Preparing For Autumn/Winter

It seems that summer is well and truly over here in the UK. Wardrobe wise, socks are firmly back on our feet and shorts are being stored away for another year, making way for lightweight outerwear and extra layers to help combat the rapidly dropping temperatures.

Although we’re not yet in full-blown autumn/winter mode, the transitional period is very much upon us – bringing with it a spate of awkward days to dress for. Too wet for a simple t-shirt and jeans combination but still too warm for a coat, unpredictable rain showers and fluctuating hourly temperatures are just some of the factors we now have to consider when getting dressed in the morning.

With this in mind, today we break down five key items that every man should have in his wardrobe ready for autumn 2014…

1. Roll Necks

After years spent in the fashion wilderness, roll necks are trending again for AW14.

Depending on the type you opt for, a roll neck can be used to add a touch of effortless chic or masculine ruggedness to any autumnal look. A fine gauge version in cotton, merino wool or cashmere is a sophisticated garment that looks just as good dressed up with a slim-cut suit as it does dressed down with a leather biker jacket.

A chunky knit, on the other hand, is not only cosy and practical in the cold, but makes a great standalone statement piece – bringing a tactile edge and classic outdoors/heritage feel to your ensemble.

However, for the transitional season, we suggest sticking to fine gauge styles. Versatile and breathable, they can be layered effortlessly within both smart and casual looks without causing you to overheat.

Try using yours as a shirt and tie replacement during the working week, teaming with twill chinos and a rain coat, bomber jacket or chunky shawl neck cardigan at the weekend.

Fine Gauge Roll Neck Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Fine Gauge Roll Neck Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

tesco F&F aw13massimo dutti october 2013zara september 2014burton aw14reisszara september 2014reiss aw14Todd Snyder aw12ramsey aw13sanahunt aw13drykorn aw14tiger of sweden 2014
Key Styles
  • Burton Burgundy Roll Neck JumperBurton Burgundy Roll Neck Jumper
  • Topman Merino Blend Black Roll Neck JumperTopman Merino Blend Black Roll Neck Jumper
  • Antony Morato Silk Mix Roll NeckAntony Morato Silk Mix Roll Neck
  • Next Roll NeckNext Roll Neck
  • Next Roll NeckNext Roll Neck
  • Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Polo Neck SweaterUniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Polo Neck Sweater
  • River Island Dark Mustard Roll Neck JumperRiver Island Dark Mustard Roll Neck Jumper
  • Gucci Fine-gauge Wool Rollneck SweaterGucci Fine-gauge Wool Rollneck Sweater
  • John Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck SweaterJohn Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater
2. A Pair Of Sturdy Boots

Footwear has long been considered the most important element of any outfit, in terms of both style and comfort. With rain set to become a constant menace as we progress into autumn, give your feet the protection they deserve by investing in a decent pair of waterproof boots.

Buy well and these boots will not only last you until next summer, but many years to come – especially if you take care of them properly.

Outdoor specialist brands such as CAT (currently experiencing a revival), Timberland, Diemme and Red Wing offer a wide range of rugged worker and hiking silhouettes for casual dressers that deliver not only in terms of style, but durability and practicality too.

However, those who desire something slightly more refined should look no further than Goodyear-welted styles produced by British manufacturers like Grenson, Church’s, Trickers, Cheaney, Loake and Crockett & Jones.

When purchasing your new boots, here are some key guidelines to consider:

  • Leave room for a chunky sock. Come winter your sock drawer is going to have to step up, and that means your boots had better not be too tight. A thick sock peeking out the top of your boots is also a great way to introduce some colour to a dreary winter outfit.
  • Prioritise craftsmanship, high quality leather uppers/linings, cushioned insoles, and thicker tread/rubber/vibram outsoles that will keep you sure-footed in any condition.
  • Don’t go too slim. Although menswear continues to move in a more streamlined direction, these boots should be considered a practical addition to your wardrobe and therefore not too skinny/flimsy.

    Other than traditional hiking or worker silhouettes, a tall, chunky brogue or dress boot can also be considered. However, short desert or Chelsea styles, although smart, just aren’t going to cut it as we progress into winter.

  • You get what you pay for. Don’t expect high quality from fast fashion brands. Invest as much as your budget will comfortably allow and buy the best you possibly can. Remember these will get good use for many more seasons to come and, ultimately, your feet will thank you.

