"Might as well have the best" - Make it your new motto.
We've had the throwaway 'designer' looks from the high street chains. We've bought the 'basic' wardrobe staples from our local supermarket for a fiver. But the reality has hit. The stuff is just no good after a few washes. The quality is not there. And neither is the craftsmanship. And since "clothes maketh the man" as they say, which of us don't want to be seen looking our best, wearing our best?
Which brings us to Filson, the 150 year old American brand, whose company motto is simply "might as well have the best". Think about that for a moment - it means investing in a proper product which has had real thought and real craftsmen work on it. Filson, a brand which some of us in Britain liken to Barbour, know that it takes time and a quality of raw materials that you just can't get when you cut corners and try to save a dime. That's why the bags are still made in Seattle, USA just as they always have been. Yep, they cost a little more than your 'Made in China' bags, but as they say, "might as well have the best", so let's buy a proper man's bag and buy it just the once.
We recommend the classic Filson Field bag:
Sure, some will say it's pretty plain. It doesn't need to shout out its presence. The quality speaks quietly for itself and anyone who knows about real clothes will be seriously envious when you turn up nonchalantly with yours.
Sticking with the theme of "might as well have the best" - let's talk about Belstaff jackets.
And let's be honest, you've probably wanted one since you first saw someone else, probably Steve McQueen, wearing one but have never got round to buying one due to them being a little pricier than your average.
Would it help if we told you that the best of these jackets get passed from father to son, such is their longevity?
Change your thinking then. Remember, it's not about how much something costs anymore, it's about how much you'll wear it, and how long you can wear it for. Isn't it funny how all those old cinematic and cultural icons - Steve McQueen, Che Guevara - all look just as cool now as they did in those films and footage reels from back in the day?
So your job is to buy the jacket, keep it in good nick, and pass it on to your heir when the time is right, so he can access that instant 'my old-man' style we all secretly want when we turn 21.
If it's your first Belstaff, start with a classic, probably a Roadmaster in neutral brown or black which goes nicely with your battered or smart jeans - change it up by wearing a smart loafer for a more European look, but as we're British, a brogue by the likes of Trickers or Grenson will of course make us feel like lord of the manor.
Having the best jacket when the weather gets cold.
I recently bought a Canada Goose 'Expedition Jacket'. It's good enough for various Canadian explorers and scientists in the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic, (and of course, Sir David Attenborough in the BBC's 'Frozen Planet')
Which brings us neatly on to shoes.
There have been essays, blogs, magazine articles and countless debates about which the best British shoemaker is. Our view at MilanStyle.co.uk is that it simply comes down to personal preference. Once you pay over £150 for a pair of British, well Northampton, made shoes by the likes of Grenson or Trickers, you're buying a serious bit of quality with often hundreds of years of heritage and craftsmanship going into what you're about to casually saunter down the street in.
So Grenson and Tricker's brogue boots both fit the bill. If I had to choose, mine would be Trickers I guess, purely because they make shoes for HRH Prince Charles - and who doesn't want to be King one day? Just remember your new motto, "might as well have the best".