BY CILLIAN O’CONNOR
Want to get the most out of your fair-weather menswear? Don’t stow these just yet
New season, new wardrobe. Right?
Well, not necessarily. With some of fashion’s most influential players conceding the industry’s pace is out of whack, the idea that what you wore last season is redundant now, isn’t just outdated, but irresponsible too – just take a look at what it means for the workers who make our clothes. Plus, climate change is re-writing the rulebook anyway: November might’ve called for toasty overcoats 10 years ago, but in 2016 it’s still almost T-shirt weather.
Winter will always mean shearling instead of shorts, true, but that’s not to say your entire wardrobe needs to do a 180. To help you navigate the shifting seasons – and dodge the ‘buy now!’ diktats – we’ve rounded up the summer staples you can still wear this season. So don’t pack them away just yet.
A Polo Shirt
Summer’s smart-casual staple looks every bit as sharp once the days shorten. Lightweight, breathable and not as airily thin as a tee, a polo shirt (especially one cut from cotton piqué) is a top seed player in your transitional line-up. The only thing that needs changing is the placement – where in the summer a polo shirt might sit front and centre, its role is more supporting once the mercury begins to drop.
While it’s still relatively warm, try a short-sleeved style under a shacket, mac or duster coat, then switch to a longer-sleeved version (collar undone) layered over a tee and under a jacket or lightweight coat for a late-autumn look that proves you’ve got a handle on menswear’s trickier moves.
A Breton Shirt
Autumn’s onset might mean sailing city streets rather than clear blue seas, but that shouldn’t mean putting Breton shirts on the plank.
Timeless and versatile, the Breton tee’s simplicity makes it virtually seasonless, so while, sure, it looks great sipping a negroni on a beach in Nice, it’s just at home with a pint of bitter in the depths of a British winter. (Les Bleus know a wardrobe basic.)
What’s more, it works with everything else in your wardrobe. Go low-key with a Breton top, chinos or cords and clean trainers, or take a smarter tack by teaming with a wool blazer, trousers and smart shoes.
A Denim Jacket
If street style’s taught us anything, it’s that a denim jacket isn’t just an outer layer – it’s a bona fide wardrobe workhorse. Sure, you can throw it on over a tee or shirt, but a denim jacket’s so much more: it’s the mid-layer that offers a point of contrast, or the extra outer layer that dials up the heat.
If you’ve been wearing a denim jacket during summer, chances are it’s thin enough to slot between layers – so try wearing it over a hoodie, or under a blazer or overcoat to nail that up-down contrast.
Just remember to keep colour coordination in mind: a classic blue jean jacket pops against black and grey outerwear, but a black one won’t.
Just because mankles are no longer in season doesn’t mean your hemlines have to follow suit. A pair of cropped trousers, or a regular pin-rolled pair, is a perfectly acceptable style move come the colder months – provided you wear them with socks. We can’t stress this enough. There’s something about that combination of autumn’s low light and gooseflesh that makes us feel like the medical mask emoji with a bad case of food poisoning.
So please, stop it – put on some socks. Any socks. A few years ago, only smart socks (the kind you wear with office slacks) would’ve cut it, but in 2016, sportswear rules, which means the socks you save for the gym are perfectly acceptable too.
Perhaps it’s the loafer’s connotations of bare ankles that’s seen it branded a fair-weather footwear option, but it’s autumn that it’s really made for.
Just look at the way it’s built: lightweight, yet sturdy – the ultimate between-season shoe, offering warmth (not to mention the ability to withstand showers), without the heft of a stacked sole Derby or winter boot.
Material is the deciding factor in determining just how autumn-appropriate your loafers are; if your summer pair is made from suede, then they’d best sit this one out, but leather? They’ll do nicely.
As above, socks are the difference between a look that’s unexpected, and one that’s unacceptable. Tempted as you might be to stay true to the Pitti aesthetic, swerve it once summer’s gone.
Public service announcement: there’s nothing seasonal about UV damage. Which means despite the fact that sun-drenched days are hen’s teeth in winter, when the clouds part, the rays still burn.
Your eyes, like your skin, are vulnerable to UV rays, with extended exposure known to cause macular degeneration and cataracts. So don’t stow away your shades with your shorts.
What’s more, a quality pair of sunglasses won’t just protect your corneas, they’ll delay those crow’s feet too – forming a barrier between your skin and signs of premature ageing. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, they’re cool AF. (Just don’t wear them indoors.)