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Patrick Dawson is a retired news correspondent, now living in London. During his career he worked for ABC, CNN and NBC and covered the Balkans War from Kosovo, the Gulf War from Kuwait, and was the first NBC correspondent on the ground during 9/11. He is currently working on his first novel.

Patrick has been a reader for a few years, and although a recent convert to some bespoke makers, has been dressing pretty much the same way - at least casually - since he went to college in the 1970s. 

He wears it all very well. Here are three outfits representing how he dresses, with a lean towards the slightly more colourful end of the wardrobe. 

Outfit 1: Formal

What are you wearing in this outfit?

This is a chalk-stripe suit that Steven Hitchcock made for me, oh God more than 10 years ago now. It has the classic English drape, which I assume he learnt from his Dad, but the thing I love most about it is the balance. A grey suit that has balance is just a beautiful thing, and he did a great job. It was my only suit from him too, so it’s not as if he knew me well. 

What do you mean by balance?

I mean the way it looks on me, the proportions between the shoulder width, the drape, the lapels, the buttoning point. Getting all that right shows real artistry. It’s also accommodated my changing body over the years well. 

What else are you wearing?

The shirt is a blue puppytooth made by Simone Abbarchi in Florence, the tie and handkerchief are from the Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery on Clifford Street, and the scarf and trench - which I know we both love - are from Paul Stuart. The shoes are two-tone oxfords from Stefano Bemer, the fedora is from Lock & Co. 

What do you particularly love about the coat?

It’s a traditional trench, but it has that something extra that Paul Stuart in New York always adds to its clothes - in this case the colour, and the brown cord that’s on the collar and under the pocket flaps. That’s what Paul Stuart has always done well - taking classic clothes a little out of the ordinary. 

Would you normally wear shoes as unusual as this?

No, probably not, I’m deliberately wearing things with a little more individuality today. Though I also think they help to stop the suit looking too conservative. It’s hard to wear a chalk stripe and not look somewhat conservative, so I try to dress it up and add a little individual style. 

Outfit 2: Semi-casual

Tell us about the second outfit.

Here I wanted to show something with a more Italian feel. So you have this pale-blue cashmere sport coat from D’Avenza in Rome, the classic three-roll-two look. It’s a nice counterpoint to the English suit I think. The shirt is a cream, worn open-collar, from Simone Abbarchi as before. 

I like the way the pale blue of the jacket, which is a little unexpected, sets off the strong check of the trousers. They’re a dark-blue windowpane, a heavy Fox cloth made by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury

Patterned trousers aren’t easy to wear - why do you think this jacket works well with them?

I think it’s helpful if the jacket has some texture or pattern. Nothing so bold that it clashes with the trousers, but enough that draws the eye and all the attention isn’t on the lower half.

The shoes, from John Lobb, do that too. They’re a brown suede, but not your average brown - an unusual red tone that again I think sets off the trousers. 

We should also mention the socks, which are from your and my favourite sock store, Mes Chaussettes Rouges in Paris. I was there for the first time a couple of months ago, and it’s just a wonderful place. So much colour. 

During your working life on TV, I presume you didn’t dress this colourfully?

No, when you’re a news correspondent you couldn’t push the envelope too far. As we used to say, the clothes shouldn’t distract from the story. 

My career extended from the late seventies to around a decade ago, and for most of that time I would wear a fairly conservative suit on TV. Towards the end it was more a sport jacket and trousers, but again more conservative than we’re showing in this story. And you wouldn’t be wearing tailoring at all if you were in a war zone. 

Did you dress more colourfully in your spare time then, or has that come since you retired?

I would wear them if I was not on a job - evenings out, weekends. Something a little more fun, or perhaps with more personal expression, let’s put it that way. 

If I had been a print reporter during those years I might have pushed the envelope a little bit more, because people wouldn’t have been looking at me. The camera accentuates everything - it accentuates your features, it certainly accentuates what you’re wearing.

Was there an internal dress code, or did you get a sense of what was appropriate from other people?

There was nothing written down, it just depended on the occasion. So if you were reporting from the North lawn of The White House, or on election night, you would be more serious and plain. 

But if it was a human interest story, on a personal level, perhaps outside the city, then you could get away with a sports coat and trousers, and perhaps a little more style. 

Outfit 3: Casual

OK, outfit number three. Tell me about what you’re wearing here. 

