Why It’s Time To Buy A Pair Of Chunky Sneakers

The Best Chunky Sneakers You Can Buy In 2018

How to step into the biggest footwear trend of the year

By Paddy Maddison

Like it or not, massive trainers are here and they aren’t going anywhere fast. Not that they could even if they wanted to, mind you.

To the casual observer, it may have come as a bit of a shock when the fashion elite suddenly appeared to be taking their style cues from Sporty Spice in a pair of Sketchers circa 1995, but it’s actually a pretty natural progression. Think of it as footwear’s answer to the loosening and widening of silhouettes we’ve been seeing in fashion for some time now.

After several years of clean, white minimalism and slim, sock-like fits in the world of trainers, it was only a matter of time before things swung around and began going in the opposite direction. The Raf Simons X Adidas Ozweego was one of the first ‘ugly trainers’ to really kick things up a gear, but it was with the release of Balenciaga’s much-hyped Triple S sneaker that this clumpy footwear craze really took flight.

“In terms of fashion, footwear was about low profile, simple shoes, like Stan Smiths, Roshe Runs or Common Projects Achilles Lows,” explains Andrew Brines, buyer at renowned premium fashion e-tailer, Oki-Ni.

“In 2015 the New York Times ran an article entitled ‘Forget barefoot: the new trendsetter in running shoes is cushioning’, focusing on a particular brand of relatively new running shoes that featured platform-esque soles. Naturally, it didn’t take long for designers to take notice of what the performance brands were producing.”

The End Of The Minimalist Sneaker?

So does the chunky trainer movement spell disaster for minimalist footwear? MatchesFashion’s Ben Carr doesn’t think so, but he’s not surprised that there has been a shift.

“While I don’t think the clean sneaker is going anywhere, there is certainly a ubiquity to their presence in modern menswear. Think about it, if you are a teenager and your dad is wearing a minimal sneaker then you’re not going to want to adopt this style are you?

“I think fashion in its purest form is always, and always has to be, a reaction to what has gone before.”

How To Style Chunky Sneakers

Chunky trainers are currently shattering paving slabs at fashion weeks across the globe, but incorporating them into a workable, everyday wardrobe can understandably present a little bit of a challenge.

“My first tip is not to wear them with a minimal look,” says Carr. “They become the sole focus [no pun intended] of the outfit and that’s never good.” He also suggests wearing several layers on top to help balance out the look and to experiment with bright colours and pieces that will distort your silhouette. He adds: “cropped trousers, track pants and oversized sportswear work well… and the chunky sneaker can anchor this.”

Oki-Ni’s Brines believes that going sockless with chunky trainers is never a good idea and stresses the importance of wearing the look with confidence. “Wear the shoes, don’t let the shoes wear you,” he explains. “If you’re just wearing them because they’re on trend, and you’re not that into them, the fashion cognoscenti will smell you out a mile away.”

So, blame Raf Simons, blame Balenciaga, blame your dad – whoever is truly responsible for the rise of the beetle crushers is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that trainers are titanic now and you should probably join the party before it’s too late.

How To Wear Chunky Statement Trainers For Men

Urban Outfitters H&M Lanvin

The Best Chunky Sneakers You Can Buy

Ready to embrace one of the most divisive trends to emerge from the murky depths of Lake Fashion since the return of the bowl haircut? These are the best sneakers at every price point if you want to join the chunky trainer club.

Balenciaga Triple S

Okay, let’s get it out of the way. You can’t talk about chunky trainers without mentioning Balenciaga. Since the appointment of Vetements boss Demna Gvasalia as creative director back in late 2015, the luxury Spanish label has become one of the most forward-thinking names in fashion and the now-iconic Triple S sneaker is without doubt its crowning glory.

Taking inspiration from orthotic footwear and the type of trainers favoured by tourists, the Triple S eclipsed its stripped-back predecessors and quickly became a regular sight at fashion weeks as well as a grail purchase for hypebeasts and high-fashion disciples alike.

Balenciaga Triple S

Reebok Insta Pump Fury

A British sportswear brand with a background in chunky trainers. This latest trend has thrust the Bolton-born label back into the spotlight and many of the silhouettes from its archives are looking more relevant today than ever before.

This innovative shoe featuring Reebok’s ground-breaking ‘Pump’ cushioning system was first launched in 1994 but in recent years has found a place on the shoe racks of fashionistos as well as Mr Motivators. The Insta Pump Fury has been reimagined by brands ranging from BAPE to Vetements and has earned a cult-like following in the process, making it one of the coolest chunky sneakers you can have in your rotation.

Reebok Insta Pump Fury

Raf Simons X Adidas Ozweego III

The Balenciaga Triple S may have kick-started this whole thing but would it have even come into existence if it hadn’t been for the long-running collaborative effort between German sportswear giant Adidas and Belgian tastemaker Raf Simons? Well, perhaps not.

The Ozweego III is the latest design in the ground-breaking Ozweego line. Maybe you love them, maybe you loathe them, but however you feel about this beautifully ugly piece of footwear, you can’t deny it’s fun to look at.

Raf Simons X Adidas Ozweego III

New Balance 991

Bostonian shoemaker New Balance has been doing its thing since the turn of the 20th century and has picked up a few tricks along the way. The brand produces the vast majority of its products either stateside in New England, or across the pond in, well, old England. The result is some of the most comfortable, highest quality sneakers available to buy – no wonder NB is such a hit with sneakerheads and athletes alike.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was onto something when he picked these bad boys out as part of his signature look. A true classic and bang on trend.

New Balance 991

Nike Air Max 95

You can’t think of sneakers without thinking of Nike. The sportswear heavyweight has been doing big trainers longer than most. In fact, some of it’s most iconic footwear designs – which could give the Triple S a run for its money in the chunkiness stakes – come from a time when Demna Gvasalia would still have been wearing nappies.

The Air Max 95 is nothing short of a classic and offers the perfect way to dip your toes into the chunky trainer trend without losing any mates in the process.

Nike Air Max 95

H&M Mesh Trainers

Swedish fashion chain H&M is known for bringing a subtle touch of Scandinavian minimalism to the high street, but as the fashion landscape continues to evolve in unexpected ways, stripped-back is out and OTT is in.

These highly detailed, chunky kicks from H&M are in keeping with the trend while still managing to look clean and crisp at the same time. If you want a pair of big sneaks that will go with 99 per cent of your wardrobe – quite an ask even for regular trainers – then these might be your best bet.

H&M Mesh Trainers

Zara Maxi Sole Trainers

If there’s something new bubbling away in the world of fashion, you can bet it won’t be long before Zara starts churning out its own version of whatever that may be. The trend for dad-esque footwear is no different and the Spanish high-street stalwart has already put out a number of designs.

With a thicker-than-thick sole and plenty of contrasting materials to the upper, it’s no mystery where this model took its inspiration from. However, with change left over from £50, this is one way to keep abreast of the trend while ensuring your wallet remains intact.

