Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 27 October 2012

A gentleman's wardrobe: the basics

In which G.M. Norton shares his dismay at today’s sliding sartorial standards and makes a list of the basic items befitting a gentleman. 

It’s safe to say that sartorial standards have well and truly plummeted in recent years with many forfeiting chap for chav. One only has to step outside their front door to be met by people with a complete disregard for sartorial sense. Even the local food emporium is no longer a safe haven from crimes against clothes.

Our town and city centres are awash with both men and women insistent upon wearing disgusting nylon trousers, with two stripes down the side. Clad in such athletic outfits, it’s clear from the way they carry themselves that the most strenuous sporting activity they’ve took part in recently has been to have a flutter in the premises of William Hill esquire (or Messrs Ladbroke, Coral or Betfred).

A few of my favourite things
As an aspiring gentleman, I find this lack of pride in one’s appearance utterly perplexing. I always try to make sure I am properly presented at all times, cutting a dash whether in a booze-fuelled business meeting (I wish there was booze) or quick smarting it to the local shop for an emergency packet of nappies (more than likely). 

Over recent times, I’ve been building up items of clothing that I think a gentleman should wear. However, there are still lots I’ve yet to acquire. To aid me in my gentlemanly pursuit and to keep me focused on the prize at hand, I’ve put together a little list containing the basic items I think a gentleman should have in his wardrobe. I’ve indicated the things I have and the items I still need. 

The basic wardrobe of gentlemen: required quantity and details

Suits – two
Got: Grey suit for town
Need: A tweed three-piece for the country in brown or olive green.

Sports jackets – two
Got: A dark navy blazer is a must along with a Harris Tweed jacket.

Trousers – six to eight pairs
Got: A flannel pair in dark or medium grey, three or four cotton trousers, a pair of corduroys.
Need: A pair of thick moleskin trousers.

Overcoat – one
Got: A Chesterfield-type overcoat in dark grey or black, with velvet collar.

Raincoat – one
Got: A beige number. Otherwise known by Michael Caine fans as the ‘Harry Palmer’.

Outerwear – three
Got: A beige Harrington jacket, an olive Barbour wax jacket.
Need: A quilted Barbour jacket and a detachable liner for my wax jacket.

Hats – three
Got: A grey or black fedora
Need: The quintessential black bowler (I should really have one by now), a moleskin cap.

Knitwear – seven
Got:  Two made from the softest merino wool such as John Smedley, a Fair Isle (or Nordic) patterned knit, a cable jumper, a Slazenger v-neck like Sean Connery wore playing golf in Goldfinger and the all important Christmas jumper that grandmother knitted for you (think Colin Firth in Bridget Jones).
Need: A turtleneck cotton knit.

Dress shirts – five to twelve in varying colours, patterns and collar types
Got: Button-down and non-buttoned Oxfords, gingham patterned, stripes.
Need: Pinhole, spearpointed and rounded club collared shirts. Ideally, at least one made-to-measure.

Polo shirts – three to six in a wide selection of colours
Got: Various Fred Perry.
Need: Lacoste and Ralph Lauren versions.

Ties – twelve
Got: Regimental stripes, silk ties and slim Italian knitted ties in solid colours.
Need: Paisley patterned.

Shoes – four pairs
Got: A black pair of Oxfords, a brown pair of brogues, an oxblood pair of loafers and a pair of boat shoes in either blue or brown.

Need: Some black brogues, ideally Church's.

Socks – twelve pairs
Got: Bright coloured Pantherella socks and colourful Burlington argyle patterned ones.
Need: More Burlington argyle socks.

Belts – three
Got: A brown leather belt, a black leather belt.
Need: A Madras check one.

Scarf – one or two
Got: Lightweight wool scarf that will go with anything.

Gloves – two pairs
Got: Black leather and brown leather gloves with soft wool lining. Dents are a decent glove maker, I picked up a nice pair at the local TK Maxx.

Got: Tie clips, cuff links, a Simon Carter watch, a shoe polishing kit, several white handkerchiefs, one or two cravats, tortoise-shell Ray-Ban wayfarers.
Need: More cuff links, few silk pocket handkerchiefs, a clothing brush and a watch with a black leather strap

Please do tell me if you think I’ve missed anything.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’


  1. Wow, it sounds like you're ready for almost any occasion! Very impressive, I wish my wardrobe was so comprehensive, but my head is too easily turned by a swish dress, even if it's utterly insensible.

  2. Thank you, kind lady! I think you've got the correct approach - you have got to let your heart lead you when it comes to building your wardrobe, especially those extravagent flourishes that make an outfit. An utterly insensible purchase can soon become a sensible one once you've acquired the extra items to go with it. I love your style, you have a real eye for pulling together a look.

  3. Many thanks for providing such handy information. I seriously value your expert approach. I would like to thank you for the efforts you made in writing this particular post. I am hoping the same from you in the future as well.
    Sliding Wardrobe India

    1. You are most kind, thank you for your lovely comment. I am delighted that my little periodical is reaching far flung lands across the globe and that you have found it useful. More satorial shenanigans will be popping up on future Saturdays at 4.00pm Grenwich Mean Time.

  4. similar view dear boy , please do find link below

  5. This is really a great work and it really enhance my knowledge about fashion stuff.This is really good.


Blogger Template Created by pipdig