The seasonal change from summer to autumn generally heralds a more sombre approach to style and, particularly, colour. Bright and pastel shades are pushed to the back of the wardrobe as we make room for a flood of neutral tones and rich, muted hues.
The colour, one of Matt Allinson’s top picks for the season, has become a menswear stalwart over recent years – cementing itself as a year-round staple. With this in mind, we’re taking an in-depth look at both classic and on trend ways you can begin to integrate this versatile hue into your wardrobe this year…
Look One: Tonal Outfitting
Single colour, tonal outfitting was a major trend at the AW13 London Collections: MEN showcase and, as Chris Gill pointed out in his guide last week, red/burgundy hues make for a great option when putting the styling technique into practice.
When building a single colour outfit, it is important to create a clear definition between pieces, which can be achieved via changes in tone or texture.
Therefore, begin with a woollen knit; the sweater below is constructed from a variety of coloured yarns, with red and pink being the most prevalent. Underneath, a washed pink Oxford shirt offers a lighter contrast, helping bring a sense of depth to the top half.
Some dark burgundy cotton chinos and a pair of red suede trainers finish the outfit on a casual note, whilst adding two more distinct textures into the mix:
- Topman Pink Acid Wash Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
- Hentsch Man Wool Crew Neck Sweater
- Asos Slim Chino
- New Balance M990bd Made In Usa Sneakers
Look Two: Accessory Accent
The easiest way to introduce any new colour into your look is via a well-placed accessory. Burgundy may not be the boldest of hues but its richness and versatility make it a great accent.
This is especially true in formal looks where a burgundy tie or pocket square can quickly become a point of interest, especially when set against a classic navy, grey or black suit.
Texture really comes into play during the winter months and the blue houndstooth suit below ticks all the right boxes, combining heritage appeal with a modern cut.
Complement the suit’s blue colouring whilst injecting another tactile element with a burgundy corduroy tie. Cord may seem an unconventional choice for neck wear but it is on trend for AW13 and oozes character and individuality.
Finish with a pair of Chelsea boots to complete this sharp outfit with a hint of mod rakishness:
- Reiss Zinc Stretch Poplin Shirt White
- Reiss Broderick B Dogtooth Check Blazer Blue
- Band Of Outsiders Corduroy Tie
- Topman Off White Pocket Square
- Reiss Broderick T Dogtooth Check Trousers Blue
- Saint Laurent Suede Chelsea Boots 167767
Look Three: Trousers
Coloured trousers have developed into a modern wardrobe staple over recent years and offer an easy way to make a statement. Yet those of you who aren’t quite ready to embrace the purples, oranges and yellows of this world should consider burgundy.
Subtle and refined, burgundy exudes a quiet strength and masculinity. It isn’t as striking or as in-your-face as red, but a rich pair of burgundy trousers will still effortlessly stand out against a sea of indigo denim and khaki chinos.
Not only that, the hue perfectly complements a wide range of neutrals – from cream and grey to black and navy – offering a versatile and solid base to build a look upon.
With this in mind, try combining a pair of burgundy chinos with a timeless black leather biker jacket. The biker’s strong silhouette will help draw attention away from your bottom half whilst simultaneously offering a dark backdrop for them to shine against.
Keep the styling stripped back with a simple grey cable knit before stepping up your footwear game with a pair of classic black brogues with a chunky wedge sole – guaranteed to keep you sure-footed throughout winter:
Look Four: Knitwear
Knitwear is an obvious but key component of any autumn/winter wardrobe; perfect for layering and keeps you insulated. Burgundy offers a welcome break from the traditional neutral hues that are pushed each year in winter knitwear collections and, as discussed, is just as versatile.
Below we opt for a sophisticated take on the shade by skipping the shirt and tie and reaching for a wine coloured roll neck. Red and blue is a fail-safe combination, so layer a navy blazer over the top to err on the smarter side of the spectrum.
Wool trousers are a genuine wardrobe staple. Textured, versatile and full of character, they will instantly lift any look they are integrated into without coming across as stuffy. It is this ability to be dressed up or down with ease that makes them the perfect base for our outfit.
