Is there still such a thing as an ‘investment piece’?

Monday, October 9th 2023
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This is one of the many great questions people submitted in response to the ‘You are the interviewer’ post a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it brought together a few of the questions, as many of the good ones do.

It’s an extension of the topic we addressed in the PS anniversary article - ‘what is permanent style?’ The angle here being whether style today is so changeable, so volatile and varied, that no one can spend large amounts of money on clothing with the expectation of wearing them for years to come. The idea of the ‘investment piece’ is dead. 

Let’s quote from the reader: “Has the rather abrupt demise of tailoring in daily life altered your views on the concept of ‘permanent style’? I know it has for me. The fact that I used to think a bespoke navy suit would serve me for the rest of my life, but now I can only wear it a handful of times a year without feeling overdressed or out of place, all within a period of 5 years or so, has made me very aware of the fact that these things are changing more rapidly than they used to.”

Let’s start with the premise of accelerating change. Obviously, as discussed in that previous piece, people don’t wear the same clothes forever. No one is wearing frock coats or doublets any more. Having permanent style is about changing with the world around you - being part of it - while also carving out your own personal approach. 

Fashions have also always changed within people’s lifetimes, even if that just meant lapels getting wider or narrower, buttoning points higher or lower. My grandfather (below) talked of such trends, even though he wore essentially the same thing his 40-year working life. You just made conservative, moderate choices, and adapted with every new suit you bought (perhaps one a year). 

The idea that many clothes could be in style for a person’s entire life has always been a bit of a myth. Perhaps a pair of black oxford shoes in the most conservative style and shape; perhaps a simple crewneck sweater. But shirt collars, jacket lapels, these things always changed - even within the pretty narrow world of tailoring. 

That change has certainly accelerated, however. Covid may have been (will hopefully be) a one-off, but it was a catalyst to a change that was already happening. It speeded up all the ‘dress-down Fridays’ and tieless office stuff that had been happening for years. 

Now, I think there are three reasons why the change might not go on happening so fast. One, there’s literally nowhere else to go. T-shirts and shorts are in the office, professionals are in shirts and chinos. It cannot get more dressed-down unless everyone is naked.

Two, it’s hard to see the suit not remaining the default for smart dressing; there’s simply no alternative. We may have lost white tie, even be losing black tie, but if a guy wants to dress up (and that will always happen) the suit is the only thing he can reach for. It might make tailoring the preserve of evenings and special events only, but I don’t think it’s going to disappear. 

And three, the trend among trends is that they’re all existing all at once, in different pockets of people reflecting different pockets of media. Right now, it seems less likely we’ll have culture-shifting trends in clothing the same way we’ve had in the past. This might make things confusing, but it also makes it easier to avoid looking looking like you’re wearing the clothes of a decade ago. 

Let me add another piece of context. A recent survey reported that the average length of time a woman wore a coat for (in France I believe) was 2.5 years. Now, this is only an average, in one country, and it likely includes a lot of younger people who don’t have quite the same aims as the PS audience. 

But, I think it sets a low end for the kind of investment piece we’re talking about. Some people are only wearing coats for three winters, for Pete’s sake. You don’t have to wear a coat for half a century to be doing well out of it. Twenty years is very good by comparison; even 10 is a significant improvement. 

I’ve had many pieces of expensive clothing shown on PS for over 10 years, and they’re still going strong. The biggest issues for me have been pieces that weren’t that conservative or versatile (royal-blue DB suits, Berluti shoes, even some with fancy details, like a Cifonelli coat) and changing size/shape over time. 

Some kind of calculation is inevitably done involving three variables: income, likely length of use, and cost of the items.

The problem with a lot of items we talk about on PS, of course, is that they are the best in the world - the cost element is always high. And I can see how the length of use could be changing for people. I don’t think it’s changed that much (the myth of lifetimes), and I don’t think it’s going to change in the way it did with Covid again, but still. 

As long as these adjustments are made, and choices are made relative to income, I think it’s still possible to make ‘investment’ purchases. 

At one extreme, it doesn’t make sense for a 20-year-old to save up all his pennies to buy a 5k Savile Row suit, telling himself he’ll wear it for the rest of his life and then hand it down to his son. But the opposite isn’t true either: a 40-year-old professional shouldn’t just give up and start buying the cheapest thing on the high street. 

Instead we should adjust slightly, somewhere in between. I think our reader can still be looking to good knitwear in conservative colours, tailored trousers in versatile materials (that can be altered as time goes on) and solid pieces like overcoats. These can still cost a lot of money relative to the norm - they can still be to that extent ‘investment’ pieces. They just might have to be a little bit more carefully chosen, and expectations of longevity ratcheted down a little. 

And as ever, count yourself lucky you’re not a woman, and prey to far more cycles, far less quality clothing. 


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I just got back two of my first bespoke suits from an altering job. When I commissioned them 8 years ago, they were part of my work-wardrobe. Today I don’t have to wear a suit. My lifestyle and the world has changed too much. So I wouldn’t order them anymore. But somehow I have more appreciation for them than for sportcoats I just orderd recently. My new game is to find new ways to keep them going, e.g. Openneck Bengal or Denim Shirts, Dartmoor-Polo, Suede loafers, a Scarve,… I find it maybe even more satisfying than lusting over new purchases.

Aaron L

I’m in the same camp. I’m almost the only one wearing suits to the office now (and almost the only one who turns up each day). Corduroy suits are getting used (and commissioned) a lot more, but the worsted navy gets outings too. Alain mixing in more denim shirting – and rayon mix shirting too, along with more casual ties (grenadine, knits, wools, etc).
On the whole I’m probably wearing suits more – but mainly because I’ve invested in some more casual ones… prior to the mass shift away from suiting s spent a lot more time trying to do something other than plain navy (separates, knit blazers, etc). Now I feel more excited about exploring the potential of the ‘basics’. Thanks for all the articles on mixing codes Simon – they’ve been a great inspiration 🙂


The suit can work and can be ‘permanent style’ but it needs to feel and look comfortable.
I was watching Oceans 11 (or 12 or was it …anyway) both Brad Pitt and George Clooney wear suits that look effortless .

Yes, I understand it’s a film but suits can be worn to be everyday comfortable attire.
Italians have gone too tight , the Brits have stayed ‘stuffy’ and the Americans …let’s not go there .
There has to be a happy medium .
Currently , I’m watching a guy on social media called AskOkey who’s developing a ‘drape cut’ which although looks comfortable can look a bit too much like ‘1940’s period pieces ‘.

So what’s the answer…. And to that end my Boglioli (thank you Simon for introducing me to the brand) feels like I’m wearing pyjamas whilst looking sharp !


Have been trying find good RTW silk shirts like you described for a while now. But many are either very tacky or only suitable for black tie. Any suggestions?

Aaron L

Buy the silk yourself (Etsy is easy) and take to a local dressmaker. They charge a fraction of what a good men’s tailor would charge, and are often used to working with silk. Provide them with clear photos of what you’re looking for, and ideally measurements for everything you can think of.
You’ll get what you pay for to some extent, but in this niche the trade off can be worth it.

david rl fan

maybe try emma willis?


