Tokyo: A sartorial shopping guide – 2023 Update


Tokyo is one of the most varied, creative and stimulating retail experiences in the world.

Not only is the city huge, but each area has a distinct feel and atmosphere, reflected in its shopping.

There are small, niche brands everywhere, as well as workshops and artisans. Many of those are unique to Japan, but even the designer brands up their game – often with striking stores and developments.

There are too many to list in full, but these 50+ shops are our favourites. As with previous guides, we have focused on stores that are pretty much exclusive to Tokyo. 

I recommend looking up the various stores on a map and grouping them into areas: the size of Tokyo means it could take a while to get from one to another. Below, however, we’ve divided the shops into sections by type, by interest. Because I know not everyone will be interested in both bespoke tailoring and vintage workwear. 




1 Anatomica

There are two branches of Anatomica in Tokyo, one fairly central in Aoyama, and one further out in Nihonbashi. The latter is my favourite, but if you don’t have time to travel specifically to it, then do pop into the one in Aoyama instead. 

The clothing is rather different to the Paris store that readers might be more familiar with (and we covered here) but the combination of French and Japanese creative directors means the clothes are a fascinating mix of cultures and styles, with berets and traditional Japanese handkerchiefs alongside original workwear designs.

2 Bryceland’s Co

Bryceland’s is a niche menswear store opened in 2016 by Ethan Newton. It mixes soft Italian tailoring with workwear such as chore jackets and jeans, and vintage-style pieces such as rayon shirts. 

We’ve covered and reviewed several Bryceland’s pieces over the years, and they can be found on the brand’s page here. Tailor Anglofilo works out of the back of the shop.

3 Ortus and Fugee

Leather master Naoyuki Komatsu has a stellar reputation. He runs a small workshop called Ortus, which does 90% bespoke pieces such as day bags and wallets.

Everything is entirely hand sewn – in fact, Komatsu even goes as far as to make the brass hardware himself, crafting these additions small works of beauty in themselves. Trade mark designs include the ‘music bag’ – a briefcase made of one piece of leather with a brass bar securing the single handle. Dedicated post on Ortus here. Also very good, particularly with traditional styles of bag, is the older operation Fugee.

4 L&Harmony

L&Harmony is a shoe store specialising in vulcanised canvas shoes such as Doek, Pras and Moonstar. But not only do they have a bigger range of those brands than you’ll find anywhere else, they also have brands such as Asahi, Yomiya and others. Plus there are accessories, socks and bags. 

It’s a little out of the way, but if you’re uptown near Ginza or Ueno, it’s worth the detour. 

5 Ring Jacket

Ring Jacket was the first Japanese tailoring brand to achieve serious recognition around the world, largely thanks to the promotion of The Armoury in Hong Kong and New York. There are two stores in Tokyo, in Ginza and Aoyama, and it is also stocked in Isetan.

The style is Italian and soft-shouldered, although there is a range of models (a decent reason to visit one of the standalone stores rather than just Isetan) and they also offer accessories and leather goods, all with rather Italian styling. The tailoring is well made and good value, particularly in Japan compared to imported Italian brands.

6 Eyewear: Solakzade, Gig Lamps and others

Out on the commercial shopping strip of Omotesando Hills is vintage jewellery and glasses specialist Solakzade. The shop is not immediately obvious – it’s on the basement floor down a small flight of steps – and is a stone-and-gold cavern inside.

Run by two brothers, the range is eclectic, everything from the nineteenth century to the 1970s. But everyone there knows the stock inside out, and it’s worth talking to them about styles if you have even just a passing interest in old frames. Upstairs is men’s jewellery, but this can also be discussed and accessed downstairs. Dedicated post on Solakzade here

Also worth a look is Gig Lamps Eyewear, in Meguru City – a few metro stops away. And if you’re interested in eyewear more generally, Aoyama is the place for it – the main strip has a big concentration, including places like Eye-Van. 

7 Nakata Hangers

It won’t surprise most readers to learn that there is a Japanese brand taking hangers to a particularly high level. Here it is Nakata Hangers, a 70-year-old family business that supplies many of the country’s brands and department stores, but in recent years has also focused on selling particularly high-end pieces to end consumers.

The shop in Minato City is more set up for wholesale than retail, but if you want beautiful, unique hangers for your bespoke tailoring, it’s worth a visit to see the products in person. They are sold in the UK by Arterton.

8 Union Works and Sarto Ginza

These two are worth mentioning because they are examples of how well the Japanese do the things around menswear, such as repairs. Union Works has three stores in Tokyo offering shoe repair, but also does a plethora of other work, and has a small line of clothes and accessories. Sarto, on the other hand, has grown to the point of having several branches, altering and repairing everything from suits to leather jackets, holds trunk shows with the likes of B&Tailor, and even has its own in-house shoemaker.




1 The Real McCoy’s

The Real McCoy’s is my personal favourite workwear brand, and not only is their quality unsurpassed, but the range is huge, from leathers to jeans to sportswear. Until recently they had a shop in London, but even then it wasn’t as big as this one in Tokyo. It’s downstairs, but don’t let the entrance fool you – it’s big. 

2 Freewheelers

Freewheelers is another workwear brand at the top of its game – more of a biker focus than McCoy’s, but great quality. The shop is also charming – you might think it’s called Desolation Row from the outside, or Uncle John’s Bait & Tackle, so look out for those names as well. 

3 M’Arijuan (D’Artisan)

Another good one is M’Arijuan, which is the home of Osaka-five member Studio D’Artisan and others in that group, such as Orgueil, which I’ve come to appreciate since they’ve been at Clutch Cafe in London. 

4 Hummingbirds’Hill

Right on the corner, this is a delightful little multibrand store with both repro and modern brands – Camber and Chamula, Engineered Garments and Needles. It also has a nice selection of vintage southwestern jewellery. 

4 Full Count, The Flat Head, Lewis Leathers in Harajuku

This area of town – Harajuku and Omotesando – has the headquarters of most of the other workwear brands that fans in the US, UK and elsewhere will know from their local stockists. They include Full Count and The Flat Head, plus the British institution Lewis Leathers. 

There’s also Time Worn Clothing: less well known and not always the friendliest, but with a big following for its At Last denim brand and Butcher sportswear. That’s over in Shibuya.

5 Phigvel

An area of town that was new to us on this trip was Nakameguro, and I’m really pleased we made the time to go down. It’s a lovely district, with shops ranged along a canal hung with trees. Our favourite discovery there was Phigvel, which although workwear-influenced, very much updates those styles and offers them in a clean, modern palette.

Another good shop in the area for workwear is Post O’Alls, and there are both men’s and women’s Nigel Cabourn branches. 

6 Okura – Blue Blue Japan

Over in the Daikanyama area, the little UES shop has unfortunately closed since we were last here (2019). But fortunately the rambling Okura is still open. 

The original flagship store for Blue Blue Japan, it’s styled like a Japanese warehouse (kura) and is great for anyone that loves indigo-dyed clothing. It’s stocked floor to ceiling with indigo-dyed jackets, T-shirts, sweatshirts and kimonos, both from Blue Blue Japan and cheaper variations made overseas. Look out for pieces in sashiko cloth.




Vintage shopping in Japan is covered in a separate shopping guide, here. That piece includes not just central Tokyo (Harajuku) but also Koenji, the vintage-specialist area outside the centre, and places in Osaka and Kobe. 

Among my favourites are Berbejin in Harajuku, Safari (all of them) in Koenji, and Acorn in Osaka. I’ll also use this section to mention a great non-vintage store in Koenji, which is Mogi…

1 Mogi

Mogi was founded by Terry Ellis, a London-raised designer who lives most of his year in Japan. Best known for heading the Fennica brand at Beams, Terry recently set up his own independent store in Koenji that mixes folk art with new and old menswear. It’s an inspiration, and worth a visit to Koenji on its own. 




1 Isetan

Department stores in Japan do things very well, from the brand mix to the merchandising. But one thing that will set them apart for many readers is the presence of bespoke and made-to-measure clothing, from all around the world.

Isetan is worth seeing for the pure department-store experience, though also make sure to visit the made-to-measure area and look out for any trunk shows going on at the time. Oh, and there’s a whole building just for menswear.

2 Strasburgo

Strasburgo takes this a step further. With a more select range, and slightly more sartorial approach than the other department stores, it has several branches around the city.

I recommend Minami Aoyama, for both the RTW selection and the Tailor’s Lab that was established here on the third floor a few years ago. There you will find a workshop housing artisans such as shirtmaker Masanori Yamagami and tailor Noriyuki Higashi (Sartoria Domenica). Trouser-maker Igarashi also started out here.

3 Beams F and International Gallery Beams

Having said this, on our most recent trip to Tokyo it was Beams that really stood out. I think it was because we were looking less at bespoke producers, more at retail in general, and it was a salient reminder of how much better Beams does it than anywhere else in the world. 

Go into Beams International Gallery and you suddenly discover a host of European makers that you can’t get in London – perhaps have never even heard of. Sandals from Giacometti, moccasins from Castellano, Paraboot special editions that are exclusive to Japan. It reminds you how poor English department stores are on all these things.

Beams F is more tailoring and smarter clothing, while Beams Plus is more casual (and readers might be familiar with from elsewhere). While we were there the windows were full of a collaboration with LL Bean. 

4 Tomorrowland

Compared to the stores above, Tomorrowland is more fashion-focused, but the men’s side tends to be fairly classic and have some interesting variants on menswear staples. It carries its own brand as well as range of others, including Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten and James Perse. 




So, we’re not talking high fashion here, or indeed low-end mass-market fashion. Rather, this is a space for craft-based brands like 45R or Visvim that don’t really fall into classic or workwear categories – perhaps because few places in the world do this kind of clothing like Japan.

1 45R

45R is an innovator in natural, crafted clothing that often involves organic indigo dye. The pieces are deceptively simple, uncompromisingly made, and intended to look vintage from the moment they’re offered. They’re expensive, on a par with designer labels, but all that money goes into the product and process. 

The clothes can be unusual, but there are always great jeans, tees and bandanas as well. I completely get why some people don’t take to the brand, but if you like craft, they deserve your time in understanding what they do. There are a few shops in Tokyo, but the one to go to if you can is the flagship Badou-R.

2 Kapital

Kapital is similar, but a lot weirder. There’s often a lot of craft involved in the clothing, but the results will often be more extreme in design and proportion. Personally it’s less for me, but the brand is unique and Tokyo has the greatest expression of it. The main shop is in Shibuya, but Kountry has the weirdest pieces and the women’s shop, oddly in a pristine shopping mall. 

3 Visvim

Like the two above, but more expensive and more fashion-driven. Visvim often takes inspiration from classic pieces of menswear, and there’s a good amount of craft involved, but there’s a reason the HQ in Nakameguro feels more like an art museum than a shop. I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, or like the brand, but I wasn’t personally tempted by anything. 

4 1LDK

An interesting example of a good multi-brand shop, which is something that’s fast disappearing in the rest of the world. Largely more casual, but with great brands like Auralee and Arpenteur, plus Comoli, Kaptain Sunshine and Studio Nicholson. There are two shops, both worth a look, in Nakameguro. 

5 Arts & Science

Arts & Science is a small chain of stores in Tokyo founded by stylist Sonya Park. It’s an interesting crossover between Japanese crafts and modern, minimal sensibilities, with accessories, menswear and womenswear. Although the clothing offering is pretty small, it is a good place to find unusual (if expensive) homewares and accessories, in simple styles and colours. Look out for loose linen jackets, wooden boxes and leather pouches. Either the Aoyama or Daikanyama branches.

6 Outdoors brands: Snow Peak, Nanga and everyone else

Walking round Omotesando, one can’t help but notice how many outdoors brands there are. Everyone has a big flagship, North Face and Patagonia, Japanese specialists like Snow Peak and Nanga. 

The non-Japanese brands often have products that are only available here too, or there are labels that are the result of licensing deals, like North Face Purple Label that is actually owned by Goldwin, the clothing conglomerate that also has its own store. 




Some of the finest bespoke makers of menswear are in Japan, despite usually learning their trade in Europe. These are some of the best, though do be aware it’s necessary (or at least polite) to make an appointment. 

1 Shoemakers: Yohei Fukuda, Seiji McCarthy, Marquess 

Japan has a huge number of bespoke shoemakers, perhaps more than the whole of Europe combined. They are largely young, working in small workshops, and good value for money – though the small size can mean there are long waiting times. Most importantly, their quality is amazing, often excelling those European masters they learnt from.

There are too many to try and recommend any specifically, but it is certainly worth trying to see Yohei Fukuda, Seiji McCarthy and Shoji Kawaguchi, the latter operating under the brand Marquess. More on them at those links, and generally on Japanese shoemakers here.

2 Tailors: Sartoria Ciccio, Anglofilo and others

There aren’t quite as many new tailors as shoemakers in Japan, but the quality of the work is still very high. They’re largely influenced by the soft tailoring of the south of Italy, although some also trained in Florence or Milan. English influence is felt only in the older, more traditional tailors.

The best known is Noriyuki Ueki, who runs Sartoria Ciccio. He trained in Naples and cuts a soft-shouldered suit with a Japanese level of precision. Others include Anglofilo, Sartoria Domenica and Vick Tailor. You can read more about them here.

3 Trouser makers: Igarashi and Osaku

There are a couple of workshops specialising in bespoke trousers worth highlighting: Igarashi and Osaku. Of these two, Igarashi is in the centre of Tokyo and is therefore easier to visit. Osaku works from a small town outside of the city, and comes in for appointments.

There is a similar level of precision to their work as there is with the rest of Japanese craft, and a focus on details such as curved waistbands and neat pick stitching. More on them here.




1 Motoji kimonos

Those wishing to see traditional Japanese craft in Tokyo should consider visiting Motoji, the most famous of the kimono makers in the city. Although none of the work is done on-site (fabric is produced all round Japan, and tailoring done outside the city), the shop, its bolts of cloth and finished kimonos are a virtual museum of craft in themselves.

2 Chicago kimonos

The other way to experience kimonos is much cheaper – go to a second-hand shop like Chicago in Harajuku. There you will see a range of pre-owned pieces from the seventies to the present day, as well as all the types and parts of men’s and women’s kimono. 

The fact there are outer jackets, inner layers and even short ceremonial jackets, means there’s likely to be something for everyone. I bought a beautiful seventies olive silk kimono for £65. 

3 Cow Books and Tsutaya books

Tsutaya is a chain of bookstores, but the one in Daikanyama is really lovely – there are few better places to understand how much the Japanese love printed material, with a huge variety of coffee-table books and magazines. 

Cow Books, in Nakameguro, is an second-hand bookstore that specialises in the arts and counter-culture works, but also has a surprisingly large range of fashion titles, including old copies of magazines like Popeye. If you like magazines, Magnif Zinebocho on the other side of town is also worth visiting.

4 Ubukeya knives and Edoya brushes 

Two lovely shops that are close together, specialising in Japanese knives and brushes. As in a lot of more traditional stores, there is little English among the staff, but that isn’t really needed to understand the product, and if you’re after something particular then pointing and playacting usually do the job. 


Parker Boot Company: Roper boots review

Parker Boot Company: Roper boots review

Monday, June 5th 2023
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These are my finished western boots from Parker Boot Company in Houston, Texas. I’ve had them for a while now, but various other things (mostly Japan) have got in the way of coverage. 

As I wrote in my first article on Zephan Parker - ‘Would you, could you wear a cowboy boot?’ - this is a style called a roper, which doesn’t have the pitched heel or pointy, upturned toe that make a cowboy boot so distinctive. 

It means they’re much easier to wear, but they do still have a western style. Certainly when you see the embroidery on the side, or the shape tops, but even if you just see that pointed-almond toe shape (below). No other style of footwear we cover looks like that. 

The fit of the boots was very good with the fitting boot covered last time, and is very good now. 

It’s particularly hard to make a long slip-on boot like this, where there’s no elastic, laces, or other adjustable fastening to help with the fit. The boot needs just the right balance between holding the foot in place, and still being able to get it on. 

There’s very little margin for error, and when you’re pushing your foot in with all your might, or pulling it out with the aid of the tabs, you feel how small that margin is. Fortunately Zephan got it just right. Especially impressive given we’ve never actually met (see previous post for how the fitting worked). 

In terms of quality, this is a real step up from the trial boot, which is good because the slight roughness of that first one had me concerned - even though Zephan made it clear what they were. 

The stitching is good, the finishing clean, and the tattoo-inspired embroidery nicely executed. We’re not talking the level of finishing of a top bespoke shoemaker, or perhaps one of the best manufacturers, but it’s still well done.

The style of the finished boot is also different around the top - side seams rather than front seam, heart shaped top line, and contrast pullers - and this too is pleasing. I’m glad I didn’t go for the alligator tops I originally wanted, as that would have likely been a step too far. 

I also changed my mind on the colour of the leather, and I’m still a little unsure about that. I wanted something a little lighter than the brown of the fitting boots, but this snuff is a little stronger and warmer than I expected. 

It looks great here with lighter clothes like mid-blue jeans and a white T-shirt. I can wear a grey knit or sweatshirt over the top, and various casual outerwear styles work well - like a military drab M65 or jungle jacket, or a duck-canvas chore coat

But it’s not so great with other colours of jeans (other than white) and a darker brown would have been more versatile. As, probably, would a paler, sandy brown, like my Edward Green desert boots. That’s a colour you often see western boots in, and I think that more muted colour would have been easier. 

In fact given I’ve had these boots for six months, we can ask the actual question - how often have I worn them?

Not an awful lot is the answer, perhaps 12 or 14 times. And actually the boots would look better if I’d worn them more and they were more beaten up. (They’re new in these photographs, but haven’t changed that much since.) 

Now I have a lot (lot) more shoes than most people. Partly because clothing is my primary interest, but more significantly because it’s my job. 

But even if it wasn’t, I think these boots would remain a nice alternative for me - something to go for when you want a change, when the rest of the outfit seems a little predictable or boring. Like wearing a black beret rather than a watch cap.  

However, I do think they could be more fundamental to a wardrobe for someone else. I know Alex Natt wears his Red Wing Peco roper boots in that way, as the cold-weather option alongside non-western clothes like a short waxed jacket, and it looks great. People like Ben Chamberlain - manager of the London Bryceland’s store - does something similar. 

In fact, if anything my experience with western boots so far has emboldened me, made me think I could wear a regular cowboy boot as well. If it was in a dark leather, I could wear them as I wore the fitting boot here, in winter, quite easily I think. 

They would still be that nice alternative, but that was always going to be the case. It’s still a big step from my original fear that western boots would simply look ridiculous. 

As is often the case with an unusual piece of menswear, this article has become about whether to wear something, rather than the maker themselves. 

That was the point of the first piece really, so I want to emphasise here how impressive Zephan’s fitting was, and how much I’d recommend Parker Boot Co to anyone else looking for something along these lines. 

You’ll be in good hands, and when I do finally get to return to Texas, he’ll be my first stop. 

Zephan’s boots start at $2500 and are all made custom, to order. Like many custom bootmakers he is in high demand, with a current delivery time of 16 months. The other clothes shown here are:

Please come to the Permanent Style Anniversary ‘Open Day’

Please come to the Permanent Style Anniversary ‘Open Day’

Friday, June 2nd 2023
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OK, so at the end of last year Permanent Style turned 15. We’ve been trying to think of ways to celebrate with as many people as possible, and this is the idea. 

On Tuesday, June 27th, we will have an ‘open day’ at the pop-up shop, number 20 Savile Row. All day long there will be drinks and food and music, and Jamie Ferguson will have a mini-studio where he will be shooting portraits. 

The idea is that anytime during the day, you come by and share a drink with us, to say well done, or thank you, or why the hell are you still here. We toast, we chat, and if you want you can have a great shot taken. 

In the morning there will be free coffee and pastries. At some point in the afternoon we will subtly switch to beer and the music will step up a notch. There will be a bench outside. The weather will obviously cooperate and be sunny. Everyone will be chilling out and having fun and gurning for the camera. 

That’s my hope. If no one shows up, it will just be me, Lucas and Jamie, taking turns to pose. Please don’t let it come to that. Swing by during work, during lunch, after work (we’ll be open until at least 7pm) and come help us celebrate. It would mean a lot to me. 

(We will also bring along two or three samples of products that will be launching this Autumn - mostly new colours of existing products, for a sneak peek.)


  • PS Open Day will take place at 20 Savile Row
  • On Tuesday, June 27th (2023)
  • From 10am, until 7pm (or so)
  • As well as coffee, pastries, beer and wine, water and non-alcoholic drinks will be available throughout
  • Completely up to you whether you want a portrait or not. I know some will like it
  • I promise to not try and corral everyone down to something similar for at least another five years

Thank you!


Look after things you love: Repairing my Reverso 

Look after things you love: Repairing my Reverso 

Wednesday, May 31st 2023
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It can be a little galling getting a high-end watch serviced. Given the cost could be between £500 and £1000, it's easy to feel you're spending a lot of money just to get the same thing back again. 

Perhaps it's easier to swallow if you've spent 20k of your own money; but it's rather less so if the watch is a fraction of that, or indeed was a gift. 

It was nice to witness my Reverso being serviced and repaired at Jaeger-LeCoultre recently, therefore, by the very affable watchmaker in Bond Street. 

It gave me a new respect for the work involved, and put the fee in perspective. In fact the whole process seemed closer to making a new watch than having it just checked and tweaked.

As you might expect, throughout I was drawing parallels with menswear - the artisan in the back of the store, the tools and techniques - and I concluded that the best comparison is with a bespoke suit. Like a suit, care and maintenance doesn't make the thing look better (unlike shoes, say) but it is what the piece of fine craft deserves, and it also brings you closer to it - making you re-evaluate and value your possession.

There are a few things that go wrong with watches over the years, but some of the main ones are oils drying, screws failing and water damage. 

The first two are so common that they're part of the standard service procedure - cleaning and oiling, replacing all screws. The watchmaker gets a blister pack that contains all the likely required parts, and it's a surprising amount. The mainspring is also replaced by default.  

First though, the entire watch has to be taken apart, starting with the case and then working inwards. The pieces are placed in a segmented plastic tray, and it's important to remember which is the top and bottom: because of the natural smoothing of the gold, the two ends (horns) won't fit as smoothly against their opposing ends of the case. 

When the front of the case has been removed and the whole movement taken apart, the balance spring and balance wheel are then put back in

This is so the watchmaker can check how they’re running, and in my case finding that the spring was a little bent (one of the possible reasons it was running slow).

The incredible thing to me is that he then unbends it with a pair of tweezers. How this can be done precisely enough, on such a tiny spring, I don’t know. Most of the realignment is done at this stage, then there’s some fine tuning when the watch is put back together. 

This stage uses a finer pair of tweezers than the ones used to deconstruct the watch. The points are so fine that they would apparently snap if used to remove the jewels. Each time he uses them, the watchmaker also sticks them in something that looks like Blu-Tac. Apparently it’s Rodico, which doesn’t lubricate them (as I thought) but removes tiny bits of dust. 

It’s harder for Robert the watchmaker to work in this space - in the back of the Old Bond Street atelier - than in the main repair centre, which is in north London. 

That larger space has a ‘positive pressure’ system, where filtered air is blown in through the roof, creating pressure that pushes air out whenever someone opens a door - so it’s much harder for dust to come in. In Bond Street there is no such system, and there are more random people (such as us) coming in and out. 

When Robert took the hands off my Reverso (top image above), it was clear the watch had become magnetised because one hand immediately jumped up and stood vertically off the face. 

The problem with the parts being magnetised is that they become attracted to other parts of the movement. The balance spring, for example, may be attracted to one part but repelled by another, making its rotation less smooth. 

Another is a stray drop of oil, perhaps sticking two loops of the spring together. Some parts of the watch are put in a treatment liquid as part of the repair process, to give them greater surface tension and make sure oils stay stuck.  

Magnetisation can happen fairly easily, through prolonged contact with the speaker of a mobile phone for example. Fortunately it’s an easy thing to remove: the watchmaker just places it on a small black box (above), presses a button and it’s done. It's also something anyone can walk into the JLC boutique and ask to be checked.

According to Robert, little Reversos like mine are some of the hardest movements of this type to repair - there’s little room for error and they can be unpredictable. Colleagues of his that have worked on far more say sometimes a service can take a few hours, sometimes days. 

I have to say, it was really nice seeing the movement of mine taken out and being able to hold it. It’s such an exquisite thing - and all finished beautifully, even though it’s never seen. 

In a way, it’s a shame the watch doesn’t have an open back, so that could be appreciated. But of course that would take away from a fundamental aspect of the Reverso - that it can be flipped around so the back faces outwards. I’ve actually thought about ways to decorate that over the years, but have never taken the plunge. Maybe some other day.

After the deconstruction, testing the balance spring and a few other checks, the trays containing the parts are all placed into a desktop washing machine - which uses a nasty ammonia substance to cleanse (below).

That takes a few hours, including two rounds of drying, and then the watch is put back together with oil being added throughout, and each stage tested again. Further parts are replaced, and all the new screws are put in. I also had the crown replaced, the hands (they had become a little oxidised) and the crystal. As I said, it felt closer to building a new watch than just servicing. 

The standard service fee of £570 included all these things, and polishing, but the new crystal cost £230. 

I have to say I always found watch boutiques a little intimidating, or perhaps just off-putting. It’s probably that sparse, shiny look of luxury retail, plus the security guard.

But this experience, together with my one at Omega recently, have warmed me up. It’s a mixture of the service and the people: everyone at Jaeger was genuine and knowledgeable, unlike the vast majority of fashion boutiques, and advice seemed to be considered part of the benefit of ownership (try going into most big brands and asking about repairs). 

Plus it’s nice to know there’s someone like Robert in the back of the store, beavering away, cracking jokes and chasing a misbehaving screw across the worktop. 

Thank you Franck, Laurene, Stefania, Robert and everyone else at JLC for taking the time to explain everything to Alex and myself, watch naifs that we are. 

Most JLC customers are not permitted to see watch services in progress, and a lot of servicing is done in the separate, larger location. But hopefully this piece gives some insight into the work that goes into it. 

My Reverso is yellow gold, ref 250.140.862, from 1997. I bought it second hand 12 years ago. The clothes pictured are:

Solakzade glasses and jewellery (plus Goro’s)

Solakzade glasses and jewellery (plus Goro’s)

Monday, May 29th 2023
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Every day we were in Tokyo and walked down Omotesando Hills, there would be a long queue on a rail near the metro station. 

We assumed the queue was for some hype-driven 'drop' of streetwear, and to be fair most of the time they were. But these patient Japanese were there for a shop founded by a now-dead silver craftsman, the first Japanese to be allowed to participate in an American Indian Sundance rite. 

Goro Takahashi died in 2013, but in his lifetime he became a legend for his Indian jewellery and leatherwork. He started in 1956 and set up the Omotesando shop in 1972, and the look he popularised still persists today - it’s the same feather-dominated jewellery you see in many workwear stores.

The reason there’s usually a queue outside his shop is that the jewellery (now made by a team run by the family) is only available there; he never wanted any stockists. Ironically this means buying a piece is similar to acquiring a hype brand: you need to queue, join a raffle, and can only buy one each. 

Goro’s mismatch of demand and supply has created that same dynamic, even though the object of desire is fine jewellery rather than a cheaply made T-shirt. 

Today’s article, however, is not about Goro’s (though if you want some and can’t get to Japan, the best sources are resell sites like Rinkan or Grailed.) 

Instead it’s about the vintage eyewear dealer and jeweller Solakzade, who occupy the two floors below. 

I mention Goro for context, as Solakzade are the only other tenants allowed in the terracotta-painted building that Goro acquired in the 1990s, when he was under pressure to move out of the increasingly commercialised district. It is a point of faith to Solakzade that they work under Goro’s blessing. 

I first met the founders Ryo and Tatsuya Okamoto four years ago, when Kenji Cheung of Bryceland’s briefly introduced me (he’s a big customer). And to be honest I found them pretty intimidating. 

They both tend to wear large, bold sunglasses, multiple types of jewellery, and clothing they design themselves - often religiously inspired. Their father was a buddhist monk, their mother a Christian, and those traditions come through in the shop as well as how they dress.

It turns out the brothers are absolutely lovely, however - just quiet, and intense. This time we had an hour talking through their passion for sunglasses and hand-made jewellery, and it was frankly inspiring. 

The shop is very personal, in several ways. Ryo and Tatsuya designed it themselves and even built parts of it, including the large carved doors on the first floor. Inside, they are keen to take a lot of time with each customer, learning what makes them tick and what piece would suit their personality. 

“Eyewear and jewellery used to be much more personal, designed specifically for the individual,” says Tatsuya, who does most of the talking and whose English is considered, careful.

The brothers both talk about things like getting the customer “to open their heart”, or that the resulting piece “becomes like an amulet, something protective”. This could sound woolly, even phoney, but when you meet them you're in no doubt: they are completely sincere and take what they do very seriously. 

It’s also hard to argue with the results. Someone like Kenji, who amounts to an obsessive collector of eyewear, reveres them, and even though they keep a low profile (perhaps even because of that) the likes of Kanye West and Kate Moss are regulars. Bob Dylan was due in the day we visited. 

“We do want to cater to everyone, every personality and taste,” says Tatsuya. Price is obviously a barrier, as frames start at £300 and run into the thousands, but they also believe only certain styles suit certain people - students, artists, professionals. 

“Some people wear these big frames that don’t suit their personality or their face,” he says. “It takes time to walk through the design history and see what works.”

In my small way I agree, having tried many styles over the years and made various mistakes. People tend to think they can wear a much wider range of glasses (even sunglasses) than they can. See articles on Bonnet analysing my frames or the value of good advice

The shadowy Solakzade space - full of gold mirrors and seventies chandeliers - is essentially a history of 200 years of eyewear, ranging from 1940s Ray-Bans to futuristic Philippe Chevalier styles, rare Cartier designs to rose-tinted 1990s Gaultier frames. 

Tatsuya’s favourite period is the 1960s: “It was the point at which the classic turned to the modern,” he says. “There was a lot of energy then, everyone trying new things.” Again the word ‘energy’ comes up a lot when discussing both glasses and jewellery, but you know what he means, indeed when you start talking in those terms you can feel it in the designs - how subtle or dramatic they are, how conservative or original. 

The jewellery is more expressive and personal still. Again this is something I’ve always thought about jewellery (which is probably why I remember him saying it...). 

Jewellery should be special, even unique. It used to be made for someone as a result of an interaction with a craftsperson, and in that way is more akin to a tattoo than a piece of clothing.

Like a tattoo you wear jewellery close, next to the skin, and men’s jewellery is often hidden. It doesn’t make sense to follow a fashion or have the same as everyone else. 

“There is so much symbolism in jewellery,” says Tatsuya. “Some people used to wear a centipede, for example, because it’s an animal that cannot move backwards - it’s about never being able to retreat or give up.”

The jewellery part of Solakzade is a little more recent, founded five years after the eyewear. It’s also a little less accessible, although the brothers have recently started making their own: “We wanted to practise the craft, not necessarily to sell but to understand them from the inside,” says Tatsuya. 

One result is the gold earrings below, which both the brothers were wearing. Each is hammered by hand into different but similar permutations, in 24 carat gold.  

Like Goro’s, Solakzade’s vintage eyewear is not something that can be easily accessed, as you need to visit the shop. The only easy way to buy into it is through the pieces they make for Bryceland’s - the Winston and Politician styles. (Winston below on me.)

Still, I know a lot of readers were asking about recommendations for places to visit in Tokyo and this would certainly be one of mine. Some shops should be destinations, just like Bryceland’s used to be before London, before e-commerce. 

At least there’s no queue or raffle system for Solakzade, yet. 

Solakzade: 4 Chome-29-4 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo. Opening hours are 2pm-7pm.


How to correct a flattened lapel

How to correct a flattened lapel

Friday, May 26th 2023
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Sometimes the lapels of a jacket can get squashed in the wardrobe, making them fold at a point they’re not supposed to (the ‘break point’). 

It happens particularly with jackets that have more intentional roll, such as a ‘three-roll-two’, where the jacket has three buttons but breaks a little lower than that, between the third and second button. 

This is a style you find more often with southern Italian tailoring - and it’s more likely to go wrong with Italian tailoring too, because the canvas in the lapels and chest is that lighter than an English jacket. French tailoring is more vulnerable to it for the same reason. 

You can see the problem in the photo of my Ciardi gun-club check jacket below. Both lapels have been squashed to the point that they’re rolling almost the bottom button. The top button is completely hidden behind the lapel. 

Fortunately, fixing this is fairly easy, even if it takes a little bit of confidence and practice for it to feel like an everyday task.

In the video below, I asked Enzo Ciardi to quickly demonstrate. 

Now, bear in mind this is in his hotel room in London - so he’s having to use a hotel iron. Normally he would use a heavy tailoring iron and a suction table. Although it is nice to have it demonstrated like this, because it shows how easy it is to do it at home. 

The process breaks down as:

  1. Remove the existing fold that’s been squashed into the jacket:
    • Lay the jacket on the ironing board with the lapel folded outwards
    • Lay a piece of cotton (eg a tea towel or handkerchief) on top of the lapel
    • Press the length of it with the iron, set on moderate steam and heat, but feel free to use plenty of pressure
    • Repeat until the fold has disappeared. Often this is enough to return the original roll. But if it's not-
  2. Put the correct roll back in:
    • Fold the lapel over until it’s at the desired break point
    • Press the gorge with the iron (the seam where lapel and collar meet)
    • Do not press the break itself, as this will create a hard fold rather than a natural roll
  3. Hold the jacket up, or put it on, to examine the result.
    • If necessary, repeat
    • Do the same on the other lapel

As is often the case with this kind of maintenance - including polish and cream on shoes - start small and build up. You can always do more but it’s often hard to take away. 

Also, keep an eye on the top buttonhole. Often this and the top button are folded halfway back with a normal roll, and it’s when they get flattened that the lapel goes with them. Roll or bend the buttonhole slightly if it helps. 

Finally, this is not enough for extreme situations, such as a jacket being squashed at the bottom of a wardrobe. And a full press from a professional will always do a more precise job, or deal with those kinds of situations.

But I’ve done this process at home a few times with different jackets, and it has worked well. My only mistake was not to use enough force or press for long enough, but as I said it’s much better to be too cautious than too extreme. 

The result of Enzo’s pressing can be seen above, with the roll now considerably higher up the jacket. 

To avoid it happening again, make sure your jackets have enough space between them in the wardrobe. I know it’s always tempting to squash more in, but it’s a short-term gain if some of them then need repressing. 

Of course, if your tailor is local then they can also do this for you, and if you’re getting tailoring pressed once or twice a year, it would be part of the process. George at The Valet in London is my go-to presser if a tailor can’t do it. 

Any questions before you try it yourself, let me know!

More on how to look after your clothes in the Alterations and Care category of PS. Including:

Packing for travel: My Japan capsule wardrobe

Packing for travel: My Japan capsule wardrobe

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I thought it would be interesting to do a post on what clothing I packed for my recent Japan trip. People always seem to like these capsule pieces, although this trip was particularly challenging for a couple of reasons. 

First, I needed a full range of clothing from smart to casual. I would be meeting tailors and vintage buyers, covering bespoke shoes and leather jackets. Dressing in a similar way wouldn’t be absolutely necessary, but I find it gives the right impression. 

Second, I would probably be buying quite a lot of clothing there, so I wanted to take the minimum with me. Everything had to work with everything else - to give the maximum number of outfits with the smallest volume of clothes. 

Below is what I packed, and above and below are some of the resulting outfits. 

The first thing I start with, when putting together a travel capsule, is jackets and trousers - ideally I want all of them to work together, but cover a range of situations. 

For jackets/knits I went with:

  • My J.Mueser wool/silk/linen herringbone jacket, because it’s the only summer jacket I have that works really well with both tailored trousers and jeans. 
  • A vintage Jungle Jacket, because it is more casual but also works with jeans and just about with smarter trousers. It’s also great for travel with all those pockets.
  • A navy crewneck from Colhay’s. This could function as outerwear if needed, just going to dinner on our own for example, and the navy would go with everything, but it could also be layered.

Then on the bottom:

  • Light-grey high-twist wool trousers, as they’re nice and summery, good for travel, and smart without being quite as business-y as mid-grey.
  • Vintage blue Levi’s as it would be the most casual option but still go with both the jackets.
  • White jeans as white is so versatile, and given it was going to be warm and usually sunny, they’d pretty much always be appropriate.

Next was the shirts and T-shirts. Again, everything ideally to go with everything, but by picking jackets and trousers that were really versatile, it meant most shirt colours would work. I went with:

  • Lightweight white-cotton button-down
  • Pink PS Oxford
  • Vintage light-blue chambray

The only combination that wouldn’t be great, at least on its own, would be the white shirt with white jeans. But a belt separating them would help, and it would be OK with the knit or jungle jacket over the top. 

Texturally, these were also picked so they worked with both jeans and the smarter high-twist wool trousers. I also packed a white and grey T-shirt - both to wear on their own under the jungle jacket, and as base layers under a shirt or knit.

Last major category: shoes. Now the issue I find with shoes is that when you’re travelling, a pair might start to give you pain one day for no apparent reason, or get soaked through in unexpected rain, or for some other reason not be wearable the next day. 

So in some ways they have to be most versatile of all, with one pair easy to swap in for another in the next day’s outfit, without any issues. 

This means these all pretty much had to be loafers, and in versatile materials like suede and cordovan. Still, the three I picked are sufficiently versatile that they still presented a range of options:

And finally, some bits around the edges:

  • Two hats, a PS watch cap in navy and my Cal cap, for sun and for warmth
  • Three scarves, because they weigh nothing and add a little interest/decoration as well as warmth. A PS Arran scarf in navy, an old blue cotton bandana, and a long, thin Hermes silk
  • My Connolly beige cardigan, as it could be layered under either jacket and actually looks good with both a shirt and T-shirt. I also ended up putting on a grey Colhay's crewneck when I left for the airport in London, because it was colder than I expected.
  • Two watches, one smart and one casual, my Tank and my GMT
  • Two pairs of sunglasses, a belt, a couple of badges

Luggage wise, I use a big Rimowa and take a canvas tote bag (Ichizawa-Hanpu, recently restocked at Trunk) as the latter is so light and packs away if not needed. 

I also needed to take my Yohei Fukuda oxford shoes so that Yohei could see the fit in person (he’d never seen them on me) ahead of maybe ordering a second pair. As you can probably imagine, it killed me that these were extra and basically worked with no outfits… Oh well. 

The packing was made immeasurably easier by the weather, which was warm and promised almost no rain. No need for hats or coats. 

And what did I get wrong? I think the only thing was not bringing my Doek canvas shoes, as a bit of a break from loafers. It’s just like going to Pitti in the winter: I never pack a big shawl knit, but I always want to put something like that on in the evening, after nothing but tailoring.

Any questions on any of the clothes or outfits, do shout. 

The state of independent menswear in the UK

The state of independent menswear in the UK

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By Lucas Nicholson.

With the closure this year of the Oi Polloi shop in Manchester by its owners, JD Sports, it felt like it was an appropriate time to talk about the state of independent menswear stores in the UK. 

This is something of a passion of mine. I spent a large chunk of my time as wholesale manager at Drake’s visiting UK stores and trying to find potential partners - and there was just less and less out there.

It’s easy to understate their importance. Historically these multi-brand stores were the ones that developed subcultures, that eventually become movements, which become fashion. They and their visionary owners had an effect on the mainstream that few consumers realised.

You might be familiar with the concept of Gorpcore, where outdoors-focused clothing is worn in an urban setting. Arguably this is something Oi Polloi had been pushing for 10 or 15 years, and what was once an obscure subculture has only just emerged into the mainstream. 

Yes, the look came from the terraces, where the practicality was driven by a need to stand outside in football stadiums in the bleak rain and chilling wind. But Oi Polloi had an undoubted influence, and in other areas too.

They were one of the first stores in the UK to stock the French footwear manufacturer Paraboot, for example, at the beginning of what can only be described as their meteoric rise in popularity. Oi Polloi were constantly on the search for great brands around the globe, and were willing to take risks on them.

Having worked in menswear for the past 16 years, and taken an interest in a number of different styles, I often found Oi Polloi content (above, below) the most inspiring. I looked forward to their emails: they were refreshing and had an authentic voice. 

This is something big department stores and chains rarely do: there is no central taste, no guiding intelligence.

And to clarify, when we say independent menswear, we don’t mean a local outlet that sells Eton shirts and Canali chinos. There’s nothing wrong with these shops, but their chief selling point is convenience - they’re largely providing local access to bigger brands like Moncler, Paul Smith or Ralph Lauren Polo, and selling based on that brand appeal.

Independent stores sell off their own personality. Their range is based on the tastes and interests of their founders. And without the burden of bureaucracy that comes with being part of a chain they can take chances, breaking brands into a market based on nothing more than a feeling - a never-ending quest for something interesting and new.

Because they’re not relying on big brands they also often spend more time telling stories, and are more deeply invested in them; being small means everything is a risk. 

Take the enigmatic owner of Trunk, Mats Klingberg (above). Trunk is such an outward representation of Mats's style and his personality. When Trunk opened no one else was selling Incotex, Boglioli or Common Projects. Today they’re everywhere, but the store still has that same aesthetic. It’s a window onto the life he leads or wants to lead. The customer senses that: the focus on travel-friendly clothing, the minimalist expression and the trinkets picked up along the way.

Or Basile and JB at Beige (below) in Paris, who in my humble opinion are the modern voice of Parisian dress sense. When you visit the store (myself and Simon were there the other week) you are immediately taken by how the store is designed. Not just the product, but how it's all put together. They were the first store I knew that sold Rocky Mountain and Doek, and now those brands are everywhere. 

Actually it reminds me of a conversation I was having at Pitti with Simon, the Rubato guys, Jamie Ferguson and Alex Natt (apologies for the name dropping!).

We were talking about the importance of a symbiotic relationship between creation and curation, between brands and retailers, designers and critics. It became incredibly impassioned, because I think everyone takes this so seriously - it is the lifeblood of a healthy industry. We need stores to unearth interesting brands and take a risk on their stock, just as much as we need the people that create those things in the first place.

The only way these places will survive is if we support them as consumers. 

Let me give an example. I recently took a trip to Mexico with my parents to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. For the trip my Dad needed some swim shorts, and he’s a fan of Patagonia Baggies. (I think they could be the perfect swim short, but I digress). He came and asked me where he should buy them.

Baggies are ubiquitous and can be purchased from both ASOS and Mr Porter, but as I knew my Dad wouldn’t be bothered about saving a few pounds on a pair of shorts I suggested he check out Peggs and Sons in Brighton.

I met Ian Peggs (below) during my time at Drake’s and was always impressed by the store but also by the man himself, his no-nonsense approach; he didn’t fluff and make grandiose statements about buying and then not follow through. He knew his business and what he could do and couldn’t. (Peggs also had some of the more interesting colours of Baggies, ideal for a tropical vacation!) 

The shorts arrived the next day nicely wrapped. The service was excellent and timely. Now e-commerce can be a great leveller, enabling small stores to compete with the big boys, but it’s also easier for bigger players to offer discounts, or free shipping.

It's important to remember that behind that website is a small store that may need the extra pounds to pay for their store, which can be a gateway for guys to get into clothes in a particular city, provide a level of community that can’t be replicated online, and add a different voice to the world of menswear. 

In order to try and help PS readers support these good, independent menswear stores, I though I’d list a few of my favourites. 

The list below is by no means conclusive, so if you have any to add please do so in the comments. Some may also be more focused on styles that do not relate to you, for example by being more casual. But I think it’s important to include them - most of us will at some point need some shorts like Baggies or a Sunspel T-shirt, so why not buy through them?

Not all independent stores are worth celebrating, and some bigger stores are great too.

But the UK used to have a thriving independent scene and it increasingly doesn’t. Small stores have closed, bigger ones like Oi Polloi are going too, and the ones left are often turning to own-brand products or taking fewer risks, simply stocking what someone else has made popular. Ultimately monopolies are no friend of the consumer. 

Here are my personal favourites in the UK. Feel free to list others elsewhere in the world, but bear in mind my points about what makes an independent select store - the unique brands, the point of view. And support this crucial part of what makes menswear enjoyable and vibrant.  

Trunk - PS favourite, located in Chiltern St, London. Trunk delivers on modern classic menswear, with a mix of tailoring brands and more interesting casual wear options such as Arpenteur.

Peggs and Sons - Based in Brighton, Peggs sells premium menswear on the more casual end of the spectrum. Though it does have some more elusive brands for the UK, such as Visvim, Kapital and Arc'teryx Veilance.

Dicks - Located in Edinburgh and previous winner of a PS award, Dicks has been selling high-quality casual clothing for a while now. Think practical but well-made things such as Harley shetlands and Valstar

Kafka - Another Scottish menswear outpost, in Aberdeen and focusing on the workwear end of things, stocking Yuketen, Orslow, Snow Peak.

Local Merchants - Recently opened store in Leigh on Sea; when I spoke to them last they were trying to find brands that don't have a presence in the UK, which ended up with them becoming the first UK stockist of Informale and trouser brand Berwich. 

The Bureau Belfast - Iconic menswear store with some niche selections. Their Alden Collabs are a thing of legend. They also have a special Engineer Garments line. 

All Blues Co - Mano the proprietor has been digging up South Korean brands for the last few years and mixing it with classic French workwear - think Vetra jackets and JM Westons. 

Clutch - Known and loved as the London outpost for all things Japanese-y. Heavy on the workwear and cowboy angle but also some classic replicas and Scottish knits. 

A guide to vintage in Japan: Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka

A guide to vintage in Japan: Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka

Friday, May 19th 2023
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There are more vintage shops in Japan than anywhere else. Particularly in Harajuku, the fashion area of Tokyo, and in Koenji, a district about 40 minutes from the centre. 

But elsewhere too - Osaka, traditionally a fashion centre in Japan, has high-end places like Acorn as well as scores of modern pre-owned shops. And even somewhere small like Kobe around the bay has better vintage than London. 

Vintage has become so popular that it’s increasingly specialised. In Ginza, the posh area of Tokyo, there are multiple shops selling pre-owned handbags, one of the most impressive being Allu, which has five floors of Hermes and Chanel. In Harajuku, the Berbejin group opened a new store just to cater to the nineties fashion of authentic band T-shirts and black Levi’s.

People buy vintage for lots of reasons and they don’t necessarily overlap. These include price, access, historical significance, uniqueness, quality and character. The good thing is that in Japan you feel each segment is catered for; it’s a knowledgeable market, so finding an absolute bargain isn’t easy, but what you want will be there somewhere. 

Below are the three areas we focused on during our visit - Harajuku, Koenji and Osaka - with the favourite shops in each, plus some observations along the way. 


In Harajuku the vintage is mixed in among big brands and teen fashions, which is slightly confusing, particularly given the neighbourhood’s hectic pedestrianised streets. 

Some like Berbejin are well known, others like Jumble less so, but it’s worth persisting - each often has a speciality, whether it’s military dead stock or grungier styles running from 1940s leathers to 1990s metal.

I should say that we owe a debt to Ethan Newton who showed us round some of his favourites. It turns out Ethan doesn’t just have a great eye, but is a great personal shopper too - some of the best things Alex [Natt, photographer] and I bought were his suggestions. 

Berbejin - One of the best known, and usually busy. A range of Americana, military and sporting clothing, but a good, fairly high-end selection. The military stuff is at the back, the rare denim downstairs.

Fake Alpha - Part of the same group, but with more of a focus on older Americana and denim. Plus some deadstock on the right-hand side. 

2nd Street by Jumble Store - 2nd Street is a chain of second-hand shops, most of which are more fashion-orientated and modern. But the downstairs of the Harajuku branch is really good, with nice pieces reasonably priced: I picked up a pale-pink rayon jacket for £90. As elsewhere, the most expensive and rarest pieces are the ones hanging from the ceiling. 

Pigsty - Also a chain, and the one we went to in Osaka wasn’t great. But this one, in Harajuku, was better. Like Jumble, it’s slightly cheaper than the likes of Berbejin but with some nice pieces. I got an old faded yellow Harrington for about £65 (though bear in mind the exchange rate is good right now.)

Banana Boat - Good for dead stock: vintage clothing that has never been worn. There is some other vintage too, but it’s mostly high-end. The fact everything is in plastic wrapping (like a comic-book store) is a dead giveaway. 

Laboratory - Good for band T-shirts, and quite a grungy selection overall - modern upstairs, older downstairs (as is often the way). A little cheaper than Berbejin and its kin, but the product isn’t as pristine either. 

Vostok - I found some really good things last time I was here, back in 2019, but there was less this time around. There were some good Levi’s, though as with most categories that have become uber-popular, they were very expensive - £700 and over. 


Koenji feels like a real Japanese neighbourhood - less prosperous, with the only tourists here for vintage (though even they don’t usually make the journey). More like a place for the purists.

Most of the shops are scattered around the area to the south of the train station, in the covered shopping area and the streets around. Though a surprising number, like Whistler, are also three or four streets away, almost as if they want to be hard to find. 

There’s so much vintage here - particularly somewhere like Whistler - that it’s worth reminding yourself in advance what you’re there for. Personally I find it helpful to have a small hit list of (for me, 40s US chinos, a rayon jacket, some interesting sunglasses) and use that to focus, but also be open to inspiration, browsing and flicking and generally staying open-minded. As I’ve written before, I often find that the most enjoyable aspect of vintage. 

Safari - Safari is the best known of the vintage shops in Koenji, but is actually six shops, each with different specialities:

  • Safari 1, the best and what most people would call vintage
  • Safari 2, more modern American, Ralph Lauren etc
  • Safari 3, European classic menswear and tailoring
  • Safari 4, contemporary, trainers and outdoor/hiking clothing
  • Safari 5, European and designer labels
  • And Safari Gallery, antiques, furniture and art

Whistler - A little bit of a walk away, Whistler specialises in American clothing and has an amazing range of footwear. As one shoemaker put it, he could learn the entire history of American footwear by browsing those shelves; Alex bought a great pair of unbranded demi-boot moccasins. Make sure you go upstairs too (separate entrance): that’s where I found my 40s chinos. 

Trunk - Mostly European, real vintage to modern, so hunting jackets mixed in with Hermes leather. A really nice curation. 

Suntrap - Quite high-end, with some new clothing alongside vintage Americana. Unusually, they have an online shop too

Big Time - A chain, with branches around Japan. As their online shop shows, it’s also quite contemporary in most places, but the Koenji branch is more vintage and typical of places on the main strip here: large, rambling but worth sorting through. 

Small Change - Similar to Big Time: men’s and women’s, a little patchy, but also cheaper and with a big range. 

Oh and if you go to Koenji then do pop into Terry Ellis’ shop, Mogi, which mixes new and old clothing with folk art. Feature on that coming separately.


Shopping in Osaka opened my eyes to how big pre-owned clothing is in Japan. In some areas there were almost nothing but second-hand shops, and there was one entire alleyway with tiny specialist places.

The way younger people wore vintage, too, was inspiring - mixing strange militaria with noughties designer labels for example. It brought home how much second-hand clothing allows people to express themselves, because there are so many eras and styles. 

However, the vast majority of shops in Osaka sell what some call ‘new era’ vintage - broadly from the 1980s onwards. It’s mostly for style and uniqueness, rather than quality or significance, and while really interesting, it won’t be what most readers are after. What we list here are the exceptions. 

Acorn - Simply the most high-end, curated vintage shop I’ve ever been to. Not a large number of pieces on display - perhaps 200 - but the most sought-after versions of everything. Three M65s, in three different sizes, all perfectly faded; five pairs of big-E Levi’s in unusually wearable sizes and condition; ditto three French moleskin workwear jackets; ditto sun-faded hoodies; and so on.

Nats - The opposite, almost. Across the street from Acorn, a huge place with thousands of items in the back (above). This still isn’t thrift, but the range is so much larger (in style, in condition, in price) and rewarded going through rack after rack. 

JAM - One of the new-era places, but that does mean it’s cheap and there’s a big selection. If you’re interested in more modern pieces (made-in-America Carhartts for example) it’s worth a look. 

Magnets - Kobe and Osaka are essentially one city, as the industry is so spread along the coast, but the streets of Kobe have a different, more seaside feel. This little vintage shop is run by an ex-McCoys employee and is really nice; not worth travelling for, but certainly popping into if you’re in Kobe. 

Junk Shop - A charming shop in Kobe, with multiple levels. The mid-level has an interesting mix of eras of outdoors clothing, nicely presented and curated. It feels like a regular outdoors shop until you notice most things are vintage. The top floor has a wider range - none of it pre-1960s, but again a good selection. 

As to what I bought, apart from the two jackets and chinos mentioned, there were two pairs of jeans - one 90s and cheap, one 60s and expensive - a pair of Ray-Ban aviators and a forties suede jacket. The latter was from Safari and will need some repair work, but that meant it was half the price. And I know Cromford will be able to do it.

I’m sure all will appear on PS at some point, and we can talk then about the ins and outs of them. 

In the meantime if anyone has any questions about this list - I’ve had dozens of messages already from people wanting tips - please just let me know in the comments below. 


The good jeans - behind glass - at Safari 1
Upstairs at Whistler
Trunk in Koenji
Nats in Osaka
Alex being asked to pose in Omotesando

Assisi bespoke double-breasted tweed: Review

Assisi bespoke double-breasted tweed: Review

Wednesday, May 17th 2023
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Readers who saw the first article on Assisi, the Korean tailor that made this tweed double-breasted jacket, were impressed with how the fit was looking, and they weren’t wrong. 

It’s a very well cut piece of bespoke, with a three-dimensional shape that really drapes around the body - suggesting the wearer’s shape without ever clinging to it. Another reader (I do love our discerning readers) made the observation that it embodied the sentiment of this Hardy Amies quote:

Good design and making of clothes must always ‘honour’ cloth; must disturb cloth as little as possible. Undisturbed cloth makes the wearer appear at ease and is pleasing to the eye of the viewer.” Amies’ words capture both what’s lovely about this cut and what - in my view - has been wrong with most tailoring for the past 20 years. 

Of course, Assisi had the assistance of a fairly thick material (Harris Tweed) and they favour a looser style, both of which make an undisturbed fit easier. Without taking anything away from them whatsoever, it would be harder in a close-fitted 9oz worsted.

The quality and finishing of the jacket is also good, with neat hand-sewn buttonholes and a top-stitched lining. 

You can see from the images of the buttonholes that they could be finer - it’s not the level of handwork you’d get from Savile Row or Milan, nor from Paris and small English houses above that, but it’s still better than some from Naples, for example. 

And there are nice touches, like the mirroring of the herringbone pattern around the in-breast pocket; even though that is also a separate piece from the rest of the facing. 

It feels pertinent to mention price here. Although Assisi are not and don’t see themselves as a lower level tailor, the houses in Paris or Milan we’re mentioning would be charging more than twice as much: over $6000 rather than $2950 for a suit. And the fit is certainly on a par with them. 

