My favourite clothes ever: Awards 2022

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I have to say, I was really pleased with the reaction to this year’s PS Awards, which were set out here two weeks ago.

It’s always nerve-wracking changing the format of a popular series, but after almost 1000 product recommendations from readers, I think it’s fair to say the new scheme has been popular too. 

Of course being PS readers, the thing that’s most striking about those recommendations is how thoughtful they are. 

Whether it’s a comparison of different horsehide jackets over the years, or a story of a favourite old shirt that is now used - as a mark of honour - to polish and buff shoes, the entries display both emotion and information. 

That second story reminded me of indigenous peoples that see it as a gesture of respect to use every part of an animal they kill - the skin as well as the meat. It's the same idea of valuing clothes more, no matter what they are. More materialism, less consumerism

Anyway, thank you all very much for your wonderful contributions. I continue to read them, and I know other readers have got a lot of value out of them too. 

The only issue with this awards format, it turns out, is that it’s impossible to turn the responses into actual winners. They’re just too varied. 

Perhaps next time it would make sense - if we discuss favourite clothing again - to keep the categories narrow, such as favourite shoes or knitwear. As ever I welcome your thoughts. 

Instead of announcing winners in today’s post, therefore, I am thanking everyone; recommending others browse the lists if they're ever in need of inspiration; and then giving my own nominations. 

First, my favourite piece of clothing I bought in 2022. 

 

Favourite piece of clothing in 2022: Rubato Officer’s Chinos

My favourite pieces of clothing are nearly always ones I wear a lot, purely because I have so many opportunities to enjoy them. 

And they're nearly always ones that fill a specific place in my wardrobe: not another colour or pattern of shirt, but something that is unique in the role it plays. 

My Officer’s Chinos are both of those. 

The Rubato look of white shirt/polo, V-shaped knitwear and smart chino continues to please me every time I wear it. It’s smart and chic. It feels a long way from tailoring, but it’s equally far from jeans or streetwear. 

When a friend asks what he should wear when everyone else in the office has abandoned tailoring to the sloppiness of cheap chinos and half-zip sweaters, this is what I recommend to him. He will almost look like everyone else, but not quite. Better. 

The Rubato chinos themselves have the perfect rise, the perfect simple (but quality) make. There’s no two-button French bearer, which used to seem so special and now feels a little silly. There are just razor-sharp hip pockets and finely made buttonholes. 

I have the ivory (pictured above), the khaki, and I’m trying to bring back the brown. 

 

Favourite piece of clothing ever: Liverano ulster coat

This category is incredibly hard, as readers have attested.

If you have a good number of nice clothes, it’s really impossible to select one. You like too many in different ways, for different reasons.

So I picked one that, off the top of my head, gives me most pleasure to wear.

I have a long-running love affair with tailored coats, and this Liverano ulster is special among them. The cut is so roomy in the chest that everything seems to fit easily under it, yet it never feels big.

It’s well made, but there’s nothing at all showy about it. And of course it’s in what’s now called PS Harris Tweed, which is nice. 

I think emotions like this have a lot to do with what clothes become your favourites. This coat feels very personal given that tweed - and it's a reminder of Antonio Liverano, with his ever-knowing smile. 

 

Favourite bespoke ever: Anderson & Sheppard cord suit

Of course, that coat could have won this category too, but picking it for the previous section allows me to have another piece of tailoring here. And it too is a mixture of joy and personal connection. 

I’ve always liked the drape cut of an A&S double-breasted jacket, and this is the DB I wear the most; probably because the others are either quite smart (charcoal worsted) or quite unusual (royal-blue flannel). 

I wear the jacket on its own most of the time, and doing so recently reminded me how nice a cotton/cashmere corduroy is.

It doesn’t have to be cashmere, it could be wool. But that mix of animal hair gives the jacket more softness and pliability, which also allows it to be cut a little closer than full cotton. (And both are so much better than stretch synthetics.) This one was from Scabal. 

It’s not a great fibre combination for trousers, unfortunately. But as I said I wear the jacket mostly on its own, and the trousers are serviceable if pressed frequently. 

Emotionally, it reminds me of John Hitchcock of course, who cut all my A&S tailoring until he retired. 

 

Favourite piece of ‘luxury’ clothing: Recycled fur lining

In category four of the PS awards, it was very interesting to hear readers’ experiences of what luxury means to them.

It was, as I expected, a mixture of rarity, materials and craftsmanship. But there’s nothing like hearing it spelt out by different people at different points in their life. Everything is specific and personal.

For me, luxury has always been closely identified with fine materials. I have a frightening attraction to top-end suede; I adore the soft-strong nature of PS Oxford fabric. When people talk about liking cheap jeans, I get it: they still look good. But I can't help feeling there’s no joy taken in the material. 