Zara Maxi Sole Trainers

A.P.C. Running Homme Trainer

Parisian label A.P.C. is famous for its high-quality, no-fuss wardrobe essentials. If we had to sum its output up in a word, it would probably be ‘understated’ – something which you probably wouldn’t have thought would gel very well with the current preference for sneakers that look like they’re on steroids.

But despite this little discrepancy, A.P.C. has churned out some of the most inoffensive, versatile and ultimately wearable chunky trainers we’ve seen. Clock the signature, subtle branding and a look that manages somehow to be both showy and restrained simultaneously.

A.P.C. Running Homme Trainer

ASOS Chunky Sole Trainer

If you’re keen to give a new look a go but aren’t so hot on the idea of signing up for any medical trials to finance it then ASOS should be your first port of call. The online fashion mecca is full of the latest styles, with bargain options from its in-house line sitting alongside designer pieces from your favourite names.

With a thick, chunky sole and vibrant hits of green and blue, these eye-catching stompers from ASOS offer the perfect opportunity to get some heads turning for all the right reasons.

ASOS Chunky Sole Trainer

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15 Habits Of Well-Dressed Men

15 Habits Of Well-Dressed Men

The secrets to always looking stylish

By FashionBeans Editors

Do you get your jackets tailored? Wash your whites separately? Press your underwear? No? Then there’s a strong chance your style might be suffering as a result.

According to club menswear’s most influential opinion-makers, there are a few habits shared by nearly all the most impressively turned out blokes at Fashion Week, and it’s not necessarily having a stylist on speed dial.

In a bid to give you the sartorial shortcut to wardrobe success, here are 15 things worth adding to your daily routine.

They Know The Basics – And Stick To Them

A look is only as good as its weakest link, but then you don’t have to tell these men that. “From Steve McQueen to James Dean, all the fashion greats kept it simple,” says stylist Georgia Boal-Russell, who has worked for the likes of Tom Ford, Adidas and Jigsaw. “They rely on basic uniforms and don’t worry about making a statement if that’s not their style.”

According to a survey by online men’s personal shopping service Thread, British men on average wear just 13 per cent of their wardrobes. “My hunch is that guys return to their basic pieces time and again,” adds Boal-Russell, “which makes it worth investing in quality staples that will still look good after many wears and work with a lot of things in your wardrobe.”

Cover your bases with a few well-fitting white T-shirts, a sky blue Oxford shirt, grey sweatshirt, denim jacket and some light coloured chinos in a slim or straight fit.

The Best Men's Basics

A.P.C. BUTTON DOWN OXFORD SHIRT - click to buy SUNSPEL Crew-neck cotton-jersey sweatshirt - click to buy river island stretch skinny chino trousers - click to buy

They Shop Offline, Too

With thousands of brands at your fingertips, no queuing, and the ability to buy pants without wearing any, shopping online has revolutionised the way we stock our wardrobes. But steer exclusively digital and you might miss a trick.

“As popular as e-commerce is, I still love popping into brick-and-mortar boutiques,” says menswear writer Jian DeLeon. “You get a feel for new brands that might pique your interest and have the ability to try on clothes and feel fabrics in person. Also, stylish and knowledgeable sales associates can be a boon in helping you think of different ways to wear the same thing.”

Not only that, but you’ll also get to try the items on — saving you from enduring the special hell that is waiting in line at a post office on your lunch break.

Goodhood (London)Goodhood, London

They Take Care Of Their Underwear

Even if you’re the only one who sees them (the reason might be linked), your underwear should still be treated with the same respect as the rest of your wardrobe according to Olivia Francis, founder of luxury loungewear brand Hamilton & Hare. “Press your boxers – just like your shirts – with a hot iron and lots of steam. You’ll be amazed at how good they feel to put on in the morning.”

If that’s a little TLC too far, at least commit to keeping your underwear rotation fresh. “Threadbare and faded underwear is not a good look; you should aim to replace yours every 12-18 months depending on rotation.”

And need we say you’d be hard pushed to find a novelty pair of sausage skins in the wardrobes of Messrs Gandy or Beckham, so yours should be no different.

Best Underwear Brands For Men

SCHIESSER Karl Heinz Three-Pack Cotton-Jersey Boxer Briefs - click to buy DAVID GANDY FOR AUTOGRAPH 2 Pack Stretch Cotton Briefs - click to buy Hanro Men's Two-pack Briefs - click to buy

They Don’t Plan Obsessively

One of the most commonly pedalled pieces of advice when it comes to getting dressed is to select an outfit for the following day the night before. But this is not the way all stylish guys go about it.

“I rarely lay out clothes the night before,” says Simon Chilvers, men’s style director of MatchesFashion.com. “Unless you’ve got a strict uniform or dress code to adhere to, dressing with spontaneity is most likely to result in outfits that you feel comfortable in and that will suit your mood.”

Admittedly, you might need a bit longer for such free-styling, so having a few go-to combinations on hand is never a bad thing. “Just make sure you run through what your day looks like while you’re picking something out so you choose something that’s flexible enough for meetings or an after-work event.”

Don't plan your outfits obsessively - go with your mood sometimes

They Don’t Ignore Care Labels

There are few things in life more irritating than discovering that the new season sweatshirt you just bought is dry-clean only. Or having to devote precious weekend minutes to hand-washing delicates.

But caring for your clothing could be the difference between subpar and outstanding style. “We live in a world of disposability, but it’s still worth taking care of a garment,” says photographer-turned-menswear-influencer Jonathan Daniel Pryce.

If you’re only just getting to grips with separating light and dark colours, invest in pieces that are built to last with minimal fuss such as merino wool, which needs to be washed less frequently due to its antibacterial properties.

Mens's Knitwear And Products To Looks After It

JOHN SMEDLEY Shawl-Collar Wool And Cashmere-Blend Cardigan - click to buy THE LAUNDRESS Wool & Cashmere Care Set - click to buy Mr. Black Dark Wash - click to buy

They Only Settle For the Best Trouser Break

Aside from allowing your footwear to be on full display, nailing the trouser break is something that separates the men from the boys, and can also elongate your frame to make you appear taller and slimmer.

“If your trousers aren’t turned up or hemmed to the correct length, any shoes you wear are wasted,” says shoe designer Marc Hare. “The greatest shoes in the world have zero presence poking out from under a bunch of fabric.”

In colder weather, buy trousers that break just the right amount (hitting the top set of eyelets on your footwear at the longest) in the first instance or have them altered to suit. When it warms up, try going sockless and pinrolling your trousers slightly to show off your shoes (and ankles) in all their glory.

How Men's Trouser Break Should Look

They Don’t Wash Their Jeans

Believe it or not, in some cases it’s possible to look better by doing less. This is particularly true of jeans, which you should skip washing in favour of a swift half down the pub for at least the first six months of wear.

“We champion the habit of buying raw (or ‘dry’) denim jeans and breaking them in yourself so that they can create their own wash,” says Nudie Jeans denim designer Johan Lindsted.

