Buck Mason, Novesta, New & Lingwood: Spring ‘24 Highlights

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Our seasonal summary of things I’ve seen and liked rolls around again, and as ever is a good mechanism to answer questions about new products from established brands, such as the City Moc from Saman Amel (above).

But it’s also, by design, a mix of the old and the new, so there are both the expected names of Rubato and Drake’s, as well as the less-discussed Buck Mason or Novesta. 

I hope you find something for you. All questions in the comments please, to be happily and thoroughly answered. 

Buck Mason Rambler suede jacket

$698

My size: Large (size up)

I met the Buck Mason guys at Pitti last January, and Lucas and I both tried several products. I have to say we were both impressed by the price/quality ratio. This isn’t a Japanese brand making the finest reproduction quality, but it’s also half the price and most things were well done.

I was particularly impressed by the suede ‘Rambler’ trucker jacket. As I commented in the piece on Massimo Dutti, leather and suede are not an easy thing to do at a lower price, and I actually have an original ‘big E’ Levi’s one, so could compare first hand. 

You definitely lose something by not going for those top-end Japanese brands, but if that’s out of your price range Buck Mason are a good option, and compare very favourably with someone like RRL.

Rubato Roper shirt

£305

My size: Medium (normal size)

Staying with the Americana theme, a few readers asked about this new model from Rubato - their version of a western shirt, in black, white and indigo. I tried the black, and it’s exactly what you expect from Rubato - great quality with subtle style. 

The benchmark for many will be the Sawtooth Westerner from Bryceland’s, which I also have, and this is lighter in weight, as well as dialling down some of the western elements - one snap on the pockets, two on the cuff. I’d say it’s a great choice for anyone that finds the heavier Sawtooth a little too much. My black is also fading nicely after a couple of washes.

Novesta Marathon trainers

My size: 44 (size up)

My favourite trainers have long been a collaboration between Mizuno and Margaret Howell, and readers often ask what else I’d recommend, as those are only in black or white and not always available. 

The Marathon from Novesta is a good one - slim, subtle and nicely made. Trunk had them previously in bolder colours, but the current grey and beige are more versatile and I ended up getting the beige. It’s a great colour combination, particularly the black around the edges. 

Not all sizes are currently available at Trunk, but there are lots of other colours and sizes available on the Novesta site and through places like End

New & Lingwood band-collar shirt

£155

My size: Medium (normal size)

I’ve been really interested in how New & Lingwood have evolved over the past couple of years. They’re doing more tailoring, more sophisticated materials, and more classic menswear, perhaps in the process filling some of the gap left by brands like Drake’s going more casual. It's easy to forget, for example, that until recently they only did silk gowns, but now offer cashmere, linen seersucker; the tailoring has expanded in the same way. 

Over the winter I picked up a raglan coat from them in a really strong but tasteful check, for example, which is the kind of thing you rarely see anywhere else these days - traditional outfitters don't have the same taste level and modern ones are too sleek and safe.

The current New & Lingwood collection has some nice linen suits - in just the right shade of dark brown or dark green - wearable colours of towelling shirts, and great linen shirts. I’ve been after a linen band-collar one for a while, as well as a plain spread-collar silk, and they had both. 

Drake’s cotton-twill Games Blazer

£795

My size: 40 (normal size)

Speaking of Drake’s, they recently restocked the Games Blazer in the cottons I missed out on last year, when I got my corduroy. Both the cotton twill and canvas are lovely, machine washable and indeed fading well when washed. 

I get a lot of questions from readers about where they can get a cheaper version of the Games Blazer, and you just can’t, unless you go for a bog-standard chore coat. What sets the Games apart is design and often materials, and that’s something most other brands don’t put into a chore. The materials are the same ones from the same bunches, and the design is just straight up-and-down. 

The Drake’s is definitely expensive, but to my mind design-led brands like this justify their price when they set themselves apart in those two areas. 

Saman Amel City Moc (and Quoddy/Beige)

€600

My size: 43 (normal size) in the Saman and 10 US (size up) in the Quoddy

I saw these at the recent Saman Amel trunk show, just before they were due to go on sale, and was pretty excited. There’s a real gap there - a shoe that’s almost as comfortable as a trainer, but almost as smart as a loafer, and of course stylish.

They looked really good on Dag and Dom with their suits and I liked the sleek, elevated design. They didn’t work on me in the same way (with tailoring) I think because both of the guys like their trousers wide and the shoes looked great just poking out of their hems. But as a shoe to wear with something more smart/casual or casual/chic - like smart chinos and a cashmere knit - I think they'd be great. It's something I'm going to try again when the new showroom opens (on Albemarle Street) in June. 