Barbanera and Husband silk shirts are very good – not silky and shiny more of a matt finish. Good quality – but of course a bit on the pricy side.

Mark Purcell

Try Bennett’s Silks if you’re going down the tailored route. There’s 2 of their silks that make up beautifully as shirts. There’s some body to it.


This topic would be great as a full article! Like many people getting into menswear in the 2010s, I read too many “capsule wardrobe must-haves” articles and over-invested in navy blue suits when, in reality, my office was never really formal enough to justify them. Now, of course, I scarcely get the opportunity to wear them, so would love any ideas on how to style them outside of the office (given otherwise no issues with fit or style).


I do wonder how much the perception of faster change is that we don’t see the change in the same way when we’re looking back into fashion that we’re unfamiliar with.

If you’re moderately familiar with clothing in the late 20th century it’s very easy to see the change in, say, suits from the 50’s through to now. It’s a style that we’re still wearing and our eye catches on all the details.

I’m much less sure that I could pick up on the differences over the 19th century in the same way. Yet there was similar radical change (knee britches to trousers for example). I suspect there was a lot of more subtle change that we just don’t pick up, but would have been obvious at the time.


Hi Simon!

Just curious to hear you say that your Cifonelli Double Breasted is one of the pieces you don’t get as much long term use from. I’m surprised to hear that as at least superficially it looks comparatively conservative – what is it you find problematic about it?


Interesting! Its such a beautiful shape that its always been one of the pieces you’ve had made that most inspired me – showing such a beautiful classic shape. I see what you mean about the stitching though.
Thank you as always for your interaction.


Simple solution ( which I generally recommend ) : wear the hell out of it. 🙂 This is said only partly tongue in cheek.
Wear it and, if its awkward, give it to charity or sell it. Otherwise wear it a lot more so it starts to fit you better. Fit doesn’t just mean formal fit. It means fit for how you live.


Casualization might make some tailoring less wearable, but some more casual pieces become very flexible. A well-made tweed jacket will work in almost every situation where you can wear a jacket today. Dull for those of us with large tailoring wardrobes, but perhaps a thing fot those getting started in tailoring. It’s easier to justify bespoke if one or two jackets can be your entire tailoring wardrobe, worn with with rtw jeans and chinos, rather than needing multiple suits, sport coats and trousers to even get started.


As someone just get started, I totally agree. No need for suits but a good jacket or sport coat fits in to a more casual-centric dressing style.


As it was by choice more than real need, ever since I got into tailoring my entire tailoring wardrobe has always been made of separates, in order to be more versatile and less business-like, so in that respect I’m happy I made a good choice.
That being said, I actually find that another element is actually working against tailoring behind the scenes: climate.

Autumn & winter wardrobe, which is really where much of tailoring would best come into play imho, is finding increasingly less time to be out where I live. Indeed, Italy has been consistently so worringly warm in the last few years that I barely get to wear heavier wools like tweed for 2 months per year.
While in contrast, I’ve been wearing linen for as much as 6 months per year and I am fairly sure I could theoretically wear high twist wools nearly year-round (indeed if anything it’d be too hot for the peak of summer).
But unfortunately, hight twist wool really doesn’t work as well as tweed casually, and while linen is better in that respect it’s still not as versatile as tweed would be if temperatures actually allowed for it.


Hi Simon,

As I am in the process of ordering a navy coat, I was very interested in this article.
I remember you mentioning this Cifonelli coat as ‘one of your favourite pieces’ in the past.
Now that you have reflected on it, could you please share what you wish you had done differently?

Thank you in advance,



You seem generally to have gone off Cifonelli a little bit. I know that for many years you said it was your favourite tailor, with A&S a close second. I started to sense a possible change in views when you said that your 6×1 tuxedo had initially been cut too close in certain areas. Is the house style a little tight and showy for you these days, given your style transition to more relaxed tailoring? It would be interesting to hear if any other factors are in play.


Can we separate out some words that cause confusion especially “style.”
It intonates stylish and fashion. These words are very different.
Stylish conjures up, elegance, fit, quality materials, appropriateness, independence and self-expression.
Fashion elicits, temporary, vapid, low quality, nowness, driven by others sense of style for an archetype that is unlikely to be you and solely designed to make what you were wearing obsolete and you need to buy to fit in or be ahead of the crowd and keep the rag trade busy.
These words are near polar opposites compared to the word Style. The question is who are you not which should you be. Your choices have already defined you, you read Permanent Style.
I grew up through 70s, 3 star jumpers, docker pocket trousers, platforms one week mickey mouse clodhoppers the next. All made out of man-made materials. Never meant to last only to be in at that point. And of course the only reason you did not follow the trend was your parents would not pay for the twaddle and you would be uncool. Destined not to make it with the opposite sex.
For girls it was worse, in the 60s, you had to wear a mini-skirt exposing your legs to the weather and male comment. Of course they did not have to wear them, but they would be called a frump, by women as much as men. Glitter Boob Tubes in 70s, Two tone skirts.
It is endless because it is all driven for profit, by convincing the gullible that fashion is more important than the fundamentals of fit, quality, enhancement of your form.
I suspect we have all gone through the desire to fit in, driven by the fashion industry and have come out the other side and read Permanent Style for guidance and not instruction.
Probably, Like the rest of you I have several serious suits that do not see the light of day at the moment. However, that does not mean I have transitioned into Fashion.
It does not matter what the tendency is in fashion, I am not a part of it. Not because I am not stylish (always a matter of debate), but because I think in a different way to the temporal nature of the rag trade and its vapid followers trying to get popularity through fitting in.
For me my clothes are an extension of who I am and my values and the way I want to be perceived. Our clothes are there to do certain functions if they do not do them then they fail. Function then form.
Fashion is form, then form, then form. Most modern fashion from any of the high street stores are normally made of fabrics that fail to do the job of the garment. Nearly all are made of man-made materials that do not function well. e.g. coats that are not warm, shirts that make you sweat etc.
Natural fibres are more expensive, and so, they have to become investment pieces for the average person. Once you embark on quality materials it makes sense to transcend the next level to ensure longevity and that it fits and enhances your form. This level of quality cannot be mass produced in the volumes that works for fashion and so is exponentially more expensive.
Investment pieces are a natural consequence of our inner values, mine in order would be function, quality, attractiveness. If your values are different or in a different order you will make different choices and you will express them through the medium that covers 90% of your body. And in doing so you affect how people perceive and react to you, your values are showing and we can all see it.


Interesting points and I can follow the reasoning but in my view you possibly underestimate the influence of fashion (or trends or what is socially desirable) on your own perhaps more independent choices. What you consider stylish and not fashion is still within a really small margin of what is socially desirable (or acceptable). If you would completely redesign your clothes from scratch with just function and quality in mind and without any regard to conventions and what is considered stylish, normal or acceptable in your social environment, the outcome would – more likely than not – look absurd and completely unwearable in your society. Chances are very slim you would end up with something we recognise from this fine website. So we are all very much driven by fashion and trends is my point, we just oscillate at a slightly different scale, whether we like it or not.