“By holding off from washing your jeans for as long as possible, you can create a beautiful pair of your own without buying the wash ready-made.”

The Best Raw Denim Jeans For Men

nudie jeans Lean Dean - click to buy EDWIN ED-85 SLIM TAPERED JEAN - click to buy THE WORKERS CLUB Slim-Fit Raw Selvedge Denim Jeans - click to buy

They Stay Stocked

Buying basics may not be the most exhilarating way to part with your hard-earned cash, but it is essential to dressing well and looking good in all situations.

“Basics are the bedrock of any wardrobe,” says Sarah Gilfillan, founder of personal styling consultancy SartoriaLab. “Once you have these sorted, all other pieces will fall into place, and you can add more trend-led pieces into the mix.”

Stylish men make shopping for replacements less strenuous by taking time to find the perfect example of each, making a note of the store, size and cut, then staying stocked up. For bonus points, take a picture of the label and keep it in your phone so you can do this when out and about.

Man Organising His Wardrobe

They Take It Up With Their Tailor

Every well-dressed adult knows that the key to looking good is fit. From your basics to your best two-piece, there’s nothing that can’t be improved with a nip and a tuck.

“Whether you’ve just blown your month’s wage or picked up a bargain on this winter’s overcoat, make sure you get it tailored,” says FarFetch.com menswear editor Tony Cook. “In menswear, an inch means a mile and the slightest alteration can make a massive difference.”

So focus on the small (and therefore, cheaper) tweaks, particularly on jackets, that make a big difference: cuffs, shoulders and back.

Man getting jacket tailored

They Do The Little Things Well

The phrase ‘I woke up like this’ has misled scores of men into thinking the best-dressed guys do just that. Not the case. Far from simply throwing on clothes and leaving the house, taking time to cuff your jeans, roll your sleeves and choose the right tie knot can make a big difference.

“Style for men is most definitely in the details,” says Daniel Johnson, a stylist who has worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith and Hermès. “A man’s wardrobe differs very little in terms of the shapes of clothing available, so we have to get the little things correct.”

Accessorising cleverly is another small but impactful style move worth perfecting. Just be careful not to overdo it, particularly in the case of jewellery – you should be aiming for James Bond, not Mr T.

The Best Men's Accessories

reiss ROAD STRIPED LINEN POCKET SQUARE - click to buy LANVIN flower brooch - click to buy serge denimes GUN METAL STACKING RING - click to buy

They Know The Importance Of Rotation

Building a capsule wardrobe that has you covered for every occasion can be extremely rewarding. But it also comes with the risk of quickly wearing key pieces out.

“Try to think of yourself as a something of a team coach when it comes to your wardrobe,” says Selfridges personal shopping consultant Daniel Rhone. “Rotating your clothing and shoes – like a manager does his squad – is key, especially if you have to wear a suit every day for work.”

Not only does this keep your look fresh, but reducing the strain on individual pieces by allowing time between each wear also increases their lifespan.

A Man's Suit Rotation

They Wear The Shoe That Fits

It’s not uncommon to hear people waxing lyrical about how footwear is the most important component of an outfit. And while it’s quite a bold statement, they have a point.

Shoes have the power to make or break a look, so as well as ensuring you have all the cornerstones of cordwaining to hand, it pays to swot up on what to wear with each, and where. You should have at least a pair that matches every trouser hanging in your wardrobe.

“Some of the most versatile shoes a man can have are Chelsea boots in brown, wingtips in dark tan, double monk straps and, my favourite, plain loafers,” says Johnson. “Aside from that, there’s not much else you need apart from a pair of white sneakers an and an all-rounder black shoe.”

Key Footwear Styles For Men

KURT GEIGER monk straps - click to buy reiss THORPE SUEDE TASSEL LOAFERS - click to buy suitsupply WHITE SNEAKERS - click to buy

They Organise Their Wardrobes

It’s been established that not all impeccably-dressed men spend hours meticulously planning their outfits. However, they do give themselves the right tools to work with, thanks to a spot of wardrobe organisation.

“When doing wardrobe edits for clients, I find that if they don’t have their clothes in some sort of order, they either forget they have things or feel overwhelmed by choice and only wear a small portion of their wardrobe,” says Gilfillan. “To make the most of everything, it’s crucial to have it organised in a way that makes sense to you.”

Try organising by colour, type of garment or season, and you’ll find getting dressed in the morning becomes a whole lot easier.

Organised Wardrobe

They Don’t Wear Bootcut Jeans

There’s a common thread that has long precluded the likes of Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson and Paul Hollywood from best-dressed lists: their denim choices. And far from being something thought up by a fashion editor, there’s science behind the shame.

“For the majority of men, bootcut jeans are incredibly unflattering. Don’t wear them,” says stylist Elgar Johnson, who has dressed the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Travis Scott and John Boyega.

Instead, Johnson suggests slim, straight or tapered jeans that will flatter your legs – whether yours are chicken-like or #swole from chugging protein – in ways no bootcut style ever could.

The best fitting jeans for men

Gap Cone Denim Selvedge Jeans - click to buy uniqlo SLIM FIT JEANS - click to buy topan Black Coated Rigid Tapered Jeans - click to buy river island Light blue Sid skinny jeans - click to buy

They Look After Themselves

You can buy a suit, hand spun in Italy from the finest thread known to man, but if what’s underneath it isn’t up to scratch then you’re still not going to look your best.

Eating well and exercising are two of the most overlooked factors when it comes to style, but they make a huge difference to your overall appearance. Just a small amount of exercise and a balanced diet can have a massive impact on how you look and feel – just ask Lee Axon, a personal trainer at national gym chain Xercise4Less.

“Too much sugar can metabolise as body fat and on men. This sits on the lower back and abdomen area, just where we don’t want it,” says Axon. “On the other hand, exercise increases the circulation of oxygen and nutrients and releases toxins through sweat, which leads to clearer, firmer skin.”

And don’t forget to smile while you’re doing it – it’s the best exercise for your face.

Man Running On A Treadmill

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Men’s Cocktail Attire: What It Means & How To Dress For It

Men’s Cocktail Attire: What It Means & How To Dress For It

Dress codes don’t get more fun than this

Image: F&F

By Josh Sims

How do you define ‘cocktail attire’? Like many of the puzzling dress codes that crop up on fancy invitations now and again, the barometers are not immediately clear – at least, that is, for men. This is one of the (very) few occasions in life when women have it easier. There’s even a book on the topic by fashion writer Laird Borrelli-Persson aptly called The Cocktail Dress, which discusses in detail the dress that inspired the code.

There is no such thing for men, however. ‘Cocktail attire’ implies formality but just how smart should you go? The murky world of tailoring comes laden with its own rules and regulations – which should you comply to and which can you ignore completely?

What’s certain is that cocktail dress is occasion-wear; it’s reserved for special events and one-off evenings that require something a little different – it’s certainly not your 9-5 business suit. But it’s not black tie, either. What we’re really talking about is a good excuse to dress up, to push the boat out; so however you chose to tackle it, take a cue from the fairer sex and have some fun with what you wear.

