Ed Phelan, the owner of the Spoon Drawer and aspiring writer, brings you his guide to seasonal clothing for the male business commuter.
For standard blokes, this post could be summarised in about a sentence – “Wear it if it’s clean”. But this one is for the gents because as we know – commuting to work isn’t as simple as A to B. We want to look sharp, but there’s usually about forty-six different obstacles between us and work that are seemingly determined to ruin our outfit. This seasonal guide to clothing for the business commuter follows on from A Guide to Being the Finished Gentlemen in 2016.
PSA for the guys that bring a change of clothes. This is nothing against those of you who arrive to work in your Lycra and come out of the toilets fifteen minutes later in their suit and tie. The rest of us simply can’t plan that far ahead. I’m always super scared of my boss only knowing me as ‘bike hair in the hi-vis’. How am I meant to strive for that promotion then? Having never done it myself, I simply don’t understand how one can get ready for work in an office toilet. No shower, no spray, no ironing board. It’s incomprehensible. If you can pull it off, go right ahead. You’re an inspiration to gents up and down the country. But the rest of us will stick to getting out of bed as late as humanly possible and arriving at work with three minutes to spare.
As we all know, British weather is consistently inconsistent. By that I mean, 364 days of rain come and go. The 365th day is the hottest day since records began. The one day of vitamin D abundance usually comes in either Spring or Summer. So is it even worth preparing for?
Answer – yes. Despite the rain, Spring is notoriously muggy and horrible. Which means that we gents need to dress light. Waterproof jackets are a must, but don’t wear vests or t-shirts underneath. The humidity is bad enough on the roads or pavement, let alone on the London underground. There’s nothing worse than commuting to work, overdressed on a humid day. If the new year brought a change of lifestyle and you’re looking to get healthy by cycling to work. Then opt for some urban cycle clothing to effortlessly combine technology and fashion. You’ll even blend in at work – no change of clothes required!
I repeat – there’s nothing worse than commuting to work, overdressed on a humid day. You should all know by now, there might not be any sun. It might be raining, there might even be snow. It’s still going to be 102 degrees on the underground. Blazers are a no go for the business commuter. Which means that if your work dress code requires one – you’re going to need to drape it. Don’t even consider braving the attempts to wear a black blazer and commute, no matter how aerating it seems when you’re at home, remember that you’re not commuting from your kitchen through to your living room. You’re going from your house, through the Sahara, Dante’s Inferno and that restaurant kitchen you used to work part time at when you were a student – before you get to work.
Gentlemen, you’re still dressing to impress. But we shouldn’t be perceiving summer as a challenge. No. Consider it an opportunity to experiment with Summer garments that aren’t socially acceptable the rest of the year. Shades, short sleeve shirts. Brightly coloured work shirts, navy blues, pinks, creams, even the occasional light brown.
Honestly, it’s probably the same miserable temperature as Summer was. But one thing’s different – there’s lots of leaves on the ground and goodness knows what’s underneath them. This is the only season of the year where it’s remotely acceptable to wear a different pair of trainers to work and change when you get in. This, like summer is another opportunity to wear accessories you normally wouldn’t. You’re a gentleman after all and you can’t be lugging around a spare pair of shoes in a plastic carrier bag. Shop around for a stylish man bag and go with that. Remember to keep it waterproof. Backpacks aren’t allowed, so don’t even ask.
It is still likely to be pretty humid, but Autumn is the season of the trench coat. I’ve personally been looking for the light brown one Daniel Craig wears in Spectre for some time now. If you know the one I’m talking about, A) buy it and B) let me know where from so that I can buy it too. You will be alright wearing a blazer, but as you’re wrapping up tight, make sure you’re wearing a good quality shirt that won’t crease too heavily.
Out of the frying pan and into the bitter winds of winter. You might be alright going with Autumn’s trench coat, but every gentleman should be looking to expand their clothing repertoire. Go for something thicker, darker and waterproof. Add a stylish scarf and learn how to tie it. If you need inspiration check out Purple Eagle’s video on How a Modern Man can Tie His Scarves. Train commuters will need to equip their most grip capable shoes because no doubt the floors will be icy. Boots are perfectly acceptable, the thicker the better. Be careful with brown boots, and as always match the colour of your belt to the colour of your brogues.
I personally always find that I’m more susceptible to sweating, the colder it is. I’ll never know why, because I didn’t listen closely enough during secondary school biology – but it doesn’t matter, because each man has their own anti-sweat ritual. Opting for a roll-on