I also recently tried the boat shoes that Beige in Paris is doing as a collaboration with Quoddy. These are chunkier and not as luxe, but as with Saman the black option is really interesting - it takes away all possible old-mannish associations. The Beige guys have also made some subtle but effective choices, such as putting silver hardware on the black leather, rather than gold, and white stitching rather than yellow.

Silver Ostrich ostrich-leather belt

€440

My size: 90 (normal size)

I’ve never actually written about Silver Ostrich, although I’ve had their belts for a while. Most of the styles are a little much for me, and my brown-suede ‘Versailles’ (below) is something I wear only when I want a particular look (and 20 times less than my Rubato in the same material). 

But my recent, pleasant discovery was that the brown ostrich-leather (above) is actually easier to wear than plain suede, and ages very nicely. The pattern is quite subtle and varied, but also not the standard suede, leather or croc. I have it in the Amboise style and now wear it rather more than my suede, mostly with jeans. Unfortunately the fact it’s an exotic makes it a level more expensive.

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Diss

Hey Simon, back with my question. How did the black version of the western shirt feel, more bold / unusual than the indigo one? Plain black with no contrasted stitching so I am assuming more quiet, but curious of your opinion.

Markus S

Thank you for the overview.
I am quite tempted by the Rubato Roper shirts. Which colour do you consider the most and least versatile?

Diss

Thank you Simon. And since it will fade over time, it will get easier to wear?

DV

Hi Simon,

Do you think the Western theme stuff is really timeless, or more of a trend right now?
A Western-style denim shirt is a good staple, but seeing a lot of cowboy boots, belts with fancy hardware etc. around.

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Regarding the Drakes games blazer. I bought a cotton mix one a couple of years back. The version (I lost count on the numbers) with flaps on all the pockets. We discussed at the time wearing with a blue/ white Breton T-shirt underneath. You rightly counselled to try to check it is more versatile than that one combination.
On the plus side, the straight fit and materials make it casual enough to comfortably wear with a t-shirt and polo shirt in warm weather and slightly smarter than a chore.
On the downside it did develop some vertical hard creases on the front, that won’t press or steam out. That said it’s good enough for its purpose. Same as the boat shoes you mentioned, no ‘old-mannish associations’ whatever that means.
Overall I’d say worth the money, but I think I’ll go for a John Simon’s sack jacket going forward.

Stephen

Hi, I agree I don’t think it’s an actual fault, just the nature of the design and perhaps cloth. It’s still wearable as it’s a casual jacket. I’ll take your advice and try a presser. What was the name of the one you suggested a few months back? Possibly in or around Burlington Arcade?

Stephen

Hi Simon,
I agree. Please have a look at attached photograph. I tried pressing before taking the photograph, however it slowly comes back. It’s in the area where backing sits but doesn’t appear to be fused to the backing. Any advice appreciated.
Thanks

IMG_9633
Stephen

Thanks Simon. I was more curious than anything else. It’s still wearable and in keeping with a more casual style.
Thanks again.

Omkar Rane

Hey Simon and Stephen, I have a games blazer cotton and linen mix from last year and it does the same crease/fold when Wearing the jacket unbuttoned. It was something I had thought of before but something I’ll keep in mind when getting an unlined casual jacket. I really love it though and looking at the olive herringbone as my second games. Only thing is also eyeing the orbium casual jacket at armoury. What’s your thought on that?

Big fan thanks!

Yoan

Hi Stephen, that crease is prompt to be there regardless of how much you press or steam the jacket especially when hung on a hanger. The right front panel with two pockets builds a firmer structure, if the jacket creases that is the only area where it can happen. Another point is that the right panel is on top of the left and left side edge is about where the crease forms.
Also, buttons add weight to the right panel.
On the left panel, the off-set pockets (chest+side pocket) position won’t allow a similar crease to form.
That’s my take on this topic!
All the best!

Nils

Hi Simon,

I’ve been eyeing a navy cotton games blazer from Drake’s for a while now. Did you have the chance to try the herringbone version of the Mk 1 (see here https://www.drakes.com/products/navy-herringbone-cotton-games-blazer-mk-i-1)?

If so, how do you think it compares vs. the heavy cotton twill you mention above?

Jonas

Speaking of the suede jacket – have you possibly written a separate article on quality suede and leather? I didn’t find anything when I searched the site and am interested in learning more.

Jonas

Lovely!

Il Pennacchio

Hi Simon, I don’t suppose you’re aware of any ready-to-wear suede truckers that are on the shorter end, like Bryceland’s denim Type 1? Most, including this Buck Mason Rambler, are too long in the body for me.

Tim

Hi Simon, could you please list some of examples of the JP repro brands you mention? I have looked through clutch’s selection but I am assuming there are some more out there too.

Chris W

Tim, this isn’t a bad list to widen your scope a bit. https://almostvintagestyle.com/2018/09/28/the-top-ten-leather-jacket-brands-list/

Some on there you’ll probably recognise, but some lesser known ones too. Pictures aren’t the most stylish examples of the brands work either but good makers. Helped me make some tactical eBay searches when I was looking recently.

