Welcome to The Jackal’s new season style guide, our menswear manifesto if you will. It breaks down some of the key shifts in the style zeitgeist; with advice on where to shop, what to wear and how to wear it.
Negotiating the menswear landscape might sound intimidating, but it needn’t be. Fashion is constantly changing, the key is to keep a few rules in mind. Whether you’re mixing patterns, or trying to get your head around tailored trousers with trainers, we’ve spoken to the industry’s finest – men who look sharp for a living – to bring you expert tips, tricks and insider advice that’ll put you ahead of the style pack this season. It’s time to take your new season wardrobe.
1. Rollnecks are (still) in
We could tell you that rollneck knits are ‘in’ this autumn/winter, but the truth is they’ve never really been ‘out’. Thanks to the rise of deconstructed tailoring, the rollneck has become the stylish man’s go-to wardrobe alternative to a formal shirt and tie. It’s a timeless style staple, first popularised in the 1930s by the impeccably dressed Noël Coward, among others. Later, it was the knit of choice to the Beatniks, sipping espressos on the Left Bank; a design for creatives who rejected rigid formality, as shown by The Beatles in the ‘60’s and New York’s buzzing art scene in the ‘70’s, too. You name a cool guy in the past 50 years and we bet he sported a rollneck at some point – from Steve McQueen to Steve Jobs. This season, choose fine merino wool or cashmere designs in navy, burgundy, olive and grey. These will prove indispensable when you pull out your winter tailoring, coats and sports jackets. Plus, they’ll set off this season’s tonal checks perfectly.
By Gareth Scourfield, The Jackal’s Style Director
2. Guess what? You can wear sneakers with suits
Suits and sneakers would have been a totally unthinkable pairing in most all offices 10 to 15 years ago, but nowadays it’s a common look across most professions. The creative industries were early to catch on, and now we also see consultants, lawyers and even bankers – who historically dressed very conservatively – visiting Trunk to try this relaxed, yet sharp approach to modern office dress. It works because it’s smart-casual, which is a dress code I know lots of men have struggled with since the term was invented. In the ‘90s, ‘smart’ meant Savile Row tailoring to many men, and ‘casual’ meant shorts, runners and maybe some baggy jeans, but combining these two extremes has seldom proved fruitful. Luckily, styling suits with sneakers is fruitful, so long as you pay attention to the details.
For the pairing to work, your suits need to be at the relaxed end of the spectrum, with natural shoulders and a soft construction. Then, the sneakers should sit on the smarter side – made in fine calf or suede. For soft tailoring I’d go to Boglioli and Lardini from Italy. At Trunk, we also have our own-brand collection and soft tailoring is a big part of that, too.
When it comes to sneakers, Common Projects is one of our go-to brands for smart looking sneakers, but now there are lots of other sleek options, too. We also rate CQP from Sweden. A soft tailored suit in grey or navy, combined with a clean pair of white sneaks and a pale cotton poplin shirt is a good place to start if you’re just beginning to experiment with this look. Or, if you’re after something a little different, layer a midnight blue suit over a long-sleeve knitted polo shirt, and finish with matching navy sneakers.
By Mats Klingberg, founder, Trunk Clothiers. Visit trunkclothiers.com for more style advice (and sneakers)
3. In doubt? Go tonal
With every new season, we see different colour trends emerging. Right now, it’s all about brown, punctuated by various shades of green and burgundy with a pop of burnt orange thrown in for good measure. But this season, some of the strongest looks offered by the big-name designers glided down the catwalk styled head-to-toe in the same tonal colour shades. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, and leaving navy and black aside, designers of note playing with tone on- tone layering range from Paul Smith and Canali through to Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Ermenegildo Zegna. Camel is in again, for example, and looks best when worn with similar creams and shades of brown. Dressing like this allows you to work different textures into your wardrobe for a smooth look, too – cutting out brash colours in favour of subtly textured staples. So, pick a colour; whether brown, green or burgundy, and commit to your look from head to toe. You’ll look pin-sharp, put-together and understated. Guaranteed.
By Gareth Scourfield, The Jackal’s Style Director
4. Sportswear isn’t just for athletes
Retro Sportswear is in because the way men used to wear their sports kit was surprisingly smart. If you look at iconic images from the ‘60s and ‘70s, rock stars, artists and athletes all used to maintain a sartorial look, even in sporty pieces. The Kent & Curwen autumn/winter ‘18 collection is all about mixing a smart element into our sportswear – combining formal and casual elements for a modern look – which is happening more broadly in menswear, anyway. We’ve come out of a period where men have obsessed over designer labels, into a time where men want to wear clothes that feel authentic and grounded.
To get this look right, always wear something smart with something casual – that’s an un-said rule of menswear, if you ask me. If you’re going to wear a tailored jacket, pair it with a loopback wool/cashmere track pant, or if you’re going for a hoody, style it with our wide-leg wool/cotton trousers. If your top half’s formal, make the bottom casual, and play with volume, too. You can work subtle sporty touches into your look, or go all-out, depending on where you’re heading.
Don’t be afraid to wear these things in a considered way, either. This trend’s about choosing one or two sportswear pieces that allow you to look smart in casualwear. If in doubt, trousers with trainers and a jersey sweatshirt layered over the top is the perfect place to start.
By Daniel Kearns, Creative Director, Kent & Curwen. Get into sportswear at kentandcurwen.com
5. Ditch your chinos and buy some trousers
Every man needs a decent pair of tailored trousers in his wardrobe. They’re a sophisticated alternative to ubiquitous denim jeans. When it comes to the trouser department, pleats, wider legs and higher rises have all been making a return over the past couple of years, and now they’re back in the menswear mainstream. In fact, pleated trousers kick-started our brand, Kit Blake. We’re talking a proper trouser that sits on the hips, tapering down to a modern-width hem with a deep turn-up. This iconic style, as worn by Cary Grant, fell out of favour in the mid-1990s when the fashion industry decided that slim-fitting trousers were cooler. This is tosh. A pair of tailored trousers is grown-up, elegant and very comfortable.
If you’ve never worn this style before, start with a pair in good grey flannel. It’s the ultimate go-to autumn trouser that can be worn with sports jackets or blazers to form a classic silhouette, but they also work more casually with bomber jackets. Mid-week, combine with blazers and sneakers for work. On the weekends, pair them with suede shoes, a cable-knit sweater and an overcoat, and you’ve the perfect look for a pub lunch or for running errands round town, like taking your skinny chinos to the charity shop…
By Christopher Modoo, Creative Director, Kit Blake. Follow @kitblake_london on Twitter and Instagram
Read more of The Jackal’s style rules here