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Permanent Style reader, this is not for you. This is intended for your wife/husband/partner/child/dog, in an attempt to help source a Christmas present for someone who, let’s face it, is very fussy in general but particularly about clothing. 

So print it out, hand it over, share to their relevant social account, and do not read on. After all, you want it to be a surprise don’t you?


Hello, loved one of a PS reader. I know, I know, what are they like? Nothing is ever good enough. Or some things are, but they’re so expensive!

Hopefully this list will help find something that satisfies and perhaps even surprises them. With luck it might manage to be relatively inexpensive too, although I use the word ‘relatively’ very advisedly. 

If you have any questions, please do ask in the comments below. Good luck. (Oh, and remember that while we never include Permanent Style products, there are some great hats and scarves and books in there too.)

1 Rubato belt


So, I’d say the easiest way to get your guy a present they’ll definitely like is to find something they already own, and get the next colour. You know that belt they always wear? Look on the inside, find the brand and size, and get one in black rather than brown. 

It doesn’t have to be a Rubato belt - it might be any brand - but I mention it here as an example of how finicky they can be. The belt has to be one-inch wide; it has to have a solid brass buckle; the suede/leather has to be a certain quality - which let’s face it, you’re never going to pick out (along with the rest of humanity). So as a safe bet go with the same one, just different.

2 New watch strap

Various prices

A watch strap falls into the same category. There will usually be a brand on the inside too, and the nice thing about a watch strap is that most men never buy a different colour. This means it will be more of a surprise than the belt, and it will almost look like a new watch, for a fraction of the price. 

If you need to find a seller, I use Jean Rousseau in London’s Piccadilly Arcade, but readers mentioned a few others in this article: GLC straps, Hirsch, Strap Tailor. Doubtless they will now leave suggestions in the comments below too. 

3 Black silk socks


OK, let’s change tack now. Another way to get him an impressive present is to buy something that seems so indulgent, he’d never buy it for himself. This sounds very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Black silk socks, for example, are something you only ever wear with black tie. If he does wear black tie, chances are it’s not that often, so this will be a very indulgent thing to own. Have a check whether he has some, and if he doesn’t, get a nice pair from somewhere like Mes Chaussettes Rouges. I bet he’s never worn skin-tight silk either. 

4 Ideas from Massimo Osti


A book can be a good option because it’s something you can easily check on the bookshelf for, and there are lots of options out there. There’s no way he’ll have all of them. There are classics he’ll always enjoy, from the likes of Alan Flusser and Bruce Boyer, and. I’d put something like The Rebel’s Wardrobe in the same category for casual clothing. 

But something like this on the designer Massimo Osti (image below) will probably have him looking at menswear in a whole new way. The background, the fabric innovation, the discussion of style, it’s a really stimulating read. 

5 Miles, Chet, Ralph, & Charlie


I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this book, which is a history of The Andover Shop presented as a series of quotes from different people, in sort-of conversation. But actually the stories are so good that it works - it might be George Frazier getting obsessed with the idea of ‘duende’ and who had it or not (musicians or clothes horses) or which Andover Shop trousers are in different museums, but it all hangs together. 

Permanent Style readers (I know you’re still reading) this is a fun one to get if it doesn’t end up under the Christmas tree.

6 Connolly ‘Grain 1001’ candle


While I’ve got you, this is a beautiful candle and smells very menswear, if that can be a thing. It smells of old leather and the nice type of cigar, but in a subtle way. It’s the kind of thing you might even be able to get away with giving to your loved one, and enjoying the smell around the house. 

There's also the option of a carry case, which sounds insane but I took my little one on holiday recently and it does make any hotel room immediately feel like home. 

7 Choosing Keeping notebook


Perfumer H is, of course, my favourite perfume house (they’ve just opened a shop on Clifford Street, which is wonderfully convenient). And if anyone’s looking for stationery gifts, I’d recommend the collaboration they did this year with Choosing Keeping - the notebook in particular, with its Italian marbling and linen binding. 

Choosing Keeping itself is also recommended, particularly now they’ve moved more centrally, to a lovely corner shop in Covent Garden.

