The colder seasons are tricky little b*ggers, aren’t they? As soon as it starts getting darker and the temperature begins dropping, I often find myself fighting the urge to completely overhaul my wardrobe and start fresh for autumn/winter. But, as we all know, that would be pretty daft. One of the great things about men’s fashion and style is that you can completely reinvent (or simply update) your wardrobe with just a few key pieces, and without breaking the bank. Realistically, dressing a man follows this pattern: trousers; torso – add a layer? add a jacket?; shoes; tasteful accessories; done. Simple really, once you’ve got the basics down. However, as with most things in life, we all must work within the realms of a budget. Sure, some budgets are bigger than others, but most men will be applying a form of fiscal strategy to their wardrobe update this season. And luckily, this is where FashionBeans steps in.
Key Capsule Wardrobe Additions: AW13
Owing to a heads-up from one of our readers, Joe Purkis, we’ve put together a brief guide on how to begin incorporating some key autumn/winter pieces into your rotation, within three specific budgets. We’ll start with items that every guy should be looking to add to their wardrobe this season, and then work our way through other ‘non-essentials’ such as statement pieces, trend-led styles or accessories that will help individualise your look. Before we start, it’s important to note that I’m going to assume that you already have a good foundation to build on – i.e. a nice collection of classic, simple and versatile basics that you can rely on all year round. If not, then look no further than a previous article of mine: The Ultimate Streamlined Capsule Wardrobe. It includes all the pieces that a guy should own and – thanks largely to great brands like Uniqlo, ASOS and HE by Mango – building a respectable wardrobe has never been as simple or as cheap. So, let’s get right amongst it shall we?
The £300 Budget
A typical budget for most students or young professionals, as well as those who have other priorities that come first: rent, bills, children, Christmas etc. When confined to a modest budget such as this, it is important to prioritise value for money and concentrate on versatility and practicality. You want pieces that will help you deal with those bitterly cold mornings and torrential down-pours and are adaptable enough to seamlessly integrate within your current wardrobe. Try substituting some of these items into your existing looks for a subtle, seasonal update:
A Pair Of Real Man Boots
These are going to fast become your go-to shoes once the weather takes a turn for the worse. If your personal style falls on the more casual side of the spectrum, go for a rough and ready silhouette like a worker or hiking boot. If you want to retain a formal air, a brogue or Oxford style looks like a normal pair of dress shoes when worn with a suit. Either way, make sure they have a substantial sole and you keep them clean. For a contemporary update, opt for a pair in one of my favourite colours for the colder months: burgundy. Classic, timeless and versatile, you will get good use out of them for years to come and they also offer something different to the traditional black, brown and tan versions on the market.
Selected Homme Brogue Boots from ASOS, priced £99:
Other Potential Styles (<£100)
- Topman Dune Brown Leather Boots
- Aldo Sagragni Short Boots
- Topman Dune Brown Leather Chelsea Boots
- Aldo Gouldman Leather Boots
- Aldo Waldram Leather Boots
- He By Mango Suede Desert Boots
- Selected Homme Moc Toe Boots
- Ben Sherman Deon High Boot
- Ben Sherman Keez 6-eye Boots
A Neutral Shawl-Neck Cardigan
Yeah, I know, you already own some knitwear. But as soon as the temperature drops, you’re going to need to reach for a different kind of knitwear, trust me. The great thing about a chunky shawl neck cardigan is that works as a layering piece OR as a makeshift piece of outerwear, depending on the sort of day that greets you. Look for one in a neutral colour such as navy, grey or brown for maximum versatility and, if you want to inject some character and show an appreciation of current industry trends, think about trying out a pattern or print like Fair Isle. This is a piece that looks just as good over an Oxford shirt and tie combination as it does paired with basic tees, jeans and boots at the weekend.
Other Potential Styles (<£70)
- He By Mango Shawl Collar Cotton Cardigan
- Gap X Gq Baldwin Ribbed Sweater
- Uniqlo Men Heavy Gauge Shawl Collar Cardigan
- He By Mango Shawl Collar Cable-knit Cardigan
- River Island Dark Grey Cable Knit Pocket Cardigan
- North Coast Shawl Collar Flecked Cardigan With Wool
- Collezione Lambswool Blend Houndstooth Cardigan
- Brave Soul Shawl Neck Cardigan
- Superdry Oslo Shawl Cardgian
A Couple Of Thicker Shirts
I’m talking flannel, denim and corduroy. Get a handful of each or stick to one, depending on your style. They work well as a warming layer over a tee and can even be dressed up with a seasonally-appropriate tie and trousers combination – try a grey flecked wool tie and some brown cords. Stick to colours that mirror the leaves that are beginning to litter the floor: brown, green, orange and rich shades of red. With Uniqlo producing such great quality shirts at an unbelievable price, you would be crazy not to pick up at least three!
