Making Sense Of Menswear

We’re at a strange point in the menswear year. Spring/summer 2015 collections are now in stores, autumn/winter 2014 sales are thawing out, and next season’s autumn/winter 2015 collections have been shown and will be on sale in around five months’ time. It’s a bit of a fashion maelstrom, so what’s a man to make of it all?

The good news is that – despite the proliferation of brands and an increase in market size overall – menswear still moves at a slower pace in comparison to womenswear, which means there’s less jarring difference between seasons.

With this in mind, we’re set to break down some of the styling tricks we spotted at the AW15 fashion weeks and show you how to work them into your own wardrobe right now – without breaking the bank.

1. Roll Necks Under Suits

Pretty much the definition of effortless elegance, the roll neck has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity over the past year or so. And for autumn/winter 2015, stylists again viewed it as the perfect partner to a suit.

Seen everywhere from Margaret Howell to Gieves & Hawkes, the roll neck adds a smart, sculptural touch to your tailoring, all the while being a damn sight more comfortable to wear than a shirt and tie.

Cult Swedish label Our Legacy combined thick, ribbed versions with relaxed-fitting suits for a modern take on 1980s formal wear, while Kris Van Assche’s triumphant show teamed beautifully-cut tailoring with abstract patterned roll necks in green and blue for a look that was half mod, half futuristic.

Why not try a thin gauge, solid-coloured roll neck (light grey, burgundy and mustard all work particularly well) with a pinstripe suit (a key SS15 trend) for an idiosyncratic outfit that strikes the perfect smart-casual note?

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Roll Necks With Suits Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

zara editions aw13reiss aw14john lewis aw14next aw14Boglioli aw15louis copeland aw14reiss aw13tiger of sweden aw14brioni aw14
Key Pieces
  • He By Mango Turtleneck Cotton T-shirtHe By Mango Turtleneck Cotton T-shirt
  • River Island Knitted Roll Neck JumperRiver Island Knitted Roll Neck Jumper
  • Peter Werth Roll NeckPeter Werth Roll Neck
  • Topman Burgundy Salt And Pepper Lightweight Roll Neck JumperTopman Burgundy Salt And Pepper Lightweight Roll Neck Jumper
  • Burton Blue Roll Neck JumperBurton Blue Roll Neck Jumper
  • Topman Navy Jersey Roll Neck JumperTopman Navy Jersey Roll Neck Jumper
  • Austin Reed Twist Roll Neck JumperAustin Reed Twist Roll Neck Jumper
  • John Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck SweaterJohn Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater
  • John Smedley Belvoir Rollneck Merino Wool SweaterJohn Smedley Belvoir Rollneck Merino Wool Sweater
2. Badges Are Back

Having managed to shake off their student/graduate vibes, pins made a prominent return for autumn/winter 2015.

Maybe it’s a retro thing (think 1960s political badges), or perhaps it’s a reference to Japanese labels such as FPAR and Undercover who have included them in their collections for years – but badges and pins were used on jackets, ties and even trousers as a way to make subtle tailoring pop.

Dior Homme was a particularly prominent advocate, with Creative Director Kris Van Assche adding badges printed with assorted flowers to the lapels of formal blazers.

Why not follow suit? A badge or pin is an easy way to introduce personality to an otherwise fairly sober look. And it’s fairly inexpensive too. Just bear in mind that although punk-inspired, ironic designs are fine for casual outfits, you’ll want to go a little more luxe (think Lanvin lapel pins) when dressing up.

Need inspiration? We like Andrew Bunney’s sterling silver styles. The London-based jeweller started out in 2009 and has since garnered a dedicated following for his masterfully crafted, hand-engraved badges – a charming way to add that extra something to your ensemble.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Badges, Tie Pins and Lapel Pins Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

ramsey aw12calibre ss14digel ss15angelo nardelli aw12river island aw13daks ss15massimo dutti 2012the kooples aw14luigi bianchi mantova aw14new look christmas 2014vistula 2014dsquared2 ss14
Key Pieces
  • Reclaimed Vintage Leaf Lapel PinReclaimed Vintage Leaf Lapel Pin
  • Alice Made This William Knotted Cord Steel Tie PinAlice Made This William Knotted Cord Steel Tie Pin
  • Lanvin Onyx Ball Tie Pin 1014395Lanvin Onyx Ball Tie Pin 1014395
  • River Island Red Ruffle Rose Lapel PinRiver Island Red Ruffle Rose Lapel Pin
  • Austin Reed Mother Of Pearl Button Lapel PinAustin Reed Mother Of Pearl Button Lapel Pin
  • Designsix Silver Lapel PinDesignsix Silver Lapel Pin
  • Bunney Limited Edition Diamond Jubilee Silver BadgeBunney Limited Edition Diamond Jubilee Silver Badge
  • Bunney For Oki-ni Hallmarked Leopard BadgeBunney For Oki-ni Hallmarked Leopard Badge
  • Next Silver Lapel BadgesNext Silver Lapel Badges
  • Givenchy Basketball BadgeGivenchy Basketball Badge
  • Tateossian Pendulum Swarovski Crystal Tie PinTateossian Pendulum Swarovski Crystal Tie Pin
  • Asos Boat Tie PinAsos Boat Tie Pin
3. Jackets On Jackets

No, we’re not talking rock-inspired blazers over hoodies combinations, but something altogether more contemporary. As the breadth of men’s outerwear styles grows, so does the potential for creating on point layered looks.

Storied Parisian label Lanvin’s autumn/winter 2015 show served up plenty of inspirational takes on outerwear layering, from an ash grey overcoat worn over a chocolate brown leather topcoat to a contrast sleeve python-fronted bomber thrown over an oversized checked suit jacket.

