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Mr Porter's Glossary of Men's Style

Saint Laurent

The brand that Mr Yves Saint Laurent founded in the early 1960s embarks on a new chapter this season, under creative director Mr Hedi Slimane who has renamed the house Saint Laurent. Mr Slimane's influence is felt immediately in the first menswear collection, which is characterised by the rock'n'roll style and attitude which fans of his work during his tenure at Dior Homme will recognise.


Since 1984, Sandro's unfussy, effortlessly chic clothes have come to define the elusive and near-legendary Parisian look. Launched in the Marais district of the French capital, it was in 2008 that the brand extended its winning formula of immaculate tailoring, combined with more than a hint of le rock'n'roll attitude, to menswear. Read more about Sandro

Santiago Gonzalez

Using only the finest skins, Santiago Gonzalez creates luxurious bags and accessories, characterised by incredible craftsmanship. The collection is based on items that Mr Gonzalez himself has travelled with for more than a decade, meaning the designs have been refined and perfected over the years. Click here to read more about Santiago Gonzalez

Saturdays Surf NYC

Saturdays Surf NYC is a surf store and clothing label, launched in New York City by Mr Morgan Collett, Mr Josh Rosen and Mr Colin Tunstall in August 2009. The brand combines a laid-back vibe with a distinctly New York style sensibility, resulting in a range of effortlessly cool weekend wardrobe staples. The block-coloured board shorts and cotton T-shirts are ideal for wearing on the beach, whether you surf or not. Learn more about Saturdays Surf NYC


Founded in 1875 by Mr Jacques Schiesser, this German manufacturer of undergarments has been renowned for craftsmanship and quality for more than a century. In subdued colours, the firm's fine cotton underwear and T-shirts have a place in every man's wardrobe.


Established in 1913 by two brothers, Messrs Irving and Jack Schott, Schott is a men's brand steeped in American cultural history. Its most iconic design, the "Perfecto" leather biker jacket, was worn and made famous by Mr Marlon Brando in 1953's 'The Wild One'.

A very fine cotton used in dress shirts, polo shirts, socks and underwear.

The outside edge of fabric that's reinforced to stop it unravelling. The reinforcement is usually visible - with a name and description in the case of wool suitings or with a contrast colour in the case of denim.

See also: Jeans

A smooth, worsted cloth usually woven from rayon and acetate, although finer versions contain mohair, wool or silk. It is often used in suits as it resists wrinkles and has a smooth, slightly two-tone appearance. See also: mohair

Even before the fighter pilots of World War II became style heroes, civilian men were wearing shearling (which is leather or sheepskin with the wool attached) for its insulating qualities and its masculine appeal. The material has appeared in many designer collections recently, as part of a revival of classic forms of clothing such as cords and tweed jackets. What separates the new shearling styles from the coats your father may have worn in the 1970s is their cut - they have been thoroughly re-invented and slimmed down for a cool and contemporary look. But rest assured, they retain all of their tactile allure.

Figuring out which style of dress shirt collar best suits your face and neck length is one of the more important decisions a man can make on his way to style nirvana. There are numerous variations, but the basic types are as follows:

Button down: Sometimes called a polo collar because it was originally worn by polo players who wanted to keep their collars from flying into their faces as they galloped down the field. It soon became an American staple after Mr John Brooks of Brooks Brothers saw it at a British polo match and made it his store's signature collar.

Spread: A clean, elegant collar in which the spread between the two collar points and the top button resembles an isosceles triangle. The space on a cutaway collar is wider, and the collar ends may be rounded.

Straight point: An unbuttoned button-down; the points of the collars extend down the front of the shirt.

Penny: A small collar with rounded corners; also known as an Eton collar.

Tab: A straight-point collar that features a button or "tab" that fastens behind the necktie for a clean, vintage look. Worn by Jimmy, the mod protagonist of Quadrophenia.

There are three different types of cuff you may encounter on a dress shirt:

A French cuff is an extra piece of fabric folded back over itself and held together with a cufflink. Also known as a double cuff.

