The key to navigating the cooling weather with insouciant style is to pick key pieces that dress up, down and anywhere in between. This is your cheat sheet on what to wear – and how to wear it – as summer finally fades.
1/ Train and Gain
Menswear’s recent embrace of comfort over clean lines has helped turn the trainer from something lusted-over by 16-year-olds into something longed for by older, wiser, style obsessives. We’re not talking Yeezy Boosts here, though. “White, minimalist pumps made from quality materials will take the edge off an otherwise formal look so you don’t appear overdressed,” says James Lawrence, head of menswear design at Asos. Face wipes in the desk drawer will help keep them box-fresh.
2/ Know Your Knits
Aside from being softer than your legs after a day of deadlifts, the superfine fibres of a knit made from merino or cashmere offer warmth without bulk. That makes a sweater the perfect layering piece when the weather remains as unpredictable as the Chinese stock market. If you’re going to invest in cashmere make sure you’re able to discern the good stuff: rub it between your fingers – if it leaves a residue it’s probably been cut with low-grade wool.
3/ Blue Jacket Required
There’s a fine line between smart-casual steez and bar-room bore at the yacht club, and it’s invariably defined by buttons. For a safe rule of thumb, avoid anything oversized, gold or anchor-printed, and a navy blazer can pretty much work anywhere. “You can get away with the vibrancy of pattern and print on this particular jacket because it’s softened by the blue tone,” says Sam Kershaw, buyer at Mr Porter. “It also provides a contrasting backdrop if you want to pair it with bolder colours.”
(Left to right) Aquila wool blazer $399, MJ Bale checked blazer $549 and pocket square $49.95, Boss cotton blazer $749 and Bailey Nelson frames $125)
4/ Choose A Tie That Binds
Ties are inherently stuffy, being essentially decoration with no practical purpose. To air them out, texture will always trump pattern. “With its less precise, three-dimensional character and casually blunted end, a knitted tie will always look more nonchalant than formal,” says Kershaw. To enhance this, you should never tuck the rear blade into the label of the front piece. Care-wise, try not to hang them: knitted ties are best rolled and tucked in a drawer to avoid stretching them out.
5/ Reinforce Your Point
The right bag should be something of a chameleon; as comfortable next to a suit as a tracksuit, spacious enough that it’ll actually carry two days’ worth of clothes and built to withstand the rigours of travelling. “Durable fabrics and fastenings are key because they’re the things that will undergo the most daily stress,” says Topman design director Gordon Richardson. Look for metal fastenings and reinforced seams at the stress points – where the handles are attached is the big one. The whole thing should feel sturdy and hold its shape, even when empty. The knock-on effect will be that your clothes arrive less creased. “Try to find one with an easy-to-access pocket for your passport, too,” suggests Richardson. “It’ll save you a world of time.”
6/ Look Like The Bomb
A good blouson jacket – that’s a bomber to you and us – can be the workhorse of your autumn wardrobe. “It’s the ultimate off-duty piece,” says Jason Broderick, fashion director at Harrods, “because it will either complement or complete most looks, elegant or relaxed.” Lightweight nylon versions are ideal for layering in these transitional months, adding both warmth and weather-proofing when forecasts look precarious. Just make sure you hang it up to dry if you get caught so that it doesn’t lose its shape.