Our series enlists expert help to pinpoint every new piece your budget should buy. This week, what to buy when you’ve got some cash to spare.
1 Heavy Duty Field Jacket
A multi-use jacket needs to be durable enough to survive all the elements – which is why you should opt for something purpose-built.
“The field jacket is the ultimate multifunctional staple,” says Joe Ottaway, personal stylist and the man who makes David Gandy look good. “Its sole purpose is to protect against the frosty countryside and the same heritage roots that provide a classic aesthetic.”
Better yet, the opportunities to wear are endless. “From being dressed with a pair of jeans and a roll neck to a Pitti-worthy look over a double-breasted blazer, the field jacket’s versatility justifies the spend.”
Musto Shooting Checked Stretch-Tweed Field Jacket, available at Mr Porter, priced £495.
1 Quilted Gilet
And the country flex doesn’t end there. A streamlined yet insulated gilet gives you options beyond the dog walk.
“Gilets are an exceptional way to style winter looks,” says Ottaway. “Not only are they lighter than a big overcoat, but they retain warmth when layered over a multitude of pieces. Think blazers, roll necks and thin heritage jackets.
Look out for shades of navy, black and grey, which will blend into your current wardrobe (odds are you’re not going to pick up a style for every outfit). And avoid anything bulky. Fits should sit close to your body for more layering potential.
Barbour Essential Gilet, available at Barbour, priced £79.95.
1 Grandad Collar Chambray Shirt
Wardrobes require more than heritagewear, though. And, if you’re to layer successfully, Ottaway reckons your grandpa’s garms possess real merit.
“The grandad collar shirt is a sharp alternative to the classic Oxford. Not only can it relax the aesthetic of a full suit, but it’s a more natural fit with shorts and herringbone trousers.”
A chambray fabric is lighter than denim, but generally more hardwearing than pure cotton. Which means it’ll survive more than two cycles in the laundry.
Norse Projects Benno Grandad Slub Shirt, available at END Clothing, priced £115.
1 Pair Of Monk-Strap Shoes
The brogue has cemented its place in the capsule wardrobe. But there are other choices just as versatile.
“The monk-strap shoe is lesser known, but by no mean less classic,” says Ottaway. “They were originally designed for sandal-wearing monks that required something more hardwearing in the 1800s. Now, they’re more at home with tailored trousers and a full-suited ensemble.”
If, that is, you pick the right style. “The double-strap variety is more befitting for formal settings thanks to added detail on the buckle. Opt for a mid-brown colour that can switch between suits of different shades.”
Aldo Henacien Shoes, available at Aldo, priced £85.
1 Brown Woollen Double-Breasted Suit
The best way to get more from your suit? Pick one that can be split up. “Double-breasted suits flatter taller, wide-shouldered physiques thanks to the overlap at the front,” says Ottaway. “But the blazer can also make for a great separate when paired with shirts, tees and contrast trousers. More bang for your buck.”
If you want to maximise its shelf life, you need to look after it properly. “Always take quality wool pieces for dry cleaning – regular machine washing will ruin the delicate fabric.” Just don’t subject it to the chemicals more than twice a year.
1 Swiss Watch
A luxury watch is the only piece of jewellery most men wear, and the right one can be a finishing touch for any outfit. But you don’t need a Cartier to elevate your wardrobe.
“A watch that has a classic design is more important than a big brand name,” says Ottaway. “It’ll sit perfectly with every ensemble you have, which again justifies the spend.”
If you want your money to go further, look for an automatic movement. “Self-winding watches are a stamp of craftsmanship. They keep on ticking away through sheer kinetic movement and despite what purists say, you can get a reliable piece for just a few hundred pounds.”
Tissot Le Locle Automatic Watch, available at Ernest Jones, priced £350.
3 x Monochrome T-Shirts
A plain T-shirt is the backbone of almost any outfit. But they need to be strong enough to support its weight.
“High cotton, structured fits will outlast cheap alternatives,” says Ottaway. “Plus, you can mix and match underneath with a range of tailored separates. White tees tucked into trousers, grey tees under blazers – there are plenty of opportunities.”
Boss by Hugo Boss Black Three T-Shirt Pack, available at Zee & Co, priced £35.
1 Pair Of Navy Statement Trousers
“You need an alternative to the fully suited look, and navy is actually more versatile than black,” says Ottaway. “It’ll sit with almost every colour shirt and tee imaginable, and has a greater capacity to be dressed down.”
For extra style points, a small check or microprint gives your look some depth. Think tonal; the more subtle the design, the more chances you’ll have to wear them. Plus, you can combine them with your double-breasted jacket – giving you another look at a relatively affordable price.
Paul Smith Navy Tonal Check Merino Wool Trousers, available at Paul Smith, priced £190.
1 Travel Holdall
The quickest way to kill your look? Transport a sharp wardrobe in a shoddy bag. “A durable travel holdall will see much more than an airport carousel,” says Ottaway. “If you opt for something neutral that can sit with most outfits, there’s no reason why you can’t make it your exclusive daytime bag.”
But remember: size matters. “It needs to be large enough to store essentials and a few changes of pants, but nobody wants to be lugging a suitcase all day either. Go for a medium choice around the Louis Vuitton size – 29cm height, 50cm width and approximately 23cm depth.”
Longchamp Boxford Travel Bag, available at Selfridges, priced £175.
1 Pair Of Minimalist White Trainers
“All-white low-key trainers are increasingly becoming a staple,” says Ottaway. “Not only are they neat, but they can provide a contemporary anchor to looks when monk-straps just won’t do.”
White kicks also let you experiment with dressed-down tailoring. “We’re seeing a lot of suits paired with white tees and trainers. Quality sneaks aren’t just limited to the weekend.”
Axel Arigato White Leather Low Sneaker, available at Axel Arigato, priced £130.
1 Merino Roll Neck
Layering extends far beyond the realm of plain tees and overshirts, as the humble roll neck proves.
“This 1970s essential is definitely on the up trend-wise,” says Ottaway. “Pair with the gilet and double-breasted jacket. That way, the winter-appropriate layering is still there, but the roll neck is still much less common than other pieces.”
And as for the material? “Merino is a good midpoint between cotton and cashmere – luxurious, but you won’t be dropping half your pay packet.”
Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Turtleneck Sweater, available at Uniqlo, priced £29.90.
1 Pair Of Dark Denim Jeans
The backbone to every great outfit, denim jeans need to be hardwearing, flattering and, most importantly, versatile.
“A straight leg, mid-rise jean will provide the most wear and will likely outlast any seasonal trends,” says Ottaway. “Plus, unwashed indigo is one of the few denims that can be dressed up for smarter occasions.”
ED-55 Regular Tapered Jeans Unwashed Denim, available at Edwin, priced £90.
2 Pocket Squares
The finer details refresh even the simplest pieces. Drop a pocket square into your blazer for a healthy dose of sprezzatura, says Ottaway.
“Not only can pocket squares and similar accessories dress up a look, they also provide a welcome pop of colour to monochrome pieces.”