Five AW14 Essentials

Summer is officially over, here in the UK. With the dark nights setting in and temperatures dropping by the day, it’s no longer acceptable to walk the streets in your trusty shorts and t-shirt combination. Instead, the time has come to dust down your chunky knitwear and favourite woolly hat and start preparing for the colder months ahead.

Although this may sound rather depressing, it’s not all doom and gloom – we’ve compiled a list of five items which will ensure you enter the new season fully prepared, and looking the best you possibly can…

1. The Gilet

The gilet is arguably the ultimate transitional garment. Whether used as a middle or top layer, this often polarising piece will help combat autumn’s notoriously temperamental weather.

The gilet’s main selling point is its ability to keep you warm without becoming stifling or adding unnecessary bulk. A lightly padded, down-filled version is ideal (steer clear of puffa styles, which aren’t as versatile), with it able to slip seamlessly between a shirt and blazer or over the top of a shirt/knit for extra insulation.

Before you invest, have a think about the type of gilet you want and the look you’re going for. This item is now available in rugged heritage materials such as tweed, cord or wool, which have a slightly more relaxed feel and work particularly well as a top layer, especially when paired with other outdoors-inspired attire.

However, if you want ultimate versatility, a neutral padded version in black, grey, navy or olive green is able to combine just as well with your casual wear at the weekend as it does your tailoring during the working week.

To create an outfit, try teaming your gilet with a roll neck, indigo jeans and Chelsea boots for lunch with friends at the weekend, slotting it underneath your suit jacket for the nine-to-five commute.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with creative layering combinations, either. Our favourite looks this year see textured gilets worn over the top of blazers or contrast coloured designs layered underneath classic neutral overcoats.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Lightweight and Textured Gilet Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reserved aw14massimo duti pre fall 2014brunello cucinelli aw14clemente talarico aw14massimo dutti october 2013massimo dutti equestrian AW14he by mango aw13Boomerang AW13suitsupply aw13he by mango fall 2014DAY BIRGER ET MIKKELSENti for men aw14banana republic pre aw14
Key Styles
  • He By Mango Cable-knit Panel Reversible GiletHe By Mango Cable-knit Panel Reversible Gilet
  • Suitsupply Grey BodywarmerSuitsupply Grey Bodywarmer
  • Suitsupply Green BodywarmerSuitsupply Green Bodywarmer
  • He By Mango Reversible Quilted GiletHe By Mango Reversible Quilted Gilet
  • He By Mango Quilted GiletHe By Mango Quilted Gilet
  • French Connection Off Piste GiletFrench Connection Off Piste Gilet
  • New Look Dark Shearling Collar Leather-look Contrast GiletNew Look Dark Shearling Collar Leather-look Contrast Gilet
  • Corneliani Reversible Tweed GiletCorneliani Reversible Tweed Gilet
  • Oliver Spencer Wool-tweed GiletOliver Spencer Wool-tweed Gilet
  • Uniqlo Men Ultra Light Down Quilted VestUniqlo Men Ultra Light Down Quilted Vest
  • Jaeger Reversible GiletJaeger Reversible Gilet
  • Christopher Raeburn Lightly-quilted Primaloft GiletChristopher Raeburn Lightly-quilted Primaloft Gilet
2. The AW14 Overcoat

Your choice of coat is arguably the most important decision you’ll make once the weather takes a turn for the worse. Not only is it your first line of defence against the elements, but it’s often the first thing that others notice too, meaning a new piece of outerwear should be at the very top of your AW14 wish list.

Although a winter coat is considered a classic garment that never really falls out of fashion, traditionally each season a couple of silhouettes dominate the high fashion collections and stand out from the rest. Unusually, this wasn’t the case for AW14, as everything from parkas and pea coats to raglan sleeve designs and duffles were sent down the runways. However, our recommendation is the single- or double-breasted overcoat.

