versatile collection. 

For example, I chose my Caraceni rather than my Hitchcock navy cashmere not because it’s better in any way, but because given the choice between two I like equally, it was nice to include another double breasted. 

Equally, that first double-breasted from Ciardi was largely chosen over my Anderson & Sheppard checked grey jacket because I wanted to include some corduroy. 

The result is a versatile range for what I need and wear: navy, brown, green and tan; tweed and cashmere but more tweed; soft and sharp but more soft. 

The three suits I chose were:

The most significant thing with these is that there are so few of them - where previously, as I said, they’d take up a whole rail. 

But also, it’s notable that there is no navy, no worsted. This is not a selection for business, and two of them aren’t really that smart. 

They also all three have trousers that can be used separately, and the A&S jacket can be used on its own as well. 

Finally, coats. These are a little different, as it’s still too hot for really heavy pieces like my Sexton great coat or Ciardi ‘British Warm’. They’ll be swapped in later. 

For the moment it’s lighter pieces, so my longer coats were: 

All a bit lighter, with a good range of colours - navy, grey, brown. (This is excluding a rain coat or more casual things like the Wax Walker. They’ve been hanging downstairs for a while.)

I make no bones about the fact that this is a lot of clothes. I've always had a lot - gradually upgrading over the years - and of course many are required by what is now my job. 

But if I were to do a greater clean-out, for whatever reason, these are the kinds of pieces I would keep. The ones that I find most useful, as well as the ones that give me most joy. 

In that way, it’s akin to the discussion we had a few weeks ago around Tony’s article on downsizing his wardrobe. The process is similar. 

Now I just need to decide which of those lovely pieces of tailoring to wear first. 

Links to all the clothes mentioned are in the text. If any of them aren’t clear, or you would like any of the images of them identified, please let me know. 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
102 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Carl

Interesting and good choices. I wonder why not at least one worsted suit, perhaps in navy, for the occasional business meeting or more formal lunch. I understand why you don’t wear it every week, but at least 2-3 times between now and Christmas.

Robi.

That’s a great article . Almost a capsule wardrobe for autumn/ winter.
But now please show us what trousers you picked that go with all the jackets ?

Also , over what period will those items be worn ..3 months , 6 months ? And how much wear will each item get ?
I ask because , like many I assume , I often wear the same 3/4 pieces while 80% of the remaining items just sit in the closet .

Anh

Would definitely be interested in a trouser post!

Michele D'Agnillo

Simon, what colours do you prefer in whipcord?
It seems like earth tones are traditional, but I imagine I’d get more wear out of grey.

Michele D'Agnillo

Thanks!

Karol

Nice choices. I would probably pick similiar stuff, though I only need three jackets at most. Navy jackets are basic and useful, but since they look so good in DB, it’s hard to resist the temptation. A navy suit in woolen would be lovely though. Something like the grey Anthology tweed. It could look good with a workshirt, or maybe with the jacket separate.

Anh

It’s spring and about to be summer here in Australia, can you do a summer version of this please?

TT

The first part is interesting. Would be interested in an article about your journey transitioning from the formal suiting world to what we’re starting to see now.

I wonder how creative the tailoring world will get now that the boundaries become more ambiguous.

Aaron

Do you sometimes retain a few lighter things, like for example yesterday’s and today’s 17c weather?

Aaron

Actually scratch that comment (because I can’t edit), just reread and I glossed over the suede overshirts etc bit. Still, it’d be interesting to know for the tailored trousers.

John

Hi Simon,
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add the capsule of shoes that goes with this selection.
I wonder why you haven’t add a proper raincoat as I expected.
John

Nick

I do enjoy these “wardrobe planning” type of posts, as they are really useful to help with my own seasonal rotation exercise. One thing I am noticing as the years go by is how much milder September and October (here in the UK) seem to be compared with maybe 5-10 years ago. Climate change effects, possibly… It now seems a much longer wait through the autumn before being able to break out the truly heavy-duty overcoats, and less actual time in them, which is in some respects a real shame!

