A Day in the Life
My day begins around 6:30am, when my three-year-old starts shouting over the monitor that she wants to get up. That’s my job, in the highly organised division-of-labour that is our family life. I have to coax her out of her pyjamas and downstairs for breakfast. Fast enough that she won’t get hungry and upset, but not so forced that she’ll just get plain upset.
The older children emerge about 7am, and are much more self-sufficient. My role is largely to stay out of the way as they prepare lunch, have their cereal, and go through minor panics about missing maths books.
It’s probably only when everyone leaves the house that readers will care what I do - or at least, those two readers that requested an article about my working day.
I always do comments before I leave the house. Having showered and shaved, I’ll sit down to my desk about 8:30 and go through them, publishing and replying. There are normally between 20 and 30 overnight. It gets my mind whirring - thoughts on the current post, on old posts, suggestions for new posts.
Since Covid, I’m usually in town (central London) three days a week. The rest of the time I’m at home, although I always end up spending a good 2-3 hours working in local cafes - I'd go stir crazy otherwise.
Appointments get allocated to the town days. And frankly those are a lot more interesting than the home days, so I’ll run through a typical one of those.
Get dressed, usually in an outfit I’ve considered the night before. It stresses me out if I do it in the morning. Casual tailoring or smart casual (as described here) depending on appointments.
Get the train. Work on the train. I’ve never managed to kick the habit of working when commuting. I think it started when we had two small kids and I was effectively doing two jobs: every minute counted and I could never just sit reading a book. That’s left for the evening, when it feels like everything else has been done.
So I sit on the overground from East Dulwich to London Bridge, answering social media comments and perhaps beginning an article.
I’d never write a full piece on my phone, but the start is always the hardest and there’s something about travelling - without the pressure of sitting down at a desk in front of a blank screen - that makes it easier.
One or two appointments are always around Savile Row. Others are likely to be up on Chiltern Street, which is a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute (hire-bike) cycle. Choice depends on weather.
A couple of weeks ago, my day started at Gaziano & Girling, seeing Tony about a pair of bespoke loafers that he was attempting to stretch. Frankly they were always a bit tight, but I’ve really only learned in recent years to value comfort more, and these could definitely be more comfortable.
These appointments often feel like a weird mix of personal and professional. I’m essentially a consumer, doing whatever a consumer would do, but I also know that most things will end up being covered on PS, and the brand is aware of that too.
It’s not quite shopping for a living, but it’s not far off - and I never stop being thankful for having that as a job.
Appointments like this are personal in another way too, which is that Tony and I have known each other for quite a few years. We know what’s going on in each other’s lives, and we care enough to ask.
Of course, any customer of bespoke will often end up having a similar relationship with their makers, and that’s a truly lovely part of it. It makes the world feel like a warmer place - like knowing your neighbours.
My other appointment that morning was seeing George and Tom at The Valet - the dry cleaning, pressing and shoe service that has now moved to the Piccadilly Arcade.
They'e starting an alterations service, so I was trying it out by widening a pair of flannels. Panico made me two pairs with a flannel suit (above), so I thought it would be interesting to have one in a wider cut. It might go with the very roomy jacket; then again, it may not.
Like the G&G stretching, this is the kind of thing that could become an article on PS, or simply an update to the Clothing Resources page.
Finally, I popped into Anderson & Sheppard and Adret, in a continuation of the shopping-as-a-job. Wonderfully, a reader in A&S recognised me and said hello. This seems to happen more these days - perhaps every other day on average - though I have no idea why.
It has happened enough, however, for me to realise what a feedback opportunity it is. So I ask the reader what he likes in particular, and what we could do better. Turns out he likes the expansion into more casual clothing, and would like more of the 'how to buy quality' pieces. Duly noted.
Ever since I quit my journalism job to do PS full time, I've been a member of Mortimer House, the upscale co-working club just north of Oxford Circus.
It's a nice place to be, and I've been there long enough that most of the staff know my name. (I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.)
