It can be tempting to save some cash when shopping for men’s accessories. You tell yourself it’s not a big purchase because you won’t wear it as much or because you’d rather spend your money on the more visible parts of your wardrobe, like knitwear and outerwear. Rookie mistake.
Accessories are worth splashing out on precisely because you buy them less often. An automatic watch is a genuine heirloom. A proper pair of shoes can outlast many a long-term relationship. The right leather weekender is a bag for life. Invest wisely, is what we’re saying. You’ll get something that will last for years, with zero buyer’s remorse and plenty of feel-good serotonin every time you pull it out.
Personal insulation doesn’t get much more effective or sophisticated than a cashmere tea cosy popped on your head. Beanies have, in recent years, become a man’s de facto winter headgear, one of the few truly practical hat designs that looks as good as it works. You can’t say that about trapper hats, can you?
By upgrading to cashmere, you’ll get a warmer, lighter, more breathable fabric and, because it’s softer, it’s also less prone to itching than wool. Neutral shades of black, grey and navy will go with everything you own, but this is also that rare accessory that looks good in pop of colour. Anyone bold enough for a mustard yellow?
Don’t let Succession’s Roy family put you off, a cap made in elevated fabrics doesn’t have to be associated with corrupt and dysfunctional media moguls. Done right, it’s a modern way to add a touch of sports luxe to a smart-casual outfit. Designers have been busy upgrading this humble accessory in recent years. The classic baseball cap now comes in cashmere or various wool blends, with the option of subtle and not-so-subtle branding if you want to flex some designer clout.
Wear with upmarket puffer jackets, dressed-down blazers or overshirts for a look that spans modern office and days in the city, or switch to something in corduroy or twill to lean more into casual, outdoor or traditional workwear territory.
There is nothing luxurious about the biting winds or driving rain we all endure in the winter, which is why an indulgent scarf is a completely justified example of cold-weather self-care. Cashmere against the skin feels great just about anywhere, but it’s a real comfort against a bare neck in a cold morning in January.
Block-colour designs are the safest pairing for suits and smart commuter overcoats, but don’t dismiss a colourful check or stripe pattern, which can add warmth to boring office uniforms in more ways than one.
It’s a myth that you have to remortgage to get a ‘proper’ timepiece. Automatic watches do remain an investment, especially in the age of wearable technology, but they also offer something tangible, lasting and meaningful. You’ll use it every day and mark memories with it. And one day, of course, you’ll pass it on to somebody else to love.
So what to buy? Classically styled sports watches are about as versatile as they come: solid and masculine for everyday wear but, with a leather strap or steel bracelet, just about smart enough to pair with a suit. Look for timeless chronographs, retro-inspired divers or driving watches or, if your style leans more Scandi, try a minimalist everyday watch instead.
One of the most common style mistakes that men still make to this day occurs in winter, when we pull out our best overcoats but pair them with tatty woollen gloves that are better suited to casual outfits. Smart coats deserve smart gloves.
Invest in a good pair in suede or leather gloves and not only will they complete your commuter wardrobe, they’ll last for years, too. Match the colour to the coat you wear the most and stick with a smooth leather for wool overcoats and trench coats. Opt for suede with more casual styles like pea coats and waxed jackets.
If you know, you know. Goodyear-welted shoes are one of those subtle marks of quality that genuine menswear connoisseurs understand and appreciate. It’s all about the stitches: a strip of leather (the welt) is stitched to the perimeter of a shoe’s upper, and the sole is then stitched to the welt. Because the sole and the upper aren’t stitched together directly, it offers an extra layer of protection to keep water off your feet, while a cork footbed within adds to the comfort.
A Goodyear welt also makes it much easier to resole a shoe, making it a truly sustainable, long-term choice.
Handmade Leather Sneakers
It’s one of the lightbulb moments in recent menswear history: what if sneakers were made with the same artisanal skill, the same obsessive attention to detail as an Oxford shoe made in Northamptonshire? Since around the start of the 21st century, sneakerheads have been able to buy exactly that. Most of us wear sneakers more often than we do formal shoes anyhow, so why wouldn’t we want the same quality of leather and best-in-class construction methods?
Look for ethically-sourced leather and brands that use a selective number of factories (usually in Europe), where craftspeople hand-stitch the uppers piece by piece.
Premium Weekend Bag
For weddings, business trips, short breaks and every other kind of upmarket weekender, you need, well, a good weekender. Invest in the right travel bag and as well as practical luggage, you’ll have an essential accessory that completes an out-of-towner aesthetic and ages like a trusty pair of leather shoes.
Look for styles made from leather, ballistic nylon, suede, wax canvas and other materials that belong in the first-class carriage. We also go weak at the knees for a discrete exterior pocket.
Full-Grain Leather Wallet/Cardholder
Here’s a good rule of thumb when talking yourself into an extravagant purchase: if you’re going to use it every day, it’s worth the money. Your wallet is a prime example. You’ll lay your hands on it daily and it’s the kind of accessory other people can’t help but notice – so if you want the full-grain leather then by god, have the full-grain leather.
Slimline cardholders are comfortably the most practical style in our increasingly cashless society, but billfolds offer a little more discretion. Your money, your call.
For those of us who wear glasses, eyewear is a fundamental part of our look. So it’s one of those purchases where you can justify the extra spend on sheer visibility. Going handmade with your glasses means you’ll get something sturdy, usually with additional design details you simply don’t get with cheaper alternatives. A lot of the handmade brands will also go the extra mile to ensure your frames fit your face perfectly.