Reader profile: Shun
With the PS reader profiles, we’re always looking to add something different - a different style, a different age, hopefully at some point a different location.
Although Shun’s love of classic menswear will be shared by many, he is a little different from previous subjects in his affinity for colour, and for streetwear. We’ve skewed his outfits here towards the classic, but still you can see elements creeping in.
Most of all, I love the way Shun clearly enjoys his clothes, and the carefree way he wears them. I hope you find a little joy and inspiration, as ever, somewhere in the mix.
Outfit 1: Cord suit
Hey Shun, thanks for doing this. Do you want to walk me through the first outfit?
Sure. So this green-cord suit is from Novel Mart, the shirt is from Bryceland’s and the tie is from Drake’s. Pretty classic for British menswear I guess. The shoes are JM Weston 180s, with Gammarelli purple socks.
What do you do for a living and how does this fit in?
I work as a consultant in IT, sitting between finance and retail [ecommerce] at the moment.
Before Covid, if you were in the office, particularly in finance, you would wear a suit and a poplin shirt, maybe with a tie - although in the past five years most people have started going without. Since Covid, the default is more what I’m wearing in the second outfit [below] - an oxford shirt and chinos, maybe not white but a beige or a navy chino. Often a blazer of some kind.
I work at home a lot now, so then I’m more casual, like the third outfit. The great thing about remote working is also that I don’t have to travel as much. Before Covid I would be in different cities around the UK all the time.
So does anyone wear a suit?
Some of the senior guys do. They’ll certainly always be in a shirt and smarter trousers. And if anyone is seeing a client they’ll smarten up a bit - so I would usually wear a suit then, pretty classic, a navy suit and poplin shirt. With loafers all the time actually; I can’t remember the last time I wore lace-ups.
Working as I do between different areas, you can also see the variation in wardrobes. So in retail everyone is very casual, but in finance it’s smarter. I think you can see that between different professions too - bankers are more likely to be in tailoring, and lawyers more likely still, but accountancy firms are more casual.
How has the casual trend highlighted differences in style?
It’s interesting, I think it’s more obvious now that some people care and others don’t. It’s much harder to hide when everyone isn’t wearing a suit.
Outfit 2: Tweed jacket
Run us through the brands here.
This is a Drake’s tweed jacket, I think in a W Bill fabric. The oxford shirt is from Bryceland’s again, the trousers are from Casatlantic (Tangier cut - the widest one) and the loafers are Alden cordovan.
I love how much colour you’re working into this outfit and the last one. Has that always been your style?
Yes I think so, especially pastels. I’m wearing a little more black these days, as I’m seeing it around, but really most of what I wear is colourful, striped oxfords and tweeds, big checks.
The only difference in the past 10 years is probably that I buy better quality - I used to buy a lot of vintage tweeds online, and often the fit wasn’t always that great. In fact I’ve recently started ripping out the shoulder pads from those old jackets, and they sit better on me usually.
Did you look up anything on how to do that, or are you a decent sewer?
No, it’s all very amateur! It’s not the best way to do it really, but it’s an experiment, and the jackets were cheap so it doesn’t matter that much if it goes wrong.
Overall I’ve been pleased with them though. The fits were always quite big, so with the unpadded shoulder they sit more like overshirts almost.
You do a lot of shopping on eBay, but also buy more expensive things like the Bryceland’s oxfords. How do you decide what to spend more on?
I guess I spend less money on basics generally, but oxfords aren’t so much of a basic for me as I wear them so much. Also I have cheaper ones from Drake’s, from Jake [Wigham].
It’s also easier to find interesting tweeds second-hand, less so oxfords. Ethan [Newton, Bryceland’s] has a great selection of old oxford cloths in all these colours.
How about more designer or fashion brands?
You were born in Japan but came over to the UK when you were fairly young, correct? What influence does Japan still have on how you dress?
Yes that’s right. I go back for long periods every year to see my family.
My parents and grandparents are always smartly dressed, in chinos and oxford shirts, tweed jackets, that kind of thing. I guess the Japanese version of Ivy. They all grew up in a time when people had to wear a suit and tie during the week, so they didn’t deviate much at the weekend.
Is there similar conservatism today in Japanese offices?
It’s still quite strict - the classic salaryman will still be wearing a suit and tie. But there’s more variation when people are off-duty - you can see that in the kinds of brands that are becoming popular over there, and how people dress in areas I hang out, like around Harajuku.
You can almost spot different branches of Beams in how people are dressed - one person might be more Beams Plus where there’s a lot of vintage, and another more Beams F, which is more Italian tailoring and brands.
This outfit has a few Japanese pieces right?
Yes, it’s a Rocky Mountain Featherbed jacket, a jumper from Jamieson’s but for Fennica, the socks are Rototo and the shoes are Wales Bonner Japans. With a vintage T-shirt and old Levi’s 550s.
The 550 is such a comfortable cut, and so cheap. There’s hundreds of them on eBay - I don’t think they’ve really become that popular as vintage just because they’re so cheap and plentiful.
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to clothing?
Maybe oxfords, I buy so many oxford shirts. And vintage T-shirts recently, old band ones like this or Supreme.
I assume you’re not the kind of guy that’s queuing up outside Supreme for new releases?
No, but I will pick up vintage pieces and do go to the shop now and again. I won’t buy something with a big logo, but I’m interested in weirder stuff these days, and often Supreme will have something interesting. I got a Visvim jacket the other day which is pretty weird. Way too expensive as well.
Do you think that has happened as you’ve been working from home more, and have less of a uniform?
Yes probably. There’s more freedom to wear what I want, and even if I still love wearing tailoring, it means I can explore more unusual things as well.
Do you see that happening with your friends too?
I think so. Of course it’s no coincidence that a lot of my friends are into clothes, but I think people have more freedom now to explore their own tastes, to develop more of their style. It can be quite liberating.