There are many reasons why luxury fashion is so coveted: the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, the bragging rights (don’t deny it). But chief among these is that the average man can’t afford it; and we all want what we can’t have.
While we may not be able to grasp every Italian leather, extravagantly branded carrot dangled before us, there are in-roads to the top names in all designer collections.
Want to incorporate a little brand prestige without paying a visit to your local loan shark? Then get a load of these of sound investments.
Pebble-Grain Leather Cardholder
In recent years, Parisian label Saint Laurent has riffed on the Rolling Stones’s aesthetic, splicing its signature elegance with the style of 1970s rock stars: all skin-tight trousers, sequined blazers and skinny scarves.
Of course, even a frontman needs to carry a few bills around (we’re not suggesting what for), making this sleek pebble-grain leather cardholder – compact enough to slip into any skinny jeans – the ideal choice.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £115.
Neroli Portofino Deodorant Stick
Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino has been a jewel in the designer’s menswear-y crown since it launched in 2011. A heady mix of crisp citrus oils, floral notes and amber undertones, it can best be described as Mediterranean summer in a bottle. It also costs about the same as a plane ticket there.
So get the same scent without the (albeit extremely worthwhile) price sting, by opting for Ford’s deodorant stick instead. To further amp up your olfactory appeal, try layering with the matching shower gel or beard oil.
Available at Harrods, priced £35.
Dolce & Gabbana
White Stretch Cotton Briefs
Granted, Dolce & Gabbana’s signature excess is not for everyone. But alongside the Milanese label’s eye-popping prints, statement suiting and general opulence is an unwavering dedication to craftsmanship.
Craftsmanship that even comes through in its range of striped-back skivvies. A happy medium between low-key and logomania, these white stretch cotton briefs are a surefire shortcut to David-Gandy-in-a-boat styling (without the supermodel pay packet).
Available at Harvey Nichols, priced £35.
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), France’s oldest couture house makes for an astute occasionwear choice. Paying over £100 might seem steep for something you only wear a handful of times a year, but crafted from silver rhodium (a rare metal that belongs to the platinum family) these bite-sized pieces of luxury are sure to be noticed and will last you a lifetime.
Available at Farfetch, priced £120.
Web-Striped Cotton-Blend Socks
Gucci has seen somewhat of a renaissance in recent seasons. Once an Italian heavyweight slowly gathering dust, the storied label has been steered back on track with a slew of Wes Anderson shirts, souvenir jackets and floral prints, all with an on-trend edge.
Case in extremely-stylish-but-actually-affordable point: these white tube socks. Spun in Italy from a fine cotton-blend and finished with the label’s iconic red and white stripes, it’s a premium way to riff on the skate-inspired trend without stepping foot on a board.
Available at Matches Fashion, priced £80.
Mid-Rise Slim-Leg Jeans
Burberry is a case study in how to boss fashion for more than 160 years. Founded by a 21-year-old draper’s apprentice in 1856, the heritage label has survived even the darkest of periods to remain the ultimate byword for British luxury.
Despite being famed for its classic outerwear, Burberry is also a dab hand and modern menswear staples like black jeans. Produced with a straight leg and tonal metal hardware, this pair makes for the perfect anchor to a trench coat.
Available at Matches Fashion, priced £195.
Three-Pack Cotton-Jersey T-Shirts
Founded as a leather goods shop in 1913, Prada has an uncanny ability for making the seemingly unwearable, well, wearable. Still, 1970s-inspired knits and neoprene boots are hardly timeless men’s pieces, so it’s worth sinking your cash into something less showy, like a set of quality T-shirts.
A triple threat pack of smooth cotton-jersey crew necks, the Milanese label’s well cut staples are each detailed with the brand’s recognisable diamond emblem on the reverse to upgrade these basics to anything but.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £155.
Black And Brown Reversible Leather Belt
Having outfitted the world’s best dressed men for over a century, tailoring firm Ermenegildo Zegna has more than earned its fashion stripes, and as such, can command astronomical price tags.
However, alongside impeccable suits (that most would need to skip a month of meals to pay for) are some unanimously savvy purchases. Like this reversible black and brown belt, which is made in Italy from supple leather and (technically) only costs half what your monthly statement will say.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £185.
Blue Slim-Fit Cotton-Twill Shirt
Canali has been flying the flag for luxury menswear flag since 1934. Although perhaps not a household name like some others on this list, its consistency in classic everyday design has ensured it’s never fallen off the fashion radar.
We can wax lyrical about the necessity of acquiring a decent work shirt rotation, but finding the right one is tricky. This style, at £135, is cut slim for a trim fit but is woven with a slight stretch, so you’ll never feel hemmed-in. All the tailoring nous of an Italian tailoring powerhouse, without the bespoke dent in your bank balance.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £135.
Maurice Lacroix Watch Eliros
Most (if not all) Swiss watchmakers consider themselves ‘luxury’, and so usually tag their wristwear with prices that are flat out unattainable. But there are mid-tier timepieces that deliver the goods without you needing to skip a rent payment.
Boardroom-appropriate and weekend-ready, the classically designed Maurice Lacroix Eliros might cost more than the average fashion ticker, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most of its Swiss-made brethren.
Available at Jura Watches, priced £525.