The beauty of London in Autumn is one, unrivalled; a tapestry full of rich, earthy hues and textures. Not only is there a transition in seasons, but also in the mood and speed of which the notoriously fast hustle slows pace as the evenings begin to arrive early.
Despite the natural elegance Autumn graces upon the city, I am drawn to this season for one reason and one reason alone — layering. From suits to streetwear, from scents to grooming, the art of layering in menswear truly comes to life once the clocks take us back an hour. However, it's very easy to get lost in the simplicity of how to dress and transition your seasonal wear. Coupling that with the fact London weather grows increasingly temperamental, I decided to break down my biggest tips for guys who want to utilise their wardrobe.
1. It begins and ends with your coat.
Whether you opt for a tailored fit or you prefer an unstructured style like me, your coat should be your statement piece. It's what you'll be seen in most and will naturally garner attention. Your coat should be versatile, comfortable and durable. Most importantly, however, it needs to complement your shape. As I'm quite short with broad shoulders, anything too tailored and I look tiny; anything excessively loose and I...well, look tiny. Therefore, my coats remain relatively unstructured around the shoulders so they drape off me, with added length to make me appear more svelte than boxy.
2. Get it tailored.
Arguably the most important thing you should do with your clothing. If you're anything like me, sleeve and trouser lengths are a major pain in the arse. I have trouble purchasing anything Ready To Wear, because it's all too long. Unless I'm deliberately going for an over sized look (usually when I'm doing street style), I'll be sure to get the sleeves and trousers shortened by a couple of inches. When it comes to tailoring, most guys will only really consider it for suiting, but it's worth getting your outerwear and shirts adjusted to fit your size, too. Word to the wise, the most important thing you can do for your sartorial clout is befriend a tailor.
3. Transition with the temperature.
As the temperature gets cooler, your wardrobe should transition with you. For the horrible period between September and October, you're likely to have a crisp morning, a very warm afternoon, and an excessively humid evening. The fabrics should be thin and layering aplenty - for comfort without restricting movement. I break out my cotton COS overcoat, which is extremely thin but retains heat well when buttoned and layered on top of a shirt/jumper combo.
Towards the latter stages of October and early November, my overcoat gets a corduroy upgrade. From Cords & Co., the coat is denser in material and has a supple lining. The navy palette is great for when I'm going for a muted or darker look. I'll swap this for a vintage wool coat in a camel colour when I want to add a little contrast. It works wonderfully, and the thicker fabric means I don't have to layer as much.
Finally, when it gets to the New Year, I break out the bona fide winter warmers. Usually cotton or tweed, these jackets withstand pretty much all of what winter has to offer, without compromising on the sartorial reputation London is renowned for. My coat of choice is a vintage double-breast Houndstooth cotton coat; formal in fit, just above knee length and complete with notched lapels.
4. Add colour in the smaller details.
Generally speaking, my Autumnal wardrobe emulates the colours you'd see in London during the season — dark greens, camels and browns, dark greys and deep blues.
I don't tend to wear loud colours, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun with the little details. For instance, my monochrome Houndstooth blazer from Zara has an almost-fuchsia lining, which you'll never see until the buttons are undone. Often times, when my entire outfit is monochrome or dark, I'll bring it to life with a jacquard tie or pocket square. Behold:
5. Don't underestimate the scent.
This is probably where I have the most fun, and is often the most overlooked part of a 'look'. Everyone has their signature aesthetic, and with that said aesthetic, should come a signature smell. It's incredible how much your outfit can be accentuated when other senses come into play.
For example, you'll never catch me wearing a fruity or zesty fragrance in the winter - it doesn't make sense. When I wear earthy colours, it should be complemented by oaky, woody smells. Similarly, when I'm wearing brighter colours in summer, the scent should be light and citrusy.
The trick to layering scents doesn't stop at the fragrance. I adapt the method of layering with oils and creams. This season, I'm wearing Hugo Boss Bottled as my 'base' layer, with a woody Mr. Natty beard oil to add the earthy/smoky element, and Aesop's Reverence hand balm as the 'top note'. When these layers of smell blend, they create a subtle and understated finish. Ironically, my new beard oil obsession is The Ordinary's Marula Oil - which is scentless! Another one of my favourite winter scents is Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf. Find what works for your palette, and make it your own.