Fashion can be a risky business. Trends shift and a misplaced investment in luxury fashion can leave you mocked by your bank balance as well as your mates. But with high street brands producing their own, let’s say ‘homages’ to the runways, you can dip a toe this season without scalding yourself. It’s time to shop smarter.
Animal hides are expensive. Like suede and fur, even budget shearling can leave you out of pocket. Faux fabrics are not only a good option for the cautious, but also an ethical and cost-effective choice. We’re particularly taken by this faux shearling overcoat from Topman, which for £85 is a decent facsimile of the real thing. With designer versions nudging five figures, the savings here are as extreme as the weather this jacket can do battle with. Camel Faux Shearling Jacket, available at Topman, priced £85.
Valentino’s AW15 show took colour-blocking to new levels, and this season the high street is awash with autumnal knits that utilise the same optical technique. Shore Leave, the house brand from Urban Outfitters, nails the look with this merino knit (in the equally on-trend combo of burgundy and mustard) for a fraction of the cost. But know where runway emulations end and pair with raw denim and a dark overcoat. You can overdo the pattern thing. Shore Leave by Urban Outfitters Ian Camel Panel Knit Jumper, available at Urban Outfitters, priced £40.
Selvedge jeans have long been the preserve of denim nerds, who empty their savings to flash those tell-tale stripes on their turn-ups. But they’re now a little easier to get hold of, thanks to high street giants like Topman and Uniqlo flexing their supply chain muscle. For under £35 you can now get selvedge jeans in a range of finishes and fits, leaving plenty of cash to flaunt alongside your rolled up hems. Regular Fit Selvedge Jeans, available at Uniqlo, priced £34.90.
After a decade fetishing heritage, menswear’s stepped into the future. Modern materials like neoprene and scuba are a quick way to update your wardrobe and inject some edginess into your look. But Valentino and Neil Barrett’s neoprene sweats will set you back upwards of £300, which is a heavy investment in something that’s likely to date quickly. Instead, take a deep dive into ASOS’s future-facing sweatshirts with faux leather panelling for a more affordable statement piece, or a simple black neoprene bomber that will ensure you look current and classic simultaneously. ASOS Oversized Scuba Sweatshirt With Embossed Panel, available at ASOS, priced £27.
ASOS Bomber Jacket In Neoprene, available at ASOS, priced £60.
The ultimate in understated footwear, the white leather trainer is this season’s most ubiquitous shoe style. But doing simplicity right is often expensive. High-end versions from brands like Common Projects, or Raf Simons’ take on the adidas Stan Smith, cost a minimum of £250. Swerve them for Sweden’s king of high street minimalism, Cos, which offers a white leather trainer so versatile it will soon become a wardrobe staple. Especially since it’s under £80. Lace Up Leather Sneakers, available at COS, priced £79.
The resurgence in handheld bags has been a contentious trend to say the least. But love it or loathe it, these folios are an excellent example of how one simple accessory can elevate an entire look. Exactly what kind of documents men need to carry around is debatable, but in a more practical sense, these pouches double up as an excellent way to cart your iPad, wallet and keys without unsightly bulges to your tailoring (we won’t call it a purse if you don’t). Bottega Venetta, Saint Laurent and Givenchy options cost well into three figures, but River Island’s sleek faux leather version is a bargain at £25, leaving plenty of cash to splash out on some documents. If not an iPad. River Island Faux Leather Document Holder, available at ASOS, priced £25.