The Shipley & Halmos story started with a suitcase. Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos founded their own label with the idea that it should comprise no more (and no less) than a complete suitcase full of clothes: a full wardrobe, ready to go. With their pared-down Fall collection, they came closer to that original intention than ever before. Less became more. "There is one wool coat," Shipley said.

Still, it all builds. "A lot of unrelated items that look really great together," was how the designers summed it up. "But when you do it right, it looks like a stylish guy's closet." There weren't seismic shocks to be found. Varsity jackets do well for Team S&H, so they came back again, here joined by a raglan-sleeve varsity sweater. The peacoat now comes with a shearling collar: a bit of a leap for their customer, Shipley admitted, but they're counseling slow and steady progress—and besides that, it's removable.

Limiting options might've been risky, but the designers reported retailers responded better than ever. So the bag stays packed, and the journey continues.