While a beaded wristband or a chain hanging from your skater jeans might have been classed as an accessory in your teens, these days, it’s important to realise the importance of investing in accessories that not only look good but do their job and are built to last.

As with all walks of life, paying attention to the details will always mark you out as a cut above. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to the six accessories every man should have in his collection:

1. The Reversible Black/Brown Leather Belt

Men have been wearing some form of belt since we first started thinking it might be a good idea to cover up our nether regions (or more specifically, since around the Bronze Age). But the belt as we know it really came into its own when waistlines were lowered – and, by extension, trousers’ ability to hold their own became unreliable – during the 1920s.

A good quality reversible belt kills two sartorial birds with one stone by virtue of its suitability to match almost any outfit. For instance, the brown side of your two-faced belt will work well with a smart-casual white polo shirt, beige chinos and leather brogues (in a matching hue) combination, while the black side will perfectly finish off any all-black look, including a black suit and black patent leather shoes pairing.

You’ll also find that both colours will easily team with a whole host of other hues that you already have in your wardrobe, from green and grey to burgundy and navy – versatility that you will quickly come to appreciate when pulling together an outfit each morning.

“Make sure you invest in good leather and a strong metal buckle,” says Adam Walker, founder of The Male Stylist. “Don’t forget, a belt has to go through a lot of strain every day, so spending a little extra cash will mean it lasts you longer.”


To avoid premature wear, it’s important to buy a belt that fits properly to prevent the formation of undesirable creases.

Belt size is often indicated in inches or centimetres, and this number corresponds to the length of the tour of the strap – measured from the buckle to the mid hole – which is where it should be fastened, allowing for slightly higher or lower waist trousers and the natural variations in waist circumference we all go through:

Standard Belt Sizing

That said, some brands choose to size their belts in the same way they do clothing (S, M, L, XL), which often comes with a waist range, such as 34″-36″:

Range Belt Sizing


To ensure your investment lasts, it’s worth treating your leather belt with a coin-sized dollop of leather conditioner whenever it looks like it could do with a little TLC. Simply rub it on with a towel and plenty of elbow grease, and then leave to absorb for a couple of hours.

Timpson Leather Cream (954202)

Lookbook Inspiration

As you can see below, a classic mid-width black or brown leather belt is able to adapt to a variety of looks, making a reversible option an excellent addition to any wardrobe:

Men's Black and Brown Leather Belts Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reiss ss15crombie ss15massimo dutti suiting 2015reiss ss14simons ss14mango man winter 2013massimo dutti june 2013Burton Montague ss15lbm 1911 ss15brothers 2014windsor ss15massimo dutti september 2012

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street/Mid-Priced: Moss Bros, Ping, Thomas Nash, Ted Baker, Reiss, Austin Reed, Marks & Spencer, Jaeger, Dents.
Luxury: Mulberry, Paul Smith, Dunhill, Tod’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Montblanc.

  • Thomas Nash Black Reversible BeltThomas Nash Black Reversible Belt
  • M&s Collection Coated Leather Reversible BeltM&s Collection Coated Leather Reversible Belt
  • Austin Reed Reversible Full Grain Leather BeltAustin Reed Reversible Full Grain Leather Belt
  • Jaeger Leather Reversible Formal BeltJaeger Leather Reversible Formal Belt
  • Ted Baker Crafti Smart Reversible BeltTed Baker Crafti Smart Reversible Belt
  • Austin Reed Black/brown Reversible BeltAustin Reed Black/brown Reversible Belt
  • Moss 1851 Black/brown Reversible Bonded Leather Suit BeltMoss 1851 Black/brown Reversible Bonded Leather Suit Belt
  • Montblanc Ruthernium Reversible Leather BeltMontblanc Ruthernium Reversible Leather Belt
  • Black And Brown Reversible BeltBlack And Brown Reversible Belt
  • Ralph Lauren Reversible Leather BeltRalph Lauren Reversible Leather Belt
  • Boss Reversible Leather BeltBoss Reversible Leather Belt
  • Dunhill Cut-to-fit Reversible 3cm Leather BeltDunhill Cut-to-fit Reversible 3cm Leather Belt

2. The Leather Weekender

A quality leather weekender is arguably the only bag you will ever need. Practical, versatile and able to double up as hand luggage for short trips away, if you’re over twenty years of age and travel more than three times a year – whether for work or pleasure – there’s no excuse not to invest in one.

