Sharpen up: seven wardrobe hacks from the menswear shows

From practical footwear to black leather blazers, here’s how to update your look following the AW19 shows in Paris
The look for autumn winter 2019-2020 – leather blazers, statement knits, huge scarves and leopard print
The look for autumn winter 2019-2020 – leather blazers, statement knits, huge scarves and leopard print. Composite: Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock/Getty/IPA/ Design
The look for autumn winter 2019-2020 – leather blazers, statement knits, huge scarves and leopard print. Composite: Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock/Getty/IPA/ Design

Last modified on Wed 23 Jan 2019 06.21 EST

Work your jumper to the max

There you were thinking that those faithful knits in your wardrobe were background items. On the contrary: the humble jumper proved to be the backbone of the shows, and how you wear yours speaks volumes about your style. The big decision is whether you wear it tight and tucked or long and loose. The former means you’re in the Vetements and Acne camp and strikes a care/don’t-care-meets-90s-throwback note. The latter says you have a laissez-faire approach and like art galleries – see Loewe’s knits, which came beautifully beaded and also featured intarsia. The third way to update your jumper game is to wear one in lieu of a shirt with a suit, as seen at Hermès. Très chic.

Go bold or go home

Sacai menswear. Photograph: Victor Boyko/Getty Images

If you’re a fully paid-up member of the navy brigade, this one’s not for you. If, however, you’re not afraid to embrace your inner wild child, there are the only two words you need to know from the shows: leopard print. Taking a leaf out of the Kurt Cobain stylebook, Marni, Raf Simons and No 21 put leopard-print coats on the catwalk. Versace went one step further and matched a model’s head to his hide. If the full look is a step too far, introduce the print through a pair of shoes (as seen at Celine) or a statement shirt. The latter will tick another trend box: Prada, Dior, Iceberg and Per Götesson all made a case for bold button-ups.

Stretch your scarf

Checked wool scarf from Arket £39
Checked woollen scarf from Arket, £39.

The extra-long scarf is to next winter what the snood is to this, so get ahead of the game. While this item is as accessible and perennial as they come, the styling footnote must be adhered to in order to get the look. As seen at Sunnei, JW Anderson (both at his own brand and Loewe) and Rochas, it should be thrown asymmetrically over one shoulder in a haphazard way. (Think less Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, more Richard E Grant as Withnail.)

Dig out your practical footwear

Eytys  x H&M collaboration black boots, £130
Eytys x H&M collaboration black boots, £130

Hiking, toe-cap, gum, duck and Ugg boots are all fashion-week-approved, which is good news for two reasons. Firstly, if you’ve got a pair of heavyweight boots in the back of a cupboard somewhere, you’re quids in. Secondly, if you do invest in a pair, they’ll double up as walking/fishing/working/warm boots, and so again you’re quids in. For style notes, look to Ermenegildo Zegna, where the boots were heavy-duty but still slick; Berluti, where they were angular with metal caps; Jacquemus, where they were lace-up and galosh-like; and Heron Preston, which collaborated with Ugg to create the cosiest of slip-ons. H&M’s collaboration with Eytys has a couple of excellently priced options that launch this week.

Invest in a black leather blazer

Leather blazer: Brad Pitt
Leather blazer: Brad Pitt.

Give your biker, aviator and bomber jackets a little rest: the trophy piece to emerge from the shows is a black tailored butter-soft leather blazer. Tom Ford, No21, Marni, Paul Smith, Prada, Versace and Off-White all got the memo, and theirs came single-breasted and smooth, with peak lapels and a 90s sensibility. For moodboard inspiration, look to Al Pacino’s Carlito Brigante in Carlito’s Way from 1993, Lenny Kravitz promoting his Circus album in 1996, and Brad Pitt, off-duty, at practically any point in that decade. A caveat: unless you have one already, your best bet is eBay until post-show production swings into action.

Carry a big bag

Louis Vuitton bag
Louis Vuitton bag. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better – except that it does when it comes to bags this year. It’s time to reject micro and bumbags that can’t even carry the bare essentials, and become a turtle once more. Prada, A Cold Wall and Emporio Armani’s catwalks featured models making the case for more is more, while Louis Vuitton took up the most room with enormous woollen backpacks. Sat front row at his show was Frank Ocean, who is already ahead of the trend. He clutched an extra-large tote at his side at several of the shows.

Wear a suit at all times

Tailored chintz comfort suit, Zara. 

Jacket: £59.99, trousers: £29.99
Tailored chintz comfort suit, Zara.
Jacket: £59.99, trousers: £29.99.

Suits are officially the new streetwear (which used to be the new suit). Thanks to Kim Jones at Dior, Hedi Slimane at Celine, Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton and Kris Van Assche at Berluti, beautiful tailoring is back on the agenda, and it can be worn myriad ways. It needn’t be straight-laced: Charles Jeffrey used tartan for his Loverboy range; Clare Waight Keller crafted two-tone wool tweeds and gem-stone-hued styles; and Dries Van Noten went tie-dye. On the high street, places such as Arket, River Island and Zara will help you to look sharp right now.