How to avoid getting burnt out
It’s very easy to feel burnt out in fashion, and in menswear too. So much ‘new’ is thrown at you, all the time, that you get used to the stimulation.
If at some point it stops hitting home, stops being refreshing and exciting, the reaction is often to feel exhausted and jaded. Social media only makes it worse.
I have friends in menswear who have said in recent years that they feel burnt out. They say nothing excites them any more.
I’ve felt that now and again over the past dozen years, but it occurred to me recently that the thing that always keeps me fresh and focused is readers.
No matter where you might feel in terms of fashion cycles, or your personal style evolution, there is always a guy out there that’s trying to buy some decent, good-looking clothes for the first time.
There’s a guy starting a job in an office. There’s a guy who’s tired of T-shirts and hoodies and wants something a bit more grown-up. There’s someone else who’s discovered he’s 40 and doesn’t have any idea what he actually likes.
In fact, there’s millions of them, and they don’t really care about whether a brand’s lookbook is better than the last one. They want you to tell them what will suit them, suit their place in the world, and provide good, lasting quality.
They would like someone to navigate all those fluctuating brands, stores and fashions, and suggest how to achieve their aims.
Last week I was sitting in the Starbucks at Victoria Station, having an espresso macchiato (why is Starbucks the only place where you have to specify it’s an espresso macchiato?) and waiting for Alex.
A reader tapped me on the shoulder and introduced himself. He was from Canada, immediately excused himself for not being better dressed, and said thank you for PS, adding that there were lots of people he knew that were trying to dress better.
It’s always nice to be thanked for what you do, and people do come up to me fairly often, which is frankly amazing.
But more importantly, feedback comes all the time through other channels.
About 50 times a day readers comment online, adding views and asking questions. Once or twice a week there are in-depth conversations through consultancy sessions. Then there’s a burst of it during a pop-up.
It’s very valuable, as all feedback is. However, I’m realising it’s particularly important to me as an ever-present reminder that there are people who aren’t swirling down an Instagram plughole, who have real questions and few places to turn to.
It also means I never run out of ideas. There are usually two suggestions for a new post in the comments of every post, so the list only seems to get longer.
I used to do articles all the time when PS was first starting, announcing traffic totals. I don’t really do that much anymore, partly because articles have got longer and also there never seems to be room in the schedule. I think the last one was about a year and a half ago.
So this is a brief update. The last 12 months saw 1.46 million unique visitors to Permanent Style, an increase of about 12% on the previous year, which is wonderful.
Thank you all, not just for coming to PS and telling friends and making it what it is - but for always asking questions and keeping me focused on what it’s for.
When there’s a guy in DC trying to work out what a smart/casual wardrobe looks like, another in Hampshire who wants your advice on bespoke now he’s finally made partner, and someone called Jack who asks a question on the site every single day without fail, it’s impossible to feel jaded about the world of clothing. Everyone just wants to dress better.
In the next couple of months we’ll be doing some design work on the site, and some functional improvements. I do hope you like them. I don’t have to ask for feedback though. I know that’ll come whether I ask or not.
Hi Simon, the world won’t be better but it will look nicer. Thanks to PS! Cheers
Hi Simon, the world won’t be better but it will look nicer. Thanks to PS! Cheers
This is an opportune post as I’d like to add my thanks. Recently your steer on a cotton linen jacket with a Breton t-shirt to make sure the jacket went with other shirts etc. Which I did when purchasing. Most recently the advice on a Real McCoys M-51 parka vs other brands. It made me more attentive to their detail and what questions to ask (based on many of your articles such as the one on the vintage parka) when I went into their shop last Friday. I ended up purchasing the larger 220 model. Thanks for that and other input over the years. I personally wouldn’t ever classify you as an influencer, in my opinion more a consult and friendly honest advisor. I enjoy our online discussions including when we agree to disagree especially about the Duke of Windsor!
On the fashion burn out point. I think it’s more a combination of simply boredom (making one a bit jaded) and the increasing amount of product together with the number of collections. Anyone not experiencing some boredom in their job is fortunate indeed. Many jobs can be a bit demanding. Most of us just have to ‘man up’ and get on with it.
