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The Exclusive

The Theory Of Menswear

The New York style powerhouse designs a collection of modern essentials just for MR PORTER

At MR PORTER, we like to think that style is built on solid foundations. One may own a show-stopping pair of wholecut Berlutis, a Balenciaga peacoat or a Raf Simons patterned shirt – but the steady staples, the classic pieces, are the key to a well-balanced wardrobe. Take a look at our Essentials. Whether it’s a blue J. Crew chambray shirt or a good pair of Grensons, these timeless items form the basis of any look, in any season.

Founded in 1997, on the principle that men want to be stylish, yet comfortable, the New York-based label offers relaxed office or weekend pieces that work just as effortlessly on an evening out. Collaborating with Theory’s designers, MR PORTER has created an exclusive collection of contemporary staples.

“This collection utilises all of our strengths,” says Mr Ben Stubbington – vice president of men’s design at Theory. “It’s based on fit, fabric and silhouette. The fabrics are from high-quality Italian and Japanese mills, using compact yarns and weaves, and stretch fabrics. All these pieces work with the modern guy’s lifestyle.”

When he started Theory 17 years ago, the brains behind the brand Mr Andrew Rosen (who is also CEO of cult label Helmut Lang) wanted to create a modern working uniform – by introducing stretch fabric to a suit, for example – making comfortable clothes that travel well. Using the same fabric mills as other high-end brands, he sought something more accessible in price and appearance. The brand has the same ethos today, yet has evolved to meet the demands of the urban dresser.

The understated nature of the MR PORTER range – from the classic camel overcoat to the cable-knit jumper and the gingham shirt – makes it a collection you could wear on its own, or combined with other brands. “You can definitely mix these with items from other designers,” says Mr Stubbington, who has worked at the brand for five years. “But we’ve created working staples that go well together. This collection is for men who invest in the right pieces and live in them – so they need security in their quality. We want to make clothes that enhance the character of the wearer.”

Check out the range, below, and read what Mr Stubbington has to say about his favourite pieces from the collection.

Mr Stubbington’s Theory picks

Green field jacket

“This is our modern take on a traditional field jacket. It takes in details from sports clothing. The structure is narrower, and it has a wool nylon face, bonded to a nylon back – so it’s a true technical fabric. It has a Teflon coating so it’s water-repellent, and the back of the neck has an elastic banding to it.”

Gingham shirt

“This is a staple that we’ve approached in a modern way with the proportion of the collar and cuff, and cut from a stretch fabric that takes it to a new contemporary level. You could easily wear this with a suit, or the black denim jeans.”

Navy fleck suit

“The collection mostly has a clean, minimalist aesthetic, but this is pushing it out there as more of a fashion item. The lapel is quite narrow and the fabric is warmer. It’s something with a bit more interest.”

Black stretch denim jeans

“The stretch in the jean is to enhance the comfort, and means they fit in the way I designed them to. People who have active jobs can move in them. I ride a bike to work every day, and raw denim jeans just wouldn’t work.”

Camel wool overcoat

“This is essentially a traditional camel overcoat, but the length, fit and proportion feel more contemporary. It would look great over the suits in the collection. It’s also a different take on a traditional weave – it uses a compact wool – so it has a cleaner face to it.” 

Chocolate leather jacket

“Detail-wise, this is super-clean and super-minimal. There are no unnecessary seams and the elastic on the cuff makes it functional. Within these products across the range, there are only details that are important to the piece. We’re not creating tricky products for the sake of it.”