Exclusive Interview: Simon Crompton
Since 2007, British journalist and sartorial expert Simon Crompton has written about some of the world’s leading tailoring brands, sharing his first-hand experience and knowledge on his acclaimed website called Permanent Style. Recommended by the New York Times as one of the top men’s blogs, Permanent Style is the UK authority on classic, luxury menswear thanks to its real journalism and intelligent style advice. Simon is the author of three books: Le Snob Guide To Tailoring, The Finest Menswear In The World and Best Of British, and he also regularly contributes to the style section of FT How To Spend It.
Here he chats to the Hawes & Curtis Times about his career as a journalist, his sartorial experience and why you should never try too hard…
I was inspired to launch Permanent Style 10 years ago. I trained as a financial journalist and I have edited magazines related to finance, banking and the law. Before I started my blog, I received a big bonus and wanted to buy a sharp suit, but I was very confused by all the different makes, designs and prices. I ended up buying a suit from the high street and I was very disappointed with it. As a result, I started exploring the construction, material and craftsmanship involved in the creation of bespoke suits and I got really into it. A friend of mine suggested that I write my research down, so people can read it – so I did.
"I believe that classic style is continuously relevant and should adapt to the modern environment."
Permanent Style has been a success thanks to my personal experience, journalistic edge and access to the industry. When I launched Permanent Style, there were no other menswear blogs out there giving real advice. My access and experience comes from over a decade of using bespoke makers, visiting factories around the world and interviewing craftsmen and designers at the world’s leading manufacturers. Because of my journalist background, I take writing and researching very seriously. I write about my first-hand experiences with integrity and my articles are credible because I don’t depend on advertising.
The two main things I look at before I make a purchase are style and quality. Style is subjective; you know what style you like and what suits you. Fine craftsmanship and excellent quality will last forever and will often look better over the years.
My style is classic and adaptable for a modern, urban environment. I like to look professional and sharp. I prefer muted colours and I like adding casual touches to an outfit such as denim shirts or knitwear to keep things up to date.
"My top style tip is: don’t try too hard."
I don’t have a style icon. I take inspiration from contemporaries of mine such as writers and designers. I believe that classic style is continuously relevant and should adapt to the modern environment. Michael Hill creative director of Drake’s has a really good sense of style.
My top style tip is: don’t try too hard. At the moment, I see a lot of men over doing it with overly fitted outfits and too much colour. The key is to be subtle and elegant. Style is about not trying too hard.
I gained my sartorial expertise from simply talking to people. I have 10 years of experience conducting interviews. I find the right people to talk to about their craft and I ask the right questions. Thanks to my experience in journalism, I explore and investigate everything thoroughly.
Read Simon's renowned blog, Permanent Style, to discover more about bespoke, craft and luxury.