An Editor's Guide to Christmas Attire

The Rake's Editor Tom Chamberlin reveals how he will be perfecting the art of rakish casual this Christmas...

An Editor's Guide to Christmas Attire

For the more formally inclined – casual dress isn’t as straight forward as you’d think. The idea that those who know the ins and outs of a Milanese button hole, or the benefits of a higher gorge on a double-breasted jacket, might understandably come unstuck when trying to navigate a T-shirt. I can recite entire sonnets of Shakespeare but I wouldn’t be able to reel off many Stormzy lyrics.

I jest to an extent, as casual wear is an important aspect of any man’s wardrobe and in this the season of rested merry gentlemen, the onus is on softer fabrics and structure. This list imagines you in festive, postprandial repose on the sofa, milking the time off as best you can. Bear in mind that personal flourishes should never be ignored in casual wear. If you are known for wearing a pocket watch, a boutonniere, a touch of flamboyance, keep that, don’t edit yourself for the sake of leisureliness. Clothing is still meant to reflect you, so move it to you, don’t move yourself to it.


This is an essential item. The cardigan is King of the casual canon as far as I am concerned and should be the first thing to invest in. Ralph Lauren, who play with the dressing gown aesthetic, lengthening it past the bottom of the seat and including a belt in the mix. The second is Connolly, who have come out with a few iterations of the ‘beach cardigan’.

Pleated trousers

Pleats have an artistic function, in that they create the silhouette, but they also have a comfort factor that you won’t get with flat-fronted trousers. Jeans for example, are a terrible ‘comfort’ trouser when you are relaxing, instead you should opt for a fabric like corduroy or something with cashmere in it, like these here. The Gurkha straps will help with any ‘merrimental’ bloat.


Know that a T-shirt is perfectly valid but should not be skin tight and long enough to tuck in your trousers when in company. The reason it is not on this list is there are better options that are worth exploring. The brushed cotton shirt is at the top of this list. Plain cotton that you’d find on most shirting is not particularly seasonal and only somewhat comfortable. The options with cashmere or a brushed cotton version like this is enough to maintain your sartorial dignity but doesn’t come at the cost of comfort.


Indoors should be carpet slippers, it’s a step further in terms of informality to a velvet or cashmere slipper, and you are at home with family so take advantage.