If you have Instagram try following some brands you’ll see on clutch / rivet & hide and then look at the other suggested accounts to follow for similar brands. I found a great leather helmet bag from a brand called ‘Vasco’ I’d never heard of that very way. Happy hunting.

Kent

New & Lingwood’s new range is much better and the new chinos are exactly what I’m looking for. The tailoring seems to be recovering from lockdowns and a drift towards European fashion. I can only hope that the shirts do likewise. It’s very disappointing that a renowned Jermyn street shirtmaker has IMO lost its way. The current range has a lot of shirts with French fronts rather plackets. I miss my old favourites with the famous N&L collar in Royal Oxford, bengal stripe poplin and end-on-end.

It’s interesting that you see N&L (rather than Anglo Italian) as filling a gap left by Drake’s move towards casual clothing. N&L has, over the years, tended to compete with Ede & Ravenscroft and Cordings in the traditional British market. I have been a loyal customer of all three firms for many years. It’s surprising that, IIRC, PS has not reviewed or featured anything from E&R which offers great value for money.

Ed

Have you written about New and Lingwoods before? Their linen suits look good to me (in the RTM space).
I’m summer suit shopping atm

Simon S

The Saman Amel shoe is great, don’t think I’ve seen such a minimalist mocasin shoe before without the regular “boat shoe” details. Great concept and execution but pricey, like most of their offerings.

Kent

Timberland has all-black minimalist boat shoes, but with traditional lacing, that looks great. They would be ideal to wear with black or dark blue casual trousers such as jeans or chinos. At only £130, it’s a more affordable and accessible option. They are easy and cheap to resole (Vibram) too. Worth considering imo.

Kent

Timberland’s nubuck boat shoes are not so chunky and, in my experience, much softer. This year’s all black version is more similar Saman’s but has the traditional perimeter lacing. The Quoddy for Beige canoe shoe is a camp moc and also has contrast stitching. I like Horween Chromexel leather and would consider it in a wide fit. Tbh Saman’s (€600 plus UK taxes/duties) is out of my price range for a boat shoe.

Simon S

I’m with Simon here, the Saman shoe is enough of a distinctive design to break away from the more generic boat shoe umbrella. The Timberland’s, Paraboots and Quoddys are great but are clearly rooted in boat shoes and preppy aestetics while the Saman shoe is more of a Loro Piana open walk sort of beast. Based on a classic design but scaled back and made up in luxe materials.

Paul

I love these discussions – trying to understand what makes a shoe different, what elevates it and makes it more refined than a similar shoe. Whilst I like the Saman aesthetic (a lot) I’m really struggling with these shoes. I find them particularly jarring with tailoring. Perhaps better with shorts?!

Michal

Paraboot make a very nice all black version in grained leather. In terms of design I would say it’s in between the Quoddy and Saman Amel ones.

Henry

Agreed, but Paraboot always have their little green tag on all the shoes, which is not to my liking.
IMO anybody who spends 600EUR on a pair of boat shoes has lost all sense of reality.
Boat shoes are meant to be worn and look aged.

JB

I’ve handled the saman Amel moccasin but not worn it, and I can definitely it’s supremely soft and flexible. I think that’s what surprised me most as I expected a more normal feeling boat shoe but in suede.

I’m not 100% on board with the boat shoe styling, I would’ve preferred a slipper design I think, but had I liked the styling I would’ve bought it without hesitation.

Joe P

Hi Simon, I wonder if you’d consider an in-depth review of the New & Lingwood band collar shirt, perhaps as a broader piece on that style of shirt? PS has always espoused the flattering nature of a high collar, and it could be a follow-up to your recent piece on when to choose a collar or not, the advantages/trade-offs of this style versus normal, how it works with tailoring and more casual outfits, etc. I used to have one or two grandad collar shirts (are they different from band collars?) but faded them out of my wardrobe over my years of reading PS. But I still think it’s a look that can work and would be interested to read your views on it.

RT

I get a lot of questions from readers about where they can get a cheaper version of the Games Blazer, and you just can’t, unless you go for a bog-standard chore coat.
In relation to the statement above, I thought that William Crabtree’s Lowgill jacket might fit somewhere between the Games Blazer and a chore coat. It doesn’t have quite the same styling as the Games Blazer and the lapels are on the narrow side, though worn up, as I think you do with your Games Blazer, that’s not so noticeable. I think it occupies a similar sort of space to the Games Blazer.

RT

Good point, Simon.

Mike T

I bought a lowgill in brown tweed which is far more minimal in design than the games and really fills that area where guys like me, feel a little uncomfortable wearing a more formal jacket with jeans.

