The Budd Essentials, by Store Manager Christopher Mundy
It doesn’t matter how old we are, the arrival of September always has a “back to school” feel to it. There can be something a little daunting to this, but like a good Spring clean, it does compel us to think about our wardrobes and the advantages of stocking up on some basics to ensure that we are well turned out.
The simple things really are the best things and our list of essentials below should set you on the right track, sartorially speaking at least, for the months ahead. I, for one, know that the joy of a new notebook, set of pens and a fresh set of school shirts and socks helped gear me up not just physically, but mentally for the year ahead!
1. White Shirt
The ultimate go to shirt. Be it Poplin, Soyella, Oxford or Wisica, every wardrobe needs at least a few white shirts in it. From back to school to the boardroom, dressed down with jeans or worn over shorts, the appeal and blank canvas of a white shirt is universal. The secret to getting the best from your shirt is to ensure that it is made from good quality cotton, laundered and pressed well. If you wash your shirts at home, stick to a purely white wash with some white enhancer to ensure that your shirt stays looking fresh.
2. Striped Shirt
It feels like striped shirts come and go in terms of fashion and many of us relegate them to our wardrobes in favour of a simple plain shirt. However, they do add some oomph to your look and also help to build the chest a little too, never a bad thing! A patterned shirt under a suit shows confidence too and provides a touch of that dreaded term “sprezzatura!”
I cannot mention striped shirts without flagging up our Budd exclusive house stripe. We have produced the design for almost 100 years now and it is iconic. The very fine black stripe that accompanies the main coloured stripe, helps to give it body and texture. Edwardian Blue was the original colour for the Budd stripe and to this day, remains the most popular in our collection. It really is lovely and transcends more mundane blues (if there ever is such a thing!).
3. Grenadine Tie
Grenadines have had something of a revival of late, but have been a staple at Budd since the 1920s. A grenadine is one of the most versatile ties that you can own. Today, we regularly meet chaps who want to pair it in a dressed down way with a denim or chambray shirt, whilst to me, it looks at its sharpest when simply worn with a good white shirt and well cut suit.
Our Grenadines are made from silk and have a distinct, intricate weave. They are woven for us in England on traditional wooden looms, the complexity of the grenadine weave means that they cannot be satisfactorily recreated computerised looms. As well as looking extremely stylish, the Grenadine weave provides the added benefit of tying a beautiful knot that will not slip throughout the day.
4. Madder Tie
I know I must sound biased on this one, but our madder ties are core to Budd’s i.d and it is hard to imagine Budd without them. Having said that, a madder is a really handy addition to your wardrobe. Its’ washed, vintage feel will make it look like an old favourite that you have had for years and it will take you from smart and stately if worn with a grey flannel suit, to looking the part in the country if donning your tweed at the weekend.
We excel at braces at Budd. Our entire shop and cutting room team wear them day in day out. They are not only aesthetic, but practical and ensure perfect length and break on your trousers. In a culture where we tend to remove our suit jacket more and more often, or simply wear one less and less, braces really get to excel. Everyone should try wearing them at least once, most will convert.
We are a destination store for braces. We of course stock (go with anything) solid braces in box cloth and barathea, but also specialise in intricate weaves, illustrations, colours and textures. Embrace the seasons with our cashmere or linen versions, or embrace all things sartorial with our flannel and pinstripe editions. All of our braces are finished with leather button ends and hand polished brass.
A double cuff shirt is the smartest option when wearing a suit and a pair of our cloisoneé cufflinks elevates the elegance level. They are discreet yet noteworthy, in gorgeous colours. I am lucky enough to jump on a train a couple of times a year to visit the team that casts and hand paints our links so I have a soft spot for them, having witnessed the intricacy and skill involved in making each pair.
7. Cotton Socks
A good quality sock won’t sag or wrinkle down in your shoes. As a rule of thumb, you should opt for long socks, or ¾ hose as we often call them here. Our cotton socks are finely gauged with a hand linked toe and heel (for strength), ensuring that they sit comfortably under a formal work shoe. Invest in plenty of navy socks to see you through the darker months, but don’t be afraid of colour, use it to your advantage.
This summer we invested in a lovely new range of Italian cotton socks, selected for their terrific quality and depth of colour.
8. Batiste Pocket Square
It is amazing how something as simple as a square of cotton can lift an outfit. Whilst we love to get carried away with silks, spots and paisleys, there is nothing quite as perfect as a simple cotton square in a versatile colour. Our Batiste squares come from esteemed French house, Simonnet - Goddard. They have been making their squares for over 240 years and and are considered the finest you can own. A simple pale blue square, with contrasting white, hand rolled edge will set you up day in day out. Play with how you fold it for a differering vibe. Small really is beautiful.
9. The Chairman Boxer Shorts
I wasn’t sure whether to include these on my list, as let’s face it, a pair of boxers is an essential, everyday and underwear often doesn’t get too much thought. However, the Chairman Boxer shorts do seem like something of a revelation to a lot of our customers, who promptly become converts. As the name suggests, they were created under the behest of our Chairman, who felt that so many pairs of boxers were unnecessarily roomy and uncomfortable. Our boxers are made from the same cloth that we use for our shirts, so you can be sure that they will feel pretty special to wear.
Just because you only wear them at home, doesn’t mean that you should skimp when it comes to your nightwear. Our pjs are supremely comfortable and feel luxurious to wear. The design is classic but the scope for colour won’t leave you disappointed. Keep your cool in batiste or poplin, but as the nights draw in and turn cooler, opt for Cashmerello. You will end up wearing them all day on a Sunday, lunch commitments permitting.