Advanced warning … this post contains trivial detail. I apologise if you find it a tedious read, it’s aimed at the capsule wardrobe geeks rather than my general audience, monitus es.
A couple of years ago I found myself switching to a capsule wardrobe for work. Without going over old ground, there’s detail as to why in the original post. I subsequently changed a few things when I moved into a more senior role and eventually, in early spring 2017 I left Dare and joined Spark44.
My role at Spark44 doesn’t touch on the pitch (new business) work that I did at Dare so although I persisted with my regular wardrobe through the summer of last year, over the autumn and into the winter of 2017/18 I started to chip away at the idea and eventually resolved to get back on track at the start of 2018. So, SITREP. My favoured J.Crew 484 chinos and Thomas Pink white single cuff shirts are relegated to the occasional ‘smart’ days. In the summer of 2017 I switched from the formal Timberland Bradstreet Oxford to some adidas Superstars which was all well and good as keeping them bright and smart on the commute was relatively easy. I’ve replaced the chinos with a daily dose of the Nudie Thin Finn jeans but elected to go with a darker denim and be much stricter with the ‘no wash’ rule to avoid them fading-out. I loved the fact I could trade in my old pair at the Shoreditch repair shop and get a rebate on a new pair.
Through the colder months I had been adopting merino Icebreaker Oasis long sleeve tops (a plain colour they no longer stock) which just about paired ok with the jeans but although I was warm and most days could do without a jumper too I don’t think it quite worked. For the layer to work it has to be tight but that didn’t quite work and made me feel self conscious paired with jeans. Plus I really didn’t like the idea of the seasonal changeover; I want to get a look now and stick with it throughout the year. So I’ve gone for (four) standard white Centre Regular t-shirts from Bjorn Borg. I have gone back to a crew neck, the V neck just doesn’t suit my skinny neck and I knew the BB shirts would fit me as the size is perfect in my gym gear. Plus there’s just a small stitched logo on the bottom left which was just the right amount of detail. On colder days for the commute I’m topping it with a black Bjorn Borg Centre Crew Neck jumper. I still really like grey v-neck knitwear but I just can’t keep them looking nice day-in day out without the hassle of dry-cleaning.
Although I started the capsule wardrobe thing using Swedish brand Happy Socks to add a little flair, you’ll see below that they hugely underwhelmed. So I’ve switched this winter to the fantastic Corgi socks. A small British (Welsh again) manufacturer with a Royal Warrant, I decided to go for their plan colour wool and cotton blend, damson red to flash a little personality below the turn-ups.
I love the Nudie repair/replace ethos but I’m also really keen to go back to thinking British and so I can see myself switching allegiance to Welsh brand Hiut in the near future. I’ll probably splash out and go full selvedge too just to get the richness of the denim and the extra details. Although I’m still in the Superstars, realistically I think I’m more of a leather/boots man and if i’m informal with t-shirts I think the more serious look the shoe then I don’t completely fall into the trap of being a bit ‘Wetherspoons’. For that I am currently researching hard because I desperately want to avoid a jeansandsheux look. I’ll also get some summer-weight socks in the same colour from Corgi too, I think the wool blend will be way too hot in August.
I’m still aimless on winter coats. I love my Rab down jacket for cold dry days but London is oven damp and windy and I want something that looks less ‘belay-ready’ and more, ‘pint outside the pub’ passable. I’m prepared to spend a few notes here but it has to be waterproof, windproof and be 100% free of those daft arm patches suggesting you’re a rescue pilot/polar explorer.
I’ll be honest, the Happy Socks were a real disappointment, they just did not last at all and the delivery wait is woeful. Furthermore, the collar on my Freddie Thomas Pink shirt frayed badly. But the biggest disappointment was in a Son of a Tailor t-shirt I’d custom designed. Having studiously measured up both myself and t-shirts I like I had high hopes when I’d decided to get a classic white crew neck, but it took a ridiculous amount of time to be delivered, cost a daft amount and turned out to be a poor fit even when brand new. However, what really nailed the lid down was the fact that the heavy cotton shrank progressively in the first washes and now feels stiff and coarse. So, £50 for an out of shape, slightly off-white coarse cotton t-shirt? Well I can honestly say I’d never recommend anyone use them, a good website and marketing does not make up for a poor product.
Last year I also bought a quite expensive Bergans jumper too, the Ulriken. It’s amazingly thick and warm but the neck is super scratchy and more impractical than cosy. It also rides-up really badly from the base (hem?). I have to say I was pretty disappointed in that too. Works great in the short term on cold days under my Rab jacket but it’s a functional bit of kit not something I feel happy wearing in public.
So that’s it. Monday to friday it’s the Nudie Jeans, white t shirt and some nice plum Corgi socks with the Superstars. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of it now and can have another clear out of the drawers still a little too full of stuff I just don’t wear. Choices made