It’s one thing getting excited about the prospect of adding layers for autumn and another altogether finding and, y’know, layering them. You suddenly need to start getting a lot better at covering your skin and you’re not sure which patch to start with. Sound familiar?
We’re feeling generous and have taken (most of) the pain out of recalibrating your wardrobe for autumn. All essential and all wallet friendly, here are 30 things that will help you leave the house a warmer and better-dressed man. We’ve got you covered.
This autumn, getting chunky isn’t a bad thing. In fact, when it comes to cardigans, it’s a very good thing.
Unlike fine gauge examples, which can (on occasion) add decades to your wardrobe, with a thicker version there’s no such danger. Simply layer one over a shirt or crew-neck T-shirt and, as well as switching it in for your blazer on dress-down days, you can go easy on the central heating until December.
River Island: £28.00
Dark indigo may be the de facto king of off-duty men’s trousers, but before denim took over men’s wardrobes, wool held fort during the colder months.
Offering a smarter alternative to jeans, but a more textural take on classic suit trousers, this season the high street has plenty of luxury-looking pairs that don’t come with a matching price tag. Stick to neutral colours but look for subtle checks or lightly flecked patterns to stand out from the funeral procession of boring winter work wardrobes.
Originally designed by the Welsh as a means of protection against the country’s famously soggy weather, the flannel shirt is rooted in workwear but is ironically now an essential for days when you’re looking for minimal effort, maximum style.
Whether thrown on open over a T-shirt or buttoned to the top, this genuine classic is hard to get wrong, which explains why it has graduated from the valleys and never once waned in popularity. It plays nicely with others, too, working well with jeans, chinos or wool trousers.
Nobody likes bad weather. Not even those suspiciously chirpy fellows from Singin’ In The Rain. So, add an umbrella to your arsenal to keep looks high (style) and dry (well, just dry) during a downpour.
Spending a few extra coins will deliver a brolly that lasts several rounds on the commute to and from work, all the while looking decidedly better than battling the elements with a paper-thin protector.
If you haven’t seen Paul Newman wearing a sweatshirt, look it up immediately. It’s all the reason you need for making sure that you’re never without one.
To come off sports-inspired rather than slovenly, make sure yours fits like a glove (none of that oversized malarky, unless you want to start a hip-hop collective or don’t plan to leave the sofa). Pair with chinos and you’re ready to give the mid-century menswear icons a run for their money.
The last time they were a ‘thing’ lace-up boots were hijacked by boybands, sending them nose-diving to a sartorial low point.
Yes they’re back (again), but before you run in the other direction there’s good news. This time they come under the guise of worker styles, complete with moc toe construction techniques and thick, textured treads. The perfect partner for your pin-rolled jeans.
It’s notoriously difficult to be prepared for autumn’s biblical downpours when most ‘proper’ coats are still too thick for the humid heat. That’s where lightweight rain jackets come in.
The best examples are waterproof (shockingly) and stripped-back enough in design that they offer a spin at the colour wheel, with oranges, blues and canary yellow all on display this season.
The last few seasons have seen the light gauge roll neck go from standard-issue nerd uniform to bonafide menswear power player. Good news too, as the garment is practically unrivalled in its ability to keep the chill out in the run-up to winter.
Whether you stick yours under a tailored blazer or a leather jacket, there are few things not to love about something that performs well and looks good.
Charles Tyrwhitt: £49.95
If you’re the kind of guy that just doesn’t really ‘do’ smart shirts, allow the Oxford shirt to provide a less dressed-up alternative that’s a couple of notches down on the formality scale.
Thanks to its fence-sitting appeal, cost-per-wear calculations are healthy too, as you’ll be able to wear it with everything from a casual suit to a sweatshirt.
Sometimes indecisiveness pays off. Take dark denim, for example, which is not entirely casual, but not really smart either.
This is good news for your wardrobe, as it means you can get away with wearing dark indigo jeans for evening drinks while dark black denim can be used in place of smarter chinos on occasion. Up top, they work with everything – everything – except for a dinner jacket.
Chelsea boots were originally designed for Queen Victoria, but that hasn’t stopped everyone from Darth Vader to Kanye West from copping a pair.
Examples in black or brown leather are incredibly popular (and for good reason), capable of dressing down tailored trousers and shirts with ease. Fit a queen. Or a king.
As far as military coats go, the field jacket (also known as the M-65) may not come to mind as quickly as the bomber or peacoat, but it’s no less of a smart investment to see through the low temperatures in high style.
Invented to help soldiers battle the extreme conditions in Vietnam, both in terms of war and weather (the latter can be hot, wet and windy all at once), today it’s an all-season piece that works best in autumn. Wear it over a more tailored look for a modern edge.
Mango Man: £79.99
No self-respecting man should cart his stuff around in a gym bag anywhere outside the locker room. Instead, invest in a leather holdall that can double-up as short-haul luggage.
Just remember to consider size and durability. Too small, and it’s basically a handbag, too large, and you’re left with a half-empty vessel too cumbersome even for a weekend away.
To state the obvious, athleisure is still big news in menswear. That means that, yes, it’s still ok to practically live in your joggers (#winning).
The downside is that the autumn months often bring with them unexpected showers. And even a semi-permanent water stain on your crotch is guaranteed to leave a permanent stain on your reputation. Do yourself a favour and invest in a darker pair, which helpfully also look great with a camel coat on the weekend. Especially if they’re tailored – or at least tapered.
Desert boots (or Chukka boots) are a rugged menswear classic that sit on the right side of Indiana Jones. As in, expeditionary without making you look like you’re in fancy dress.
