As autumn lands, the usual suspects return to your wardrobe: a warmer coat, thicker chinos, wet-weather boots. Goose pimpled flesh aside, style isn’t compromised by plummeting mercury. The chill brings a new world of layering that is, arguably, better looking than our summer lovin’ months.
But as you pour cashmere atop merino wool, it’s easy to forget that the devil is in the detail. And if AW16’s key accessories are anything to go by, the mantra has never been truer.
Put Your Neck On The Line
This season, Christmas debt won’t be all that’s hanging from your neck. Gucci and Dior Homme stuck their necks out with an array of neckerchiefs, from Catholic school bows to 1960s cravats and deconstructed ties.
An oversized pussy bow works at an Oscar Wilde convention, less so at your Christmas do. Continental ties – a piece of black silk that crosses over at the front – are a strong midpoint between runways and realism, says Alice Watt, stylist at Thread. It’s a lesser-spotted choice that bends black tie dress codes, without quite breaking them.
The trend applies to the everyday too. In lieu of a reimagined cravat, try adding a neckerchief to workwear-inspired looks from across the Channel – think Breton stripes, chore jackets and neutral chinos. Just keep patterns and colours simple, lest you look like a Dexys Midnight Runner.
Your juvenile endorsement of Sum 41 is back from the dead. As Prada proved with an expeditionary-themed collection, key chains are a trend to unlock for AW16.
Instead of grungy BMX chains, however, these are leather loops attached to gold-gilted pocket books (well, it is Prada). You’ll still hit the cost-per-wear ratio, though, since they work with anything that’s got a belt loop. Dark denim most readily – a janitorial style move to go with their workwear roots – but tailoring, too, so long as it’s the kind you wear with Cuban collar shirts.
The secret is to keep your look simple. The key chain is a small accessory that makes a big noise, says Watt. Everyone from Vetements to Bieber has appropriated nu-metal typography, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to break out the Linkin Park hoodies.
Unlike the arms of WAGs up and down the country, men’s bags have never offered much choice. But that is changing. And it doesn’t involve swiping your girlfriend’s Céline. Instead of blurring lines, Louis Vuitton and Loewe simply inflated them – the holdall and backpack went supersize for AW16.
Sadly, the morning commute is not designed for a backpack the size of Kolkata, but you can still channel the bloat. Classic leather holdalls are increasingly used as everyday bags and the likes of Herschel offer XL rucksacks on the more affordable (and wearable) spectrum.
But if designer is your first choice, then Loewe’s military slouch backpacks from its seasonal lookbook have been released in a slightly more manageable size (at ease, National Rail ticket collectors).
Stick To The Brief
Just as oversized bags are tipped for AW16 stardom, so too is their structured counterpart: the briefcase. From Louis Vuitton’s monogrammed uniformity to weatherworn luggage at Thom Browne, it seems the biggest brands were thinking inside the box this season.
“It’s all about hard cases and luxe hardware, and – according to the show notes – future heritage,” says Watt. Which means your nine-to-five accessories now work after hours too.
The secret is to choose versatility. Hard-sided Mr Bean briefcases are difficult to assimilate into everyday looks, but relaxed document holders are as appropriate perched next to your office chair or your bar stool.
Head Over Feels
Pharrell, it’s high time you ditched the Vivienne Westwood hat: statement headwear has been reinvented for AW16. At Fendi, it was a Kremlin meets Madchester affair, with umber fur-lined bucket hats. And for Topman Design, the regular beanie was oversized, textured and featured a mismatch of stripes and ribbed wools.
Neither of which are easy to pull off, admittedly. But it is possible. Fendi’s abominable snow hat is cushioned by the current trend for all things 1990s but this oversized spin is more forgiving than, say, Hood By Air’s attempts to salvage the Kangol (leave them to the hypebeasts).
Meanwhile, Topman’s slouch beanies should be worn smaller with the focus on texture: more ribs, more stripes, less of the Noddy silhouette.