Finally, drag your loafers out of spring/summer storage and prepare them for winter wear. Sockless may not be an option this season but on dry days there’s no reason why – when paired with some simple, stylish and warm socks – they can’t complete this smart-casual ensemble with a continental touch:
- Asos Roll Neck Jumper
- Topman Navy Flannel Skinny Suit Jacket
- Browns Flannel Wool Trousers
- Bass Weejuns Larkin Cognac Tassel Loafers
Look Five: Tailoring
Burgundy tailoring has been making sartorial waves of late, thanks to a certain Mr Gosling. Whilst it’s never going to usurp the classic navy or grey suit and cement itself in your formal wear rotation, the dark red hue does offer a striking alternative that remains just as versatile as its neutral counterparts. That being said, one question is inevitably raised: “where would I ever wear this?”
The office is out of the question, unless you work in the creative industry. However, with party season now upon us, there has never been a better time to take a burgundy coloured leap of faith.
If black tie has you groaning in anticipation of blending in with the crowd, then get creative; a maroon velvet tuxedo offers a contemporary take on this rigid dress code and will ultimately have you standing head and shoulders above the rented penguin suits.
Keep the rest of the look traditionally black tie but with some slight touches to elevate it. In the outfit below this is achieved via the polka dot pattern on the bow tie, a bordered pocket square and the trouser detailing.
Complete this louche take on the dress code with some dress loafers in a marbled burgundy/black colour way – tying the look together and finishing it off with panache:
- Browns Luxury Shirts Fine Cotton Evening Shirt
- Reiss Philip Single Buttoned Velvet Blazer Burgundy
- Dolce & Gabbana Martini Spotted Textured Silk Bow Tie
- Tailored Fit Fashion Trousers
- Reiss Grapple Picture Frame Pocket Square Black
- Asos Loafers In Leather
Look Six: Footwear
Burgundy shoes have developed into a viable alternative to the classic black/brown leather styles that have dominated the industry for so long.
Like other underutilised shades – such as navy and grey – burgundy footwear remains completely wearable. It marries well with almost any colour or tone and yet it brings something different to the table, which cannot help but make your look stand out.
Whilst burgundy brogues, Derbies or monk-straps shouldn’t be overlooked for more formal occasions, below we have opted to create an everyday outfit that utilises a pair of leather chukka boots; combining the versatility of brown with the classiness of black, their maroon shade offers the best of both worlds.
Style them with some neutral cords before layering up against the elements with two of this season’s key pieces: the roll neck and gilet.
Simple and wearable, this off-duty ensemble isn’t remotely slovenly or sloppy:
- Gant Rugger Striped Knitted Cotton Rollneck Sweater
- Anerkjendt Kasi Quilted Gilet
- Allsaints Corduroy Iggy Jeans
- Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Hunter Textured-leather Chukka Boots
Key Burgundy Pieces
- Asos Polo In Jersey
- River Island Dark Red Neppy Raglan Sleeve Jumper
- Asos Skinny Fit Suit Jacket In Burgundy
- Allsaints Garrison Pea Coat
- Cheap Monday Re-make Torex Shirt In Red
- Allsaints Charge Chino
- S.n.s. Herning Chunky Knit Wool Cardigan
- River Island Red Bellfield Harrington Jacket
- Nep Rucksack
- Nn.07 Niko Merino Wool Beanie Hat
- Topman Burgundy Leather Monk Shoes
- He By Mango Slim-fit Dyed Cotton Chinos
- Oliver Spencer Plymouth Tailored Jacket 164830
- Reiss Contra Plain Wool Tie Bordeaux
- New Balance Mens Ml574fsm Sneakers
Burgundy, maroon, wine, oxblood… whatever you call it, this versatile and masculine shade of red is perfectly in tune with the autumn/winter season and certainly one to invest in.
But now we want to hear your view:
- Will you be adding the colour to your wardrobe this season?
- Or is it already a permanent fixture?
- Are you confident enough to wear burgundy tailoring?
- What about burgundy footwear?
- Is tonal outfitting a styling technique you see yourself utilising?
Let us know in the comments section below…