You’ve packed away the swim shorts, sun loungers and suitcases, and your calendar’s suddenly looking desperately bereft of BBQ commitments.
Summer may be over for another year but there’s no time for back to school blues. Why? Because you’ve got an autumn wardrobe to sort out.
Here, we’ve done the hard work for you, separating the seasonal wheat from the chaff to bring you a selection of trendproof and versatile pieces that every man should have in his cold-weather arsenal.
1. The Rain Jacket
Drowned rat is a look even David Gandy would be hard pushed to pull off, and while an umbrella is absolutely worth adding to your accessories collection, a wearable waterproof layer is much less likely to go walkabout.
The best rain jackets smartly blend function with fine design, so you can stay dry without looking like an awkward tourist. Top of the shopping list should be styles that are 100 per cent waterproof, come equipped with ample pockets and are also easy on the eye – you needn’t worry about anything techier unless you’re planning a mountain trek.
Italian outerwear experts Stone Island offer a superb polyurethane-fleece composite jacket that not only keeps you dry but toasty too, while Scandi specialists Rains and Stutterheim both produce simple, wearable designs in several vibrant colours and lengths.
- Rains Short Waterproof Jacket
- Rains Long Jacket
- Stone Island Shadow Project Navy Garment-dyed Anti-drop Coat
- Stutterheim Stockholm Raincoat
- Fjallraven Greenland Jacket Autumn Leaf
- Patagonia Torrentshell Waterproof Shell Jacket
- Private White V.c. Corduroy-trimmed Waxed-cotton Jacket
- A.p.c. Cotton And Wool-blend Gabardine Raincoat
- Aspesi Waterproof Hooded Field Jacket
2. Smart Boots
Looking good underfoot isn’t much of an issue when the sun’s shining, but you’ll need to rethink your footwear strategy once the leaves start falling. For something that’s smart and stylish but won’t wither through rain and snow, look to add a pair of well-built brogue, Derby or Chelsea boots to your shoe rack.
Not only do boots offer more coverage than a pair of shoes, they’re just as versatile: dress them up with a smart trouser or even a suit and they’ll fit in just fine at most formal events, or keep things casual by teaming with a pair of selvedge jeans with the hems rolled up.
When it comes to the finer points, ditch delicate suede for resilient grain or matte leather and stick to classic black, rich tan or chocolate brown for optimal versatility. For enhanced durability (and to ensure you’re not coughing up for another pair of boots next autumn), keep an eye out for Goodyear-welted styles with a rubber or leather and rubber sole which are solidly built and offer plenty of grip for braving spells of adverse weather.
Don’t forget that an example of good craftsmanship is only as good as the care it receives: regularly polishing and protecting your leather boots is vital to lengthen their lifespan and maintain their appearance, especially considering they will likely be dealing with torrential downpours and even snow as we progress into the depths of winter.
For quality on a budget, try Marks & Spencer and ASOS, or go premium with a pair from storied British shoemakers like Cheaney, Church’s, Tricker’s or John Lobb.
- Reiss Tenor Chelsea Boots Black
- Aldo Graegleah Leather Derby Boots
- Asos Boots In Tan Leather With Toecap And Warm Lining
- Cheaney Godfrey Leather Chelsea Boots
- Churchs Beijing Leather Chelsea Boots
- Grenson Fred Triple-welt Pebble-grain Leather Brogue Boots
- M&s Collection Leather Chukka Brogues
- Trickers Stow Brogue Derby Boot
- River Island Black Leather Smart Worker Boots
3. Wool Trousers
Not all trousers are created equal. While colour and cut might be the most common considerations, fabric should also rank high on your list if you want to keep your crown jewels from the cold.
Even though some cotton trousers – like those made from twill, for example – are hardy enough for winter, wool styles promise the best combination of warmth and comfort. This season more designers joined the unofficial campaign for a wider leg cut, and although it makes for a (roomy) statement look, it’s not for everyone.
To ensure longevity, opt for a slim – not skinny – cut instead and wear with a shirt and blazer for buttoned-up occasions or a white tee and leather bomber jacket for an on-point high-low combo.
Colour-wise, these usually look best in timeless black, navy and grey, but shades of deep green and burgundy also work well. To add some textural interest to your lower half, keep an eye out for a flecked or melange designs.
British brands are often best for this heritage style, so try the likes of Reiss, M&S, Oliver Spencer and Paul Smith for wool and wool-blends styles that are the definition of understated luxury.
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In 100% Wool
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Wool Trousers
- Topman Navy Wool Mix Fleck Skinny Chino
- Acne Aron Shetland Trouser
- Incotex Slim Flannel Trouser
- River Island Grey Grid Wool-blend Slim Fit Trousers
- Oliver Spencer Fishtail Slim-fit Flecked-wool Trousers
- M&s Collection Wool Blend Contemporary Slim Fit Donegal Flat Front Trousers
- Reiss Riggs T Flecked Tailored Trousers
4. Lightweight Knitwear
Nothing keeps you warm like a quality knit. For most of us it’s still a little early to break out the big guns, so stick to lighter gauge knitwear until winter hits in earnest. Jumpers and cardigans in temperature-regulating merino wool, breathable cotton-blends and unbeatably plush cashmere are all worth considering.