A two-button turnback cuff has an extra piece of fabric folded back to imitate a French cuff, but is held together by two buttons. This is sometimes called a cocktail, capril, Neapolitan or a Bond cuff. It entered the Bond sartorial arsenal (as did so many of Sir Sean Connery's fashion choices) thanks to director Mr Terence Young, who projected many of his stylistic choices, including his fondness for the Turnbull & Asser turnback, on to 007.

A button cuff. The most common variety; a sleeve that closes at the end with one, two or three buttons. May also be referred to as a barrel cuff.

See also: gauntlet button

Formal shoes with laces are split into two sorts, Derbies and Oxfords. Derbies, which are less formal, are distinguished by the fact that the "facing" (where the lace eyelets are located) is open at the bottom, while an Oxford's facing is closed through being sewn under the "vamp", or the top of the shoe. Within these styles there are various details: toecaps, which are stitched over the toe, brogueing, which refers to the decorative holes punched into the leather, and wingtips, which are a bigger toe cap in the shape of a bird's wings in flight and are the defining feature of a full brogue (AKA wingtip). Monks are shoes closed with a strap and buckle, while loafers refer to slip-on shoes that may be tasselled, penny loafers, if there's a band of leather running over the top of the foot with a space for a penny, or driving shoes if they have a textured rubber sole.

Simon Miller

Initially producing jeans, Mr Simon Miller founded his namesake label in 2006. Since then the range has expanded to include clothes, which complement the label's Japanese denim jeans, with all production taking place in Los Angeles. This is a casualwear line with a difference.

Silk is woven from a natural fibre which is gathered from the cocoons of the larvae of the Bombyx mori moth. The larva is commonly known as the silkworm. Silk's iridescent property is due to the prism-like structure of the fibre, which refracts light at different angles, producing a shimmering effect. In menswear, silk is most commonly used for ties, scarves and pocket squares.


The Slowear group comprises of four different specialist labels: Incotex for impeccably cut trousers, Zanone for fine knitwear, Glanshirt for stylish shirts and Montedoro for quality jackets. Between them, the Slowear family of brands covers almost all men's casual wardrobe requirements in a classic-yet-modern way. Click here to read more about Slowear


Smythson of Bond Street, established in 1887 and a supplier to the British royal family, is a producer of stationery and leather goods that are the last word in understated sophistication. We particularly like the leather technology cases and pocket-sized notebooks, which make ideal gifts.

SNS Herning

The Danish knitwear manufacturer S.N.S. Herning was established in 1931, and is named after the initials of its founder, Mr Soren Nielsen Skyt, and the town in Denmark where the family-owned firm is still based. As a young man, Mr Skyt manufactured and produced knitwear for fishermen, which was characterised by its lightweight, "bubble" construction, still used by the brand today. This technique produces robust, highly insulating sweaters which are both lightweight and unrestrictive, perfect for protecting the wearer from rough seas and withstanding daily wear. In 1931 Mr Skyt trademarked the Fisherman sweater, which is still produced today to the original design specifications, and began mechanised production with machines imported from Germany.

These days, S.N.S. Herning sweaters have found favour among non-seafarers for their superior quality and aesthetics. The original design was born out of function rather than fashion, a fact which goes a long way in explaining why the sweaters look as good today as they did 80 years ago. Read more about S.N.S. Herning

A cornerstone of casual dressing, and a type of footwear embedded in popular culture, sneakers are a true wardrobe staple. Originally designed for athletic use, and named because they enable the wearer to "sneak" about without making the squeaking sounds associated with leather soles on certain surfaces, sneakers have been designed and reinterpreted by designers since conception. Click here to view sneakers timeline sneakers

Beyond the sockette - which is basically a shoe liner - there are three lengths: ankle, which covers the shin bone, 1/2 length, which stops half way up the calf and falls down incessantly as a result, and 3/4, which stops above the calf and, crucially, stays there. Read more about socks

Spencer Hart

Mr Nick Hart launched Spencer Hart on Savile Row in 2002, and has since dressed countless celebrities for prestigious awards ceremonies in his signature modern, pared-down suits. Channelling culture (particularly related to music and style icons) into high-precision, luxurious tailoring, Spencer Hart collections are relevant and edgy while remaining unerringly elegant. Aside from the sharply cut suits, be sure to look out for the crisp shirts and narrow silk ties. Click here to read more about Spencer Hart

Sperry Top-Sider

Since 1935, Sperry Top-Sider has specialised in high-quality deck shoes, which speak of preppy East Coast style. Indeed, the brand's founder Mr Paul Sperry is credited with inventing the deck shoe, after he cut grooves into the soles of rubber-soled leisure shoes to make them slip-resistant.

