The rules of menswear are eroding. Where our fathers’ wardrobes were governed by dress codes explicit and implied, now anarchy rules. Formal threads nestle against streetwear, trainers sprout in offices, and whether or not a piece is appropriate is now as malleable as what it sits alongside.
As the cold weather lands, embrace up-down dressing for creative ways to battle the cold.
A Camel Coat And A Hoodie
A true up-down piece is versatile enough to take you from Friday morning to Saturday night. The camel coat has transitioned from the office into the weekend this season, as Yeezy and co realised it was a (literally) neutral palette to embellish with streetwear hero pieces.
“Team it with a grey or black hoody, flannel trousers and a trusty pair of Stan Smith trainers in pure white,” says Paul Higgins, stylist at Aquascutum. To go full Kanye you’d opt for something oversized, but steer snugger and the same camel coat can work with your tailoring too.
Slim-fit with minimal construction sits in the up-down sweet spot; relaxed enough for your jeans and sweatshirt but still with enough shape to throw over a suit.
Get The Look
Trainers And A Suit
Sneakers have stepped alongside your tailoring thanks to a proliferation of luxury iterations that are as well-made as your brogues. “The key is to spend a little more on the trainer and think carefully about the suit,” says Higgins.
Chunkier styles work best – slim silhouettes, like Converse, get drowned out by your tailoring and take your look from creative nonchalance to McFly at an awards show.
As you upgrade your trainers – luxury leathers and Goodyear-welting inject some formal flair – relax your tailoring. Because even Common Projects Achilles can’t take the fusty out of a tweed three-piece. “Team them with an over-dyed casual suit, for an outfit than can take you from office to evening with minimal effort.” That new camel coat will come in handy.
Jogging Bottoms And A Blazer
The athletic look is moving on up. As tailoring relaxes from Mad Men straitjackets, pairing a jacket and cuffed jogging bottoms is a split suit that knows comfort isn’t mutually exclusive from style.
“It sounds bizarre on paper,” says Higgins, “but styled right – with minimal accessories and correct footwear – this comfy look is a winner.” It’s a pairing that lives or dies on fit; slim below, tapering to a cuffed ankle, but roomier up top.
A soft-shouldered blazer that’s fitted, but not figure-hugging, echoes the ease of your lower half. “It seems smart from a distance, but will have your counterparts wishing they put on the comfys themselves.”
Military Jacket And A Suit
As William T Sherman might have put it, unseasonable warmth is hell. When your overcoat leaves you sweating but a suit jacket’s too flimsy, pick outerwear designed to straddle environments.
The M-65 was a lightweight, waterproof jacket designed for troops suffering Vietnam’s oscillating weather, characteristics that also make it a favourite of men on the street style frontline – Pitti Uomo.
“It can be freezing one year, then you’ll turn up dressed for a polar expedition to four days of sunshine,” says Higgins. The M-65 fights heat and cold, and its military construction means it works with your office uniform. “Team with a suit, double-monks and document case, to be protected from the elements in style.”
Just stick to rank and file browns and olives to ensure the styles are in step.
A Bomber Jacket And A Suit
Reverse layering isn’t just for hip-hop dons. “This tricky look isn’t for everybody, but the way you can mix lengths of the formal suit and shorter bomber to help relax your style is on-point,” says Higgins.
The key to bringing it together is texture. Anything shiny is too Alan Partridge at a funeral, so pick Acne Studio’s shearling-trimmed leather if your bonus just landed, or Samsoe and Samsoe’s rich wool version if not.
Dress your suit down a notch further by swapping shirt and tie for a roll neck, says Higgins. So your look seems deliberate, not like you just grabbed the jacket nearest the door.
Tiger of Sweden AW15