The History Of Cocktail Attire

If you were wealthy and leisurely enough during the 1920s and 1930s, there was a chance you spent a ‘cocktail hour’ or three between lunch and evening enjoying plentiful alcohol. It was the lubricant for a new kind of social gathering – and since social events were then also defined by the appropriate clothing, ‘cocktail attire’ came into fashion. Then it was a notably formal look.

It took a more relaxed, vibrant, post-war, American version of the cocktail party to admit to what the drinking of cocktails normally did: loosen everything up. And so too with men’s dress: enter jackets in fancy silk brocades. It’s essentially to this mode of dressing that cocktail attire today takes its inspiration – at the more dandy end of semi-formal style.

In the decades since, the dress code has taken cues from the styles of the day, but the intention has remained the same. It’s an excuse to dress up and show off.

History Of Cocktail Attire

What Cocktail Attire Means Today

‘Cocktail attire’ is a dress code that’s increasingly likely to appear at the bottom of an invitation – but, like ‘smart casual’ has no set definition. For some it’s still dress for a largely formal, officious event akin to a business launch. But, more typically, it’s an invitation to dress up, and decidedly not in the way one might for a court appearance.

Rather, this is dress for the party, soiree, evening drinks as a prelude to an expensive dinner or perhaps an anniversary, Valentine’s Day or a wedding bash. Typically it’s something of a big celebration. “That makes the clothing you wear on the cusp of eveningwear but more colourful, a freer style but a bit flashy,” as the tailor Mark Powell puts it. “It’s dressing for what should be a fun event.”

“It’s all about being elegant and slightly louche with it,” argues designer Oliver Spencer, whose Favourbrook brand is focused on cocktail attire. Once cocktail attire might have meant respecting more rigid rules. “Now dressing up in this instance probably does still mean a smart jacket and trousers, but you can dispense with the tie, because you’re definitely not at work. Cocktail dress is an opportunity to dress in a way that’s relaxed but super-luxe. It’s about looking your finest, in some finery.”

Men's Cocktail Attire Outfit Inspiration

reiss reiss gieves & hawkes Sanahunt next

Cocktail Attire Style Tips

Think About Fabrics

Flat, woven clothes that work for the kind of clothing worn in a more conservative environment might be traditionally smart, but aren’t necessarily suitable for a cocktail event.

Instead consider cloths of interest, with a distinctive texture or sheen – the likes of velvet or silk – and patterns that might look out of place in many working environments – windowpane checks, for example. Glen checks, herringbone and sharkskin also work well.

Casual Is Good – To A Point

Cocktail dressing is about being precise but not stiff. “But, when it comes to cocktail attire, there is still definitely ‘too casual’,” argues Spencer. “You could wear a T-shirt, for example, but only under a smart jacket. Sneakers are out, no matter how jazzy they are.” Denim is typically frowned upon too.

Consider Colour

Colour is a major consideration, “because colour can go very wrong,” says Powell, “and if you’re unsure it’s better to accessorise with colour rather than wear it in the clothing.” He opts for pinks and turquoises in accessories – in which you can go bolder – but deeper richer shades of purple and green for jackets.

When in doubt, midnight blue mohair is a great go-to choice: it’s flattering to most complexions, photographs well, and looks good under bright lights. “Wear it with a beautiful white shirt and black loafers,” advises Nick Hart, founder of red carpet go-to brand Spencer Hart. “To wear cocktail attire in an incredibly pared down way works just as well.”

Keep It Clean (Literally)

Clothes need to look fresh on, be properly pressed, neatly folded and polished, as is appropriate. There’s no excuse for looking slovenly – you are, after all, attending a special occasion.

Heed The Invitation

Although ‘cocktail attire’ may be what’s prescribed, always be mindful to read between the lines and note what the event is actually for and who will be present. “If, actually, it really is a work event and you need to impress your boss you may still need to conform more than normal,” says Hart. “Then again, cocktail attire can be a chance to experiment.”

Keep In Mind The Time Of Year

The summer allows for the wearing of lighter colours and fabrics, such as linen (which also keep you cooler, of course). For more wintery months, richer shades and layering may feel more fitting. Likewise, is it a daytime or evening cocktail event? The later it is, the more rakish your dress can be.

Details Are All-Important

Even if you’re forced to wear the same suit you wore to work, a few key details – the right scarf, a certain choice of sock, a boutonniere – can be enough that you don’t feel entirely out of place.

Key Cocktail Attire Pieces & How To Wear Them

The ‘Suit’

Separates – smart jacket and smart trousers – typically work better than a standard suit. This allows the wearing of more sober, pressed trousers and, off-setting this, an unusually flamboyant jacket or blazer. This might be in an atypical finish or shade – olive green or burgundy rather than grey.

This kind of blazer may also “have the kind of detailing not typically found on a more conventional suit jacket, the likes of a silk grosgrain shawl collar, turn-back cuffs or low, single button fastening,” says Powell. If you choose to wear a suit, select one you wouldn’t wear to the office, either for its colour or cloth.

The Men's Cocktail Jackets

gieves & hawkes MIDNIGHT BLUE SILK JACQUARD EVENING JACKET - click to buy GUCCI Burgundy Slim-Fit Houndstooth Suit Jacket - click to buy BOGLIOLI Dark-Green Slim-Fit Corduroy Suit Jacket - click to buy

The Shirt

Like the jacket, a cocktail event gives license to wear a more glamorous style of shirt – with a more distinctive collar shape or cut of cuff. Dress shirts are not easy to pull off, however, and – Powell warns – should only be worn with an appropriately unswanky jacket. Don’t wear both at the same time unless Austin Powers is your style hero.

If a more standard shirt is being worn, make sure it is white or in a block colour and the kind to hold a crisp, stand-up collar: a point collar, rather than spread, works well. If choosing to wear a tie with a more sober shirt, choose one with a point of interest, for its colour or pattern.

The Best Men's Shirts For Cocktail Attire

CANALI Black Slim-Fit Stretch Cotton-Blend Shirt - click to buy HUGO BOSS White Jamis Slim-Fit Cutaway-Collar Cotton Shirt - click to buy t.m.lewin Pin Collar White Dress Poplin Shirt - click to buy

The Shoes

The definitive cocktail event shoe of choice is the loafer – tasseled, suede or penny. A loafer that verges on the house shoe/slipper is a stylish choice: “It’s the kind of shoe you might only change into when you get to the event, but I doubt many men would do that,” says Spencer. “Certainly what you don’t want to do is turn up in a pair of brogues. No ‘country’ style should be seen at a cocktail event.” Leather-soled Oxfords and monk-strap shoes are also acceptable choices, especially when polished to a bright shine.

