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Brand and shopping advice

The three pieces that never go out of style

The three pieces that never go out of style

The word ‘timeless’ is bandied around so much these days, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything is a classic. But maybe what people mean by a ‘timeless classic’ is a garment that was popular around a hundred years ago, went through phases of unpopularity, and is now en vogue again.

After all, it’s hard to make the case that a pair of cords has always been the fashionable option. Ten years ago, they were the preserve of retired lawyers with labradors. But back in the 70s, they were the last word in cool.

There’s no getting away from fashion’s cyclical nature – and yet it’s impossible to imagine a time when a plain white tee would look out of place. Or any of these items below, for that matter.

The trench coat

One of the OGs of menswear, the trench coat has been synonymous with practicality ever since its origins in the trenches of WW1.

“It’s never gone out of style,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “Instead, the dimensions change, it gets bigger or gets smaller. For the last couple of years, they’ve been really slim and really short. Now, you’re looking at a fuller cut.” For longevity, split the difference.

Luke’s advice is to look for one that reaches to the knee. “It’s one of the few jackets that goes well with a suit as it’s long enough to cover the back of the blazer,” he says. “It’s also easy to wear in a casual way with jeans.” 

The leather wallet

Few items in your wardrobe can trace their roots back to Ancient Greece. The wallet Perseus carried just had fewer credit card pockets. So if you’re looking for a wallet that’s not going to date, skip the novelty factor. You don’t need an RFID-blocking wallet, or one with in-built key rings or an excessive number of zips. Aim for something functional and without a bulky coin pouch – because who carries cash nowadays?

“Look at everything in your wardrobe,” says Luke. “The things you use the most are shoes, belts and your wallet, so it makes sense to spend money on one that’s really nice. You will use it every day.”

As for colour, don’t be afraid to bold as long as you keep it plain. Avoid huge logos, as that can come across as tacky on something like a wallet. And unless you wear a suit every day, go for brown as opposed to black leather, which can look a little jarring if you’re more of a jeans-and-an-Oxford-shirt type of guy.

Now, here’s how to look after your wallet so that it actually does last. Avoid over-stuffing it. (Yes, chance would be a fine thing etc. etc.) The reason is that once misshapen, leather doesn't snap back to its original form. Other than that, wipe it regularly if it’s showing signs of dirt and then use a leather conditioner once a year. Easy.

The leather lace-ups

Your wardrobe probably contains more trainers than your father’s did, but odds are your smart shoes don’t look so different from the ones he wore. “A great pair of dark brogues or derby shoes, that can be resoled, is a worthwhile investment,” says Luke.

To that end, Luke suggests opting for a pair of blake-stitched or Goodyear-welted shoes, as their soles can be replaced.

A quick primer: there are three ways of attaching a shoe’s sole. Goodyear welting is where a strip of leather is attached to the upper and the sole sewn onto that. In Blake stitching, the sole is sewn directly onto the upper. Then there’s cementing, which is basically glueing, and therefore the cheapest method. Blake-stitched shoes can only be repaired by cobblers with a specific Blake machine, making it more difficult and expensive than replacing the sole on a Goodyear welted shoe.

“You basically want something that can be worn with jeans,” says Luke. “Nothing too slim and formal. A black derby with a chunkier sole is easy to wear with a suit, but great with jeans as well.”

Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Chris Howlett
Styling: Freddie Kemp and Luke McDonald