The best way to describe this is old American style. Levi’s, a blue oxford button-down, a crewneck and desert boots. This is how we all dressed in boarding school and then during college - for me, the sixties into the seventies. The trousers might have been khakis, the shirt would alternate with white, but that was what we wore everyday, a uniform. 

The Levi’s are very American, popular in the forties and then the fifties, and of course the A2 leather jacket came from American servicemen after the Second World War. I feel very comfortable in them. In fact, they’re things that were built for comfort, and that’s important. No one designed these clothes with the desire to create a particular look.

Where are the various pieces from?

The jacket is an old one made by LL Bean. The oxford shirt is from Permanent Style, the lambswool crewneck is from Natalino, the jeans are Levi’s and the boots are from another of my favourite brands - which we also wore back then - the Italian maker Astorflex. They’re also really comfortable. 

How important is familiarity to style - the fact you’ve always worn these clothes?

I think it helps a lot in making you look and feel comfortable, which is an absolute requirement of style. But it’s also something that comes slowly over time, and everyone has to start somewhere. 

There might be a parallel with clothes like this shirt - it looks good now, it will look better in a few months, and it will look fantastic in three years when it’s been worn and washed countless times. People grow into style in the same way. 

How much have you found those clothes have gone in and out of fashion?

Good question. It was the ‘permanent’ in Permanent Style that attracted me to this site in the first place. Of course, nothing is actually permanent, but I think we can and should aim for a more enduring, authentic style. 

When these clothes were first worn, they were actually quite youthful. Few men in their fifties were wearing jeans and leather jackets. That’s changed over the years, but they always seem to come back round. 

There’s something about leather and denim that makes each generation find something new in them. From bikers to punk to hip-hop. 

Yes, and I think that’s partly down to their comfort and practicality. Their ruggedness. 

Thank you Patrick. Any last thoughts for readers?

I guess I would add that dressing well, in a way that reflects personal style, has always given me satisfaction, in ways large and small. That goes for dressing down as well as dressing up. 

The idea is to enjoy clothes - not so much to make a statement, but to enjoy what you’re wearing. They should express something about yourself. 

If I have a cardinal rule, it would be that to be understated is nearly always more elegant for a man. A woman can get away with more flamboyance and still look terrific. But generally for most men, something flamboyant, the overstated element, looks like you’re trying too hard. 

It’s important to emphasise that when I say understated, I don’t mean conservative, or predictable. There’s nothing wrong with an unexpected personal touch. But the aim should not be to stand out. 

Thanks again. Lovely chatting, and great to have you included in the Reader Profile series. 

My pleasure Simon. I’ve become a faithful reader since I began reading Permanent Style four years ago, and while the pieces I like most are your reviews of bespoke - probably because they've taught me how much I didn't know about clothes - these reader profiles are always useful. They provide great examples of all the principles we just talked about. 

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Joshua George

A lovely read and thanks for some amazing suggestions.

P.A.

Funny, I think this is the article of this series that I enjoyed the most, eventhough Patrick is the reader profile that I identify the less with (age, profession, style, etc.).
Interesting reflexions and lovely read

Neil

Firstly, thanks to Patrick for putting his style out there for review and comment.
Patrick looks really relaxed and at home in the casual outfit. Which of course then suits him.
His love of colour makes the formal outfit a bit too busy for me. I think one highlight with one counter point is about as much as one outfit requires.
Hats (not caps) are now so rare they draw attention even though not necessarily colourful.
Each item in the formal outfit is great, but I feel just one or two too many.
Thanks again for Patrick being willing to share.
Neil

Kevin

A suit draws much more attention than a hat. Maybe not in London but just about anywhere else. It has been years since i saw a suit. Hats I see now and again. Not often.

P.A.

May I ask where you live ? I rarely see a man wearing a proper hat (women sometimes), but see people wearing suits everyday.

Tim

Exactly, I’d like to know too. No matter where I’ve been, I never see hats. Suits are, despite dwindling in popularity, still a reasonably common sight in most places. They are still the default formal attire; hats, on the other hand, are almost always a statement in my experience. Very few people grew up wearing hats

Kenneth

Good morning…..Patrick Dawson also worked at WABC CHANNEL 7 in NYC…HE would on numerous occasions report directly from city hall..Simon believe me he was always well dressed as a reporter… when he mentioned Paul Stuart i was not shocked…we both know that is a classy store…

Oggi

I like the trilby with Patrick’s raincoat.Trilbys may be a rarity nowadays but when it’s raining they do the job of keeping your head dry and warm as well as looking stylish.