The Assisi construction is very light. There is only a single layer of canvas and only a little padding at the end of the shoulder. 

This is in common with Assisi’s Neapolitan influences as regards the shoulder, though the Milanese tailors they admire would also do something similar with the body construction. As we outlined in the previous article on Assisi, there are also some Milanese influences in aspects of the design.

With a tweed like this, I can imagine some people finding the jacket too soft. You feel less of the handmade structure, and the bespoke skill comes mostly in the cut and perhaps shaping with the iron.  

I like it in a casual jacket - which for me will actually be as much short coat as jacket, in terms of functionality - but I can imagine someone that is used to tailoring outside southern Italy, and who perhaps wants a fairly sharp suit, not liking it. 

Design wise, Assisi like a roomy fit, with plenty of that undisturbed cloth we mentioned earlier. 

I like the way this looks, it’s both elegant and relaxed, and quite flattering on someone slight like me. 

However, it could border on being too big. We took in the body during the second fitting, as it really was too big at that stage. And I can easily fit a sweater underneath without making any difference to the look or comfort. 

I wouldn’t change this jacket, as it’s a winter piece that, as I said, will often function as outerwear. But anything for summer, or something smarter, I would ask to have cut a little closer. 

The only thing I might have got wrong is the lapels, which I lowered and reduced at the first fitting. The sample jacket I tried from one of the tailors had rather large lapels, and that scared me a little. 

The lapels are now noticeably lower and smaller than other DBs I have (though a certain width reduction is inevitable as the peak moves downwards - there is less space for it). I still like them a lot, and I don’t think anyone outside menswear would notice, but if I were starting again I might have them a touch higher, a touch wider. 

We’re talking small increments here, and perhaps it’s impossible to get all of these things right when you’ve never seen a finished jacket made to your particular proportions. There’s no point coming in with a set idea of width, for example, when you don’t know how wide the shoulder will be in proportion.

Also, with tailoring it’s important to consider the piece in movement, in use, rather than standing still. Those are the proportions that matter, and the lapels look very natural then. 

The construction of the jacket is such that you can fasten it on the bottom row of buttons as well as the middle (image above) - a 6x1 rather than 6x2.

I don’t especially like this look, though, and despite what some people say, using both positions  always involves some compromise in the fit, as you have to make the fronts to sit in one place or the other. 

Another small point is the buttons, which are polished and higher than I normally like. But I have my own supply from Bernstein & Banleys and can easily replace them. That’s often easier than having the tailor buy them and import them halfway across the world. 

And these are all small quibbles. By far the most important things are that I love the style of this jacket jacket and it is fitted very well. 

I know from long experience that those are the two things that will decide whether it becomes a favourite in my wardrobe, as this already has after a few outings. 

I can answer questions about style separately, in comments or in a separate article, as that’s not really the focus of this post. But just in brief, the jacket is worn with black jeans, a pink oxford shirt, a black alligator belt and Alden colour-8 cordovan loafers. 

I like this combination because it is subtle but distinctive, contemporary but with a touch of something eighties, perhaps Richard Gere with his jeans and jackets, open shirts and black denim. In the clothes, you understand, certainly not the face. 

Assisi are based in Seoul, Korea. Trunk shows are conducted through The Decorum in Singapore and Bangkok and through The Finery Company in Sydney. They hope to come to the UK and US in 2024. 

Bespoke suits start at $2,950 and jackets $2,300. The cloth is Harris Tweed C001L, 480g, from the Stornaway collection by Kenneth Mackenzie

They also offer an MTO service, with prices $2,360 for a suit and $1,840 for a jacket. Made exactly the same as bespoke, but to a ready-made block, no fitting, just selection of style and cloth. Still commissioned at a trunk show or in Seoul.

Dunhill Tailors: The brothers that dressed the party of the century

Dunhill Tailors: The brothers that dressed the party of the century

Monday, May 15th 2023
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*This article is part of a series that looks at the history of New York’s bespoke tailoring. You can see the first, introductory article here and a subsequent piece on Bill Fioravanti here*

By Manish Puri

It’s 1966 and you’re Truman Capote.

You’ve just published In Cold Blood – a novel, hailed by the New York Times as “a masterpiece”, that will go onto become the second best-selling true crime book in history.

You’re flush with cash and preparing to host “The Party of the Century” in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel. You’ve received RSVPs from a fabulously eclectic group - film stars, musicians, artists, tycoons, and more young princesses than Disney. The Peter Duchin Orchestra are tuning up and 450 bottles of Taittinger champagne are on ice.

But there’s one burning question: what are you going to wear?

You peer into your closet and reach for your much-loved three-year-old dinner suit. The jacket has a one-button closure, jetted hip pockets and peak lapels that are finished with silk. The label on the inside breast pocket says ‘Dunhill Tailors / New York’.

Founded in 1923, Dunhill Tailors was run by the brothers Block who (appropriately enough) hailed from that City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The elder, Norman (below), moved to New York to study at Columbia College, but found the lure of the Roaring Twenties to be too strong, and quickly became “a fixture on the society nightclub circuit, a young dandy in white tie and tails”.

Norman’s father (William, who’d emigrated from Germany and subsequently built a successful real estate business) wasn’t especially impressed and demanded that his 19-year-old son knuckle down. They agreed that a boutique selling well-made clothes to Norman’s society pals would make for a respectable (and potentially lucrative) living – quite the leap considering Norman would later boast “I can’t sew a stitch”.

What Norman did possess (and I’ve found this to be true of anyone that enjoys a party) was an appreciation of how to set the mood.

And so, to infuse the fledgling business with an air of time-worn sophistication, he casually purloined a name from a local tobacco emporium called Alfred Dunhill of London - a decision that tied him up in various legal actions from 1957 to 1985, when the brothers eventually retired and sold Dunhill tailors to Dunhill Holdings for $3.25m.

(In defence of Norman, Block Tailors only really works as a brand name if you’re selling ready-to-wear).

In 1928, younger brother Leon (above) joined the business, and the pair embarked on several trips to London, commissioning suits from the great bespoke houses of Savile Row along the way.

Once back in the US, these suits were picked apart to try and unweave the rainbow of English style and structure to help inform the Dunhill Tailors house look.

Of the siblings, Leon turned out to have the better eye for design and so he was mostly responsible for the look of their custom suiting. His talents even stretched to women’s clothing, which he sold under an eponymous label because “Leon Block of Dunhill Tailors [would require] a label so big there would hardly be room for a lining”.

Not surprisingly, this criss-crossing between New York and London begat a house style that Bruce Boyer defined to us as “mid-Atlantic, a bit of Ivy mixed with a bit of British, characterised by a middle-of-the-road philosophy of everything in moderation. “Quiet yet stylish […] well-fitted garments that spoke softly but carried a lot of weight”.

It was a style that ultimately secured a place in the Met’s collection (the suit gifted by Lauren Bacall in 1967), despite the waning affections of the city’s tastemakers over the years.

This New York Magazine article from 1988, written a few years after the sale to Dunhill Holdings, pulls no punches: “All in all, it’s more of a continental (rather than Ivy) board-chairman style. In a way, that’s its problem. The suit had its heyday in the late fifties. Now it’s in need of an update, especially with Dunhill eager to attract a new generation of customers”.

That heyday style is exemplified by a selection of garments offered at auction by Bonhams in 2006.

Amongst the lots that comprised The Private World of Truman Capote were two suits - a grey pinstripe flannel and a navy wool (above) - that were typical of Dunhill Tailors in the late 50s and early 60s: “conservatively narrow” lapels, natural shoulders, side-vents, jetted pockets, three-button closure and with a slim profile to help the wearer appear trim at the waist.

After careful examination of the pattern-matching on the shoulder and sleeve, I’m convinced that the auctioned grey pinstripe (commissioned in 1965) is the very same suit worn by Capote in this renowned Irving Penn portrait (photographed in 1965).

And Capote was just one of Dunhill Tailor’s illustrious and moneyed clientele (a bespoke suit in 1982 cost $1500). “The upper crust”, as Norman referred to them, “[men who] know exactly what they are buying and can evaluate the fabrics and workmanship and styling precisely for the most part”.

Over the years, the Block brothers counted these men amongst their regular customers:

  • Cary Grant: “He developed his distinctive walk because [] he found that his clothes looked better that way”
  • Paul Newman: “A wonderful person but [] I don't think he ever cared that much about clothes and now he likes to appear in blue jeans”
  • Several Rockefellers: “We can't sell David Rockefeller of the Chase Manhattan Bank a hand-sewn suit, he happens to have a figure that can be perfectly filled in a ready-made suit from off the rack, so he sensibly takes advantage of the fact.”
  • George Hamilton: Whose Dracula they outfitted for the 1979 film Love at First Bite – presumably using a supernatural shoulder.

And, as the business grew in prominence, Dunhill Tailors responded by moved their premises uptown over the years.

Starting in 230 Fifth Avenue (which is now home to a very popular rooftop bar), then to 39 West 32nd Street, onto 1 West 52nd Street, before finally settling at 65 East 57th Street in 1955 – where they remained for thirty years until they retired.

The store on 57th Street (“the grand boulevard of Manhattan’s Crosstown routes”) was an understated but occasionally forbidding space with “dimly lighted carriage lamps, dark panelled walls and deeply cushioned leather chairs”. The kind of place that the jacket below, a cashmere smoking piece made in 1981 for John Hay Whitney, would have seemed very at home.

When an out-of-towner remarked that the premises (pictured above in a 1972 illustration by Loretta Lustig) store looked like a private club from the outside, Norman, ever the attentive host, assured him that he was open to all and demonstrated this by inviting him in and permitting the visitor to purchase $4000 of merchandise.

It was this combination of Norman’s nose for business and “debonair manner” that seduced many a customer (“one fellow told me that he went in for a couple of ties and ended up with a camel hair polo coat”) and helped grow annual sales to over $2 million a year in the mid-1970s.

By this point Dunhill Tailors were offering custom/bespoke suiting and a range of ready-to-wear garments that extended to fur coats, although custom suiting still accounted for over $1 million a year in the early 1980s.

That ready-to-wear range included robes, fur coats (see two images below) and suits that Alan Flusser rhapsodised about in his 1981 book Making the Man: “For the price, there is probably no better made ready-made suit anywhere in the world”.

A perfect example is worn above by Bronx-resident Brandon Mitchell above, who picked up this navy worsted pinstripe in a Salvation Army in New York. Most likely from the 1970s, it is labelled as made by Dunhill Tailors' “Ready Tailored Department". Over an email exchange he kindly provided some more details:

“It's cut with more shape than a typical American suit of the era (it's darted) and is two-button as opposed to the usual three. It also has double vents, which I think must have been particularly unusual in the US at the time. All of these details, plus the slight roping on the shoulders, point to an American tailoring operation that made suits that pointed subtly in the direction of Savile Row, while still being a bit less rigid than what the Row is known for, and employing a somewhat natural shoulder. The trousers, which take a belt, were originally flat front with turn-ups; due to my height they are now flat front without turn-ups.”

There was one man who seemed immune to the charms of Dunhill Tailors. Norman Block recounts a visit from (then Vice-President) Lyndon B Johnson:

“He came into the store looking for a sports coat. Finding that the coat was a little tight, the fitter pulled out a jack-knife to cut a seam. Immediately, two Secret Service agents grabbed him as Johnson turned around and saw the knife. ‘Well, boys, it's about time I caught my plane,' Johnson declared, and the three of them left without another word.”

Manish is @The_Daily_Mirror on Instagram

The struggles with shoemaking in Japan

The struggles with shoemaking in Japan

Friday, May 12th 2023
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Five or six years ago, it was easy to find young people that wanted to be shoemakers in Japan. The wave of enthusiasm for both craft and menswear elsewhere in the world had washed up here just as strongly. 

Today, with Covid having only just effectively ended (most foreigners were only allowed in late last year), it’s a lot harder. “I know a lot of shoemakers are struggling,” says Yohei Fukuda, as we talked to him one morning during our recent trip. 

“There are a lot of single craftsmen in Japan, with just one or two apprentices, and now they’re often on their own.” The result is that lead times are being stretched out: a shoemaker that used to be able to make 40 pairs a year with some help can now only make 20, and so delivery is taking twice as long. 

The biggest shoemaking school in Tokyo, part of the Guild of Crafts, had five teachers and 50 or 60 students at its height. It now has one and five. 

“It’s hard for small makers when customers can’t come for fittings as well,” says Yohei (below), referring to the lack of travel. “If they’re smaller they don’t necessarily have any other work to take up.”

“I think quite a few people reassessed things during Covid,” says shoemaker Seiji McCarthy, when we see him later. “They got worried about their security, their future, as did I.” 

Gone are the days when students could be expected to worn 10 hours a day, six days a week, on a small wage. Things suddenly got serious.  

Seiji (below) is doing well - he’s about to move to a new space, and Yohei’s operation is much bigger (making about 300 pairs a year) but it’s been tough for many. One large brand said that around half of the factories they use in Japan had closed during Covid - about 30 around the country. Another smaller operation said orders were backed up by anywhere from six months to a year. 

For shoemakers, it’s particularly hard in Japan because there isn’t the network of outworkers that there is in the UK: bespoke at this level hasn’t been around long enough, and more makers like to do things themselves. 

That attitude also means makers are unlikely to merge to form bigger, perhaps more robust organisations.

On the plus side, there has been a bounce in orders since Covid restrictions started to end. Yohei says he took fewer orders than normal during Covid, but took over 500 last year, which even with his consistent staff will push out lead times. 

Interestingly, an increasing amount are made-to-order, rather than bespoke. For Yohei’s shoes, that means shoes in a standard size and last, but made in the same way as bespoke except for the sole, which is sewn by machine rather than hand. 

When we last visited Yohei, the MTO range was quite small, reflecting his desire to keep it focused. Now a customer can pick from any of the 20 or so models on display in the workshop. 

“It’s still not very big, we don’t want to make it confusing,” he says. “But we have three monk straps, three boots, three loafers - that kind of size.”

Orders are tipping towards MTO too. During his recent trunk shows in Asia, more customers were ordering MTO from Yohei than bespoke. “I think in Asia people are not used to the time required,” he says. “In England most people still order bespoke because it’s a more mature market.” Seiji too is seeing a big uptick in remote MTO.

The final part of the equation is costs. Prices of materials that were going up anyway only accelerated during Covid. 

Leather - nearly always from the UK or Europe - has gone up by around 30%; labour costs have gone up because of the lack of younger workers; and the yen is weak. That’s not a problem if you’re travelling and charging in foreign currency, but it was when you were forced to stay in Japan. 

Still, neither Yohei nor Seiji, or the various other people we spoke to while in Japan, are pessimistic. It feels more like a particularly strong wave rolling back, rather than the sea emptying entirely: “The demand is still there, despite people wearing smarter shoes less, for example,” says Yohei. 

As someone who was there near the beginning of this wave, I feel there are positives too. Many of the makers I know weren’t even working then, and certainly a lot of readers have come to understand the craft of shoemaking in that time, just as much as tailoring - in London as in Tokyo. It will probably be a few years before we see how much of that has survived the upheaval of the pandemic.

There will be separate, dedicated coverage of both Yohei and Seiji later on. Information on them about pricing, trunk shows etc will all be filled in then.

A guide to wool/silk/linen: Mixes, colours, bunches

A guide to wool/silk/linen: Mixes, colours, bunches

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My Brioni jacket in a cream beige wool/silk/linen

Wool/silk/linen blends have been a favourite for summer jackets for many years, although in the UK they only started to be offered about 10 years ago. 

More recently, English mills have also started offering their own versions, sometimes without one of the fibres, such as silk. Materials like this are becoming more and more popular, and are often the default for a warm-weather jacket.

Today’s guide is intended to help pick among the various bunches - to suggest colour, pattern and fibre mix, and then recommend specific swatches. It’s similar to the guides we’ve done on corduroy, linen and high-twist wool, but different to the Guide to Cloth, which is more technical and compares all the options for a particular use, such as hot weather


Harrisons, Isca, 98427
Harrisons, Isca, 98424
Harrisons, Isca, 98416


In terms of colour, my recommendations for wool/silk/linen are quite similar to the five jackets capsule, just with a lean towards brown, green and browner greys. 

The reason for this is that smart, dark navy tends to be better in materials like hopsack in summer, and straight greys can look a little dull - better an oatmeal, or pale tan, which bring out the best in white linen shirts or cream trousers. 

So my favourites for a summer jacket in this kind of material are a brown, dark green or beige - shown above, 98427, 98424 and 98416 respectively, from Harrison’s. (They’re actually a wool/linen blend, but more on that later.)

Brighter colours can look lovely in summer, such as bright blue or pastels like pink. Often these stronger tones are better in pure linens though, which soften the colour, and at the least should be kept very subtle and pale. 


Caccioppoli, Jackets, 330101
Caccioppoli, Jackets, 330116
Caccioppoli, Jackets, 330106

Pattern and texture

Jackets are usually nicest with a little texture or pattern to them. Trousers will always be plain and shirts often are, so the jacket holds responsibility for visual interest, especially in the absence of a tie and pocket square. 

However, it’s easy to go over the top here. Many of those Italian bunches have big, bold checks that will be frankly overwhelming unless you live in the south of Italy. Remember that a check will have greater impact when it’s made up into a full jacket. 

Above I’ve shown some examples from Caccioppoli. The first would be too bold for most, the second is the kind I prefer, and the third is a houndstooth that would be surprisingly bold at scale. (This jacket was also too bold in retrospect.)

If in doubt, I’d satisfy myself with a little textural interest - something wool/silk/linens usually have anyway as a result of the variation in fibres, or the slubbiness of linen. You can see that in the plains below from Huddersfield Fine Worsteds. 


Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, Summer Breeze, 261711
Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, Summer Breeze, 261705
Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, Summer Breeze, 261701

Fibre mixes

Those examples are from HFW’s Summer Breeze bunch. It’s mostly wool and silk with only a little linen. As a result the material has more sheen (from the silk) and will perform better in some ways (wrinkling, odour, due to the wool) but not be as cool to the touch (without the linen). 

This amount of variation in the mix makes a noticeable difference, as it does if you remove one entirely: the Harrison’s Isca bunch is half wool and linen, while Indigo is 80% wool and 20% linen. The latter basically adds a touch of linen’s coolness to a lightweight wool jacketing, while the former has more of the feel of linen and usesa high-twist wool. 

