Mmm, lovely, cosy autumn. Cobwebs, saturated colours and finally returning to the gravy-laden comfort of Sunday roasts. Although we Brits tend to feel a bit downcast as summer’s vitamin D bids us adieu, there’s just something about the crispness of autumn that tickles our style spidey senses. That said, autumn can throw a meteorological curveball from time to time and said curveballs can be hard to dress for. Even when your wardrobe is already decked out with several men’s clothing essentials that have seen you through the year so far.
The spookiest of seasons and perhaps one of the most complex to style oneself for, autumn dressing is certainly no mean feat. Where brisk mornings give way to humid afternoons, and getting out of bed in the morning is shiver-inducing at best, there is a temptation to go straight from your linen shorts to your winter coat. Or, God forbid, combine the two.
All that to one side though, we promise that the secret of autumnal dressing is simpler than it may seem. Firstly? An immediate morning check of the weather report is a must. Secondly, you’re going to need layers. Lots and lots of layers. That’s where we at British GQ come in.
Combining must-have seasonal essentials with the odd trend-focused pick, here is our definitive list of the eleven pieces you need in your rotation for 2023’s crispest season. From rich knits to everyday foundational pieces, we have a recommendation for it all. Best stretch your scrolling finger, there’s a lot to get through…
Knit polo shirts
Take a summer staple, and knit it. A must-have for autumn, the humble knit polo overflows with ’60s-era mod appeal, all the while slotting oh-so-naturally in among your daily seasonal wardrobe.
First worn by the Victorians before being picked up by The Beatles, Mick Jagger, and just about every retro-loving, wide-leg-clad Shoreditch cool kid – no one can resist the charm of a good Chelsea boot. And no one ought to.
A perennial essential. That’s all.
No longer reserved for dadcore fanatics and the odd university professor, corduroy trousers might still cling to their academic persona, but just about any and everyone can wear them now. Hitting their stride for the first time since the ’70s, cords are back, baby. We suggest opting for a wider-leg cut to lean into their new-found contemporary appeal.
The trench coat is the ultimate autumnal staple. Underpinned by resilience, a waterproof design and bucketloads of versatility, they’re made to withstand more than a bit of drizzle. That, and they look great with just about everything.
A ‘lil touch of jewellery goes a long way, you know. And for autumn? Offset all the navy blues and rich hues with a touch of cool silver. Trust us.
Casual leather shoes
What exactly do we mean by ‘casual leather shoes’? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not at all, dear reader, not at all. Between Birkenstock’s slip-on ‘Bostons’, and Duke + Dexter’s easy-going ‘Commandos’, these are dapper leather stompers that can sit as comfortably with your loose-legged denim as your favourite pair of trainers.
When we said autumn is all about layering, we meant you’re going to need a cardigan. Just your best crew-neck but with the ease of a zip/row of buttons, a hearty cardigan is the ultimate trans-seasonal essential.
Good news: in 2023 you don’t need to be a teenager or going through a midlife crisis in order to wear a good leather jacket. This season you’ll want some lightweight black leather with a clean-cut silhouette. Take it from us.
Never is a raincoat more essential than in autumn. One of the most drizzly times of year, you’ll need a good mac to see you through the season in good (and stylish) stead.
First propelled into the public eye by the likes of Paul Newman and Clark Gable, the Oxford shirt – which is defined by a basketweave fabric and a more casual button-down collar, BTW – has a unique feel of hybridity to it, traversing off- and on-duty days in seamless style. More insulating than linen, but not too stuffy, the humble Oxford was made with between-seasons in mind.
We all have bad hair days, especially with more rain and storms than usual. Best put a lid on it. And we’d opt for one of these thick-knit beanies.
Because once you’ve embraced the necessity of a Chelsea boot or casual leather shoe, trainer socks just won’t do the trick.
34 clothing essentials for every man’s wardrobe
The best men’s trench coats to stay suave whatever the weather
Best men’s raincoats to survive a British downpour in style
Twenty-nine clothing essentials every man should have in his wardrobe