Last week we covered accessories. The small stuff. Now? We’ll lean towards the bigger things that’ll be taking up more room in your closet, and demand perhaps a little more investment from your wallet. There are some classics in here for sure. Evergreen items if you will. But, trends can change from year to year, so we’ll keep this list focused on what’s big (and for good reason) for fall 2016. Specific, affordable examples of each are also included below. As always, these won’t be “essential” to everyone. Far from it. They’re more guidelines.
Suede Chukkas with a Slim Sole
- Nordstrom 1901 Barrett Suede Chukkas – $125
- Allen Edmonds Mojave 2.0 – $189.97 ($350)
- Made in the UK Loake Kempton – $222ish (via Herring Shoes in the UK)
- Allen Edmonds Dundee 2.0 – $335.75 ($395)
Perhaps you were expecting Chelseas? Love chelseas, but not everyone is down with the laceless boot look. And suede, slim chukkas like the above suggestions are outrageously versatile. From jeans to chinos to a cold weather fabric suit. Just go with a sole that’s slimmer and sleeker than a standard desert boot crepe.
Cords with a Smaller/Thinner Wale and in a Saturated Fall Hue
- GAP 1969 Cords in Slim or Straight Fit – $45.46 w/ EXTRA ($64.95)
- UNIQLO Heattech Slim Fit Corduroy Jeans – $39.90 ($49.90)
- J. Crew Vintage Cords in Slim or Slim Straight Fit – $52.50 w/ YESPLEASE ($75)
- Bonobos Made in the USA French Corders – $128
The wale (or the lines of raised fabric) on corduroy has thankfully gotten smaller over the years. What used to be squishy, plush, 1970’s upholstery has now become more like your favorite pair of jeans… all while retaining that softness cords deliver. Retailers are now making these things in a much wider array of colors. No longer are your choices limited to cat crap brown and wet graham cracker khaki. Now you’ve got options like medium grey, forest green, and earthy tan.
A Sportcoat/Blazer in a Fall Appropriate, Textured Fabric
- Target Merona Slim Fit Cotton Sportcoat – $59.99 (shown above)
- J. Crew Factory Moleskin Blazer – $99.00
- GAP Moleskin Blazer – $82.60 w/ EXTRA ($118)
- Lands’ End UNLINED Moon Mills Tailored Fit Hacking Jacket – $315 ($395)
- J. Crew Ludlow Unconstructed Corduory – $198
You have a LOT of options this year. And that’s fantastic. Here’s the full rundown of best affordable sporcoats/blazers of fall 2016 from a few weeks back, but the new arrivals keep on rolling in, and some of those newbies look to have really solid potential (like the moleskin sportcoats from JCF and GAP that just landed). Wool or cotton, now’s the time to find and fall in sartorial love with a jacket that’s got a bit more texture and heft. Think tweeds, corduroy, etc.
A Wool, Mid Thigh Topcoat or Peacoat
- Charles Tyrwhitt 90% wool / 10% Cashmere Italian Fabric Overcoat – $400
- Banana Republic Wool Blend Topcoat – $350
- J. Crew Ludlow Peak or Notch Lapel Topcoat in Wool/Cashmere – $450
- UNIQLO 90% Wool / 10% Cashmere Topcoat – $149.90
More to come in our upcoming annual best outerwear round up. But for now? Here’s what to look for in a topcoat. You want a wool or mainly wool exterior. Something that’s not super stiff or heavy, but will still keep you warm. You also want a mid thigh to just above the knee length. Something that’ll be long enough to protect your sportcoat or suit jacket tail. Your coat also has to fit. And that means, it needs to fit, with ease, over a couple solid layers. So before you cut the tags off/walk out of the store, put it on over a heavy sweater or sportcoat. Can you get it on? Easily? Does it still look good in the mirror? Good. That’s a winner.