Funny enough, there are many fashion designers that have experimented with a no-preconceptions type of design philosophy. Some of the (elements of the) outcomes have been adopted, most are ignored or considered as works of art at best.

PS. Many thanks to Simon for taking my question as a basis for this really interesting article and subsequent discussion


Hi Simon, Thank you for other interesting and timely piece as we enter the winter coat buying season!
My own view is that calling something an investment piece does have an element self justification to it. Nothing wrong with that though! I think the term only really applies to handbags, jewellery and watches, some of which even appreciate in value. There are some items (as you say) such as shetland, merino and cashmere sweaters and balmacaan coats that have longevity so spending a little bit more has some payback. Bruce G Boyer has a great line about a coat he owns that’s practically old enough to go out on its own!
In my own experience I tend to find (particularly in recent years) my tastes change with this being more a factor than trends. What I have noticed more than ever is ‘tribes’ emerging determined by where you live and socialise. The ‘Succession’ wannabes do make me smile, but are a good example of what I mean.
As always great to read your stuff and being able to add my tuppence worth!


I should have been clearer on handbags. You are quite correct some are trends I’m referring to bags like the Chanel 255. and Boy bag. My wife has both types trendy and Chanel which is wear I am drawing my thoughts from. Be interesting as you say to get other vows. Similarly with watches certain specific ones not all high end models. A good thing to debate

Ronnie Pickering

I had a discussion with a very sharp female friend of mine who works in marketing. What I hadn’t really appreciated about a handbag is that you can never physically grow out of it. Get a bit bigger or slim down and you can still wear it. Even get older and still appropriate . So it has a resilience that clothing will never have. And of course fashion changes, etc but there are less variables affecting whether it’s a good investment.

Ronnie Pickering

Yes – I think jewellery (including watches) and some accessories (glasses, bags) have a better claim to be investment pieces than clothing.

Eric Twardzik

I agree that covid kicked existing trends into overdrive, and that in a pandemic-free timeline we’d end up in the same place sartorially, if maybe a few years later. I do feel like there’s been a slight backlash against sweatpants and hoodies and increased interest in things like tailored outerwear and trousers (if not suits) as a result of covid-dressing backlash, and wonder whether that interest would have arisen in a world where such dress code changes were entirely gradual.

O. T.

Hold on, your Cifonelli coat fell into the category of not being conservative or versatile? Have you gone off it? I have always thought that was one of your ‘smartest’ (and most beautiful) pieces. Is it simply the back detailing pushing it into too ‘fancy’?

I’ve been considering asking someone to make a copy and would be interested to know.


I think the Cifonelli is versatile and slightly edgy. I’d wear it with jeans. Great coat btw. Perhaps it’ll appear on Marktt!


Frankly I think investment pieces will come back. A lot of people, especially younger people are looking to minimise waist. This means buying less and hopefully disposing of less. This article looks at it from the point of style, and think therefore misses the sustainability argument, which can be a driver in itself.


Most of the fastest fashion brands appear aimed at young people to me (eg Shein, PLT, Boohoo), so I’d be interested to see the evidence underpinning the “especially” claim.


I think the interesting question here is if those high-end vintage sites are being used by people who are already into tailoring, or if they are funnelling any new people into wearing classic, PS-level clothes? My guess is that most are people who already had an interest in high-quality clothes (not always tailoring, mind you) and go vintage to find styles and materials that aren’t available today. Finding a vicuna coat for under 1k was a huge deal for me (knowing that a new one, if I could find it, would be more than 10 times as expensive), but most people consider me utterly bonkers for spending that much on clothes (then spend 5k on leather seatings for their company car). The question is if the classic style market is growing, or if we’re just shuffling the same buyers around different channels?

My completely unscientific perception about people buying pre-owned is that they are doing it mostly either for ecological reasons, or to save money. That’s pretty far away from buying a 5k bespoke overcoat (or even a 1k+ PS donegal), especially seeing that the sustainability benefits from a high-end garment doesn’t really come into play for several years.


I know we are talking about an investment piece as something that is good value because it is useful and worn for a long time. But when I buy my clothes I like to think of it as an investment in myself, something that makes life more interesting and enjoyable. That is a different definition of “investment”.
My other thought is that whether a piece turns out to be an investment piece cannot be determined when the piece is bought, much as you might tell yourself this to rationalize your purchase. Time tells whether something is an investment piece. For me, two examples are my first bespoke jacket, a green tweed, and a pair of brown suede semi-brogues I bought from Edward Green. I still wear the jacket even though it is twenty-six years old, and it still looks perfect. I still wear the shoes even though they’re twenty-five years old, and have plenty of scuffs and wear marks, a patina that comes from being worn for decades. When I bought these things I was just buying stuff I always wanted and thought I’d enjoy. I wasn’t thinking at all about whether they’d be investment pieces.


I absolutely agree with Rogey. From financial standpoint I don’t think there are any real investment pieces but there are informed purchase choices. For example buying high fashion loafer for 1000€ or buying EG loafer for the same amount. Buying a wool knit from William Lockie / sweatshirt from Merz b. Schwanen versus buying similar items for more money from well known brands. 

Some of my early purchases included a winter coat from Boss and winter dress boots from Lloyd. Brands that get a lot of hate on the web. The coat is of very classic design and is 10+ years old and it looks great, there’s easily 20 years of life in it still. It cost me ~300€ after 40% discount. I now also have coats that cost 10 times that and I can assure they aren’t even close to being 10 times the better investment. Lloyd boots, ~130€ after discount, are the best fitting shoes I’ve ever owned, upper held up fine to use even with very little care and now after 10 years the glued rubber sole has worn through. 

I built my wardrobe on “investment pieces” and at one point half of the items just sat there, I didn’t want to wear them because they had to survive a long time to be worth the cost for me. In effect these items started to become fetishes and not delivering any return for the investment. 

As Rogey said the real investment is into intangible emotional enjoyment you get from wearing the item. You know when you get invited to an event and you got just the item to wear for this occasion, it really lifts the spirit and help you have a great time.

Peter K

I think shoes have a stronger case for being investment pieces. A good pair of chukkas or loafers can be used in a variety of outfits. To me that makes spending more to get high quality very justifiable.


I can’t imagine that many PS reader want to slavishly follow the latest fashion trends. One of the joys of quality menswear is devekoping your own personal style. The only issue with that is when personal style crosses the line into costume. Changing fashions will move that line slightly but if you are genuinely at home in your clothes there’s a lot of room to inhabit on the stylish side of that line.