8 Blackwing pencils


Combining the subject of stationery with the theme of small, beautiful things, how about a set of perfect pencils? I was given this set from Blackwing last year and they’ve been sitting on my desk ever since, slowly being used, sharpened and worn down. It might seem like a lot for pencils, but I’ve gone through one-and-a-bit in a year, so there’s a long way to go. 

9 West African handloomed scarves


Blackhorse Lane just started offering these - selecting the best from what can often be pretty cheap quality in African markets, and then also meticulously repairing and reinforcing them. I have a couple of vintage ones, but it’s nice to see a new option readily available, as the indigo is beautiful (pictured below). 

10 Trunk or Budd gloves

£135 or up to £650

And last of all, I realise gloves fall into the same category as the first two items we mentioned on this list, with the added bonus that they’re very seasonal. Chances are that after Christmas you’ll have the busiest time for actually wearing them. 

I’ll do a bigger piece on gloves soon, but in the meantime I’d recommend Trunk’s selection (probably my favourite thing from their expanding own-brand line) and the more luxurious range available at Budd. They represent the value and the top-end quite well. 

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Matt L

I’m only commenting here because I already finished my Christmas requests for the year.

I’m a big fan of these lists Simon, and the only disappointment I feel comes from the fact Rubato stopped doing the black alligator belt. I’d love to see it back.


Personally bummed they removed the black hatch grain belt as well. I hope they bring it back. I bought one but ended up sizing incorrectly.




Would definitely buy the black alligator.


I am afraid I cheated a bit Simon.

I hate surprises and it is a genuine quirk that bothers my immediate family and friends.
I am very insistent on knowing what I will get beforehand. Hopefully being a poor sport can be overlooked a bit.

A fine list!


Didn’t read, so couldn’t possibly comment 😉

george rau

I was just looking over all my belts and giving away a few. I would never buy a 1 inch wide belt. I would also never buy another black belt ,the two I now have only get worn with grey suits. These are also almost never worn. My next idea to waste some money is to have some custom made buckles.I am a jeweler so this is not as crazy as it seems. I would only buy belts 1.25 inches or 1.375 inches wide, thin belts seem wrong in this casual age. My waist is 35 inches and I am 6 ‘2″. Please do an article on casual belts


McRostie belts. world class, in stock and customisable. Hand made in Scotland as a sideline to their saddlery.

Eric Mavor

They do rather lovely sporrans too!


What was the issue with a 1 inch belt?

george rau

A 1 inch belt with jeans,chinos and cords looks wrong to me. You need a casual belt not a dress belt.


Interesting comment. I have the same issue.
1 inch (25mm) belts seem too delicate to me. But the standard width of 35mm is too wide, except for jeans and workman chinos.
I therefore always try to buy 30mm, which is not so easy to find.
I think MTM belts from Kreis Ledermanufaktur are very good quality.


Just need to replace the ink cartridge in the printer!


Sorry for disobeying the instructions in the first para. Without being able to physically see the product, would a Rubato belt be of similar quality to Anderson & Sheppard in terms of materials and construction?


Simon, you didn’t really think we’d skip reading this! Lol, really enjoyed it. Here’s wishing the PS-meister, the one and only manly Manish, Lucas, your family and other helpers and of course those hard-to-please, almighty PS readers, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, healthy 2024. (All I want is a pair of Alden or Edward Green loafers, not asking for too much).


Merry Christmas BB and my best wishes for 2024!


I like that all the suggested gifts are stylish but affordable unlike other publications (such as HTSI from FT) that enlist items with the only feature of being very expensive (and very vulgar in most of the cases). Thanks Simon, I will forward to my wife.


Ha, ha, you really nailed this one Simon, very funny and spot on 😂 I will have to send this to my wife so she gets a good laugh also and some excellent suggestions.


Really great Simon! Would love also a hint where to get such a quality list for our loved female side 🙂


On the subject of belts I’m always frustrated by the ‘holes’ being standard lengths apart.
Ideally you want the holes to be say a standard 38inch , then a 381/4 , 381/2 etc
For young guys reading this … give it afew years and you’ll understand how your waist fluctuates thru out the day !