Gregg E.

Thanks for this. I enjoyed it.

Ali

Fantastic piece Simon

Scott W

Thanks, Patrick. I found this article really interesting and insightful. While I enjoyed all three outfits, I found the leather jacket and jeans perhaps the most stylish. As a younger man, I question/worry whether I could pull this look off with the level of authenticity that you do. I fear I may end up looking something of a caricature and this leaves me feeling slightly jealous!
Simon – Congratulations on a fantastic site/magazine.

Tim

Very true. I bought a vintage military jacket last year (A 60’s A2 deck jacket I believe), and while at first it seemed incredibly daunting to wear, it’s now become part of me. I love how it came rather faded and with lots of character, but the thing that did the trick was its sheer practicality. It’s warm, easy to put on (especially with backpacks compared to say a pea coat), and goes with lots of things. The ribbed cuffs are nice, and the high armholes make it a joy to move around in. I went from feeling slightly awkward to confident and at home in a span of two weeks.
Moral of the story, go try something out for a while, you may just come to love it. And if not, well, you’ve learned a valuable lesson.

Patrick

Scott, I’d say go for it. You’ve got youth on your side…

Stephen

Thanks for an enjoyable, relatable and interesting article, that’s brings something new to our knowledge. Probably the best in the series so far.

Lorenzo

Great !

Jtkuga

This is my favorite of the series yet by far. I could see myself wearing most things here. Question, what do you think of the puppytooth shirt? I have almost all solid dress shirts (some small patterns like Royal Oxford but I still consider that a solid), and 1 striped dress shirt. I like the puppytooth personally, and that might be the one “checked” style shirt I would get. What are your thoughts Simon?

JS

Enjoyed this article. Thank you, Simon.

Patrick has a great sensibility for combinations.

To me, the puppytooth shirt, particularly in a mid-blue (darker than a light blue business suit), is a common Ivy staple. Brook Brothers has carried these for years. Perhaps Patrick was influenced by this. A highly versatile shirt that goes with a variety of odd jackets.

I find differences in preferences by culture/nation fascinating. Perhaps the British are more inclined towards plain dress shirts and colorful stripes.

Another example of this are metallic button blazers. My impression is that the British associate these with militaria and formality. In the United States, the Ivy influence allows these blazers to be worn more casually even without a tie.

Cheers!

Rogey

Beautiful, well made clothes, worn with a bit of flair, and he understands that the point is to enjoy yourself. Perfectly captures it for me.

PeterHall

Thank you to Patrick for opening himself to the PS readers. The AS suit is superb. The first outfit is my favourite, the colour of the coat really gives it a pop.
A great example of classy,understated dressing. In fact, I have most, or very similar, items of Patrick’s style but would perhaps, be inclined to be a little more conservative.

Ben

Those shoes are plenty “flamboyant” to me, though they don’t suggest trying too hard—just a taste for attention. Quite appropriate for a TV reporter.

Andy Parker

Hey Simon

I love these reviews, and in particular this one, as they depict real guys wearing the clothes they choose and like, with a bit of background as to why. But what they don’t do is analyse the hell out of why they choose/like them, they just say I like them, and that’s it. This is me, and this is what I wear.
It’s much tougher for you, because you are in there talking about all the details and spelling out the rights and wrongs, and comparing makers and styles and designs and stuff. Which in a way, and without being negative, makes it a lot less natural.
Not sure I would wear the fancy shoes in this piece though!

Vida

A great way to add some variety to this type of post. I have actually enjoyed the input of all your reader profiles and value each person‘s individual input. I think a common thread is that many of them say that you should enjoy your clothes. I couldn’t agree more. By the way, I was reading one of your old post on your DB navy blazer from Caliendo. Do you wear it very often still?

Vida

Yes, I am actually. I worry that it may come across as a bit formal, but I think the way yours is configured makes it look very easy. The fabric and pockets you’ve chosen seem to broaden its usefulness.

William Kazak

I acquired a new A2 bomber jacket in goatskin from Cockpit. It goes very well with jeans or chinos. I imagine that it can also be worn with wool trousers.