Once you’ve pulled the trigger, dress them up with textured trousers and tweed blazers for the quintessential ‘town meets country’ look, or combine with other workerwear staples such as leather jackets, flannel shirts and raw denim jeans for an effortlessly cool, masculine approach to your transitional attire.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Rugged Boots - Transitional Season Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

pennys aw14Baldessarini 2014scotch & soda aw13 amsterdams blauwhugo boss 2014vince 2014he by mango aw14river island holloway road aw14river island holloway road aw14lbm 1911 aw14Woolrich John Rich & Bros aw13debenhams hammond & co aw14massimo dutti fall 2014 5th avenue
Key Styles
  • Grenson Joseph Toe-cap BootsGrenson Joseph Toe-cap Boots
  • Timberland Classic 6 Premium BootsTimberland Classic 6 Premium Boots
  • Dr Martens Mens Black Leather Hide BootsDr Martens Mens Black Leather Hide Boots
  • Cat Colorado BootsCat Colorado Boots
  • Red Wing Chukka BootsRed Wing Chukka Boots
  • Diemme Roccia Vet BootDiemme Roccia Vet Boot
  • Cheaney Pennine Pebble-grain Leather BootsCheaney Pennine Pebble-grain Leather Boots
  • Red Wing Shoes Rubber-soled Leather BootsRed Wing Shoes Rubber-soled Leather Boots
  • Moncler Matterhorn Scarpe BootMoncler Matterhorn Scarpe Boot
3. A Lightweight Raincoat

A lightweight waterproof coat is one of the most important investments you can make for autumn – after all, few things ruin an appearance quicker than a limp, soggy pompadour and see-through shirt.

Remember that this piece is your first line of defence against the unpredictable autumn elements, so look for slightly longer styles that finish around mid-thigh. Key silhouettes to consider this year include single-breasted macs, double-breasted trenches, unlined parkas and traditional raincoats.

Yet no matter what style you opt for, prioritise fabrics that are durable and fit for purpose: waxed or rubberised cottons are ideal due to their breathable yet water-repellent nature. Other key features to look out for include bonded seams, adjustable fit sleeves and drawstring hoods, which will negate the need to carry an umbrella.

The type of jacket you plump for will come down to how and when you intend to use it. Those wanting a smart and refined option that will protect them on the morning commute should look no further than a mac or trench from traditional British heritage brands like Burberry, Aquascutum or Mackintosh. Pick one up in a versatile camel, grey or navy shade and it will combine effortlessly with any of your existing suits.

For those whose everyday style leans towards the casual end of the spectrum, a hooded raincoat from specialist labels such as Stutterheim, Rains or K-Way makes a practical addition to any wardrobe. Opt for a slim cut to maintain a streamlined silhouette and consider a shot of colour to brighten your off-duty looks in an uncomplicated fashion.

Finally, don’t dismiss the parka jacket. This military derived classic has undergone a renaissance over the past couple of years and an unlined version with minimal bulk is the ideal alternative to the slightly more obvious options highlighted above. Pick one in timeless army green (set to be a major colour trend for AW14) and it can be dressed up or down with ease, bringing a rugged, masculine touch to any outfit.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Lightweight Raincoats - Transitional Season Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

zara aw12tommy hilfiger tailored aw14row 1 - image #3asos aw14ben sherman aw12debenhams hammond & co aw14club monaco aw12farah aw13boohoo aw14edwin aw13jaeger aw13primark aw12
Product Picks
  • Sisley Reversible Trench CoatSisley Reversible Trench Coat
  • Jack Wills Farnaby Wax JacketJack Wills Farnaby Wax Jacket
  • Lightweight Cotton Festival ParkaLightweight Cotton Festival Parka
  • Topman Burgundy Lightweight ParkaTopman Burgundy Lightweight Parka
  • He By Mango Tailored Cotton TrenchHe By Mango Tailored Cotton Trench
  • Rains Stone Waterproof JacketTopman Rains Stone Waterproof Jacket
  • Ben Sherman Green Lightweight ParkaBen Sherman Green Lightweight Parka
  • River Island Yellow Bellfield Hooded Rain MacRiver Island Yellow Bellfield Hooded Rain Mac
  • Reiss Talbot Single Breasted Cotton Mac StoneReiss Talbot Single Breasted Cotton Mac Stone
4. Something In Orange

Sidestepping practical considerations for a moment and bringing it back purely to fashion, orange is set to be THE major colour trend for AW14 and it’s definitely a hue that you should start working into your wardrobe immediately.

There isn’t a particular citric shade that stands out this year, nor a singular piece you should buy it in. From blazers and trousers to t-shirts and accessories, let your current wardrobe, personal style and confidence levels dictate your choice.

