Style Councillor

Beige doesn’t have to be boring

If it works in American Gigolo, it’s good enough for us

There is a scene in Paul Schrader’s 1980 classic American Gigolo, that sees the film’s protagonist Julian Kaye (played by Richard Gere) finger through his wardrobe of immaculate suits – each a different shade of beige. It’s a colour that dominates said stylish film, in part thanks to the costume design of Giorgio Armani, who dressed Gere’s character. It defined Armani as the king of beige, a colour Armani has continued to champion for the past several decades.

Now, this summer, beige is big news again – not that this most inoffensive of colours ever really goes out of fashion, as Mr Armani’s success testifies. It’s back working as a dominant colour this summer, calming down vibrant printed shirts and pops of citrus colour. It’s also shown itself to work as the dominant colour for tonal warm weather style (shocking I know), but by switching up subtle shades of beige; whether a butter soft suede zip-up bomber with waffle-knit crewneck, or a washed cotton suit with a half-placket polo top beneath, it works a treat. Whether you want to embrace your inner Gere (see above) and try layering beige textures in a single outfit, or use beige staples to ground the rest of your look, these five beige favourites will get you started.


1. Altea jumper

Altea is a luxury Italian textile brand that dates back to the 19th century, having started life producing silk ties and scarves. Today, the brand designs and creates a tight collection of versatile pieces in superior natural fibres that form the pillars of a stylish man’s wardrobe; from its deconstructed jackets, loose-cut pleated trousers, and superior quality knitwear like this. Moreover, Altea’s current collection is peppered with several soft beige pieces; from tailored trousers and structured knitted jackets to boxy workwear shirts. Take our advice and team this waffle textured knit with pale stone or olive pleated trousers and a pair of tan suede loafers. Tuck your knit into your waistband to show off the trouser pleats. I’m sure even Gere himself would have welcomed this little number into his closet, given the amount of screen time his bare torso gets in American Gigolo.

£180, shop now


2. Drake’s jacket

British brand Drake’s continues to grow from a maker of luxury accessories into a fully-fledged ready-to-wear brand, with some pretty fine pieces of tailoring and outerwear to choose from (watch this space for the new autumn/winter collection, coming soon). Like Altea, Drake’s also began as a neckwear brand, so their understanding of fabric, colour and print is widely recognised as the best in the business. This softly tailored single-breasted jacket (that comes with matching trousers) is cut from an unusual cotton/ramie blend. The ramie fibre is known for its ability to hold shape, reduce creasing and for its silky lustre – giving the jacket’s cotton base a luxurious edge. Keep things sleek and wear this with a striped tee and navy chinos, or match up with the slim trousers for a formal look and dress with an open-neck chambray shirt.

On sale, £696, shop now


3. CMMN SWDN Dexter shirt

I love the look of this textured ‘Dexter’ shirt, simply because it reminds of my grandfather’s go-to shirts on family summer holidays – he was more than partial to a natural coloured boxy shirt. Fittingly, this is from the brand’s ‘Nostalgic Future’ collection, which draws on those design details that made routine appearances decades ago. Here’s that means a retro camp collar and loosely woven thick Tencel cloth. This is a great shirt to have some fun with, not least because it’s cut in relaxed fit. It works well with tailored shorts or layered over a classic white tee. Pair with baggy, high-waisted tailored trousers for a truly nostalgic silhouette.

£210, shop now


4. Aspesi bomber jacket

Aspesi is to Italians, what APC is to the French. I mean to say, it’s a slightly under-the-radar, need-to-know brand, which doesn’t shout about fast moving trends. Instead, Aspesi quietly goes about its business of dressing some of the most understated men around. Since its inception back in 1969, it’s continued to offer men of taste all those essentials that a modern man needs in his wardrobe, and this cotton twill bomber is a case in point. Created in this very adaptable sand colour, it nods towards Newman and McQueen’s regular go-to jacket style from the sixties, so take that as your cue when styling it. Given its simplicity, you can either smarten this up with olive or brown tailored chinos, white button-down Oxford shirt and a pair of suede penny loafers, or dress it down with a pair of drawstring trousers, a jersey sweatshirt and a pair of canvas tennis trainers.

£385, shop now


5. Officine Generale New Fisherman chinos

You really can’t go wrong with a pair of classic beige cotton chinos and one brand that’s making sartorial waves right now with their smart wardrobe essentials is Officine Generale. These natural coloured cotton twill chinos walk that fine line between being too fitted or too wide. This ‘Fisherman’ style has some nice detail on it, too; see the conker brown buttons and hook-and-eye waist fastening. These will go with practically anything in your wardrobe, so we’d recommend you play the dress-down card and team them with classic suede or leather sneakers, a striped or plain -piqué polo shirt and a dark blue denim jacket or navy zip-through cotton bomber.

£135, shop now