Very nice article that brings a lot of thoughts on the table. To my experience i think every 4-5 years as i get older my style changes a bit but not really that much. I always wore jeans for example and im still now but i went from skinny-tight jeans to wider ones and now im somewhere in between. It would be very interesting to make a poll about the 2-3 items of readers( and of course you) that stay no matter what on theit wardrobe. To me its a 17 years old barbour, a pair of chelsea boots from crocket and Jones and an old levis pair jeans.
By the way, could you suggest a casual coat to be worn mainly with jeans( mid blue/ cream, no white not black etc) and doesnt lool so formal ? The ps one is lovely but id like something a little bit darker.


I have a wax jacket and im happy with it but id like something for when it gets colder with sweaters or when the weather temperatures fall at 10celcius and i want to wear just a tshirt. Id like something in raglan style.


Perhaps it’s best to think in terms of maximising longevity rather than ‘forever’ and buy the best you can in that context. When buying a jacket, for example, choose a conservative colour in a regular cut, with medium size lapels and the usual number of buttons in the usual places. That should help the item last as long as possible. For example, I have a jacket which I bought RTW as a student that meets those criteria and still looks good, in fact it could almost have been bought yesterday. It still fits was well.

Bob M

“IS THERE STILL SUCH A THING AS AN ‘INVESTMENT PIECE’?No. Not only have dress codes relaxed substantially, but those who might purchase an investment piece are becoming an ever smaller segment of the market. I can see a case for investing in jewelry or accessories, but clothing itself makes little sense. Too often, on one’s passing, the entire wardrobe is chunked off to eBay or some other channel.
I don’t consider my purchases “investment”, but rather a reflection of the style I want to project. The Donegal overcoat is a good example. I’m now curating my wardrobe annually and adding pieces, subtracting pieces that reflect my style and environment. Do I purchase good quality? Yes. But I’m also open to simply selling it if it no longer works with my wardrobe.


I have to say the day of the suit being the choice for smart dressing already feels as if it’s gone. Having been out a few times recently to places where suits were common place a decade ago there were few jackets of any form and probably more men in t-shirts than jackets.

Per previous exchange I am not keen on the term “investment” when it comes to clothing but think there are still categories worth spending on with the hope of keeping for the long term but think its narrowed in recent years. Any suit, moths aside, feel as if they’ll last for years but because of the lack of use rather than quality/durability.

I regret the increasing informality generally, though not sure about an associate (former photographer) comments about regretting both the loss of hats in the City and fogs, but never managed to nail the non-business formal suit below black tie so one less problem.

Eric Michel

I acquired my first bespoke suit 2 years ago, navy of course. I have commissioned another grey suit and a sport jacket since. I wear them every other week in rotation, as I do not need to wear suits anymore. But I find it even nicer as now I can dress exactly how I prefer. And a suit with or without a tie just makes me happy depending on my agenda. Bottom line: no more uniforms, just plain fun. There has never been a better time for enjoying menswear, under all its forms.


I agree. We all feel a certain amount of social pressure to conform and dressing appropriately, but well, is an important aspect of that. But so too is self expression, and if someone enjoys wearing a suit, that’s exactly what they should do.


Even in the casual sphere there are plenty of things you can buy that will last a long time and will not go out of style. Shell cordovan boots for example. They can be dressed down with jeans or worn with chinos or odd trousers. They have a lot of versatility if in a cap toe, semi-brogue, or full brogue style. Depending on the sole, a cap toe shell boot can even be worn with a suit. Same with a split toe blucher like the EG Dover. They can dressed up or down very easily.
Certain coats are also very versatile and can be dressed up or down. They don’t look out of place with casual wear/workwear and they look good with odd jackets and trousers too.
There are plenty of other things worth buying that can be worn for as long as they are serviceable.
And, regardless of purchase, the idea that fit is king will never go out of style. Trends may change, but whether it’s a suit, a shirt with a buttoning placket, or pants, proportion and fit matter. There may be more flexibility with casual wear, but buying clothes that fit right still matters. This is permanent.
I think one of the first articles I read here was about fit, color, then style in that order. That applies permanently.

Jim Bainbridge

I tend to assume that the appeal of “investment pieces” has probably always been that if the piece actually does survive long enough to be handed down and the next generation actually wants to wear it, the appeal is mainly in the fact that dad/grandpa wore it, rather than that it looked current then and still looks current now – but we like the idea that the latter was how things were done in the “good old days”.
Personally, I struggle to find sentimental value in things that have to be used sparingly in order to preserve them. A £5k Savile Row suit that is cared for properly but worn week in week out and thoroughly enjoyed, will eventually just become shabby; at which point, good for the local am-dram costume cupboard. A bald and patched A&S jacket might fit in with King Charles’ aesthetic, but on everyone else it’s more likely to suggest that they frequent charity shops. At least good chinos, jeans, leather jackets etc will (probably) not only last longer but wear the age well.
For me, what appeals most are things like C&J shoes with Dainite soles – well made, nice to wear and look good – and if cared for properly, able to last through 3-4 resoles, which can be 20+ years of wear even with regular use. It’s not lasting forever and it might not actually be cheaper than buying cheap shoes, wearing them to death and then replacing them, but it proves the value of craft and good material far more than things that survive through not being worn.


Good article. I think it could have used a reflection on the pieces in your own wardrobe that you think have met the ideal of timeliness – assuming that such items exist. You hinted at it, but it would’ve been useful to see the shoes, trousers, coats, etc… that’s been in your wardrobe for ten years or more and discuss what have made them so durable despite the rapidly changing menswear landscape.

Johnny Foreigner

“It doesn’t make sense for a 20-year-old to save up all his pennies to buy a 5k Savile Row suit, telling himself he’ll wear it for the rest of his life and then hand it down to his son.”
Why ever not, if he can afford those 5k? Plenty of people keep their 20-year-old measurements for the rest of their lives.  


I’ll second Simon’s point. I had bespoke suits made in my early twenties (although thankfully not for 5k each) and while I was very happy with them at the time, I don’t think I’d wear any of them now as my taste has evolved. They were quite conservative too, so it’s not that they were overly fashionable or flashy but there was so much that I didn’t know and so I didn’t know what I preferred. They served me well and I have no regrets, but had they cost 5k each I don’t think I’d be as philosphical about it.


