Life Skills

Spring ‘24 Highlights – Permanent Style

  • Apr 24, 2024
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Spring ‘24 Highlights – Permanent Style

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

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

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

Buck Mason Rambler suede jacket


My size: Large (size up)

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

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

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

Rubato Roper shirt


My size: Medium (normal size)

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

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

Novesta Marathon trainers

My size: 44 (size up)

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

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

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

New & Lingwood band-collar shirt


My size: Medium (normal size)

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

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

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

Drake’s cotton-twill Games Blazer


My size: 40 (normal size)

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

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

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

Saman Amel City Moc (and Quoddy/Beige)


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

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

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

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

Silver Ostrich ostrich-leather belt


My size: 90 (normal size)

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

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

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