But I wouldn’t stress over smaller variations in the fibre mix, such as 5% or 10%. Often weight, yarn thickness and weave will make a bigger difference - something you can see quite easily when you look at the texture and feel the handle of a material. 

Look at the two examples from Ariston below, for example. They vary slightly in the mix, but the more important difference is texture.


Ariston, Silk Dream, P045-21
Ariston, Serendipity, P206-04

Other fibres that are sometimes included are bamboo, cashmere and cotton. Cashmere I don’t really understand, as it makes the material much warmer. Bamboo is a great story, but most of the time I’d rather have linen or silk. 

Cotton, however, does add something different, and it's worth considering if you want a more matte, casual material than looks a little more casual. Although personally I usually prefer pure cottons. 


Caccioppoli, Jackets, 330150
Caccioppoli, Jackets, 330144
Dormeuil, Naturals, 862610

Mills and bunches

Most Italian mills do a summer jacketings bunch, which changes every year. This can be a little frustrating, as it means anything you see made up has a good chance of being out of stock. You need to look for something similar, rather than the same. But then hopefully the advice above makes that easier. 

Among these Italian mills, Caccioppoli usually has a big range, and can be relied on to have the dark browns, greens and beiges discussed above. This year, 330150 is a nice example of the plain brown for example and the herringbone 330144 is nice. (I prefer both to the ones with a colour shot through, such as 330134.)

Drapers has a smaller range but is similar. Ariston tends to have more experimental options, which means brighter colours, bigger checks, more variations in weave and fibres.

Loro Piana and Solbiati (same company, different bunches) have consistently the best taste in my opinion - if I was looking for something unusual, this is where I would go. If there is a pale mint or a yellow herringbone, it will be a good one. They spend more on design and it shows.

Below are some examples from previous seasons. Solbiati is a linen specialist and usually has more linen in its options. Unfortunately their collections are usually available online.

Dormeuil and Scabal tend to be a little luxe, and a lot of bunches use superfine wools or silks. The Naturals bunch from Dormeuil does have some nice plains and a lot of different mixes though - 862610, a cotton/linen mix, has some lovely texture. 

Among English mills, we referred to the different fibre mixes of Harrison’s and HFW above. I’d go to them if I specifically wanted the effect of that mix. Same with the mostly silk mix of Holland & Sherry’s Oceania - H&S is best at lightweight wool suitings in summer. 

Loro Piana 705003
Loro Piana 705030

A lot of readers asked for more pieces recommending cloths. My plan is to do more like this, which are relevant for longer than the seasonal pieces we did in the past. 

If you have any other feedback, or would like to suggest the next type of material to be covered do let me know. In the meantime I might actually add these pieces to the Guide to Cloth page, to make them easier to find. 

More inspiration for colours and patterns (if not necessarily in current bunches) can be found by reading old Spring/Summer pieces here.

Below are images of some of the wool/silk/linens I've had in the past 15 years or so. If you don't recognise them and would like a link to the original piece, let me know.

The beauty of denim – with Levi’s through the ages

The beauty of denim – with Levi’s through the ages

Monday, May 8th 2023
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Levi’s had exposed rivets on their back pockets until 1937, when complaints about scratched saddles and seats forced them to be covered. A few years later the rivet on the crotch was removed, with the better (but possibly apocryphal) story that cowboys burnt their sensitive parts when they sat too close to the fire. 

I met Arthur at Le Vif in Paris recently to talk through these minutiae of Levi’s history. Given I buy and wear so many of them, it was nice to fill in some of the minutiae. 

However, what it actually left me with was a deeper love of denim, rather than an in-depth history. A real appreciation of natural indigo and cotton twill, the way it twists and fades, and the subtle variegated landscape. 

There were a lot of jeans on that table over the course of our two-hour chat, and by the end of it I felt I was swimming in the stuff. 

A reader recently commented that blue jeans seemed too common to him to be interesting. They’re certainly ubiquitous, but like the delicately turned waist of a bespoke shoe, or the patina on a leather briefcase, some subtleties just need to be pointed out to be appreciated. 

I don't think there’s anything wrong with this - it doesn’t mean better jeans don’t still look better, just like a well-cut suit, to the man in the street. It just means appreciation deepens the more you know, and the more you look. 

Painting - though of course a much richer and broader concern - is similar. Often all it takes is a friend to point out an element of composition or technique, and you see it in a new light. You begin to recognise and enjoy different qualities.

With denim, this could be the way shades of blue range across a fade. It’s never a stark change - there’s a wave that begins with deepest indigo, goes through many hues of blue, and peaks in a pale line where the yarn almost loses colour completely. 

Areas of wear have wave after wave of this, each one different, each also textured by contour lines that show how the material has been twisted and turned with use. 

When jeans are artificially aged, you lose some of this subtlety. They’re often heavily washed, which removes the deepest indigo and therefore one end of the scale. And no one has the ability (by machine) or time (by hand) to shade each twisting gradation differently.

This is not what I'd intended to focus on with Arthur. I’d suggested walking through Levi’s from different eras, making use of his personal collection, and so we were talking about belt loops that were on the back seam or not (above, before the mid-50s), and whether back pockets were chain stitched. 

Charmingly, models often break the rules, just to keep everyone on their toes. The pair below, for example, have one back pocket chain stitched, the other not. Sometimes people get lazy, or just lose track halfway through production. 

Dissecting all these details, however, just made me look more closely at the ageing - the way different rivets patina, or the way coin pockets often have a flat fade, because hands pass across them so many times. 

I particularly appreciate the explosion of fraying you get at the edges of front pockets, as if the denim has finally given up the ghost, losing its integrity in an eruption of yarn. 

It reminded me, actually, of how much I love the surprisingly numerous and bright yarns of Harris Tweed, and wonder what that would be like if they faded with use. 

We do have some nice aspects of ageing with smarter menswear, such as the endearing fraying of old shirts, and perhaps the wearing down of corduroy, but denim has greater depth and variety. Only leather goods really come close. 

Of course, on PS over the years we’ve talked about the complexity of many textiles, most recently Donegal tweed but also menswear-adjacent ones like upholstery or Navajo blankets. They’re all kin.

If readers are interested, I can do a more in-depth article on Levi’s through the decades, but as Arthur said, there are quite a lot of similar guides online. And if you’re looking to buy vintage the best way is often through a vintage shop or dealer. 

Today I wanted to talk about the beauty I find in denim - because while it’s certainly not new either, it’s newer to me, and perhaps to some readers. 

I’m aware that the photos, by the way, are not the best, having been taken by myself and Lucas while we were in Paris. But hopefully they serve their purpose, and I can do something with better, more professional, perhaps macro-accentuated ones at a later date. 

Below, customers at Le Vif admiring Lucas's PS Donegal Coat, which was hanging up at the back of the shop. I love the fact they thought it was vintage. 

Finest Polos back in stock, with charcoal and black

Finest Polos back in stock, with charcoal and black

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The Finest Polo - our superfine, high-twist merino knit - is back in stock, with black and charcoal new for this season, alongside navy. 

The colour choice this summer was partly driven by last summer. I wore a sample of a charcoal at Pitti last year with my Dege & Skinner jacket, and a lot of readers said they’d like to see that added to the collection. 

Later the same week, an all-black outfit with a black polo and black linen trousers was equally popular, and so I thought it made sense to add black too. It was also logical given the Dartmoor had just been released in black, and black knitwear is something we’ve written about on PS during the past year. 

Grey and cream will be back, but not this year. 

Now there’s one thing I wanted to talk about with these polos early on, and that’s shrinkage. 

We had four or five readers report last year that they had issues after they washed the polos. That’s not a lot out of the 150 that bought them, but enough to make me want to investigate and prevent it happening. 

Readers will know that these polos are basically knitwear, and should be treated accordingly. That’s a pain with a polo shirt, but being merino, I find I only have to wash them every second or third wear. 

Just like other knitwear, I usually wash the Finest Polos by hand, simply putting them in warm water with a squirt of detergent, and giving them a couple of squeezes. There’s a video showing a sample washing process here

Wool is so much better than cotton in this regard, and I find odours disappear almost instantly. Steam has a very similar effect, and I know one reader that just steams his knits for a couple of minutes to good effect.

However, I have washed my polos in a machine - cold or 30 degrees, knitwear/wool setting, no spin, hang dry - and had no issues. All of those things are important, and I only do it because I know my machine: I’ve washed plenty of other fine knits that way. 

What you do get when you wash a high-twist merino is wrinkling, which compresses the material and can make it feel like it’s shrunk. 

If the knit is quite roomy on you, you can wear it and much of the wrinkling will drop out. But, you can also get rid of it completely by ironing - you can actually see the material reshaping out as you do so. 

I asked the makers, Umbria Verde in Italy, to make a little video showing this pressing process, and that’s what I’ve included above. As you can see, it's mostly steam and shaping, not that much pressure, and pretty quick. They're professionals of course, but it's pretty easy to do at home. 

The important thing is that it won’t damage the knit at all - one reader was surprised when we told him that; he’d assumed ironing would shrink it further, given heat and moisture are generally seen as bad for wool. 

Use a low temperature, certainly (there’s often a wool temperature indicated on the iron) but otherwise you can press most knits - the steam does the same great job it does when you steam a jacket, or this polo when hanging up, as noted.

I also looked at the fit of the polos this year - comparing sizes on a few friends - and decided they’d been a little too slim. We’d come to the same conclusion with the Dartmoors, and like them added a centimetre to the waist on each side. 

There may be a little bit of trend to this, with everyone preferring things more comfortable. It feels like there’s such elegance in the drape of a fine material like this. 

But they were also pretty slim to start with, and I had found that I sometimes wore a medium, sometimes a large. I’m now solidly a medium, as pictured here. 

I’m very pleased the polos are back. Few things give me more pleasure in clothing than something that’s easy to slip on, but creates an instantly elegant effect. That might be a linen overshirt or a pair of Belgian-style loafers, but it’s always the same sense of easy refinement.

The Finest Polo is in that category. You pull on rather than button in, and are perfectly framed by the drape of the body, the roll of the collar. 

The sunglasses, by the way, are from Clan in Milan. Connolly stocks them in London, though they’re not on the website. It’s good quality for the price, just over £200. Nicely finished, well-made hinges, understated designs. 

I know I have a tendency to go for slightly more striking models, like the Meyrowitz I was wearing with that Dege jacket last year, and these have become a useful everyday style for me.

The Finest Polo in navy, charcoal and black is available on the shop site here. As with many things this past year, we’ve had to put prices up slightly, but only to reflect costs from the suppliers.

All the details about fit and make of the Polo can be found on the original launch article here. That’s always more comprehensive than the product page. 

The other clothes shown above are:

  • Bespoke trousers in two-ply Draper’s Ascot high-twist wool, from this suit
  • Piccadilly unlined loafers from Edward Green
  • Dark-grey socks from Anderson & Sheppard
  • Rolex GMT Master 1675
  • Dege & Skinner jacket outfit details here
  • Details on outfits below, here

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

Assisi bespoke tailors, Korea: Fitting a tweed DB

Assisi bespoke tailors, Korea: Fitting a tweed DB

Wednesday, May 3rd 2023
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Assisi is a young tailoring house based in the Huam-dong area of Seoul. It was only established three years ago, but the tailor that leads it, Kim Min Soo, has been cutting for 15 years. 

Like most Korean tailors I’ve seen, the team are more style-conscious than most of the bespoke world, and that was the first thing that attracted me. The imagery I’d seen was of elegant, drapey tailoring - tasteful yet modern. 

I’d also heard, however, that the execution was good, and so when they I had the chance to meet them in Florence this past January, I took up the opportunity to have something made. 

Although they don’t currently travel to Europe or the US, they do cover a decent part of the PS readership by travelling to Australia, Singapore and Thailand. And they plan to travel to London, New York and Taipei in the future. 

In Singapore and Bangkok, Assisi are hosted by The Decorum, which has shops in both cities. It was they that helped arrange the fittings, and they were hyper organised. 

I picked out the material in advance - an dark-grey herringbone tweed - and they brought it to Florence. We met on the Tuesday afternoon for measurements and consultation, and they made the jacket up for a first fitting on Thursday. 

They had hoped to complete the jacket after one fitting, and that first fitting (below) was certainly good. As in, the balance was perfect left to right and back to front, both sides even (that sounds easy, but of course no one is symmetrical, as you see as soon as you put on a ready-made suit) and a great shape through the back into the nape of my neck.

In the end they decided they needed a second fitting, however, and when they heard I was going to be in Japan, flew there to meet me. (Otherwise we would have met again in Florence this June.)

In Tokyo, again we needed one more fitting than initially thought. We met at my hotel - The Imperial - on the Tuesday, but ended up doing a final tweak at Sarto Ginza on Thursday (Sarto being an alterations house that they used for the intervening work). 

I have to say, it was by turns funny and intimidating having so many people watching. At least in Florence everyone was spread out around their generous apartment, but in Tokyo we were squeezed together, all eager to see how the jacket looked. 

At any one time there were two people from Decorum, three from Assisi, plus me and the photographer Alex. And Moto when we were at Sarto. 

People always ask whether I get special treatment, and I’m normally fairly confident that I don't. Not that some might not try especially hard, given the outcome will be so public, but rather that I talk to enough other customers that I know if the product is inconsistent elsewhere. 

Plus, if you’re not a good tailor it’s hard to pretend. The results are there for all to see, and tailoring is not that forgiving. You can look good in an ill-fitting shoe, but not a suit. 

Still, when there are five different people looking at the way your jacket hangs it can be hard to hold to that belief. 

I confess the attention did make it hard for me to concentrate on the fit and style. 

In Florence, I initially tried on a jacket belonging to one of the tailors, to get a sense of the cut. They like a bigger fit, with wide shoulders and generous lapels. I felt the lapels were a little much, so we sketched on some new ones with chalk, lowering the gorge and narrowing the width. 

In Tokyo I reduced the shoulder width. Again they like a slightly dropped shoulder, but it was erring on the side of too much. You can see the original width on the left shoulder in the image below. 

It took me a few minutes of walking around and looking at the jacket before I felt confident of the change. It’s always good practice to give the customer a little time and space to do this, as no one (even me) feels confident of all their opinions right away. But sometimes tailors need reminding of this.

Other changes were minor, but also ran to reducing or shaping. The back needed more suppression for example, and was still very comfortable when it had it. 

Assisi describe their style as their own but influenced by southern Italian, with finishing and details that are more Milanese. 

On my experience so far that seems fair, but I would add that their style is strong and makes the world of difference. It’s so refreshing to be surrounded by a team of tailors where you would happily dress like each one of them.

The Milanese influence comes from master tailor Kim Min Soo, who is largely self-trained but went to Milan at one point to learn under Paulo Rentini. He trained the rest of the team, which comprises six tailors and one director. 

I’ll review the completed jacket in a couple of weeks. I might also look to something broader on Korean tailoring, as this experience certainly justifies it - improving considerably on my previous experience with B&Tailor’s then agent in Europe.

Assisi bespoke suits start at $2,950 and jackets $2,300. Trunk shows are conducted through The Decorum in Singapore and Bangkok, and through The Finery Company in Sydney. 

The cloth is Harris Tweed C001L, which I selected based on seeing this picture of a made-up jacket. Whenever I can these days, I commission tailoring when I’ve seen something made up. It reduces the chances of mistakes so much. 

Review of the finished jacket coming in a couple of weeks.

William Fioravanti: The power tailor

William Fioravanti: The power tailor

Monday, May 1st 2023
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*This article is part of a series that looks at the history of New York’s bespoke tailoring. You can see the first, introductory article, here*

By Manish Puri

“Ready-made men’s wear was never more varied. Nevertheless, an increasing number of men prefer to submit to the more tedious, more costly and old-fashioned ritual of having their clothes made to their measure.

Some of them acquire international cachet (real or imagined) by being tailored in London, Rome, Paris or Hong Kong. A smaller number order from London tailors who make semi-annual visits to the former American colonies, whilst a hard-core group of custom devotees patronize New York’s vanishing breed of tailors.”

The above is from the introduction to a New York Times article on custom clothing. As fellow practitioners of this tedious, costly, and old-fashioned ritual, I doubt there’s little here that’s news to you. What might surprise you though is that this article wasn’t written recently, but dates to 1969.

Whilst digging through the archives of newspapers and magazines for this series on New York tailoring, what struck me most was the sense that tailoring has been in a state of permacrisis for over 60 years.

And in this 1969 article, to better understand the shifting trends, the Times met with three members of the “hard-core” tribe to discuss their motivations and tailors of choice: Dunhill Tailors (who we will cover in detail soon), Bernard Weatherill (photographed above by the great Slim Aarons in 1964) and, “the Master”, William Fioravanti.

William Fioravanti (Bill to those who knew him best) was born in 1926 and raised in Brooklyn. His father, a Neapolitan tailor, gifted his son a thimble at the age of nine and, throughout his life, William would use his father’s shears.

In 1946, after serving in the Navy, William apprenticed with Ernest A. De Rose – an Italian-born custom tailor to the likes of the Rockefeller family, who had premises on East 52nd Street.

In 1951, shortly after De Rose’s passing, Fioravanti set up his own business on the fourth floor of 45 West 57th Street.

Customers would take an elevator from street level and push open a heavy wooden door to reveal an “Italianate” space which, according to Alan Flusser’s 1981 book Making the Man, looked like it had been “transplanted from the Via Veneto”, furnished with “antique table and chairs, leather and tooled-gold walls, and Tiffany-style lamps”.

Hovering high above the city sidewalks proved little obstacle to business - in fact William preferred it. “If they gave me a ground floor for nothing, I wouldn’t take it”, he told the New York Times in 2007. “If we were selling a suit for $2,000, we’d want walk-in business. But someone paying what we charge wants exclusivity.”

And any discussion on Fioravanti leads back to that subject: price. Steve Wynn, the developer of numerous Las Vegas hotels including the Golden Nugget and Bellagio, and presumably not a man accustomed to having to check his overdraft limit, once quipped: “You may go to Mr. Fioravanti rich and famous. But you only leave famous.”

With custom prices starting in excess of $3,000 in the nineties and $6,000 in the noughties ($18,000 plus if your tastes and wallet extended to Super 200 or cashmere cloths) it’s little surprise that Fioravanti catered to an elite clientele that Bruce Boyer described to us as comprising “international bankers, CEOs, […] and regular old billionaires”.