The moulding of horsehide, the dusty look of old duck canvas, the sponginess of loopwheel cotton: I think a lot of the pleasure of great clothing is the pleasure of materials. 

Right now, that luxury for me is the fur liner I had made last year by Yves Salomon, and now use on my herringbone Donegal coat - as well as the Coherence raincoat it was originally made for. 

It was made of ends of mink that would have otherwise gone to waste. It’s a rather idiosyncratic mix of browns as a result, but it feels no less amazing on a freezing day, hugging your chest and back.

And I was thrilled when I managed to put in a set of buttons on my Donegal coat (below) in order to wear it under that too. It means I can wear that coat all through the coldest (London) winter if I want to. 

Four more stories of beloved clothing, to add to the thousand already submitted by PS readers. 

I hope you enjoyed mine, and found them as useful as all the others.

See you in January next year, for more highly considered nominating and story-telling. And if you have any thoughts on what the categories should be in 2023, as I said, do let me know.  

Simon

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Henry

Interesting that your favourite piece from this year is RTW and not bespoke. I like the Rubato product but i must say i take some umbrage with their use of imagery on their IG stories. There has been a slew of images of well-known artist or creatives with the rubato logo slapped right across the middle of the image as if they are campaign photographs. Often those featured are no longer with us and i wonder how appropriate it is to commandeer their image for commercial purposes without, i assume the concent of the individual or their estate. Certainly you wouldnt get away with placing these images on public billboards and IG is no different. It seems somewhat arrogant to assume that that person would be happy advertising and/ or endorsing their product. I find it to be rather distasteful and an unauthorised appropriation of that person. I am sorry to say it has tainted my view of the brand.

Henry

Yes, i wouldn’t dispute that being an issue but when the company’s logo is prominently displayed over the top it is a very different thing. Looking through their IG page these images arent visible but they have certainly occured on their stories in the past.

Henry

Im not sure of the name of the person pictured in this photo and there has certainly been more high profile artists inlcuded in the same way but do you consider this to be ok? This is a video of someone performing with a private company logo displayed over the top. Perhaps this person has provided permission but i suspect they havent. I would be interested to know peoples thoughts on this?

arsfsf.png
Oliver - Rubato

Hi Henry,
Thank you for your input. This might not be the right forum, but we’re more than happy to discuss so please send us an email at [email protected].
Kind regards,
Oliver – Rubato

Henry

Hi Oliver, thanks for the offer but I think I’ve stated all I have to say on the subject here already. I’m more interested in having a group discussion on the subject rather than raising it as a personal complaint directly. Best wishes, Henry

Eric Piskura

That looks like Thelonious Monk

Kenneth

I agree with you

DD

I actually thought about it, too.
It is correct that many influencers (for lack of a better word) recycle photos sloppily, but in this case it is a brand using them side by side with their own produced content, to help sell stuff. Fortela does a similar thing to show the origins of their vintage-like clothes. It is for sure a way of using someone else’s labour for one’s own gains. And it is great that old photos are being reutilized, but it would be even better if the creators were properly credited.

I guess it’s ok because they are a small operation, not Ralph Lauren. And I think that it would better be brought up with them, where they have the possibility to defend themselves, rather than here.

Henry

I think the need for constant visual content might have something to do with it. I get that a small brand may just not have the resources to constantly produce original imagery. I also appreciate that it can be an effective way of communicating a brands ethos or point of view through broader cultural references. I get all of that but for me its still a step to far to place your brand logo over an image of someone else chosen for either their own creative output or their personal aesthetic. The point about it being a small operation i don’t think is entirely exculpatory. RL would be called out and sued very quickly i imagine if they did this sort of thing. A smaller brand only gets away with it because there is less attention given and therefore less scrutiny not because it is somehow less morally questionable.
 In the same way it would be improper of me to take the Rubato look book images and use them with my own branding over the top to sell, say some new brand of soft drink, or wellness experience I consider this to be equally as egregious

rich

you do see this allot on IG. I think the differance can be when its a vintage photo of an unknown person just looking cool or presenting a certain style its one thing but if its an artist, designer or muscian it becomes something slightly different. Whilst some of these people might not be celebrities as such their specific persona is something cultivated by their own creative achievements and outputs. As such often the power of an imagine of them is not so much chance but as a direct result of their work and accosiations with it. Using this image for your own brand therefor does somehow also appropriate their intelectual property for your own gains. Interesting area for discussion as its very relevent to the social media age and not something ive seen discussed in depth. I think actually this is a good place to raise this as it could generate an intersting disucssion with multile viewpoints. I imagine the Rubato guys would be aware of this article so may well read the comments. peace and best wishes.

Benjamin

+ 1 for the Rubato Officer Chino in brown. Would be great!

