Due to their complexity of craftsmanship and the necessary use of heavier, high-quality fabrics, most styles of cold-weather coat will cost a decent chunk of change. However, as you’ll get loads of wear out of it (thanks, notoriously terrible British weather), it’s worth considering the potential cost-per-wear over the initial outlay. If you’re starting out, commit to one coat that fits your day-to-day life best and go for the very finest you can afford from a maker that knows its stuff.
The Trench Coat
When it comes to rain coats, it’s hard to beat a trench. A part of the menswear lexicon since its invention in the early years of the twentieth century, today it’s as comfortable worn with a suit as with a pair of jeans and a rollneck. However, that doesn’t mean your investment can’t have a little twist. Take master raincoat-maker Mackintosh’s new Berlin model, which matches a traditional fawn-coloured body fabric with a cool black belt.
BERLIN Fawn x Ink Bonded Cotton Trench Coat – £1,200, available at Mackintosh.
The Leather Jacket
Bomber. Biker. Aviator. Cafe-racer. There’s a style of leather jacket to suit every man and it’s absolute nonsense for me to recommend one as the “best” investment. However, what I can tell you is I’m a biker guy – and when it comes to leather bikers, there are few brands who know how to make one like Acne Studios. Whichever is your style, look out for real leather, real metal hardware and a trim cut (none of this oversized nonsense). And invest in its care over the coming years – buy a leather cream to keep the material soft, glossy and protected as it ages.
Acne Studios Black Biker Jacket – £1,300, available at Acne Studios.
The Wool Overcoat
A thick wool overcoat never goes out of style, however there are certain things to look out for if you want to get maximum classic appeal. The Martingala coat from Marylebone-based tailoring house Anglo-Italian is a perfect example. Crafted from dark grey charcoal herringbone fabric, it’s got a trim-yet-relaxed shape and timeless just below-the-knee length that will keep it looking fresh for many years to come.
Anglo-Italian Double Breasted Martingala Coat – £1,550, available at Anglo-Italian.
The Workwear Jacket
If you’re looking for something more casual, you can’t go wrong with a great workwear jacket – something that can be layered up or down on the weekend depending on the chill factor. It’s hard to beat those made by French workwear label Le Laboureur, which has been handmaking superb examples in the town of Digoine for the past 60 years. Thankfully, nowadays you can get them this side of the Channel at cool Lancashire gardening store Wood & Meadow.
Le Laboureur Wool Work Jacket – £135, available at Wood And Meadow.
Trousers are the anchor of your wardrobe. Whether it’s a pair of jeans that you can dress up or down or a pair of smart slacks that you can slip into should a smarter occasion present itself, trousers are the understated canvas for the more shouty items of a man’s armoury: logo tees, silk shirts, jazzy jumpers. It pays to have a small selection that allows you to experiment with other more trend-led items that cost less to replace as seasons dictate.
Smart Wool Trousers
We might all be living in a hermit’s cave right now, but the days of Friday drinks and date nights will return someday soon. When they do, a pair of trousers for ‘going out out’ will be a necessity – something smart, yet relaxed that will look great with a black crew neck tee or open-collar shirt tucked into them. Albert’s Irish tweed pants are perfectly suited to the occasion, with a cut that’s fuller through the thigh thanks to a couple of pleats and tabs on the waistband, negating the need for a belt.
Albert. Irish Tweed Pants – £165, available at Albert Clothing.
Once your dad’s favourite trouser, chinos have had something of a renaissance over the past decade, with a new concentration on desirable cuts and covetable colours. These days, France is leading the chino revolution, notably Paris based label Officine Générale whose ‘Owen’ chino is second to none. Cut from hardy Japanese cotton with a coordinating belt, the slightly looser cut is relaxed-yet-smart – and the olive green is just as versatile as trad beige.
Officine Générale Owen Cotton-twill Straight-leg Trousers – £200, available at Officine Générale.
