Needful Things

Words by: Andrew Williams

Thank God; autumn has arrived.

The autumn and winter seasons are, in terms of clothing, my favourite. I have no end of trouble dressing well for summer, and every year I never cease to be disappointed by what retailers have to offer. The next two seasons open up heavy fabrics and chunky knits, opportunities for layering and experimentation.

Having enjoyed a few previews of what’s on its way there are some fine pieces hitting the shops. Ede & Ravenscroft have excelled themselves with a couple of beautiful coats and some classic suits, available with double breasted waistcoats. However, I’ll be getting my major suit purchases made this year, as I’ve mentioned before.

On the less formal side, London’s Garbstore has some nice pieces as does US brand Gant; being less pretentious and more reasonably priced than Ralph Lauren, they are one of the few fashion brands I flirt with. Their collaboration with Michael Bastian throws up some interesting bits.

So I thought I’d share a few of the bits on my list of ‘Needful Things’ for the seasons ahead. This list is by no means exhaustive and sadly not everything will make it into the wardrobe, well no one has that much money. But the discipline of creating a list and sticking to it is an invaluable aid to forming a coherent wardrobe.

Smedley White Cable Knit


I spotted this beautiful cashmere wool mix jumper back in June on my visit to the John Smedley factory. A piece like this doesn’t date, and the fact that it’s white allows you to treat it like a blank canvass upon which you can create a myriad of looks. Looking as good under denim as it would a Covert Coat, and sitting as well with cord and moleskin as flannel and tweed, the possibilities are endless. Make it as showy or as conservative as you like; blue, brown, burnt orange, terracotta, pale grey or camel, all would work with this versatile piece. That to me is its appeal, and the obvious quality makes it a keeper. I’ve been after a white cable knit for several years and had all but given up hope.

Black Shirts with British Khaki Chinos


I don’t have much need for black, except in the guise of a dinner jacket or shoes. But I see this as my winter alternative to a blue linen jacket and white/cream chinos – my perfect summer garb. It works in the same way, creating a contrast that isn’t too jarring between the relative severity of the black shirt vs. the relaxed and earthy Khaki. It is in fact right out of the Steve McQueen playbook. A favourite trick of his was always to pair a dark top half to lighter leg wear with dark shoes. In my case dark shoes are black suede.

Having no black shirts in my inventory, one like that stocked by useful online source A. Hume isn’t too heavy an investment. In terms of what goes on top of the shirt there is a little more versatility than you might think. I have in mind a denim jacket, but grey ground tweeds, herringbone or flannel would work well I think.

More to follow in my next posting.