I'll normally go there for a few hours, and one day a week Lucas and I usually meet and work alongside each other. We used to just do catch-ups over the phone, but somehow when you're sitting next to each other, you remember loads of little things you meant to mention, or wanted an opinion on.
It's my tiny slice of office working: I'm sure readers that have gone back to the office, at least in part, will be able to relate.
Lucas (above) looks after the shop side of PS, so the things we catch up on include such thrill-a-minute topics as packages that have gone missing, bugs with Shopify, and size splits for a knitwear order. All the glamour of fashion.
I keep an eye on comments throughout this time, and manage to finish my article - though it takes almost as long to select the images, resize them, name them, format the article, tag it, schedule it and add hyperlinks. It is my dearest wish that WordPress would open links in a new window by default; it would save me several days a year.
The next day my to-do list includes reviewing the quarterly VAT return and sending monthly invoices. I guess it's nice though - healthy even - to have admin tasks as a balance to the shoots and shopping.
Otherwise if all I did was swan around, it might all go to my head. Can you imagine?
Last stop of the day is Cromford on Chiltern Street, where I need to shoot fur hats they've been making.
To do that, I've carried another outfit in my big Clegg tote, and of course now have an altered pair of trousers with me too. That's why - when anyone meets me in town - I always seem to be lugging big bags of clothes around.
And, I'm often wearing clothes that are entirely inappropriate for the season, because we're shooting ahead of time and I want to minimise how much I have to carry. Like below, wearing a coat over summer trousers and tennis shoes...
Having stood in doorways and against walls for half an hour, as well as crossed a street seven times until it looked 'natural', I'm going home from Baker Street.
On the way I manage not to work, and spend half the time listening to Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won, half reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Both are beautiful.
Nothing much to say about the rest of the day, except I'm sure many fathers will relate to the experience of coming home to a bright, warm house in the evening, full of the voices of people you love.
My highlights in the evening are doing the washing up with my 14-year-old - while playing each other music we like - and reading The Lord of The Rings to the 12-year-old at bedtime.
Oh, and I check comments once more. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself.
Thank you for this excuse to describe and reflect. If anyone has any reflections of their own, or of course any questions, as ever please add them below.
What a beautiful article!! I actually like the half summer and half winter outfit (tempting to try that with my donegal overcoat). I also love how you started and ended with mentioning your family, a lovely remainder that they make a tough work day and all the chaos of the world completely worth it. Thank you for writing this! Hope you don’t have to stay up too late checking this comment.
Cheers Ben, and so pleased you liked it.
I’m amazed that you mention that you needed to go to G&G to get a pair of shoes stretched! I also have to do the same, albeit on a pair of MTM Regent shoes. I’m size 101/2. The toe box and vamp are rather tight and I’m curious as to how much the stretching will help. I also feel some pain on the ankle bone on my left foot.I don’t know how that can be addressed. I’ve also had to get long inside stiffeners in both my shoes. Can’t remember exactly that the stiffeners improve on…probably posture.
They will also be trying an H width instead of my current G width and see how that goes.
So I’m not on my own with this problem. Apparently it takes around three weeks to stretch shoes. I just hope that it will improve the feel in the toe box and vamp.
That could merit an article by itself.
I will be interested to see how your visit to the Valet goes. I potentially may be using them myself. Do they offer shoe Patination? I think they have incorporated The Jaunty Flanneur?
Yes that’s right Lindsay, and the shoe work is very good.
The alterations actually worked out fine with widening the leg on these trousers, but have proved much harder on giving more space in the thigh on another. They might be best for more simple alterations.
The G&G ones were bespoke, so that does mean the process is a bit different – making adjustments to the last and then leaving them on there for a good while. But I’ve seen them do good things with simpler stretching in the shop too
Klara and The Sun is a delightful read – on a related note, have you watched the Bill Nighy film Living, Simon? It’s an adaptation of the Kurosawa film Ikiru with a screenplay by Ishiguro and has some nice period costume and tailoring.
I haven’t, but I heard it’s good. I have to say when I saw the trailer it didn’t look like his bowler fit him that well!
Another nice change of pace article to start the week. A few points.
You mentioned stretching shoes. A pediatrist I have visited advised that I (and my son in law who went to her as well) and she advised many people wear shoes in too small a size. At least 1/2 size, sometimes more and we should consider that some of the shoes we like (shape, weight) may not necessarily in turn like our feet! .
I think starting some writing on a phone, which is a little harder to do, can help brevity and make the output more succinct. In my working life when my team had to prepare for example, positioning papers (one page A4 size) I encouraged them to write first drafts in longhand. It’s interesting how this restrained overly ‘wordiness’.
Finally interesting to see it’s not all glamour then!
Have a good week.
Cheers Stephen, nice points.
You’re certainly right about shoes, men and even more so women don’t wear ones that are the best for our feet. But then again I think as long as it’s nothing severe and you don’t wear them all the time, balance with being elegant is good too.
I completely agree. Essentially a dress shoe vs harder on the feet all day wear. Although in either case wearing too small a size in any shoe still needs to still be considered.
BTW if ever you need an excellent sports podiatrist please let me know and I’ll. send contact details etc.
All the best.
Thank you Stephen
An article concerning the physiological/medical impacts and advice on different types of footwear sounds interesting.
Yes please Stephen! London based?
Lovely article thanks Simon. Have your feet changed sizes? I also tend to favour comfort over smartness these days. I feel like my feet have changed a bit and some of my dress shoes now cause foot pain that they didn’t use to!
best wishes both
With shoes Rik, I think there are a few things going on:
– I prioritise comfort around the toes now, more than being held in the heel, which is usually my compromise with RTW shoes.
– My feet have probably ‘settled’ a bit over the past 15 years I think, which does happen as you get older. Your feet widen a bit, sometimes arches drop a bit.
– I simply prioritise comfort more, and am not prepared to put up as much with uncomfortable shoes for the sake of the look. Eg Corthay were never and probably would never be comfortable!
interesting thanks Simon
Love this! Both this article and the one from a few days ago on what you wear on a day in the park with the kids! I guess it’s because I am myself home with our two year old three days a week, so its quite easy to relate.
Then I have a question that I’ve been thinking of for a while. Are you at all putting the same thought into your children’s clothes as to your own (casual clothing)? I mainly mean in terms of make, material, construction, country of origin etc.? Personally I have prioritised all cotton and wool, but price has been important as well given hos fast she grows etc.
Good question Daniel.
Not really, other than trying to pass down clothes through the family, so everything gets worn by multiple people. My three year old actually just got big enough for a sweater than had been worn by her two older sisters, her mother and her aunt!
There’s a lot that can be improved about children’s clothing, but reusing has to be a good first step. All our things that are no longer worn go to the local charity shop too, and we buy things from there ourselves.
We tended to buy really quite a lot second hand from the children’s focused charity shops. it’s worked pretty well – the reality is young children go through clothes so fast they really can reused a number of times (I do wonder if some good clothes have been circulating for decades). Similar with books. I think we’re finding as they get a bit older it’s less as of an option as they really do wear their clothes out!
Hi Simon and Rod!
Yeah, we’re doing pretty much the same and that works just fine. I was just curious to hear about Simons approach to children’s wear 😊
Such a lovely and personal insight into your work. A great reminder of the constant, human presence behind your blog, in contrast to the mercantile focus of most media and brand output. I also appreciated the included tips for making the most of flexible working – I definitely need to capitalise on the local cafe scene during home days. I get the sense that many are now more accommodating of laptop wielders than before the pandemic.
Yes, true. I think it helps if you don’t stay more than an hour or so, and take notice of any restrictions, like not on Friday or weekends
I can relate to a lot of that, atlhough my love of shopping and being in great places in London does not relate to my work, much, unfortunately!