P.S. I need to get braces !


Considered a plaited belt for minor alterations during the day?


hi simon: what is the sweater with the rubato belt that we can’t purchase for ourselves?


Watch strap was an interesting suggestion… do people really switch them regularly? I have two watches, very much at the budget end of the Permanent Style market, the first I switched for an Equus strap once its original strap wore out and the second as soon as I got it as didn’t like the fake alligator. Many years on both still look perfect.

Had Equus survived I had considered buying another but it would also have been another watch. Not sure if I was gifted another strap that I’d routinely go through the process of switching it over and my current two (black goat & brown gator) cover 99% of occasions well.

Hendy Drake

Love it Simon! Was fearful it would be another one of those silly lists made up of items no normal person could possibly afford but pleasantly surprised. I’ve always believed “I’m easy to buy for, I just like nice things” but can see why most people might find it difficult.


Simon, what a lovely post. I also cheated and not only read this but handed it to my wife and forwarded it to my daughter in London. We don’t have the breadth of brands here in Athens, so I need to find an excuse to come to London! Seriously, thank you and I wish you and all the PS readers the v best for Christmas. Simon – καλά Χριστούγεννα (merry christmas)


Mr Crompton, I found myself chuckling at several points whilst reading this… but I did have to scroll up a couple of times to check that it wasn’t a guest author!

Methinks perhaps Mr Puri’s inimitable style of humour has rubbed off onto you?

Thank you and happy Xmas to all.


Looking forward to that new special on gloves! Been trying on some Dents but I don’t know this market well. Will look into Budd now!


Re budd gloves, you can get Hestra gloves for half the price. Fairly certain they’re made by same manufacturer.


I need a new pair of gloves but Trunk’s website is now almost impossible to navigate.


Simon could you suggest a nice bathrobe to give as a gift to my brother ?

Lucas Nicholson

I can attest to this! I love it different enough to feel special but practical enough to be stuck in the wash!

Michael Corman

Taking the “Contact Us” advice, got a question for you, Simon. Put it simply, I’m reading the Fussell book, “Class,” and it’s putting me off the idea of mens fashion, period. It just feels like snobbery all the way down, from a man projecting his insecurity of being “low-born” to the rest of us. Never gotten that from your work, but then again I wouldn’t, according to Fussell – we’re both so eager to punch up that we’re deluding ourselves, so on so forth. I’m going full-circle here, from “real men don’t care how they look/dress” to “damn, that ES overcoat does make you look ‘Corto Maltese,’ might be something to this…” to where I’m at now – “hell no I’m not spending good money on some practically-cosmic game of keeping up with the Joneses!”
You know about this book? Any takes, replies?

Matt L

Hi Simon, coming back to this after remembering you mentioned blacking pencils. Personally I found them to be very fragile, the lead snaps very easily. The ones I’ve been using are described as their “firmest graphite”. It seems to me they’re more sketching pencils than writing pencils. I can’t get them to keep a point well enough to make letters and numbers clear. Does any of that ring true to you?


Hi Simon, off the topic I believe you have your wardrobe insured. May I ask how do you call this kind of insurance as I am trying to find a company who’s able to offer me the same product. Many thanks, BR H


Simon re leather gloves worn with tailoring do you recommned ones that have a narrower wrist area /gathered – possibly elasticised to keep the gloves in places and stop the gloves moving and getting caught on the sleeves of a suit or overcoat’s sleeve as opposed to your standard non – gathered leather gloves that catch? I find with everyday arm movement my Dents leather gloves always getting caught on the sleeves and having to be re-adjusted and tucked back inside the sleeve.


