It’s a cruel fact of life that as the mercury drops, so too does the average man’s appearance as far as his wardrobe is concerned. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. With greater layers, richer colours and more interesting textures to play with, the cooler months offer up enhanced opportunities for creativity in the wardrobe department. All that’s required of you is to be prepared. So where do you start? The easiest and most effective route to a stylish autumn/winter is by choosing a small selection of key pieces and building outfits around them. To do that, you’ll need a few well-made staples that’ll either complement your existing wardrobe or form the basis of an entirely new look. This is where Marks & Spencer comes in. The British mainstay has been hard at work at redefining these menswear heroes, retaining their classic charm, but updating them with luxe fabrics and interesting details. From leather outerwear to work boots, pleated trousers to corduroy suits, these are the autumn/winter pieces that should be on your radar and how to wear them.
5 Ways To Wear AW19’s Hero Pieces
The Cropped Leather Jacket
Beyond September, most men with half an interest in style can be heard extolling the virtues of a trucker jacket and the endless opportunities it affords your wardrobe. For AW19 M&S has taken the classic and made it their own, crafting the exterior out of supple black leather while lining it in faux-borg pile for ultimate warmth. Make like James Dean and pop the collar for bonus style (and heat-retention) points.
How To Wear It
Why limit the all-black theme to your top half? The jacket lends itself perfectly to an evening-ready monochrome look, so turn to rock n’ roll icons of yesteryear for your inspiration. A 1960s-style black roll neck worn with slim black jeans down and chunky penny loafers is a look that exudes laid-back cool – ideal for a night out on the town, or if you want to give off mysterious vibes on a first date. Just remember to have the jeans hemmed or roll them a couple of times – they should ideally sit above the loafers rather than hang over them.
The Check Trousers
Good trousers are hard to find. Harder still is finding a versatile pair that can be worn across a range of smart and casual looks. M&S has nailed it with this pair. The subtle blue-grey check ensures they’ll stand out amongst a sea of plain trousers, while the single pleats give them a throwback edge that’s perfect for mid-century inspired looks.
How To Wear It
For a smart-casual outfit that can take you from the office to the bar with ease, pair the trousers with a simple knitted polo shirt in tonal navy. More sophisticated than a T-shirt but less stuffy than a shirt, it’s an assured choice that will have your back for seasons to come. For the outer layer, continue the tonal theme with a collared jacket, which smartens things up; and down below, opt for some suede Chelsea boots. For this to work the trousers need to be an appropriate length – the hem should kiss the top of the shoes, allowing for a straight leg line when standing still.
The Outdoor Boots
Although often overlooked, a reliable pair of leather boots is arguably the most essential item on any autumn/winter shopping list. This pair from M&S ticks all the boxes. With a warm felt lining, a hardy black leather finish and a robust commando sole, they’re ready to tackle virtually all weather conditions and will keep you looking good until spring.
How To Wear It
Think of this look as the ‘The Lumberjack 2K19’. Outdoors attire is referenced in the corduroy button-down shirt, indigo jeans and borg-collar padded jacket, but the whole looks still feels contemporary and certainly wouldn’t be out of place in the city. The boots themselves are more versatile than that though, and shouldn’t be limited to casual weekend attire. Think of them as the canvas high-tops of the winter months. Wear them often and don’t be precious with them – like the trainers, they’ll look better with a bit of wear and tear.
The Insulating Mid-Layer
More versatile than it might first appear, a sherpa fleece is the ideal mid-layer, perfect for slotting between a shirt and a more substantial piece of outerwear. A highly functional garment, this version by M&S adds three zipped pockets into the mix. So now there’s no excuse to lose your phone on trips to the pub.
How To Wear It
Fleece has made a comeback in a big way over the last few seasons. Once the preserve of dads doing the school run, now the cool kids from Peckham to Brooklyn are often seen sporting the insulating style. Pair yours with equally functional garments to maximise the outdoorsy aesthetic. Hard-wearing but comfortable moleskin trousers are a natural fit, as are vegan leather chukka boots. Finish off your outfit with a multi-pocketed insulating parka complete with Thermowarmth technology, all of which will keep you warm without weighing you down.
The Statement Suit
For some seasons now, corduroy has been a popular fabric of choice for casual attire, but men are finally starting to realise its sartorial potential. And boy is there a lot of potential. This green get-up is a case in point. Forgotten are the fabric’s humble workwear origins, what you have instead is a luxurious, velvet-like suit that begs to be dressed down.
How To Wear It
You could wear this two-piece with a shirt and tie, but where it shines is with a more creative take on classic suiting. The laid back nature of cord means this suit is incredibly forgiving if worn in a casual context – think T-shirts and trainers. The ideal T-shirt is subtly striped in tonal sage (plain white would be too stark), just make sure you tuck it in as you would a shirt. Retro panelled trainers are the perfect shoe choice to play on corduroy’s old-school appeal. And if it gets cold, try adding a luxurious cashmere beanie. Finish with a fine Italian Saffiano leather backpack, and you’ve got an office look with a difference. Don’t bother buttoning it up, simply roll the trouser hems a couple of times and you’re good to go.
The Marks & Spencer AW19 collection has started arriving in store and online now.