Life Skills

The Suede Overshirt – Permanent Style

  • May 18, 2024
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The Suede Overshirt – Permanent Style

A few readers have asked over the years about a suede overshirt on PS – particularly following the series of articles we did this time last year, on jacket substitutes like overshirts, chores and tebas

So when we visited the suede workshop Rifugio in Naples last year (above), I began the process of talking to them about making an overshirt together. I had known Rifugio through the designer brands they made for, but that was my first exposure to their own work, and it was impressive. 

From the start, we had two key requirements. One, we wanted to use the finest suede available. We knew this would make the overshirt expensive, but it was the quality Rifugio made for those designers, and I wanted to offer the same thing to readers. 

And two, I wanted the same design and sizing as the linen overshirt with Luca Avitabile. This was because readers like that design so much – with its clean look but hidden pockets – but also because it meant sizing would be easy. Hundreds of readers already own a linen overshirt, so they would know exactly how the suede would fit and function. 

Fortunately Luca and Alfonso Rifugio knew each other, so the collaboration was straightforward. Patterns were shared and a prototype created.

I’ve been wearing that prototype and the production sample that followed a lot in the past couple of months. One thing I’ve learnt is that the shirt is pretty versatile, from cool weather to hot. 

You can wear it in the manner above, with a cashmere crewneck underneath, jeans and boots, and it works as a functional spring outer layer. Or, you can wear it with just a T-shirt, linen trousers and loafers, and it’s good for summer. 

Not the height of summer of course – not 30+ degrees – but it will probably be at least two months before we get to those temperatures in the UK, perhaps even more. There’s a lot of this ‘transitional’ weather to come, and then in the autumn as well. 

I was also really pleased with the colour. I wanted something that could be versatile, as we’d initially be offering it in just one. The first prototype was a pale sand, and that wasn’t right. For the second sample, I chose a light brown, and that turned out more tobacco-like than I expected. 

But as I started to wear this colour – pictured – the more I liked it. It’s more muted than the tobacco you normally see in menswear (and than the Linen Overshirts) and darker too. 

A good illustration is that while the Suede Overshirt works well with the denim, grey and olive shown in the outfits in this article, it’s also very cool with black. I wore it last weekend with a white T-shirt, black jeans and black loafers, and it was great. A more orange-y colour would have looked stark, and a little cheap. 

Aside from that outfit – which I can shoot later in the summer or perhaps include in some socials – I wanted to show today that the overshirt was nice with denim and cotton, with jeans and tailored trousers, and with neutrals and colour. 

So the outfit above is green high-twist trousers, a blue/white shirt, brown suede loafers and a conker-coloured tote. You can see how nice the tobacco is with these autumnal tones. 

But the other warm-weather outfit is all neutrals – white and beige, below. Again a stronger tobacco colour would look stark and even a little cheap in this kind of outfit. 

The overshirt has all the nice details of the Linen Overshirt

  • Deep, flapped chest pockets 
  • Hand pockets that are hidden discreetly below
  • Internal patch pocket on the hip (above)
  • Variegated horn buttons
  • Shirt cuffs, enabling them to be rolled back in warmer weather (below)
  • A collar that looks good up or down, and folds elegantly forward at the ends when up

The only changes to the linen overshirt are that the box pleat has been removed (as it didn’t work that well in suede) and the hips have been enlarged slightly (as they stick more there than the linen). 

The buttonholes, collar and so on are not sewn by hand, but the work throughout is fine and precise – the level of work you’d expect for this quality of material. I particularly like the way the top of the pockets and the seam above them are finished (top image). 

The Suede Overshirt is available on the PS shop now. The price is £1550 plus VAT, which is a step above most products we offer, but great value in the same way – the finest suede simply costs this much, as you can see from similar products at Purple Label, Attolini or others. 

We haven’t made that many, as it’s a bit of an experiment, so if you are sure you want one I’d go for it now rather than waiting for another restock to save on shipping. I do want it to be something we continue to sell though – so as long as this batch goes well, we will offer it again. 

The size chart is included on the product page, though as I said it’s the same as the Linen Overshirt, with the exception of that little increase in the hips. 

Any questions, as ever, please ask in the comments. 

Restocked: Undershirt and shorts

In the spirit of having fewer shop emails, we’re also using this opportunity to let readers know that two products have just been restocked in the PS Shop: the PS undershirt and shorts.

The undershirt

Sadly, the brand we originally developed this product with, Hamilton & Hare, is no longer in business. But we have managed to talk to the original factory and are now offering exactly the same product ourselves. It’s the same lightweight, naturally stretchy cotton, made in a sports-style seamless construction. Full details on it here.

The PS short

A bit of a perennial this one. The style has evolved over the years, but has always been popular. Made by Rota in Italy, it was designed to be an average, everyday short, just with some little sartorial touches like pleats and turn-ups. This year only the navy and the khaki have been restocked, as the olive cloth was not available. Double pleats were also popular last year, so we’ve stuck with those.

Other updates:

Linen Harrington – Restocked in navy, and with new Art du Lin brown colour (below)

Dartmoor and Finest Crewneck – Restocked in cream and grey, and navy and dark grey, respectively

Oxford shirts and cloth – Restocked in white, blue, blue stripe, green stripe and pink stripe

T-shirts – Later this month

Chambray and denim shirts – Later this month


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