Stefan

Have you ever written about the economic (financial?) side of buying clothes? Sometimes, it seems that everyone in #meanswear are millionaires. 🙂 I like clothes a lot, but at the same time I’m in my mid 30’s and I want to save a part of my salary every month and invest it in stocks and funds for a better future. I personally think a lot about what clothes actually is worth investing in and not. It would be very interesting to read about what is a good level to spend on clothes in general depending on your income. Of course, it’s individual, but it would be interesting to read anyway.

Max

I share this sentiment. It can be a little bit frustrating to realize that the higher quality of tailoring that is presented here is out of reach for the vast majority of (affluent) individuals. $250k annually is perhaps the point where one can start to responsibly afford good bespoke, assuming that one has a house paid off and perhaps 1.5 to 2 million in a diversified portfolio. (This is assuming a single living in a relatively high cost of living area, but if you’re living in the Midwest you won’t have any opportunity to wear tailoring.)
The emphasis here is on “responsibly”. I know people who spend disproportionate amounts on clothing, but frankly this is kind of pathetic. Until you have amassed a substantial net worth (enough to replace your income) spending more than 500$ on a suit is not really appropriate.
Unfortunately, most jobs/careers that would allow you to pay for tailoring no longer allow you to wear it 🙁

Steve

Hi Simon,
There’s a chill in the air & many of us look forward to our autumnal/winter tweeds, knitwear & coats coming out, some more than our clothes for ‘summer’. On the point of more expensive clothes I agree, many have other interests be it cars, golf, season tickets etc rather than clothes. On previous articles relating to sustainability I’d now rather have fewer more ‘expensive’ clothes I love & wear regularly than have a larger wardrobe of ‘mediocre fashion’, besides it may well be better value for money in the long term & will certainly make you feel good about the clothes you wear. I say this from the stand point of being recently retired, having bought up three daughters through uni, a mortgage & having a love of clothes since my late teens. I only wish I’d bought less in the past & what I’d bought then was still loved & valued now ( I only have my Burberry trench of 30 years, 40 year old McAfee shoes & my father’s silk paisley scarf 60+ years ). Roll on winter.

Jan

I disagree a little bit more strongly. Who says that you need to own a house with the mortgage paid off and your entire pension set up before you can “responsibly” purchase high-end tailoring ? I aim to have that in place by the time I hit my retirement age but until that time I try to enjoy life and part of that, for me at least, is wearing really good quality clothes and shoes. Imagine saving up and wearing Suitsupply your whole life and then dying from a heart attack as a 45 year old miljonair. Not for me! What is proportionate or appropriate or responsible is almost entirely subjective, assuming the finances are otherwise relatively stable and the spend is well-considered.

Martins

“lighter pieces” Donegal overcoat.. is a 760g tweed really a “light piece?” or you’re talking about v1?

J

What about V2 at 800g? When would you yourself feel able to crack that coat out on the open road?
I bought this version earlier in the year and have become almost jealous of myself for owning it, so few chances – approx 0 – have i had to actually put it on thus far.
You wrote that you’d wear your british warm Ciardi overcoat on a 16C degrees day and although I find myself shivering when the temperature drops below 10, I can still tolerate 16C in little more than a t-shirt.

Martins

Over the jacket at +14? I’m getting jealous of freezing people. So much more options! I’m considering putting in lining in vax Walker when it’s below +10 just over knitwear…

I think I will like the coat much more than last year but if I can wear it 2 month a year here in London, I’m not sure if it will turn out too expensive..

Out of curiousity, do you think v3 still fits the “if I want to have one grey coat”, or it’s too bright?

MBB355

Love that charcoal donegal but seems difficult to pear with anything besides cream or stone. As I said about the 2019 Donegal Coat, there’s something so pleasing about charcoal with cream flecks.

MBB355

Interesting pair with the navy–not something I would have considered but it does look good there. One follow-up question: Why did you not add your Prologue black/cream glen check jacket to your winter rotation?