“Both stylish and durable, a weekend bag makes the ideal alternative to a suitcase or backpack,” says James Welsh, ASOS Menswear Personal Stylist. “You’ll want one that’s around hand luggage size, so that it can hold all of your clothing and grooming essentials.”

“As your bag is likely to get a bit bashed around on your weekend adventures, a sturdy leather design will withstand lots of wear and tear as well as add a timeless and classic feel to your look,” adds Welch.

Opt for a 24- or 48-hour holdall in 100 per cent leather and make sure it has strong stitching around the handles – this is where the weight of the bag’s contents will hang from and is often what wears out first on budget models.

Additional buckles and a detachable shoulder strap will help distribute weight evenly throughout the bag, reducing the strain on individual areas. As with any leather product, it’s worth taking the time to regularly treat your holdall with a leather conditioner to keep it looking its best.

When it comes to colour, stick to neutral hues for ultimate versatility. Black, brown and tan are classic shades that will work in any look, while navy and grey are modern options that still retain a sense of timelessness.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Holdalls Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

massimo dutti ss15suitsupply ss15digel ss15aquascutum ss15mango man summer 2013calibre ss15tommy hilfiger tailored aw14reiss ss14mango man ss14mango man aw14river island tailoring 2015daks ss15reiss aw13michael kors aw15massimo dutti march 2015

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street/Mid-Priced: J.Crew, M&S, Next, ASOS, Reiss, Stighlorgan, Ted Baker, Oppermann.
Luxury: Loewe, Mulberry, Aspinal of London, Dunhill, Louis Vuitton, Bill Amberg, Troubadour.

  • Austin Reed Black Leather HoldallAustin Reed Black Leather Holdall
  • North Coast Luxury Stud HoldallNorth Coast Luxury Stud Holdall
  • Harrison Weekender Travel BagHarrison Weekender Travel Bag
  • Reiss Hines Leather Weekend Holdall BlackReiss Hines Leather Weekend Holdall Black
  • Ted Baker Alaskaa Contrast Handle Holdall BagTed Baker Alaskaa Contrast Handle Holdall Bag
  • Next Signature Brown Leather HoldallNext Signature Brown Leather Holdall
  • Asos Leather Holdall In BlackAsos Leather Holdall In Black
  • Autograph Luxury Leather Panelled HoldallAutograph Luxury Leather Panelled Holdall
  • Mulberry Clipper Leather Holdall BagMulberry Clipper Leather Holdall Bag
  • Hanbury ChocolateHanbury Chocolate
  • Bill Amberg Explorer 24-hour Leather HoldallBill Amberg Explorer 24-hour Leather Holdall
  • J.crew Montague Washed-leather Weekend BagJ.crew Montague Washed-leather Weekend Bag

3. Classic Sunglasses

Choosing the right pair of sunglasses can be a daunting task.

As a general rule of thumb, those with square and heart face shapes should go for curved styles like aviators to soften their strong features, while oval and round face shapes will benefit from sunglasses with strong brow lines such as wayfarers and clubmasters. That said, it’s always worth trying out several different designs in front of a mirror to find that perfect fit.

While other silhouettes are available, it’s the three aforementioned frame shapes – aviators, clubmasters and wayfarers – that will give you the best bang for your buck, never going out of style no matter the season.

