My Modern Working Wardrobe: Paul Smith

Our eponymous founder (and face of our new Modern Working Wardrobe campaign) explains why he wears a suit every day, how tailoring is evolving for the better and why practicality is at the heart of his wardrobe.

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I love suits… even on a Sunday, you’ll see me in a suit.

Paul Smith

It’s very rare that you’ll spot Paul Smith in anything but a suit. Especially at the office (where, it must be said, he still spends most of his time). Even nowadays, with dress codes relaxing across the board (and, yes, even in boardrooms), he considers it his uniform. “I don’t dress in a casual way, because I love suits… even on a Sunday, you’ll see me in a suit,” he says.

His reasoning has less to do with imparting a sense of smartness to daily proceedings and more to do with practicality – and, crucially, the presence of pockets. “I like to keep my specs in my top pocket. I’ve always got a pen, phone, notebook, so I need plenty of places to stash everything.”

Paul Smith

Je ne suis pas vraiment un designer qui conçoit des vêtements très extrême. Ils n’attirent l’attention. Ils sont très pratiques.

Then there’s the comfort factor. “The good thing about a suit is, once you’ve put it on, you don’t think about it at all,” he says. But comfort, of course, depends on how it was made. “A suit works for me, because Paul Smith suits are constructed in a way which is very soft. This one has been made with little interlining and no padding, which means it doesn’t feel as stuffy as people imagine a suit does,” Paul explains. And that’s before you get to the subject of versatility. Today, you’re just as likely to see Paul in a suit worn with a rollneck as you are a shirt and tie. The same goes for sneakers and smarter shoes.

In some ways then, Paul Smith’s Modern Working Wardrobe is just an extension of the way Paul has approached his collections for decades. “I'm not really a designer that designs very extreme clothes,” he explains. “They’re not attention seeking clothes. They're very practical.”

Designed to take you from A to B (and every stop in between), the collection is about embracing a new, adaptable approach to dressing for work as we adapt to hybrid schedules – one that could take you from a coffee shop Zoom in the morning to an important lunch meeting and then home again.

Paul Smith

Je pense que les gens sont prêts à s’habiller un peu plus maintenant, mais ils ne sont pas vraiment prêts à s’habiller de façon très rigide.

But that doesn’t mean that tailoring doesn’t have a place in that wardrobe. “What’s interesting about being at home a lot more is that we got used to wearing a lot of sportswear,” Paul says. “And I think people are ready to dress up a bit more now. But they're not really ready to dress up in a very rigid way necessarily.”

And so, Paul’s definition of tailoring (and the Modern Working Wardrobe edit) is a little wider than most: involving using tailoring fabrics – the sorts that are very hard-wearing and crease resistant – and using them to create more relaxed pieces such as a work jacket, bomber or blouson. As Paul puts it: “It's about having a tailored garment that works for you.”

The good thing about a suit is, once you’ve put it on, you don’t think about it at all.

Paul Smith

Discover More


Modern Working Wardrobe

Our new Modern Working Wardrobe campaign and edit is fronted by a global group of professionals - all with very different nine-to-fives, as well as Paul himself.


Paul's Foundation

Giving Helpful Advice To Creative People.

This is the best advice gathered and given by Sir Paul Smith over the past 50 years.

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