Reader profile: Cedric

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Cedric works in the art world, and as such is rarely formal. But he retains an interest in tailoring, has childhood memories of going to Huntsman, and is even talking to Fred Nieddu about his first bespoke. 

He also has a depth of interest in American clothing that is rare among readers in the UK. This, the latest in our series listening to the stories of PS readers, is a profile of his style and how it has developed over the years. 

You can see all of the previous reader profiles - eight so far - here.  

Outfit 1: Semi-smart

What do you do for a living? 

I’m a gallerist - by the time this comes out I will have just opened my first permanent space. I’m looking to exhibit artists that I think don’t get enough attention, as well as international artists who aren’t shown by other UK galleries.

Is that what you’ve always done? 

No, I used to work in the City, for Bloomberg. I was there six years, and running one of their Swiss operations at the end. But I got rather tired of it and decided to pursue a passion for art - I did a Masters in Art History and then started working independently on various art and music-related projects.

That sounds like an easy way into it.

Right, I had a lot of freedom. This next stage will certainly be more of a challenge. 

How long have you been into clothes? 

I’ve always been interested in how things look, though it’s really grown in the past four or five years. My Dad was always a good dresser, and I remember he used to go and have fittings at Huntsman on Saturdays. It was like a family outing - we all went, and he loved the theatre of it, the fittings and everything. Back then it was a lot less expensive I think too. 

He’s less into clothes these days, but I’ve become more and more. Drake’s had a lot to answer for at the start, and then John Simons, then places like Clutch and The Real McCoy’s. It sort of accelerates, as you find one good thing - perhaps something at McCoy’s - and then see something else you then want to upgrade to. 

My Sunspel sweatshirts were fine for years, for example, but then you start to appreciate the difference a McCoy’s one brings, and you gradually replace them all. 

What are you wearing in this first outfit?

This is pretty much as smart as I get today. The jacket is a Dunhill blazer (with Benson & Clegg St George & The Dragon buttons), the Big Yank plaid shirt is from The Real McCoy’s, the jeans are Warehouse DD-1001XX (about 18 months old), the belt is Rubato and the shoes are Alden unlined LHS loafers.

Playing with classic things like a gold-button blazer gives me a lot of joy at the moment. I used to wear things like this a lot straighter, a lot more traditional, but I much prefer something more playful like this now. 

Outfit 2: Smart

This second outfit sounds like it’s a rarity these days then. 

Yes, I don’t wear a suit anywhere near as much, but I still enjoy wearing them now and again. The impetus for this one was Ralph Fitzgerald at Huntsman’s wedding in New York a couple of months ago.

It’s a fresco suit from Southwick - the original maker of the American natural shoulder. Traditional cut, soft shoulder, undarted, single hook vent, working three-button cuffs, flat front trousers, 1.75” turn-up. The proportions and natural shoulder flatter me I think, and it works with the Mercer shirts, knit or madder ties and Aldens that I wear a lot too. I pretty much only wear Aldens.

Where did you get the suit from?

From O’Connell’s, the traditional Ivy shop in Buffalo, New York. I have a Southwick blazer too, which I went to The Andover Shop in Massachusetts to track down. Then after I got this suit, which is the same cut and size - so I knew it would work perfectly for me. All I had to do was hem the trousers (which I did at Hidalgo). 

I love the atmosphere at O’Connell’s, and at The Andover Shop. They’re from a different age. They have that type of service that’s perfectly polite, but without a word wasted. I’d talk to them on the phone and it would be like ‘Thank you Sir, goodbye’ and bang, down went the phone. 

You mentioned you've learned some lessons from tailoring and alterations over the years - what are they?

I guess I’ve learnt not to alter a carefully considered or classic cut. I now only adjust the sleeve length, or hem trousers. When buying clothes I generally try on the same item in two sizes to ensure I’m getting the right one - the same applies to shoes. To an extent I’ve learnt to disregard sizing labels and trust how something feels on.

 

Where did the interest in Ivy League clothing come from?

A lot of my essentials fit into this category: I was wearing Oxford cloth button-down shirts, Shetland sweaters, flat-front chinos and penny loafers long before I was aware of the term Ivy Style. I’ve always liked clothes that are relaxed yet elegant. 

