Just because temperatures are dropping and the trees are losing their leaves, it doesn’t mean our wardrobes need to reflect the same dreary transition. Sure, we’re naturally going to have to layer up a little bit more and start thinking about investing in chunky knits and textured tailoring, but fear not – we have the solution to preventing your look turning as grey as the wintry skies above.
The importance of adding colour and prints to your autumn/winter wardrobe should not be underestimated. As easy as it is to reach for safe, muted hues or monochrome shades during the colder months, our advice is to shake things up by injecting some much-needed life and vibrancy into your AW14 ensembles…
Colour On The AW14 Runway
Primary colours were key at the AW14 shows, supporting our suggestion of using cheerful hues to liven up your look this winter. FashionBeans has already reported how striking orange, military green and masculine blue are set to become major colour trends, so make sure to catch up on those features if you haven’t read them already.
Everything from statement overcoats at Ami, Billy Reid and Bottega Veneta, to emerald tailoring at Berluti, Prada and Canali, to vibrant sportswear at Richard Nicoll and Christopher Shannon were shown on the runways, proving there is something for every type of dresser this season:
Touches Of Colour
If you like the idea of trying out brights in autumn/winter but want to ease your way into the look, test the water by adding one bold coloured piece to an otherwise dark ensemble. This will liven up your outfit subtly without you drawing too much attention to yourself.
We’d suggest teaming a cherry red long-sleeved sweater with a pair of slim-fit black jeans for a simple yet effective approach. Perfect for chilly days around town shopping or catching up with mates, bright red is current enough to show you’re aware of trends, yet bold enough to prove you’re not governed by them:
- Reiss Aviator Honeycomb Weave Jumper Red
- Reiss Maurice Slim-fit Twill Jeans Black
- Ps By Paul Smith Falconer Chelsea Boots
Another way of adding colour to your winter wardrobe without going all-out is to opt for woollen trousers in a rich autumnal hue, such as deep purple. Pair with a simple Oxford shirt and overcoat in a neutral shade like beige or charcoal to create an effortlessly stylish contrast:
- Reiss Ascot Button-down Oxford Shirt White
- Asos Wool Overcoat
- Ps By Paul Smith Slim-fit Wool-blend Suit Trousers
Or, for those of you employed in creative industries, why not team a chambray shirt and your trusty navy blazer with a pair of winter chinos in bright mustard for the office?
- Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Washed Chambray Shirt
- River Island Navy Blue Blazer
- He By Mango Nudie Jeans Mustard Slim Fit Chinos
If your workplace calls for a more formal approach to your weekday attire, you’ve still got room to inject some colour into your look – even if it’s reserved for your morning and evening commute.
Keep your suiting sleek and simple in dark navy or textured grey, but reach for a slim-fitting overcoat or rain jacket in a brighter hue like amber, forest green or dusty pink. This bold and striking choice will see you stand out in style against the ocean of monochrome hues during rush hour:
- French Connection Oxford Shirt
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Fleck
- Universal Works Parka In British Waxed Cotton With Borg Lining
- Reiss Danton Formal Suit Belt Dark Brown
- Drakes Paisley-patterned Silk Tie
- Reiss Sorrell Toe Cap Derby Shoes Dark Brown
Remember, if bright and bold hues are too much for your personal style or the occasion, deeper, darker shades offer a ready-made alternative: switch amber for burnt orange, yellow for mustard, emerald for army green, red for burgundy, etc.
Further Lookbook Inspiration
- Quiksilver Parka With Faux Fur Trim
- Selected Homme Iconic Fishtail Parka In Blue
- He By Mango Foldable Feather Down Gilet
- Asos Skinny Chinos
- Asos Jumper In Cashmere Blend
- Reiss Laine Raglan Crew-neck Jumper Soft Blue
- Burton Cobalt Blue Roll Neck Jumper
- Ralph Lauren Shawl-lapel Cable-knit Cardigan
- Polo Ralph Lauren Regular-fit Corduroy Trousers
- River Island Yellow Cable Knit Jumper
- Polo Ralph Lauren Suede Elbow Patch Brushed Knitted-wool Sweater
- Ami Tapered Cotton-twill Chinos
For the more confident among us, take a braver approach to your wardrobe this winter through the art of colour-blocking. Often seen as a technique that is strictly reserved for summer, there’s nothing to say you can’t pair bright colours and pieces together during the colder months. The key here is fabric choice.