If you are starting up and have 5000 to spend you would be better served buying three made to measure suits than only one that you don’t get to rotate at all.
While I like the concept of “buying the best you can afford and taking good care of it”, it is very often said by people with very extensive wardrobes…


As someone in my mid twenties who’s measurements have already moved up and down DRASTICALLY since I was actually 20, the idea that you can keep your bespoke measurements until your metabolism slows down or your posture changes at which point you have your clothes let out is not realistic in any way for me or anyone I know.
Many more young people are gaining and losing weight through a better understanding of fitness and health, changes in economic situation (e.g. food security and overall diet), and other factors such as changing careers every few years. Commissioning a garment for life definitely still has its merits, but doing so at the young age of 18 to 20 requires walking down very specific societal paths which will not be taken by most modern 18- to 20-year-olds. I’m not even talking about class/status here, just personal choices. People don’t start jobs at firms straight out of uni and make that their life and personality until retirement anymore.
Not to mention the changes in personal taste and understanding of style that occur as you grow up and mature and learn about life in those years. About five years ago the Lancet published an opinion piece speculating that adolescence now takes place from 10 to 24, where it used to end at 19, because young people are moving out of their parents’ homes, getting married, and having children later in life, as well as the overall delay that technology and contemporary culture has placed on our development. And it’s widely accepted that the pre-frontal cortex — which largely controls personal expression and decision making — doesn’t finish maturing until the mid to late twenties.
When I was 20 years old the only clothing blog I read was Permanent Style. Believe me when I say if I could afford to fly to the UK and get fitted at Huntsman for a couple of suits, I would have. Obviously, I could not. But if I could and I did, I would be deeply regretting that decision just a few years older (and I like to think wiser), and about 20 pounds of muscle (and counting) heavier. Again, not even factoring in the disaster of taste and style that those suits would have been. I’m so grateful that my first bespoke commissions will be firmly grounded in the realities of my adulthood.
Sorry to Johnny and Simon and others if my points are harsh or if my declarations are sweeping, but I think it’s really important to be thinking about the contemporary world as it is if we’re talking about buying investment pieces in it.


Now that I am older, I do not see the need to buy clothes like when I was younger. I simply do not buy that many clothes anymore because what am I going to do with them? I cannot take them with me to the grave, and selling them looks to be a pain. Of course, I still buy those items I need like black oxfords but only a pair.


All very good points as usual, thanks Simon!
A few things that may or may not be useful to think about:
Buying quality second-hand when we can really resolves a lot of the conflicting ideas in this question, as when something you initially saw as an “investment piece” stops “returning dividends” for you, you can pass it on to someone who will continue to give it the love and long life it deserves. However, this only works for us if we are also open to being on the other end of that transaction — otherwise we’ll just end up with more overflowing thrift/vintage stores, like Salvation Army is now but with good items built to last, which would be a real shame.
And unfortunately, we must confront the reality that although this pandemic as we experienced it will (very hopefully) not happen again, COVID was simply not a one-off. The reality is that with things going the way they are with climate and geopolitics, drastic, global, life-changing shifts in society simply will continue to happen in ways for which we fundamentally cannot prepare. The real one-off was the 75 or so years of peace and quiet that huge portions of the world experienced. But that’s probably for another post (or ten, maybe on another blog).
What we all CAN do is slow our consumption, choose our belongings wisely, and maintain strong community — the last of which is what I love most about PS. You appreciate beautiful objects but through them you appreciate the people behind them and their stories, and build relationships with artisans through shared aesthetic values. If that humanity is lost in discussions like these, we’ll just fall back into the disposable, superficial, material world that drove many of us to find blogs like PS in the first place.

Zak Wagner

I’ve read articles/interviews with G. Bruce Boyer and he seems to show off with pride, various articles of clothing that he has worn for a very long time. I wondered if I could do the same, and I’m in my early 30s and can say I have with some pieces. I live in Colorado, where its always been pretty casual. I have chosen Filson Waxed Jackets and Red Wing boots in my early 20s and I still wear them and I think they look relevant. I also, somehow decided I didn’t like trim jeans, and went with more of a 501 cut, and they still look good in todays context.
I think to your point, if you go with a classic cut, in casual items, sweaters, outerwear, jeans, chinos, you can have a bit of an investment piece.
But it is getting harder with other pieces. I have one suit, that I got 5 years ago. Its nothing that crazy, and it kind of looks like a suit from 5 years ago!


I agree. A major problem here is suit jackets, I find. I have a fairly expensive RTW suit from just three years that now looks a little absurd because the lapels are far too slim. A suit I have from my wedding twenty years still fits me and is a beautiful garment, but the jacket is far too long and the buttoning far too low. It looks like a suit from another age, just as my father’s suits do in his wardrobe, despite at the time it seeming conservative and classic in cut (and hugely expensive!).

Simon often mentions that the best tailors never follow menswear fashions to the hilt but instead will change their widths of lapels, trousers, etc by smaller amounts than designer brands and others. Nevertheless, I think in many cases the changes still become visible fairly fast. This makes it much harder to ‘invest’ in more formal clothing beyond around a decade, I think.

Matt Spaiser

The way I see the future of tailored clothes is in elegant dressed-down pieces. Your pea coat from Davide Taube from almost a decade ago is something I still find incredibly inspiring. It’s an investment piece that has stood the test of time. Pea coats are still extremely relevant today. Tweed jackets are easily dressed down. There are so many creative ways to craft smart casual trousers. Shirt jackets can be beautifully crafter and are ultimately casual enough for many of today’s circumstances. Fine shirts don’t have to be made of poplin. Loafers, chukka boots and chelsea boots are versatile footwear that can be dressed down. These are all wonderful garments that can keep the bespoke craft alive and relevant. While suits, ties and cufflinks may see their days numbered, there is plenty of life left in classic, elegant menswear.


I totally agree with your general points, Matt, but for me that particular pea coat feels much more of an outlier. In one of the articles showing the finished product, Simon wrote that ‘the strong shoulder, the black frogging, the vintage brass buttons: all of them set this coat apart from anything you would see ready-to-wear, but you don’t notice them until you’re up close.’
For anyone not close to the whole process, the inclusion of the brass buttons in that description would seem fairly odd, as they stand out a mile. Simon eventually realised this and replaced them, giving the coat a much more discreet feel, as well as a lot more versatility in an wardrobe.
But I’d echo a previous comment in wishing to know more which pieces Simon feels have been great long-term investments, because I’m not sure if this is really one. My guess is he wore that particular pea coat regularly for three or four years, but rarely does today. I haven’t seen it in any photos on here for a long time, which is surprising if it were that versatile. The idea it can fit over a jacket, mentioned in one of the articles, also seems rather more unlikely in our current climate. Not that it’s impossible, of course, but more that it just seems such a lot of work (if that’s the right word) to do that, with the added risk you might ruin the lines. I used to covet pea coats, but these days they always feel like too much of a halfway house between a jacket and and a coat, and rather than wearing one over a jacket more versatility can be found in either pairing smart flannels, cords, jeans, etc, with a jacket or with a longer coat. The Michael Browne ‘body’ coat is a perfect example of the latter, and it was designed precisely with the idea in mind of not wearing a jacket beneath – a very pre-Covid idea of what we now experience post-Covid. But I’d love to know Simon’s thoughts!


Thanks, Simon. Yes, I can see the issue with the embroidery: the novelty could definitely wear off, and of course it is showier even if it wasn’t always immediately visible. I can see how the Bridge Coat would make for a more versatile option.

With the Michael Browne coat, is that something you could have – or perhaps already have had – adjusted as your frame is a little broader now, or is it not really practical to do that? Because that was a truly beautiful garment.