I’ve also got derbies, brogues and chelsea boots, but I tend to wear penny loafers the most. In terms of makers, I find Alden very comfortable and hard wearing; aesthetically I think they perfected the shape and apron stitching of the penny loafer with their LHS model. 

Back to clothing more generally, when I discovered the book Take Ivy many years ago I was fascinated by how timeless those sixties American collegiate outfits looked. I also liked that there were no rules: casual blended in with more formal, and different cuts worked together. 

Soon after I began looking into the origins of these items and realised many have a British history: the button-down shirt was designed for British Polo players in the 19th century to stop the collars from flapping, the loafer originated as a British country house shoe, and so on. So although it’s widely considered an American style because they popularised it, it doesn’t feel too far from home. 

Where are the rest of the clothes from?

The shoes are a pair of Alden 986s I inherited from my Dad, and they’ve just been resoled and restored by Alden. They’re 25 years old, but I think they look actually better than new - with the creases reflecting how they’ve been worn over time. Alden did a great job, repairing all the little broken stitches.

The shirt is the ‘button-less button down’ from Mercer & Sons, and the tie is from a Drake’s and Aimé Leon Dore collaboration - traditional Drake’s Mughal Hunter pattern but in different colours. 

Outfit 3: Casual

This is a bit more unusual for the kinds of things we have on PS. Tell me about the shirt and T-shirt.

The shirt is from Jake’s, made in a Permanent Style Oxford cloth. This was my first one but I’m going to get the white and probably the blue stripe as well. 

The T-shirt is also associated with you in a way - it’s an Allevol T-shirt from Clutch. I bought a few of them last year to get printed, and I love the quality. 

So many of the loopwheel T-shirts I’ve bought over the years have lost their shape. I had a few that seemed to really give in the waist. I still have them, but I’d only wear them in particular circumstances, such as under a rugby or a full-cut shirt like this, where the fit doesn’t matter as much. 

And what’s the print?

The ‘American Dream’ print is taken from a mid-20th century archival piece. I just thought it looked good - I liked that the text was handwritten, and oversized so that it’s not immediately obvious. I worked with an artist to re-create it and at the start of this year we handprinted a small run. 

I guess The American Dream has a more conceptual meaning today than when it was coined in the early 20th century, but it’s still about having the freedom to pursue one’s passion in life, as well as optimism and equal opportunity.

The deck shoes are from Wakouwa, which Clutch now stock as well, though it’s a brand Anatomica created. The chinos are the Field model from RRL - I have a few, they’re so great and hard wearing, and higher rise than most RRL. I realise these things are more casual than Permanent Style would usually feature, but there’s a similar theme of quality and classic styles. 

How long have you been reading the site?

Not too long. I first came across it when I picked up The Style Guide in Trunk several years ago - drawn by the ever-stylish Mr Kamoshita on the cover. But then I started reading more during lockdown. Your articles came up in searches, and I particularly like the journalistic / historic approach, focus on craftsmanship and how smart and casual sit together on PS.

When we met you also mentioned Tom Wolfe's ‘The Secret Vice’ - can you explain for readers? 

The Secret Vice was one of Wolfe’s essays in his 1966 book Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, in which he describes how much young men of the time cared about clothes and their marginal differences, yet wouldn’t speak openly about them - it was their secret vice. He gets into a lot of Ivy references: the flap pocket, the button on the back of a shirt collar to hold a tie in place, etc. 

Like Take Ivy, for me it’s a reminder of how much and how little has changed.

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Andy Parker

Very good read Simon, thank you.
Interesting to see Cedric wearing a formal blazer with jeans. I’ve read the many comments you’ve made over the years saying that putting these two items together just doesn’t work and is not to be recommended, and yet this example seems to show that in fact it can and does.
Has your view on this pairing softened as you have moved further from formal into more casual attire?