SamS

It’s interesting how if someone had suggested wearing patterned trousers with red brown suede shoes, or black and tan oxfords with a grey suit (and a yellow trench), most people would call it too dandy, affected or showy. But Patrick does it and it looks… colorful? Interesting. Even refined. Definitely has a touch of the old school gentleman, who knows all the rules, and that slavishly obeying them is not always required.

I have no doubt that age and experience plays a part, and I would wager that Patrick’s experience in front of the camera also helps – it’s one thing to be comfortable in your clothes, it’s another entirely to be photographed in them.

Patrick and Andrew are my favourite reader profiles, and both wear a rather tailored style with individual touches – neither of them looks like they just read the menswear manual, or dress for other people, and both look supremely comfortable in their clothes.

I remember Andrew saying he’s inspired by older Italian gentlemen, and Patrick is no youngster. Perhaps this comfort with less usual styles come with age. If so, something to look forward to, for sure!

Andrew

Hi Sams

Thank you for the nice compliment about my profile.

This is also my favorite in the series so far, possibly because as you pointed out our style is perhaps similar, with Patrick having a lot more experience than me.

I love outfit one, in particular the way that Patrick mixes the warm coloured accessories in an unexpected way (brown hat and tie, mustard yellow trench and red scarf could come across as too much, but the way Patrick does it is great because it is so nonchalant) to liven up the grey suit. A lot in here I can learn from for sure.

Also, the leather jacket reminds me of one my dad had when I was young. I am going to call him now to ask if he still has it.

Thanks, Andrew

Adam

Any time a reader is featured it always shows some really prominent people. I’m surprised donkeys like me are even allowed to comment.

Adam

Hmm, I think a few years ago there was a reader with a collection of hats who was a writer or an author.

Yosef777

Great profile although one thing seemed a bit off, the windowpane trousers with the light blue jacket?!?Windowpane trousers seem like they are suiting material, no ?

Leo

Such an interesting piece. Understated and stylish. Now there is something to aim for as a man trying to get his head around dressing well.
A more than useful guide. Thanks Simon and Patrick.

Martin

Did you use a new photographer? I find those low angles unflattering.

SamS

I think the low angles are fine (though perhaps a little over-used in this particular shoot). But as a (part time) photographer, I’ll say that I think lower angles requires a bit more contact between photographer and subject. In this case, where Patrick is usually looking past the photographer or out of the frame, it creates a feeling of aloofness. We meet the subject from a position of weakness (low angle), and our presence is not acknowledged (looking past us). This can be used to good effect in some types of photography (I used it myself in fashion photography quite often), but in this kind of portrait where we should get to know and understand the subject, it creates a bit of distance.

Disclaimer: I’m almost certainly over-thinking it!

Peter O

Mr Dawson is surely too young to know if Levis jeans came into Americanfashion in the ’40’s! My guess would be the 60’s.
Would Mr Dawson please explain or give concrete examples how the camera “accentuates” clothes?

Patrick

Peter,
I’m sure the Levi Strauss Company would argue that Levis have been in fashion since the 19th Century when they started making them, but I think a fair assessment would be the ’40s, at least in America. Many American servicemen, especially in the Navy, wore denim as workwear during WW2 and came home quite comfortable with the idea of wearing it as casual wear. Certainly by the early ’50s, it was considered quite cool (see James Dean, Marlon Brando, etc.)
In any event, thank you for noting that I am too young to have actually experience 1940s style.
As to the camera accentuating a look, you’ll have to take my word for it (and the word of every cameraman I ever worked with.) Color often appears more vivid, certain patterns (some check or stripes) are exaggerated and will distort on camera, and stylised elements like wide shoulders or lapels really seem to stand out in ways they wouldn’t in person.
PD

Robin

Patrick could easily have walked off the pages of Cordings of Piccadilly and Brook Brothers .

What I most enjoy is the sparkle of colour in each outfit .

Well done Patrick .

Craig

Three VERY different looks. There is probably more difference among these looks than in any of the other men you’ve interviewed, particularly between the second and third. I really like the jacket in the second outfit and this seems like a good choice for guys looking to experiment with adding a bit of color while not going to extremes.

RONALD

An excellent read Simon:
Patrick Knows how to get it together and has obviously learnt a good deal from Permanent Style. I really like the way he understands about some many aspects, including balance and the understated look.

Danny S.

Wow one of the best menswear articles I enjoyed in a long time. Cheers to the team!