I hope you are right Matt! I admire your positive outlook. I really like the bespoke pea coat as it’s a classic example of how people go a bit overboard with their first few commissions (the embroidery is a bit much, but at the same time really cool!).
Let’s hope dress sneakers don’t become the new ‘dressy’ norm. Cheers


Traditional tailored clothing (“business suits” and “dinner suits/tuxedos”) are unlikely to disappear in this century or possibly even in centuries to come. This type of clothing has already essentially become a symbol of Western culture — a type of “traditional” dress, similar to the traditional clothing, worn in various parts of the world. People still wear traditional clothing on certain formal occasions in India, Japan, Thailand, the Arab world, and all over Africa, even though those styles of dress are often quite ancient, sometimes dating back thousands of years! European tailored clothing, by comparison, is far from being ancient, but it does come from a different era (with its roots in early 19th century Western Europe). Of course, T-shirts and sneakers are also representative of western culture, but they will never achieve the status of formal clothing. I can imagine a time when politicians will switch from wearing suits and ties to wearing some sort of formal robes that will be the same for men and women (similar to what judges wear), but people will still want to dress up for special occasions like weddings and funerals, and as of today, there simply is no alternative to traditional tailored clothing and traditional accessories, like the necktie. The reason why so many young people are hesitant to wear tailored clothing is because they feel that, one — it’s not comfortable, and two — it’s not “cool”, it’s for “old people”, etc. Thus, it’s important to introduce young people to the styles of tailored clothing that are comfortable to wear, and don’t look anything like the boring, uninspiring, poorly designed corporate suits their grandfathers wore to work.

Nicolas Strömbäck

In terms of young people, Id say that depends on which echelon of society one belongs too. I now many a younger people in their teens to 20s that are in lawyer families and the sons start early to dress like their fathers. Maybe not the business suits, but certainly the rest of the spectrum. They learn early that with a certain status comes a certain type of dress.

Peter Hall

As you mentioned,I think outerwear is the only safe place for investment pieces.

I have a fifteen year wool overcoat,a ten year ventile harrington whilst ,junior is a five year raincoat. Just about everything else comes and goes.

Ian A

Shoes and accessories generally outside of designer brands can make sense to buy better quality at certain price points! My favourites Crockett & Jones or Cheaney for Shoes, Loake Banister athletic shoe, Goral sneaker and Herring for Bags, maybe Pierre Vaughn for Umbrellas.
Totally agree with the outerwear comment also.


I wouldn’t say that people are moving away from tailored clothing as a whole. Suits for business definitely. This is a long-term trend that the pandemic accelerated. There are however many benefits for those who like tailored clothing:
The association between suits and business (or worse ‘the man’) is weakening rapidly. This makes it easier to wear a suit outside of work, just to go out or for fun. It also makes it much easier to dress it down by wearing polo shirts, roll necks, hawaian or flannel shirts or even t-shirts (ideally knitted) with a suit. As the association weekends further the distinction between casual suits (ie. tweed, corduroy, cotton) and formal (worsted) will erode, making it easier to wear sharp worsted suits in the evening, ‘brown in town’ or anything that breaks the ‘rules’.
In terms of an investment piece, they absolutely do still exist but it might be something more casual than a worsted suit. Let’s take an example, Bruce Boyer’s 1980s A&S tweed jacket described here. He can surely keep on wearing it today after 40 years! It’s actually become more versatile as it could be worn with jeans, polo knits, roll necks and perhaps even trainers without raising eyebrows like it would have done when the jacket was made.

John Bradley

Clothes are a personal thing, I don’t want to wear what the masses wear therefore tailored clothing, good shoes, little distinct things like one button cuffs on jackets, no trouser back pockets, lapel sizes that fit my body and jacket shape, these are the things that separate the man who is comfortable in what he wears.
Let’s be honest, men can put on an off the peg suit and look like a sack of potatoes, but for a few £’s more have a unique piece that no one else is likely to have.

John-Bryan Hopkins

Honestly, I wear a tux 3 to 5 times a year and having a garment that looks and feels the best on me is perhaps the best investment in my closet. If I buy another I would likely spend more than any suit. Although I think my biggest ‘investment’ is simply knowing the difference. I take that with me everywhere.

JJ Katz

A well considered piece, thanks.
I do think we should *insist* that the background issue, raised by your reader, of a less clear-cut set of clothing mores, should free people to take a more personal approach to clothing and that *must* extend to people who like to dress in tailoring.

Put another way: I am perfectly happy for people to feel free to dress casually. But I would NEVER accept the idea that one MUST dress casually (outside of obvious cases of practicality).

Nicolas Strömbäck

Hi Simon, I find this discussion ever as interesting and welcome these pieces.
Maybe its just me, but why do people care so much about fitting in with the ever degenerating “sense of style” that is happening around us? Like you say, there is literally no place to go, people wear whatever to offices no matter if it looks good on them or not. The danger with this no code of dress is that with it may come a more slack mentality as well. Not saying that these is a direct correlation with dressing well and running a company well, but there is certainly something there. The dress codes of our history existed for a reason.
Having said this I enjoy being an inspiration to others in dressing well, wearing mostly a suit or jacket and smart pants. Many male colleagues have asked me to help them dress better, or rather dress more age appropriate. This would never have happened if I went with the trend of dressing like everyone else. A chino, shirt and knitwear can be a great look. But if that is all there is to permanent style, then why keep writing this blog? One can only go so far in varying this look. Of course, you report on all things style, which is my point, we sorely need this, lest everything becomes denim and poor sweatshirts.


Nicholas, having been in a similar situation to yours I empathize with you.
After 5 or so years in menswear everyone burns out to a certain extent. It just becomes a circus.
After that point the enthusiasts are just doing it for themselves. They’re at a new stage in life and they just try to enjoy clothes for what they are.. it isn’t as hardcore at that point.
Hope this makes sense.

Nicolas Strömbäck

Yes, I agree Ivan.


I work in a place that prides itself on having no dress code, so people come here however they like, and that means if I want to wear a suit and tie I just do it. But someone in management confessed to me that they are worried about some other employees going the opposite way, with shorts and old t shirts, even when we have client facing events. And since they can’t say anything unless they specifically impose a dress code, they are actually waiting for these employees “to have common sense”.

Nicolas Strömbäck

Yes, this I have heard even at less conservative workplaces. Dressing casually seems fine in small groups when you know your colleagues, but as soon as you step out of the group you will be judged by what you wear. Common sense in this day and age is not common at all it seems, but some companies here in Sweden still seem to communicate a decent dress code, without actually having one. On the street is a different matter, yikes.


Great piece, and fully in agreement. If one loves (or at least understands the potential importance of good) clothes, there are certainly still many reasons to pursue the best one can afford and invest in that, even if on a more limited scale.

Where’s that raincoat in the last pic from, Simon? Has that lovely sheen of good waterproof gabardine.


Ah I see. Just read that article – a lovely garment indeed. I myself would be more partial to this colour, the lighter one, but I can see the appeal of the new one. Particularly with the brown cord collar it looks really nice and probably easier to combine with different outfits.


My father recently gave me a pair of his Crockett and Jones penny loafers in color 8 cordovan. I love the shoes, but I’m not quite sure they fit properly and when I wore them for an extended period outside they gave me bad heel blisters. Short of selling them and buying the same shoe in a different size, is there anything you recommend?