William counted Charles Revson, the founder and then President of cosmetics company Revlon, amongst his very best customers. Revson (above and below) would order around a dozen suits a year and thought so highly of William that he invested in his business.

Superficially, Revson’s tailored wardrobe appeared to be the paragon of conservatism – dominated by mohair and flannel suits in banker’s grey, blue and black. When a new executive wore a dark brown suit to the office, Revson railed “you know what brown is the colour of, don’t you?” However, those same suits were lined with vivid and elaborate Hermès scarves purchased by his wife, Lyn.

Fioravanti would also make the white barathea trousers that both Charles and Lyn would wear on their yacht, the Ultima II (above), purchased for $3.5m in 1967 and said to span the length of a city block.

The Fioravanti house style, at that time (1950s to 1960s), was described by William as “very tailored but softly”.

Revson’s trousers (below with model Suzy Parker in 1956) were “slim and cuffless with inverted pleats” while the jackets were “slightly pinched at the waistline with three-flap pockets, 8-inch double side vents, two buttons on the sleeves, and 3¼ inch lapels”.

Fioravanti tried to persuade Revson to let him raise the vents and widen the lapels by a half inch or more. Whilst these efforts were in vain, it was perhaps a hint of the shift towards a silhouette that would go on to define Fioravanti: The Power Look.

The Power Look (or the 57th St Suit) and its defining characterises were expounded by New York bench tailor, Frank Shattuck, in comments on Simon’s piece on New York’s bespoke tailors.

“The 57th St Suit was from a day of big American Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals. It was for powerful men unapologetic about their position. It was a highly constructed suit for highly constructed men.

Strong, padded shoulders and a rope sleeve. A nipped waist, high side vents and a cupped hem. […] They are well engineered and no one thing grabs the eye. Elegant powerful lines and symmetry.”

Amongst the finest exponents of the Power Look were Henry Stewart, who worked out of 37 W 57th St (above left) and Tony Maurizio who worked out of 18 E 53rd St (above right, in a 50s continental suit).

Henry too was the son of a tailor (on Savile Row), and Tony was William’s Best Man at his wedding. Both men had their own iterations, but it’s widely acknowledged that Fioravanti innovated the look with many of his suits distinguished by a concave pagoda shoulder (below on Fioravanti).

To the modern palette, accustomed to ever softening and unstructured lines, the shoulder might feel unnatural. In fact, the pagoda was considered anything but, shaped, as it is, to trace the natural dip through the clavicle and the rise to the acromion (the bony spur on the edge of the shoulder blade).

It’s a particularly skilled construction which can verge on cartoonish if made by any but the surest of hands - another aspect where Fioravanti’s workroom was nonpareil in New York.

At its peak Fioravanti had over 20 tailors (mostly Italian origin) working in-house at three long canvas-covered tables, each with a specific task or speciality: one man performing alterations, some cutting, others working on coat fronts, and three women employed as finishers. In 1975, the team was making 2,000 garments a year.

It was thanks to this exceptional and plentiful workforce (above, in Roberto Cabrera’s Classic Tailoring Techniques) that a suit could be made in two weeks if necessary – although 12 to 16 was more typical.

It might also have emboldened William’s wife and partner, Olga, in an interview with New York magazine in 2007, to dismiss those custom competitors that outsourced work: “Bespoke is made on the premises, by the same person who took your measurements”.

Fioravanti even had a full-time vestmaker, Carmine Di Fabio, in his ranks – despite the fact that, according to Di Fabio at least, “most men stopped wearing vests when Franklin Roosevelt was President [1933-1945]”. In the experienced hands of Di Fabio, it would take six hours to make a plain vest (slightly longer for double breasted and dress vests).

“Vests serve a practical purpose”, he explained in this 1975 feature in The New Yorker, “They keep you warm in winter, and they’re more refined looking than a sweater. Machine-made vests don’t ever fit right. They have no shape, and they always seem to be too short or too long. I do everything by hand.”

It was this unwavering commitment to handwork that saw William awarded the Forbici D’Oro (Golden Scissors) by the Academy of Master Tailors in Italy. Further honours came from the Custom Tailors and Design Association (CTDA) – a body that he served as President for many years – in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, to accompany a place in their Hall of Fame.

But ultimately, despite everything - the astronomical price tags, the A-list clientele, the accolades - William understood that his suits, and the artistry that went into making his style, were merely an exquisite plinth upon which to display oneself.

As he explained to Cal Fussman (in a terrific 2007 Esquire article The Perfect Suit): "This suit we're making for you, it's not going to give you anything you don't already have inside. But it will open doors so that people can see what you've got."

Manish is @The_Daily_Mirror on Instagram

Spring/Summer Top 10 ’23: Shirts, shorts and a hairy cardigan

Spring/Summer Top 10 ’23: Shirts, shorts and a hairy cardigan

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It may still be cold outside (in the UK), but it’s late April and time for a write-up of the Spring/Summer pieces I’ve liked from our favourite brands. 

If you have any questions about other releases from these brands (or indeed brands not featured) let me know - chances are I’ve tried them, even if they didn’t quite make the list. Sometimes it’s just because they’re more standard, or not something new to me. 

Here’s hoping the weather turns soon. 

Thom Sweeney crepe-cotton T-shirt


As I noted in an article a couple of years ago, the Thom Sweeney casual collection often has some real gems in the summer: knitted polos and T-shirts, often made with tailoring in mind, always in classic colours. 

This summer the stand-out piece for me is the crepe-cotton T-shirt. The fabric is a little crispy and has nice body, it looks smart untucked but can tuck in as well. Slightly higher collar, slightly longer ribs, slightly longer sleeve too that can be worn as is or folded back for a kind of sportier look. Comes up large so you’ll probably want to size down (I’m a Small). 

Anthology knitted T-shirt


On the subject of knitted T-shirts, The Anthology have just released their knitted tee in white. They did an 'ecru' version with the original launch, but it was always a little too creamy, and certainly wore more like a pale beige in terms of what else it looked good with. The new white is better.

Their latest collection more generally - for the fifth anniversary - has quite a lot of casual shirts, long but with square hems. The thick plackets and big, square chest pockets are pretty casual, and the collars are generous too. I'm not sure about the stripes, but the raspberry pink looks interesting. Those are being released next month. Also keen to try out the made-to-order shirt service later this year.

Patagonia Baggies


Perhaps a little unexpected for PS, but there’s case to be made for Patagonia Baggies being a menswear icon. Lightweight, versatile and sustainable, they’re incredibly popular, largely because they’re easy to wear and cover activities from swimming to walking to yoga. A useful piece for holiday.

Made from recycled nylon, this isn’t a luxury short but few luxury ones could cover all that. There’s a five-inch and seven-inch inseam option; I prefer the five. 

Steve McQueen sweatshirt


I’m surprised I haven’t included this piece from Toys McCoy before, as I’ve had it for three years and it’s such a personal favourite. The sweat is great quality, but the thing that sets it apart is that faded blue, which verges on purple. It’s such an unusual shade in menswear but very wearable, perhaps because it’s close enough to shades of denim. 

The three-quarters sleeve, equally, is unusual but I find sporty and flattering. It looks much more like a beaten-up sweat than the feminine associations I can imagine readers worrying about. It even convinced me to cut down an old sweat that had too-short sleeves. (But it does come in long-sleeve too if you prefer.)

Connolly cotton/linen popover


A reader asked recently about the fit of a ready-made shirt I was wearing. I still wear MTM shirts most of the time but the fabrics are so limited, particularly with more casual styles, that I often wear RTW for less formal shirts. I’d been looking for a really dark navy summer shirt material, for example, and not found anything I liked, until I found this inky cotton/linen popover at Connolly. 

If I was having it made, I’d have that chest pocket a little smaller, and if it wasn’t a casual summer popover I’d have the body tapered. But otherwise it’s great, with a good collar height on me and the right sleeve length. There are also two shades of pink - one very subtle, one very bright - alongside this navy. 

Post O’Alls madras shirt


I’m always surprised how few checked, or even just brightly patterned shirts I like. Browsing a long rail of vintage checked shirts in the Real McCoy’s archive recently, there wasn’t a single one I liked; they always seem too strong, too stark. 

This madras-style summer shirt from Post O’Alls is an exception - pretty much the only check I like among the current Clutch shirts as well. It’s probably because of the number of soft colours, plus the iKat-style stripes that soften it further. 

As above with the Connolly shirt this is a casual piece, not necessarily something I’d wear with tailoring, and I would perhaps have the body tapered if it proved too boxy. 

L.E.J silk 1-pocket officer’s shirt


There’s a bit of a theme of ready-made shirts in this season’s Top 10. We read about L.E.J in Wednesday’s article, where Manish and André showed how they like to wear Luke’s sometimes slightly unusual designs. This is just my endorsement for one of those pieces, the 1-pocket officer’s shirt in cream silk, having bought one myself. 

The collar is lightly made but has enough support to sit well under a collar, and the silk is beautiful. I like the origin story for the chest pocket’s button, which is a different colour to the rest in reference to officer’s shirts that were often mismatched because of a shortage of supplies. But I’d probably prefer one the same colour and might change it. 

Perhaps the theme here is that for a RTW shirt to be anything like MTM, you’ll inevitably have to change something - but there's nothing wrong with that. 

Ralph Lauren summer rollneck


I’ve been looking for a summer sweater with a little rolled neckline like this for a while. Done right, it can be more flattering than a crewneck and add a little touch to something quite plain, but most are too high or wide for me; this one from Purple Label is perfect. 

It’s also the perfect shade of cream and has a lovely hand (a good example of using synthetic to give body to a pretty open cotton knit), but is predictably expensive. One for a treat one day, or try to get in the sale. 

Bryceland’s rayon scarf


The rayon scarves that Ethan and Kenji wear always seemed a little too quirky for me, but I recently tried a new black version with a subtle diamond pattern and found it much easier. It’s nice under a jacket, perhaps over a crewneck or T-shirt when you want something against the collar, and as a small, slightly dandyish touch in an evening outfit. 

The rayon will wrinkle if you tie it, but I rarely do that and it’s not too hard to press if you do. The UK website says it’s sold out of them, but actually there are some in the London store. And the non-UK site (shipping from Hong Kong to everywhere else in the world, linked to above) also has some. 

Canadian Sweater, at Beige


This is last on the list because it’s not Spring/Summer, but I only got one recently and it’s the first longer cowichan-type knit I’ve really liked. I’ve also been wearing it a lot as outerwear, whenever it’s been cold. 

It’s a very traditional piece. Coarse, thick wool, chunky brass zip; very warm but only a luxury piece in the fact it’s hand-knitted. The length covers the bum, but there’s a two-way zip that I always use to leave it fastened just around the waist and perhaps the chest. 

It’s also a great example of how good Beige is at curating its range. There’s a very wearable cream, pictured, some more traditional styles for those that like that, and a very funky butterfly version that sold out quickly. 

How we wear LEJ

How we wear LEJ

Wednesday, April 26th 2023
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By Manish Puri with André Larnyoh.

Luke Walker is the creative director of the brand LEJ. I still remember the first time I saw him.

He was strolling across my local green, wearing faded jeans and a loose shirt that appeared to be somewhat reluctantly buttoned. A cream jumper was loosely draped atop a pale raincoat. On his feet were a pair of thick-wedged mule sandals (no socks), on his face a pair of square-rimmed sunglasses. His moustache bristled as he sipped a take-away cocktail. He looked stylish, charismatic, and fun.

Several months passed before I saw him again – this time browsing in Adret. We chatted away, spurred on by our mutual love of jokes that even Dads would wince at and, since then, I’ve had the good fortune to get to know Luke and his brand more intimately; I’m pleased to say that my initial assessment applies to both him and the clothes he makes: stylish, charismatic, and fun.

Luke’s career has seen him design for the French fashion house Lanvin, as well as UK menswear stalwarts Dunhill, and Drake’s. At a time when men need (and demand) more from a casual wardrobe, it’s this union between the construction hallmarks of classic menswear and the adventurism of fashion (cloth, texture, colour) that I think gives LEJ a very relevant perspective on modern attire.

To mark their month-long residence in the Permanent Style pop-up shop, my fellow columnist André Larnyoh and I (both customers of LEJ) thought it might be helpful for readers to see how we style some of the pieces we have in our wardrobes.

LEJ could seem a little intimidating to the conservative PS reader and the ways we wear the clothes are sufficiently different, I think, to show how they can appeal to a range of people and styles.

LEJ’s presentation of its collections are some of the most joyful and memorable around (the ‘twin’ shoots in particular, where Luke and a buddy have a raucous day out wearing identical outfits, are wonderful). But I can appreciate that some readers might find these full looks a little outré. Hopefully this article’s focus on the style and construction elements that most PS readers hold dear, will help you to love the brand as much as André and I do.

Each of the items we’ve picked (or some slight variant thereof) will form a part of the spring/summer collection that Luke has for sale at 20 Savile Row.

Of course, the best way to experience the clothes is to pop into the shop and say hello - open Monday to Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 11am-4pm (Thursday late closing at 7pm), until May 13. However, if you’re unable to make it, André and I are happy to answer any questions in the comments section below.

*For reference I have a 38" chest and am a solid LEJ medium for tops. I have a 33" waist and find large to be the best size for trousers/shorts.

André has a 34”"chest and a 28" waist. He wears extra small or small on top and bottom.*

I’ve written about the Plage Coat before and I make no apologies for featuring it again as it’s one of Luke’s signatures and a favourite of mine.

The wider point collar, half-belt back and smoky mother of pearl buttons help to elevate this chore coat above many of the more traditional options. And, priced between £295 and £345 (depending on cloth), I consider it to be one of the best-value options too.

The outfit above (photographed last summer by Aaron Christian for his forthcoming book The Asian Man) has become something of a travel uniform for me: Plage Coat in green herringbone cotton twill (which is now back in stock), an Oxford shirt made by Jake’s London using the PS yellow oxford cloth, and a pair of Jelado 301 XX jeans from Clutch Café.

All three pieces have sufficient room and fullness to be comfortable for long periods crammed into small seats; and, to my eyes at least, the look feels smartly composed but not overly fussy for travelling. The Plage Coat also has those big patch pockets which make it great for stowing a scarf or paperback.

I’ve found the cloth selections for the Plage Coat (across summer and winter – I also have a houndstooth tweed) generally excellent. In fact, the beauty and unusual nature of the materials is one of LEJ’s biggest strengths.

This spring/summer, there is one in a black linen (above) that has been heavily washed to give it an almost charcoal effect.

Simon has written a lot in the last couple of years about wearing black, and one of the lessons I’ve taken from those articles is to lend visual interest to a darker/all-black look through texture, and this coarsely woven linen is perfect. It can also be combined with a matching wide-legged trouser (the Pat-a-Cake pant) to form a casual suit.

The jacket in the images belongs to Luke and (as with all the most treasured garments) has been given some tough love. The left patch pocket has caught something and come away from the front – running a small brand involves just as much humping boxes as it does sitting at a desk sketching.

On another jacket, this accident would have torn the front, necessitating a more expensive repair. On the Plage Coat, because the pockets (the “crumple zone” as Luke calls it) have been internally reinforced with a cotton ribbon, there’s no such tearing, the pocket just needs to be sewn back on (although Luke kind of prefers it as is).

The second item I think readers should consider is the 1-Pocket Officer’s shirt.

While LEJ isn’t exclusively a shirting brand, it’s fair to say that part of the motivation for starting it was Luke’s desire to bring some of the construction and style elements from formal shirts to the casual wardrobe: twin-needle stitching on seams or plackets, mother of pearl buttons, side gussets etc.

Most casual shirts tend to slide under a tailored jacket’s lapels as the day unfurls. However, LEJ’s shirts work well because the collar band sits higher and the points are longer than a typical casual shirt. And because, at heart, they’re casual shirts I find they actually look better with an open collar than a stiffer formal equivalent - they were never meant to be worn with a tie.

The Officer’s shirt is available in fine cotton voiles and oxfords in blue, green, and pink. The one I own is made from a cream silk that’s more densely woven than usual, helping it to not feel too floaty and blousy. The silk has also been pre-washed, so the shirt has more of a matte finish which helps steer the wearer away from any risk of looking flash.

The cloth choice was inspired by Luke’s love of books, as he explains:

“I draw some inspiration from descriptions of clothing in literature. For instance, the idea for the silk shirts was in part inspired by the outfits in which Ian Fleming dressed Bond. It might be in Thunderball where Bond travels with a high twist black and white tweed, flannels, and a cream silk shirt. The ultimate retort to anyone that thinks silk an effeminate or delicate choice! It’s also ultra-practical for travelling. It can be hand rinsed at the end of the day, left to dry overnight, and then will iron itself against the skin before lunchtime”.

(By the way, Luke’s right that Bond wears a cream shirt in Thunderball: “He was wearing a very dark-blue lightweight single-breasted suit over a cream silk shirt and a black knitted silk tie. Despite the heat, he looked cool and clean.”)

I know a lot of guys favour a blue shirt and I get it – chambray, denim, oxford and poplin (for the classic Italian Background) all work fantastically well in that colour. However, in recent years, I seem to have developed a slightly out-of-control fetish for cream/ecru shirts and polos. They pair so easily with virtually any trouser colour and carry the same fresh elegance as white without the clinical formality.

A similar colour shirt is also available in the Come-Up-To-The-Studio model (above) which I also own – I told you, I have a problem. It’s made up of a crisp wool-cotton blend that wears cool but creases less thanks to the wool.

Following the silhouette of a 1950s shirt, the Come-Up-To-The-Studio shirt sits off the shoulder with a fuller body than the Officer’s shirt, meaning it has generous drape and volume when tucked – a good choice for those readers (perhaps inspired by André’s article) looking to play with proportions.

Hello, André here. My turn to talk about how I wear LEJ.

What I love most about the brand is how fun it is. It seems to have found an unholy middle ground between function and luxury. A work shirt but made up in silk - why the hell not? It always transforms the ordinary into something slightly special.

My favourite pieces from Luke’s collection all seem to be those which involve some form of tie, or ribbon. The grosgrain ribbon that hangs from the hems of some of the work shirts, the drawstring hems of the pat-a-cake pants. Maybe it’s just a boredom with buttons, but there seems to be something really refreshing about the style.

And so, with Manish being a fan of the Plage coat, I am a fan of its steamier cousin: The Quick Release. It takes inspiration from an early 20th-century officer’s convalescence pyjama, which used ties for closure instead of buttons. The tied closure gives it a loose, floating shape, while the ‘martingale’ half tie at the back, when fastened, gives emphasis to the waist.