In terms of colour, stick to classic black or tortoiseshell frames if opting for wayfarer or clubmasters, or if you’re an aviator type of guy, try a simple silver or gold rimmed version. All of these are timeless options that will transcend fleeting eyewear trends, ensuring you get real value for money from your investment. Similarly, it would be wise to disregard the industry’s current penchant for bold or multi-coloured lenses and stick to neutral hues in order to guarantee longevity.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that sunglasses are designed, first and foremost, to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, so it’s imperative that you buy a pair that features 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection, while also keeping your eye out for those that offer high percentages of light reduction. When it comes to sunglasses, don’t cut corners – it will cost you (both physically and financially) in the long run.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Classic Aviators, Wayfarers and CLubmaster Sunglasses Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

massimo dutti equestrian ss15mango man ss14eidos napoli SS157 diamonds ss14penshoppe ss15cubitts eyewear 2015scotch & soda Amsterdams Blauw 2013allsaints may 2015austin reed ss14gorsuch ss15bellfield ss15ralph lauren

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street: Jeepers Peepers, Reclaimed Vintage, Cheap Monday, Spitfire, ASOS.
Mid-Priced/Luxury: Ray-Ban, Cubitts, Carrera, Persol, Cutler and Gross, Eyevan, Tom Ford, Garrett Leight, Oliver Peoples, Han Kjobenhavn, Illesteva, Mykita, Eye Respect.

  • Ray-ban Aviator SunglassesRay-ban Aviator Sunglasses
  • Cutler And Gross Leather-trimmed Acetate AviatorsCutler And Gross Leather-trimmed Acetate Aviators
  • Tom Ford Charles Round Aviator SunglassesTom Ford Charles Round Aviator Sunglasses
  • Ray-ban New Wayfarer Sunglasses 0rb2132Ray-ban New Wayfarer Sunglasses 0rb2132
  • Ray-ban Classic Wayfarer In BlackRay-ban Classic Wayfarer In Black
  • Cubitts Heathcote SunglassesCubitts Heathcote Sunglasses
  • Persol Tortoiseshell Acetate And Metal SunglassesPersol Tortoiseshell Acetate And Metal Sunglasses
  • Garrett Leight California Optical Washington Acetate And Stainless Steel Round-frame SunglassesGarrett Leight California Optical Washington Acetate And Stainless Steel Round-frame Sunglasses
  • Persol Clubmaster SunglassesPersol Clubmaster Sunglasses

4. A Selection Of Quality Plain Cotton Socks

Often overlooked, a pair of well-considered socks is not the most ‘sexy’ of accessories, but they do have the ability to make or break an outfit.

“For those moments when you don’t want to look like your mum’s still in charge of your wardrobe, neutral cotton socks are essential,” says James Welch. Although modern menswear publications often advocate using neon coloured or vibrantly patterned socks as a way of making a statement, the occasions when they are appropriate are actually few and far between.

Socks in neutral or muted hues, on the other hand, are the definition of ‘essentials’, even with the rise of sockless and ankle-baring looks. A fail-safe rule when matching any pair of socks to your outfit is to go a tonal shade darker or lighter than the trousers you are wearing, which makes hosiery in shades of grey, blue and brown/beige ideal for combining with everything from your charcoal and navy suits to selvedge jeans and khaki chinos.

Like the rest of your wardrobe, you should adjust your sock collection to match the season. “As we go into summer, look for lighter neutral and subtle pastel-coloured socks [from off-white, beige and sand to mint green, baby blue and lavender] that work with your warm-weather looks,” says Adam Walker.

Similarly, in autumn/winter, you can opt for richer tones such as emerald green, burgundy and burnt orange if you want to introduce a refined contrast to dark wool tailoring, or earthy hues like brown, olive and cream, which would look great slotted into an outdoors- or military-inspired ensemble.

Lightweight and comfortable, cotton socks are often blended with synthetic fibres to improve their strength. As a general guideline, the higher the percentage of cotton, the more comfortable they’ll feel. Not quite as warm as wool, cotton is a great choice year-round, ensuring breathability in summer yet still offering enough insulation for all but the very coldest days of winter.