The Best Men's Shoes For Cocktail Attire

suitsupply BLACK DOUBLE MONK STRAP - click to buy O'KEEFFE Samuel Collapsible-Heel Suede Penny Loafers - click to buy kurt geiger ralph shoes - click to buy

The Roll Neck

The perfect alternative to wearing a shirt, the roll neck still frames the face but is inherently more relaxed, and doesn’t – unlike an open-neck shirt – sometimes look lost without a tie. Spencer recommends wearing one in cotton, silk or Merino wool, however, rather than traditional heavier wool. “Otherwise you’re going to end up looking rather sweaty at your event,” he warns.

The Best Men's Roll Necks

reiss OLIVE MERINO WOOL ROLLNECK JUMPER - click to buy topman Black Roll Neck Jumper - click to buy river island Cream slim fit roll neck jumper - click to buy

The Accessories

The cocktail event is the definitive opportunity to accessorise in a way that would look too flamboyant in a work scenario. “The cocktail event is a chance for some self-expression,” says Spencer. He suggests wearing a pin on your jacket’s lapel, using a pocket square or adding a touch of colour and pattern in the form of a silk neck scarf – he favours polka dots. Distinctive cuff-links or a statement watch are the acceptable face of male jewellery at a cocktail event.

The Best Men's Accessories For Cocktail Events

reiss BRICKARD GEOMETRIC WOOL SCARF - click to buy ETON Polka dot silk pocket square - click to buy DEAKIN & FRANCIS Enamelled Sterling Silver Sapphire Cufflinks - click to buy mango Flower lapel pin - click to buy

Common Cocktail Attire Dos & Don’ts

Do…

Respect the dress code. ‘Black tie’ is simple. ‘Business attire’ is easy. We all know what they mean. ‘Cocktail attire’ is fuzzier but still needs to be respected if that is what has been asked of you. Don’t just wear what you like because the lines aren’t crystal clear.

“Go into a cocktail event with the right attitude,” says Spencer. “Your outlook needs to be as expressive as your outfit. Go in thinking you’re going to speak to everyone there.”

Dress within your comfort zone. “If you’re not happy wearing something you wouldn’t normally wear, don’t – because you won’t wear it well,” says Powell. It’s by no means a disaster to wear a well-tailored mid-grey through to dark – though not black – suit, crisp shirt and understated tie to a cocktail event.

Order the perfect cocktail to accessorise a fashionable outfit has to be suitably fashionable too: the simplicity and drinkability of a Negroni always works, or, to look more sophisticated, request a boulevardier – it’s a Negroni made with bourbon rather than gin.

Think red carpet. The style of dressing for men on the red carpet now – seeking more of the attention traditionally reserved for the women – is increasingly close to that of cocktail attire, argues Powell. “There’s more of a crossover because both are aiming to make a statement, without crossing the line into fancy dress,” he says.

Don’t…

Overdo it. Yes, a cocktail event is a rare occasion when a man might dress in an uncharacteristically ornate, even baroque way. But you can still end up looking like a Christmas tree. Be flashy – but in small doses, not all over. “Just be subtle with it. Don’t be garish,” says Powell.

Ask a stranger what they do for a living. In the art of making small talk – which is what cocktail events are for, not for dancing on the tables – nobody wants to talk about, or be defined by, their work. Ask instead, perhaps, what they do for fun.

Confuse cocktail attire with black tie or dinner dress, even though you may well be dressing for dinner. Black tie is too formal: it’s about following very strict rules. Cocktail attire is less formal: it’s about breaking the rules of formality by looking like an individual.

Attempt to out-dress others, especially if there’s a guest of honour. Likewise be mindful of the tenor of the event; and, if you really not sure, there is no harm in asking – the host’s idea of ‘cocktail attire’ may be more formal than yours. Better to ask than turn up and be forever remembered as ‘the guy in the red jacket’.

Overstay. Always leave before the cocktail party is over, with your dress in the same state of elegance as when you arrived. Cocktail events are in part about peacockery – and about maintaining a certain poise and self-control throughout.

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Cocktail Attire: What It Means & How To Dress For It

Cocktail Attire: What It Means & How To Dress For It

Dress codes don’t get more fun than this

Image: Gieves & Hawkes

By Josh Sims

How do you define ‘cocktail attire’? Like many of the puzzling dress codes that crop up on fancy invitations now and again, the barometers are not immediately clear – at least, that is, for men. This is one of the (very) few occasions in life when women have it easier. There’s even a book on the topic by fashion writer Laird Borrelli-Persson aptly called The Cocktail Dress, which discusses in detail the dress that inspired the code.

There is no such thing for men, however. ‘Cocktail attire’ implies formality but just how smart should you go? The murky world of tailoring comes laden with its own rules and regulations – which should you comply to and which can you ignore completely?

What’s certain is that cocktail dress is occasion-wear; it’s reserved for special events and one-off evenings that require something a little different – it’s certainly not your 9-5 business suit. But it’s not black tie, either. What we’re really talking about is a good excuse to dress up, to push the boat out; so whichever way you chose to tackle it, take a cue from the fairer sex and have some fun with what you wear.

The History Of Cocktail Attire

If you were wealthy and leisurely enough during the 1920s and 1930s, there was a chance you spent a ‘cocktail hour’ or three between lunch and evening enjoying plentiful alcohol. It was the lubricant for a new kind of social gathering – and since social events were then also defined by the appropriate clothing, ‘cocktail attire’ came into fashion. Then it was a notably formal look.

It took a more relaxed, vibrant, post-war, American version of the cocktail party to admit to what the drinking of cocktails normally did: loosen everything up. And so too with men’s dress: enter jackets in fancy silk brocades. It’s essentially to this mode of dressing that cocktail attire today takes its inspiration – at the more dandy end of semi-formal style.

In the decades since, the dress code has taken cues from the styles of the day, but the intention has remained the same. It’s an excuse to dress up and show off.

History Of Cocktail Attire

What Cocktail Attire Means Today

‘Cocktail attire’ is a dress code that’s increasingly likely to appear at the bottom of an invitation – but, like ‘smart casual’, has no set definition. For some it’s still dress for a largely formal, officious event akin to a business launch. But, more typically, it’s an invitation to dress up, and decidedly not in the way one might for a court appearance.

Rather, this is dress for the party, soiree, evening drinks as a prelude to an expensive dinner or perhaps an anniversary, Valentine’s Day or wedding bash. Typically it’s something of a big celebration. “That makes the clothing you wear on the cusp of eveningwear but more colourful, a freer style but a bit flashy,” as the tailor Mark Powell puts it. “It’s dressing for what should be a fun event.”

“It’s all about being elegant and slightly louche with it,” argues designer Oliver Spencer, whose Favourbrook brand is focused on cocktail attire. Once cocktail attire might have meant respecting more rigid rules. “Now dressing up in this instance probably does still mean a smart jacket and trousers, but you can dispense with the tie, because you’re definitely not at work. Cocktail dress is an opportunity to dress in a way that’s relaxed but super-luxe. It’s about looking your finest, in some finery.”