A classic and refined silhouette, overcoats were spotted in collections from Ami, Daks, Burberry Prorsum, Bally, Berluti and Gieves & Hawkes, amongst others, coming in chic camel colour ways and masculine shades of military green:

Men's Camel and Military Green Overcoats on the AW14 Menswear Runways

AmiBurberry ProrsumBerlutiDaksBallyGieves & Hawkes

The camel overcoat, in particular, is considered an iconic piece within menswear. Its rich colouring and texture oozes class and sophistication, with more than a hint of luxury thrown in for good measure. The versatile nature of the hue also enables it to combine effortlessly with your existing wardrobe, making it a fantastic alternative to the typical grey, navy or black versions that dominate the seasonal offering.

Of course, the camel overcoat will always look its best matched with tailoring, with your neutral suits offering the ideal backdrop for the piece to come to life. That said, don’t be afraid to utilise it at the weekend too, as textured grey trousers and deep indigo denim will contrast beautifully against this coat, creating an effortless statement and enabling you to keep your off-duty style stripped-back and simple.

With military trending for AW14, the olive or khaki overcoat is another on-point option. Less of a statement than its camel counterpart, but again offering a differential when compared to traditional black or grey versions, these dark and earthy tones epitomise the autumn/winter season and will bring a strong and masculine feel to any ensemble, smart or casual. Double-breasted styles work particularly well in the hue, as they create a powerful and confident silhouette that is befitting of this military-inspired piece.

Combine with rugged worker wear and heavy duty boots at the weekend to effortlessly deal with whatever mother nature throws at you, switching for a well-cut heritage suit (in tweed/flannel) and dress boots for the morning commute.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Camel and Military Green/Olive Overcoat Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

the kooples aw13j crew aw13reiss aw12office shoes aw14office shoes aw13strellson aw13jaeger aw14Gieves & Hawkes aw13topman aw147 FOR ALL MANKIND aw14drykorn aw14reiss aw13
Key Styles
  • Peter Werth Wool OvercoatPeter Werth Wool Overcoat
  • Topman Camel Wool Blend CoatTopman Camel Wool Blend Coat
  • Asos Wool OvercoatAsos Wool Overcoat
  • Ami Double-breasted Wool OvercoatAmi Double-breasted Wool Overcoat
  • Uniqlo Men Wool Cashmere Chesterfield CoatUniqlo Men Wool Cashmere Chesterfield Coat
  • Alexander Mcqueen Wool And Cashmere-blend Overcoat 207023Alexander Mcqueen Wool And Cashmere-blend Overcoat 207023
  • Austin Reed Bugatti Long Camel Classic CoatAustin Reed Bugatti Long Camel Classic Coat
  • Kin By John Lewis Loft Overcoat OliveKin By John Lewis Loft Overcoat Olive
  • Suitsupply Camel Double Breasted CoatSuitsupply Camel Double Breasted Coat
  • Jaeger Camel Hair CoatJaeger Camel Hair Coat
  • Richard James Herringbone Wool OvercoatRichard James Herringbone Wool Overcoat
  • Massimo Alba Double-breasted Tweed CoatMassimo Alba Double-breasted Tweed Coat
3. The Holdall

While sports luxe backpacks and document holders have enjoyed an increase in popularity over the past couple of seasons, this AW14 menswear has gone back to basics with holdalls dominating the global fashion weeks.

Seen on the runways at the likes of Christopher Raeburn, Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen, holdalls were combined with everything from Arctic-inspired puffa jackets and hiking boots to sharp tailored separates and military jackets, proving the silhouette’s versatility:

Men's Holdall Bags on the AW14 Menswear Runways

Bottega VenetaEtroEmporio ArmaniGieves & HawkesChristopher RaeburnKent & Curwen

To ensure you get maximum use out of your new purchase, we suggest investing good money in a leather version. Durable and refined, leather only gets better with age as it develops its own unique character, and if you stick to brown or black colour ways, your holdall will seamlessly integrate within a variety of outfits.