When purchasing, keep your eye out for multipacks or multibuy offers, which often provide big savings and will help bring the cost per wear down to pennies. And remember to throw out and replace old or tatty socks regularly.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Cotton Socks Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

m&s best of british aw15suitsupply ss15suitsupply ss15eton ss15burton aw14bally aw15saba aw14zara september 2014charles tyrwhitt 2014reserved aw14dunhil aw14

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street/Affordable: M&S, Uniqlo, American Apparel, Topman, ASOS.
Mid-Priced/Luxury: Corgi, Falke, Pantherella, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Paul Smith, Burlington, Pringle.

  • American Apparel Solid Calf-high SockAmerican Apparel Solid Calf-high Sock
  • M&s Collection Online Only 2 Pairs Of Cotton Rich Freshfeet Long Socks With Silver TechnologyM&s Collection Online Only 2 Pairs Of Cotton Rich Freshfeet Long Socks With Silver Technology
  • Falke Cool 24/7 Cotton-blend SocksFalke Cool 24/7 Cotton-blend Socks
  • Falke Family SocksFalke Family Socks
  • Calvin Klein Casual Classic Cotton Blend SocksCalvin Klein Casual Classic Cotton Blend Socks
  • Falke Tiago Business SocksFalke Tiago Business Socks
  • Uniqlo Men Colour SocksUniqlo Men Colour Socks
  • Falke Cool 24/7 Cotton-blend SocksFalke Cool 24/7 Cotton-blend Socks
  • American Apparel Calf High Marl SockAmerican Apparel Calf High Marl Sock
  • Uniqlo Men Colour SocksUniqlo Men Colour Socks
  • Pantherella Danvers Ribbed-knit SocksPantherella Danvers Ribbed-knit Socks
  • Topman Premium Burgundy Rib SocksTopman Premium Burgundy Rib Socks
  • Pringle Endrick Socks In 3 PackPringle Endrick Socks In 3 Pack
  • Calvin Klein Pack Of Three Flat-knit SocksCalvin Klein Pack Of Three Flat-knit Socks
  • M&s Collection Luxury New 3 Pairs Of Cotton Rich SocksM&s Collection Luxury New 3 Pairs Of Cotton Rich Socks

5. The Compact Umbrella

Men's Compact Umbrella - A Modern EssentialImage: Mango Man AW14

This accessory may not apply if you are lucky enough to live in a country that experiences year-round sunshine and minimal precipitation, but for residents of the UK and the majority of Europe, an umbrella is an essential purchase. After all, is there anything worse than turning up to the office or an event looking like a drowned rat with hair product seeping down your forehead?

While full-sized umbrellas offer a gentlemanly distinction, they’re not – let’s face it – especially practical. So keeping a compact umbrella to hand is just common sense. Easily stored in a generously sized briefcase, holdall or simply under your arm, a collapsible design can be swiftly opened out or closed back up whether it’s sunshine or showers you’re expecting.

Perhaps more so than any other accessory on the list, keeping the colour of your umbrella restrained is essential. Bold golfing designs look out of place anywhere other than on the putting green, while brighter hues only work if it’s a conscious decision that you’ve got the confidence to pull off – otherwise (and in some cases even still) you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Play it safe with a black, navy or dark green canopy and you can’t go wrong, whatever you’re wearing.

Price is usually the best indicator of whether your umbrella will turn inside out in a gale. A style with a decent weight wooden handle suggests reliability and a solid level of overall craftsmanship.

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street/Mid-Priced: Hunter, Charles Tyrwhitt, Fulton, Uniqlo, Totes, M&S.
Luxury: Blunt, Aspinal, Paul Smith, Lockwood, London Undercover, Brooks Brothers.

