Most of us have more clothes than we need, and while there’s always that temptation to get more, the truth is only a small portion of our wardrobes make up our everyday wear. Vogue ran a story about this earlier this year, where they asked their editors which pieces they pull out most often from their mountain of options. I decided to pose the same question to some of my favorite people in the menswear industry. With what we assume are ginormous wardrobes in their closets, what clothes do they truly wear on a daily basis? Yesterday we covered four modern style icons – here’s a look at the personal daily habits of four more.
Michael Hill, Creative Director at Drake’s
The things I reach for the most aren’t terribly interesting, but hopefully they come together in an interesting way. I mostly wear my unlined suede chukkas and unlined shell cordovan penny loafers from Alden. I like grey flannels and heavy corduroys a lot. I mostly wear long-point, oxford-cloth button-downs, particularly in blue and white stripes. Ties tend to be either blue or green. I love tweed jackets. I have two in solid navy and solid green, but the others are patterned sport coats in earthy browns.
The one thing that might be unusual is my love for cotton suits, particularly in bright blues and drab olives. Wool is a wonderful fiber – it keeps its shape, it has a spring to it, and it can look well pressed. I love cotton suits for all the reason why people hate them. They’re stiff, they crumple, the color fades. I can picture my cotton suit sitting on the end of my rail at home now. The way the sleeves curl, it looks like my arms are in them, and the sleeves will probably stay like that even after the jacket has been cleaned. If you get one in a heavy drill cotton, the fabric almost moulds to your body. That’s the wonderful thing about cotton suits. They’re casual and age with you, much like a good pair of jeans.
I also love my M-65 jacket. I wear it over tailored clothing, but also casually. It’s an easy go-to and great for travel. There are so many big pockets, you almost don’t even need a bag. I live on a farm out in the countryside in Devonshire, so waxed cotton Barbour jackets and bucket hats are useful.
There are also some things here and there I usually reach for on the weekend. A pair of taupe-colored needlecord pants I bought in Japan; some Chromexcel moccasins from the New England Outerwear Company, which have these rubber outsoles. They’re such brilliant casual pieces. I wear a lot of sturdy knitwear, such as Shetlands and sweatshirts. I don’t like knits that feel too luxurious and fine. One odd thing about sweatshirts is that I don’t like them in the more classic grey. My wife wears my grey ones now, but the color doesn’t work for me. I’m too pasty. Instead, I like them in olive and indigo.
Lastly, I have a few nice watches, but I mostly just wear things from Swatch. I have a few semi-translucent ones in bright colors such as green, yellow, and orange. I also have a few solid colors as well. I love when they do the really simple ones in solid colors. Yellow is my favorite color, but it doesn’t do well against my skin. I think I can away with it on my wrist though.
Ethan Newton, Co-Founder of Bryceland’s
My day-to-day wardrobe changes according to where I am, but I always have a few things that I call my sartorial comfort food.
The first is a Stetson Stratoliner from the 1950s. As a big baldy with a tendency to squint his eyes and get sunburnt, I’m rarely without a lid on my noggin. And while I have some amazing custom pieces from a few great makers, there’s something about this soft, broken-down piece of Silverbelly Beaver that I can’t seem to replicate. I wear it with everything from three-pieces suits to rayon shirts paired with denim and boots. Its versatility comes from never being too perfectly matched with whatever I’m wearing.
I also get a lot of wear out of my navy blazer. The idea of a staple navy jacket has been repeated ad-nauseam, but the simple fact is that it really is useful. I have a full-handed, reasonably heavy jacket made in a basket-weave Sportex fabric by Dormeuil. The fabric’s crunch and solidity make it perfect for everything from grey flannels and wide-waled, wheat cords, to my favorite P44 USMC cargos and busted-down 501s. If I had the time, I would get another navy sport coat in Fox Flannel’s amazing 430g
basket-weave jacketing – a fabric that has such structure that it seems
to always fall like iron.
Finally, I’m always carrying my world around with me, from my smokes to my camera to whatever book I’m reading at the time. I use our Bryceland’s leather tote for these purposes, which is based off a vintage L.L. Bean tote my business partner Kenji found. It’s simply built from a soft, but sturdy leather, and the tan color works well with black or brown accessories. It’s simple, rugged, and utilitarian – what I hope as a brand we stand for – and the simplicity of the design lends itself well to customization. I’ve adorned mine with vintage silver pieces and a bandana at the handle.
George Wang, Founder of BRIO
I think most people buy for versatility, but people in the clothing trade often have much more extensive wardrobes. Still, we live in the real world and often fall into a repetitive lifestyle, just like everyone else. Only a small portion of my wardrobe is used on a daily basis.
In the spring and summer months, I wear a lot of cotton and linen button-down shirts, as well as open-weave voile shirts in light blue. My most used jackets tend to be navy single- and double-breasted sport coats. They pair well with gray Fresco trousers, which are useful given how hot summers can get in Beijing. Beige is also a great summer color. I wear a cream silk-linen sport coat with navy trousers, as well as beige linen trousers with navy jackets. Blue cotton suits can also be great.
To dress down tailored clothing, I like long-sleeved knitted polos. They work in either light or dark colors. And on weekends, I’m usually just in sweats, shorts, or jeans. For shoes, I mostly rely on my unlined, brown calfskin Edward Green penny loafers and shell cordovan Alden loafers – either tassels or pennies.
Naturally, fall and winter are about heavier fabrics. I wear a lot of tweed once the weather gets cold – sport coats in green Game Keepers tweed, brown herringbone tweed, and grey Donegal tweed. Navy serge blazer is nice for a slightly sharper, crisper look. Trousers tend to be either grey flannel or beige cavalry twill. If I need to wear suits for business, it’s usually a grey thornproof single-breasted suit this time of year, or a heavy, blue worsted double-breasted.
There are also just some things I find are useful for both keeping warm and looking stylish. A thick, rollneck sweater in either cream or navy; a waxed cotton Barbour jacket. If I need a coat to throw over tailored clothing, it’s usually my grey herringbone Ulster coat or camel-colored polo. I have a Woolrich arctic parka I rely on a lot for weekends. Shoes are still mostly Alden, but I also wear my brown suede oxfords from Edward Green a lot. They go well with suits.
Gabriel Öberg Bustad, Manager at Skoaktiebolaget
Unfortunately, when trying to describe my personal style, I find my description often sounds dull and lacking in personality. Nevertheless, I like classic and conservative clothing, typically with muted, subtle colors and few (if any) patterns or details standing out. I love balance and harmony in my clothing, and look for things that are in keeping with my calm personality. I love to have the opportunity to work with skilled craftsmen and women who enhance my good sides and assist me in hiding or mitigating my not-so-good sides.
Summers are short here in Northern Europe, so I’ve prioritized my fall and winter wardrobe. For comfort and style, I can’t stress enough how useful it is to have a classic, double-breasted overcoat in navy. I have one from Sartoria Corcos in Florence, Italy, which is made from a wool-cashmere blend overcoating. The blend gives the fabric a softer touch, but it’s still insulating enough for our Scandinavian weather. I’m a huge fan of trench coats for the same purposes, particularly for fall. I own four of them in different colors.
For sport coats, I find my brown houndstooth sport coat is very versatile. It’s made from a cashmere fabric woven by Zegna. I wear it with mid-gray wool flannel trousers and brown, apron-toe derbies from Saint Crispin’s (it’s their 633 model). The three are easy to wear, classic, and stylish, and look great together or with other things.