But despite its name, and the fact that it has two patch hip pockets, to me this is not a coat or jacket. It’s a shirt first and foremost.

I’ve nearly always worn it as a shirt and that’s because the first time I saw it, Luke was wearing it tucked into a pair of jeans with nothing else underneath (surprise, surprise).  I did whatever I could to secure the piece and over a year a later it is still a joyous thing to wear.

I’ve struggled to find something I cannot wear the Quick Release with – it’s gone from the most casual (as you can see above, with a pair of vintage army overalls) to dressed-up affairs under a jacket. When the situation calls for something nice and tidy, a piece like this gives an unexpected edge to proceedings.

To anyone who might be intimidated by the shirt, what won me over aside from its shape and closure was how, if you stepped back enough, it was an indigo shirt like any other.

If you break the image above down, really I’m just wearing a denim shirt and some fatigues. Who hasn’t done that? What makes it easy to wear is focusing on the materials, whatever the seasonal variant might be, and reacting accordingly. There’s a striped poplin number, a faded denim and even soon a bone silk, so plenty of options. And if one so chooses, it can be worn as a jacket, which I have done on a few occasions when temperatures have dipped ever so slightly.

I always joke that the Quick Release is a lot of fun at parties - I can tell someone’s interested if they start pulling at the strings. This is truly a mischievous garment.

The second piece I’d encourage readers to try is the Sous Chemise Kaftan.

An unusual piece for many, it actually felt like a natural step for me when l was looking for a relaxed, versatile shirt. Part military tunic, part its namesake, the sous chemise Kaftan is such an effortless piece of clothing.

The ecru colour is versatile and simple (as Manish stated above, there’s enough blue in the world) while the material is incredibly impressive – a fine twill weave of both cotton and wool with a handle that is lightweight, soft, and robust. Genuinely comfortable to wear at most temperatures. It’s even been noted that my posture changes whenever I happen to wear it.

The big question will be how to wear a shirt like this. Well first, the fit is very roomy - it takes its cues from a tunic after all - with a shape that is blousy when worn untucked. I expect to do this more with wide-legged chinos in the summer, but for the most part I prefer it tucked in. It works a charm tucked into corduroys or jeans and with a chore coat or denim jacket over the top. I’m equally excited to try it with tailoring, which goes to show how truly versatile a lot of the LEJ collection is – despite, perhaps, first appearances.

Whatever their style, I think PS readers will find something to love at LEJ, as hopefully Manish and I have illustrated. Pop into the pop-up while you can try it all in person.

Manish is @The_Daily_Mirror on Instagram. André is @andretheapple on Instagram

Other clothes featured, Manish:

  • Jacket and trousers by The Anthology and loafers by Alden
  • Polo by Saman Amel, trousers by The Anthology and slippers by Crown Northampton


  • Vintage eighties US Army overalls, Lee Kung undershirt (from Bryceland’s), Alden tassel loafers
  • Monitaly corduroy officer chino, Mackintosh rain coat, Alden tassel loafers
Photography, except LEJ campaign images: Mohan Singh

Inspiring Japan: The 2023 trip

Inspiring Japan: The 2023 trip

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Last week I was in Japan for 10 days, mainly in Tokyo but also travelling around to Kobe, Osaka and Wakayama prefecture. It was the fourth time I’d been to Japan, but only the third for PS, and one of those had been for only a few days around our Japanese Symposium.  

So this was basically trip two. During the first one, back in 2018, I tried to cover as many tailors, trouser makers, shoemakers and related artisans as possible. There was a nice excursion to see crafts in Kyoto and an unforgettable knife maker in Sakai, but it was very sartorial - I’ve included links to all the specific articles at the bottom of this piece. 

On this trip I still saw some of my favourite shoemakers, and had two fittings for a jacket, but the focus was a little more on casual clothing and on vintage. 

We timed the trip to fit in with The Real McCoy’s, who had kindly offered to host us (myself and photographer Alex Natt) at their headquarters in Kobe. They also took us to see leather jacket production and loopwheel knitting - two categories I had never seen before. 

I was keen to expand our Tokyo Shopping Guide, and in particular to flesh out the vintage section. Vintage clothing has exploded in popularity in the years since our last trip, and Japan has always been the best place to buy it. 

On the previous visit we did go to several shops in Harajuku, in central Tokyo, but didn’t have time to go out to Koenji, where most vintage is. Last week that was corrected (indeed Alex went twice) and we also covered vintage in Osaka, which has some real gems, plus a few in Kobe. 

As with all these areas, there will be upcoming articles on PS over the next few weeks, as well as ones on kimonos, bespoke pens and even some folk art. 

Overall, Japan continues to be one of my favourite places in the world, and Tokyo feels like a melting pot of styles, crafts and trends. Everyone dresses more, dresses bigger - whether that’s head-to-toe Ivy, full-on biker leathers, or hiking-ready Gorpcore. It feels like you can get away with wearing anything - it’s almost expected. 

The other way to see this is that people are following the same trends as everywhere else, simply more intensely. And you certainly feel that every trend is manifest, both on the streets and in the stores. Beams always feels like its branches and sub-brands cover every conceivable slice, while Safari in Koenji feels similar across its five shops. 

There were also those we spoke to, that live and work in Japan, who say it’s not as exciting as it once was. That the world is too connected now and there’s less originality. The country has also seen many of its small manufacturers close during Covid, which was something less obvious, but no less powerful, that made Japan unique. 

But whether it’s better or worse than it once was, it’s still amazing; we found a huge amount that was inspiring and that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. 

There are the mystical brothers of Solakzade. The inspiring creative team at 45R. The ridiculous archives at McCoy’s. In the mountains we saw experimental mash-ups of loopwheel and Sinker knitting technology, while in the city there were the most beautiful shoes, great new tailoring and knives and brushes and jewellery. It was a feast. 

Please hold any questions until the respective articles are out. I always like the way the questions add new dimensions to an article, expanding it in the directions the readers find most interesting and useful. No point wasting that now.

But I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone that hosted us, kindly made introductions, and translated. Ethan, Kent, Adrian, Christopher and Naka, Seiji and Yohei, it wouldn’t have been anything like as fruitful without you. We are in your debt.

I hope you enjoy the upcoming coverage. And in the meantime, the previous pieces were:


Video: Carl and Oliver of Rubato, in conversation

Video: Carl and Oliver of Rubato, in conversation

Friday, April 21st 2023
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One of the things I enjoy about this series is the way each conversation drifts onto grander topics. Even though many of the people are similar, and the questions don’t vary too much, we always end up discussing abstract, interesting ideas. 

With Oliver and Carl of Rubato, those ideas included how a style becomes timeless - why certain traditions like Ivy style are so consistently reinvented, and resonate in different cultures. And how much you want to define your brand - why they don’t like to be considered Swedish, but why some definitions and labels are inevitable. 

I think you’ll really enjoy it. For the first time I’ve also included a contents for the video, below, where you can see the topics we discuss. This will hopefully help you work out which sections you’ll find most interesting, and help find those sections later on. 

As ever, thank you to Mortimer House for hosting us, and to all the lovely PS readers who attended on the night, and made Oliver and Carl so welcome.




  • 1:10 – How they started the brand
  • 3:00 – Trying to find a knitwear manufacturer
  • 7:00 – The cut of the knits
  • 11:00 – Making in Japan and product development
  • 14:00 – The style, the vibe, of Rubato
  • 18:00 – The first photoshoot, clothing and art
  • 23:00 – Ivy style, without the baggage
  • 27:00 – Swedish style
  • 37:00 – Being labelled
  • 41:00 – Question: Advice on starting a brand
  • 47:00 – Question: Knitwear for life
  • 49:30 – Question: Being your own customer
  • 53:20 – Question: Does London have its own style?
  • 55:20 – Question: Would you ever do tailoring?

Previous interviews in the series:

The history of New York bespoke tailoring: An introduction with Bruce and Alan

The history of New York bespoke tailoring: An introduction with Bruce and Alan

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* This article is the first in a series that will look at New York bespoke over the years*

By Manish Puri.

In the 1956 version of the song New York’s My Home, Sammy Davis Jr. is eager to address the crazy rumour that some foolhardy New Yorkers are considering leaving town. He concedes that Chicago is “alright” and is willing to accept that San Francisco “is a lovely place”. But, in a rattling and light-hearted smackdown, he makes it known what all those other cities lack:

“It hasn't got the hansoms in the park / It hasn't got a skyline after dark
It hasn't got the handy subway train / You seldom find a taxi when it rains
It hasn't got the opera in The Met / It hasn't got a famous string quartet”

And that, ladies, and gentlemen, is why New York is his home, sweet home.


Sammy Davis Jr. in Manhattan - Burt Glinn (1959)

However, one thing Sammy doesn’t list as a virtue of New York is bespoke tailoring.

Now that could just be because it’s very difficult to rhyme “it hasn’t got a well-established, diverse range of artisans making quality bespoke.”

Or it could be that this magnificent metropolis (and, by the way, if the medical community ever wanted definitive evidence that a person can be literally bored to death, just watch me to talk to someone for an hour about how much I love New York City), relative to London at least, doesn’t have the bespoke tailoring history, the longevity of names, or the sheer weight of numbers one might expect.


Cary Grant (1957) – A customer of many of the great New York tailors

Which, of course, isn’t to say there weren’t (or aren’t) brilliant craftspeople forging their own identity and style in the New World. It’s just their stories are afforded less prominence than those of the houses of Savile Row or the sartoria of Naples.

I’d like to help address this through a series of articles that will dive into the history of New York bespoke– a continuation of a process Simon began with this compilation of tailors working in the city today, and, more recently, his bespoke review of Paolo Martorano. In future pieces, I’ll look in detail at some of the most venerated.

However, to help set the scene, we could think of no better authorities than G. Bruce Boyer and Alan Flusser who were most generous in sharing their recollections of the scene, their take on who some of the most influential names were, and what remains today.


Bruce Boyer and Alan Flusser out and about in New York

On the scene in its heyday

Alan Flusser (AF): Like any menswear capital, while generally deferential to all things Savile Row, Manhattan was host to a lively community of European-trained bench tailors as well as those bred on the East Coast carriage trade. The sixties saw many of them retire as upstarts like myself came onto the scene.

  1. Bruce Boyer (BB): I came on the New York scene in 1973 when I started writing for Town & Country about men's clothing. The majority of tailors were Italian, with a few British representatives.

On the options for a sartorial man about town

AF: Those was the days when a typical, sartorially capable male would have started at Brooks Brothers and gotten that very, very special grounding in taste and attitude about the way clothes should look and feel.

And then Paul Stuart was the next step because, in the sixties and seventies, they made shaped clothes – which women loved because it made men look sexier and thinner and younger.

And then the question of where you were going to go next, depended on the personality of the person. You were either going to get something custom made or you were going to wear a Pierre Cardin suit (who I worked for in the early seventies). It wasn’t as good quality as Brooks Brothers or Paul Stuart, but it had cachet, it had a look to it.


Print ad for Paul Stuart (1960)

On the most celebrated names of New York bespoke/custom

BB: At that time, and over the next half century the most significant names in individualised tailoring were William Fioravanti, Morty Sills, Piero Dimitri, Henry Stewart, Dunhill Tailors, Roland Meledandri, Leonard Logsdail, Bernard Weatherill, Alan Flusser, Vincent Nicolosi, Cheo, Mimmo Spano, Nino Corvato, and Gilberto.

Of course, Spano and Flusser were not tailors, they were stylists, but Alan probably introduced more men here to personalised clothing than anyone, and Mimmo Spano started off working for Alan.


Fioravanti in his Manhattan studio

On William Fioravanti

BB: Bill Fioravanti was the most expensive (if he were in business today, his suits would probably start at about $10,000) and most successful tailor in NYC, with the largest number of tailors on premise, around 20.

His house style was similar to what Brioni in Rome was doing in that period. In the early seventies he designed what was called The Power Look, an architectural silhouette streamlined to a hard glamour with straight, high shoulders, a close waist and hipline, narrow sleeves and trousers. It was very clean. No wrinkles were permitted to mar the image of complete confidence for the successful executive businessman.

AF: Very charming guy. Bill made handmade clothing, but not in the tradition of England, in the tradition of Rome. And Bill's bailiwick was that he made very fitted clothes - Italian fitted clothes – with an overall purpose to make somebody look thin. So, clothes were cut in such a way that they gave you a much leaner line to everything.


Brooks Brothers suits (Spring 1955)

It wasn't a place that, by Hollywood or men's fashion standards, you'd think well-dressed men go, because it butted up against traditional American notions (from Brooks Brothers) that you don't want to see a guy who's been compressed into a suit and there's no wrinkles, etc. So it was a style of clothing that kind of fought, to a degree, with traditional American architecture.

But the quality of what he made was legitimate. And especially in the early days, you couldn't buy a ready-made suit that looked like that - nobody was selling it.

BB: A few years ago, I was in Bill’s atelier, and one of his customers came in - this guy was the president of a very large American bank. He said to me, "Mr. Boyer, do you know why I wear Fioravanti's clothes?" I wanted to say, "Because God gave you too much money?" But I didn't, I said, "Why?” And he said, "Because when I walk into the boardroom, I want everybody to understand, even before I open my mouth, who's in charge here. And his clothes do that for me." There was a great truth in that, all the way around.


Truman Capote in a Dunhill Tailors dinner suit (1966)

On Dunhill Tailors

BB: Not to be confused with the English firm of the same name – Dunhill Tailors was run by two brothers from Pennsylvania. They made a good team because one had the better eye for design and the other for business.

Dunhill Tailors was popular for almost half a century with the EEE (Eastern Elite Establishment) who wanted no-nonsense tailoring of high quality and tasteful styling. The house style was mid-Atlantic, a bit of Ivy mixed with a bit of British and characterised by a middle-of-the-road philosophy of everything in moderation.

Quiet yet stylish, well-made, well-fitted garments that spoke softly but carried a lot of weight.


Richard Roundtree wearing Morty Sills for the film Shaft (1971)

On Morty Sills

AF: Morty was this very avuncular and down-to-earth man. He had the young Wall Street, Master-of-the-Universe guy. And, as a matter of fact, even though I did the clothes in Wall Street the movie, I think Michael Douglas tells Charlie Sheen to go to Morty Sills and get some clothes.

BB: Morty became an iconic name in town among young executives who wanted something a bit more sophisticated than Ivy style. Morty once told me his ideal was Fred Astaire, and he more or less copied Astaire's look: an Ivy-styled coat but with subtle shape, small extended shoulder, soft chest and nipped waist, flared skirt with side vents, moderate lapels and sleeves that tapered at the wrist.

AF: He was a Fred Astaire-phile because he looked a little bit like Astaire, same body. He liked fitted clothes, a natural shoulder type which a lot of people were starting to experiment with. Paul Stuart had introduced a soft shoulder, two-button coat - that was a big deal. Ralph Lauren was also coming on with a soft shouldered, fitted coat.

BB: It was a hybrid of Savile Row and Princeton, taking the best of both and constructing a comfortable, stylish, and slightly casual look; an elegantly balanced silhouette, nothing over- or under-wrought. He had a clientele of young lawyers, stockbrokers, entrepreneurs, and a few confident celebrities who would have shopped at Dick Carroll's if they were on the West Coast.


Lee Marvin wearing Henry Stewart for the film Gorky Park (1983)

On Henry Stewart

AF: Henry was probably the most traditional tailor out of the conventional Savile Row experience.

And he had very trained Savile Row taste. That means that he understood, as an example, if you made a Glen plaid black and white suit, you used grey thread that disappeared - that's a Savile Row trademark. As opposed to America, where, if we had a black and white coat, somebody would put on a black buttonhole and then you'd be able to see the buttonhole.

BB: Suits were upright and well-constructed, shaped with layers of infrastructure and made to stay that way. Stewart was surgically adept and knew all the tricks, all the ways of giving a man whose shoulders were shaped like a burgundy bottle a square cut silhouette and give a concave chest some muscle.

He once showed me a coat he'd made for a man who had a hip removed; the one side pocket had been lined with extra layers of cloth to fill in the missing space.

AF: He had an interesting way of drumming up business. He would periodically declare that he was retiring - like a Rolling Stones farewell tour. Everybody understood after two or three times that probably wasn't going to happen, but they would buy a suit.


Meledandri (standing) with a customer (1969)

On Roland Meledandri

AF: Roland Meledandri was his own invention.

He made wide-lapel suits, long or even open collar shirts, and wide ties. And this guy, who was literally pencil thin, was wearing clothing which fit within an inch of his life. But the proportions of the clothing were completely different to where everybody else was going.

BB: Roland may have been the most influential tailor in NYC in the second half of the Twentieth Century, if for nothing else than - and this is an oft-told tale in the NY garment district - that he inspired Ralph Lauren's favourite coat silhouette.

AF: Roland was kind of the model, at the time, for what Ralph became (and in my book, Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion, I think I devote a half a page or so to Roland). He was really the first designer, because his look was a designed look. He had real taste - it was a little bit more Italianised than Ralph, who was more Anglified. And he was the first person to feature Ralph's ties at retail.

And, to a certain degree, he was a model for my own custom tailor business. Cause he was a guy who didn't come from menswear, but you looked at him and you just wanted to dress like him.


Ralph Lauren with his ties (1967)

BB: Roland hated the understated campus clothes of the Old Wasps and developed his own sense of what sophisticated guys should wear, based on influences from Fred Astaire to Mr Fish. He liked wider ties and colourful shirts with larger collars, colourful tweed jackets and bold-striped flannel suits in winter and gabardine suits in summer.

He took a trad coat and lowered the two-button stance, widened the lapels two inches, deepened the vents the same amount, nipped in the waist and flared the skirt, and straightened the shoulder line a touch for a more rakish look. Trousers were narrow and pleatless, some had Western pockets.

AF: Walking into Roland’s was really, for some people, like walking into 346 Madison Avenue at Brooks. I mean, it was really the centre. I think probably the only reason Roland didn't become much larger was that he didn't give a shit what you thought. It was his way or the highway. And his way was generally the right way because he had created this look.


A Piero Dimitri suit - GQ (September 1983)

On Piero Dimitri

BB: Piero was a young Italian tailor, from Sicily I think, who brought a decidedly fashionable approach in Manhattan. He preferred to cater to high-end celebrities - I once had a nice chat with Robert Evans, the film producer, at Piero's atelier - who weren't afraid to order a dozen jackets or suits at a time.