Hugh Villiers

As you say, each has their own style.
I’ve only ever worn bespoke tailoring, from a mix of tailors.
The outfit that never ceases to get the most compliments though is my bespoke navy blazer in H&S mesh, gold flat-head shanked buttons, SB with twin vents, inevitably worn with heavily faded, well fitting jeans, a white OCBD, espresso suede loafers and brightly coloured socks. Persol sunnies on a bright day, and preferably with a Negroni not too far away.

Robin

Cedric certainly has his own look.
The blazer with the madras shirt and jeans may not work for everyone but it certainly works for him .

On his casual attire …. Again he seems to pull it off .

On casual attire I’m reminded of Jordan Peterson (psychologist, author , “disruptor” ) recently saying most men dress like they’re still kids .
To paraphrase “you see a child walking with his dad and the dad looks like an adult dressed like a child “

Definitely worth a listen

https://youtu.be/XGB4l0ZuV2Y

Matt

Let’s not give Jordan Peterson any credit on dressing well:

https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/jordan-peterson-suits

Robin

Point taken about Jordan Peterson’s dress sense.
But , dear lord, the author of that article perfectly demonstrates why PS is such a good read.
There’s a fine line between style and pretence .
PS sits well on that side … the author of that article …..ermm …No Comment.

Josh

Derek Guy dismantling Jordan Peterson – and ultra macho dressers generally – is the take down I never knew I needed. Thanks for sharing!

Dirk

Noted poet, translator and author Robert Bly published a book on the subject in 1997 entitled The Sibling Society. It is worth a read if that subject interests you.

Luke W

Hi Cedric,
I love the suit. I too wanted a Southwick suit, but due to O’Connell’s not having my size, ended up with a second hand Hickey Freeman suit I found on Ebay. I wear it with a broadcloth OCBD and vintage geometric patterned tie – a bit of a Robert Mueller look. I love how your suit looks with the mercer shirt, and I think the madder tie is a lovely change from the more traditional Ivy repp tie. Really looks great. I’m also a fan of the brass button blazer – it’s far more versatile than people think, and far less fuddy-duddy.

Gary Mitchell

Fuddy-duddy? did I miss something? I have 4 hanging in my wardrobe all with brass buttons (OK two brass two silver all same regimental embossing) and at least one of them is worn every week…. nobody told me it was a fuddy-duddy thing, and worse, today, as often, is with jeans. hehehehe, oh lordy who knew!

Gary Mitchell

“Its not the knot, its how you tie the knot”
Its all about how its worn and the attitude and thats the truth for sure.

Luke W

Hi Simon,
I don’t take many risks, but I can’t resist a brass – buttoned, single breasted blazer. Perhaps childhood memories of my grandfather wearing one draws me to it. I myself probably look fuddy-duddy in it, the last line of my original comment being wishful thinking!

Eric Mavor

I think if there’s a regimental connection then that alters the whole vibe. Saw a chap the other day wearing a Coldstream blazer and he looked as cool as in jeans , but then maybe it’s because I know ‘buttoned by two’s’ when I see it!

Henry

Hi Simon,
Do you know where is it still possible to find The Style Guide?

Peter Hall

Ah…The endless Madras question. I really enjoy seeing Madras incorporated into an outfit,it’s just finding the right colours in the Madras.
The quality of the PS cloth really lifts the casual outfit,I occasionally wear mine over a grey sweatshirt.

P.F.

Dear Simon, how are you able to enjoy Pitti, update your Instagram and reply to your website at the same time? Amazing multitasking skills…
BTW, love Cedric’s style. Just the perfect mixture between smart, casual and dad look!

CJ

This is a really enjoyable read – thanks for sharing!

Dr P

Like others, I do not normally like a blazer with jeans, but in the example above with the Madras shirt just worked really well and it is very spontaneous.
Excellent in my opinion is also the grey suit with the relatively roomy (i.e. classic cut) trousers.

