Your suit may be splendid. Your beachwear may make waves. Your overcoat collection may be the stuff of ankle-brushing, lengthy legend. But these larger, more statement garments and outfits pale still in comparison to the importance of individual accessories.
Whether it’s a wallet, a necktie or a pair of signature sunglasses, your accessories bring your whole wider wardrobe together. They transcend single outfits, and span seasons to create your inimitable, year-round ‘look’. And yet, they can be pricey. A luxury leather belt, or a cashmere scarf could cost you hundreds. That’s why, in an effort to refine your accessories collection, we’ve rounded up eight essentials under £250...
#1: A well-made wallet
Firstly — and perhaps most importantly — let’s talk money. Every modern gent needs a safe, reliable place to stash his cold hard cash, and nothing fits the bill like a billfold. This particular type of wallet is, by far, the most practical kind of pocketbook; with room for notes, credit cards and even identity documents. After your smartphone, it’s probably your most constant (and counted upon) companion.
So it pays to invest in the best. But, even though Aspinal of London’s classically-cut option is one of the finest on the market, it’ll still leave you with enough notes to fill its every moiré silk-lined slot. It features eight credit card slots, two hidden pockets for receipts or business cards and is stylishly stitched from supple full-grain leather.
8 Card Billfold Wallet – Smooth Cognac
#2: A signature pair of sunglasses
Think sunglasses are just for summer? Think again. A pair of recognisable, eye-catching frames remain one of the most potent style tools at a modern man’s disposal. Not only can the right sunglasses change the shape of your face, but you’ll use them all year long — whether it’s on a bright spring morning or to dull the setting sun on a winter’s day drive.
But this means your choice of frames must be versatile. We’d suggest following in the footsteps of a sixties cinematic titan; Michael Caine. The actor wore these ‘Yvan’ sunglasses from Curry & Paxton both on set and off, and the striking-yet-adaptable design promises practicality and statement-making style in equal head-turning measure.
#3: A simple, block-coloured scarf
We associate scarves with winter, but these simple lengths of natty knitwear have a great deal more to offer. Find a basic design — something block-coloured and gently textured — and you’ll soon discover ways to wear your scarf that encapsulate everything great about accessorising (and the oh-so Italian art of ‘sprezzatura’).
We’ve got Peregrine’s ‘Porter’ scarf hanging on a hook by our door. From early autumn to the sharper end of springtime, this 100% Merino wool accessory is as easy-wearing as winterwear comes; stretching its use across seasons and woven with a no-nonsense straight-cut hem. It’s available in six different colours, but navy — as always — is best.
Porter Ribbed Scarf – Olive
#4: A basic belt — with a showy side
As with the scarf above, your belt should — first and foremost — be a functional accessory. But that doesn’t mean that these trouser-tightening loops of leather shouldn’t have a more swashbuckling side. In fact, if you can find the sweet spot between fashion and function, your belt will feel all the better for it.
For this, we’d turn to Awling. Based in Britain, and handcrafted in the brand’s trusty Walsall workshop, the beltmaker offers a braided spin on the style — woven from Italian vegetable tanned full grain leather and fitted with a solid brass buckle. The best part? Every belt of this design from Awning benefits from a hand-braided, painstakingly-plaited strap.
Braided Belt - Walnut Brown / Brass
#5: A secure key case
From scarves to sunglasses, you’ve likely heard of most accessories on this list. But the key case remains an oft-overlooked bit of handy, everyday kit. And, while most of us undoubtedly thread our keys onto a ring, chain or fob, there’s something a little more refined about hanging them in an elegant case.
Just look at this example from Ettinger. With a smooth calf leather outer and lining cut from soft-drummed cowhide, it has room to hang six of your most-used keys from a half-dozen hooks. But it also doubles as a wallet if you choose to leave your billfold at home — with a coin purse, one card slot and two slip pockets.
6-Hook Key Case Grey
#6: A do-it-all (but not dull) tie
We’ve tackled the knotty topic of neckties many times. But, despite the loopholes and questions of formality that come with these age-old accessories, there’s a simple, reliable way to find a dependable tie. And that’s to follow the example of a style icon. Like Michael Caine’s sunglasses above, we’d look to cinematic history — and this terrific tie from Turnbull & Asser.
The same exact design as the tie the Jermyn Street shirtmaker created for Robert Redford in 1974’s The Great Gatsby, this silk tie is 9.5 centimetres wide, has a gentle point and an unobtrusive yet interesting pattern. It ticks every tie box; with that versatile baby blue colour also matching almost every shirt and suit in your wardrobe.
The Great Gatsby Silk Tie as seen on Jay Gatsby
#7: A capable cold-weather hat
There’s much to be said about style; but much more to be said about comfort. Despite many modern men prioritising fashion over feeling comfortable, here at Gentleman’s Journal, we try to put our own physical ease first. Because there’s nothing cool or charismatic about someone who looks too buttoned-up, tightly-tailored or generally uneasy in their outfit.
Or cold, for that matter. That’s why, for the wild wintry weather that blows in every year, you should always have a hat to hand. And nothing too stylish; just a basic beanie that’ll keep your crown cosy when the temperatures drop. Thankfully, there are few better than this £30 option from Uniform Standard; knitted from luxuriously soft superfine lambswool.
Merino Wool Rib Beanie Navy
#8: A compact cardholder
Lastly, we return to the caching of your cash. While the billfold above is an excellent daily option, and the key case even has some hidden money-stashing skills, the humble cardholder is our final financial must-have. A pared-down, stripped-back basic of an accessory, most of these minimalist wallets are simple slips of leather with room for cards.
As is Charles Laurie’s design. But the British leather worker has put his own spin on the simple cardholder. This option not only has four individual card slots (each rakishly cut at an angle), but it also features one large central slip pocket — lined with silk and perfect for a few folded notes.
The Card Holder – Racing Green
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