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Simon Crompton’s Menswear 10 Commandments

Simon Crompton’s Menswear 10 Commandments

For almost a decade now, British journalist Simon Crompton has documented his first-hand assessments of the world’s greatest tailored garments and handcrafted men’s accoutrements on his wildly popular website, Permanent Style.

The author of three books — 2011’s The Snob Guide to Tailoring, and last year’s The Finest Menswear in the World and Best of British — Simon also regularly contributes expert opinion pieces on bespoke culture to such august publications as GQ, FT How To Spend It and The Rake.

Here, Simon relates the philosophies he’s developed during his adventures in menswear, craftsmanship and gentlemanly living, with a hat-tip to a few of the individuals who’ve influenced him along the way.

10. “I’m passionate about quality, and everyone should invest more in quality clothing. It’s the only reason to care about craft and artisanal skills. Better things last longer and look a lot better as they do.”

9. “Fit is the most important thing in tailored clothing. If you can’t afford a bespoke suit or shirt, at least spend a little more to get it altered. It always amazes me how many guys buy expensive suits and think, because they’re expensive, they’ll fit. It doesn’t work like that.”

8. “Most generic wisdom about style has been put better by someone else already. Don’t try and rewrite them, just quote them. My favourite is from Picasso: ‘Learn the rules like a master, so you can break them like an artist’. You have to learn to draw first, and Picasso was a great draftsman.”

7. “I’ll allow myself just one more quotation, from Hardy Amies: ‘A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them’. The last point is the most important — nonchalance, elegance, sprezzatura. You have to look as though you don’t care.”

6. “Always travel with a navy grenadine tie and a white linen handkerchief.”

5. “Rely on your own judgment with clothing; don’t get buried too deep in minutiae. The thing with obsessives is they seem to know everything about clothing except how to enjoy it. (Actually another quotation, stolen from the endlessly quotable Mr Bruce Boyer. Apologies.)”

4. “Clothing is great. More people should take more interest in it. But it’s not the most important thing in the world, and it won’t get you laid. Wear a nice shirt and jeans, and ask her about her day. That’s the way to get laid.” 

3. “Style is relative. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. If everyone you know dressed just like you, you’d want to dress differently.” 

2. “When you see a man and think they look good, chances are it’s 90 percent good looks and only 10 percent clothes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want the 10 percent.”

1. “A passion for clothing keeps you connected to the real, tangible things in life, and that’s particularly relevant right now. Put away the phone. Turn off the TV. Wear your favourite chunky, cashmere shawl-collar cardigan and write something with ink on paper.”

Read more of Simon’s menswear musings and tailoring appraisals at permanentstyle.co.uk and follow his twitterings @PermanentStyle 

All images courtesy of Permanent Style. Simon wears (from top) bespoke tailoring by Ferdinando Caraceni, Anderson & Sheppard, and Edward Sexton

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