I don’t know how they do it, but Drake’s seems to get better and better every season. They started as a small scarf company nearly forty years ago, before turning into the tie manufacturer we all know and love. Then in 2013, they bought Rayner & Sturges, the go-to shirt-making factory for brands such as Paul Smith and Ede & Ravenscroft. That factory still produces for other brands today, but the acquisition has also allowed Drake’s to develop their own line of made-in-UK shirts.
This fall, Drake’s is inching ever-so-closer to becoming a full menswear brand. Along with their sport coats, tailored trousers, and knits – which they’ve carried for a while now – they’re adding raw, selvedge denim jeans and a larger selection of outerwear to their offerings. You can see the difference in this lookbook, which feels really well-rounded. There are tailored clothes for guys who want to look a little sharper during the work week, but also lots of off-duty pieces for the weekend.
Michael Hill, the company’s Creative Director, tells me he has a lot of favorites in this collection, but thinks the sport coats are a stand-out. “I especially like the linen-cashmere-and-wool gun club,” he tells me. “It’s one of the easiest-to-wear tweeds we’ve done. People wouldn’t think that, with all the color and texture in the jacket, but it pairs so easily with other things.”
My own favorites include the two pieces you see above: a charcoal-and-grey glen plaid sport coat, which breaks my personal rule of avoiding gray tailored jackets. After navy, I’ve always found brown easier to wear. This one, however, is dark enough to lend contrast with mid-grey trousers; has a slightly more unique pattern than your usual grey herringbone tweeds; and would work so wonderfully for a monochromatic color palette. Wear it with a white shirt, black silk knit tie, pair of mid-grey trousers, and black, pebble-grained wingtips.
There’s also this fantastic waxed field coat, which combines the texture of a waxed Barbour with the design of an M-43 Army jacket. “We made it in a factory up in Lancashire” says Michael. “The waxed cotton is from Halley Stevensons in Dundee and the interior is lined with a beautiful Abraham Moon tweed. It’s very easy to wear over a sport coat, but also equally good with a sweater.” I feel like my closet is overflowing with field jackets these days, but this one is hard to resist.
Some other notables: a knee-length Loden coat with a pleated back (as they’re traditionally done); a reversible blackwatch and navy coat (Michael suggests pairing it with cords or flannels); and a slightly fuller-fitting pair of jeans that sit higher on the waist (but are built with a nice taper). The leg-line looks like it would work well for older men who want a more conservative cut, but also for younger guys who want something fresher than the slim-fits they’ve been wearing all these years (including me).
It’s become a lazy cliché for fashion writers, but this Drake’s collection really feels classically rooted, yet modern at the same time. “Ever since the beginning, when I designed ties with Michael Drake, he would say it’s not just about the necktie, it’s about building on a total look,” Michael says. “This is just an expansion on that look – things rooted in classic menswear, but made for a softer, more causal world.”
You can find Drake’s shirts and accessories at their usual places (three advertisers on this site – No Man Walks Alone, The Hanger Project, and Exquisite Trimmings – carry the label). The shoes and other apparel lines, however, will only be available through Drake’s. For readers in the US, the company is opening a pop-up shop in NYC at the end of this month (located at 120 Prince Street), where you can browse these pieces in-person. More info to come at Put This On.