Once upon a time, a stylish commuter was an oxymoron; a physical impossibility. Crammed into tube carriages or harried on platforms, the modern urban 9-to-5er was a strained and rumpled beast. He wore his best Crockett & Jones’s at rush hour at his peril, and spoke to his dry cleaner more than his own mother. But recently things have changed. Perhaps you’ve noticed. We’ve all been taking things a little bit slower of late — and at the same time we’ve begun to question, like sleepers waking from a nightmare, the sanity of that daily scrum.
When things do go back to normal, we’ll no longer rush through the turnstiles and sardine ourselves on the Northern Line — we’ll take things at a more genteel and agreeable whack, and return grace, beauty and finesse to our outfits as we do so. What’s more, a sort of seasoned smart-casual will be the order of the day — a nod to simplicity and to unfussiness, yes; but also to a renewed appreciation of the very act of getting dressed.
More than this, we will come to love not flashy baubles or eye-catching brands, but simply a few good, solid, finely crafted items in our wardrobe and on our side-tables: from a classic white cotton t-shirt, to a rugged-but-refined Breitling Chronomat. If this is the new normal (ghastly phrase notwithstanding), we’re ready for it.
Luca Faloni has earned a formidable reputation in recent years for exquisite quality cashmere in gorgeous, deep colours — and this marine green cable-knit number, crafted in Bergamo, is a true everyday indulgence. Meanwhile, the Alpine-lite charms of this suede safari jacket from New and Lingwood are evident at 40 paces. In a classic four-pocket style, it is cinched at the back for a more tailored look — and built from sumptuous Austrian leather.
Then, of course, there’s the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 in stainless steel. A handsome, truly all-purpose number for any pursuit, it is based on the coveted Frecce Tricolori chronograph from 1983.
Connolly have cannily updated the traditional bomber jacket in a clever stretch cashmere, woven up at Lovat Mill in Scotland. There are lovely touches throughout — including a body lining in Japanese technical nylon, which gives things a gentle ‘performance’ edge. Paired with a white classic cashmere cable-knit sweater — the preppy workhorse of the sweater world, surely — it is spring layering at its finest. Curry & Paxton’s ‘Alex’ sunglasses, meanwhile, come in a gorgeous honey-toned acetate. Understated but characterful, they are something of a timeless classic.
Below, the Connolly navy gilet adds a dash of driving prep to proceedings. With its straight cut, crisp lines and broad patch pockets, however, this one happily avoids the chinny overtones of some sleeveless numbers.
The Breitling Chronomat features a 42 mm case, with an iconic bezel and four rider tabs, while its rugged charms are softened a little by a striking “Rouleaux” bracelet. There’s a joyous go-anywhere energy to the watch, without any loss of refinement — a trick that Sunspel, the purveyors of superior everyday classics, have long perfected. The Milano knit Harrington jacket has clean lines and sports-inflected zip fastening, and does excellent work over the brand’s classic white tee of a summer evening.
There’s something pleasingly collegiate about the texture and slouch of this deconstructed blazer from New and Lingwood. It’s soft jersey cotton has a relaxed, throw-it-over-the-shoulder energy, but the jacket retains all the refined hallmarks of a finely tailored garment. We particularly enjoy the way the three-button front rolls to close at the middle button – a classic touch that’s always just the right amount “undone.”
Likewise, the Boston penny loafers from Crockett & Jones sit in that happy valley between smart and casual, without ever losing out on either. A clever trick indeed.
New & Lingwood Navy Jersey Jacket
Breitling Chronomat B01 42
Crockett & Jones Boston loafer
New & Lingwood Suede Safari Jacket
Sunspel Classic Cotton T-Shirt in White
Looking for more 2021 fashion? Here’s how the pandemic brought golf style up to par…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.