I am extremely happy with it

Sam

I actually think William Crabtree’s recent release (Barbon) is better than the Lowgill, and actually I prefer to the Drake’s games blazers too. The lapel looks slightly better proportioned/shaped in my view, and I much prefer a few buttons to the no-button cuff that the Drakes ones use. Wonder what Simon’s thoughts are on that one. Much narrower choice of fabrics obviously, but a very nice jacket.

https://www.williamcrabtree.co.uk/products/olive-washed-cotton-barbon-jacket

Magnus

J.Crew also has something similar, the Crosby chore blazer (for the Americans)

Alex

Last year I had decided to buy a navy cotton Games Blazer from Drakes but on a whim thought I’d check out the Lowgill first. After then going to Savile Row and trying on the Drakes offering, I ended up hopping straight back on the tube and buying the Lowgill instead; the material is lovely, it works with collar up and down and it’s about half the price.
While I’m still a big fan of Drakes, I find it hard to justify their current pricing and dare I say, seems a little bit like one is paying extra for the label these days.

Markus S

Sorry to comment again.
Simon, do you have any recommandation for a rather smart summer chino. My problem is that the usual chinos you recommend are to heavy when it is really hot (above 30 degrees), but the lightweight chinos all seem to contain elasthan. Kr

Paul

40 colori had a really nice cotton/linen mix smart summer chino last year – worth checking as they can do MTO.

m

Maybe take a look at Casatlantic trousers, at 300g they aren’t absolute lightest but the looser fit helps a bit. They also have 240g Irish linen that could work. Pricing is reasonable and you can wash at home.

Kent

Have you considered Cordings super lightweight chinos (£125)? They are made from 7oz/220g cotton with only 2% lycra – https://www.cordings.co.uk/menswear/trousers/super-light-chinos. That weight seems ideal for over 30C and Cordings has a buy one, get one half price offer on all trousers at the moment.

m

Great selection, aside from leather jacket maybe, I could see myself being interested in any of these items. Even the band collar shirt, which is a style I never considered before, might actually work nicely as something to lounge around at home.

One item I’d usually gloss over but now that you highlighted it has captured my interest is the Quoddy canoe shoes. How do you think these would fare as dedicated wet weather shoes for summer, to be paired with shorts and more casual pants? Black colour is giving me pause but eyelet and stitching contrast might be enough to make it more versatile.

Noel

Some other small differences between Rubato’s and Bryceland’s western shirts (I also own both):

  • The top button on the Rubato is not a snap button (slightly annoying)
  • The fit of the Bryceland is a tad looser. I find this goes with the workwear aesthetic while the Rubato works better with a more refined outfit(i.e. wearing it with a suit in the evening)
  • The Rubato feels softer at first but the Bryceland become softer over time. Perhaps their difference in weight plays a role here. I have a Warehouse Longhorn that is heavier and stiffer at first but softened over time.
Noel

Interesting. Perhaps the difference is small and washing plays a role as you say. I’ve only had my sawtooth for a short while (I finally got one in the last restock). Did you buy the washed or raw sawtooth version?

Jack

Hi Simon, this is a great selection.

Just wanted to ask about the sizing for the Drake’s games blazer. I usually wear the same sizes as you for most PS outerwear, but I had to go for size 36 for the games blazer. Do you prefer it to be oversized? Also, what kind of trousers would you wear with them?

Many thanks,
Jack

Will

Hi Jack, Simon,

I bought the games blazer and the trousers in navy heavy cotton twill about a month ago. I’m normally a 42 inch chest, but this is misleading because I have broad shoulders so need to size up on the chest to accommodate my shoulders. The 42 offered a sharp silhouette and was snug. So I tried the 44 which was roomier and much more relaxed. I can’t for the life of me judge how I look in the mirror so I had at least two `Drake’s guys come over to judge which one sat on me best. They both (independently) said the 44.

Whilst Simon says the jacket shouldn’t be oversized mine is about 20% oversized (in a boxy louche way) but I really like it because of this – it moves it father from a tailored look and into the realms of carefree casualness. My advice: go into Drakes and try the jacket on in a couple of sizes and try to resist the more formal fitting size (and of course ask the Drakes guys.)

Also, on colouring – the navy seems to come in minutely differing shades of navy insofar that after I had bought mine I went back in a few weeks later and there was the same navy games coat but it was slightly blacker – I absolutely wish I had grabbed one of these slightly darker ones – it was closer to the colour of the version in the image below (if it’s uploaded) from Drakes featuring Aaron Levine which inspired me to buy it in the first place.

The heavy cotton twill version is really quite something – the hip pocket flaps can almost be moulded into shape so you can have them pointing outwards eccentrically if that’s your thing and, like Simon, I always wear mine with the collar up. I can’t wait to put mine in the wash for the first time but as per Drake’s instructions it’s important to wear it in first so that the jacket distresses to the contours of its fit around you (like jeans would – in fact they told me to treat it like raw denim), so the first wash will be little while yet.

