Whether you consider yourself into capital-F fashion, or you prefer a wardrobe built around more timeless style, what you wear is still affected by trends. The shift from suits to jeans at work, the rise of trainers as shoes you can wear anywhere, even men wearing skinny jeans (and now the move back to something more relaxed) – they all started life on a fashion week runway, before percolating down, slowly, into everyone else's wardrobes.

That's not to say that to dress well you need to update your wardrobe every six months. We still believe that investing in clothes that will last is the best – and most sustainable – way to look good. But dipping a toe into trends is an excellent, and surprisingly simple, way to make any wardrobe feel fresh. With something as simple as a new fabric or slightly different silhouette, you suddenly look like you've got your finger on the pulse.

Not all trends are born equal, though. And not all can feel all that comfortable to wear. So to road-test three of the most interesting new autumn trends, we filled the wardrobe of one Thread staffer then asked him to wear them all, for two weeks, to find out which worked and which didn't.

Normally, marketing manager Sam sticks to an accidental uniform of black jeans, sweatshirt and plain trainers. So our stylists rejigged his style with an emerald puffer jacket, trainers you can see from two streets away and head-to-toe corduroy. This is how he fared.

BEFORE: Sam in his own clothes

"In the mornings, I'll leave the flat in my gym gear and throw my work clothes into my bag. That means, usually, it's something I've pulled together in 30 seconds.  My wardrobe is all very easy to match with each other as I tend to wear neutral colours: greys, blacks, nothing that will really pop out. I guess that means I often wear similar things, but it's never bothered me. As long as it's easy to put together and I feel comfortable, that's all that normally matters.

"I started at Thread in June and, despite being a fashion company, the office is chilled when it comes to clothes. You're not expected to show up in a suit, but it's not about wearing what's on the runway either. I don't know a lot about fashion – the stylists thought I was joking when I told them I didn't know who Anna Wintour is (I do now – she's in The Devil Wears Prada, right?). Anyway, my typical work outfit will be black trousers or blue jeans and a plain grey t-shirt.

"When one of our stylists, Freddie, first showed me the looks he had pulled for me, I wasn't really sure what to think. He'd asked me a few questions about my usual style and favourite brands, but I knew he'd be going way trendier than I'd ever normally go myself.

"For instance, this green puffer jacket, which is inspired by the oversized trend. When I first saw it, I remember thinking: 'I can work with this. It can just go over the top of what I wear currently.' And it's proven that. But because it's this slightly out-there shade of green, it's not something that I would ever have picked over, say, a black one. I would have looked for a 'safer' colour. When Freddie got me to try it on, I surprised myself with how much I liked it. It wasn't a big change from what I'd normally choose to wear, but that little shift made everything I wore it with feel more interesting, like I'd made an effort.

"Next up were the trainers. Now, these, I'm still not sure I would have bought with my own money. With my footwear, I try and stay quite minimal, so I've got Converse, black Nike Flyknit trainers, some brown boots, and a pair of smart shoes. These chunky, colourful sneakers really pushed me way outside my comfort zone. When I first put them on, I almost felt like I was wearing clown shoes (sorry, Freddie), but then I saw the photos and they actually look great.

"They're still not going to be my day-to-day, everyday look, but I will definitely add them in now and then. One of the things I liked about them is how you can use them to jazz up a neutral outfit very easily. It's just a case of trying to figure out which outfits they go with.

"The cord suit – oh my god. Without a doubt, this was the outfit I was most nervous about. I told my girlfriend and she couldn't stop laughing. I even told my mum the other day and she was like, 'Your dad used to wear that when he was 17.' But then they saw the pictures from the shoot and they were like, 'OK, it's pretty cool.'

"I was told that it was all about a 70s vibe that's apparently on-trend right now, which means corduroy and brown are particularly popular. But I don't really think about that side of things too much. However, I was surprised by how simple the cord jacket was to wear over my normal outfits. I ended up really liking the jacket by itself, and the trousers are growing on me.

Now, I feel like my cord jacket is the most fashionable thing I wear, whereas before, I couldn't tell you what the most fashionable thing I owned was. Which is nuts.

"The cord trousers were definitely trickier. I was sitting with Luke, one of the stylists, at lunch and he suggested wearing it with a white tee and white Converse, which is what I've done today. Just talking to the stylists makes you feel more confident because it obviously comes far easier to them, compared to someone like me who's never really thought about fashion before. But I think if I wore these trousers out with friends, they would definitely have a few questions.

"This experience has definitely made me want to be more adventurous with different styles, but it's very hard to get past that first barrier. So for any guys out there who are thinking about trying a trend, I'd say go for little changes, rather than one big change.

"Try a slightly more 'fashion' version of something that you already wear; the cord jacket is an upgrade on my denim jacket, for example. It's not like I'm trying to wear a cape. I just look back at my other outfits now and I just find them a bit boring."

 

AS TOLD TO: THERESA HAROLD
PHOTOGRAPHY: ANGUS WILLIAMS
STYLING: FREDDIE KEMP