It’s a mystery: how does Hollington remain one of Paris’s best-kept secrets, with a worldwide mailing list of 14,000 devoted followers and some of the most comfortable, versatile and distinctive men’s clothing in town? Maybe it’s designer Patric Hollington’s good-natured insistence on bucking the trends in favor of his own appealing mix of classic and modern, or just because he’s an Irishman in Paris. Hollington has lived and worked in the city’s sophisticated Saint Germain neighborhood for 30 years, and he manages to blend an Irish practicality and insistence on comfort with a French sense of style and fit, without being too rigidly formal or slavish to fashion. In short, the clothes are for men of taste who are comfortable with their own style and want to keep it that way.

Hollington garments also stand the test of time, both in terms of style and quality. The designer travels the world to find beautiful and sturdy fabrics for a wide selection of elegant mix-and-match separates. Some of his unstructured jackets have his signature Nehru collars, others have “carpenter” collars—a variation of the 19th-century style worn by Victor Hugo and Rodin; they come in linen, silk, tweed, flannel, wool or cotton corduroy, velvet and more, in a range of gorgeous colors and neutrals, with various trouser styles to mix and match. One Hollington hallmark is the unstructured cut for maximum comfort and flexibility while still maintaining “the lines of good architecture”. A bonus for Americans, who tend to be taller and larger than their European counterparts, the clothes come in ample sizes for larger and/or taller men. Says Barry Hillenbrand, a six-foot, 220-lb. Washingtonian who found clothes shopping in Paris frustrating, “The jackets from Hollington’s not only fit a big guy like me, but look great when I get them back home to fashion-challenged Washington. They are impeccably made and indestructible. My basic black Hollington replaced my blue blazer years ago.” Also spotted at the rue Racine boutique: lightweight bolero hats, scarves, exceptional Aran Isle sweaters in baby alpaca and silk, cashmere socks, leather gloves and bags, and a range of stylish all-weather overcoats.

9 rue Racine, 6th, website

Originally published in the October 2012 issue of France Today