Happy hunting.

Drakes
Ferdinand

Hi Simon, many thanks for the overview.

I note that a lot of stores have moved to either having a dedicated US site (from this post, Drakes is an example whereas New and Lingwood is not) or having some currency conversion, based on your IP, through the website.

In many cases, when shipping to the US, I used to be able to simply get the price in GBP minus VAT. Now though, with these “helpful” US storefronts or conversions, I often get the offer of a price that is a few points higher than the market conversion I’d get through my bank, and it is a conversion of the UK price including VAT. So, in this case, it seems the retailer is increasing the actual unit cost for people in the US by pocketing the VAT. I have seen the very dubious suggestion that this is to help the customer, as this is a “landed price” ensuring we don’t pay duties. But, this seems questionable, especially at anything under a certain value. Is it all just a slightly opaque way of making more money from US customers?

Ferdinand

Simon, many thanks. A very clear breakdown of what is involved.
I do have a few questions, just to have a clearer picture in my mind.
What local taxes are being charged in the US for retailers that don’t have a physical presence in the delivery state? E.g. (and this is from US perspective) I don’t pay any sales tax when I order from J Press or The Armoury, as they have no physical location in my state. I do have to with Luca Faloni, as they are now physically present.
The currency fee is understandable, but I would say poor value for customers, who would almost always get a better conversion from their credit card provider; I never accept the offer to pay in local currency when abroad, as the rate is terrible. I’m surprised people like buying in local currency… Also, it seems easier for the brand to have a steady retail price in their local currency and put risk back on consumer side?
I certainly understand the potential benefit on goods with total value over $800; though would really need to check if it is worth 23(ish) percent.
A related thought, but not applicable to online sales, it’d be great if the UK brought back VAT-free shopping for visitors. I think UK retail really losing to the continent (Paris in particular) when I see the lines for VAT refunds at Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle.
Many thanks again for your detailed answer.

Ferdinand

Simon, thanks again. You are right that we have things fairly good; this is sort of a luxury problem…
I am surprised though that customers see such benefit of paying in their local currency, especially as there is no particular effort for them when using a credit card. Though many cards will impose their own foreign transaction fee…

PB

Simon – there may be few folks who may find that better but I am with Ferdinand that this is not really better for US customers, especially for product below $800. And some brands are definitely mixing price hikes with it – the most egregious recent example is Rubato who just raised there prices by 30-40% with an email positioning that as “good news” for customers because now they were shipping duties paid. I have no issues with price increases – they may have justifiable reasons and I have the choice of buying from them or not. But that type of positioning just loses goodwill.

Rand

As an interesting data point, if you purchase the Wax Walker from PS, the converted price to USD is ~$975 and then duties of ~$86, which are charged and collected by DHL. Conversely, if you purchase it from Private White it cost $1,100 and duties of ~197.

Beyond wanting to directly support Simon and Lucas, it is also a better economic benefit to the consumer with a savings of ~$240.

Eric

“By the way though, US consumers need to realise how good they have things. The idea that you might be able to buy something from the UK and pay no sales tax or duties at all is crazy. Plus, the idea that you don’t have to pay local sales tax if the brand has no local shop – no wonder ecommerce is so big.”
While that is true, there are trade offs to the high duty threshold. Duties are essentially a form of protectionism, so the United States allowing duty-free import below $800 opens up their market to increased competition from abroad. Duties are also a form of government revenue, so while they are not being charged for importing goods you can be sure the government makes up for it in the form of other taxes.
Also the idea that no sales tax is required if the brand has no local shop is no longer true, the laws around that have become more complicated since 2018. I am often charged sales tax for foreign purchases now.

Eric

If we can speak frankly, I think the comment about using said opacity to charge US customers more is applicable to Rubato. They recently changed from DDU to DDP and increased prices in USD by 30-40% for all products. This has (understandably) upset their US customer base. Since US shoppers do not pay duty below an $800 threshold anyway, this is essentially a huge price increase with no tangible benefit for the vast majority of customers. Since it is a blanket increase and presumably most orders are not above $800, Rubato is certainly pocketing quite a bit of extra money now, even given the slightly increased administrative costs involved (worth noting that prices were already given in USD before this).
Brands can charge whatever they see fit of course, but it does turn me off a bit, honestly. Shopify has a built-in feature to calculate duty and taxes ahead of time and allow you to prepay them, so I don’t understand why a shop wouldn’t just implement this feature instead of raising prices across the board if they were truly trying to benefit their customers and not just increase profit margins.

