Summer is all well and good, but when it comes to dressing well, it’s a bit of a bore. Roof terraces, outdoor pools and BBQs are great, but clothes choices for such occasions are limited. Short-sleeved tops, shorts, and sneakers or loafers are pretty much all we’ve got to work with.
Which is why when autumn comes around, the menswear glitterati perform a collective sigh of relief.
Ask anyone with an interest in clothes when their favourite time of year is, and they’ll likely all say the same thing: autumn (or ‘fall’, if you’re from across the pond). The season welcomes cooler weather, which means more layers, which means more potential combinations for looking ace. Plus, it won’t be so cold that you won’t want to be outside.
But with so much choice out there and endless room for wardrobe creativity, how should you dress in autumn? We’ve gone back to the drawing board, deciphered both recent and upcoming trends to offer seven outfit ideas for you to take inspiration from this season. All easily wearable and suitable for a range of social occasions, these fall outfits will have you covered whatever the weather.
A waterproof jacket is your best friend come autumn. When the rain hits, you’ll want to be covered, but won’t always want to rely on a cumbersome umbrella. In recent seasons technical pieces have come to the fore – namely waterproof garments in more unusual styles and lightweight outerwear designed to be functional, easily packable and quite simply, cool.
Technical clothing generally comes down to the fabric, which has some sort of function. Most commonly it is waterproof, but it can also be heat-retaining or sweat-wicking. The wider technical trend though also includes functional clothes with plenty of pockets which borrow from the utility and warcore sub-trends.
In short, technical clothing is ideal for autumn. Pay special attention to lightweight mid-layer pieces such as bomber jackets, which are ideal for placing beneath a larger overcoat. This can give you a pop of colour, added texture or just additional pockets. Either way, it’s a win.
The easiest way to add interest to an otherwise drab look is to accessorise. Of course, the deeper we get into autumn, the more options become available. Scarves, gloves, hats, belts, braces and socks, there are numerous ways to spruce up a look, or just add a bit of colour.
One such way to add a point of difference is to wear a neckerchief. Underused but surprisingly adaptable – they complement both tailored looks and workwear styles – the neckerchief will keep your neck warm as the weather cools, but also just acts as a way of introducing some personality to your outfit.
Go Bold With Tailoring
Tailoring has long been a necessity for those who work in corporate environments. It’s often a requirement of the job; a way of looking presentable behind a desk or in front of clients. But over the last few seasons, the suit has become more than that.
Now, many men choose to wear a suit because they want to, not because they have to. Suits can now be playful and, in some cases, don’t even look like suits at all. Shirts have been replaced by T-shirts, plain grey has been swapped out for patterns and vibrant hues, and stuffy dress shoes are out in place of chunky Derbies and boots.
If you want to mix up traditional tailoring, you can too. Try replacing the jacket on your navy suit with something bold and double-breasted, which will instantly transform a plain shirt-and-tie look into something far more interesting.
Tonal dressing – that is, wearing garments in slightly differing shades of the same colour – is perhaps the easiest way to look good. There’s no messing around with colour theory or trying to pair complementary shades, you simply throw on clothes that kind of look the same.
But there are a couple of things to take note of. Certain colours work better than others. Dark blues are ideal, look especially chic and work for most men. For autumn though, neutral tones such as camel are a fine choice, and channel somewhat of a 1970s feel, in the best way possible.
When trying a tonal look for yourself, make sure to pay attention to the fabrics. A tonal outfit works best when several fabrics are used, which will keep the outfit from looking flat and lifeless.
If in doubt, go monochrome. While ideal for nights out (when stains from red wine spillage is a concern), all-black attire is surprisingly versatile and works both for a casual office and days out on the weekend.
It was the go-to look for Johnny Cash on stage and the entire rockabilly movement, so it’s understandable that all-black has somewhat counter-culture connotations, especially when leather is involved.
A classic monochrome rocker outfit features a leather biker jacket up top, and black Chelsea or Derby boots below. You can experiment with both the trousers and the top – a pair of black jeans and a white T-shirt completes the look, but opt for tailored trousers and a flannel shirt for something a bit more sophisticated.
Sometimes (read: most of the time), following trends is completely unnecessary. You can be more comfortable and appear far more stylish by just buying into the menswear classics. Selvedge denim, Oxford shirts, overcoats, knitwear – these are the fundamentals of men’s clothing, and they’re rarely bettered.
Of course, quality varies massively with clothes, and this is especially true with the classics as they are so widely produced. It’s better to invest in superior made garments as, due to their versatility, you’ll likely be wearing these wardrobe heroes a lot.
The best thing about the classics? They are nearly always interchangeable, meaning you can basically get changed in the dark and still look great. They form the basis of the ‘capsule wardrobe’ and providing they fit well, will never not look good.
Texture From Head To Toe
Texture. It’s one of the best things about dressing for autumn. As the weather cools, we turn to heavier fabrics which generally have a more interesting look and feel than their summery counterparts. Dense wool, cashmere, flannel, leather and suede all have distinct textures which, when worn together, can really complete a look.
In fact, purposefully wearing multiple fabrics together is the perfect way to upgrade a pedestrian look. For work, think two-piece flannel suit, pique cotton button-down shirt, knitted tie and polished leather Derbies. For the weekend you could add a leather bomber jacket to the mix, along with a chunky wool roll neck and suede boots.
Photographer: Jonathan Daniel Pryce
Stylist: David Nolan
Art direction: Luke Sampson
Assisted by: Richard Jones
Grooming: Shauna Taggart