You’ve built a classic wardrobe, every piece is an investment in craft and beauty, every occasion that could warrant a tailored garment is covered. You have your navy flannel, your grey sharkskin. There is a Solaro suit for summer in a temperate climate and a dove grey fresco for the tropics. You’ve a grey flannel double breasted cut with all the slouch of Frederick Scholte, and an evening suit sharp enough to slice through every contender in a rented tux.
You've so many shirts in every pastel shade that your better half has started calling you Jay Gatsby, and ties enough to style every suit thrice. Then the shoes - bespoken and beautifully burnished, with taps on your toes and beveled waists so sexy that they come with an age verification.
But what’s next?
While this is an extreme, it’s with no small amount of chagrin that I think many of us can relate to the above. And when each piece has seen the hand of an artisan and helped keep alive a regional trade, and when every dollar spent went to a small family business rather than a multinational fashion empire, we can feel a little more conscientious about our excessive consumption.
But what’s next?
Dressing well means dressing for time, place and occasion - the “T.P.O.” maxim put in place to safeguard a man against any sartorial faux pas. But with a changing world, the times, places and occasions are changing too, and what is considered appropriate adds a multitude of options that a classic tailored wardrobe cannot always accommodate.
When we started Bryceland’s, our first pieces of ready to wear clothing - our 5 pocket jean and snap front denim westerner - were meant as an adjunct to the wardrobes already built by many of our customers. 6 years on, with some cultural curve balls that have so changed the zeitgeist, what we need has grown. With each new addition to our range, and they are far fewer than the normal fashion calendar would dictate, we aim to add pieces that will serve as an adjunct to a perfect wardrobe; to take a bespoke trouser from garden party to backyard barbecue, and those fresco suits from boardroom to bar hopping.
Adding the pieces that can add utility to an investment of a wardrobe is our way of promoting conscientious consumption. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we try to make it run a little smoother and across more terrain.
One of the glaring holes I used to see in a classic wardrobe was shirting made intentionally to be worn without a tie. Few things feel as unintentional, and so lacking in refinement, than the starched, spread collared poplin without its tie. It almost feels like the wardrobe it calls home only sees the sunlight from Monday to Friday, and weekend occasions are a new and scary arena. With this in mind, we started making the pieces that could spread our wardrobes across the non-corporate world and make dressing casually as elegant and refined as the traditional.
Shirts that reject a tie altogether, and some that even resist being tucked in. Camp collared rayons, and pocketed shirt jackets like our Cabana. They make dressing for the heat in Asia a little more bearable, and not looking like a corporate lawyer after 5pm an option.
But how can we, in good conscience, stop there? When the weekend calls for sitting in the grass at a picnic or kicking a ball with our children, something other than pleated wool feels warranted. But these casual pieces needed to hold their weight next to a bespoke blazer and a pair of benchmade split toes. Something traditionally high waisted with a full hip and gentle taper. Something as substantial as the coveted bespoke pieces in our wardrobes, that can offer the same joy over its many, many years of service. We saw the classic 1945 US Army chino as the way to serve that purpose, and our reimagined USMC cargo, the P13, for something a little more relaxed.
Our lives and those of the people we make for encompass a range of climates and lifestyles, and when we can offer a perspective on dressing for that lifestyle, we do. Towel shirts, modelled after 1950’s resort wear, and reimagined rain smocks from WWII provide a way to dress in the heat of a tropical summer or through the rainy season Japan calls Tsuyu. None are meant to replace the classics so steadfastly acquired, but to offer a new way to style them, and to express the joy of dressing regardless of the formality of occasion.
I hope to be able to wear something significant, beautiful and lifelong for every aspect of my life, so that no occasion calls for a purchase made unconscientiously. Elegant pajamas feel as beautiful as a perfectly cut suit, but are usually only on display to those closest to us. A heavy chambray boiler suit for bashing around on a motorbike on Sunday afternoon is a gratifying thing to own. For me anyway.
Let your wardrobe bring you joy, regardless of occasion, and let every purchase be made with a lifetime of wear in mind. Consume better, consume conscientiously.