Fatih

That dark green Harris Tweed is just so tasty! Is it subtle enough to wear it at least once a week or will people inevitably think „ah, that green again“. I‘m asking because it‘s too lovely to wear it once in a while.

Steve

Hi Simon,
Yes I find such muted Harris tweeds very subtle & wearable jackets & can’t wait to get my navy one out; it’s like being out with a good old friend whose company you never tire of.

Alex

When you mention the PS Donegal coat, grey herringbone – I presume this is the about to be released latest update? Any idea when we can expect this?

Alex

Will Private White have any in store in Duke Street? I really want to try it on before pulling the trigger!

Rogey

Of all your clothes, the magnificent Ulster and the Hitchcock Donegal are two of my favorites. To me, they show why bespoke is worth it. They are stylish, versatile, practical, cut of the most beautiful cloth, and will be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Georgios

Which one is the Hitchcock Donegal ? The Ulster is also one of my favorites but its crazy expensive for me at the time..

JB

Interesting that marvelous Liverano ulster would not be considered a heavy coat. I would’ve expected a heavy harris tweed like that to be quite warm?

Richard W

Great to see your Sexton flannel suit being mentioned. Has been a favourite of mine for some years, showing how a great cut and material selection keeps a suit in style for many years

Zy

Really enjoyed this post Simon. This is similar to the kind of thing I had in mind when I asked about the things you keep and wear regularly out of the things you commission and review. I agree with others that it would be nice to see the trousers and blousons/overshirts in a separate post perhaps. Mainly because I think some people give the impression that they have a CM only wardrobe when really most of the time they wear jeans, sneakers, chinos, etc. So a slightly more holistic approach would feel more…transparent(? not quite the right word) to me.
Another point: it would be nice to get a couple of articles about tailors you go back to. I know some pop up over and over again like W&S or Steven Hitchcock, but I am also thinking about your recent Instagram story about your next Ciardi jacket (also because I am curious how you like the Anglo cloth). Sometimes one argument made for bespoke is that familiarity and repeat commissions help improve fit and allow for more creativity at times. I think it would be interesting to see that play out.

Jason

The evolution to casual is the fastest I’ve experienced in my 55 years as a style aficionado. I think that COVID and associated changes has rendered the formal suit all but irrelevant, with the exception of births, deaths, marriages and the most formal of professions.
I pride myself as leading an active, varied life but am finding that with the exception of Mayfair, even a softly tailored jacket is starting to look a little too formal.
You make mention of jackets not feeling appropriate in your neighbourhood “ As somebody who splits his time between an extremely affluent Surrey market town and a Cornish coastal resort, I can tell you it’s becoming less appropriate everywhere.
The era of the bomber, the shacket and the over shirt is well and truly with us as is the accompanying trend towards less formal overcoats and premium knitwear.
With this in mind, it would be interesting to see a daily diary of what you actually sport in comparison with what you’ve lugged down from your attic. How many of those pieces will get substantial wear – and I’m not talking about for an instagram shoot – bet it will be a fraction.
The last time there was such a move to luxury casual was between ‘65 and ‘75 but then it was restricted to the young. This time around it’s across generations.
As Mark Twain said “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes “.

Nick

The market that has collapsed is the daily uniform of offices.’ Also up for debate finance, law and a lot of consulting a suit is still pretty much the norm and that’s a substantial slice of people in London.

zo

correct, i work in a bank and suits are an exception. even among the senior echelon. and i think i work in a more conservative bank than others. (at previous jobs, colleagues/bosses used to wear chinos and puffer jackets to work). i have to echo Jason’s sentiments here. I deliberately wear a suit/smart coat to work, but I stick out like a sore thumb. even when going in to town, to eat out, etc, it feels more and more awkward and inappropriate wearing a blazer, which is sad. even with a casual cotton/corduroy suit you end up looking like a fashionista or someone who works in menswear.