If you’re looking to keep things subtle and refined, burnt orange is a wonderful tone to work with. Adopted alongside a charcoal or navy suit, this rich autumnal hue brings a fantastic accent to neutral tailoring, without overpowering it or sacrificing your professionalism.

With this in mind, a piece of fine gauge knitwear, a tie or even a pair of socks in this deeper shade would be a great investment, helping breathe new life into your office attire.

Outside the office, brighter shades will give your casual wardrobe a lift on those drab off-duty days. A statement shoe, accessory or piece of outerwear would see the colour get plenty of wear during the transitional period and beyond – brightening your look and mood in the process.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Orange Clothing - Transitional Season Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

digel aw14digel aw12lbm 1911 aw13boomerang aw13banana republic aw14suitsupply aw14jigsaw aw13bellfield aw14ted baker aw13reiss aw14lbm 1911 aw14Chevignon 2013
Key Styles
  • Asos T-shirt With Crew Neck And Rolled SleeveAsos T-shirt With Crew Neck And Rolled Sleeve
  • Sandqvist Enzo Canvas Backpack In OrangeSandqvist Enzo Canvas Backpack In Orange
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Cotton ChinosHe By Mango Garment-dyed Cotton Chinos
  • Raf Simons Sterling Ruby Cotton-jersey SweatshirtRaf Simons Sterling Ruby Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
  • Ben Sherman Shawl Collar Harrington JacketBen Sherman Shawl Collar Harrington Jacket
  • J Lindeberg Lymann Orange Merino Wool JumperJ Lindeberg Lymann Orange Merino Wool Jumper
  • Rust Shawl CardiganRust Shawl Cardigan
  • London Undercover Collapsible Bamboo-handle UmbrellaLondon Undercover Collapsible Bamboo-handle Umbrella
  • Falke Airport Wool And Cotton-blend SocksFalke Airport Wool And Cotton-blend Socks
A Gilet

An item that continues to polarise the opinion of FashionBeans’ loyal readership, a gilet is arguably the perfect layering piece.

A lightly padded, down-filled version is ideal, with it able to slip seamlessly between a shirt and blazer or used over the top of a jacket/knit for extra insulation. With this in mind, steer clear of old school puffa styles that are too bulky to wear as a middle layer; severely limiting its versatility.

Your gilet should fit similar to a waistcoat: cut slim through the body with high armholes to ensure your silhouette remains streamlined and sharp. Uniqlo do stand-out ultra light down gilets at an extremely affordable price point (£29.90) and should be your first port of call, especially if you’re still undecided on the style.

Elsewhere, SuitSupply and HE By Mango are offering a strong range of tailored styles this season. Gilets also played a huge part in their autumn 2014 lookbooks (see below), and those that like to pay attention to the finer details should note how both brands saw the breast pocket as a perfect opportunity to introduce a pocket square.

Although neutral versions will slot seamlessly into any of your current go-to looks, why not consider a bold coloured design? It will add a statement punch to your tailoring on the morning commute, and its effect can be easily neutralised by layering a jacket or blazer over the top of it.

Alternatively, kill two birds with one stone by opting for an on trend orange colour way.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Gilets - Transitional Season Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

suitsupply aw13sandro aw12pepe jeans aw13he by mango ss14he by mango november 2012he by mango aw14day birger at mikkelsen aw11he by mango aw12he by mango aw14reserved aw13jaeger aw13simons aw13
Key Styles
  • He By Mango Feather Down GiletHe By Mango Feather Down Gilet
  • Selected Padded GiletSelected Padded Gilet
  • He By Mango Reversible Quilted GiletHe By Mango Reversible Quilted Gilet
  • He By Mango Quilted GiletHe By Mango Quilted Gilet
  • He By Mango Knitted Collar Reversible GiletHe By Mango Knitted Collar Reversible Gilet
  • French Connection Off Piste GiletFrench Connection Off Piste Gilet
  • Grey BodywarmerGrey Bodywarmer
  • Uniqlo Men Ultra Light Down VestUniqlo Men Ultra Light Down Vest
  • Navy BodywarmerNavy Bodywarmer
Final Word

Despite summer sadly coming to an end, the start of the transitional period needn’t be seen as a negative. After all, the simplicity of warm-weather style eventually begins to get stale and the seasonal shift allows us to introduce creative layering, richer colours and beautifully textured garments back into our everyday looks.

But now we want to hear your view – are you now ready to see the back of summer? How many of the five pieces above do you already own? And how will you be styling them this AW14?

Make sure you leave your thoughts and comments below…