I love jeans in all their myriad forms (yes, even a bit of distressing from time to time), but there’s no denying that the most practical and versatile style a man can own is a pair of five-pocket, slim cut, raw indigo denim jeans. They’re timeless, dress code-defying wardrobe winners – and one of the best pairs I’ve ever tried are those from sustainability-minded Swedish brand Self Cinema. Do yourself a favour and import a pair ASAP.
Self Cinema Slim-Fit Jeans – £180, available at Self Cinema.
A pair of corduroy trousers is the secret weapon many men forget about. Much like chinos, they’re a way of adding another great canvas for the rest of your wardrobe – just one of a different medium. And, also much like chinos, rather than go for the traditional golden-brown colour, I’d suggest choosing something that feels a little more versatile and modern, such as these cords from Venice-based separates-masters Incotex.
Incotex Venezia 1951 Regular Fit White Corduroy Trousers – £255, available at Slowear.
You can never have too many pairs of shoes – just ask any sneakerhead. And while there are always styles you can add to your collection depending on where you live and your day-to-day activities, there are certain styles that are non-negotiable in a man’s wardrobe: something smart, something rugged, something smart-casual, something versatile. Within these categories, there’s a variety of directions you can go in, but whatever you choose, these are four timeless pairs worth investing in. If you care for them, they’ll be with you for life.
Not gonna lie, this is a super open category – but what I mean here is something that you can casually wear with jeans that can take on adverse weather in the city or the country. Some might go for a dark brown brogue, others might go for a rubber-soled Redwing, but I’m a big fan of the burgundy leather Moc Toe Bulcher, exclusively made for Drakes by legendary New England cobbler Alden. With its chunky cordovan commando sole and stitching details, it’s a classic rugged-yet-refined addition to any man’s wardrobe.
Alden for Drake’s Burgundy ‘Colour 8’ Cordovan Commando Sole Moc Toe Blucher – £825, available at Drakes.
Brown Penny Loafers
In many ways, the brown penny loafer was to mid-century men what the white trainer is to men today: an all-round shoe that works both formally and casually. Today, it still wields that wardrobe power – and the reason I’m recommending one of these to your armousy as opposed to white trainers is because you can get a pair of all-white Converse Jack Purcells at a more ‘spontaneous’ price. The key to getting maximum versatility for your brown loafers is to go for a shape that’s not too pointy of toe and not too light of colour – like these from Billy Ruffian.
Billy Ruffian Raglan Loafer – £160, available at Billy Ruffian Shoes.
Job interviews. Funerals. High falutin’ events. You might not wear black shoes every day, but you need a pair in your wardrobe that kicks any outfit into classically smart territory when needed. Now, you could go for a black leather monk strap or a Derby but in my opinion an Oxford is the GOAT. Its minimal, understated silhouette will never date – plus it’s the only style you can get away with when wearing a tux should a rare black tie event slide into your post-pandemic social calendar.
Herring Charles II Oxfords – £445, available at Herring Shoes.
Black Chelsea Boots
The beauty of black Chelsea boots is that whether you pull a pair on with your navy suit, formal trousers or jeans, you’re instantly one cigarette away from looking like you’re chilling on the Left Bank listening to beat poetry in the Sixties. They’re louche, they’re sleek and they’ll instantly elevate your outfit without looking try-hard. Few silhouettes are finer than John Lobb’s Lawry. Crafted on the slim ‘n’ streamlined 8695 last, its subtle detailing and superb materials will keep these shoes looking stylish until beat poetry makes a comeback – and beyond.
John Lobb Lawry Chelsea Boot – £1,390, available at John Lobb.
The garments that sit closest to your skin should be the most considered of your wardrobe. They are the foundation of everything you wear, providing support, warmth and enhancement for everything that goes on top – and yet, for many men, these are the cheapest items they own (and get worn until they fall apart). Look out for natural materials that allow your skin to breathe, cuts that compliment your body shape and construction that keeps things under control down there.