This is an Italian word that translates as nonchalance, but is the exact opposite. Popularised by Renaissance-era Venetian diplomat Mr Baldesar Castiglione, the word refers to dressing in a manner that appears casual but stylish. With an air of sprezzatura a man can transform a pocket square from an affectation into a charming accessory. Read more about sprezzatura

Stone Island

Since Stone Island was born in 1981, the brand has established itself as a leader in outerwear, having created more than 40,000 different garments taking inspiration from military uniforms and workwear.

Stubbs and Wootton

Founded in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1993, Stubbs & Wootton specialises in luxurious slippers and espadrilles that are designed to be worn from day into night, working as well with jeans as they do with a tuxedo. We particularly like the dark velvet pairs with stylish embroidered motifs. Click here to read more about Stubbs & Wootton

Single versus double-breasted refers to the way the jacket closes. (See double-breasted)

One-, two- or three-button: refers to the number of buttons on the front of the jacket. Single-button suits are considered the most appropriate for evening wear and can be quite useful if you are going from the office to a party. Two-button is the most traditional and most conservative. Three-buttoned suits come in and out of fashion depending upon whether the 1960s mod look is in vogue. The three-button suit also hearkens back to a vintage Ivy League style, which reached its peak with the classic Brooks Brothers "sack suit" - a boxy, forgiving workhorse.

Single, double or no vent: refers to whether the suit's jacket has a traditional single slit in the middle or the back, two elegant side vents or no vent (which can look good on very tall professional athletes from the former East German Republic, but should be avoided by everyone else).

Fabrics: Suits can be made from any fabric, but are usually made from wool, silk or cotton. After raw wool is sheared, it is graded by softness - so you might see suits being advertised as featuring anything from 100-grade fabric to the more expensive and softer 150s, all the way to 200. These numbers often have the term "super" put in front of them - as in the way that a greasy spoon calls it "deluxe" when the cook includes fries with your burger. Wool-grade is a bit like thread count with bed linen. The trade-off is the higher the grade, the quicker the fabric may wear out. So it is worth having a few low-grade workhorse suits in a wardrobe for rainy days.

Weight: Plain weaves versus twills. A plain weave is a lighter, summery fabric with one yarn making a grid pattern with another yarn. Hopsack is a plain weave.

Click here to see six stylish suit wearers


Sundek shorts debuted in California in 1958, the triple-stitched, two-ply nylon board shorts designed especially for surfers. The rainbow motif, added in 1972, remains a feature of all Sundek shorts today. Originally championed by professional surfers such as Mr Kelly Slater and Mr Ken Bradshaw, Sundek shorts have since become popular as stylish beachwear for surfers and sunbathers alike.


Sunspel began producing handmade underwear in 1860 and, in 1947, was the first manufacturer to introduce boxer shorts to the UK. Since then the range has expanded to include T-shirts, polo shirts and knitwear, with every item still made by hand. Sunspel collections are simple and understated, and the company has collaborated with brands including Richard James, Kris Van Assche and Paul Smith. Sunspel made the polo shirts worn by Mr Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, and Mr Christian Bale's T-shirts in The Dark Knight.


The sweatshirt was invented the early 20th century for athletes to wear. Russell Athletic of Alabama in the US is often credited with its conception. In 1926 the owner of the firm developed a cotton sweater for his son to wear for football practice, which was lightweight, easy to move in and less itchy than the woollen jerseys the team wore. The new garment took off, and sweatshirts would come to be worn by athletes while they were warming up, and before or after matches and races. Later, they would make the transition into the casual wardrobe. Their smooth surface meant they could be easily printed with team or university emblems, as they still are today.

Read more about sweatshirts


Loafers were originally developed in Norway and SWIMS, hailing from the same country, specialises in durable rubber and mesh variants. Stylish and practical, they are perfect for holidays and boating, since they are non-slip and fast drying.