This makes sense of some of the chaos out there while emphasizing the relevance of Permanent Style’s mission statement. I found myself thinking of my suede Wright jacket from the armory–very much an investment piece, but at the higher end of the casual spectrum. Perhaps the notion of getting multiple decades out of something is also finding its place on the “smart casual” side of things (properly cared for cashmere being possibly another example).


I am old so my comments are doubtless coloured by that. And my tastes have always been somewhat “classics with a twist”. I have been having suits / jackets made ( and bought off the rack ) for over 40 years. I never go too skinny ( ties, lapels, trousers ) but have always enjoyed a bit of width. I still search out Sulka vintage items from the 70s and 80s, as an example.
I think one fundamental question to ask is : is wearing a suit something that is imposed on you by certain circumstances or is it always a first choice ? I love wearing suits. They can be threadbare old tweed or very worn heavy linen or a softened PoW flannel. I can wear them for a walk or to the pub or to a party. That logic does not hold for a very conservative navy worsted.
So I do think there will be fewer formal work suits ordered going forward. But there is plenty of scope for lifelong investments beyond that.


Hello, Simon!
A bit of a tough question given that you also collaborate with them: how would you rate the make quality of Drake’s clothes? I own some ties that are impeccable and some OCBDs which are likewise great. However, I’ve never bought their clothes, so can’t judge long term, but they always seemed to me higher-priced than the quality justified. I would rank Drake’s similarly to Berg & Berg for tailoring and knitwear, or Barbour for outerwear; but lower than e.g. Anglo-Italian or Private White to whom they are more similarly priced. How much of Drake’s pricing is actually less due to make quality (looking at those half-canvas jackets going for 1,000+) and more due to their style and ‘cool factor’, both of which they undoubtedly have in abundance?


Simon – the other problem with “investment pieces” (besides accelerating change) is the rapidly rising price of these items. I occasionally use a Savile Row tailor and its prices have risen >10% twice in the last 12 months. Its suits are now close to £6.5k (rather than £5k threshold you point to) and there’s the same pattern at lots of RTW brands. The kind of garments I think you have in mind as “investments” have always been expensive, but prices have been following this trajectory for some time now (since before the current inflationary environment) and it’s another factor that makes their purchase harder for relatively ordinary people looking for longevity of use / versatility. I think the reality is that most of the people who buy these luxury items have enough wealth that they don’t need to think of them as investments or worry about their longevity.


‘Investment piece’ is an advertising concept to justify more expensive items.
That said, modern clothing trends means longevity is gone.
Crossing Waterloo Bridge around 6pm I can no longer tell who is an office worker. Suits are not much in evidence, ties have virtually disappeared.
So for a commercial blog I can see why tailoring is less of a topic on here.
On the other hand, looking at the recent ‘Vintage Fayre’ article, I would never want to dress like any of the people in the accompanying photographs.


Agreed. ‘Investment piece’ is a marketing concept to stretch oneself to a point beyond they are comfortable on the premise it will be with you forever and can be passed down etc.

Whilst the concept of style or one’s je nais se quois may be considered permanent, what is considered in style is as impermanent as ‘fashion’ (albeit slower moving), and any physical product follows these market trends (hello soft tailoring, hello raglan sleeves, hello caps with suits, hello belts etc.).

Try to develop your own understanding of style, making informed decisions on your purchases without dipping too heavily into trends, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are beyond market forces.

A woman who loves to read about men's style

“…as ever, count yourself lucky you’re not a woman, and prey to far more cycles, far less quality clothing.”



After reading this article and the one about ‘How my style has changed..’ I think it is important to reflect on how the quite significant change in some of your opinions on clothes and style influence your readers.
For example, at some point you were very enthusiastic about your ecru cavalry twill Fox trousers. That made many readers want to buy similar trousers that even led to Fox re-weaving the fabric. Today you think that these trousers are showy and don’t recommend them. In a similar way, today trousers with belts are cool in your opinion, whereas it used to be side adjustors not so long ago. There are many more examples I could think of.
I am a fan of the site and enjoy your work a lot, but I think it is important to keep in mind the great power your site has to make people buy one thing or the other. When everyone has trousers with side tabs, making belts cool make people buy new trousers (and belts). Same with the black color that no one in menswear industry was using some years ago and is considered cool today.
Could it be that in five years your current interests are out of fashion (e.g., tonal dressing)? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the above. Perhaps one way around it is to stress that what you publish is just your opinion and not universal. And that is is surely possible to dress well without following all your recommendations or even going against them (e.g., using bright colors instead of muted that is your preference).


I don’t think that it should be stressed that what Simon writes is not the absolute truth. Or that he is not necessarily the one and only representation of what a well dressed man should look like. For example, off the top of my head, Hugo Jacomet dresses differently than Simon. You might like his style more or less, but by no means you could call him a bad dresser. And you would not be able to find an article on this site suggesting something like that.
It can also be the case that something discussed here, while a good idea, might just not be for you. For example, there are several pieces talking about trouser cuffs and the visual effect they cause. I read those articles and understood them, but as a (n amateur) tango dancer, a trouser cuff is just an accident waiting to happen when my dancing partner’s heels get stuck on them.
We as readers and buyers also have a responsibility for what we do. If someone is buying and wearing stuff just because Simon posted it, and now feels that the item should be relegated to the back of the closet or sold just because Simon stopped wearing it… I am sorry to say but that is very much like blindly following a fashion trend.


I think the idea of what constitutes an ‘Investment piece’ can have two different connotations, for me personally at least. There is the literal Investment, buying an expensive item of clothing for a specific purpose that you intend to last for a long period of time and perform its function. I commissioned my first hand made suit last year and purchased an expensive (for me at least) pair of Crockett & Jones shoes. Whilst they are both great items, they are there to serve a purpose and are needed for any occasion where formal wear is required. That is not to say I don’t enjoy wearing them they just don’t figure as everyday clothing options.

Then there is the emotional investment piece (which probably still comes with a high price tag!). The item of clothing that you absolutely love and probably can’t really justify but have to purchase anyway. For me I have a few pieces which I would have felt were too costly to justify, but as soon as I tried them on I couldn’t really put them back. These tend to become wardrobe staples that I wear year in year out. Fortunately as they have tended to be good quality clothing they also last. Items such as a Cabourn Cameraman and Ten C parka, both of which I have had for 10 years and will last me at least another 10.

I tend to think of the latter as the real investment piece and the items of clothing one should focus on. Clothing obviously performs a function, but it should also be about enjoyment; the joy of owning something you love and feel good in each time you wear it. Those strike me as true investment pieces.

Peter Bodach-Söderström

A interesting thing worth noticing is that fashion often is driven by nonconformity. For many years, the odd friends in my circles, the bohemians, often showed up in suit, shirt and no tie. But now that the tie is dead and most men learned that a suit, a blue shirt and no tie is the thing, guess what? Now the nonconformists show up in three piece suits and ties in beautiful colours. So nothing is ever dead.