Stewart

From a personal angle I’d have liked to hear how retirement has impacted Patrick’s wardrobe. I have found moving out of the formal, corporate world completely turned my wardrobe upside down . I dress now, tweed jacket, OCBD, jeans and loafers so often closer to how I dressed as a student but perhaps that is just me. I am enjoying the challenge and as I say value other’s views …

Stewart

Simon I think that would be a fascinating piece. I imagine the level of ‘challenge’ is commensurate with the level of lifestyle change that retirement brings.

John

Hi Simon,
Interestlingly enough, there’s always something worth considering in those profiles. Thanks to Patrick, this time I ended up my reading, and upon looking at the pics more closely, by pondering what we call “unusual”.I’ve paid more attention to his shoes, just because I’m focused on shoes right now. Both oxfords are high end shoes indeed! And yet, they are casual, either by design or by color, and hence unusual.
And then I realized that no matter the occasion, they are way too unusual to my eyes to wear them myself. How did I reach that? By factoring into the equation my environment.
Social, professional envionments have more constrains on how we shape our style than we usually think.
John

Michael from Connecticut

Simon, so nice to see this post on Patrick….thanks for featuring an ‘Ole Dude….that some of us PS fans can identify with….because we are in fact ‘Ole Dudes. He has a great sense of style and the photography emphasizes the man and the style, equally well. Tasteful job, as ever. Please keep it up and let us please see more age diversity with such personal style such as this this on your pages.

JJ Katz

Very nice. Far and away the best of the profiles you’ve published (IMO).

CG

Love the casual outfit!

Michael

I really love the chalk stripe look with the Paul Stuart coat, and I think a lot of the reason relates to the ideas well-covered by this site about the rules of formality. Ethan Wong frequently makes the point that the world of menswear is, ultimately, always going to be a bit silly and it is not a concession to embrace that fact: we’re a bunch of people with a niche interest that will pay far more attention to clothes than almost anyone else, and it adds colour to our lives to do so. In this way, the most stylish thing you can do is wear the clothes that make you feel happy. The way that Patrick wears that chalk stripe suit, ostensibly a really rather formal item, shows how deeply comfortable he is in it and how many of the traditional conventions of how it ought to be worn aren’t needed for him to be happy to be wearing it. The confidence needed to subvert the ‘rules’ is sometimes misinterpreted as machismo, some kind of command of the room etc., whereas I think Patrick demonstrates that that confidence is a much quieter thing: a happiness in your clothes and however you wear them that leads to comfort, which in turn exudes the real essence of style. Great article.

Jeans Lauren

Thought provoking comment, some suggestions:
Understanding the metrics behind the rules is more important then just knowing the rules, they’re guidelines for those too lazy to labour over the metrics behind them. Patricks style is not quiet at all. He looks comfortable, but likely due to how well cut his clothes are. The same colour palette with a worse cut would make anyone uncomfortable to wear those items.
A poor person would be considered weird, but the conspicuous consumption principal allows Patrick to appear eccentric instead.
Patrick certainly doesn’t have a quite confidence, most of his clothing is visually quite noisy. He looks comfortable, and in turn confidence, but this is likely based on a sense of self assurance that his items socially allow him.
I think your romanticising his look a bit too much here.
Much love,
Jeans

Paul

Are lesser known tailors such as Divij (Kirby Allison’s tailor) worth a look? He only charges ~2000 for a suit.

Jeans Lauren

Depends on your budget. I’d go to their showroom in person to have a look at their wares first if I were you. I’m not sure how well they actually cut patterns for their clients, Kirbies first few coats had some, but not heaps of collar gape… Compare this to Steven Hitchcocks coat in his video that stays on his neck/shirt collar at all times.

Carlos

Nice article, thank you Simon and Patrick!

Tony Johansson

A really nice and very interesting interview. Great to read about his thoughts on how his dressing and style. He seems to have a very relaxed way about clothing which I like.

Amirbabak Arsalanpour

Hello Simon,
This has nothing to do with how much I admire you and the fact that I have learned a lot from you when it comes to classic menswear as well as journalistic English. Having said that, It is called Persian Gulf and not Gulf. Thank you.

Joe

I very much enjoy these. There is a lot of relatable ideas presented here, regardless if budget/careers are relatable.
Given that he wore the two-tone saddle shoes to liven up a conservative suit, I would have liked to have seen the head to toe ensemble. I do appreciate this idea of having one stand-out or unusual component in an outfit while keeping the rest relatively conservative.