Uniqlo Shirts, priced from £19.90:
Other Potential Styles (<£30)
- Vintage Surplus Pinwell Cord Shirt
- Selected Chambray Shirt
- Denim Shirt
- Vintage Renewal Denim Shirt
- Asos Denim Shirt In Long Sleeve With Overdye
- Asos Shirt In Long Sleeve With Buffalo Check
- Uniqlo Men Corduroy Long Sleeve Shirt A
- Uniqlo Men Denim Long Sleeve Shirt
- Uniqlo Men Flannel Checked Long Sleeve Shirt O
These really are essential for winter. They just get better the more you wear them, becoming nearly as comfy as a pair of pyjamas. Whether combined with a simple cable knit jumper or a white dress shirt and navy blazer, they always look perfect. Opt for a pair in grey for maximum versatility, but don’t be afraid to venture into brown and olive. If tweed isn’t for you, why not try out something in corduroy?
Tweed Trousers from HE By Mango, priced £59.99:
Other Potential Styles (<£60)
- Topman Premium Blue Suit Trousers
- Farah Vintage Trousers In Tweed – Exclusive
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Trousers In Tweed
- Topman Green And Navy Fleck Heritage Fit Suit Trousers
- Topman Camel Plain Skinny Suit Trousers
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In Tweed
The £500 Budget
Another couple of hundred to spend? Now we can start to look at more luxurious statement pieces that will become a signature of your personal style this year – yet still retain a sense of timelessness.
A Tweed Blazer
What, more tweed? Yes, it really is that versatile and essential during autumn/winter. If you want to keep things simple, try and get it the same material as the trousers so it can be worn as a full suit when the occasion calls for it. Alternatively, invest in a different colour like navy, brown or burgundy and pair it with everything you can get your hands on – especially the aforementioned flannel shirts and your classic indigo jeans. Again, if you are looking to mirror current industry influences, why not consider investing in an on trend pattern? As long as you pick something classic, like a Prince of Wales check or exploded plaid, it will still get good use for years to come.
Exclusive Farah Vintage Tweed Blazer from ASOS, priced £105:
Other Potential Styles (<£125)
- Asos Slim Fit Tweed Blazer
- Gap X Gq Bespoken Shrunken Tweed Blazer
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
- River Island Blue Tweed Blazer
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
- River Island Red Tweed Blazer
- Uniqlo Men Tweed Blazer
- Uniqlo Men Tweed Blazer
- Joe Browns Hunter Tweed Blazer
A Beige Overcoat
Make sure it fits you in the shoulders (with room for a layer) and is cut slim in the body, especially if you decide to go double-breasted. Pair it with shades of grey, navy and black and you can’t go wrong. A little 1990s Calvin Klein? Sure. But a quintessential menswear piece? One hundred per cent. This will quickly become your favourite coat in no time, trust me.
Stone Crombie Coat from Topman, priced £85:
The £750 Budget
We’ve already taken care of the essential autumn/winter updates, so now it’s time to consider pieces that will help individualise your look for AW13. We will focus on accessories today, because they’ll continue to get good use over the years to come and fit in with the capsule wardrobe concept. However, don’t be afraid to add trend-led pieces to your wardrobe – take a look through some of our recent trend reports for inspiration.
It’s Time To Accessorise
This really is where the fun begins because, as we all know, the details make the gentleman. Your first stop should be a scarf made of good quality wool, which is neutral in colour and not too oversized, so it doesn’t look odd against more formal pieces. Follow this up with a knitted hat in this season’s big colour trend, orange, and an umbrella that will hold its own in a strong gale. Then, venture in the murky depths of leather gloves (try more striking shades of burgundy, olive or tan) and textured pocket squares and ties, which epitomise the tactile nature of the period; instantly transforming any current look into something more seasonally-appropriate: