By Gus Walbolt
I always look forward to the change in wardrobe that comes with cooler weather and the colors of autumn. Fall is the time to enjoy plush corduroy, cavalry twill, moleskin, rich tweeds, heavy flannels and deep-colored suedes and leathers. Whether your personal style is modern or classic, great fall menswear allows you mix and match fabrics, neutrals and earth tones with very little effort required to put together great seasonal looks. The following are some of my seasonal favorites to combine with year-round staples for comfort and casual Autumnal style.
Worn with any shirt or sweater and paired with jeans or corduroys, a quilted vest projects an air of warm nonchalance. This isn’t the tailored vest look of your three-piece suit. Instead, the quilted vest has a country pedigree that is ideal for travel, football games or a visit to your favorite café on a chilly morning. It is an ideal transitional garment from cool to cold weather - so when winter arrives, it also becomes a practical layering piece worn under your favorite coat. A few of my favorites are the green Barbour Waxed Cotton Vest at Sierra Trading Post ($179), Parisian label Kitsune’s quilted grey herringbone tweed vest ($399) and Paul Stuart’s quilted, down filled, dark brown leather vest with a wool lining ($1,487). And my favorite? These exclusive Monitaly quilted vests, shown above, $365 at No Man Walks Alone. Perfect with cords, jeans and a chambray shirt for your next craft beer tasting event. Any of these will serve you well for years to come.
Donegal and Fair Isle Socks
Paired with your favorite boots, moccasins, or LL Bean Hunting boots, thick wool and alpaca or mohair-blend socks are guaranteed to keep you warm. Donegal flecks or Fair Isle patterns add autumnal color to your wardrobe, and no one will confuse these with your typical dress socks. My favorites for many years have been from the British mill Scott-Nichol where they know a thing or two about avoiding chilly feet. An excellent source is O’Connell’s in Buffalo, NY, which carries several brands including Scott- Nichol ($28-$35). Paul Stuart also offers Donegal socks and a heavy wool mohair blend in rich fall colors ($42.50).
Brown Rubber-Soled Shoes
For casual comfort and classic fall style it’s hard to beat a pair of dark brown chukkas or derbies with a substantial rubber sole. My favorites have Dainite, Ridgeway or similar style rubber soles originally intended for field use but are equally practical in urban settings especially in rain and snow. You can dress them up with a tweed jacket or corduroy suit, and they will always look great with your favorite leather jacket. I take a pair on fall and winter trips to battle the cobblestoned streets of London or Paris, and with silicon waterproofing, suede is as weatherproof as anything out there. Take a look at the Paraboot Chambord Tex Gringo ($511) at Unionmade and Heschung Ebene Leather Derby ($485) at Mr. Porter. Or, for an altogether lighter look and modern aesthetic, check out Bontoni’s brown leather sneaker ($595) at Wilkes Bashford.
A scarf isn’t only practical for warmth; it also offers an opportunity to add an accent of color or texture. A few of my favorites for fall are simple herringbone patterns or multicolored prints in burgundy, purple or a muted “paprika” color. But it’s also nice to have at least one colorful mixed print. For casual style avoid shiny silks and reserve those for formal business attire. My favorite expressive scarves seem to come from the Italian brand Etro ($270), which is available at Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. There are also more whimsical options such as the Drakes London animal print scarves ($470) at Barneys or 19 Andrea’s 47 colorful prints (GBP295) from Exquisite Trimmings.
Fair Isle Sweater
You probably already have plenty of solid navy and grey in your wardrobe so why not add some pattern? Popularized by the Duke of Windsor, Fair Isle sweaters originated on the tiny Shetland Islands and are a cold weather favorite. My wife grew up on the Islands and has fond memories of local women hand knitting these colorful sweaters, gloves and hats. Their distinctive rows of multi-colored geometric patterns add punch to Fall’s typical, muted solids. There are many copies, but to be a true Fair Isle it must be knit on the Shetland Islands, as is this one by Jamieson’s ($195), available from No Man Walks Alone.
Knit Ribbed Hat
A classic fisherman’s knit ribbed hat seems to make any guy look bit more manly. I especially like the look of this Donegal tweed example in navy wool and cashmere by Inis Meain ($100) at No Man Walks Alone. For those who like cotton, try the black indigo dyed watch cap from RRL ($85).