Dear Simon,
the comment doesn’t really fit this article, but I don’t know where better to put it.
First of all, I think your blog is absolutely great. Especially helpful for me are posts that introduce a new manufacturer or summarize a type of article or fabric (e.g. Shetland Sweaters or recently Tweed).
But what I miss a bit is a wider geographical view.
You nearly always cover English, Italian or, in the case of workwear and shoes, Japanese manufacturers and English and Italian fabrics, with a subsidiary focus on Sweden, some Spain and the US and a little France.
I would find it very interesting to read a bit more about other countries. Because of my background, I’m thinking for example of Budapest shoe manufacturers (e.g. Vass) Vienna tailoring or manufacturers from German-speaking and CEE countries such as Kreis Ledermanufaktur, Thomas Riemer gloves, Loden as fabric, etc. The same applies – but I have no insights there – to Portugal, the Benelux countries or Northern Europe, for example, or more articles about France and Spain, which have a very long tradition in the manufacture of clothing and where there must be many hidden gems.
Please do not take this as a criticism but merely as a slight nudge.
Kind regards,


What is the carding in the picture for the belt?


Many thanks – apologies and so I was not the only person to notice it.

Lindsay McKee

Here’s a suggestion. If your husband is a businessman or wife a businesswoman you may want to visit the webpage of Mount Street Printers and scroll to business cards and design you own business cards in various font styles! These are beautiful cards indeed.


Nice to see Massimo Osti mentioned!

I know it’s off-piste for this website, but I’d love to hear your take on the clothing aspects of the football casual scene.

Like many men of a certain age from the UK, my first introduction to “designer” clothes (i.e. expensive if not permanent style), was through football and I grew up with Armani, Stone Island, C.P. Company, Paul & Shark, and Burberry.

My tastes moved on, but I find it interesting that of the relatively small proportion of men who are both interested in clothes and who have the resources to buy well, a not insignificant subset would happily spend £2000+ on a Stone Island jacket (for example), but would not consider a tweed Donegal.

I don’t quite see this the same as fashion vs style as generally a lot of the clothes I mean are fairly traditional in design e.g. parkas, smocks, harrington’s, M65s etc. Do you see any merit in this type of clothing from a design or material innovation perspective?


Great options! Thanks for sharing!

A woman who loves to read about men's style

What a great post. I’ve bought black silk Falke socks for more than one man in my life, but the other ideas hadn’t occurred to me. Thank you, Simon.


Great article with good ideas. My wife (who i sent this to for idea, since i am picky) and I really thought the introduction and concept was a very nice personal touch. Guessing this is a side effect of being involved with more experience-focused retail experiences, would love to hear your take on the inspiration.

As the Ideas book is out of stock virtually everywhere, I’m commenting to ask for any book recommendations really more on the business side of things… Have been considering branching out in the next few years from my comfy salaried position and would love any recommended reading on the mindset change from employee to small business-er. Or anything in that vein (how to look at process, manages life changes, historical account of successful enterprises). David Marxs book on Ivy in japan comes to mind as a good example. In general, some interesting reading that isnt necessarily about fashion but about business, something light for after work.


Ah yeah I’ll be happy to hear others recs if any. I’m aware everyone says that there’s no real book to teach business acumen.

Would you say yours was just supported by your experiences and getting knocked around or did you have an education in business and you had a mentor or something along those lines? Apologies if you’ve already covered these questions somewhere else on the site. Your case just seems like a sweet spot of organic growth coming from something you like! Without really setting up a storefront or wider product offerings from the beginning like brycelands or rubato have done, just for example..


Ah gotcha, so you were running a big chunk of operations prior to PS. PS may have been a little easier then! Either way, your feedback is much appreciated.

Happy holidays, Simon


I bought one of the scarfs already. Even better in real life


And to go with the Blackwings: a Hovel pencil sharpener? https://www.makerscabinet.com/products/hovel


Hi Simon,
Would you recommend Budd gloves over Dents? For context, I’m looking for something that’s high quality, warm, fits snug and goes well with tailoring.
Thank you.


Hi Simon,
Happy New Year to you. A question on belts please. Do they need to be darker than the pants? Say one is wearing a pair of mid grey flannel or high-twists on casual Friday or a smart week-end occasion, a lightly striped button-down shirt (light blue, light grey or lavender stripes), and brown or color 8 tassels, what belt would you wear? Can it be a medium brown suede belt? I feel that a smooth leather brown belt would be too formal.