Whilst I am a firm advocate of the suit, a lot of the time it's much too dressy. So for those times when you need to dress down this autumn, I've assembled my list of autumn essentials.
First up, every man needs a couple of dependable coats. There are a large number of classics to choose from, so personal preference plays a big part. For a versatile combination, I suggest a more formal coat and a more casual coat.
For the more formal coat, choose between a longer coat that stops at the knee, such as a greatcoat, or a shorter coat that covers the seat, such as a peacoat. I suggest a shorter coat for those that spend a lot of time in cars. It may also be advisable to consider sizing up to allow the coat to fit over a blazer.
For the more casual coat, again there are a number of options. Denim works well in cooler weather and it's a great, stylish choice. This season I recommend a slightly longer denim jacket, rather than the traditional cropped style. Go for a raw denim material and make sure the jacket is well fitted. Feel free to attempt double denim with a much lighter or a colourful pair of jeans.
Other coat options include waxed jackets by Barbour and Belstaff, which look great and will last for years. An option I do no recommend is the nylon or waterproof jacket. Whilst practical for waterproof purposes, a jacket of this style usually downgrades your overall look. Instead, purchase a high quality umbrella to keep you dry when not wearing a waxed jacket.
The casual wardrobe essential this autumn is the colourful chino. Much cheaper than a high quality coat, these are a great way to change up your style. I recommend earthier colours this autumn, so stay away from vivid blues and bright yellows until next spring.
Shirts can really change the formality of your look. A t shirt dresses down a greatcoat and a formal shirt and tie can make a Barbour a more formal option. Experiment with different styles and see what makes you feel comfortable. This season, try some heavily patterned and checked shirts, especially with a waxed jacket for that country feel.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, shoes are the anchor of your outfit. For your casual wardrobe, consider spending up to half of your entire budget on footwear. My key shoes this season are the heavy brogue with double leather soles, the country boot with commando soles, the Chelsea boot with single leather soles and a luxury take on the casual trainer.
When buying shoes, aside from trainers, the things to look for are quality construction, quality leather and traditional design. With regards to construction, look for a Goodyear welted sole. With leather, look for supple leather than is uncoated, meaning that it can be polished, and free from blemishes. Finally, look for designs that are not too 'fashion'. Avoid pointed toes or square toes; stick to a more round or chisel toe to allow the shoes to look stylish for the many years that they will last.
Trainers are the exception to this rule as they are, essentially, a disposable shoe. Unlike a quality pair of English made shoes that can easily last for many years if cared for correctly, trainers will probably only last you until this time next year. You therefore have more of a license to buy into a trend, as the trainers' lifespan will be similar to the length of said trend. This season look at luxury trainers such as those from Saint Laurent. Just stay away from running shoes.
James Wilson is the founder of JW STYLIST LTD