Men's Cocktail Attire Outfit Inspiration

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Cocktail Attire Style Tips

Think About Fabrics

Flat, woven clothes that work for the kind of clothing worn in a more conservative environment might be traditionally smart, but aren’t necessarily suitable for a cocktail event.

Instead consider cloths of interest, with a distinctive texture or sheen – the likes of velvet or silk – and patterns that might look out of place in many working environments – windowpane checks, for example. Glen checks, herringbone and sharkskin also work well.

Casual Is Good – To A Point

Cocktail dressing is about being precise but not stiff. “But, when it comes to cocktail attire, there is still definitely ‘too casual’,” argues Spencer. “You could wear a T-shirt, for example, but only under a smart jacket. Sneakers are out, no matter how jazzy they are.” Denim is typically frowned upon too.

Consider Colour

Colour is a major consideration, “because colour can go very wrong,” says Powell, “and if you’re unsure it’s better to accessorise with colour rather than wear it in the clothing.” He opts for pinks and turquoises in accessories – in which you can go bolder – but deeper richer shades of purple and green for jackets.

When in doubt, midnight blue mohair is a great go-to choice: it’s flattering to most complexions, photographs well, and looks good under bright lights. “Wear it with a beautiful white shirt and black loafers,” advises Nick Hart, founder of red carpet go-to brand Spencer Hart. “To wear cocktail attire in an incredibly pared-down way works just as well.”

Keep It Clean (Literally)

Clothes need to look fresh on, be properly ironed, neatly folded and polished, as is appropriate. There’s no excuse for looking slovenly – you are, after all, attending a special occasion.

Heed The Invitation

Although ‘cocktail attire’ may be what’s prescribed, always be mindful to read between the lines and note what the event is actually for and who will be present. “If, actually, it really is a work event and you need to impress your boss, you may still need to conform more than normal,” says Hart. “Then again, cocktail attire can be a chance to experiment.”

Keep In Mind The Time Of Year

The summer allows for the wearing of lighter colours and fabrics, such as linen (which also keep you cooler, of course). For the colder months, richer shades and layering may feel more fitting. Likewise, is it a daytime or evening cocktail event? The later it is, the more rakish your attire can be.

Details Are All-Important

Even if you’re forced to wear the same suit you wore to work, a few key details – the right scarf, a certain choice of sock, a boutonniere – can be enough that you don’t feel entirely out of place.

Key Cocktail Attire Pieces & How To Wear Them

The ‘Suit’

Separates – smart jacket and smart trousers – typically work better than a standard suit. This allows the wearing of more sober, pressed trousers and, off-setting this, an unusually flamboyant jacket or blazer. This might be in an atypical finish or shade – olive green or burgundy rather than grey.

This kind of blazer may also “have the kind of detailing not typically found on a more conventional suit jacket, the likes of a silk grosgrain shawl collar, turn-back cuffs or a low, single button fastening,” says Powell. If you choose to wear a suit, select one you wouldn’t wear to the office, either for its colour or cloth.

The Men's Cocktail Jackets

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The Shirt

Like the jacket, a cocktail event gives license to wear a more glamorous style of shirt – with a more distinctive collar shape or cut of cuff. Dress shirts are not easy to pull off, however, and – Powell warns – should only be worn with an appropriately restrained jacket. Don’t wear both at the same time unless Austin Powers is your style hero.

If a more standard shirt is being worn, make sure it is white or in a block colour and the kind to hold a crisp, stand-up collar: a point collar, rather than spread, works well. If choosing to wear a tie with a more sober shirt, choose one with a point of interest, for its colour or pattern.

The Best Men's Shirts For Cocktail Attire

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The Shoes

The definitive cocktail event shoe of choice is the loafer – tasselled, suede or penny. A loafer that verges on the house shoe/slipper is a stylish choice: “It’s the kind of shoe you might only change into when you get to the event, but I doubt many men would do that,” says Spencer. “Certainly what you don’t want to do is turn up in a pair of brogues. No ‘country’ style should be seen at a cocktail event.”

Leather-soled Oxfords and monk strap shoes are also acceptable choices, especially when polished to a bright shine.

The Best Men's Shoes For Cocktail Attire

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The Roll Neck

The perfect alternative to wearing a shirt, the roll neck still frames the face but is inherently more relaxed, and doesn’t – unlike an open-neck shirt – sometimes look lost without a tie. Spencer recommends opting for one in cotton, silk or merino rather than traditional heavier wools. “Otherwise you’re going to end up looking rather sweaty at your event,” he warns.

The Best Men's Roll Necks

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The Accessories

The cocktail event is the definitive opportunity to accessorise in a way that would look too flamboyant in a work scenario. “[It’s] a chance for some self-expression,” says Spencer. He suggests wearing a pin on your jacket’s lapel, using a pocket square or adding a touch of colour and pattern in the form of a silk neck scarf – he favours polka dots.

Distinctive cufflinks or a statement watch are the acceptable face of male jewellery at a cocktail event.

The Best Men's Accessories For Cocktail Events

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Common Cocktail Attire Dos & Don’ts

Do…

Respect the dress code. ‘Black tie’ is simple. ‘Business attire’ is easy. We all know what they mean. ‘Cocktail attire’ is fuzzier but still needs to be respected if that is what has been asked of you. Don’t just wear what you like because the lines aren’t crystal clear.

“Go into a cocktail event with the right attitude,” says Spencer. “Your outlook needs to be as expressive as your outfit. Go in thinking you’re going to speak to everyone there.”

Dress within your comfort zone. “If you’re not happy wearing something you wouldn’t normally wear, don’t – because you won’t wear it well,” says Powell. It’s by no means a disaster to wear a well-tailored mid- through to dark-grey (though not black) suit, crisp shirt and understated tie to a cocktail event.

Order the perfect cocktail to accessorise a fashionable outfit has to be suitably fashionable too: the simplicity and drinkability of a Negroni always works, or, to look more sophisticated, request a boulevardier – it’s a Negroni made with bourbon rather than gin.

Think red carpet. The style of dressing for men on the red carpet now – seeking more of the attention traditionally reserved for the women – is increasingly close to that of cocktail attire, argues Powell. “There’s more of a crossover because both are aiming to make a statement, without crossing the line into fancy dress,” he says.

Don’t…

Overdo it. Yes, a cocktail event is a rare occasion when a man might dress in an uncharacteristically ornate, even baroque way. But you can still end up looking like a Christmas tree. Be flashy – but in small doses, not all over. “Just be subtle with it. Don’t be garish,” says Powell.

Ask a stranger what they do for a living. In the art of making small talk – which is what cocktail events are for, not for dancing on the tables – nobody wants to talk about, or be defined by, their work. Ask instead, perhaps, what they do for fun.

Confuse cocktail attire with black tie or dinner dress, even though you may well be dressing for dinner. Black tie is too formal: it’s about following very strict rules. Cocktail attire is less formal: it’s about breaking the rules of formality by looking like an individual.