I am have my own business as a sole practitioner (surveying) and can also relate to remote working, working in coffee shops, planning the days in town (and missing London if I am not there at least once a week) and also the admin – it does balance out the main professional work and is oddly satisfying… my father trained as an accountant so that may be a contributing factor. And overall being self sufficient and self reliant, but doing things your way, as your own boss.
I can also relate to juggling with family life, it changes as they get older, lifts to the station, then going to things with them – I went with my 13 year old son to the Members Meeting at Goodwood yesterday and it was lovely to enjoy the day together. Another day it might be going to a concert or a football match with my eldest daughter. It is lovely to have a connection or shared interest as they get older.
It is a joy to share interests as they grow older. My son began playing ice hockey this past winter and now we have a shared passion. It has deepened our bond and is well worth the hectic schedule.
Hi Simon. A lovely piece. It shows how integral reader comments, and the back and forth are . The thought of you in a local cafe with a coffee and a cinnamon bun going through the list with insight, good humour and patience gives PS a real warmth and connection.
Thank you Daniel
Thanks for popping all the links in. More how to buy quality articles sounds great. I’m just off to read the first ones now 🙂
Nice. And will do
Very enjoyable . One thing which has happened ,post covid, is the variety of clothing required in the modern mixed way of working.
As an example , in the morning I could be in the Dutch polder land,so Lennon work boots, hiking trousers and a Scotch and Soda cotton parka plus a beret-vital to keep my thinning pate warm. My requirements being arm room and protection from the daily Dutch monsoon.
With office work and teaching I’m back in loafers,chinos ,ocbd, wool jacket with a regular need to smarten up ‘one’for new clients and students. I commute via scooter ,so scarf,gloves etc all add to the mix.
The inevitable evening grandkids visit has me in grey sweatshirt,white tee and jeans(thanks PS!).
Clothing is definitely part of our social glue.My students regularly comment-I presume they think every Briton wears full tweeds and a deerstalker ,perhaps they are disappointed and my colleagues regularly tease me that eventually I will be in standard Dutch uniform-puffer jacket,skinny blue jeans and sneakers. .
We will see who wins that.
I quite like that summer winter look, the coat and trousers providing harmony with the footwear providing a pop of colour.
Any thoughts on how classic menswear is suited to well heeled areas like Fitzrovia, Mayfair, Dulwich, etc. But would stand out in other (less well to do) areas in London?
I think you get a sense of that if you live in those places, or even visit them regularly, definitely. We’re not in posh Dulwich, in more mixed East Dulwich, and have lived in Peckham and Peckham Rye around here – you get a big diversity of groups and classes. One of the joys of London in many ways
I too appreciate the diversity, although the latter areas you mention have definitely gentrified over the last 10 plus years. There are certainly much more shabby areas in London where smart separates looks out of place. I guess my point was/is that as one can dress for an occasion, similarly one also (sub)consciously can dress to be attuned with the neighborhood.
Absolutely Misbah. I should also say that I was in Peckham before the gentrification, 15 years ago! I used to be the only person on the train in a suit every morning
Good Monday morning Simon….Fabulous article..you are a busy man who has time to be with his family..i know you have 3 daughters..bravo!!! I have one who i walked down the aisle august 2021…her husband is a good guy…keep up your great work….peace 👍
The bakerboy cap in the last photograph suits you much better, and is more stylish, than any baseball cap. Is it a Tremelo or Newsboy from Lock’s? The Tremelo and other bakerboys are now available in a wide range in summer fabrics, including denim.
Tremelo. Thanks for the view as ever Gary, though I’ll continue to wear baseball caps too!
Hi Some, nice article. I have a few questions I hope you don’t mind me listing them;
– do you shave everyday? Beard and head?
– you mentioned your show and alterations appointments that ‘may’ become articles. Does that mean you have a photographer with you at all times just in case?
– does Lucas run all of the e-commerce for you? I’m interested as I run a small business and am weighing up the benefit of a directly employed person against taking someone on freelance.