Fashion is interesting and a good pastime for many of us, however as you have said on occasion we shouldn’t take it too seriously.
I too have met you, once in a pop up sale of your clothes (we discussed duffle coats) and again in Clutch Cafe. Thanks again for what you do, it really is appreciated and long may it last (sorry for the long comment!).
My pleasure Stephen, and no worries on the comment, the more the better!
1.46 MILLION ! Whoah !
Having followed PS for possibly a decade I’m really pleased to hear it go from strength to strength.
It’s infuriated me at times (your articles on £4000 shoes , your nerdy factory visits , your recent fixation with vintage etc etc ) .
I’ve infuriated you with my comments (chill , Simon, I write these comments with a casual non-offensive voice in my head).
And I’m sure you’ve annoyed many a ‘tailor’
But PS had changed many a life .
I really mean that .
Brands I buy , MTM shirts, my first bespoke suit (only a couple of months ago ) , my questioning (more likely annoying ) tailors … it’s all because of PS .
Without going into detail I sense many tailors don’t always appreciate your ‘input’ .
But as I said to one , only the other day, if it wasn’t for PS I literally wouldn’t be giving you business .
I’d still be dressing in Clarkes shoes , Next trousers and TK Max shirts .
Because of PS there’s many a ‘tailor’ whose being questioned about whether his ‘bespoke’ is full canvas or half canvassed.
They hate that !
Hugo Jacomet , Kirby Allison , ‘He Spoke Style’ …. They’re all doing their own thing , extremely well I hasten to add , but PS is unique .
For the future ?
Personally , I like to see more videos .
Selfishly , I’d like to see you do something more ‘affordable’ . (Go on, Simon, do a one off MTM suit and sell it through Trunk Shows )
Anyway ….Good luck to you (and your family…. Who must put up with more then just Daddy’s ever expanding wardrobe ) and continue educating , guiding and annoying us !
Lovely to hear Robin, and more irritation incoming!
Robin, I’d not heard of He Spoke Style. Had a look just now and read the 14 types of menswear influencers (present company excepted of course), very funny especially The Horizon Gazer. Thanks
As the authoritative source on menswear it would be interesting for Simon’s views on channels such as he spoke style and real men real style, though I suspect he has. Enter things to do than watch these channels.
I’d second this view. PS has completely changed they way i dress and the way I think about clothes. The ‘feel’ of the site, and its content, is so unique – it is SUCH an important resource for helping guys who are interested in the way they dress but are put off by the vast majority of ‘branding’ and ‘fashion’ that predominates.
I met you once too, Simon. Although I was so surprised to see you, I think I was a bit gobsmacked! We bumped into each other outside Buckingham palace – I was wearing the PS Donegal coat and PS OCBD.
Keep up the good work!
I remember man, you looked really good. It was one of those times when you think someone looks good and only then realise he’s wearing your stuff!
I think the feel is also helped by the comments – a lot of good questions and additional information, which I feel other sites seriously lack. I also very much appreciate the work Simon puts into moderating the comments and answering our questions.
I believe the tailors should be thrilled about the guys who come there asking about full or half canvas. Because those are the types of men who don’t have a family tailor, whose dads are wearing Clark’s and Next and most certainly do not have any idea about the difference between half-canvassed and half-lined. They are, in short, new customers. Customers they would never have had without PS and the like.
I’d like to add my thanks as well to you, Simon. PS is the best online read in menswear, hands down. It’s not only the only site I frequent, but it’s the only one that I enjoy or perhaps even tolerate. I might not say that PS changed everything for me, but PS has been significant along my way toward thinking about quality, and subsequently, what I buy. I used to buy decent enough looking stuff, but now I can’t get myself around to do that anymore – the quality has to be there.
I also have a completely new appreciation for the people who sell and make that stuff. It’s a happy place to be, although my credit card bills are killing me. What you’re doing is not just a great service to me and the people trying to make a living in menswear*, but PS is in fact making the world a bit nicer. So again, thank you.