Elsewhere, Tom Ford layered a parka on top of a denim jacket and a mac over a popped collar leather jacket, while legendary tailoring brand Hardy Amies played with colour contrasts between suits and outerwear.

As ill-advised as some of these combinations might sound, they each looked fresh, exciting and wearable in reality. Isn’t it high time we had a little fun with layering, rather than seeing it solely as a means to keep us warm?

For now, why not try a denim jacket underneath a cotton mac or a boldly coloured suit jacket underneath a lightweight technical jacket in a neutral hue?

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Outerwear/Jackets Layering Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

allsaints february 2015massimo dutti aw13mango man fall 2014banana republic aw15the kooples aw12allsaints aw13allsaints fall 2013Calliope ss15ben sherman aw14allsaints january 2015j crew aw12massimo dutti aw13
4. Muted Looks, White Trainers

Rapidly earning serious style kudos, white trainers have pretty much reached wardrobe essential status. And one of autumn/winter 2015’s most attention-grabbing styling trends saw bright white sneakers paired with darker or neutral pieces for a striking yet considered contrast.

At Joseph, box fresh pairs were teamed with black leather trousers and relaxed navy/grey double-breasted suits, while over at Topman Design, white hi-tops brought a contemporary edge to a predominantly seventies-inspired collection.

The key to nailing this look is getting your choice of kicks right: they should be leather, bright white (no off-white variants), and with minimal to no detailing.

Team with your current separates collection for dress-down Friday in the office, or raw denim and a biker jacket at the weekend.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Neutral Outfits With White Trainers Lookbook Inspiration

John Elliott 2014mango man winter 2014jigsaw ss15reiss ss14saba aw15windsor ss15h&m spring 2015new look ss15harmony aw14pull and bear black label 2015reiss aw14mango man november 2014
Key Pieces
  • Reiss Jack Purcell Leather Jack Purcell Trainers WhiteReiss Jack Purcell Leather Jack Purcell Trainers White
  • Common Projects Achilles Low-top TrainersCommon Projects Achilles Low-top Trainers
  • Adidas Originals Stan Smith Perforated Leather SneakersAdidas Originals Stan Smith Perforated Leather Sneakers
  • Acne Studios Adrian Grained-leather SneakersAcne Studios Adrian Grained-leather Sneakers
  • Selected Homme Dylan Leather TrainersSelected Homme Dylan Leather Trainers
  • Garment Project Leather Trainers In WhiteGarment Project Leather Trainers In White
5. Sizeable Scarves

It was a case of the bigger, the better when it came to scarves at the autumn/winter 2015 shows.

While Burberry Prorsum’s chunky, sumptuous fringed designs provided a crowning glory to the collection’s colourful get-ups, at J.W. Anderson they came replete with sumptuously soft tassels and were draped over the top of outfits for a statement effect.

Although mankets aren’t exactly the epitome of practical fashion, a hulking scarf teamed with sharp tailoring is a look designers have decided is set to be big for the more confident among us.

Men's Oversized Scarves and Mankets On Burberry Prorsum

J.W. AndersonBurberry Prorsum
6. Backpacks With Suits

While it feels like this combination has been shown in hundreds of fashion editorials and street style shots over the past few years, autumn/winter 2015 was arguably the first season it really ‘clicked’ on the runways, being shown in collections from stalwarts such as Zegna and Hardy Amies.

If you think about it, suits are the backbone of many of our day-to-day wardrobes, while backpacks are the ultimate way for on the go men to lug their stuff around. The key with making this one work is steering well clear of anything that wouldn’t look out of place in a classroom or on a mountain trek.

The key with making this one work is to opt for sleek and stylish designs – like an all-over navy canvas number or a luxurious black leather style. If you’d prefer to go for something more utilitarian, make sure it comes off more sports luxe than ski holiday.

Backpacks With Suits - Men's Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

unknownburton ss15zara september 2014
Key Pieces
  • Rains Messenger Backpack In GreenRains Messenger Backpack In Green
  • Sandqvist Hege BackpackSandqvist Hege Backpack
  • Asos Smart Leather BackpackAsos Smart Leather Backpack
  • Reiss Raza Leather Backpack BlackReiss Raza Leather Backpack Black
  • Want Les Essentiels Kastrup Leather BackpackWant Les Essentiels Kastrup Leather Backpack
  • Mismo Leather-trimmed Cotton-canvas BackpackMismo Leather-trimmed Cotton-canvas Backpack
7. Smart Coat, Casual Denim

The juxtaposition of beautifully tailored overcoats and relaxed, easy denim showed up in a number of autumn/winter 2015 shows, producing a pleasing contrast with one element dressing down (or dressing up) the other.

Parisian label Maison Kitsuné made the combination look especially chic, while Russian-born Gosha Rubchinskiy put a streetwear spin on the styling trend.

Think dark selvedge jeans with a sophisticated camel overcoat for an effortless high-low contrast.

Lookbook Inspiration

Jeans With Tailored Coats - Men's Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

J CREW AW14suit supply ss15banana republic aw15J CREW AW15Gucci Pre Fall 2015Gucci Pre Fall 2015J CREW AW15river island aw14Michael Kors aw15
Final Word

If there’s one thing that’s not stylish, it’s slavishly following seasonal trends. Instead, why not pick and choose elements from your favourite looks shown throughout the year? These seven AW15 styling tips aren’t just relevant come September, they’re ideal for incorporating into your looks right now.

Did you spot any other smart styling tricks at the autumn/winter 2015 shows? Will you be trying any of these to add some interest to your look?

Comment below to let us know.