– Beard almost every day, head once a week
– No, it’s just that some of the information or experience will go into an article, photos can be taken at a later point
– Yes he does, it’s been great
This has got to be one of my favourite articles of all time now! Thank you very very much for sharing, in a way which I’m certain many of us can relate to, and in a very down-to-earth, heartwarming way. Like Ben said above, it also tugs at the heart how you start and come back full circle to being and doing things with family.
It used to be that I’d sometimes get frustrated with articles that I can’t relate to or are not particularly relevant for me. Your article here enlightens on just how much time and of yourself it takes to write these.
Thanks a thousand times over.
Wow. My absolute pleasure Julian, I’m so pleased it came across that way
I’d agree. I think sharing the personal side is hard to overstate the value it offers, particularly to long term readers. I can also see that it can be a bit tricky though at the same time since it’s well… personal. Similar posts for those willing that make up the rest of the permanent style staff would be nice as well.
Thanks Tim, nice suggestion
There are serveral plugins for WordPress that changes the default behavior of hyperlinks.
One can be found here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/open-links-in-new-tab/
I haven’t tried it, but it seems simple enough.
Wonderful! Thanks Carl
Hi Simon, I just wanted to say thank you for the prompt replies on comments, I appreciate that very much!
I also have an article suggestion. Could you do something about cloths you have considered for suits/ jackets but then decided against them. I think it would be helpful to see your decision-making process given your experience.
Hmm, interesting. There would be a lot of those, but I guess perhaps next time I review something, I could run through what other cloths I considered and rejected?
Thank you for letting us peek into your home and your daily routine. You seem to be blessed with a wonderful family, which is the most important thing in the world. While I do not have grandchildren (I am 73), I have many grand-nieces and grand-nephews, all of them delightful — well, most of the time, anyway.
I do have one comment about shoe-stretching. I have a couple of those stretchers that are built out of shoe trees or lasts, with a screw mechanism which enables the split wooden last to be inserted into the shoe and stretched out. The results I have obtained with them are mixed. They have worked well some of the time, not so much on other occasions! I wonder if G&G are more sophisticated in their approach to shoe-stretching or just employ the same kind of device I mentioned above.
So for stretching ready-made shoes, it’s that mechanism, though there are also different types there and it helps to have experience of stretching a certain type of shoe.
For bespoke shoes, you would usually put extra layers of leather onto the personal last, and then put the shoe back on it.
Dear Simon! What is the difference then between relasting (as I believe you have done with some of your Saint Crispin’s in the past) and streching? Does relasting mean that you tear of the full sole (all layers) and basically reuse the uppers for a new pair of shoes? In your experience: What gives the better result?
Good point, relasting is the same as the second type of stretching that I mentioned, where you change the last in some way before putting the shoe back on it.
Thank you! So that means that you cannot relast a shoe to make it smaller in any way? My first pair of Saint Crispin’s are too big (but OK with an extra insole that they made for me).
Ah, no you can do that to an extent, if you take the sole off etc. Bigger job though
I will be getting my MTO shoes stretched with G&G and the process takes about three weeks but I don’t know anything more than that.
Thank you for sharing this slice of your life Simon.
Nice article. Long time reader here though I’ve never actually written a comment, for whatever reason. Since you mention wanting feedback, one of the things I wish you’d bring back is the “Best cloths of XX season”. I always have trouble deciding on what fabric to commission, especially for a jacket, and I find myself referencing those older articles for inspiration/guidance. Even if you don’t pick out a specific fabric I might ultimately select, it’s helpful to see your thought process when evaluating the myriad choices that can overwhelm when going to the tailor.
Thanks Adam. One of the reasons I stopped was that the format kind of didn’t make sense, because actually it was rare I was selecting seasonal fabrics – as in ones that were only going to be around for one or two seasons. Would it be more interesting to look at a type of fabric and the bunches, like I did with corduroy and with linen?
