Or in other words, the closet thing to a bonafide guarantee (and sure-thing) there is in life.
Few menswear habiliments can truly lay claim to (lest carry forth) just such an iconic distinction, most notably because they must characteristically embody (i.e. effortlessly marry into one unified package) what is becoming an increasingly rarified (and often elusive) blend of tastefully stylized form (structure, silhouette, and detail), peerless artisan craftsmanship, enduring functional versatility, and tried-and-true heritage reliability.
Moreover, they must also be readily capable of retaining a heightened level of cultural reverence and relevancy (ie. never receding into obscurity) from one decade to the next while skillfully wading through the tidal caprices of fashion (i.e. trends/cultural acceptance/seasonal variability, etc.).
In that regard, and in speaking explicitly about the (menswear) “Legends of Fall", one could certainly do far (far) worse then the six seasonal style stalwarts that have been highlighted throughout this feature — all of which have proven to be worthy vessels truly fit to carry the (faultless) permanent style torch and their legendary distinction.
Ultimately, what I am alluding to are the sartorially astute perennial wardrobing pillars that have become synonymously tied to fall; those few that not only hold up admirably in enduring retrospect but that are willing and able to carry you through the entire duration of the season (and all those yet to come + well into winter) without nary a sartorial misstep or functional blip along the way.
As such, you can rest assured that each one of these iconic habiliments will bring its own unique touch of flair and character to any look they are styled in while ensuring that you always look good, feel comfortable, and are ably attired/prepared for any eventuality or adventure that finds its way into your path.
It is, after all, all about comfort, adventure and returning to routine, which in fashion means playing with the aforementioned trident of colour, texture, and layering in due course of creating a distinctive aesthetic that one could rightfully consider as being the magnum opus of sartorial high-low hardy (casual) elegance.
And seeing as (for many amongst us) one of the inevitable joys of the season is that of revelling within the confines of the transitional changing of the (seasonal) guard, from basking in the glory of the (all but to fleeting) richly coloured visual tapestry on display (both in nature and fashion) and finding simple pleasure in the satisfying crunching of freshly fallen leaves underfoot through the embracing of what is often deemed as being the glorified epitome of the fashion industry’s calendar year — the transitional autumn layering season -- one could say that the enduring draws of the season are certainly aplenty.
With that in mind, let’s (together) endeavour towards embracing, heralding, and easing into all it that has to offer — while keeping in tact our signature levels of calculated sartorialism — by means of turning to any of the following investment worthy seasonal essentials, all of which are fully deserving of a place in every gents perennial wardrobe after having dutifully earned their iconic staple status whilst functioning as the marked harbingers (upon their first seasonal appearance that is) of the sartorial changing of guard from summer to autumn.
Or, as I prefer to call them: the “Legends of Fall”.
Sartorial (trendy) gambits these are not but rather evergreen wardrobing essentials that bespeak of the timeless merits and lasting appeal behind classic forms and silhouettes that lean upon stylishly pared-down simplicity and ruggedly tailored (autumnal) elegance as their characteristic hallmarks.
So, with any further or ado, the "Legendary" roll-call…
As such, one could honestly say that its selling points are aplenty: rich in sartorial history and gentlemanly appeal whilst being ably cut and ready to serve in both a casual or formal capacity (bucolic or city), they are adaptively versatile, insulating (whether fully lined or deconstructed) and nearly indestructible (fire + waterproof).
In checks or solids (brown, grey herringbone, orange/green are of particular note), utilize this (original) sportswear performance piece — which first emerged in modern form in 18th century Scotland (the Outer Hebrides to be precise) —as a makeshift transitional jacket (with knitwear/vests/gilets layered beneath a la the style of Ivy Preps) or rather as a standalone (understated) statement making piece by pairing it (in either grey or brown) with a chambray shirt, suede tan double-monks, and dark rinse denim for a cool yet considered look that works remarkably well in staving off the damp, wet conditions of the season whether you intend on taking in the bucolic splendour of the season or just have a desire to take a touch of the country aesthetic into the city (for casual affairs) on any given autumn weekend for date night or running errands.
Sported throughout history (and many an autumn) by some of the most sartorially astute and inspiring gents to have every graced this planet — from HRH Prince Charles and classic gentlemen such as Messrs Robert Redford and Alain Delon right through modern style icons such as Eddie Redmayne and David Gandy — opt for a grey herringbone (if your intent is upon exclusively sporting it) for city wear or any sort of brown (or green, blue, burnt orange…) for country/leisure wear while keeping this in mind: dark jacket = light trousers; light jacket=dark trousers…and always attempt to match tones not exact colours.