Robin

Personally, I don’t get cord for a jacket . Trousers , yes, but for a jacket it just seems like it’ll attract dust and give that 2 tone shade.
Anyway, I like the idea of readers giving their personal likes of brands .
These are often more relatable as they vary in budget and introduce me to new brands.
Would be great to do these kind of recommendation from reader’s articles.
No I’m off to reread the comments from the earlier article .

Stephen

Enjoyed this and the awards exercise. Very interesting. My recommendation for a future category is the “punching above its weight award”. This category is for those items acquired cheaply from places like Uniqlo or similar that somehow hold their own in the context of proper menswear over a few years. I’m thinking of things like this camp collar shirt that your reader Manish highlighted a few months back Reader profile: Manish – Permanent Style. Mine would be an old pair of Reiss trousers that are more than a decade old in very hefty navy cotton, not too low cut or too slim. As they’ve faded they have become more casual and work-wear-y, but somehow still fit perfectly and are preferred to many other more expensive things (though I know navy trousers have their sceptics….). Maybe it’s more “lucky snap thrift purchase validated by time award”. Anyway, just a thought.

Stephen (a different one!)

Yes agree. Uniqlo would be key contenders as would Marks and Spencer UK and John Lewis UK mainly for knitwear.

J.S.

The logical trajectory in “The Punching Above its Weight Award” would lead to the inevitable question of how such low priced- high-quality items are achieved and the unfortunate answer is usually Chinese (and other low-wage countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia) forced slave and underpaid labor. It’s a controversial topic, no doubt, and not without explanation from all sides and certainly deserves a broad discussion. But the people of most advanced industrialized nations much prefer to enjoy the fruits of their cheap clothing conquests quietly and without thinking about the poor souls that make such enjoyment possible. 

Gary Mitchell

…..and I had my heart set on winning.

Gary Mitchell

That Donegal coat is a splendid bit of kit but… I have similar, not as nice, but similar and mine are laced with history (Owned by my Grandfather and around100 yr old probably) although I would still happily buy one if I could dream up a need for one in Africa. Still tempted though.

Jonny

I’d echo Henry’s point above that it’s interesting that RTW managed to snap up your favourite piece of clothing. It’s very easy to get so caught up in the idea of something being bespoke/custom that we can forget that great designers bring with them an understanding of function and utility (along with form) that can be easy overlook when faced with the limitless opportunity that bespoke brings.
I’ve certainly noticed that when I look at the IG/postings of someone like Peter Zottolo who you’ve covered in the past, a lot of my favourite outfits of his include old PRL RTW tailoring, and they certainly sit alongside images of his bespoke commissions without feeling ‘lesser’ in any way.
More importantly however, considering the detail with which you’ll explore weaves, gorge heights, buttonholes etc, it feels like a terrible journalistic shortcoming that you neglect to mention where we can find that blueberry danish.

Robin

Might I suggest a future article whereby readers are asked to submit where they buy an item of clothing or what ‘brand’ of clothing they buy.
Something like
Preferred ….
shoe
trousers
shirts
suit
etc etc
Maybe even a 1st , 2nd , 3rd choice for each item.
Maybe do a submission in the form of a spreadsheet and do the results in a column and row format (so more a lookup rather then an article).
I think your earlier article was great but having to trawl through so many comments can be cumbersome thus my suggestion of a spreadsheet type format.
(It could even be a 2 stage exercise with the first stage being the names of brands and the second stage a vote or ranking of each by readers)
My main reason for suggesting this is because I for one have found other readers comments hugely useful .
It’s how I’ve learnt of Incotex , Bogolio , Trunk Clothiers , Simone Abbarchi , Luxire , Natalino , Kafka, Dicks of Edinburgh, Graham Browne, Belvest, The Armoury etc etc etc .
Just a suggestion .

Peter Hall

It would be good to award recognition for design and for us to have a discussion about what we want/expect in this area.We,as a group, spend so much energy on colour and fabrics we neglect it.
Indeed, a series focussed on the building blocks of good clothing design would be of interest.

Marcus

A suggestion for an article that wouldn’t necessarily be for awards, but this article sparks for me would be to read the different stories of what I would call people’s ‘gateway clothes.’ Essentially it is the clothing items that spark peoples interest in good clothes. Whether a specific article seen in media, something a relative wore, something inherited, or the very first high quality piece. I know for me it was a duffle coat my dad passed down to me. I could go on for the reasons but I will leave my comment/suggestion at that for now.

Fashion Bear

Great selections, Simon. I never had an opportunity to respond to the prior post, but I found it interesting that your luxury selection mirrored what mine would have been: a beaver fur coat I bought from the Italian designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua around 1999 or 2000. I was only 20 or so at the time, and it was the most expensive piece of clothing I had ever purchased (I think $12,000 at the time) up until that point, and I think it remains the most money I’ve spent on a single item of clothing to this day.
But I still wear it every winter, though it’s reserved only for days where the thermometer refuses to creep above 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is the softest and warmest piece of clothing I own. It makes me feel impervious to cold when I have it on, and that sense, coupled with the aforementioned softness, feels luxurious in a way that no other item of clothing–from Thom Browne knitwear to RL Purple Label cashmere pants to bespoke Gieves suit–can quite equal.