*: It’s worth noting that I’m from Finland which is a very poorly dressed country with few people in a few small cities and very high wages. Everyone in the business are in it because they’re passionate about it.
P.S. Personally, I wouldn’t want to see any videos, at least not at the expense of the written content. Except when there is a very good reason for the format (e.g., the care guide videos).
My absolute pleasure JO, and interesting to hear on the video
Hear hear! The crowd is growing 🙂
I must say, I’ve definitely felt a bit burnt out, but I think that’s partly because when I got into clothes I obsessed over trying to find every scrap of information online possibly from all the sources, reading about the history of different articles of clothing. Going from reading everything to being unable to find more things online suddenly can do that. Also because I’m still a bit overweight and losing and I can’t even buy things that would be exciting to me e.g. flannel trousers because it’d be a waste of money when my waist shrinks…
The other fashion/clothes blogs I read I don’t seem to as much anymore, Gentleman’s Gazette because both a bit more old fashioned & video heavy (which I don’t have as much time for anymore) and Die, Workwear and PutThisOn (I love Derek but I’ve started noticing him lifting entire paragraphs or sections from old articles). The fact that this is on a regular schedule helps a lot and is probably what keeps me from putting clothes on full hiatus for now, it helps keep me thinking about nicer work clothes!
It also helps that Permanent Style is a blog/website – the way people interact here feels different from the way it does on social media channels, and that’s due in no small part to the fact that there seems to be an agreement of sorts in the comment section to be polite and approach things from a position of good faith instead of slinging around that particular flavour of social media self-righteousness and insults at the first opportunity.
Two years ago I truly believed independent fashion blogs had mostly died, it’s nice to see one that’s still a flourishing corner of the internet. In a way, the reminder of that different internet era is a huge part of the PS appeal for me even if it’s not quite intended!
I think,and not to over analyse ,whilst what it means to be a man is reinvented weekly, the site provides a place to discuss,argue and be informed without the rancour and shouting that seems to be essential nowadays .
For that,a simple thank you hardly seems enough. But,thank you anyway.
Most grateful. Not only for your work, but also for the passion with which the work so clearly is being done, day after day, year after year.
I was delighted to notice that I am actually in the photo at the top of this piece (burgundy jacket, greying (now grey) at the temples). This was the Tokyo menswear symposium, which I covered for the Japan Times. It was a lovely evening and I met some great people, though I felt out of my depth amidst such a concentration of sartorial excellence. We never spoke Simon, though your brother and I shared thoughts on our mutual support of Tottenham Hotspur. And you were kind to share your photos with me, and the Japan Times, when mine proved inadequate. Nice memories.
So pleased to help Phil. Sorry we didn’t chat then
Earlier this year in London (at a Starbucks) I ordered a macchiato and the barista (or maybe just the waitress) explained to me what a macchiato was just to confirm I knew what I was ordering. I think they have coffee lack-of-confidence issues or maybe she just thought me an idiot or a macchiato virgin… Starbucks are a necessary evil and the more small independent cafes they push out the more of a necessary evil they become. Its all part of life’s rich tapestry.
Keep up the good work shipmate, I confess that I do sometimes look at your posting topic and think ”OK but what else can he think to write about” …. and then the next post you write about it.
Its all good reading.
Your blog is fantastic, I visit multiple times a week for references, ideas etc etc.
Also as someone who appreciates the finer and artisanal goods, Simon, you need to discover the world of specialty coffee and you will never step into a Starbucks again!
YEA 😊! THANK YOU SIMON and PS Team!
While I know this was not the aim of the article, I have to give my thanks. After 10 years in the military, I was entering my 30’s and civilian workforce as a sartorial blank slate. Stepping out of uniform, I was scrambling at best. Finding PS in 2017, turned that scramble into an enjoyably guided opportunity.
