There are many reasons why luxury fashion is so coveted – one of the main ones being that the average man can’t afford it. But while we can’t grasp every Italian-leather-quilted-extravagantly-branded carrot dangled before us, there are in-roads to luxury in all designer collections. Just because they’re not on the runway, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Fancy incorporating a little brand prestige without paying a visit to your local loan shark? Then get a load of these of sound investments.
Dolce & Gabbana
Grained-Leather Billfold Wallet
Sicilian duo Dolce & Gabbana’s signature excess isn’t for everyone. But alongside the eye-popping prints, statement suiting and general opulence of their collections is an unwavering pride in Italian craftsmanship.
Testament to the fact is this grained-leather billfold wallet. A happy medium between low-key and logomania, it features D&G’s iconic branding, is crafted from 100 per cent calfskin leather and boasts a reassuring ‘Made in Italy’ stamp.
£195 may seem excessive, but this beauty will likely last longer than you do.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £195.
Square Shape Cufflinks
Every man should have at least one pair of cufflinks. If you’re not a nine-to-five suiter, wearing a pair of these usually signifies an important occasion – which is even more reason to invest.
Cue Lanvin. With a reputation for the very best in Parisian design (and prices to match), this house makes for an informed occasionwear choice. £105 might seem steep for something you only wear a handful of times a year, but with a silver-tone body and perfectly finished black rhodium (a rare metal that belongs to the platinum family) squares, these bite-sized pieces of luxury are worth it.
Available at Farfetch, priced £105.
In recent years, Parisian label Saint Laurent has riffed on the Rolling Stone aesthetic, splicing its signature elegance with the style of 1970s rock stars – all skintight jeans, sequinned blazers and skinny scarves.
But despite Hedi Slimane’s loosening the label up, it’s still top-tier luxury – so as much as we’re fans of the new aesthetic he’s ushered in, the fact remains that it’s tricky to find anything that’s remotely affordable.
Apart from these shades, which – although not exactly pocket change – are a damn sight cheaper than other designer brands flogging styles priced north of £500. If you want a quality pair that actually does its job (i.e. protect your eyes) and won’t date, then look no further.
£225 is one of the cheaper items from Saint Laurent, and this versatile shape will outlast fleeting trends.
Available at Browns, priced £225.
Rive D’Ambre Eau De Parfum
From rebooting Gucci to launching his lauded eponymous label, Tom Ford has earned his fashion stripes, and as such, commands some astronomical price tags. These costs (you’ll find a belt for the same price as a whole month’s worth of London rent) make the brand difficult to buy into – something compounded by the designer’s reluctance to engage in collabs. (You won’t see Mr. Ford cosying up to a Kardashian or launching a H&M line.)
While still costly compared to other designer scents, Tom Ford’s Private Blend collection has been met with critical acclaim from even the most discerning of noses – Rive D’Ambre being a clear standout.
A fusion of citrus fruits, amber and cognac makes this a classic cologne that’ll work year-round – you may not be wearing Tom Ford threads, but you’ll smell like someone who does.
Available at Harrods, priced £145 for 50ml.
3cm Black Leather Belt
Gucci has seen something of a renaissance in the last year. Once an Italian heavyweight slowly gathering dust, the storied label has, with the help of new creative director Alessandro Michele, been steered back on track with a slew of Wes Anderson shirts, souvenir jackets and floral prints.
Still, 1970s-inspired pussy-bow blouses and rose-coloured trousers are hardly timeless men’s pieces, so it’s worth sinking your cash into something less showy – a good leather belt, for example.
Made in Italy with genuine calfskin leather, this is one accessory you’ll still be wearing come the next 1970s revival.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £180.
Though most (if not all) Swiss watchmakers consider themselves ‘luxury’, some really take their brand positioning to heart in tagging their wristwear with prices that are flat out unattainable. Are these pieces worth their weight? The jury’s out on that one, but don’t forget that there are mid-tier timepieces that encapsulate luxury without you needing to remortgage your house.
Like the Maurice Lacroix Aikon. Boardroom-appropriate and weekend-ready, the Aikon might – at £600 – cost more than your average Timex, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most of its Swiss brethren.
What’s more, you’ll get anti-scratch sapphire crystal glass, a black leather alligator strap and (most importantly) a classically sharp dial – three features which make this watch versatile enough to work with most of your wardrobe.
Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £600.
Three-Pack Cotton-Jersey T-Shirts
Maison Margiela is a case study in how to boss fashion. With next to no advertising budget, a ‘faceless’ designer and minimal press correspondence, the Belgian label has still managed to woo the fashion set with its forward-thinking design.
The brand does basics like no other. But the problem is a single tee with seam detailing is spenny at £160. The remedy? You can buy a trio of almost identical options for £190 – still undoubtedly pricey, but you’ve got three 100 per cent cotton blank canvas pieces. Designer essentials can be economical, too.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £190.
Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Poplin Shirt
Balenciaga has been flying the Spanish luxury flag for years – and although perhaps not a household name like Dior, Gucci or Versace, its consistency in boundary-pushing design has ensured it’s never fallen off the fashion radar.
We can wax lyrical about the necessity of a decent white shirt (really, we can), but finding the right one is tricky. This style, at £195, is cut slim for a trim fit but comes fabricated with a slight stretch so you’ll never feel hemmed in – all the tailoring nous of a Savile Row brand, without the bespoke price tag.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £195.
Tennix Leather Sneakers
Kenzo is a brand that’s instantly recognisable – from sweaters to shirting to tees, the iconic embroidered tiger is one of the most coveted motifs in recent history. Which might not, considering wardrobe classics and trends are rarely in sync, make the brand an obvious choice for long-term investment.
Sure, the tiger sweatshirt was huge, but three years on (and a couple of hundred quid down), has its popularity maintained? Arguably not.
To remedy any one-trick-pony slurs as a result, Kenzo also offers styles that show it’s in it for the long haul – like these kicks. At £170 – only a fraction more expensive than some major sportswear brands – this pair’s got lasting power.
Available at Harrods, priced £170.