Smart Dressing

The Style Councillor: Studio Nicholson’s smooth new modular wardrobe

The Jackal's Style Director explores a collection that's combining form with function

Words by
Gareth Scourfield

Given my job, it’s perhaps not unusual that I frequently get asked what makes for a good capsule wardrobe.

Now, we’re not talking about wrestling with a set of flatpack instructions, but rather the well-edited pieces that form the backbone of your clothing collection. Unsurprisingly, a lot of men can find this quite a challenge – finding the right clothes, not putting up the wardrobe. So, step in new menswear brand Studio Nicholson, which has built its first menswear collection around this very dilemma.

Armed with two decades of industry experience, Founder and Creative Director, Nick Wakeman, has designed her first men’s collection with a very specific man in mind. ‘I look to the men in my life who get dressed in a very specific way; they have a narrative, a story or character in their head when putting things together.’ She references David Byrne from Talking Heads as one of her man-muses. Byrne was known for sporting simple pieces with a relaxed attitude – all snake-hipped coolness.

With this in mind, this first collection is carefully engineered to form the basis of the ultimate modular wardrobe. Silhouettes are smooth and relaxed throughout, while standout pieces draw heavily on the music of Wakeman’s youth. Take note of the collection’s David Bowie pleated trousers for evidence.

At its heart lies attention to detail in fabric design, an obsession of Wakeman’s that she loves to enthuse about. ‘We find that men always ask where something is made – it is the first thing they do. They want to know where it’s from and that the garment is made to the highest quality possible. Fabric is where I always start with a collection, many of our fabrics are British and we carry that through to manufacture,’ she says.

Consequently, the collection’s denim, knitwear and outerwear are made in London, while the shirts are produced in Italy from 30 times washed Egyptian cotton.

Functionality is a key concern in the collection too. Whether the hard-wearing thornproof tweed used in the collection’s balloon trousers (a heritage fabric from Abraham Moon in Yorkshire) or the superb low-tech breathable cotton ventile used in her outerwear, it’s as easy-to-wear as it is stylish.

And while we’re on the subject of practicality, it’s worth noting that the deep-pockets in said outerwear are ideal for storing tools too, for when you set to work on that flat-pack wardrobe…

Here are Nick’s three must-own picks from the new collection

‘This coat plays on a traditional gabardine, made in weatherproof ventile first developed for the RAF in 1943. It’s collarless with high volume in the body. The sleeve has a military parka pleated elbow. Oversized buttons gives the coat a slightly naive finish. I love the way it looks on, the shape is quite unique.’

‘I’ve chosen the Bridges pant as it's the first piece we started with for menswear (in womenswear our volume balloon pant is a constant bestseller). Seen here in Abraham Moon thornproof tweed it was a really fast seller in the first collection. Again, it’s a nice play on traditional fabric brought forward into a really modern pant.’

‘The Bari jean is made at Black Horse Lane Ateliers in Walthamstow. I love this piece because we’ve been able to develop our own selvedge denim with Hans Ates of BHL, in indigo and a natural off-white. The Bari jean is slightly cropped straight-leg jean with traditional details and jet pockets at the back.'