Alternative options to consider this year would be styles in textured, premium fabrics such as wool, felt or herringbone, which look extremely sophisticated and offer the sturdiness that is required from an everyday item such as this.

It’s extremely important to pick the right size for you specific lifestyle and needs. 24/48-hour holdalls are ideal for daily use: able to store your work essentials/gym kit/change of clothes with ease, they can also double up as carry-on luggage for jet-setters and frequent business travellers.

A good holdall should come complete with a strong pair of top handles, zipped internal pockets for keeping valuables secure and a detachable shoulder strap to help lighten the load when waiting in departure lounge queues or navigating the underground during rush hour.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather and Heavyweight Wool/Felt Holdall Bags Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

the kooples sport aw14river island aw13river island aw14HUGO BOSS ORANGE aw14reserved aw14tommy hilfiger sportswear aw14he by mango spring 2013tommy hilfiger tailored aw14he by mango aw14reiss aw13florentino aw14brunello cucinelli aw13
Key Styles
  • Asos Leather HoldallAsos Leather Holdall
  • Vagabond Leather Holdall In BlackVagabond Leather Holdall In Black
  • Allsaints Thorpe HoldallAllsaints Thorpe Holdall
  • He By Mango Leather Weekend BagHe By Mango Leather Weekend Bag
  • Barbour Leather HoldallBarbour Leather Holdall
  • Forbes & Lewis Somerset Holdall In BrownForbes & Lewis Somerset Holdall In Brown
  • He By Mango Herringbone Weekend BagHe By Mango Herringbone Weekend Bag
  • River Island Grey Tweed Holdall Weekend BagRiver Island Grey Tweed Holdall Weekend Bag
  • Barbour Tweed HoldallBarbour Tweed Holdall
4. The Tweed Blazer

A hallmark of traditional British style, the tweed blazer makes an ideal replacement for the lightweight linen/cotton jackets you have been wearing throughout summer and into the early parts of autumn.

Working in both casual or formal environments, it’s an extremely versatile piece that sits alongside a shirt and tie as comfortably as it does chinos and a polo shirt. Its heavier composition also allows it to be utilised as a makeshift jacket during autumn, especially on days warm enough to forgo your winter coat.

To create an outfit, pair your blazer with other durable materials such as denim or flannel, keeping your footwear simple and classic. For instance, at Sunday lunch with friends we would suggest teaming with a ribbed roll neck, dark cords and tan brogues, switching to a white button-down shirt, knitted tie, checked trousers and dress boots combination for drinks after work.

For an added touch of style, and some extra warmth, why not introduce another one of our AW14 essentials, the quilted gilet, to the mix? A navy, olive or on-trend orange version would contrast beautifully against a grey or brown tweed jacket, adding another tactile element to your look while reinforcing the fabric’s outdoors/country heritage.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Tweed Blazer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

zara man aw12Brooklyn Tailorsprimark aw14morris aw12burton aw12tm lewindebenhams hammond & co aw13selected denim aw13m&s aw13topmansimons aw14jaeger aw13
Key Styles
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In TweedAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
  • Topman Navy Tweed Heritage JacketTopman Navy Tweed Heritage Jacket
  • Scotch & Soda Tweed BlazerScotch & Soda Tweed Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Harris TweedAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Harris Tweed
  • Oliver Spencer Unstructured Wool-tweed BlazerOliver Spencer Unstructured Wool-tweed Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In TweedAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
  • Pure New Wool Harris Tweed Check JacketPure New Wool Harris Tweed Check Jacket
  • Austin Reed Viyella Harris Tweed Overcheck JacketAustin Reed Viyella Harris Tweed Overcheck Jacket
  • Pure New Wool Harris Tweed Check JacketPure New Wool Harris Tweed Check Jacket
  • Uniqlo Men Tweed Slim Fit JacketUniqlo Men Tweed Slim Fit Jacket
  • Gap Wool Tweed BlazerGap Wool Tweed Blazer
  • Uniqlo Men Tweed Slim Fit JacketUniqlo Men Tweed Slim Fit Jacket
5. The Oversized/Chunky Knit

It goes without saying that knitwear is an essential part of any man’s autumn/winter wardrobe. And while previous seasons have seen breathable, fitted, light gauge versions take centre stage, this time around things are a little thicker and a whole lot larger.

