How to dress this Autumn By guest blogger Sarah Gilfillan of Sartoria Lab.
Sarah Gilfillan is a personal stylist and personal shopper for men. For more information please contact her at Sartoria Lab
When I go through a man’s wardrobe to help him get ready for Autumn / Winter I invariably find a few gaps. Here, I share what they are, and how to fill them:
A versatile jacket
Most men have a formal overcoat in their wardrobe (and if you don’t, ask Alexandra about having one made to measure) and a very casual waterproof “functional” type jacket but often not much in between.
One of my favourite styles for winter is a peacoat as it’s so versatile, and after watching Stacey Dooley’s “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” programme I feel it’s even more crucial to get the most from what you buy. It will look great with a chunky roll neck, jeans and heavy brogued boots, but it will also look fantastic over some grey flannel trousers, a shirt and fine knit sweater. You can also wear it over a suit or blazer too, but ensure it’s long enough to cover the hem of your jacket.
Alternatives to chinos
When out shopping with clients, I often find myself searching for alternatives to jeans, suit trousers or chinos. Generally, just a small change is required to have something that’s wearable but feels different from what you already have and that usually comes about with a change of fabric. Think about more textured fabrics for Winter, like grey flannel for a classic look, tweed or a subtle Prince of Wales check. Have a look here to see how I styled some grey flannel trousers into 5 casual looks.
For weekends, look at different colours for jeans – they don’t have to be too crazy, but even black or khaki can switch up your look, or if you already have those then choose a cosy fabric like cord or moleskin to replace denim.
Once you’re stocked up on formal pale blue and white shirts where do you go from there? Personally, I love a chambray shirt and how well it can transition from smart to casual. Wear it with a knitted tie and unstructured blazer for a semi-formal look, under a suit to dress it down or with jeans for casual.
If you’d like to add the fabric du jour, “check”, to your wardrobe this winter, choose a smaller check for smarter wear and a larger one for more casual. A few of my customers who were initially unsure about my suggestions of a check shirt were pleasantly surprised once they’ve tried them on. Think about 3 different ways you can wear one – under a blazer or jacket (I teamed a fairly casual muted green & grey check with a forest green blazer which worked surprisingly well) or wear it as an overshirt with a t-shirt underneath or layer it under a half zip sweater.
Much as we both love navy, Alexandra and I are always on a quest to introduce some colour to men’s wardrobes! I’ve recently bought dark green blazers with 2 separate clients and they were chuffed to bits with them. They felt really different from the ones they already had and they’re surprisingly adaptable in terms of what they go with. I particularly like that you can style them with dark navy or charcoal trousers but you can also wear a lighter stone or grey too. Forest green looks great with pale blue (and I KNOW you have one of those in your wardrobe!?) or more casual with a check shirt as mentioned above.
I do love a man in a chunky sweater, and this chunky knit moss stitched one is perfect! It would look excellent under the peacoat we talked about or to give a retro feel to a leather bomber jacket.
You’ll also need to have a selection of fine knit sweaters for Autumn, which you can layer with a shirt and blazer for more formal wear and with a t-shirt and jeans or cords for winter. This is the perfect way to add some colour to your wardrobe and build on the neutrals you already have. I bought a bright blue and bright green with a client last week which looked amazing on him as he has strong, contrasting colouring. Be brave with colours and also introduce a variety of necklines to keep things interesting.. crew necks, v-necks, roll necks, shawl collars, polo collars or a cardigans are all great options.