If you’re looking to invest, then prioritise versatile colours such as navy, grey, brown or beige, which will match with everything in your wardrobe. If you’ve already got your neutral bases covered, consider acquiring a more autumnal option in burgundy, bottle green or burnt orange to give your cold-weather looks a seasonal lift.
Unlike their chunkier cousins, lightweight knits – whether you opt for a cardigan or crew/V-neck jumper – can be easily layered over a shirt and tee and worn under a jacket or blazer without you running the risk of looking like a men’s fitness magazine’s unfortunate ‘Before’ picture.
For modestly priced options that deliver great value try Uniqlo, Topman’s Premium line and Charles Tyrwhitt, all of which offer a generous selection of merino, cashmere and cotton styles in a variety of colourways and cuts. Or, for knitwear that really is a notch above, turn to the masters: John Smedley.
- Topman Textured Front Merino Crew Neck Jumper
- Reiss Merino Wool Cardigan
- Asos Cotton Crew Jumper
- M&s Collection Luxury Pure Cashmere V-neck Jumper
- Uniqlo Men Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater
- Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino V-neck Sweater
- Silver Grey Cotton Cashmere Jumper
- Suitsupply Rust Cotton Cashmere Cardigan
- J.crew Crew Neck Cashmere Sweater
5. Checked Blazer
Saying checks are a huge trend this season seems disingenuous. And yet how else do you explain brands and designers from Cerruti 1881 to Shaun Samson covering their autumn/winter collections in the pattern?
Trend or no, a checked blazer is a tailoring classic worth adding to your collection of smart-casual staples. Steer heritage with a brown or green tweed option (which work extremely well with dark denim and brogue boots for an outdoors-inspired look) or try something a little more contemporary by opting for a wool blazer in a monochrome check.
More colourful styles are also worth considering but remember to dial down your choice of shirt, trousers and footwear if taking this route.
When it comes to motif, the size of the check should roughly match your ambition to draw attention: the bigger the squares, the bolder the statement.
Try Suitsupply, Charles Tyrwhitt and Ted Baker for high quality blazers that don’t cost the earth, while British tailoring stalwarts such as Dunhill, Hardy Amies and Hackett offer some stand-out options at the higher end of the price spectrum.
- Suitsupply Havana Red Check
- Grey With Navy Check Yorkshire Worsted Jacket
- Reiss Roach Double Breasted Blazer
- T.m.lewin Warton Olive Check Jacket
- Ted Baker Piibald Tonal Check Suit Jacket
- M&s Pure Wool Tailored Fit Windowpane Checked Jacket
- Hardy Amies Navy Herbert Slim-fit Houndstooth Wool-blend Blazer
- Dunhill Belgravia Glen Plaid Wool Blazer
- Hackett Blue Slim-fit Check Brushed-wool Blazer
6. Flannel Shirt
Whether it connotes nineties Seattle or noughties Willamsburg for you, the flannel shirt has worked its way from sideline separate to wardrobe staple in recent years. Its appeal in autumn is obvious: you can wear it open over a tee on milder days, or button it up and layer under a canvas chore jacket when the breeze picks up.
Plain colour styles in grey, navy, deep red, military green and beige will give you plenty of opportunities for wear, while a classic buffalo check variation still adds instant cool. Try the former with a knitted tie on dress-down days in the office, or play up the latter’s workwear affiliations by teaming with Red Wing boots, twill chinos and a raw denim jacket.
Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal line offers a wide selection of authentic, re-worked flannel shirts in a wide variety of colourways and plaids, while outdoor specialists such as Patagonia and Gitman Vintage are go-tos for high quality plain colour styles.
- Bellfield Flannel Tartan Check Shirt
- River Island Long Sleeve Flannel Check Shirt
- Urban Renewal Vintage Customised Flannel Marsala Shirt
- Patagonia Fjord Flannel Shirt
- Portuguese Flannel Button Down Bonfirm Shirt
- Gitman Vintage Portuguese Flannel Shirt
- J.crew Checked Cotton-flannel Shirt
- Ami Button-down Collar Cotton-flannel Shirt
- Oliver Spencer Clerkenwell Slim-fit Herringbone Cotton-flannel Shirt
The secret to dressing (well) for autumn is keeping your style adaptable. Add this dream team of versatile pieces to your line-up and your season’s already off to a good start.
Do you agree with our fall shortlist? Or do you have a go-to piece to add? Which items will you be investing in this year?
Let us know by commenting below.