A Casual Field Style or Quilted Jacket
- J. Crew Sporting Quilted Jacket – $187.60 w/ YESPLEASE ($268)
- 7 Diamonds Quilted Panel Lambswool – $149
- Lands’ End Primaloft Moto Jacket – $69.99 ($149)
- Gustin Made in the USA Field Jacket – $119
- Filson Made in the USA Cover Cloth Mile Marker Coat – $320
Yes, you can wear a topcoat casually, but most of us like to have a second, more casual jacket on hand for walking the dog/going for a hike/hitting a bar with pals/etc. Field or Quilted jackets fit the bill perfectly here. Built for ease of movement while still providing insulation, these are the kind of jackets that easily balance functionality and looks.
Durable, do anything Wool Socks
Durable, comfortable, and highly functional. Y’know how you wore no-shows (or, close to no-shows) a lot in the summer? Right. Well, these show, but like no-shows, these are what you should reach for when you’re not in dress socks during the cold, winter months. Skip the sweaty cotton ragg socks, and instead go with breathable, clean feeling merino light hikers. Easy to wear with boots or sneakers. Even running shoes for those that keep to the outdoors for their cardio sessions in cold weather. You can machine wash and dry them (as long as it’s not at an extreme temperature) and you can beat the living hell out of them. Are they beautiful works of sock art? Maybe not to the eyes. But the speckled fabric and variety of colors should be good enough for anyone looking to switch away from squishy cotton socks in the cold months.
Slim, Merino Wool V-Neck Sweaters
- UNIQLO Extra Fine Merino Wool V – $39.90
- GAP Slim Fit Merino Wool V – $41.96 w/ EXTRA ($59.95)
- J. Crew Factory SLIM Merino V-Neck – $35 – $40ish
Warmth without the bulk or itch of traditional lamsbwool sweaters. Super easy to layer. Saves space in your drawers. And merino’s smoother, finer yarns seem to be much stronger and more flexible than other fibers. Merino is 80% the fiber that Cashmere is, for less (often much less) than half the price. Get a few colors in the king of all sweaters, the V-neck, and you’ll be set for everything from super casual (over a t-shirt) to dressed up (under a suit jacket) scenarios.
A Cardigan (Slim regular and/or Chunky Shawl collar)
- J. Crew Factory Merino Cardigan – $40 – $50ish
- Lands’ End Wool Blend Cable Shawl Cardigan – $89 ($119) but an odd review on this one?
- Woolovers Chunky Shawl Collar Cardigan – $56 ($75)
- J. Crew Textured Shawl Collar Cardigan – $68.60 w/ YESPLEASE ($98)
The slim, traditional lapel/collar cardigan is an excellent stand in for a sportcoat or blazer when you don’t want to feel overdressed. The shawl collar option keeps the back of your neck warm on the coldest/dampest of days. Both are easy to throw on layers that most will find to be a favorite and will reach for over and over again.
A Pair of Rugged, Do Anything Boots
- Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Boot – $297.50 ($350)
- Gustin Made in the USA Boot – $215 (campaign currently over, but, maybe they’ll come back?)
- J. Crew Goodyear Welted Kenton Cap Toe Boots – $248 (should go on sale eventually)
- Wolverine 1,000 Mile Adrian Cap Toe Boot – $279.90 ($415)
These are the kind of boots that you wear on a road trip into the mountains for a long weekend getaway, where you can go for a light hike in them in the morning, and then head out to dinner in them in the evening. They’re somewhere between a dress boot and a true, sh*t kicking classically styled work boot. A slimmer toe box but still hefty leathers (depending on the price) and good support.
Something Camel Colored (Sweater, Coat, Sportcoat, etc.)
- J. Crew Factory SLIM Merino V-Neck in Heather Camel – $35 – $40ish
- Banana Republic Slim Wool Blend Camel Sportcoat – $250
- GAP Moleskin Blazer – $82.60 w/ EXTRA ($118)
- H&M Premium Quality Italian Wool Sportcoat – $129
- GAP “Crombie” Camel Topcoat – $138.60 w/ EXTRA ($198)
Blue, brown, grey, black, maybe a little green… repeat. That’s what a lot of us lean on during the colder months. But camel? It’s lighter, but still warm looking. Rich even. If you don’t want to dive head first into the camel topcoat pool, then consider picking up an easy to wear with jeans sweater.