November is one those maddening months when it comes to picking out the right clothes. The death throes of autumn means you have to dig out your big coats and winter boots while still enduring swampy conditions on public transport.
As well as battling four seasons in the space of an hour, you have to dress for fireworks, office parties, cosy pubs and frigid shopping trips. And we haven’t even mentioned dress codes yet.
So if you’re wondering what to wear in November but getting nowhere fast, don’t worry. We have seven easy outfits, selected by our editors, to take the thinking out of looking good.
A Rugby Shirt Under An Excellent Jacket
The Rugby World Cup might be over, but did we ever need that as an excuse to don this most stylish of smart-casual standards? A trend-gone-perennial, the best way to style a rugby shirt is following the path that led to its creation – basically a more hardwearing alternative to a dress shirt and rather similar to a smart-casual cotton button-down.
Try it under a suit for a maverick way to approach tailoring, or ease into the style by slipping yours under preppy staples like a denim or Harrington jacket.
Don’t go too crazy on the colour of your outerwear, the hoops of your rugby shirt should provide more than enough punch, and bed the look with some smart chinos and a natty pair of loafers. You don’t need to overthink your look to tackle this most versatile of autumn pieces.
– Richard Jones, staff writer
Hiker Chic, With A Fleece Jacket
Hiking boots have been big for a number of years but not even far-sighted trendspotters thought they would be joined by nerdy fleece jackets. Yet here we are. Cuddly is cool and the streetwear teddy bear look is in.
And why not? Fleece is obviously a practical material to wrap up in for winter: warm and light, it works as mid-layer and outerwear and if you style it carefully, you don’t have to look like a scout leader lost in the big city.
The broader trend for outdoor clothing means you can wear a fleece jacket with other hiking favourites, like technical trousers, flannel shirts and chunky footwear. But to update the rambling man look, use some modern touches.
You’ll find fleece truckers and work jackets, which you can wear with cropped trousers or a smarter footwear choice (leather work boots or Derbies) to create a little contrast. Don’t go to baggy and wear your fleece as part of a tonal outfit to dodge geography field trip vibes.
– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief
A Worker Jacket, Layered For Autumn
Few garments are as easy to layer as the worker jacket. Buy it boxy and wear it over chunky knitwear and overshirts, or as a mid layer underneath technical parkas or overcoats. Button it up for extra warmth, or leave it open and make use of its large pockets, either way is a winner.
The immense popularity of the worker jacket ensures that plenty of fabric options are available on the high street. A dense wool, cotton twill or moleskin is best for winter and will allow you to make use of it basically until spring rolls around.
For the here and now though, the work jacket can be worn either casually or more formally, depending on what you’re going for. Pair it with matching trousers for a modern take on the suit, or combine it with jeans or pleated chinos for something more laid back. Either way, it – well – works.
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
Check Coat And A Big Knit
In some form or another the check coat is always kicking around in the menswear cannon. Although its fortunes do depend on which season we’re in, really it’s a timeless classic. What’s more, after so long spent gazing at technical outerwear and streetwear-friendly anoraks, the classic check coat’s suddenly looking curiously fresh again, such is the nature of menswear.
Traditionally the check coat’s been a de facto companion for tailoring, but where you’ll really get the benefit from this outerwear style is by using it as part of your casual outfits, as it’s the piece to smarten off your off-duty staples, knitwear especially
Because you’ll want your coat’s checks to do the talking, make sure you’re avoiding anything loud or multi-coloured with your knitwear. If you are looking to add interest, turn to a cable-knit weave or a roll neck collar which will elevate this pairing without making your checks fight for attention.
– Luke Sampson, head of creative
An Old-School Raincoat With Anything
Ever since the scandi-minimalists and streetwear crew got their grubby mitts on the anorak, it’s gone from playground tease to the best way to make a statement with your outerwear (and all while staying imperiously dry).
Not many other pieces in your wardrobe can pull off this much colour so take advantage and find one in a shade that strays from the winter staples of black, navy and grey. If it’s a zip-through then tone the colour palette down a notch so you can more easily pair it with the layers underneath.
As with anything that shouts statement, it’s best to sit them politely next to something that does anything but. A pair of black slim chinos are just the match, worn with some evergreen and surprisingly hard-wearing skate shoes.
Richard Jones, staff writer
Half-Zip Sweater, Dressed Up
The half-zip sweater is one of those menswear items that you wouldn’t have been seen dead in three years ago. Like the fleece jacket it’s made something of a miraculous comeback, now being produced by the world’s coolest brands.
We’ve seen plenty of retro ‘70s-inspired pieces with colourful striped cuffs, but a plain half-zip is the gateway and lends itself perfectly to tailoring. Treat it in the same way as you would a knitted polo shirt and pair it with either a two-piece or separates – it’s more versatile than you think.
As the weather gets colder, the prospect of the half zip sweater gets more attractive. Wear the zip down for a more relaxed look, or do it up and you’ve basically got a jumper with a built in scarf. What more could you want?
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
They used to say that a good suit was a modern coat of armour, but that’s not really true any more. Not least because menswear is now producing everyday clothes that function more like frontline tactical gear.
Led by techwear brands and outdoor clothing specialists, the technical trend is about wearing cutting-edge fabric science as proudly as you would a rare pair of sneakers. And unlike the majority of fashion trends it’s supremely practical.
November is the ideal time to do it, when breathable, weatherproof fabrics will help you glide through this bipolar season in a softshell bubble.
The key pieces to look out for: lightweight jackets that NASA would be proud of, insulating midlayers and combat-style trousers. The fit isn’t baggy but should give you plenty of room to move, while the aesthetic can be hiker, fly fisherman or special forces depending on your tastes.