They’re on the right side of versatile, too, pairing nicely with indigo jeans as well as pin-rolled chinos. Just use your sartorial savvy and avoid suede (or at least invest in a quality protector), otherwise one spot of rain and your footwear will be consigned to far worse than The Temple Of Doom.
Clarks Originals: £95.00
Men of the world, rejoice: the baseball cap is no longer confined to football hooligans and incognito celebrities.
Thanks to the rise (and rise, and rise) of athleisure, this sportswear essential can be worn with a range of looks, from commuter-friendly streetwear to off-duty classics like smart joggers and a T-shirt. Stick to a staple shade and autumn-appropriate fabrics like wool.
Ted Baker: £40.00
If you thought the denim shirt was an exclusively off-the-clock piece, think again. Yes, it’s an easy go-to on the weekend when worn under an overcoat, but it can also work just as well under a navy blazer to nail that tricky smart-casual territory.
As well as adding some texture alongside your staple knitwear, a denim shirt in lighter washes work better in the autumn than the same shade in your jeans.
Few staples are likely to link fishermen, Ivy League prepsters and cricket players, but the cable knit jumper does just that.
The charm of the garment’s distinct raised patterns go beyond the visual, providing near-unbeaten insulation whether worn alone or layered over a shirt. Pair with dark jeans or wool trousers for that smart-casual sweet spot.
While the short sleeve polo shirt has a tendency to be misused (stag parties, we’re looking at you), the piece’s smarter, more grown up and more seasonally appropriate long-sleeved cousin is an invariably safer bet.
Pick a thicker style for maximum wear potential as this can be worn solo now or under a coat when things get cooler. These really aren’t expensive but to max out your cost-per-wear, stick to dark autumn shades.
When temperatures dip, the body reduces blood flow to extremities like hands, feet and, er, yeah, making them the first thing to feel the nip.
Therefore it makes sense to keep a pair of gloves close to hand even in autumn. While there’s every case for investing in a leather pair lined with shearling and finished with snap-wrist closures, budget pieces rarely deliver these well. And let’s face it, you’re going to lose them.
John Lewis: £12.50
Hoodies, like umbrellas, are pretty handy for keeping your head rain-free but are ultimately less likely to be left in the pub. Sod’s Law says it will rain on the weekend and your brolly will be AWOL, so there’s no sensible reason not to own one.
If you’re conscious of giving off angry adolescent vibes (which you should be, unless you are one), steer clear of logos and don’t go oversized. Look for premium fabrics that wouldn’t look out of place with tailored trousers.
Originally designed to be worn as underwear before being adopted by collegiate rowers, today the Henley top has managed to transcend both beginnings to become a solid choice for casual plans. As such, it has become one of those versatile basics that you hear much lip service paid to.
Fortunately, it lives up to the hype and is simple enough to be worn with practically anything. Wed’d suggest starting with a pair of wool trousers and a chunky cardigan.
From military fatigue to menswear essential, the classic MA-1 bomber jacket has seen it all from the skies to the sidewalk.
A slightly more generous cut – somewhere between suffocation and billowing blogger at Seoul Fashion Week – is ideal for autumn, allowing room for thicker knits and hoodies underneath. What’s more, you needn’t stick to the khaki military colourway either, with shades of black, blue and grey all offering modern variations and maximum opportunities to wear.
While we appreciate any piece that can both walk the walk and talk the talk, worker chinos have traditionally erred a little too close to function over form for our liking.
Thankfully these hard-grafting trous have at last been given enough attention from brands and designers to register on the right end of the menswear barometer. Robust, comfortable and finally wearable, who cares that the most strain they’re going to endure is a walk in the park?
Not quite a jacket, but not quite a shirt either, the overshirt is a masterstroke in the great art of layering.
Thicker examples with minimal lining can flit between climates with ease, while a block colour version in navy or grey will pack a tonal punch to white tees below and jackets above.
It’s time to face facts, mankle season is over and it’s time to reacquaint your calves with cloth.
As a rule of thumb, you should own at least two weeks’ worth of matching socks in monochrome colours – no holes, no loose threads and certainly no novelty patterns. As one of the easiest – and cheapest – backbones of your wardrobe, there’s simply no excuse.
ASOS: £10.00 (3-Pack)
Before you scoff and call ‘toff’, know that a gilet is a legit layering piece that will help you master getting dressed over the next few months.
Don’t believe us? Take it from the endless number of brands that have championed the sleeveless mid-layer as both a streetwear piece to be worn over a T-shirt on the off-duty, and then under a sharp jacket the very next (blustery) day.
By now you’re probably well aware that a good denim jacket is a summer essential for any man’s wardrobe. But far from a one-season pony, it also puts the work in during the cooler months.
If you spent the beer garden months in a neatly cut option, it’s easy to eek out its wear by using it as a layering piece under an overcut or unstructured blazer.
Cheap Monday: £70.00
While they embody everything we love about summer (described using words like “light”, “clean” and “fresh”), white sneakers also do well to highlight the sartorial pitfalls of autumn. Mainly mulchy leaves ruining your new kicks.
But don’t resort to toggle-fastened walking boots just yet. By opting for a dark pair in wipe-clean leather, you’ll clinch the cost-per-wear ratio with little need for maintenance.
With thicker scarves on hold until winter hits, look to less cumbersome examples as a way to fight off the chill while injecting some much-welcomed colour and texture into an autumnal outfit.
Lighten up in every sense by side-stepping anything Lennie Kravitz might be seen in and instead seeking out styles that feature block stripe of subtle pattern details.