As such it occupies that aesthetic sweet spot between classic and modern whilst being a texturally captivating habiliment that proves that one can indeed be elegant while dressing casually. In that regard, it is the ideal (outerwear) choice for the season, an old-world country staple that delivers rugged gentlemanly refinement in spades whilst characteristically acting as a mark of impeccable good taste.
Now if only tweed could tell of the tales and adventures it has been put through (and repurposed for)…
At once (i.e. upon a simple glance) having the ability to immediately conjure images of pioneering lumberjacks and contemporary rock and movie-stars alike, its innately masculine, hard-wearing (yet comfortable to wear) construction — which is both warming (one could even say cozy) and invitingly supple to the touch — in addition to what is a seemingly ageless approachability and an enduring cultural prominence, bespeak of the true hallmarks of a living legend that has managed to consistently (and slyly) reintegrate itself into the beating heart of the ever-evolving definitions of popular style/fashion culture throughout time.
Aesthetically speaking, (plaid) flannel shirts are low risk, high reward options that can be effortlessly throw (or layered) on without any calculated thought or lengthy styling consideration – you can (literally) wear it to the ground and with anything from slim-fit denim, leather hiking boots and a t-shirt to a Harrington bomber (or a lightweight toggle duffle coat), chinos and white canvas sneakers..
To that tune it is important to note that when wearing something as bold as a flannel (Buffalo) plaid shirt (no matter what ensemble you fancy working it into) that you should keep the rest of your ensemble pared down and simply styled (i.e. err towards neutral colours that will compliment the uniquely distinct plaid palette of your chosen flannel shirt) so as to afford it both the proper starring role and stage to shine unopposed as the standout yet subtle statement making garment that it is.
Having (irrefutably) cemented its status as a perennial staple of the season, all you truly need worry about is what style (of flannel shirt) is best suited for you.
And seeing as you have a vast array of variable options at your disposal it may well be safe to assume that successful completing such a task should not be an issue; but if in doubt my advice would be to opt for one in a traditionally styled, mid-weight, fitted Buffalo Plaid (seeing as it is amongst the most versatile of looks).
Nonetheless, and if Buffalo plaid does not tickle your immediate fancy, then you will be happy to know that they now come available in a considerable latitude of heritage patterns (from Black-Watch plaids and windowpanes), fits (slim through spacious) and styles (from its rugged classic form and modern western-inspired cowboy-yoked iterations through tailored button-down dress shirts).
Suffice it to say, there is no pressing need to resort to the most popular iterations or to feel pigeon-holed into buying into the norm. On the contrary, exploring on your own (and to your hearts content) before settling upon the perfect one is something that I highly recommend..
In its most identifiable modern form, it was initially (within the last century that is) rocketed into the pop culture consciousness (and iconically cemented into evergreen wardrobing staple status) by such iconic figures as Messrs James Dean, Elvis Presley, and evenThe Beach Boys (who styled them upon the cover of their hit cd: 1962’s Surfer Girl) before being prominently carried into the modern age on the back of luxury brands (think Prada and YSL) and fast-fashion juggernauts (Topman, ASOS, and Marks & Spencer come to mind) alike whilst being further championed by the likes of David Beckham and numerous young grunge, rock (and pop) stars (ie. Harry Styles) as a (rebelliously considered?) informal essential that every style-conscious contemporary gent should strongly consider investing in today.
Perhaps due to its merited rugged charm, hardwearing (reliable) fabrication, chameleon like adaptability, or even its innately comfortable construction.
And perhaps due to the fact that it has been a fall staple for well over 100 years now and is a near surefire bet to remain so for the next 100 to come while being a style that looks good on every sort of gent…whether they have the ability to fell a tree or not.
Case in point: the elevated corduroy trouser.
A truly influential (and polarizing) essential come fall if fashioned (and worn) correctly, the modern corduroy trouser has (thankfully) been given a slimming down treatment that has in turn smartened it up and made it an appropriate and considered casual and formal option with elevated (seasonal) versatility — as at home backdropping bucolic apple picking excursions through the office or date night in the city.
Point being is that in reaching for the comforts of corduroy (and boy is it comfortable) a man is no longer required to sacrifice a certain level of elegance (as was often implied/the reality in the past) as direct consequence of wearing this very subtle yet teturally poignant seasonal staple.
