Schostal: Socks, shirts and pyjamas in Rome

Monday, July 10th 2023
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In quite a few European cities, including most in Italy I’ve visited, you see small, slightly old-fashioned shops selling underwear and nightwear, often with these little hand-written price cards. 

Although charming, the quality in these shops is often not at the superlative level we cover on Permanent Style - though they can be interesting for their range of vests and boxers in rare, old-fashioned designs. 

It would be easy to take Schostal in Rome for one of these, given the variety of underclothing and similar price cards. But this beautiful shop operates at a higher level, and just as interestingly, has a long and rich history. 

Schostal was founded in Rome in 1870, at a time when the country itself was just being unified. It occupied a bigger, grander space back then, and became something of an institution. It then only just survived WW1, when the Austrian founders were forced to leave the country, and had a similarly narrow escape from Mussolini’s racial laws a few years later. 

Amusingly, the story with the latter is that owner Giorgio Bloch managed to convince the authorities that the Austrian name Schostal - despite being traditionally Jewish - actually stood for Societé Commerciale Hongroise Objects Soie Toile Articles Lainage (Hungarian Commercial Company selling Silk, Canvas and Wool Articles). As a result, although the shop had to close for two years during WW2, it didn’t have to transfer ownership like many other Jewish businesses in Italy. 

Giorgio’s daughter-in-law and grandson now run the shop - Shirley and Andrew. That’s Shirley talking me through the extensive stock below. She was at pains to point out all the famous people than patronise Schostal, including Richard Gere and Naomi Campbell, Wes Anderson and Harry Styles. 

That’s a very effective way to communicate the shop’s status, because although many locals stop by, there are also plenty of tourists. The current shop isn't as prominent as the original on Via del Corso, but it’s close to the luxury shopping street Via dei Condotti, which runs down from Rome’s famous Spanish Steps. 

I feel a Permanent Style reader is more likely to be struck by the quality and range of the clothing, however. Fine over-the-calf socks come in a huge range of colours and cost €25; many of the shirts often have beautiful hand-sewn embroidery; everything is made in Italy. 

The shirts, pleasingly, come with a spare set of collars and cuffs, so Schostal can replace them when the originals wear through. This used to be pretty standard among bespoke shirtmakers, who either made a spare set for each shirt or held onto material to do so in the future. I remember talking about it with David Gale when he was at Turnbull & Asser, back when I had my first ever bespoke shirts made.

However, what most attracted myself and Milad (Abedi, photographer) was the pyjamas. Available in linen, voile, cotton twill and fibre mixes, they have a variety of collar designs, many colours, and also styles for men, women and children. 

Some of the makes are admittedly quite straightforward, with a simple elasticated waist on the trousers and no fly. But it’s hard to argue with either the variety or the value, with most starting at €102.  

The pyjamas also come in either long or short sleeves, and legs. Given it was roasting that day in Rome, Milad and I both liked the idea of pyjamas with both short legs and short sleeves. 

I ended up getting the black cotton set shown below, which have been lovely when London has experienced heat waves. I imagine it’ll be the same when the temperature gets to that level later this summer. 

There was a bit of a fashion trend at one point to wear sets like these outside - matching short-sleeve shirts and shorts. It’s not something that particularly appeals to me, but even if it did I wouldn’t say a set like this is that suited to the look, no matter how cool it is. The simple make and shape rather give away the fact that they’re pyjamas, rather than outdoor wear.

Schostal also carry knitted garments, with the range originally starting because so much underwear was knitted. Today that includes cotton T-shirts, merino T-shirts, and knitwear with every collar you can think of. 

The only downside to this range of clothing is that sometimes a particular style, size and colour is not in stock. This seemed to be the case fairly often with the knitwear, occasionally with the pyjamas, and less so with socks and shirts.

Schostal do have good e-commerce but it doesn't have everything. The family has also deliberately never done wholesale, and you can see it would be hard with the pricing. 

As ever with these independent shops, though, the lack of access is part of the charm. Although I’d like another set of pyjamas, I also like the fact that the shop is a destination, waiting for me whenever I manage to get back to Rome. It wouldn’t be the same if there were one in London and New York, or it was carried by Mr Porter.

For anyone that doesn’t know, I published a book with Thames & Hudson a few years ago with guides to similar independent menswear shops - it’s available on Amazon and the PS Shop

It didn’t include Rome as one of the featured cities, but if we ever publish a second edition I certainly would, given the number of great places I visited. You can see six of them by searching for ‘Rome’ on PS. 

I can do a shopping guide on the site too, if people are interested; the guides to other cities live here in the City Shopping Guide section.

I’m generally trying to update them every few years, and did that with Tokyo recently. Next will probably be London and New York. 

Clothes shown:

  • Black linen overshirt, Permament Style (restock later this month)
  • White knitted cotton T-shirt, Thom Sweeney
  • Off-white linen trousers, Ambrosi
  • Black Sagan loafers, Baudoin & Lange
  • 'Californian' sunglasses, Meyrowitz

Schostal is at Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 29

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Lindsay McKee

Another unique and beautiful piece, Simon. Italy must be full of good independent shops like this including the regions.
It would be nice to see a second edition of the book on independent shops all nicely updated…go on now Simon!!!


I have been shopping socks and underwear in Schostal for the last 25 years. It is funny that I am from Rome but I have discovered Schostal when I was living in London. They have a kind of socks which are really durable and sound. The underwear not that much. The piyamas are georgeous but the colourful ones are a recent add to their offering. There is another Schostal shop in the northern area of Rome with exactly the same logo but a different website. It is probably owned by a different branch of the family.


Hello Simon, a little off topic, but i have a question about linen trousers, for which i have an upcoming appointment for Anglo-Italians new bespoke service.

I can’t decide whether a cream or stone colour would be more versatile. I do not want white trousers, and i guess cream lies on the warmer side of this, while stone is colder. You describe the Ambrosi trousers you are wearing here as off-white, and they look more towards a colder stone colour. I think i prefer this to cream, because it does look colder. I know you also have a cream pair too, so i am keen to know if you notice much difference in terms of how you wear them.

Thanks for your help!


Thanks Simon, that gives me confidence that stone is the best way to go.

Do you plan to review Anglo’s bespoke service?



My grand father was a loyal customer back when they were in Via del Corso and pretty much all of his presents where bought there. It’s really a piece of history of Rome, sadly only one of the few that are left.


Hi Simon,

Great outfit you’re wearing! What size is the linen overshirt and what size jacket do you typically wear?


Hi Simon,I was really drawn to the comparison between one of the first photos of a chap in blue shirt and chinos and yourself later in a T shirt and overshirt with light coloured trouser.Similar and very different but both very nice.The first is classic and your combo is a modern twist.


Hi Simon, these and your cloth pieces are by some way my favourite articles.
Do you happen to know who makes their shirts, given presumably they don’t own a factory for that scale? (Would of course be wonderful if they did!)
Thanks a lot.
Ps, another excellent Roman shirt maker of similar ilk who also give you the collar spares is Caleffi


I was in Italy and specifically Rome for the first time in May. I have to say the number of small independent stores, especially for menswear, is astonishing. It was such a joy just exploring the city and finding theses little gems tucked away in small side streets.
The other thing I felt was a lot of the clothes, appeared to have more traditional styling (larger collars, lapels, etc.). This was especially true when compared to the average high street menswear store in the UK. It generally felt like people had a better understanding and appreciation for tailoring there which was interesting to see.


I’d love an “outside” shirt in the same cut and design as that black pyjama top. Also like the drawing on the paper shopping bag; it’s one of those little details you don’t get to enjoy when shopping online, and and a missed opportunity at many brick & mortar stores.


I went to Schostal a couple of times but was always put off by the slightly less than welcoming attitude of the personnel. I’m from Rome but discovered them while living in London, like the reader before, so maybe there’s something to do with that. Anyway, I always end up shopping for the similar type of underwear and pijamas at « Tabro Biancheria » around the corner. Somehow the old ladies working there seem nicer. I don’t think they make shirts though.


Great read, Simon! It’s a wonderful store. What size did you go for? From my own experience, Shirley likes to style the pajamas’ quite oversized. Especially my pants ended up really wide and hide waisted in order for the shirt to accommodate my shoulders.


Hi Simon, Great article and love the history. How were their shirts priced?


Why, though, would you wear black pyjamas in the heat. Surely light blue would be cooler and more practical.


Amazing article! I am huge fan of these kind of shops. Any suggestions of a good place to buy pyjamas in Naples?


Next time when in Rome, you should pay a visit to Cruciani e Bella in Via Bocca di Leone. Beautiful shop that carries mainly accessories and the owners are true Romans. Danilo Cruciano is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Trust me, you won´t be disappointed.


Do you find that kind of pyjamas as comfortable as underwear and a T-shirt?


It was a pleasant surprise to see this write up as I’m currently in Rome. Stopped in and was impressed. Picked up pajamas for myself and the better half, with some socks for me as well. The ladies were very nice- even gifting me a pair socks. I agree with your sentiment on their lack of e-commerce and being ‘special’ to visit. I’m going back again today. Thanks Simon


Hi Simon, I didn’t know Schostals at all, and this review was published just on time, as I was in Rome last week.
Lovely shop, I ended up getting a short pyjama in coton.


Hi Simon,
are you aware that spart from „Schostal Originals“ there is another shop named „Schostal Roma“ in Rome? Have you got any experience with this shop? Are these shops connected?
Thank you very much for your ever helpful work!

He Kun

A loveley good evening everybody,
I have chosen this thread because it is the latest concerning socks and hence my question(s).
While most fabrics and cloths that are made of +30% synthetics would be regarded with less value, that fact seems not to bother any one when it comes to socks. It seems to be accepted that most socks contain around 1/3 synthetics. This awareness rose while I was looking for warmer socks on the web.
I know there are advantages mixing synthetics to wools etc but is that extend needed to achieve this characteristics? I am thankfull for all facts and information.
Best regards