A

For now, with the exception of zoom, even the California Legislature still requires suit and tie for staff (at least to enter the Chambers during session, not that it’s been allowed during these past two years). Generally, while members (elected officials) are in town (generally Monday-Thursday from January-September) suit and tie has been required. Though, it is California, so separates are seen as equally formal (as are flannel suits), color doesn’t seem to matter much as long it is not flashy or a light color, light neutrals are ok. Don’t get me started on shoes. All in all, has always allowed for one to have an excuse to stay pretty formal, or experiment a bit.
However, when we did return to the office this year (albeit in a “hybrid” capacity), it did become a bit more business casual. No ties, myself and a few others were the exception – for context I am 30, so not some old timer completely tied to tradition. Few jackets as well, mostly just trousers (and more formal chinos) and button up shirts.
Unknown what “work attire” will look like for us post-Covid, but that’s what i has been like prior to Covid and during….I suspect it will be somewhere in between, which necessarily means more casual.

Dan

Out of curiosity, do you insure or separately insure your clothes? From what I recall, in your backyard, underwriters at Lloyd’s of London will insure practically anything.

Marcel

Nice article! what is interesting to me is that you do not default to blue like so many men, myself included.

Noel

Hi Simon,

Great article. Even though my wardrobe is much smaller I also swap clothes between seasons (in part also because there’s a large difference between winter and summer here in Stockholm).

It would be nice to see the casual pieces like blousons you choose too. Perhaps for another post?

Peter Hall

Writing this as I watch the deluge and high winds in the Netherlands.
Winter coats are rapidly confined to a few very cold days in January, whilst go-to coats are waterproof and lightweight . I have a couple of tightly woven wool coats-the traditional car coat and these seem to be the ones I find most use for, being stylish, yet practical.

José

Hi Simon,
Have you considered doing an articule on the cordoroy DB? It is such a beautiful piece! It would be great if you showed it and explained it in more detail!
Also, when I see your coats I just wish that I lived in a colder country. They are so nice! The liverano, the ciardi and the Michael Browne I had seen and they are all great. But it was Also the first time I Saw your sexton great coat and it is awesome as well. Being such a dramatic piece is it something that you get a lot of use out of if the weather allows it?

José

I did. But it is so great that I would love to ser more. I think what is most interesting about it is something that both that One and the cordoroy DB from Anderson and Shepard share, which is the fact that they are great for more casual looks despite being DB. I love double breasted tailoring but it is something that I find hard to use as my job as a very casual wardrobe and I am quite young, so I’m always conscious about looking too out of place. But both of these I think I would wear and not feel that.

Henry

I don’t see how many people in this comment section (including yourself Simon) see the suit as something that will soon die out.
I can only speak for my age bracket (18-23), but I see many guys my age wanting to dress up and appear elegant.
Even if you look at streetwear, black loafers, baggy double breasted suits and other “classical items” are totally en Vogue.
I actually think many young guys are wearing suits and other tailored garments as a form of protest against their Gen X fathers who think it’s cool to wear black skinny jeans and look like a mid 2000s “hip guy”.
I can attest to this with my own father, who used to wear Savile row suits every day.
Now he never wears a tie and is predominantly found in jeans.
My mother agrees, the A&S three pieces he used to don were far more flattering.

What I DO think is dead is the soulless office drone, wearing large tie knots and Baggy worsted suits with light brown shoes (ugh).

Suits will not disappear, tailoring will not disappear.

And to all readers 35+ (Coming from a 20 year old): You all look silly attempting to look like a young person, there is nothing flattering than a well fitting suit on a man.

zo

LOL at that last part…mate, tell that to Jeff Goldblum looking killer in his boxy Prada shirts.

Henry

He bears a strong resemblance to a cartoonish figure, a clown.

Imagine inviting him for lunch and he shows up wearing a shirt that looks like it could have been stolen from a buccaneering five year old.

He embodies the opposite of what one might call “English sensibility”.
It’s impressive how many Americans, especially those with more money than sense, find a way to appear foolish.