Attempt to out-dress others, especially if there’s a guest of honour. Likewise be mindful of the tenor of the event; and, if you really not sure, there is no harm in asking – the host’s idea of ‘cocktail attire’ may be more formal than yours. Better to ask than turn up and be forever remembered as ‘the guy in the red jacket’.

Overstay. Always leave before the cocktail party is over, with your dress in the same state of elegance as when you arrived. Cocktail events are in part about peacockery – and about maintaining a certain poise and self-control throughout.

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10 Spring/Summer Menswear Essentials And The Brands That Do Them Best

10 Spring/Summer Menswear Essentials And The Brands That Do Them Best

Here’s where to buy them whatever your budget

Image: Reiss

By Luke Sampson

You’ve probably got a rough grasp of your wardrobe must-haves for spring and summer. That would be sunglasses, T-shirts, shorts, a lightweight jacket or two and a can of deodorant the size of a fire extinguisher. You know, the usual. That’s enough to keep you sweat- and shower-proof, but if you want to be truly stylish you’ll need to put some more thought into your fair-weather threads.

From the absolute essentials to the things that you didn’t know you needed (but definitely do), here’s everything to have at your disposal for the next few months plus the brands that are leading each field.

T-Shirt

Thanks in no small part to menswear types fangirling over anything and everything casual, the T-shirt has gone from weekend staple to wardrobe power player and it no longer gives a damn which day of the week it is. Heck, T-shirts are now even legit options for summer weddings such is their new-found all-rounder status. So, stock up on the soft stuff and give any decrepit dishrags the heave-ho immediately.

Entry Level: Uniqlo

The redoubtable boss of basics, Japanese retailer Uniqlo offers tees that tick every box – covering off pretty much every colour and fabric composition you can think of, from techy sweat-deflecting styles to timeless Breton stripes.

Uniqlo T-Shirts Men

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Mid-Range: Nudie

It’s common knowledge that Nudie make reasonably priced jeans of more than reasonable quality. The same holds true for the Swedish brand’s T-shirts, which are crafted from 100 per cent organic cotton and can slide into your wardrobe for less than £50.

Nudie T-Shirts Men

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Premium: Sunspel

Sunspel’s T-shirts have earned themselves a cult following for their supremely soft wear (even after many, many washes) and an ability to fit perfectly on the vast majority of the male population. Your search for the perfect T-shirt ends here.

Sunspel T-Shirts Men

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Swim Shorts

The days of choosing between swimmers which boast more square meters of fabric than a haberdashery and indecent scrap-of-cloth budgie smugglers are over. A new crop of swim shorts has arrived, bringing with them an ability to go from damp to dry in record time with the added advantages of actually flattering your physique. Choose wisely and you have a poolside pal for life.

Entry Level: Marks & Spencer

In recent years Marks and Spencer has taken directional strides towards fashion-friendly territory and that can clearly be seen in its swim shorts. Alongside pared-back trunks, there are plenty of short cuts, summer-ready prints and textured designs to dive into.

Marks & Spencer Swim Shorts Men

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Mid-Range: Boardies

Defying the terminally gloomy weather of Britain, London-based swim brand Boardies has a more optimistic design outlook with bold colour and print making up the lion’s share of its pool gear. Pick between mid and short styles depending on your level of familiarity with the local gym’s squat rack.

Boardies Swim Shorts Men

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Premium: Orlebar Brown

Orlebar Brown’s field-leading swim shorts are beloved in menswear circles for their aversion to excess fabric and a love of sharp cuts, so when you’re in possession of a pair of OBs, you’ve got yourself the nearest thing to quick-drying tailoring.

Orlebar Brown Swim Shorts Men

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Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just for holidays, they’re for life. Okay, so the clouds won’t often part during winter, but at the very least you should be able to whip out a pair in spring or for the last days of autumn (as well as summer, obviously).

You don’t need to overload on UV shields though: with three decent pairs in your collection you should be sorted until you inevitably lose or sit on one.

Entry Level: Jeepers Peepers

Jeepers Peepers has nailed the catchy name thing, but the basic brand proposition – creating trend-led sunglasses that won’t make you miss mortgage payments – is even catchier. If you want to rock shades that make a statement once in a while, look no further.

Jeepers Peepers Men's Sunglasses

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Mid-Range: Ray-Ban

Best known for its Wayfarer and aviator styles – and probably the most named-checked sunglasses brand on the planet – Ray-Ban is skilled at producing classic shapes, limitless colour combos and robust construction, so it’s no wonder that a slavish and style-conscious following has developed in kind.

Best Ray-Ban Sunglasses For Men

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Premium: Cutler & Gross

Demonstrating that not all sunglasses are moulded plastic, British luxury eyewear brand Cutler And Gross makes the task of keeping premature crows feet at bay feel like an art form. Its hand-made Italian shades range from cool classics to cutting-edge and creative.

Cutler And Gross Sunglasses Men

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Tailored Shorts

From frame-swamping cargos to hotpants which scarcely cover a man’s unmentionables, there are some epically unflattering shorts out there. Tailored styles, on the other hand, hit the mark nearly every time and will help jettison that nagging feeling shorts are the scruffy option.

In a neatly-cut pair you can no longer be accused of summertime sloppiness – unless you try to crack them out for a wedding, that is.

Entry Level: Burton

With each pair hitting that sweet spot above the knee and in a comprehensive range of colours, Burton’s tailored shorts will keep your legs sweat-free and stylish, but mercifully don’t demand deep pockets to add to your summer line-up.

Burton Tailored Shorts

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Mid-Range: Suitsupply

Suitsupply makes the task of turning out sharp threads look like it’s no bother at all, so unsurprisingly the brand’s tailored shorts follow suit. Though these leg-baring beauties are mid-priced, they’re far from middling with crowd pleasing shades (sand, navy, grey) elevated by perfectly placed turn-ups and pleats.

Suit Supply Tailored Shorts

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Premium: AMI

Next to fit, the most important thing to consider when trying on a pair of tailored shorts for size is fabric. Menswear maverick Alexandre Mattiussi’s brainchild AMI nails the perfect way to frame your pins thanks to garment-dyed cotton construction and off-kilter shapes which add just the right amount of design nous.

AMI Tailored Shorts For Men

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Field Jacket

We use the term ‘field jacket’ loosely. Because while an authentic M-65 style is sure to serve you well, any lightweight, earthy-coloured design replete with pockets ticks the trend box.

Proffered by designers across the board, a field or safari jacket is this year’s outerwear non-negotiable. Good news, because it’s well-built for layering in winter but can go it alone when things get a little steamier.

Entry Level: Mango

Less about flash-in-the-pan fashion than some of its high-street competitors (in aesthetics at least), Mango Man has gone on the offensive with its army of military-style jackets.

Pick up its cotton-canvas style for something classic, or slide into summer with a design woven from a linen-cotton blend.