Textured pieces produce a natural mattifying effect, which helps to reduce and negate the impact of the colour slightly, making it easier to combine stronger hues. This heavily tactile pairing will also see you add character and interest to your attire while keeping you warm and protected:
- Paul Smith Jeans Blue Heavy Melange Knit Jumper
- Austin Reed Viyella Neutral Moleskin Trousers
- He By Mango Lace-up Leather Boots
Another way of trying out colour-blocking this season is through pastel shades. Although not recommended for the faint-hearted, pastels don’t have to be a strictly ‘spring affair’. Wear a pale purple Oxford shirt with a pair of tailored sherbet yellow trousers and brown penny loafers for a bold, preppy take on autumnal style:
- 08.30 Oxford Shirt
- Acne Studios Max Satin Slim-fit Cotton-blend Trousers
- Churchs Elveden Leather Penny Loafers
If pastels aren’t your thing and you’d rather tackle colour-blocking in a more pared-back way, match brighter shades with slightly darker colours. A crimson knit looks great teamed with trousers in a refreshing peppermint hue, while different tones of the same colour can also work well for more relaxed professional dress codes.
For example, a seafoam blue blazer will complement a pair of petrol blue trousers for dress-down Friday in the office. Finish the look off with a crisp sky blue button-up shirt and smart brown brogues:
- Reiss Ascot Button-down Oxford Shirt White
- Ps By Paul Smith Deconstructed Wool Jacket 206930
- J.crew 484 Slim-fit Washed-cotton Trousers
- Reiss Rossell Wingtip Perforated Brogues Mid Brown
Further Lookbook Inspiration
Finally, a simple yet powerful way of injecting some fun and vibrancy into your autumn/winter wardrobe through the use of accessories. Whether in the form of sartorial essentials such as ties and pocket squares or casual weekend pieces like beanies, these finer details allow us to be playful with our look without it becoming too over the top.
If you work in the corporate world and your colleagues don’t tend to turn up to work in an outfit made up of pastel-blocked shades, have no fear – the great thing about wearing a dark, monochrome suit (grey/black/charcoal) is that it acts as the perfect canvas for any colour you choose for your tie and pocket square.
Prints and patterns are also easy to incorporate into a corporate look when it comes to ties, pocket squares and socks – adding some flair and personality to your ensemble without sacrificing your professionalism:
For a more winter-specific approach, utilise cold-weather accessories such as hats, scarves and gloves. These are the items that most men tend to lean towards when it comes to introducing colour to their autumn/winter looks and it’s clear to see why: there’s something distinctly high fashion and editorial-like about an oversized chunky scarf in a dazzling orange or electric blue. And that’s without even considering how comfy and practical they are.
When it gets to the frostiest part of winter and you want to layer up in all of the above, our advice would be to opt for a hat, scarf and gloves in different hues or patterns. Not only will this be more interesting to look at, but colour-matching is never quite as stylish as people think – prime example: sports presenters who match their printed ties with pocket squares (something highlighted in our common men’s fashion mistakes article).
- He By Mango Polka-dot Silk Pocket Square
- He By Mango Wool-blend Gloves
- Ayame Mens Purple Electro Socks
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- Reiss Joyce Spotted Pocket Square Ice Blue
- Asos Fisherman Beanie Hat
- Alfred Dunhill Mulberry Silk Tie
- Loro Piana Check Cashmere And Silk-blend Scarf
- Pantherella Three-pack Merino Wool-blend Socks
- Polo Ralph Lauren Player Scarf
- M&s Collection New Best Of British Pure Wool Checked Tie
- Canali Square-print Silk Pocket Square
No matter how you decide to brighten up your wardrobe this autumn/winter, just remember to keep both fabric and colour coordination in mind.
That said, don’t be afraid to have some fun with it! After all, there are plenty of things to feel miserable about during the cold and wetter months – don’t let your clothing and personal style be one of them.
Now it’s over to you: will you be incorporating bright colours into your wardrobe this winter? And if so, how far are you planning to go with it?
Let us know in the comment section below…