The house style was narrow and lean with a small soft shoulder and chest, the body narrowing to a close waist and hips. Sleeves were narrow and the preferred style was minimalist with no pocket flaps or vents. Trousers were narrow, Dimitri liked full top pockets and a low-slung waistband.

It was styled closer to what the Neapolitan tailors of the day were producing. Elegant, youthful, and international haute couture for men with taste and money.


Denzel Washington wearing Leonard Logsdail for the film American Gangster (2007)

On Leonard Logsdail

BB: Leonard is a London-trained tailor who came to NYC in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century and has carved out a spot for himself as the most prestigious bespoke maker in town, we might say in the whole country.

The house style is quietly tasteful and Mid-Atlantic, the beauty being in the subtlety of shaping and design. Shoulders are moderate and imperceptibly sloped, waists are curved inward and skirts gently flared outward, sleeves unobtrusively tapered, the coat's middle button sits at the waist and the lapels widen to the perfect pitch and width.

He also has something of a specialty with gentlemen who want hunting kit such as Norfolk tweed jackets with plus fours and shooting cape or waistcoat, for that little shooting box in Scotland or somewhere in Texas.


Leonard Logsdail in his Manhattan studio

On who remains

AF: Most of the tailors we're talking about were older - sixties. So, they were coming to retirement around the same time as this casualisation of clothes occurred.

And most of the tailors didn't have a feel for fashion. They were people trained on a bench and from a working-class background. They were set up to do classic, Savile Row-esque clothes. The idea of making something that didn't have a structure or making shirt-sleeve shoulders - it's just not something they knew. Even if they knew how to make it, they didn't understand what kind of fabrics they needed.

BB: Apart from Logsdail, none of these men are left. If the name is being used, the business has changed. This is inevitable because great tailoring firms are made by great tailors, tailors not only of incomparable skill, but of vision and personality.

The vision comes into play when the tailor sees the style of the zeitgeist before him. When he understands how his potential customers want to appear, when he can translate their dreams of themselves into cloth coverings. For the past 50 years more and more men (and some women) who think about such things have gone into design rather than craft.


Subway - Bruce Davidson (1980)

Bruce Boyer’s new book RIFFS: Random Reflections on Jazz, Blues and Early Rock is scheduled for publication in late spring/early summer.

Alan Flusser’s most recent book Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion is out now.

Manish is @The_Daily_Mirror on Instagram


A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

Monday, April 17th 2023
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My day begins around 6:30am, when my three-year-old starts shouting over the monitor that she wants to get up. That’s my job, in the highly organised division-of-labour that is our family life. I have to coax her out of her pyjamas and downstairs for breakfast. Fast enough that she won’t get hungry and upset, but not so forced that she’ll just get plain upset. 

The older children emerge about 7am, and are much more self-sufficient. My role is largely to stay out of the way as they prepare lunch, have their cereal, and go through minor panics about missing maths books. 

It’s probably only when everyone leaves the house that readers will care what I do - or at least, those two readers that requested an article about my working day. 

I always do comments before I leave the house. Having showered and shaved, I’ll sit down to my desk about 8:30 and go through them, publishing and replying. There are normally between 20 and 30 overnight. It gets my mind whirring - thoughts on the current post, on old posts, suggestions for new posts. 

Since Covid, I’m usually in town (central London) three days a week. The rest of the time I’m at home, although I always end up spending a good 2-3 hours working in local cafes - I'd go stir crazy otherwise. 

Appointments get allocated to the town days. And frankly those are a lot more interesting than the home days, so I’ll run through a typical one of those. 

Get dressed, usually in an outfit I’ve considered the night before. It stresses me out if I do it in the morning. Casual tailoring or smart casual (as described here) depending on appointments. 

Get the train. Work on the train. I’ve never managed to kick the habit of working when commuting. I think it started when we had two small kids and I was effectively doing two jobs: every minute counted and I could never just sit reading a book. That’s left for the evening, when it feels like everything else has been done. 

So I sit on the overground from East Dulwich to London Bridge, answering social media comments and perhaps beginning an article. 

I’d never write a full piece on my phone, but the start is always the hardest and there’s something about travelling - without the pressure of sitting down at a desk in front of a blank screen - that makes it easier. 

One or two appointments are always around Savile Row. Others are likely to be up on Chiltern Street, which is a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute (hire-bike) cycle. Choice depends on weather. 

A couple of weeks ago, my day started at Gaziano & Girling, seeing Tony about a pair of bespoke loafers that he was attempting to stretch. Frankly they were always a bit tight, but I’ve really only learned in recent years to value comfort more, and these could definitely be more comfortable. 

These appointments often feel like a weird mix of personal and professional. I’m essentially a consumer, doing whatever a consumer would do, but I also know that most things will end up being covered on PS, and the brand is aware of that too.

It’s not quite shopping for a living, but it’s not far off - and I never stop being thankful for having that as a job.

Appointments like this are personal in another way too, which is that Tony and I have known each other for quite a few years. We know what’s going on in each other’s lives, and we care enough to ask. 

Of course, any customer of bespoke will often end up having a similar relationship with their makers, and that’s a truly lovely part of it. It makes the world feel like a warmer place - like knowing your neighbours. 

My other appointment that morning was seeing George and Tom at The Valet - the dry cleaning, pressing and shoe service that has now moved to the Piccadilly Arcade.

They'e starting an alterations service, so I was trying it out by widening a pair of flannels. Panico made me two pairs with a flannel suit (above), so I thought it would be interesting to have one in a wider cut. It might go with the very roomy jacket; then again, it may not. 

Like the G&G stretching, this is the kind of thing that could become an article on PS, or simply an update to the Clothing Resources page

Finally, I popped into Anderson & Sheppard and Adret, in a continuation of the shopping-as-a-job. Wonderfully, a reader in A&S recognised me and said hello. This seems to happen more these days - perhaps every other day on average - though I have no idea why.

It has happened enough, however, for me to realise what a feedback opportunity it is. So I ask the reader what he likes in particular, and what we could do better. Turns out he likes the expansion into more casual clothing, and would like more of the 'how to buy quality' pieces. Duly noted.

Ever since I quit my journalism job to do PS full time, I've been a member of Mortimer House, the upscale co-working club just north of Oxford Circus. 

It's a nice place to be, and I've been there long enough that most of the staff know my name. (I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.) 

I'll normally go there for a few hours, and one day a week Lucas and I usually meet and work alongside each other. We used to just do catch-ups over the phone, but somehow when you're sitting next to each other, you remember loads of little things you meant to mention, or wanted an opinion on. 

It's my tiny slice of office working: I'm sure readers that have gone back to the office, at least in part, will be able to relate. 

Lucas (above) looks after the shop side of PS, so the things we catch up on include such thrill-a-minute topics as packages that have gone missing, bugs with Shopify, and size splits for a knitwear order. All the glamour of fashion. 

I keep an eye on comments throughout this time, and manage to finish my article - though it takes almost as long to select the images, resize them, name them, format the article, tag it, schedule it and add hyperlinks. It is my dearest wish that WordPress would open links in a new window by default; it would save me several days a year. 

The next day my to-do list includes reviewing the quarterly VAT return and sending monthly invoices. I guess it's nice though - healthy even - to have admin tasks as a balance to the shoots and shopping. 

Otherwise if all I did was swan around, it might all go to my head. Can you imagine? 

Last stop of the day is Cromford on Chiltern Street, where I need to shoot fur hats they've been making. 

To do that, I've carried another outfit in my big Clegg tote, and of course now have an altered pair of trousers with me too. That's why - when anyone meets me in town - I always seem to be lugging big bags of clothes around. 

And, I'm often wearing clothes that are entirely inappropriate for the season, because we're shooting ahead of time and I want to minimise how much I have to carry. Like below, wearing a coat over summer trousers and tennis shoes...

Having stood in doorways and against walls for half an hour, as well as crossed a street seven times until it looked 'natural', I'm going home from Baker Street.

On the way I manage not to work, and spend half the time listening to Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won, half reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Both are beautiful. 

Nothing much to say about the rest of the day, except I'm sure many fathers will relate to the experience of coming home to a bright, warm house in the evening, full of the voices of people you love. 

My highlights in the evening are doing the washing up with my 14-year-old - while playing each other music we like - and reading The Lord of The Rings to the 12-year-old at bedtime. 

Oh, and I check comments once more. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself. 

Thank you for this excuse to describe and reflect. If anyone has any reflections of their own, or of course any questions, as ever please add them below.

Reader Profile: Jeff

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Jeff Hilliard is Director of Limited Editions at Hodinkee, the watch magazine/empire in New York. But he used to work at The Armoury, until 2017, and then did two years at Mr Porter. So while not strictly working in menswear today, he is certainly menswear adjacent. 

This makes him different to the kinds of readers we normally feature, but I think in an interesting way. How do people in an industry like watches - which is driven by many similar ideas of aesthetics and craft - tend to dress? I’ve been thinking about this as I bump up against industries like interiors and architecture recently too. 

Jeff is also just a great guy, very laid back, and I’ve always liked his perspective on clothing. So it was fun chewing over things like maturing style, or how we consciously play with the effect clothes have on people around us. 


Outfit 1:

  • Jacket: Made to measure by Ring Jacket
  • Trousers: Bespoke by Ambrosi 
  • Rollneck: William Lockie
  • Loafers: Made to order by Spigola
  • Sunglasses: Celine
  • Watch: Merci LMM-01 ‘Nationale’

Hey Jeff. So what’s the dress code like for you now, at Hodinkee? Is it anything like Mr Porter, or your days at The Armoury?

Well I still wear a lot of tailoring, just because it’s what I like. I wore ties less when I was at Mr Porter, but I was still in tailoring 90% of the time. I was one of the few people that was - in an office of 130 people - but the dress code was just, look nice, look good. You were in a place that’s about clothes, so everyone dressed well but had their own style. 

And you weren’t customer facing right?

No. We’d have events a few times a year that we hosted, but even then there was no dress code - the events were for VIP clients, and they’d just expect us to have a view on clothes, to have a style, rather than dress a particular way. In fact, the majority of staff at Mr Porter were personal shoppers in some way, so having style but also a broad awareness was essential. 

And at Hodinkee?

There are more people in tailoring definitely, maybe 10% or 20%, but my boss or I will be the only ones wearing a suit or tie - it’s mostly separates. I think the fact that I still wear tailoring so much shows how much of my personality is rooted in it. 

You were working in the office full time at this point?

Yes this was before Covid. During lockdown I got more into a sweater-and-jeans routine - I couldn’t wear sweats, that would make me feel like I hadn’t got up. But actually, the thing I realised after lockdown, when I started dressing up again, was how slim I used to have everything cut. 

And I hate skinny suits, mine were never that close-fitting. But everyone just got used to being more relaxed, and I’ve started wearing fuller fits as a result. I think that was a positive to come out of lockdown - in tailoring you get so used to thinking this is the one way, the only way to wear something, but clothing isn’t like that.

When does this suit date from? 

This is an old Ring Jacket, with trousers from Ambrosi. But even though it’s a fairly bold pattern, I think it reflects how I wear tailoring mostly these days: there’s no pocket square, no suspenders, no extraneous detail; everything’s a lot simpler. 

Is that preference for simplicity related to lockdown, or does it pre-date that?

I think it’s a general trend over time: dressing more simply, taking pleasure in things like textures or silhouettes. People say this happens with most people that collect things, clothes or watches or anything. Over time they become simpler, maybe more refined.

But the sunglasses are fairly punchy?

Yes, I guess maybe sunglasses are different because they’re practical, everyone has them. These are actually women’s ones from Celine - I tried a pair that my girlfriend had and really liked them. They’re slightly ‘cat eye’ in shape, but it’s subtle. They just look like a fairly big, chunky frame. 

If you look back at the guys we admire, from the 30s to the 50s, they often expressed themselves with accessories rather than the rest of their clothes. The suits would be plain, but they’d have interesting gloves maybe; Cary Grant sometimes wore these big sunglasses.


Outfit 2:

  • Jacket: Bespoke by Sartoria Corcos
  • Trousers: Bespoke by Ambrosi
  • Knit: Rubato
  • Shoes: Michael model from Paraboot
  • Watch: Merci LMM-01 ‘Nationale’

Do you have many things by Corcos?

No, this is my first, but I’m having anything new made by him now. I was so impressed by his technique. I particularly appreciate a good fit on the back of the neck, and I think only him and Liverano have got that right - and Corcos first time. 

I wouldn’t get rid of many of my other things though. Those from Liverano, from Panico. I have some pretty wild things from Panico, just big everywhere - one DB has lapels that shoot off the shoulders. It’s for when you just want to say ‘screw you’.

Have you always had your trousers made by Ambrosi?

Yes ever since the Armoury days. I always have the same model, the same cuffs, same waistband. And the fit is always perfect. These days I just send Salva the cloths I want and wait to receive them, no fitting or anything required. 

I’m pretty unusual with my suits also, like that first outfit, in that I’d have the trousers made by Ambrosi, even if the jacket was by someone like Ring Jacket. I’d get Salva to buy the cloth and make the trousers, then I’d give the extra cloth personally to Ring. One of the advantages of working in a menswear store.

I guess this is all pretty classic menswear except the shoes. 

Yeah the Michael has become pretty fashionable lately, though I’ve had mine for five years or more. I think they reflect my urge to always play around with things, not just to do the normal and expected. Maybe that’s a result of being exposed to so much clothing over the years as well - it can make you a little restless. 

And the sweater over the shoulders has its own associations - I guess it’s seen the same way in New York as it would be in London?

You’re still going to look like a rich asshole if that’s what you mean! The knit is from Rubato and I like how those guys wear them, but I’m aware there will always be connotations. When we were changing for this shoot I came out of the shop and a bunch of workmen on the street started jeering!

I like playing with that kind of thing though - again when you’ve been around clothes a long time, you’re very aware of the effect different things have, but just because something stands out, or has negative associations, it doesn’t mean you stop wearing it. Sometimes you enjoy playing with those effects; other days you don’t. 


Outfit 3:

  • Coat: Bespoke by Tailor Caid
  • Knitted shirt: Stoffa
  • Knitted cardigan: Stoffa
  • Trousers: Carhartt
  • Cap: Smithsonian
  • Shoes: Paraboot
  • Watch: Rolex 124060 Submariner
  • Sunglasses: Nackymade

So my eye immediately goes to the layered knits here - are they both Stoffa?

Yes I got them both recently from Nick [Ragosta, Stoffa], and for a bit I wasn’t sure how to wear the walnut one underneath. I think you’ve written about this - that the weight makes it a little light for a knit, but it’s also quite soft and thick for a shirt. 

I decided to wear it just like I would a regular polo, so under a cardigan like this, and if it were tucked in I don’t think you’d notice much difference from a regular polo until you got close. It’s too layers of cashmere though, so it is pretty warm.

I like the Tailor Caid coat, is that typical of his designs?

It’s pretty much what he does, like you can see the multiple seams on the bottom hem and he does a lot of herringbones. But some of the design was actually modeled after an image I had, - not that old, maybe the 2000s. 

The coat had this great, quite pointed peak, and a separation between the lapel and notch, almost like a fish mouth. He’s a great designer, so it’s easy to work with him on ideas like that. And it’s one of those things no one else will probably notice. The half-cuff is like that too. 

This outfit is most similar to how I dress day to day. It’s casual but there’s always a bit of tailoring. 

Are you a Yankees fan?

No, I’m from Chicago so this is kind of sacrilegious! I was at the Smithsonian a few years ago and saw this wool cap, and it was so nice, it’s worn in really well too, bent and beaten up in a different way to how a cotton one would be.Something about it works better with tailoring than a regular baseball cap as well.

The shoes are a little weird, like the other Paraboots in a way; it’s their take on a camp moc. I got them at CHCM - Sweetu [Patel] has such a great range, he’s my go-to when I want to step a little outside my comfort, find something different. 

They came with two sets of laces - leather laces by default, but also this set that I swapped them for, with the little cinch on the top. I regularly get asked what’s going on there. Though if I’m completely honest I like them because I hate tying shoes as well. You’ll see most of the shoes I wear don’t have laces because I’m just lazy. 

Cheers Jeff, and nice to see at the New York pop-up. Hopefully see you again later this year. 

Thanks Simon, you too. 

Photography: Christopher Fenimore

The practicality of a sweater over the shoulders

The practicality of a sweater over the shoulders

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Wearing a sweater over the shoulders has a lot of negative connotations. But if you can get away with it - because of your style, of where you are, or just because of your personality - it’s incredibly practical.

This suit I wore at Pitti earlier in the year is a good example. The weather - like today in the UK - was cold in the morning and evening, but warm in the day in the sunshine. You’d feel silly carrying a coat over your arm all day, but freeze at night with just a jacket. 

The knit provides several options. Draped across the shoulders, it provides a surprising amount of warmth; if thin enough, it can be worn under the jacket; when the temperature drops, it can be tied closely around the neck, with the jacket buttoned and perhaps collar popped; and if not needed at all, it’s easier to carry in a bag than a coat. 

The difference in warmth between no knit, draped (above) and tied around the neck (below) is substantial. I had a cashmere watch cap in my bag too, as further back up. 

The look has negative connotations mainly because it’s associated with a certain upper-class elitism - with the East Coast establishment in the US, a Sloaney type in the UK. 

It’s a shame, because the look is both practical and stylish - the perfect menswear combination. It’s not only perfect for layering but provides another accessory, a colour and a texture, to play with in a tieless and hankless outfit. 

Here, the heavy cream-cashmere of my Saman Amel knit compliments the deep colour of the brown cord suit. The cream is related - but different in tone and texture - to the vintage white workshirt. Add black shoes and a black belt, and the overall look is subtle but detailed. 

You could do something similar with a cream scarf, but in some ways that would seem more unusual, not less, and wouldn’t have the same easy, relaxed feel. 

So if you like the look, how can you go about avoiding the connotations?

One easy way is to stand out less by using a darker colour - such as a charcoal here. Another is to drape the knit, rather than tying it, as I do above, though that isn’t quite as practical as having it tied. 

If you do tie it, you can do so roughly and not fuss with it - have it slightly to one side, one sleeve longer than the other and so on. Of course, this is sprezzatura, that much misunderstood term that refers to giving the impression of not trying, despite trying rather hard. 

There has also been a recent streetwear trend of tying a sweatshirt diagonally across the body, but to me this looks more artificial still, being a trend. Though it is worth noting that a sweatshirt is probably easier to wear than a luxe piece of knitw