Got it. I like a lot of the seasonal fabric books like Proposte Giacche and often consider the seasonal fabrics when making a commission, but I take your point. In any case, yes, I enjoyed the corduroy and linen guides and would welcome further in depth writing on fabric types. But I find it particularly useful when you include thoughts on specific fabric swatches as well because it’s not always easy for me to take general advice and translate it into choosing the exact right fabric for my needs.
OK, thanks Adam, good to know
To Simon and Adam,
I indeed second this idea and let’s look at say a particular fabric or bunch, forget the seasonal aspect. This could be fun as well as very informative.
Let’s take an example(s)… The extreme blues of the Smith WOOLENS (Harrissons) Botany bunch… extreme but fun. Numbers SW3541, SW3542 and SW3543…. particularly the last one… an electric blue.
How would a tailor use that color?
OK this is probably a suiting bunch but for separates, what trousers color goes with that blue..what shirt.. and so on.
Could be great fun.
What about the beautiful cream colour cavalry Twills and whipcord offerings in W. BILL Whipcords & Cavalry Twills and Dugdale’s Invincible bunches. How can those be coordinated?
Lot’s of potential… and lots of fun!!!
I’d also love to see occasional roundup of exciting new or interesting old fabrics that are available. As you professionally come across a lot more selection than most of readers, it would really be helpful if you shared your ideas and opinions on those. Make an inspiring proposal of sorts. While you already do it more elegantly by posting outfits ensembles and artisan overviews, now and then it would be nice to have a dedicated pieces just for playing with fabric ideas.
OK thanks m, good to know
You posts about fabrics are my favourites. I revisit them again and again. I’ve learned a lot from them.
If you’d write more about fabric it would be much appreciated.
OK thanks H, good to know
No regular sport or exercise? Also, do you have any regular eating habits/ food spots?
Yes, lots, I’ve always been a bit of an exercise addict, but that wasn’t really within the scope of the piece, same with restaurants etc.
Lovely article Simon! It’s a very similar routine to my own.
One of the kids wakes up and that starts the routine, which typically means organising breakfast for them both then helping my wife gather all the stuff they need for their day.
I’ve normally chosen my outfit for the day on the previous evening, based on my day’s plan. Mostly it will be a shirt, trousers and jacket, perhaps a coat depending on the weather. Shuffle off to the station and hop on the train. I may read or listen to a podcast, and once off at the other end I set about my tasks, meeting clients, reviewing an upcoming art show, trying a new restaurant and so on.
I always try and be home to help bath the kids, read a story and then smashing a large G&T. Cooking provided a therapy and then a quick Netflix catch up before bed.
Life is good!
I think there could be something in Jim’s question around eating out in London. You have a large international readership who would value the local knowledge, but London has a number of bars and restaurants that would make good locations. Or perhaps there’s an opportunity to write about dressing for lunch or dinner (how for instance has COVID changed what’s suitable for an evening out)?
Thanks Tim. Certainly on dressing I can see it. On restaurants I feel that might be a little too far from the normal PS remit – I try to keep things menswear adjacent (eg materials, interiors, pens, watches etc). Although having said that, readers did give me lots of recommendations for jazz bars in Tokyo, and I’ll definitely include those at the bottom of an upcoming Japan article
Sounds like a very interesting day you have! I always find it amazing how much traction this kind of article gets. I wrote a blog years ago about what a day looked like when I am visiting communities in the developing world for work. 🙂
I also really appreciate the focus you have on your family- it’s too easy to read of men who spend all their time working, whereas your day is very grounded in the most important things, which I very much appreciate!
Thank you Simon, and would be interesting to hear about your blog too
It was a LiveJournal I wrote many years ago at my last job. These days I don’t write so much about my travel, I just produce stories when I do travel (most recently stories about humanitarian work in Ukraine, but at least one story from Brazil to come soon). I’m not even sure that blog post is still up on their website 🙂
I’ll give you credit. You do answer comments and interact with us. Also, if you like How the West Was Won, you should check out the Black Crowes Live at the Greek. Jimmy Page played Led Zep covers with he Crowes. Also, the guy who produced How the West was Won also produced Live at the Greek. His name is Kevin Shirley.