Steve

This sounds like a very dictatorial comment from a whippersnapper: telling oldies what they shouldn’t wear. I’d agree that it would be preferable not to be “mutton dressed up as lamb” but conversely there are plenty of young men with beer bellies & baggy seats who shouldn’t be wearing what they might especially too tight fitting tailoring. As for jeans we’ve been brought up on them all our lives. Our forefathers might have lived & died (literally) in their three piece suits, but we are the generation that moved away from this into more varied attire from tailoring to casually. I suspect most PS readers are subtle enough to know what is appropriate for their age & shape. I We will wear our well fitted suits when the opportunity arises but smart casual is more often than not more appropriate.

Yassine

We’ll need similar article for shoes!

Jay W

Hi Simon-
is the grey Herrington PS Donegal the one to shortly be available? That one, on the shop page, is simply beautiful. I keep clicking back over to look at it.
jtw

Toby

Simon I think there’s a typo, I thought your WWChan tweed was Shetland not Harris?

BRENDEL

Everything looks perfect — the grey flannel suit is magic. I can see that you enjoy all the clothes that you wear.

Harry

Simon, will there be another PS Donegal coat this season? Or did I miss it?

Harry

Great, thanks Simon.

joao m. silva

Lovely how the Sexton cut looks on you! Despite all the charisma of the more natural italian tailors it’s cut looks allways more telluric and sloppy. That particular Sexton cut makes you look alive and active! Slight details can really change dimensions we tend no to look at: personality, spirituality…..!
Cheers Simon!

Henry

I agree,

most men do not look good in unstructured tailoring. It often looks shapeless and sloppy.

Most people – who know practically nothing about tailoring – don’t even necessarily think unstructured tailoring is less formal than structured tailoring.
As soon as they see somebody wearing a jacket, they think: guy wearing a suit.

I think as tailoring enthusiast we highly underestimate just how pointless all this fuss about matching the formality of your surroundings by wearing soft tailoring is.

If you like it, wear it. Be elegant, even if the masses are wearing tracksuits and dirty trainers.

If you buy bespoke tailoring, you probably are a man of means and authority.
You don’t need to adapt to the inelegance and impropriety of the common man!

A

I’d have to second what Simon is saying. Again, I speak here as a Californian (often seen as one of the more informal states in the US), I find that people that don’t know much or care much about tailoring still notice. Yes, they see separates as suits, but they notice things like texture and style details, just without the language or knowledge to express what they are seeing.

For example, when I wear a more unstructured jacket people will say “oh that’s nice, it looks different, it looks comfortable.” Occasionally when they say things like that I’ll point out the shoulder and explain to them the lack of padding, perhaps the lack of lining, and they’ll respond with “that explains it, yeah it looks more fun..”

Same goes for textures, people will notice a flannel suit and just know it is different. They may still think it is “nice”, “fancy”, or “lux”, but they also tend to recognize when something is less formal, as Simon said as “an emotional response.” I’ve actually been surprised by the things people will notice.

Seth

Hey Simon, great article. I’m updating my outerwear for winter and feel like I need something more than a pea coat for when the weather is wet/cold/windy. I’m wondering whether an overcoat is the way to go. However, I’m curious, is there a place in your wardrobe for technical clothing, like a winter parka? Or do you wear the wax walker + layers for that kind of weather?

Seth

The Cavour Everest looks like a great option. I’d be very interested in reading more about it. I’ve been struggling to find good information on ‘practical’ outerwear options for the depths of winter, so this advice means a lot.

DKP

Simon – looking at jacket pricing, it seems there’s little difference between Anthology & WW Chan. So factoring in overall quality, style and frequency of London trunk shows, would you lean towards one over the other? 

DKP

That’s helpful Simon – especially as I would likely go for something casual enough that could be worn with jeans so sounds like Anthology might be the better option in this instance?

Nicolas Strömbäck

Slowly but steadily moving towards that British country look, but more refined of course. I like it, a great range in here from the lovely Sexton suit to the heavier PS tweeds.

Erik

I am so jealous of that coat selection. The Michael Browne top coat is so subtle yet somehow very dramatic..

Had any experience with or plans to cover Dylan and sons by any chance?

Jochen

Just wondering: no more love for the field jacket with liner? How come?