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Creating a Transitional Capsule Wardrobe: 2020 Edition

We talk about transitional wardrobes in relation to the seasons – particularly autumn and spring, with the assumption of fluctuating temperatures and conditions. Transitional weather within this context means dressing for the immediate – for instance, you’re not going to depend on a heavy knit when the forecast reads 19C – and anticipating what could happen – cool evening temperatures or suddenly overcast skies with a chance of rain.

Reflecting this, two elements make up a transitional wardrobe: versatility and the ability to layer. Some might argue that, at least if you’re a fairly fashion-forward gentleman, these are one in the same. You wouldn’t layer without factoring in style, and the interchangeable parts concept – of everything working in conjunction with everything else to some degree – is the hallmark of versatility. Yet, as the rise (and you could say early fall) of the scrumbro might tell us, you can layer without having an eye for colour or silhouette, to the point your getup resembles a laundry basket of rumpled, baggy, poorly arranged clothing. The foundation of a transitional wardrobe ultimately comes down to a few basics offering at least three-season usage. Consider the following:



Jeff Banks Grey Textured Overcoat, Tailored Fit: While some may make the argument that an overcoat is solely a winter garment, we’d have to disagree. Its medium weight and longer length suit the last month or so of autumn, especially when your bomber and a hoodie are no longer cutting it, and has the space underneath for a layer when you want to double up on warmth. It’s there for spring’s early period – dreary, grey, and still cool, as you’re waiting for the green to finally emerge. This offering from Jeff Banks shakes up a heritage silhouette with lightweight, textured wool-blend fabric for a variation on a classic that doesn’t veer too far off course. 

£269 by Jeff Banks 

A Simple White Crewneck T-Shirt  

Very Man Tee: We don’t give the T-shirt as much credit as it deserves. It functions perfectly fine as a shirt alone – pairing well with a bomber or blazer by spring – and can be worn as an undershirt or next-to-skin layer through autumn and winter. Yet, while you can choose from V-neck and even U-neck options out there, the crewneck has stood the test of time, practical and unpretentious no matter how you wear it. Very, here, maintains that timeless silhouette while supporting the Better Cotton Initiative, an effort geared toward sustainable farming. 

£6 by Very Man

Jeff Banks
Jeff Banks

Sweatshirt Hoodie 

The North Face Open Gate Full Zip Hoodie: Some guys cling to the old-school appeal of their Champion-style sweatshirt – heathered on the outside and with brushed fleece for warmth on the interior. While these have you covered on the coldest days, what happens when you sweat? The sweatshirt hoodie, like the Open Gate from The North Face, takes its place within the practical Parthenon through a design that’s ideal for layering and has you covered for both active and casual wear. Throw it over a tee during the late days of spring and early portion of autumn, and by winter, it ups the warmth of your wool overcoat without adding extra bulk. 

£65 by The North Face 

Classic Denim 

501 Men's Original Fit Jean by Levi’s: Denim trends come and go, from rips and bleaching to skin-tight fits to wide silhouettes that cover most of your boots. In more recent years, the moto silhouette has offered an alternative, and predictably, cargo pockets – due to the abundance of utilitarian features – have started to make an appearance. Still, once all of these adornments eventually go, the midrise, straight-to-tapered fit in a medium wash, with no fading or whiskering, will be left standing. Levi’s has done this well for decades with its 501 style, and it’s one that, going forward, will likely always look sharp in a classic heritage sense. 

£90 by Levi's


Textured Knits 

Superdry Jacob Cable Crew Jumper: Super-fine knits often feel like they’re attempting to pass a sweater off as something it’s not – a T-shirt or a sweatshirt for starters. Chunky, thicker, marled knits, like this cable-knit number from Superdry, are transparent about what they are from the get-go and appear to revel in their status. This style does just that with a wool blend for warmth, cable knit, and flecked material, and offers just a slightly spacious feel that easily layers over T-shirts and even shirts. 

£55 by Superdry 

Solid-Colour Oxford Shirt  

Ben Sherman Signature Oxford Shirt: Men have a choice of several styles of collared shirts, from the casual, if not athletic-leaning, polo to the camp or notch collar to the stiff-collar shirt crafted almost specifically for formal affairs. The Oxford – exemplified by this faded blue Ben Sherman style – hits the sweet spot with a work-appropriate design that’s not too stuffy for your bomber or trucker jacket yet dresses up nicely with a blazer for a weekend wedding. 

£60 by Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman
Ben Sherman

Black Lace-Up Boots 

Jack & Jones Russel Leather Boots: Some will tell you trainers are the do-it-all shoe you can carry through the year. We disagree to a point. A solid pair of leather lace-up boots (or even a Chelsea silhouette) delivers optimal versatility. Exemplifying that, these Jack & Jones boots have the rugged looks to pair with denim or chinos, yet aren’t so far out there you can’t wear them to the office or an occasion calling for cocktail attire. 

£70 by Jack & Jones 

A Navy Blazer 

Skopes Darwin Jacket: With blazers, any colour or pattern you can imagine is out there right now. For tried-and-true style that makes it seem like you take work seriously, this Skopes single-breasted jacket casts a classic figure with notched lapels, a two-button closure, and double vents on the back. 

£110 by Skopes

Jack & Jones
Jack & Jones

Twill Chinos 

Farah Chino Trousers: Chinos, like blazers, come in an almost innumerable amount of colours, but those pale pink ones might not take you a couple of years from now. Navy, khaki, charcoal grey, and even olive, like this pair from Farah, deliver that degree of longevity while providing three-season wear and serving as the keystone of today’s smart-casual office wardrobe. 

£55 by Farah

Ivan Yaskey

Philadelphia’s streetwear scenes and working as a copywriter for a Boston-based menswear brand sparked Ivan's passion for fashion and style more than a decade ago.



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