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Style Advice

The new essential investment pieces

The new essential investment pieces

There comes a time each year when we re-evaluate our sartorial choices of seasons gone by. Will that novelty knit serve its seventh winter in a row? Does that Hawaiian print shirt still represent ‘me’? Chances are, the clothes that worked then no longer feel so relevant now – especially in the very strange year that is 2020. But the ones that do stand up to shifting trends, your evolving style, and even the occasional pandemic? Investment pieces. The kind of items that stay timeless; the ones that, in 10 years’ time, make you feel smug about buying them – not leave you wondering, “what on earth was I thinking?”

To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we asked our stylist Toby Standing to share the top five items you’ll want to invest in now, and wear forever.

A pair of considered sweatpants

“If you’re at home either working or sheltering from the pandemic this winter, do yourself a favour and invest in some incredible sweatpants. They’ll save you reaching for the pair you bought five years ago that are pilled and wearing through.

Spend around £100-£250, and you’ll be sure you’re getting a premium pair made from quality fabrics. Look for plush cotton or wool styles, in smarter colours like black and navy. A sleek tapered fit will prevent your sweatpants from entering pyjama territory, so you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in them if you’re popping to the supermarket.”

A fashion-meets-function raincoat

“A raincoat is often seen as a purely practical staple – something that you have to have but don’t necessarily want to wear – so people usually go for the cheapest option. Investing in a quality raincoat that doesn’t sacrifice on style will help you get more wear of this functional piece – and save the dread of putting one on.

This Stutterheim raincoat has all the qualities you’d expect from a performance rain jacket, but without the sporty aesthetic – ideal for wearing with your smarter jeans and trousers. It has double-welded seams that are made from rubberised cotton to keep out the rain.

Look to spend between £150-£250 on a really good-quality raincoat, and you’ll feel smug pulling it out in the rain next to everyone in their second-rate ‘shower-resistant’ jackets. Heck, you might even find yourself looking forward to rainy days.”

Luxe sneakers

“Not all trainers were created equal. There is such a thing as a sliding scale of quality in the casual footwear market, and it’s easy to get lost in the sea of low-quality low-top trainers. You may find that you have to replace certain trainers within six months, as the colours may scratch or fade and stubborn stains just won’t come out. 

Instead, look to the ‘luxe sneaker’ – like this pair from Common Projects, as well as designs from labels such as Axel Arigato and A.P.C. The brand is known for its premium Italian-made leather trainers that actually get better with age. They’ll be on par next to your worn-in leather boots you’ve had for years.”

A wear-forever plaid shirt

“A proper plaid shirt can often seem like a relegated style you only find in vintage shops or on-screen in some midwest Lynchian horror film, but they’ve got such a rich history in menswear that deserves more recognition. 

If you find a style that fits your colour palette (pretty easy as there are a million colours going), they can do a lot of work when it comes to layering and adding texture and interest to your looks. 

Buying a quality flannel plaid shirt makes all the difference, too. There’s a reason why so many Pendleton shirts are still hanging around in vintage stores: they’re built to last.”

A bag for life

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone should own a practical bag. And not just the canvas tote you got for free at a networking event that one time, but one that is purposeful and fits your style.

Whether you’re a tote-toting man or part of the backpack pack, there are plenty of options out there that are built to stand the test of time – both in terms of quality and style. Look to spend £150-£250, and you should be covered with an (almost) bag for life. Minimal designs made from hardy cotton canvas with leather trims – like this Want Les Essentiels iteration – will fare best through changing trends and general wear and tear.”

Words: Ashlie Brombley
Styling: Toby Standing