Noel

Very interesting choices Simon, particularly the A&S DB cord suit that hadn’t been mentioned for some time.

I was somewhat surprised by the Rubato chinos because you mentioned in your original post that you had to narrow the leg. How does this sort of adjustment post-purchase affect the perception of a product ?

M

Hei Simon. While your ecru/cream cavalry twill and Zegna “wool-denim” didn’t make the list, out of those two, which one do you prefer? After having some time with those would you recommend both fabrics?

Pyc

Hi Simon, who are these “indigenous peoples”?
Using this kind of generalisation may come across as sounding, to some ears, a little patronising, particularly given the starkly different contexts (polishing shoes versus…)
Regards,

Peter

Very cool you were able to use the fur liner for two different overcoats. I’ve never thought about doing that, but now that you’ve got me thinking…

Anonymous

Please no Duke of Windsor and/or fur “hate mail” as we can perhaps all agree that they were no doubt a self-indulgent couple and leave it at that, but David used to have his overcoats lined with Wallis’s discarded fur coats – environmentally correct and oddly prescient. 

Ben R

Simon, will the future versions of the Donegal Overcoats come with liner fastenings as a result? Or did you find adding them later allowed for the versatility to utilize the liner in multiple coats? Did the Coherence coat already gave the liner fastening?

P.F.

Very interesting post. I wasn’t expecting the Rubato chinos as from the review I did not get the impression that they would be so useful. I would have thought that you would choose the chinos of the Real McCoy’s. And in fact I was expecting one of your bespoke commissions instead of RTW chinos. It’s interesting how sometimes the reader gets a completely different impression than the author.

With respect to half-zip sweaters, what’s the problem with them? I’ve seen very stylish “casual-chic” Italians sporting them in Milano. They looked anything but sloppy. Gabucci for one does lovely ones in nougat colour.

zo

I really like half zips too. I think they bridge the sportswear and tailoring genres quite well. Simon recently wrote about that crossover I recall…although not specifically half zips.

zo

Nice closure to the nominations. I shall pick your brains on this alteration again. Rubato is a brand that sells an image, a specific aesthetic…as opposed to TM Lewin, 100 Hands and Ambrosi that sell generic shirts and trousers. So when you alter the leg line of these trousers, you’ve deviated from the brand image. It doesnt change the fact that its your most enjoyable purchase….but its kinda not rubato anymore, is it?

Jan

Cannot believe your favourite bespoke ever has never featured in its own review! You’ve only indirectly mentioned / shown this suit. Any chance you can tell us a bit more about it?

Chris K

This was one of my favourite articles of the year Simon and I take no shame in admitting it took multiple sittings and countless cups of coffee to get through the entire list, the stories and insight into peoples decisions is priceless. I think most of us PS readers pinched a few ideas from others for future investments. Can’t wait for this years again, hope it’s a similar format if not the exact same.

shem

hi simon seeing how the rubato chios are your fav item have you tried the armoury sport chino? They seem to be up your style with a slim leg, lower rise, moderate leg opening and are machine washable. Would be nice for you to review a pair and see how they compare with the other slimmer chinos you have reviewed thus far

Morgan Hunt

I always wondered why you prefer to flip your collar up on your Liverano ulster. I commissioned one last month and Taka showed me the unique way Liverano attaches its collars so that it stands up a certain way. It’s impossible to appreciate the Liverano collar flip in pictures. as it’s hard to appreciate bespoke garments in still pictures in any event. My coat was just commissioned, so now the one year wait! But your experience certainly played heavily in my decision to get the Liverano ulster coat. I told them that Simon sent me. Thank you

Kenneth

Good morning..excellent selection of clothing…Cary Grant was known for dressing up well up and he did..much applause to him…but gary Cooper was known for being well dressed at all times..it didn’t matter he always looked fabulous….Simon you are in that same category as Coop..Keep it up and enjoy your day….peace

Peter Hall

An article about Cary Grant’s casual wear would be interesting,Simon. His tailoring is well known, but his trouser, shirt and knitwear combinations are always spot on.

christian

Haha, thats funny

Shem

Hi simon how does the rubato chino differ from the pairs you have from casatlantic? In terms of fit and fabric

Sunny

Hey Simon – could you elaborate on why these Rubato chinos are a long way from tailoring? I’m wondering about getting some for office wear with soft jackets – would this work ok?

Tom

Ah – I thought chinos were less old-fashioned than the sharp wool. This seems quite a tricky area!