Thanks Dan, I’ll check it out. Used to be a bit of a Black Crowes fan, but haven’t listened to them in years
I’m sure I’ve read you have a love for sport and like to work out (you deff manage to keep in shape). When do you find time for this and do you struggle with packing gym clothes and shoes?
Time is always an issue, but I usually manage to fit it in. I probably even prioritise it above cultural things sometimes, which is not always healthy (mentally).
My aim most weeks is to go for a run, do one weights session at Mortimer House, and do yoga – usually at home, sometimes early in the morning before everyone is up, or before bed. Sometimes there’ll be a cycle into town too, but that happens less now I’m not in town as much. I find that balance of activities satisfying and effective, and having done pilates for a few years, have a real love of yoga now.
Definitely my favourite article. I genuinely found myself reading and not wanting it to end! Perhaps, in the future ‘A week in the life’ might be something you’d consider….And one last suggestion. Perhaps a round up from the usual suspects, A&S, Drakes, Anglo etc…as to what in your opinion we should be looking out for in the coming season. Your favourite pieces… I seem to remember you doing this before and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who found it absolutely essential in planning my future purchases. And my absolute final point. You are seriously under estimating your obvious talents. Higher stock levels in the PS shop please! I don’t believe you are that modest as to consistently under estimate your readerships demand for your clothing!!
Thanks Richard, and nice suggestions.
On the clothing round-up, yes we do a ‘Spring/Summer Top 10’ every year. The next one will be in a week or two.
Thanks Simon for this intimate glimpse into your family and working life. It served as my nightcap as I weaned myself off work. It is apparent you enjoy PS and it shows in your dedication, discipline and still being human. You made work look so enjoyable which must be a lesson to always follow one’s heart.
As for me since I moved close to London’s green belt after spending nearly two decades living more centrally, I am enjoying spring closer to nature running through the woods (getting lost and stuck in the mud but managing to find my way again, a few nerve-jangling skirmishes with inconsiderate dog walkers and dashing back home in time to sub the day’s news).
Now, the comments section deserve a special mention on PS, glad to know we keep you busy replying to them!
That sounds wonderful BB, and the lack of that is the obvious downside of being central. I do need to make more time to take trips to the country with the kids
This might be my favorite piece you have ever written.
I especially like the admission that you have to pick out things the night before as a way to staving off the stress of early morning clothing selections (I think we have all been there, and at one point or another felt we were the only ones going through this).
Obviously articles like this only work once in a blue moon, but am looking forward to the next one like this (probably years from now) as it pops up organically.
Since you mentioned in another comment that you are a bit of an exercise addict, I wouldn’t mind an article about your experiences with exercise and clothes no longer fitting as a result of gaining muscle and losing bodyfat IF and only IF this is something you have experience with. Although in fairness, I don’t know how many other readers would be interested in this.
That certainly has happened to me, though not to an extreme degree. Still, it does surprise me how much of an effect this has had on tailoring no longer fitting, despite it being quite a slight physical change.
I didn’t reflect on this a little in this piece on Chittleborough
I’ve been competing in powerlifting and natural bodybuilding for 18 years and my bodyweight has fluctuated roughly 30 kg.
At the peak of my weight, being about 105kg, it was impossible to fit anything properly and I actually ended up loosing the jacket entirely and opted for knit instead. I’ve unfortunately also experienced the opposite, having had jackets that could not be made fitting again. Chest gaping, balance too low, etc.. it can easily happen, but there has been at least 15kg between the adjustments. Lesser fluctuations have been altered fairly easily.
A fun observation is in relation to carb deposits and dieting. Daily body weight fluctuations and pumps can drastically alter the fit of tailoring. If you weigh above 100kg, train in the morning and carb up later in the day, your thigh circumference can easily change a few centimeters and weight fluctuate more than 4 kg, making a “good” fit rather difficult.
That ending section hit in ways I did not expect, a life well lived for sure Simon.
Excellent read, thank you.