Moreover, updated cuts and pared-down whaling (i.e. the shrinking of the width of the definitive "stripes" on corduroy) have also aided in characteristically redefining and rebranding it for broader appeal amidst the pop culture (and fast-fashion) crowd. Which, in itself, is great for any gent who was always on the fence about them or who never truly fancied themselves as being staunch Wes Anderson style acolytes before (but are now reconsidering it).
Available in a swath of rich autumnal hues (from burnt orange through mustard and burgundy) and easy-to-wear washed out colours as well (tan, grey, etc), corduroy garments as a whole (pants included) have always actively drawn upon the visual concept (and ideal) of perfect (vertical) symmetry while adhering to that of a simply stylized form that has both timeless appeal and a level of intriguingly detailed intricacy and minimalist deign that is both a visual sight to behold and a textural joy to wear first hand.
And much akin to many other heritage-inspired pieces in this feature, corduroy trousers too echo that hardy sentimentalism (and stylized simplicity/essentialism) of the fall season and are as essential to the traditional autumnal wardrobing habits of style-conscious gents worldwide as masquerades having alway been to Halloween: intrinsically intertwined throughout time in a histroical manner yet contemporarily underrated in every sense of the word.
Nevertheless, and with small cultural slights and oversights thrown to the wayside, corduroy has always relied upon its simultaneously soft yet masculine appeal, its decades long quality construction, and its adaptively capable form — super soft, exceptionally warm, and durably long-lasting — to carry it through all of its historic high-and-lows; living, dying and resurrecting itself, as it were, without relenting to the transient tides of trending fashionability.
Surprisingly easy to wear and with a real masculine depth to its character, the almighty corduroy trouser — despite being in and out of popular fashion for over 200 years — certainly has undergone a welcomed reinvention of sorts that should better position it to penetrate within the ever-evolving wardrobes of the next generation as something with plenty of sartorial gravitas to spare for any looking for a remarkable addition to their casual wardrobe that will add genteel charm and sartorial panache in equal measure to ones apropos fall looks for years to come.
Surely the Fantastic Mr. Fox would approve.
From agelesscable-knit (Aran) crewneck jumpers and belted ribbed cardigans through plush waffle-knit roll (turtle) necks, the venerable roll-call of fall-ready luxurious chunky knits ultimately bespeaks unto what is a manifested rugged elegance that is at once both casually comforting and considerably stylish; something that countless numbers of gents amongst us (yours truly included) have had a lifelong romance with and that get a sublime level of satisfaction out of wearing.
Characteristically charming, utterly comfortable and structurally capable to function as transitional outerwear throughout the early stages of fall (and as a layering essential thereafter), considered pieces such as the iconic fisherman’s (Aran) cable-knit jumper harmoniously strike the perfect balance between sensibly fitted comfort and heritage style whilst doubling down as blissful masterstrokes of layering ingenuity come the holiday season and the arrival of a certain jolly gent in his iconic red suit.
A supply sophisticated choice — albeit one born out of workwear utility — for down days and off-duty wear, the Aran crewneck is often found fashioned in versatile, natural hues such as oatmeal, caramel, grey or navy (amongst others) and you would do well in following suit (so to speak) by adopting any of those colours whilst further endeavouring towards hunting one down that is expertly crafted of either a richly textured merino or lambswool (or cashmere-blends of either) for not merely its enduring durability and unrivalled quality but moreover to ensure that it keeps you warm, comfortable, and considerably stylish all season long (and for decades to come).
In that regard, your best bet would likely be to invest in one (or a few if truth be told) that is tailored with a slimmer (so it does not pillow at the waist) modern silhouette in mind — but not so slim as to discount the ability to add additional layers beneath it as the season progresses.
Weight wise, a medium 24-guage or a fine 30-guage knit is most desirable seeing as it will keep you warm on crisp autumnal days (while functioning as a standalone “jacket” on occasion) and cool if it is unseasonably warm (the happy medium as it were).
Detailed specifics (and Aran fisherman knit) aside, find sartorial solace in a chunky cable-knit cardigan (like a certain Mr. Steve McQueen before you) by pairing it with a simple heavy cotton fitted t-shirt (or henley) and (formal leaning) flannel striped trousers for a happy go lucky up-down look that has both visual and refined flair to its name (you can see this styled above). Alternatively, throw on a soft cable-knit turtleneck (the previously alluded to Aran sweater works wonders in such a situation) beneath a belted trench and atop slim dark-rinse (indigo) jeans and Chelsea boots for a smart take that is ready for the city.