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Wow, you must feel you’re back working in the financial press!
Interesting that Private White don’t offer VAT for overseas sales. There may be rules that apply to a companies of different size.
You have brought your experience to the fore with some very insightful points about the many fully allocated costs companies have to cover – as opposed to purely marginal.
Ultimately I think one can pay the price or vote with your wallet and don’t buy.
Now back to back to the clothes !

Joe

You make interesting and valid points, Simon. Still, it is disingenuous and disrespectful for Rubato to treat their US customers as fools, telling them that this DDP change is better for them when very clearly it is not, and pocketing money they say is payable in US duties and taxes related to one’s specific order which simply are not applicable.

If Rubato wants to raise their US prices by 30 to 40% overnight to cover costs, or increase revenue, or whatever other reason, that is OK if they can get away with it, as long as they are upfront about it being a price hike. But lying to their customers saying that those additional costs would have been borne by the customers in any event via the payment of US duties and taxes that are not applicable is just wrong.

I used to be a customer of Rubato, I really like their product and have spent many thousands of Dollars buying from them over the years. Not once did I have to pay US duties or taxes on orders below $800 (which were practically all of my orders). I will no longer be buying from a brand that takes me for a fool. I doubt you have to be very focused on this issue or in a minority to notice a 40% price hike made under false pretenses. A real shame.

Eric

I’m with you. When I emailed their customer service I did not appreciate being essentially lied to. I expected better from Rubato

Martins

Wait, really? Duty and tax is non refundable? Isn’t there somekind of complicated forms where after paying a fee you can recover the cost?

I never understood why exchanges is so complicated… Why can’t you ship back as “exchange”, add proof that taxes were already paid, and same thing when shop ships you back another item…

Martins

Wow… Now that makes it completely understandable brands not offering free returns or exchanges internationally… However it does put me off trying new things where I can’t afford to pay taxes essentially 3 times… For shipping to me, for returning an item and for getting another item…

But id still argue that for new customer first exchange should be free…

Ben

Hi Simon,
I am curious how one sizes a leather jacket. I have a A1 style suede jacket which I wear infrequently because I am worrid about getting it wet.
I am considering the trucker jacket. Would you size it to fit over a tee or a jumper? (I’ve seen them styled over a tee and a jacket.) What would work best in the UK? During which seasons can they worn?
Second, I’ve always found them very long in the arms, despite being tall. This is fine if one is riding a motorcycle when ones arms are out in front. Any thoughts?

Stephen

Hi
Just quick one from me. I tend to size all outer wear that I will wear casually to fit over a sweater. I always take the one that I’m likely to wear with me even in summer when going to a shop (this wasn’t always the case in my younger days and a few mistakes ensued!).
BTW , whilst not my preferred style I think suede trucker jackets look good on many people.

Alexander

As much as I love the fit of the Rubato jeans, I had real issues with their shirts so far. Very blousy in the waist and somewhat narrow in the sleeves, but that was some time ago and maybe I have to try again. My bryceland’s westerner on the other hand has a really nice V-shape fit for my taste (as Manish also pointed out in his last piece). But we all know Simon’s answer to that problem: It is RTW and an easy fix for an alterations tailor.

Markus S

I bought the Rubato workshirt in ecru and it is very loose. Of course you can have it slimmed, but that costs time and money.
It seems I am not the only one. From reviews I infer that a lot of persons, who have bought Rubato‘s products, had them changed quite a bit. This also holds me back from buying their officer chinos. It somewhat beats one of the reasons of RTW, imho.

Markus S

Yes, Simon. If you want the perfect fit, you either have to be very lucky or have it made.
But I am more of an average customer and a good RTW fit is sufficient for me.
I am also not alleging that Rubato has a bad fit, but apparently a quite unusual one because so many customers seem to do major changes (which, on the other side, speaks for Rubato’s quality because many customers put up with that). For me, personally, I would wish that Rubato had slightly more mainstream measures.

Magnus

I also find their shirts oddly short in the sleeves for a Scandinavian brand.

Magnus

I hear you, although as a Scandinavian myself I will say that there is nothing more Scandinavian than trying to deny the Scandinavian-ness of something you are doing!
Maybe they have a lot of customers in Asia; I do think the sleeves are shorter than average for a Western brand in general.

Joe

Hi Simon,
Quick question please on the sizing of the SA mocs:
I normally take a UK 8 1/2 size shoe. For loafers and mocs, I would ordinarily size down to a size 8 (EU 42) for a snug fit. I think I have the same show size as you – and just wanted to know your thoughts on whether the 43 would be a more appropriate fit? Thanking you as ever in advance.

Gerald

Hi Simon,
What for outfits do you wear those beige Novestas with? Specifically trousers. I find wearing them with beige chinos looking somewhat off
Would greatly appreciate your input

Dan

Did you size up for the Novesta sneakers because they were too short or narrow?