As a humorous anecdote of success, I have been asked to be the guest speaker at my children’s pre-school graduation two years in a row even though my kids are not in the graduating class. Since I only regularly exchanged polite hellos with the staff, I was thrilled to to do it but asked the principal why me. She said, “You are the most subtle, best dressed parent.” While I feel I have only scratched the surface of the basics, this certainly made my PS ego beam. If it were not for your site, I would be in a constant state of confusion why I don’t look great in skinny, low-rise chinos and a golf shirt. (Thank goodness I never owned either)
In short, thank you so much for navigating me through what seemed like an insurmountable task. My only critique is this, originally, three year wardrobe project has turned into a lifelong one.
What a lovely, lovely thing to hear Caleb. Thanks
Thanks Simon for PS. Your blog/site is unique and offered real insights to menswear. I do follow other “influencers”, but your view on menswear is particularly helpful. I also bought a few pieces from your stores. Earlier in February of 2022, I was at the Armoury in Tribeca, and encountered another customer who was wearing the same PS Donegal Coat I was wearing. It was a pleasant surprise.
The ‘burnout’ to which you refer is, in my opinion, down to folk in the business trying to stimulate market growth by bringing out unnecessary products.
The menswear market is and always has been rather conservative. It’s made up of thousands of little details and those details evolve slowly – lapels may increase in size by a couple of centimetres – trousers may be predominantly cuffed – the width of a tie or the point of a collar may vary. These are all small details that evolve slowly.
Knowing and accepting this whilst focusing on quality or a very specific niche is surely the way forward. A&S do this wonderfully in their haberdashery under the stewardship of Anda.
Conversely those that try to force change with unnecessary or silly trends/ products will undoubtedly exhaust themselves and finish up with a load of Instagram posts that just serves to embarrass them and yes, for sure the relentless social media exacerbates the situation.
This is why I’ve always been interested in style, not fashion.
Never heard of burn outs in the context of apparel. Maybe that’s why high fashion is so unwearable. The average person doesn’t look to get a thrill every time he’s in his closet.
Congrats on the fine work! I stumbled upon PS in 2012, a time when I shifted from working in a chemistry lab to an office environment (nowadays a digital product manager – something I think I have in common with you Simon!) Having never had a ‘serious’ interest in clothes, I was “one of those guys” who suddenly needed to learn how to dress properly. Fortunately, I found a continuously stunning repository and reference in the form of this site. Been an avid ever ever since and “learning to dress properly” soon morphed into a full-fledged passion.
Aside from being a go-to resource about fundamental principles of menswear, I’ve also enjoyed PS on the level of it being a personal journey as well. Not necessarily everything is to my fancy (e.g. obscure workwear shops or cold-colored Scandi-minimalist looks). But that’s just fine, after all “de gustibus non est disputandum”. The dimension of a personal journey, that parallels my own sartorial journey, and I suspect many other readers’ journeys as well, truly set PS apart. This site isn’t just a knowledge base or a history lesson, it’s a personal journey inviting us to join along in whichever way suits us. So thanks again and I look forward to another 10 years of great content!
I’ve only been visiting the site for a couple of years, but like this comment really hits the nail on the head for me. I also enjoy the personal nature of it, but think it’s equally important that one doesn’t always agree or like what Simon does. It would be peculiar if one did, really, as we all have our own taste, but I generally find that even when the article is about something I wouldn’t personally wear or think has much value, the fact that I disagree is itself educational, because it spurs me to consider more thoroughly why I have that reaction, and in that way you also learn about ones tastes, and sometimes even deeper truths about oneself.
Please keep up the good work. I for one thoroughly enjoy your website and I’m thankful for all the guidance over the years
I would occasionally see you when we were both working around Fleet Street, but never had the temerity to say hello, so I’ll use this post now to say thanks for your enthusiasm and rigour in which you go about covering this rather peculiar industry.
Thank you Alex
Thank you, Simon. I’m been coming here, on and off, for about ten years. I’ve learned a lot. I’m average person who (still) wears a suit to work, and just knowing a few things about the type of cloth suitable for the time of year has been invaluable. Just today, walking to work – it’s warm in London – and with your help, I’m wearing a fresco weave, and not suffering the heat at all. I’ve never wanted to stand out. I’m happy just to wear nice quality clothes, and this blog very much caters to those sentiments.