Perfect for keeping you warm and cosy, the oversized/chunky knit – whether in cardigan, roll neck or jumper form – ties in with the current industry ‘anti-fit’ trend and will give any of your go-to looks a contemporary twist.

Key styles that we are seeing a lot of in AW14 brand campaigns and lookbooks are oversized marl/waffle crew neck jumpers, thick cable knit roll necks and chunky shawl neck cardigans, which are often utilised as makeshift jackets.

Yet no matter what style you opt for, these designs are best confined to off-duty occasions due to their casual nature. Unless you work in a creative industry, steer well clear of wearing one in the office. That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t integrate yours into a number of different outfits.

For example, try teaming an oversized jumper with slim-fitting denim to create a modern contrast that plays with the concept of silhouette. Alternatively, why not layer a chunky shawl neck cardigan over a button-down Oxford shirt, in place of your blazer? Perfect for a night out or smart-casual occasions, finish with textured wool trousers and a pair of brogue boots for a rugged yet refined look.

As for how oversized you go? That really is up to you. One size above what you normally take is often enough to create the looser, more relaxed aesthetic we crave (without appearing sloppy), while some designs on the current market already come in longline lengths or fuller cuts, allowing you to take your usual size. Experiment and see what works for you and your body type.

A quick note on body type: these knits are best suited to taller gents who want to balance their proportions by breaking up the vertical line lower down on the body. Likewise, they can help add natural bulk and size to skinny frames. If you are a shorter than average gent or carrying a few extra pounds, you need to be careful – a jumper/cardigan like this can quickly make you appear smaller or larger than you really are.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Oversized and Chunky Knitwear (Jumpers, Roll Necks, Cardigans) Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

asos aw13allsaints ss13massimo dutti october 2014river island aw13primark aw14allsaints august 2014massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue aw14primark aw13bershka november 2013zara man aw14scotch & soda AMSTERDAMS BLAUW aw14
Key Styles
  • Allsaints Grizedale Open CardiganAllsaints Grizedale Open Cardigan
  • Topman Blue And White Rib JumperTopman Blue And White Rib Jumper
  • Asos Longline Jumper With ZipsAsos Longline Jumper With Zips
  • Barbour X Deus Ex Machina Crew JumperBarbour X Deus Ex Machina Crew Jumper
  • Boohooman Mixed Yarn JumperBoohooman Mixed Yarn Jumper
  • Nudie Crew Knit Jumper Ben Special RibNudie Crew Knit Jumper Ben Special Rib
  • Allsaints Anjou Rollneck JumperAllsaints Anjou Rollneck Jumper
  • Allsaints Lennith CardiganAllsaints Lennith Cardigan
  • Topman Green/ Off White Twist JumperTopman Green/ Off White Twist Jumper
  • Gant Rugger Ribbed-knit Wool-blend Rollneck SweaterGant Rugger Ribbed-knit Wool-blend Rollneck Sweater
  • Levis Vintage Clothing Ribbed-knit CardiganLevis Vintage Clothing Ribbed-knit Cardigan
  • Boglioli Chunky-knit Merino Wool CardiganBoglioli Chunky-knit Merino Wool Cardigan
Final Word

The autumn/winter season is often considered the best time of the year for fashion, and it’s easy to see why. Multiple layers, rich colours and a plethora of textures allow us to create everyday outfits that are full of character and personality.

All five of the key pieces today would slot seamlessly into your current wardrobe, helping refresh your look just in time for when temperatures plummet.

So, which of the five pieces showcased today appeal the most? Will you be adding any of them to your arsenal this AW14?

We would love to know, so please leave us a comment below…