WES WP

The navy blazer-madras-jeans ensemble evokes Redford in Three Days of the Condor. It could also be that the subject has Redfordesque good looks, and wears it with the same élan. One of the two suits featured, on the other hand, needs a significant amount of nipping and tucking (to the jacket, especially) across the back and shoulders. Tailoring is a game of millimeters, after all, and we’re talking inches here. As for someone who wrote – “He has his own style” (in the comments section), I think it’s thoughtful (maybe) to say here: I don’t see Cedric as having his own style. Featured here are two fairly standard, traditional suits. Featured here is a fairly generic, casual “touristy” outfit. Featured here is an ensemble that is straight out of 70s Hollywood. So, I’m not sure what that style is, exactly (I’m not “dismissing” him here – I’m trying to understand how that’s “his”). Moreover, Cedric would look good in just about anything he slipped into, so he has a “leg up” on 98% of us. If I were his stylist, I’d suggest he explore more casual combinations (jeans with sport coats, elevated jumpers and tailored trousers, etc.), as he makes those work particularly well (or could, anyway). And I’d send him to a tailor with a more critical eye. And with some basic tweaks and a more coherent and cohesive vision (think what Saman Amel might suggest to their clients as a template), Cedric could star in the Love Story remake…(O’Neal, anyone?)

Cedric

Thanks Wes, I appreciate your compliment. Though the shirt is not madras as everyone seems to think, it’s a cotton flannel after a 1950s Big Yank and something that would have been worn with these jeans (same period). I intended to show the versatility of these clothes — that one can wear something casual and pop a blazer on to smarten the look, or vice versa.
Re: the grey fresco suit, I disagree. There certainly isn’t an inch, and barely a centimetre to play with. I’ve the mistake of getting a jacket tailored too closely in the past, and won’t sacrifice mobility and comfort again. As Simon mentioned, this is an intentionally unfussy suit: 3/2 roll, undarted, single vent, natural shoulder, relaxed cut.

Jeans Lauren

Wes I don’t think it’s fair to say Cedric doesn’t have his own style. He does, in his own right, but in terms of serious Sartorialism/Dandyism he’s a novice. If he followed the Brummel school of thought he’d definately become a lot more elegant and distinguished, but that’s not for everyone. Most people lack the patients to fiddle around with a tape measure in their own time, or to practice tie knots for hours in front of the mirror. It’s an unreasonable expectation to put onto every menswear hobbiest because it’s a niche approach to costume.
I personally like the American East Coast mid century influence to Cedrics looks. I’d be interested to see how his style develops in a few years time from now… Maybe Simon will do a follow up Reader Profile series?

O. T.

Yeah, this cat’s cool. With the exception of the gold button DB (I’d wuss out and go SB), this is very much how I fancy dressing.

Well done!

Scott

Cedric’s best outfit is #2, the suit, in which he looks fantastic. Regrettably it’s downhill with his other choices. The db blazer with the madras shirt and jeans looks odd. I don’t know why men insist on trying to make an inherent dress garment casual; it just doesn’t works guys. His casual outfit,#3, deserves particular opprobrium. One reader mentioned the strange phenomenon of grown men dressing like children and I agree. A grown man wearing a t- shirt with some kind of logo and sneakers just looks juvenile. May I suggest that grown men should always dress like adults whether in dress or casual clothing.

WES WP

Couldn’t agree more with you about outfit #3. Couldn’t disagree more with you about the notion that a navy blazer is “an inherent dress garment.” The value of a navy blazer lies is its versatility. It can pretty much do no wrong.

Scott

Hey Wes. If the blazer was single breasted I would agree with your versatility argument. A double breasted navy blazer is however another matter. Actually I should have clarified that in my initial comments. In my opinion a db jacket is a dressier look and should always be buttoned unless seated of course. So, in this case his outfit looks sloppy and awkward in my opinion.

Scott

Of course I understand that the jacket is not being worn in the more formal manner as you correctly observe and that’s my point. The db was designed to be a more formal garment and trying to make it something casual to me just looks odd. Rather like trying to put a round peg in a square hole. A man looks best wearing the db as it was designed to be worn, buttoned. Now I always place great weight on your style advice, but in this rare instance I must respectfully disagree. Of course a man can wear a db unbuttoned with jeans if he so chooses, but I’ll pass.

Scott

That is interesting. It may be that I’m a bit too rigid, perhaps stubborn, on this matter, but thinking about and discussing different ideas is always useful. For the time being I’m staying with my position, but really appreciate the dialogue.