When you started out in 2007, however Permanent Style looked at that time, there were great a many other web authors as well. And because at that time, there was a surge in a new contemporary interest in menswear as a whole universe. Because you had men’s or women’s wear designers collaborating with craft. But there was a new generation of designers who weren’t of the tailoring elk (some did have working experience in the Row) but because they graduated from, most notable, Central Saint Martins. That time was very influential and people were rediscovering craft and value in clothes. It was a rejuvenation. I know Permanent Style doesn’t focus and doesn’t analyse the other side of the clothing fashion industry, but many people have come and gone, and many have become old, retired and also passed away. Some of these people were leading old couture houses. But at a certain point, there’s a change in mindset or outlook where actually clothes aren’t so important. Hence, some people do change their entire perspective and even change their entire lifestyle and career direction. When individual authors were creating their own niche, the Business of Fashion took shape and then the whole entire outlook of what was “in fashion” outpaced everything. So that’s why people came to be burnt out in fashion. No one really though so much of their time that a designer’s schedule was six months or less. So when people decided to take a step back and away from the fashion industry, they probably rediscovered a different idea about their interest in clothes. So now, tailoring seems to be a refuge for those that had been apart of the intensity of the worldwide fashion industry. And they can just think and dress for themselves, and no-one else.
Really interesting, thanks Mike
You touch on an interesting subject here Simon: often, a key ingredient in staying passionate about something is getting to share it with other people.
That can include learning from others, teaching them (as you are definitely doing), or just getting to share your thoughts with people on a similar level. Without interaction and the sharing of experiences and opinions, it just becomes an endless stream of materialism; new things you should want to have, until eventually you don’t ever remember why you were suppose to want them.
I had this burn-out with photography; after years of learning and becoming skilled enough as an amateur that I could actually teach a few workshops in fashion photography, the difficulty in finding people who shared my interest eventually got me quite jaded. There was noone interested in talking about the pictures – photo clubs and forums were full of people who spoke passionately about pixels and sensor size and lightning techniques, but very little useful discussion about the pictures. It started being a material sport, until I eventually found myself utterly uninterested in the materials.
I do sometimes feel a similar worry about clothes and style – few people have an in-depth interest in clothes (as my friends will gently remind me every now and then), and I can only talk my tailors ears off so many times…
Having had the same journey in photography,I totally agree. I began when the best advice was to study art and understand light and composition .
Sadly, much of the craft is gone and its predominantly selling product-cameras under three years old are solemnly declared obsolete.
I think this cycle dominates fashion, if at a faster pace. That is why the slower pace of PS is so valuable. Style,even for me,a crumpled but sprightly,
57, is something to be studied, sampled slowly and then consumed.
I can see why the camera industry would be pushing that (they’re in it for the money, just like everyone else), but what got to me is that the vast amount of photographers seem to buy into this. What matters is how much “bucket” your pictures have, and how big your sensor is (any smaller than 36×24 and you can’t take good pictures, any larger and “sensor size doesn’t really matter anyway”). Noone seemed interested in the actual pictures, just the gear.
A friend of mine was involved on the board of a analog photography club, and sadly the problem seemed to be there as well; he told me 90% of the members were only interested in discussing various films and how to develop it, rather than what kind of pictures those techniques enabled.
There is something in the male psyche which makes us obsess over detail. It was the same in cycling. There it was gear ratios and frame weight,etc. Obviously ,this craving for detail carries over into menswear. I don’t think men do broadbrush particularly well.
Thanks for insights, concerning the use of website and blog ! Certainly a very intelligent, unique, innovative and authentic form of participation – serving as a source of inspiration for all participants, including the author. Faintly reminiscenting of famous Luhmann’s “Zettelkasten” (digitalized these days), transposed from systemic sociological research to collaborative individualization of menswear.
The posts I’ve really enjoyed are when many of us shared our own interests i.e. the my favorite purchases post. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience here amongst the readers and their writing is very interesting and enjoyable.