Whether you’re a boxerbriefs, briefs or slip kinda guy, you need to get the best you can in a couple of colours. In my opinion, darker colours (navy, black or grey) will always be more useful day-to-day, but white is worth having too, especially if you’re drawn to linen trousers, light colours or anything that a dark coloured pant could show through (yes, VPL isn’t just for girls). Thankfully, not content with making some of the best fitting swimwear on the market, Orlebar Brown has now introduced four styles of superbly comfortable cotton-lyrca mix briefs and trunks in the colours mentioned above that you can mix and match to create the perfect balance for every occasion in your underwear drawer.
Orlebar Brown Black Slip Briefs – £35 per pair, available at Orlebar Brown.
First, when it comes to t-shirts, let’s put the idea of v-necks to one side – fashion has a flirtation with these every few seasons, but they never stick. The Holy Grail of t-shirts is a crew neck that feels great as an underlayer, but also looks great in its own right – fabric that’s not too thick, not too thin with a relaxed-yet tailored cut. I find Sunspel’s hard to beat. Depending on your budget and preference, go for either the hardier cotton Riviera (£70) or the downright sumptuous Sea Island Cotton (£145), and buy one of each in navy and black, and two white. Add a couple more when you can and build your collection from there.
Sunspel Sea Island Cotton T-Shirt – £145, available at Sunspel.
Sadly, a man’s socks get so much wear that they’ll probably not last forever – so what’s important is investing in the kind of quality that ensures they resist holes for the longest possible period. Recently The London Sock Co., a label that prides itself on crafting socks with exceptional strength and durability, has launched a series of multipacks at Mr Porter that will bring both quality and variety to your feet for a very reasonable price.
London Sock Co. Traditional Ribbed Stretch Cotton-Blend Socks – £70 for six pairs, available at Mr Porter.
Unless you solely wear jeans like Marky Mark back in the nineties, the chances are you don’t wear boxer shorts every day. But sometimes, when watching TV in bed after a long day or bumming around at the weekend, only boxers will do, so it pays to have a really great pair in your drawer. These clean, striped iterations from Ron Dorff fit the bill perfectly: not only do they scream ‘it’s downtime’, but they’re also stylish (and respectful) enough for you to be seen in by whoever else might be in your current living arrangement – or, indeed, outside of it (no judgement).
Ron Dorff Vertical Stripes Boxer Shorts – £42, available at Ron Dorff.
Fårö Black Suede Loafer
Shoe drops aren’t just for sneakerheads. Swedish shoemaker Myrqvist has just released a limited run of smart models in cool, black suede. The collection consists of three loafers – a penny, tassel and string loafer (pictured) – as well as one double monk strap, one Oxford and a Chelsea boot. And, if you’re worried about sporting suede during storm season, don’t worry. Not only are these cut from Repello Suede, a material developed with English tannery Charles F Stead to possess water repelling qualities, but each pair is fitted with Myrqvist’s half-rubber sole for maximum grip on wet pavements.
£229 (including your initials engraved on the sole), available at Myrqvist.
Bennett Winch SC Holdall
One day we will travel again. One day we will be able to wear tailored suits again, not tracksuits. Celebrate the possibility of both eventualities by getting one of Bennett Winch’s new SC Holdalls. Available in four styles (I’m a big fan of the military-vibing olive canvas), this piece comprises a generous weekender bag around which you can roll a suit carrier – not only cutting down on things to carry, but also ensuring your perfectly pressed suiting doesn’t need to encounter any crease-making hard folds.
£650 (in olive), available at Bennett Winch.
Lyle & Scott X Stuarts London Knitted Polo
Founded in Shepherd’s Bush in 1967, Stuarts is a menswear store that became famous for its close-knit connection to the Mod and Casual scene during the 1980s. So, when it comes to a collaboration, it makes total sense that the shop would team up with a label that’s beloved of those subcultures too, like Lyle & Scott. This new limited-edition collection for Scott’s by the legendary knitwear label comprises vests, jumpers and polos in eighties inspired colours and features the brand’s original large eagle logo prominently on the chest.
£100, available at Stuarts London.