Andy Parker

I think I’m with Scott on this one. A DB blazer is the most formal incarnation of its type, and so wearing it in a manner for which it has not been designed seems wrong.
SB in this context has far less formality associated with it, and may better suit as a compliment to jeans.

NBA

This man clearly has an eye for putting his outfits together – they strike the balance between playful and restrained. And more importantly he wears them with a certain easiness and a smile. For me, the first two photos get pretty close to the very early days of the sartorialist – someone well dressed who you might see on the street and doesn’t in fact pay attention to clothing websites or photos on IG 😉

Lewis

Simon, a slightly tangential question… More menswear aficionados than I can count swear by the Alden LHS loafer. When I had a pair, though, they were very uncomfortable on the top of the foot, despite fitting well everywhere else (the size up was too big on the heel. Is this a sizing issue or more likely to be the last shape? Am I one of the unfortunate few for whom this model just doesn’t work?

Cedric

Lewis, I had the same issue with my first pair of LHS and recommend trying different widths and playing with half sizes. I size down 1/2 and up a width (US 11.5D to 11E). If increasing the width and going 1/2 size down then the shoe is only a 1/4 size smaller in length (extra room to account for width). Unlike British shoemakers in the same category, Alden offer a plethora of widths and lasts for each style of shoe. The LHS is without a doubt the most comfortable loafer I have worn!
p.s. In London, Drakes’s and Trunk sell D width, and Clutch Cafe E width.

Eric Twardzik

It’s lovely to see the Andover Shop highlighted. I worked there for half a year and know precisely the telephone tone Cedric is talking about.

David

The blazer is a sartorial masterstroke and Cedric puts it together brilliantly.
It makes for the perfect city casual look and done correctly is just so versatile.
I’ve long disagreed with Simon over this item and indeed, I think worn like this, it fits his credo of understated elegance
That said, a blazer with the right cut, in the right blue, with the right buttons is absolutely crucial – I can’t see the buttons but Cedric certainly looks to have got two out of three correct.

Stephen

Hi Cedric,
For me, the best featured reader style to date, you’ve set a high bar! Probably because I find your style relatable and whilst understated, the pop of colour / pattern adds to the interest of the looks.
Whilst I am significantly older than you, the fact that I would and do wear similar styles, demonstrates some looks span the decades. The simple elegance of Ivy for instance is timeless. I was dressing in chino’s, OCBDs and cotton cable kit sweaters when i started work in Chelsea (London) in the seventies!
The blazer outfit is standout and thanks for the call-out for the John Simons great shop.
Hope the career move goes well.

Stephen

Simon, great feature, have commented separately to Cedric. He’s set a high bar!
A question if I may: I have a single breasted Drakes blue marino wool jacket (not sure on the weight) bit of an impulse buy, as I have another in a fox brothers cloth and a cotton/hemp one also from Drakes recently purchased for summer wear. Also it does feel a bit like half a suit although not sold as such.
It’s a bit under-utilised, but having seen this article I’m thinking of getting the current buttons replaced with gold buttons.
Any thoughts gold buttons on SB blazers? Ideally to make it more versatile. Also any thoughts on buttons, eg rounded, flat, engraved?
This article definitely influenced the above question!
Best

Stephen

Thanks Simon. Good point. Probably throwing good money after bad! I think it’s headed to Marktt!

Hugh Villiers

If you are talking about changing the buttons on your Drakes jacket, perhaps a milky mother of pearl might be a nice touch.
For a more formal gold button, you should err on the side of caution and go flat shanked, unadorned. If you have a military connection, or indeed family crest, it would be correct for you to have the relevant design applied to them.
A third choice would be a nicely variegated brown tortoiseshell, which would bring the formality down a notch.