PM

Hi Simon,

Do you have an opinion on the Games Navy cotton-linen vs the cotton twill for a casual suit. Thank you>

Simone

Alberto Luti makes the same exact belts at a fraction of the price.

Ben

Hi Simon, from the images I have seen, Rubato’s roper shirt collar sits higher on the neck than Bryceland’s sawtooth shirt. Is that true?

Jonathan

I’ve recently come across Novesta so nice to see them pop up here. I’d be interested to hear what you think of the Star Master? I liked the look of them but having not seen them in person was concerned the sole is a touch chunky. The ribbing on it is quite busy.

Leif

On the fellow modeling the N & L band collar shirt, the pants are beautiful. Just enough billowing with the pleats, roomy throughout without being baggy… looks to be linen like the shirt.
I’m big on these clothing items that hit the Goldilocks “just right” balance of casual yet elegant, items you could successfully dress up or down depending on what you wore with them.

Charles

I have to say that I smiled when I read that many people want a games blazer, but cheaper. While I’m in that camp, to add a layer of complexity, I like the unfitted nature of them, but also want them more fitted.
So, to explain, I’m only 5.7 and slim.
The “sack” look of jackets (like John Simmons) don’t look right on me. But I don’t want a fitted blazer. I wanted a slightly shaped, fitted, yet casual cotton jacket that I can wear in the office on a Friday, or at the pub on a Saturday. Any suggestions?

Markus S

I would just like to add my experience. I have a Boglioli K jacket in navy / dark blue washed cotton, and this is the jacket I probably wear most often. It’s suitable for almost any temperature except cold winter days and hot summer days. It’s quite relaxed in terms of smartness, but can easily be worn to work due to the dark blue color

Diego

I was obsessed with the Saman Amel shoes when I saw them in their lookbook. I googled a lot to try to find what the model could be until I concluded that they were probably just something made for them (Quoddy had some similar styles in the past but in my opinion they have made their offering significantly worse). During these exercise, I also concluded that the shoes probably have a shelf life of 2 months until something like Aurelien puts out a version, they become ubiquitous and are ruined for all of us.

Lindsay McKee

Silver Ostrich is an extreme but attractive casual style belt albeit very expensive indeed.
On the opposite and I’d say conservative category with some casual styles of belt, my go-to and default provider is Tim Hardy in Worcestershire.
I’ve already ordered my second fully bespoke belt in an attractive Australian Nut colour in Oak bark leather which comes from the J & FJ BAKER tannery in Devon to which Tim Hardy belts are unique. I’ve already mentioned Tim Hardy in other posts. His webpage is excellent. They also do classic bridle hide belts. I’ve even changed the contrast stitching to tone on tone. This will be my everyday replacement belt Price, a very competitive £105 , bridle belts as low as £75 which I feel is exquisite value.
Photos will be coming soon ….I promise!

Alan

I’m one of those readers who tried to find a cheaper version of a games blazer (off my own back rather than asking you I would add)! I tried an unstructured cotton jacket from Spier & Mackay. It superficially has some of the games blazer’s details like 3/2 buttoning, double needle stitching, patch pockets, shorter length, but it feels more tailored and thus it’s not a games blazer. Still nice and I will wear it a lot over summer but it doesn’t fit quite the same wardrobe gap as a games blazer might.

I also tried one of John Simons’ sack jackets. The style is nice and the fabric selection is similar to the games range but the cut didn’t work for me – the collar keeps gaping (improved but not perfect after alterations), which is not something I have with any other brand of structured or unstructured tailoring.

Moral of the story is if you like the games blazer, just accept that Drakes’ is price is the cost of a unique product. I’m now weighing up whether the navy cotton twill or olive herringbone cotton will be more versatile.

David B

The Puma Vlado Stenzel in hairy suede Frosted Ivory has been reintroduced from their 70s archive. Vlado, now aged 89, is one of the greats of the Handball world.

IMG_0843
Shem

Hey Simon have you tried the new unstructured jackets by trunk clothiers ? I tried them and it looks alot like drakes gsmrs jackets for half the price but sadly their sold out in my size

Rand

Simon,

Would love to see your experience commissioning a bespoke leather trucker jacket. I have come across Atelier Savas (https://www.ateliersavas.com/), but haven’t had the chance to work with them yet. I could see you starting with their RTW Denham model perhaps in the cognac suede or a tobacco adjacent color way and then riffing on it to better suit your taste and needs (e.g., I wouldn’t want zippers on the stuff pockets as the teeth scratch skin when used and I am less concerned about preventing an item from falling out, etc.). It could be an interesting stop on your next Stateside trip.

I recently had a bespoke denim trucker jacket made and while triple the cost of even a high end RTW trucker jacket, the ability to have it fit my shoulders correctly has made a world of difference. As Derek Guy would say, gotta go work on my fades.

