Finding well cut, good fitting and quality trousers is the Holy Grail of menswear. If a brand can give good trouse then they can pretty much do anything, in my geeky opinion. Trousers need to be flattering and reliable and good trousers are usually taken for granted. You soon appreciate them when you try on a bad pair.
This season, corduroy continues its march and here are two of the best at different price points.
Left - Incotex - Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Corduroy Trousers - £265 from MRPORTER.COM
Right - Spoke - Corduroy Fives - £99
For the Splash, and not the sexiest and most memorable of names, is Incotex. The finest in understated Italian manufacturing, Incotex is part of the Slowear family, and as such is the best in Venetian style and make.
For the Cash, Spoke is a British brand, making in Portugal, with lots of choices of fits, and has quickly become the go-to for a quality pair of well made and great fitting trousers at an honest price.
Trousers are pretty boring but we need them to work and makes our arses look good. Hopefully this will save you time and frustration in your search.
Mats Klingberg, Founder of Trunk Clothiers
“I've been spending quite a lot of time in Tyrol in Austria and South Tyrol in Italy lately, so love this modern take and more slim cut version of the traditional Loden coat. It's also the same brand as the doormen across the street from Trunk at the Chiltern Firehouse are wearing, so thought it would be a nice addition to our AW17 line-up.”
Left - LodenTal - Loden Coat Green - £940
“I'm always on the lookout for new nice things with an interesting story, so when I spotted these lovely sweaters from a tiny island in Sweden at the MAN trade fair in Paris, earlier this year, I new straight away I had to have them. Distribution fairly limited as this is their launch season, so very proud to be among the selected few retailers that stock John Sterner for AW17.”
Left - John Sterner - Öland Crew Neck Ecru - £210
“Incotex are most known for their chinos, but they also make really nice cords. Would normally not go with a colour this light at this time of year, but on a crisp sunny autumn or winter day I think it can be very nice combined with the ecru sweater from John Sterner, the scarf from Begg & Co and the nice LodelTal coat.”
Left - Incotex - Slim Fit Five Pocket Cords White - £230
“Begg & Co is a long-time favourite at Trunk and I think you can never have enough scarves. Also makes the perfect gift as you don't have to worry about size.”
Left - Begg & Co - Kishorn Scarf Natural - £270
“With London's unpredictable weather you need a shoe that can take some beating, lower temperatures and rain, so this old classic from Sanders is a perfect choice that will keep your feet dry and warm over the coming months.”
Left - Sanders - Hi-Top Suede Chukka Snuff - £200
Robyn Ferris, Junior Buyer at MR PORTER
"This summer expect a renewed popularity of vintage-style jackets. The colour of this Officine Generale’s suede jacket pairs perfectly with jeans and is ideal for those in-between months when the weather can’t seem to make up its mind. The jacket’s water-repellent coating guarantees that the beautiful suede won't be sullied by any light rain!"
Left - Officine Generale - Slim-Fit Water-Repellent Suede Jacket - £930
"I’m a big fan of Inis Meáin and their hand finished knits. We have a great selection for spring available on site now including lightweight linen melange sweaters and cardigans. My favourite piece is this waffle-knit sweater, it will introduce textual diversity into your casual wardrobe, looks great worn with jeans or shorts and will take you through to autumn".
Below - Inis Meáin - Gansey Waffle-Knit Linen and Cotton-Blend Sweater - £185
"The relaxed vibe of this shirt perfectly encapsulates summer for me. I love the variations in tone it has from the dye and its crisp touch gives a summer feel whether worn under a cardigan with jeans or with swim shorts on holiday".
Left - Massimo Alba - Watercolour-Dyed Washed-Ramie Shirt - £200
"Having recently just launched on MR PORTER, I adore Arpenteur’s heritage-inspired collection. Perfectly capturing casual French attire, this classic cotton Breton stripe t-shirt is a must have for summer. The relaxed cut and three-quarter sleeves recall traditional naval uniforms".
Left - Arpenteur - Brehat Striped Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt - £75
"No man’s summer wardrobe is complete without a new pair of swim shorts and my pick out of this season’s selection is this Incotex swim short. The art deco print will get you noticed on the beach and as they are designed to fit like a pair of trousers, they are far more refined than your average pair".
Below - Incotex - Short-Length Printed Swim Shorts - £150
In last week’s Evening Standard, Hatton Garden jeweller, Sam Hunter, brother of director, Sophie Hunter, wife of Benedict Cumberbatch, said, “People are bored of the little blue boxes, extortionate prices and minimal design that is now completely characterless,” he went on “It’s the name you’re paying for and nothing else… It’s fine if the piece is exquisite, but they’re producing less and less of those!”
He was, of course, talking about the American jeweller, Tiffany & Co., but he could have easily have been describing the majority of modern luxury brands.
There was a time when you wanted everybody to know your brand. There was a time when success was built on brand awareness. There was a time when consumers wanted you to know the brand they were wearing in order to convey status, but times change and this awareness and ultimately saturation has breed predictability and boredom.
For example, I was recently in Berlin. I walked past their fanciest department store, KaDeWe, and in the windows were great looking clothes. I always like to try and guess the designers and then, like a museum piece, look at the labels on the glass. I didn’t recognise a single one of them. In the past you would dismiss this as being a second rate store or inferior because the ‘big labels' weren’t there, but instead it was far more interesting and refreshing.
Inside was another story. The usual luxury shop-in-shops: Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Gucci, acres of marble and the same look, the world over, but the element of the unknown is what will get people off their sofas and into stores.
It’s much more exciting, today, to not recognise a label and go purely on quality and design. It’s a sign of good taste and a good eye rather than blindly buying a ‘name’. It's also a sign of confidence. But, it’s hard to stay unknown forever and why shouldn’t brands that are good be celebrated, but it’s the level to which they are exposed and rely solely on the name or label that I have a problem with.
A good example would be the Italian brand, Slowear, soon to open another store on London’s Marylebone High Street, they are understated and their multiple labels - Incotex, Montedoro, Zanone - aren’t household names and don't seem to want to be. Slowear, while not cheap, offers better quality, fit and value than clothes at twice the price. This isn't about being a contrarian and always different and obscure. It's about brands that have a humility, aren't a vehicle for a designer's ego and are understated with a ‘we’re too busy making great clothes-to-focus-solely-on-the-label’ attitude which makes it very democratic and far more interesting.
Go seek out the unknown. I've never heard of them. Tell me more.