Expanding sartorial horizons is what I do for a living. That’s why I love this One Shirt Two Ways collaboration I’m currently working on with shirtmaker pros, Nicholas Jermyn.
The idea for this project is strikingly simple. Every month I receive one cool Nicholas Jermyn shirt. The challenge is to incorporate each of those shirts into both Formal and Smart Casual outfits. So far I've received five beautiful shirts and now would like to share my thoughts on how to style them.
Osborne Check Shirt - Smart Casual
In addition to blue and red, there is also a bit of green found in all the complexity of this fabric. A fun idea would be to bring out more of that green to the surface. That's why I've decided to combine this shirt with a pair of moss green trousers with a double pleat. An unstructured knitted blue blazer with patch pockets gives additional comfort to that smart casual look and the military green paisley woolen pocket square adds a pinch of that good old dapper elegance.
Osborne Check Shirt - Formal
I’ve got to admit, this shirt is full on! Blue checks, bold blue and subtle red and green stripes - a definite sartorial challenge. When building a Formal look with this shirt, a smart move would be to tread lightly. I, for instance, have put together a simple navy blazer, plain brown wool trousers and a blue textured wool tie to balance out the busy pattern of the shirt, adding a light blue silk pocket square and a pair of dark brown leather derbies in order to make this formal outfit a bit softer.
Maxwell Check Shirt - Smart Casual
For the Smart Casual look I've decided to play around with the colours of this shirt - beautiful peach and light blue - and let them dictate the direction and the mood of the whole outfit. A blue vintage double-breasted tweed jacket with a busy orange and deep blue checkered pattern and a pair of tailored blue chinos come very handy here. And after throwing in a bright blue wool pocket square and a pair of dark brown double strap monks, I was finally ready for that vanity walk!
Maxwell Check Shirt - Formal
This bold peach and blue check shirt was a hard nut to crack, but I did it eventually. The key here was to maintain a good balance. For the Formal look, I tried to calm the boldness of this shirt with the plain navy double-breasted suit and a simple light blue silk tie. I’ve added a silk ivory pocket square with bright blue trimming for extra-suaveness and wore a pair of simple chestnut brown leather oxfords in order to maintain that level of formalness.
Newton Stripe Shirt - Smart Casual
In order to give this Newton Stripe shirt a bit of space to breathe and show its pattern properly, I’ve combined it with a simple brown wool blazer with the fine houndstooth pattern. Adding a pair of single-pleated trousers pants has allowed me to present this look with the bit more casual old-fashioned (in a good way!) vibe to it. And a pair of good old penny loafers in brown suede and a bright blue and beige pattern silk pocket square definitely adds a pinch of suave to this Smart Casual outfit.
Newton Stripe Shirt - Formal
The Newton Stripe shirt has got this subtle blue and white stripe pattern, which I think is quite beautiful and easy to style. Essentially, due to the stripes being so fine, the fabric is on the side of light blue. I personally really like the idea of combining blue and black; I find this colour combination rather sophisticated but, rather unjustly, hardly used in contemporary formal wear. So having a black tie with a bold white polka dot pattern and a black and white silk pocket square alongside this shirt made all the difference. And let’s not forget a sharp double-breasted navy pinstripe two-piece suit - it is definitely fun to play around with these patterns. A pair of proper black leather oxford shoes to finalise the look - and a contemporary take on classic English gentleman attire is complete.
Porter Check Shirt - Smart Casual
The pattern of this Porter Check shirt consists of three of my favourite colours - brown, beige and light blue. So I thought that it might be interesting to build my Smart Casual outfit around these colours. I’ve put together an unlined beige twill cotton jacket with unstructured shoulders, a pair of tailored light blue rolled-up jeans, and smart brown suede sneakers, adding a wide brown grain leather belt with a double D buckle into the mix for extra-sartorial effect. More comfort, less formal - a great rule to follow when combining a sophisticated smart casual outfit.
Porter Check Shirt - Formal
Styling this shirt, I wanted to use an old trick - what they call a “pattern clash”. The idea here was to combine a few different patterns in the same outfit that work seamlessly together, complementing rather than compromising one another. I styled this checkered shirt with a tailored dark brown wool houndstooth blazer, high-waisted grey textured wool trousers with a double pleat, moss-green and brown paisley-patterned tie and a pair of simple black leather oxfords. All the patterns in this look - mid-size checks, houndstooth and big, bold paisleys - look very different. That’s what helps them look so very well put together.
Pinpoint Oxford Shirt - Smart Casual
Not only having the right kind of white shirt would allow you to create countless formal looks, it could also be a great help when styling for more casual occasions.
Styling this Pinpoint Oxford shirt as part of a smart casual outfit, I wanted to make this ensemble a bit more casual. So I’ve decided to use a beautiful moss green double-breasted trench coat instead of a customary blazer. Making this look all about layering, I have included a green merino wool cardigan as well. The trick in styling a cardigan would be to only have a couple of buttons fastened, leaving the rest undone. After this, a pair of deep blue denim jeans with raw cuffed bottom comes into the mix - for a more relaxed appearance. And what could be a better choice for this sort of fancy casual outfit than a pair of smart white leather sneakers? A casual, but still a very smart look indeed.
Pinpoint Oxford Shirt - Formal
It goes without saying, a white cotton shirt is a true essential. It's hard to imagine an impeccable wardrobe without it. It's also the most simple item to match. That's why it was a lot of fun to create a Classic Formal look with this shirt.
In order to balance out the simplicity of a plain white shirt, I decided to go for quite a bold look. For the suit I chose the grey Prince of Wales check wool two-piece option - a three-button jacket and double-pleated cuffed trousers. A pair of double-strap brown grained leather monks that went perfectly well with it, thanks to their odd (in a good way!) style, adding some serious Italian elegance to the whole look. And lastly, the plain knitted cashmere tie sealed the whole deal, making this formal-looking outfit super-stylish but still approachable.
Shop the shirts:
The Osborne Check - available in Classic, Slim Fit and Super Slim.
The Maxwell Check - available in Classic, Slim Fit and Super Slim.
The Newton Stripe - available in Super Slim.
The Porter Check - available in Slim Fit and Super Slim.
The Pinpoint Oxford - available in Classic and Slim Fit.