  • Compact Automatic Umbrella With Maplewood HandleCompact Automatic Umbrella With Maplewood Handle
  • M&s Collection Showerproof Automatic Open Wooden Crook Handle UmbrellaM&s Collection Showerproof Automatic Open Wooden Crook Handle Umbrella
  • Black-compact-umbrellaBlack-compact-umbrella
  • Uniqlo Compact UmbrellaUniqlo Compact Umbrella
  • Fulton Mens Auto Release Umbrella BlackFulton Mens Auto Release Umbrella Black
  • London Undercover Maple-cane Collapsible UmbrellaLondon Undercover Maple-cane Collapsible Umbrella
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Stripe-trimmed Automatic Collapsible UmbrellaPaul Smith Shoes & Accessories Stripe-trimmed Automatic Collapsible Umbrella
  • London Undercover Maple-handle Collapsible UmbrellaLondon Undercover Maple-handle Collapsible Umbrella
  • Brooks Brothers Collapsible UmbrellaBrooks Brothers Collapsible Umbrella

6. The Leather Billfold With Coin Pocket

Adolfo Dominguez Billfold Wallet With Coin PocketAdolfo Dominguez

When billfolds became popular in 19th century America, carrying a wallet on a belt was very fashionable, while carrying a wallet inside your pocket was ironically considered a terrible faux pas. Fast-forward to the 1950s and ‘wallet’ and ‘billfold’ start to become two very different things as the introduction of credit cards allowed for a slimmer, less bulky wallet, or what we might now refer to as a billfold.

While a billfold is slim, sleek and suitable for the majority, a billfold with a coin pocket is even more practical, saving you from having to walk around with loose change jangling about in your pockets, which will quickly wear out the lining of your trousers.

That said, it’s extremely important not to overfill your wallet, as not only will it lead to stretching and eventual tears, but it’ll ruin the clean lines and sharp silhouette you’ve worked so hard to create.

“Overly bulky wallets ruin the way trousers and jackets sit on you,” says Adam Walker. “Find yourself a quality leather billfold and get rid of all those old receipts and coffee shop membership cards.”

When it comes to purchasing, you’ll never go wrong with a high quality leather wallet in black or brown, although navy, oxblood and grey versions are arguably just as versatile and offer a subtle point of difference.

It’s also worthwhile looking for a style with a relatively small coin pocket – this will encourage you to empty the shrapnel from your wallet regularly, keeping your billfold elegantly slim and preventing the metal from eroding the leather.

As a rule, your billfold should be able to fit into your front pocket, inside breast pocket, hip pocket or back trouser pocket without altering the shape of the clothes. If it can’t, then it’s not the one for you.

Recommended Brands & Key Pieces

High Street/Affordable: River Island, Burton, John Lewis, M&S, Adolfo Dominguez.
Mid-Priced/Luxury: Bellroy, Ted Baker, AllSaints, Mulberry, Smythson, Dunhill, Paul Smith, Burberry, Aspinal, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Montblanc.

  • Billfold Coin WalletBillfold Coin Wallet
  • Collezione Luxury Leather Coin Id Tab Wallet With DatashieldCollezione Luxury Leather Coin Id Tab Wallet With Datashield
  • Paul Smith Accessories Leather Billfold Coin WalletPaul Smith Accessories Leather Billfold Coin Wallet
  • Burton Brown Bifold WalletBurton Brown Bifold Wallet
  • Allsaints Havoc WalletAllsaints Havoc Wallet
  • Allsaints Blyth WalletAllsaints Blyth Wallet
  • Ted Baker Enamal Enamel Corner Bi-fold WalletTed Baker Enamal Enamel Corner Bi-fold Wallet
  • Adolfo Dominguez Brown Leather Billfold WalletAdolfo Dominguez Brown Leather Billfold Wallet
  • Ralph Lauren Pebbled Leather WalletRalph Lauren Pebbled Leather Wallet
  • Mulberry Leather Billfold And Coin WalletMulberry Leather Billfold And Coin Wallet
  • Belroy Note SleeveBelroy Note Sleeve
  • Montblanc Black Snake-print WalletMontblanc Black Snake-print Wallet

Final Word

By heeding the above advice, you will – with any luck – be able to acquire some accessories that will last you a lifetime, or failing that, then the best part of it.

Some accessories may be pricier than others, but spending a little bit more now can help save you money in the future.

As always, trust your own sense of style, but remember that most accessories will need to team with several different types of outfit, so classic colours and subtle styling are worth prioritising.

Follow those tips and you’ll be able to acquire a collection of hard-wearing, timeless classics worthy of handing down to the next generation.