Stephen

Thanks Hugh

DE

Once again, interesting to see how polarising tailoring can be. I think Cedric wears the suit perfectly for the way he wants to dress – it reminds me of classic BB tailoring (so often seen in NY) with a slightly roomier fit to the coat and high waisted (belted) trews. Sure, some of the more traditional SR tailors would nip the waist, pad the chest and shoulders, add side adjusters, etc but I’m guessing that Cedric doesn’t want to look like a Brigadier! I also think he carries off the blazer and jeans look with considerably elan. This combination was dealt untold damage (I think rather unfairly) by the Tim ‘nice-but-dim’ TV sketches of the 1990s, however Cedric wears it very well in my opinion. With regards to the blazer/jeans debate, I think that the best part of PS is getting guys to THINK about what they wear and then dress the way they wish, rather than to slavishly follow a set of rules or copy what SC himself wears – that would make PS a cult, not a blog…

William Kazak

I am not impressed with the jeans with unbuttoned navy blue blazer look as shown here and I am in art world also. I love navy blue double breasted blazers but there are many more trouser choices.

James

Great example of how the right RTW suit can look great. He looks as good in it as any bespoke suit I’ve seen featured on this site .

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Am I the only one who noticed that one of the lapels on the suit at the very top image is notch, whereas the other peak? I find interesting it doesn’t appear particularly showy. 

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Are they? I can’t help but see a peak lapel on a his left lapel (on the right for the viewer).

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thank you for the clarification. BTW, very nice profile and extremely interesting discussion about DB blazer with jeans.

joão

Love the look with the gold-button blazer.
I wear it a lot for summer:

  1. with a gingham red/white shirt no tie
  2. with a gingham green/white shirt no tie
  3. with a yelow or cream ocbd
  4. allways with a white or pearl pocket square
  5. with high twisted wool trousers
  6. with khaki or bright yellows cotton trousers (I prefer high waisted or mid high waisted)
  7. never with suede shoes so not to abuse the look. The same for colourful socks. Allways black.
  8. It´s a versatile blazer but we have to keep it under control! Cheers.
  9. João.
Ab

Any chance of a link or name check for Cedric’s gallery?

HP

Outfit #1 looks fantastic!

Fabulous looks. And how nice to see a handsome adult male in suit trousers and jeans that are cut fuller in the leg. The skinny look doesn’t look good on anyone. Not even models who are, or certain movie actors with a license to kill.

Sartorial Regards,

H-U

Eric Michel

Many of my friends from the US wear trousers simply too large, (and this is sometimes how you can recognise them). In between too large and skinny, you have what would be the perfect fit. I like the looks, but I think the trouser in the casual look is a bit too large for my taste.

Christopher

What an incredibly well dressed man! Great piece 🙂

Oliver D

With a smile like that you can wear anything! A great guy and class looks!

Roger

So refreshing to read that he was able to have the Alden shoes so beautifully restored. Living in Toronto I am hard pressed to find very good men shoe shops.

Nico

Cedric sporting Ivy tailoring brings back the many question marks I have on the topic.
 Is there a US own tailoring style? The NY Taylors post suggests all of them are mostly of Italian, less of British provenance.
 If there is such thing as a US tailoring style; would it be Ivy? Some comment in the above mentioned post hints that it would be a RTW, at most MTM thing rather than bespoke. The fact that the sack cut seems to have been made popular by Brooks Brothers would support that statement.
 Features such as single center hook vent: distinctive style vs cheap – looking option?
 Undarted sack cut: understated intentional style vs boxy, unflattering silhouette?
 I would love to see a post going in depth on such matters.

Nico

That would be great Simon, thanks

michael maglaras

Simon, congrats on this posting and for keeping the flame alive during Lockdown. Cedric seems like an interesting gentleman to me….multi-faceted, and carrying himself well….nice piece on him. Also, if I could: nice to see the back end of the National Gallery, which I know is home to so many of your shoots. After two years’ absence from London, my wife will be in town at the end of July and visiting our old haunts…again, nice profile of a nice gentleman, who is “with it” in the best sort of way…Michael from Connecticut

michael maglaras

Simon…sorry…it is the back end of the Royal Academy of course(!)

Paul

good to see an Englishman with a good sense of style. O’Connell’s is an absolute joy to visit, which I am able to do frequently as it is in my adopted city.

Robert

I have a similar suit from O’Connell, plus their doeskin blazer which I thoroughly enjoy. Your right, their customer service is excellent, if you ever have a problem they will go out of their way to make it right. O’Connell is one of those hidden gems worth searching for.