We met briefly in the final hours of your April pop-up. I bought that navy sweater from Oliver and Carl. Pity I couldn’t get there earlier and spend more time with everyone.
I am one of those you have helped, particularly by revealing where I can find the quality and provenance that I seek – even if it is often beyond my means! I would prefer to be patient and acquire the good stuff occasionally, in a considered way, rather than make regrettable choices in haste.
Your words are relevant far beyond style and clothing, I think. Most people yearn for that fresh excitement they felt when they discovered something for the first time. I certainly do. That you found it in your readers might give us an idea of where to find ours.
Thanks and best wishes.
Thank you Jonathan
“When there’s a guy in DC trying to work out what a smart/casual wardrobe looks like”
That is quite literally me. Right now. Thanks for all you do. I couldn’t care less about Instagram or “impressing” anybody with my clothing. I just want to look professional, competent, somewhat polished and well put together. That’s it. I cringe at my life of ignorance along those lines. I had no idea, frankly, how sloppy I may have looked. As a young man with a Wall Street job I tied my broken shoe laces and kept them going for months that way. Polished every several weeks at the stand, In between, puddles and filth. It took a hole in the sole where you could feel the street for a resole. It’s not that I couldn’t afford a thoughtful style, I simply couldn’t even see it. Oh well. But now I think about it, hopefully somewhat successfully. Better late then never.
I enjoyed reading this article as I have many others for several years now. I’ve never taken the time to comment before, but have lurked and appreciated your content and writing style for some time. As a writer myself, you manage to keep me engaged even when exploring intricacies of menswear that I care little about. My career is not a lucrative one, and my style requires doing much with little. You have helped a great deal with that, though, and I thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to comment Jesse
I can understand burn out in menswear & ‘fashion’ wear & those in the industry in particular. It must be very difficult to re invent meanswear each season & especially when menswear has a relatively restricted style & colour palate. I think this happens when consumed by one dominant element in one’s life rather than having it as one of many interests. Difficult as it is sometimes it’s good to stay away from consumption of menswear & just wear or alter what you’ve got & live your life, then come back when you feel the need; Cold Turkey. However, it is always good to read your articles especially if it is of particular interest & helps in being better dressed with what you have. Thank you for your efforts in this direction & I’m sure you’ll be recharged after a summer break & a new season.
Thanks for this lovely piece, Simon.
I feel others will get behind me on this: can the new functionality allow us to follow ‘Jack’ and his daily queries? That commitment is impressive and I’m very curious indeed. This is only half-jokingly, as I do intend to look him up in the comments 🙂
I appreciate your great articles and prompt, caring responses.
Permanent Style has helped me to
develop knowledge of clothing and make purchasing decisions more efficiently.
I look forward to meeting you one day!
My pleasure Jack
I fully agree with the Canadian man who approached you.
While my style may differ from yours, I find your more technical articles on clothes, categories of shoes, shirt patterns etc most helpful. Little did I know beforehand.
I do not know how many readers you have from the continent. But the German speaking world must surely be a good (prospective) market for you. We have nothing, as far as I am aware, close to your sophisticated approach.
The only slight critique I have, but purely from my subjective perspective, is that you could better cover producers from other countries such as Hungary (shoes), Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, etc. But of course, I do not know if that makes business sense.
Thank you for your webpage.
I have covered some from those countries, but it is always a little limited by the amount of access to them from other countries
And know that many read every word yet never leave a comment or a like…but we enjoy every bit of it!
I too would like to thank my fellow readers. The topics and writing you make, Simon, are great. But I really think the really unique thing about your site, what keeps it fresh, is the comment section. I think it’s lovely that no post is really dead. All it takes is someone finding an old article via google, posting a comment and it’s up top ready for interaction.
It’s like our own social media page – only for menswear.
Thanks to Simon for keeping it up and everyone for participating and making it even more enjoyable.
Should burnout ever happen for you, though I highly doubt it, you can always start that PS Interiors spinoff 😉
True! That would be fun