Mango Man Field Jacket

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Mid-Range: Alpha Industries

The oversized bomber isn’t the only outerwear Alpha Industries excels at: there’s a lot to love about the brand’s range of field jackets too. The essence of the original M-65 shape is still front and centre but tech specs like wind and water resistance join updated design for the perfect fusion of trend and tradition.

Alpha Industries Field Jackets Men

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Premium: Private White V.C.

If Private White V.C.’s motto, handmade in England (Manchester to be precise), wasn’t enough to convince you to buy your field jacket local, then the fact that David Gandy practically lives in the brand’s designs should be enough to sway you.

The label’s annoyingly attractive Twin Trax waxed field jacket is an excellent option for spring while a lightweight linen style will cover your (sweat-free) back when the weather picks up.

Private White VC Field Jacket

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Cuban Collar Shirt

There are few summer style mistakes as treacherous as a poorly chosen shirt, especially on holiday. Thankfully you’ll have no such trouble when you’re wearing a Cuban collar design. Whether plain or printed, this South American import will easily give you all the Dickie Greenleaf vibes you’ve ever wanted while playing nicely with shorts, chinos and jeans.

Entry Level: River Island

A Riviera budget is no longer necessary to cop a Cuban collar, because high-street favourite River Island has backed the design hard for the months ahead. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s knocked up some of the best printed satin fabric takes on the style that we’ve seen for sub-ridiculous prices.

River Island Cuban Collar Shirts

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Mid-Range: Reiss

While others were still toying with joining the Cuban collar shirt revival, Reiss was already well versed on the style’s merits, having championed them for a few seasons. As such, alongside easy to wear summer shades there’s plenty of inventive patterns to pick from, which is ideal for the early adopters out there who want to level up.

Reiss Cuban Collar Shirt

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Premium: Officine Generale

Taking its cue from classic men’s workwear and tailoring, Parisian brand Officine Generale is handy at serving up Cuban collar shirts in printed and textured premium fabrics which makes the thought of shutting up shop for a life closer to the equator that little bit less insane.

Officine Generale Cuban Collar Shirt

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Tote Bag

Backpacks may technically be more practical than tote bags, but when the weather’s not being completely awful, a rucksack has a habit of activating sweat glands in your back that you never knew you had. So for spring and summer we’ve got to hand it to the tote bag, which is practical and good-looking.

Entry Level: Zara

A free fabric tote emblazoned with your latest ethical stance doesn’t cut it in a world where Zara has less preachy, more stylish options in slick leather, tough technical fabric and textured weaves. Add to this price tags that’ll have you nodding in approval and here’s your real bag for life.

Zara Tote Bags Men

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Mid-Range: Herschel

In less than 10 years, Herschel has established itself as the port of call for tote bags that combine robust construction with a comprehensive choice of finishes. Whether you want a statement accessory or just something to carry your stuff, the Canadian brand will shoulder the responsibility in style.

Herschel Tote Bags Men

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Premium: Want Les Essentiels De La Vie

Want Les Essentiels De La Vie may sound French and specialise in discreetly expensive tote bags that wouldn’t look out of place in some Scandinavian city, but this purveyor of low-key luxury luggage also hails from Canada. Which does nothing to alter our opinion of its unbelievably sturdy and road-ready takes on the tote.

Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Tote Bag

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Lightweight Chinos

They may not top many men’s summer wish lists, but ignore this wardrobe workhorse at your peril. When you’re ready to peel yourself out of your favourite skinny jeans, a pair of lightweight cotton chinos will stride from spring to summer with ease and won’t leave you with back-of-the-knee sweat reservoirs.

Entry Level: Gap

Among all of its wardrobe essentials, Gap’s lightweight trousers are its pièce de résistance thanks to a build quality which belies humble price tags and the fact that you can pick up chinos in almost any shade you can think of.

Gap Lightweight Chinos Men

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Mid-Range: J.Crew

J.Crew’s chinos have done a lot to convince the eternally averse that not every pair has to been shapeless and dull: sharp cuts, fabric sourced from some of the world’s finest mills and a price that’s palatable have helped the much-maligned trouser cure its case of bad PR.

J.Crew Chinos Men

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Premium: Incotex

Part of the Slowear group, Incotex has become something of a yardstick against which all other well-cut trousers are measured. Prioritising the meeting of design and comfort, lightweight chinos on offer from the Italian brand come with turn ups and pressed creases so sharp even the world’s biggest style pedant couldn’t quibble.

Incotex Chinos Men

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Desert Boots

A little bit casual and a little bit dressy, desert boots are one of those rare pairs of footwear that you can stick on with jeans and a tee for the daytime and smarten up with a shirt come evening.

As long as you’ve done your homework and spritzed them with some fabric protector, you can also wear and wear until you’re sick of the sight of yours, which if you’re anything like us, isn’t all that likely to happen.

Entry Level: Topman

Suede desert boots for under £50 aren’t too common (that short nap is expensive), so the fact that Topman’s range achieves this and manages to pack some sturdy construction under the hood is all the more impressive.

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Mid-Range: Clarks

Clarks desert boots have been strides ahead of their rivals since their introduction in the fifties, and though the core shape has scarcely changed through the years, classic black and sand designs are now joined by modern gum sole versions to bring the offering bang up to date.

Clarks Desert Boots

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Premium: Grenson

With over of 150 years of expertise at its disposal, British brand Grenson doesn’t just create some of the best-looking desert boots we’ve had the pleasure of clapping eyes on, design features such as Goodyear welt construction and hardy gum soles back up the beauty with plenty of shoemaking smarts.

Grenson Desert Boots

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Anorak

In an unlikely turn of events the anorak has gone from by-word for style bypass to the only outerwear shape worth being seen in. It’s a win for practicality, because what’s not to love about something lightweight, foldable and waterproof?

There’s no catch either, because this season’s all-singing, all-dancing anoraks have been given the enthusiastic nod from the vanguards of menswear, so you’re free to proceed without caution.

Entry Level: boohooMAN

Proving that tech specs need not hike up the cost of your outerwear, boohooMAN has created its own humbly priced range of anoraks which will repel rain but are sure to attract admiring glances thanks to attention-grabbing design that wouldn’t go down well on a ramble. That’s a good thing, FYI.

BoohooMan Anoraks

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Mid-Range: The North Face

The North Face has long been the de facto brand for a well-built weather bulwark, but once you’ve got over its scientific-sounding features, you can get similarly overwhelmed by the superficial stuff. Namely, some epic colour-block anoraks with pouch pockets that’ll render your hands invisible during the inevitable spring showers.

North Face Anoraks Men

The North Face Anorak - click to buy The North Face Anorak - click to buy

Premium: Belstaff

Belstaff started life as a producer of practical waterproof clothing almost 100 years ago and later morphed into a cult luxury brand, meaning that the anoraks on offer here have some time-tested tricks up their sleeves. You’ll get features such as ventilation and taped sealed seams for starters, as well as those all-important normcore visuals.

Belstaff Anoraks Men

Belstaff Anorak - click to buy Belstaff Anorak - click to buy

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