Paul Smith is the man. Whether it's men's suits, dress shirts, or accessories, Sir Paul's ability to take classic, expertly tailored menwear and infuse it with a twist of color and whimsy is unmatched. You don't even need to know the man, the brand, or his logo to appreciate how cool his stuff is. As a wise man once said to me: "Want to dress well? Just wear one thing from Paul Smith every day."
The problem, of course, is that almost everything he sells is damn near unaffordable, even during the annual summer half-price sale. As much as I love the guy, I wouldn't own my Paul Smith suit and folio bag if they hadn't been gifts.
But as intimidating as his prices are, there are a few inexpensive ways to get into the brand. A few ground rules: it must be something immediately identifiable as Sir Paul's, something you can use several times a week, and you want to keep it under $50. Here are four ways to do it:
1) POCKET SQUARE - $18 (Paul Smith Japan)
Fold it neat and flat, with just a 1/4 to 1/2 inch peeking out of a casual navy blazer, and you're all set. If anyone looks askance at it, nod and say "It's a Paul Smith."
2) SOCKS - $16 (ASOS.com)
Wear 'em with shorts, jeans, khakis, a suit, whatever - they'll add pop to your outfit and you'll be amazed how many people stare at your socks. ASOS.com regularly has Sir Paul's socks at steep discounts, but they sell out quick so check often.
3) GYM TOWEL - $26 (Paul Smith Japan)
Wanna look cool even when you're drenched in sweat and wearing ratty clothes? Here you go.
4) CUFFLINKS - $40 (Off Sak's Fifth Avenue)
Was blown away when I went to the Off Sak's in Gilroy in January and saw a stash of Sir Paul's cufflinks (normally $125-$140) sitting around for $50-$75 - and mind you, that's BEFORE you factor in the 30% off one item (sometimes 40% off one item) coupon you can find most holidays in the free VIP area of the Premium Outlets website. Which drove the final price to $40 on each set of the ultracool cufflinks pictured above - an incredible bargain for something that will make complete strangers come up and say, "I'm so sorry to bother you, but can I look at your cufflinks? What brand are they?"