JEFF DEJOSEPH

question i have is: can the added value of a micro or boutique brand be worth all the extra coin over an excellent pair of new balance or sperry or timberland shoes or a higher than wrangler quality denim shirt? i know lots of us like the intangibles but…

Anonymous

What happened to the trunk show calendar?

Pedro Vidal

I love the games blazers, a perfect synthesis of form and function. Very practical for a NY dad that works in Soho. Also glad to see Buck Mason getting some recognition, they’ve really hit it out of the park with their recent outwear – I have their lightweight trench coat and it works so well with my games blazers, hah!

John

Hi Simon,
Which color do you find to be most versatile on the cotton twill games blazer, considering its level of formality?
Would the brown go better with jeans than the navy?

John

Which will age better, considering, for example, that navy chinos may not look good once they fade after several washes?

John

Is there a good version for warmer weather on the games blazer? What color and material would you pick?

John

Do you have any preference between the mark 1, 2 or the others?

John

How does the cotton linen version compares to the games blazer in linen?

And how does the canvas compare to the heavy cotton twill?

Kieran Wason

Hi Simon,

I really enjoy your articles and although some of the items are out of my price range the inspiration and the enjoyment I get out of reading about fine clothing and materials is fantastic. I really enjoy the Novesta range of shoes, I have several star master canvas and a pair of the marathon trail but with the GAT suede overlays. The star master are a fantastic canvas trainer but they tend to run true to size, the marathon run a little narrower. A fantastic company which still makes their shoes in the old factory in Slovakia. I’d recommend their canvas star master to anyone looking for a good value summer sneaker.

Kevin

Simon, I think it should be noted that Drakes recently changed the fit of the game blazers, they are smaller in chest and shoulder. Is the cotton twill you talked about wearable in the summer?

Kevin

It’s something that I noticed while browsing their web store.

https://www.drakes.com/products/russet-cotton-corduroy-games-blazer-mk-i

https://www.drakes.com/products/navy-heavy-cotton-twill-games-blazer-mk-i-1

The measurements of the chest and shoulder are considerably different.

Martins

I observed it. I remember after your article tried games blazer. 44 was too small shoulders and just a touch too small in general while 46 was like a tent on me. Tried on one recently and 44 was pretty nice fit.
Asked if they have changed fit and they said yes.

GD

Hi Simon, have you tried the new French trousers from Rubato? They seem very nice but I had some concern regarding the fit, which seems to be quite narrow. I very much like everything they do, including their general imagery, but their photos and lookbooks are not always useful to get a sense of the fit of their products.

Nils

Hi Simon,

For any readers looking for a slightly lower-priced moccasin in a similar style to the pair from Saman Amel mentioned here, Morjas, another Swedish brand, just today released their version of a sleeker boat shoe.

https://www.morjas.com/product/the-boat-shoe-black-suede-black/

Obviously not quite the same level of make as SA’s version but still quite nice given the more affordable price I think.

@Simon which colour do you think is most versatile in this style of shoe? Brown suede would be the obvious choice but I find myself drawn to the black suede – although there’s a risk it might be too ’showy’ for office wear perhaps?

Dario

Can you expand a little bit on the morjas shoes Simon? I was just looking at a pair from them

Shem

Hey simon havr you ever trued on the buck mason careyon blazer? They look akon to the drakes games. Is the lapel too high if you ever tried them on?

John

Hi Simon, I noticed you didnt mention the current Games blazer in navy moleskin. How do you feel about it?

John

What about their herringbone version?

Anonymous

In terms of Buck Mason, would you categorize the brand as a whole in the same league as Wythe and OrSlow? I’ve seen those 2 brands pop up elsewhere in your blog and the sentiment seems to be similar? They don’t seem to have the absolute top tier quality, but you’re getting maybe 80-85% there with a generally reasonable price, well thought-out designs, and (I assume) good quality materials and construction? Thoughts?

Anonymous

Does that imply that OrSlow generally tends to be of better quality overall than the other 2 brands mentioned? Is Wythe more consistent across the board than Buck? So, the tiers would be OrSlow > Wythe > Buck? Is that an accurate hierarchy in your opinion?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
I’m curious about the city Mocs as well, I’m wondering, how do you think they’ll pair with trousers that are more tapered, similar to how you wear your trousers, as opposed to the wider fit of saman Amel.
Also, what are your thoughts on the grey suede? I have a few pairs of trousers from stoffa in light colors (cloud, pearl and white), these pair well with white sneakers, but sometimes black and chocolate are too strong a contrast unless an equally dark top is worn. I was thinking this is where the grey suede may fit in.

anonymous

Can you elaborate on why you think they pair less well with tapered trousers?

Ole

I’m curious, Simon: Have you tried running in your Novestas? Would you? I guess it depends on fit, because they look tough enough, and the sole looks OK for off roads, too.