The Rail: Back to Basics with Simplistic Elegance

A new year calls for a new start. It’s a time for preconceptions of current trends and fashions to be put to one side in favour of a simplistic elegance. This week’s issue of The Rail then, takes us back to the basics. Complex elements are stripped back for a style in which form follows function and sleek minimalism takes centre stage. Fine, practical materials combine with monochromatic silhouettes for a clean, laid back appearance that stands out without screaming for attention.



Modern Approach

The essentials are always the best items to achieve a basic yet smart appearance, and our guide is no different. Simple but effective crew-neck jumpers and semi-constructed blazers are the centrepieces, with clean t-shirts and button-ups forming a solid base layer. A pair of white or black smart sneakers are always a solid choice to achieve the smart-casual style that minimalism lends itself to so easily, but these can always be exchanged for brogues for a slightly more formal impression.


– A.P.C. Wind Jumper in Charcoal Grey, €154

– Sunspel Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt in White, £65

– Acne Studios North Washed Slim-Fit Stretch-Denim Jeans in Black, £190

– Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers, £290

This greyscale ensemble is all about standing out through getting the essentials spot-on. A charcoal grey crew-neck sweater from Parisian outfitters A.P.C. is made from Merino wool-alpaca blend, providing enough warmth to see out the remainder of the winter in style. A simple white t-shirt from Sunspel provides a solid base, while black jeans and smart-sneakers courtesy of Acne Studios and Common Projects confirm a laid back, composed demeanour.


– Sandro Wool Blend Jacket in Navy, £420

– ARKET Cotton Twill Shirt in White, £55

– Sandro Wool Blend Slim-Fit Trousers in Navy, £239

– Seven Feet Apart Original 172 Sneakers in Calf White, £129

This slightly more formal approach sees Parisian supplier Sandro provide a slim-fitting semi-constructed blazer made from twill fabric. A clean white button-up shirt by ARKET provides depth while keeping detail to the bare minimum, while Sandro’s navy straight fit trousers match the blazer’s colour. White sneakers from Seven Feet Apart add a touch of smart-casual to an otherwise formal look.


While even the most basic of styles can always be provided with some added detail with well-chosen accessories, it’s important to make sure these items match the toned-down feel of the rest of your outfit and adhere to the rules you’ve already set out for yourself. In this case, a clean timepiece from German watchmaker Nomos Glashütte adds sharpness, while extra function is provided by a fine leather wallet courtesy of Ettinger. Add a smarter element to an outfit without overpowering it with Uniqlo’s classic merino wool sweater.

Nomos Glashütte Metro Neomatik 39 Silvercut Watch, £3,080 | Ettinger Bridle Hide Wallet in Grey, £175 | Uniqlo Merino Wool Sweater in Dark Gray, £29.90

To Conclude

Flamboyant patterns and super sharp lines aren’t too uncommon a sight in the style landscape of today. While others endlessly attempt to out-peacock others with ever growing extravagance, stand out by sticking to the bare minimum. Accessories and detail can be added as you see fit, but ensure you nail the basics for a style that will guarantee to have you looking sharp no matter what.

Jack Lenton

Jack is Ape's Online Editorial Associate, with a passion for Men's Style, Cars, and Technology.