We’ll just get to it: you’re sleeping on Paul Smith, and [imagine our bad British accent] we’re not going to bloody stand for it anymore. The man himself—Sir Paul Smith, thank you—and his eponymous brand remain just as tuned-in and stand-out today as when his Mod-inflected tailoring first arrived on the scene more than 50 years ago. Ignoring Britain’s answer to Ralph Lauren is only hurting your own closet.
Imagine, one young fella with Savile-Row savvy puts a sign outside of a phonebooth-sized shop in 1970 Nottingham, cutting suits that feed off the energy of an era tripping from hippie-dom into hedonism. Today, it’s his name on more than 100 stores across 60 countries—and that reference we made to Ralph Lauren wasn’t lip service. Like our American menswear king, Paul Smith launched a brand that became its own world—in this case, one that’s part Prince Charles (in his suit-god era) and part Willy Wonka (in his Gene Wilder era).
You’ve seen celebs strolling around Hollywood premieres in Smith’s slim-cut suiting, and probably caught a few of the endless array of collabs he’s done with brands from Leica to Burton to Land Rover. You definitely know his signature candy-colored striping. The groovy array of organically-arranged stripes was originally created by hand, by winding various colored threads around a card. Today, those stripes—endlessly riffed on in palette and proportion—are reserved for Paul Smith’s most luxurious products.
Stateside, Paul Smith gets unfairly written off by folks who’ve only seen the flashy socks and department-store suits, which is a shame. For them. From luscious knitwear in chunky yarns and mesmerizing patterns to next-level outerwear befitting royalty (The Beckhams, of course), there’s a whole world of Paul Smith pieces that deserve your respect and your dollars.
We’ve pulled together 19 of our favorites, but if you’ve been sleeping on Paul Smith, what we really want to say is: wake up, mate.
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