My feedback would be that I used to love all the articles on formal wear, office worsted and ties. Post COVID I have deliberately decided to wear ties in office, because the world becomes too simple and dull without them.
If you were to dress in suits for office again. Would it be a different fit/ cut/ silhouette than what is was when you did most of your writing on that topic?
Good question Malthe. I think it would be a little softer yes, probably more a Neapolitan style. Though I would like to wear English jackets maybe, with separate trousers. Nice to do that as an option in the office that you don’t wear all the time – and so doesn’t set apart too much from what everyone else is wearing
Love the passion and gratitude beaming out of the page here Simon, I share the love of my personal life but not the professional life – but you give me hope. Thank you!
Summer’s coming up. Are you a fan of seersucker?
I like it in navy definitely – see mine shown here.
In the traditional blue/white stripe I’m having a jacket made, so I’ll see. I’m not sure I’d wear a full suit in it
In the US, seersucker jackets can be a way to deal with the 90 degree summer days–but the same is true for the suits.
I was once in Hong Kong trying to get 100% cotton seersucker and went to Wing On Street, the center (back then) of the fabric district. Everyone had cotton-poly blends because 100% cotton would wrinkle. But that’s the whole idea with seersucker to begin with!
I live in the US south. Only really old guys wear the full seersucker suit these days.
I am one of the two readers who has been hoping for an article like this one for years! A lovely read – thank you for sharing.
Interesting insight, thank you Simon.
A question on practicalities. When you’re actively commuting, whether cycling in (which I think you’ve mentioned before) or using bike-hire for a cross-town trip, are you doing all this in your normal outfit and shoes? Or are you changing clothes and into trainers?
If I’m doing it around town, it’s in normal shoes.
If its commuting in (longer, faster, more weather) I do it in proper cycling gear these days, lycra and all, because I enjoy it.
But if it wasn’t in lycra, I still wouldn’t wear smart tailoring or shoes. It would have to be tougher and more casual. In my old job I used to cycle in jeans and keep trousers, jacket and shoes at the office. I’d bring in underwear and a shirt.
I very much enjoy your off-topic, “lifestyle” (for lack of a better word) articles!
What got my attention is you say even on home days you end up in a local cafe, otherwise you’d go nuts. I’m having the same problem! I’m always promising myself I’ll be so ‘not wasting my time’ on a given day by staying in and working dutifully at home, and yet after a day like this I get depressed and ultimately end up far less productive. Is it the same for you if you stayed home all day?
Plus, I also admire you’re able to write on the train! I really don’t know how you manage that.
Thanks Piotr. I wouldn’t say I get depressed at home, I think it’s just really helpful to have a change of scene, as indeed I’d have if I was working in town – popping out for food or coffee or something.
I think at this point writing articles is second nature, and sometimes it’s much easier to have the thoughts of them come when somewhere like the train. Also bear in mind I’m not going in at rush hour so it’s pretty quiet!
How would you dress if you were say 25 now? The same?
If my life situation were the same (job, family) then I think so, yes.
If I were still working in an office and in tailoring most of the time, I’d dress more subtly than I used to, and wouldn’t be as obsessed with bright shoes, cream trousers, or hand stitching!
This was a truly lovely article. I find it inspirational.
Do you mind if I ask if exercise is part of your routine, and if so, what that entails and when/how you find time?
Hey Mike – there’s a reply about that above in the comments if you have a quick search. Sorry there are so many of them but there would be even more if things were answered more than once!
Ah yes! It is the small deeds like those you’ve written about here that keep the darkness at bay. I’ve been enamored with Lord of the Rings since I was about 12. What do you and your daughter think of it?
Myself and my middle daughter (12) are big fans. I actually read all three books to her before bed, over a period of two years!
The getting an outfit ready the night before is something I didn’t do until I became a parent. Just one less thing to focus on in the rush of trying to get everything ready and spend quality time with your child before getting on with paying the bills.
Stylish yet unmannered prose, Simon. As always.
Thank you Tim