Neither look work for you? Then simply wear it on its own (or with a white or blue OCBD beneath) with a simple cashmere scarf to channel the old-school charm of famous artists like Pablo Picasso.
Which, it should go without saying, is precisely why they have been worn (and turned to time-and-again) by Messrs (Elvis) Presley and (Steve) McQueen through a vast array of contemporary style icons (both on-screen and off) for their comfort, versatility, and seasonal utility.
Available in everything from fine, luxurious cashmere blends through elegant merinos and hardwearing heavy lambswool and alpaca wools, there is without question a chunky knit sweater (and version of the cable-knit) to satiate any sort of discerning taste.
As such, the chunky knit sweater — whilst historically typifying the preppy aesthetic — is an approachable (and intriguingly tactile) look that all men can buy into, an ageless form that can be charmingly sported from one’s immediate infancy right through his golden years (i.e. a lifetime) unabated.
So, while there is no doubt that fine-gauge knitwear is a year-round wardrobe essential (both in a formal and informal capacity), special attention (and due diligence) need be applied and stylishly paid forward during months when (insulated) layering is key to surviving the season.
And, as circumstance would have it, there is nothing ore ably prepared and functionally stylized for just such a task as the chunky knit sweater, which can swoop in to not only save the day but to add characteristic and visual depth to any look they finish off as well.
It is, suffice it to say, something that you will be glad you invested in for this season and next (and so on and so forth).
All of which leads to the fact that when sorting out the details of your chosen vest/gilet you should (first and foremost) take into account the unique environmental climate that you live in as well as your layering needs and, ultimately, its intended use.
In that regard heavier, down-filled iterations will surely be useful as (exclusive) outer layers worn over chunky knits in colder climes (places such as Canada, the upper states of the U.S.A. and from northern Italy up in Europe come to mind) whereas lightweight tailored versions can be easily packed away, unbeatably versatile (styled sussed up or played down) and useful most anywhere whether worn in conjunction with a fine-gauge cashmere-wool blended camel turtle (roll) neck sweater, white ducks (pants) and suede double-monks (as illustrated above) or layered beneath (tweed) blazers (with denim + dessert boots), denim jackets, or even your finest formalwear come the dawn of not only autumn but throughout the duration of winter as well.
On a final note, consider (as previously alluded to) going beyond the traditionally utilitarian, heritage-inspired route in lieu of something along the lines of the formal-leaning style incorporated into the inspirational ensemble above (which arrives courtesy of Suit Supply) as it proves that this traditionally casual piece can indeed be smart and sophisticatedly refined — just remember to keep it slim-fitted, luxuriously fabricated (wool-cashmere), and likely double-breasted.
Either way, the down-filled vest has stood against the trials of time and continually prevailed as an easy-to-wear “Legend of Fall” that can serve as the perfect option to add a neat yet practical touch of timeless appeal and volume to any given look — a true seasonal classic indeed.
- Are routinely beset (from one year to the next) with contending with all that the season has to offer (i.e. wet, damp, bone-chilling conditions) OR
- Simply have a taste and penchant for either the simplicities of country wear or rather enjoy venturing off into the beating heart of the great outdoors to take in first hand all of Mother Nature’s inspiring wonders and creatively stimulating seasonal resplendence in reassuring (sartorial) comfort.
Utterly practical, functionally impeachable and undeniably rugged at its core, albeit in a stylishly (to the keen eye) unorthodox manner, the duck boot has continually operated as a veritable safe haven for many a gent (and lady) over the past 100 years whilst imparting upon any who wear them a quite confidence and the proper level comfort that is needed to survive the unpredictable conditions that arrive with this time of year.
Hand-made by expert craftspeople, they are resoundingly resolute in their tasked purposing, lightweight (for a boot) in their signature (L.L. Bean) form, and considerably warm and insulating in their construction; something that will always be able to keep you high and dry (waterproof; trench foot be damned), on your feet (with their patented grip sole), and looking properly put-together all season long.
Richly ensconced in (often guaranteed for life) heritage artisan styling while being the epitome of (off-duty) autumnal outdoors footwear, its perhaps best that you never underestimate the staying power of a good (wardrobe foundation building) boot, especially one that has garnered as much accolade, historical clout and technical credibility as the venerable, country-inspired (L.L. Bean) duck boot.
But what elevates and renders them to be so special in the first place you may well inquire to ask?