Please do a review of Astorflex suede chukkas.


Talking about ‘investment pieces’ does anyone have any advice on where to sell a number of Davies & Co suits. I inherited about 10 of them from my godfather, and my plan is to sell a number and use the proceeds to fund alterations to the balance to fit me. I’ve tried Markt, but they said no. Any suggestions appreciated.


I wonder if there has been a fundamental change in the speed at which things change. My grandfather never dressed like his sons. He dressed kind of old-fashioned. My father never dressed like the generation below him. He dallied with flares and so on in his twenties (I wish he hadn’t thrown out his flared dinner jacket) but from his thirties he’d found his style and he stuck with it for forty years. I guess my great-grandfather was the same. I have his pocket watch, which he wore – and broke (my father later had it repaired) – when he died. But if I have my dates right, most people had moved on from pocket watches to wrist watches by then.

In the past, perhaps styles changed generation to generation. In my forties, I wouldn’t have been expected to change. I’m not chasing fashion and (my wife will be happy to hear) I’m no longer chasing women. I could wear what I’d worn a decade ago and that would be a positive sign – of stability, of being comfortable in my skin, whatever. My future son-in-laws would / will dress differently, but I’d keep doing what I’m doing. But today, middle-aged and older men do change with the times.

(If we were looking for a grand societal shift behind the style shift, we might postulate that it’s because many middle-aged men are chasing women. Divorce rates are higher and so on. Looking kind of old-fashioned doesn’t cut it… But maybe there are other changes. Maybe energy is valued higher than experience in corporations (a number of my bosses have dyed their hair – and I’m pretty sure at least two of them have had face lifts and one of them has certainly had his teeth done – he couldn’t speak properly for a month). People live longer, and so maybe experience is cheaper and less valued. Maybe the tech companies have changed things. Maybe mainstream clothing companies have decided that middle-aged men are a wealthy customer and should be encouraged to change their wardrobes more often. Maybe the common dress standards of our generation – skinny lapels, skinny ties and short trousers – were so awful that we’re looking for any excuse to ditch them. I don’t know.)

But I think that – a generation ago – you could have done all the work you’ve done (and that you readers have done with you) and found your own permanent style ten years ago (soft-shouldered Italian suits for you, I think – more structured suits for me – though similar colour palettes) and been done. You could have worn them happily to your death bed and been buried in them. Your kids and their husbands may have thought you an old duffer, but you wouldn’t have especially minded. Style would have changed – and you and I would have noted it – in the way that old women note the romances of their grandchildren (fondly or disapprovingly) – but we wouldn’t have felt any need to get involved.


in context to an ‘investment piece’ ; I’m wondering: have you ever written about zegna’s triple stitch sneakers? priced at ~$900 not sure if they could be seen as such, but I’ve also been eyeing them for a while as a sneaker that could be a cross between business casual to weekend wear.

thank you!!


Fortunately, young men all across the world are living a kind of encouragement to wear suits or at least to wear sports coats and trousers. They like to be well dressed. They found that they feel good doing so. Although It is a kind of trend, it turns out that this fashion is stronger than any other mens fashion since Beau Brummell. I hope It continues for a long time.


Hello, Simon! Sorty for off-topic. I have these shoes, pic attached, but I am not very knowledgeable as to materials. Is this leather? It is such high shine. Could it be the famed ‘cordovan’? The make is Cheaney, but they are old and the markings are worn off. Thanks!


Thank you, Simon! And it is therefore not the dreaded ‘corrected’ grain?


Thank you, Simon! Any advice on how I can remove this high shine? I think I’d prefer them to shine less 🙂


Oh I see. They do have quite a bit of wear to them I guess, so it might mean it is more of a synthetic finish? Nothing that can be done if that is the case? A closer crop attached for further reference. Thank you!


OK, thanks! Much appreciated!

david rl fan

Hi Clemens, try either a saddle soap, renomat or my prefered, a wax polish to remove the polish called the Parisan technic by Kirby Alison, my memory its in his first shoe polish Q and A,
use a clean part of a cloth so you can see it working – I used a neural saphir product to remove build up on a black boot, although black on black could also work, just harder to know if its working. Worked a treat, with all methods build slowly and try the inside back of the heel as the tester. Simon’s advice also good.


How does one classify pieces as elegant or non elegant? For ex would a fully fashion t shirt in cotton be termed as elegant?


Hi simon, for many years now many brands and even yourself have been calling to buy better but fewer and wearing these pieces hard and not really babysitting the clothes. I know that and have been doing so for years but there are times I really struggle as I have to be quite careful when wearing expensive clothing. E.g. I really love my armoury chinos but they are not cheap and they are no longer sold. On a recent holiday my wife passed me a bag of food which i rested on my trouser only to realise something inside has leaked and grease has leaked through and it stained by trouser in quite a bit patch. I got very affected and ended up quarreling with my wife (e.g. why didn’t you check the bag etc.). On hindsight, it was dumb but it probably stemmed from the fact that the trouser was expensive and my money had gone down the drain. If this was a uniqlo trouser, I would have simply shrugged it off. I guess at the end of the day, expensive clothing are to a degree, meant for people with deeper wallets who will not be so emotionally invested in the stains/damange they pick up (e.g. oh theres a stain and I can’t remove it. I’ll just get a new one. Oh its okay, I got 5 other pairs like this etc.). I see many makers/influencers on instagram wearing very worn gear from established brands but I can’t help but wonder if they paid full price for the items they wear. I guess if I was gifted items I would’t mind wearing them to the ground since it was free!

Bob M

I’m 64, retired from corporate life a few years ago, but teach at a university. I downsized my wardrobe into a much smaller version, upgraded quality across the board, but ditched most of my suits. I did keep a bespoke navy blazer.
I recently received an invitation to a function that specified a dress code: Lounge suit required. Five years in, I find myself now ordering a bespoke suit. Nothing looks better than a well-cut suit and as you said, there’s no alternative.
But the navy blazer is the most versatile. It was an investment piece 15 years ago and still looks great. I would tell any man who enjoys clothing to have a bespoke navy blazer. I don’t think that will ever change.


Dear Simon,
I ended up commissioning The Anthology a db blazer in Fox ct15 (midnight twill in 25oz) with gold buttons. I followed your advice on avoiding any bright blue in the pattern and choosing tonal navy lining. Thank you!
Here today with a different question: I want an everyday suit that I can wear for graduation ceremonies (as I teach Greek & Latin literature) or for other types of semi-formal occasions. I have two in blue flannel, but not a lighter type. So I was thinking navy hopsack, around 350 grams. I’d go for something far less expensive than TA, so maybe a custom Collaro or Spier&MacKay. My question is: dark horn buttons, black corozo buttons, or navy corozo buttons (those being the options offered by these brands)? I know black shoes – which, in everyday life, I like far less than various shades of brown – would be best suited for official and formal events. Does it matter what color the suit buttons are, when thinking about black shoes? And, in general, is blue the right choice for black shoes in a formal setting? (I really dislike black suits, so would never own one).