Well, what works about them, aside from the fact that they are so deeply ingrained and positioned into the very (quintessential) style identity of an entire nation (i.e. the U.S.A.) that is, is that they can be quite fashionably versatile — try sporting yours as detailed above with a denim on denim combo alongside a down-filled vest or with quilted or field field jacks, corduroy trousers and chunky knitwear if you prefer — and peerless in both their quality construction and perennial seasonal application.
They are, after all, a heirloom quality “ Legend of Fall” that is often passed down from generation-to-generation without the need arising to ask about the specifics behind their practical and enduring merits or even the will to question as to why they have garnered such a following on route to becoming internationally worldly renowned over the years .
As such, for the casual bystander it’s a risk in itself not to be drawn in by such a venerable essential if but only for the sake of sartorial curiosity; for the well acclimatized amongst us (on the other hand), it is rather difficult not to want to reach for a pair that has been in the family for decades for not only their reassuring comfort but also in hopes of reminiscing upon the many tales that are deeply ingrained into every wrinkle, nook and cranny that consequently stand as visual proof of what is a uniquely woven tapestry of history and bygone adventure on each individualized pair — something that (if they could talk) could likey be waxed poetically upon for hours on end.
Whatever the case may be (i.e. whether you own a pair or not; are a fan or despise them), you can rest comfortably in knowing that these boots have literally been put through the cultural (and natural) grinder, having been tried-and-tested (pushed to the limits) extensively worldwide by both the military (in war-torn trenches) and average civilians (on expeditionary excursions to both Poles and everywhere else in-between) alike and coming out the other end no worse for the wear.
Ergo, you must now ask yourself whether there is indeed a better (more uncompromising and emblematic) boot for your (bucolic only?) seasonal needs come autumn and its many (natural/cultural) trials-and-tribullations?
I, for one, certainly would not argue otherwise if you proclaimed that there wasn’t.
As such, and taken as a whole, one could say that they have the rare, honest ability to truly invoke and inspire true emotion from their beloved fans to the effect of not only always being ably prepared and game for your next adventure but also in paying due diligence to actively connecting and documenting our collective pasts and future achievements all the same.
And it is with that percolating in mind that I will simply sign of on them by asking you this one final question:
What other garment, accessory, or article of fashion (aside from the duck boot) can accomplish just such a feat for decades upon decades without functional fault or the need for replacement?
Very few (a tweed sports coat, garbardine trench and leather jacket immediately) come to mind…which is precisely why the duck boot — whether you are for or against its unique form; it can be quite polarizing in its styling mind you — is the final piece to the “Legends of Fall” wardrobing puzzle.
Autumn is undoubtably a beautiful time of the year and an utter delight to not only visually behold but to take in on a heightened sensory, sartorial and experiential level.
Crisp leaves, brisk fresh air, the notion of adventure and relaxation, and the freedom of clear open skies (as well as morbidly wet and damp conditions) coalesce into bringing to the table fashions favourite time of year: the season of layering.
It is, as such, a welcomed occasion to look forward too that, whether you are a discerning sartorialist or just a style-conscious naturalist at heart, is sure to be a pleasure to bask in as well as an intoxicating time of the year that has come to gather (over time) its own set of permanent style wardrobing stalwarts, or as I’ve endeavoured to calling them in this feature: “The Legends of Fall”.
Consequently, what you have been privy to throughout this feature are the quintessential (must-own) icons of the season. Pieces that, without equivocation, bring to
: Further Inspiration :
So, whether it is in taking some time out to fit in one last weekend camping trip, taking a hike in the nearest woods or going apple picking, or just simply having the desire to add some charming heritage stylings (and visual/textural appeal) to your seasonal repertoire, these 6 essentials will ably (and tastefully) carry you through any autumnal eventuality while you wile away all your worries (stealing a moment here and there from the hustle and bustle) in the splendours of the season.
Built to last, eminently practical and crafted out of luxe materials, these are the autumnal wardrobing staples that you will be able to rely upon for decades to come — easy-to-wear (stylishly minimalist) essentials that will forevermore look the proper part, only get better with time, and that will reliably function and help you navigate through the duration of autumn’s variable thick-and-thin without fault.
“Simplicity", as Baudelaire once wrote, “is the best way of being distinguished.”
And these 6 “Legends of Fall” are an affirmative testament to just such a sound inspirational wardrobing discourse, being collectively (at their foundational core) all distinctively understated in their pared-down simplicity and versatile casual elegance.
Game-changing, perhaps (or perhaps not?).
Game-winning, most certainly!
Truly legends of autumn indeed!
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