The Best Fall Accessories for Men
Must-have items to elevate your style game
A stylish man knows – some things, you’ve just got to have ready and waiting in your wardrobe. Consider these fall accessories to be the Coast Guard of your closet. You might not need them all the time, but you’ll be happy they’re standing at attention when a flurry of fall social events, work presentations, date nights, and – yes, even bad weather – arise.
Check out this list of fall accessories that will elevate any guy’s outfit this season:
1. Mac coat
When it comes to outerwear, nothing is as timeless and versatile as a khaki, single breasted trench coat. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow can stop a good single-breasted khaki trench, called a “Mac” coat from keeping you looking good while battling the elements.
Named for Charles Mackintosh the inventor of the waterproof version, mac coats work and play hard no matter the conditions, and look good doing it.
History of the Mac Coat
The trench coat, like many men’s wardrobe staples, traces its origins back to military use. It was developed as a lightweight alternative to heavy “great coats” worn by members of the British military. The tan version as we know it was invented by Thomas Burberry and made of a heavy weight gabardine fabric. Gabardine is a very tightly woven fabric with a corded, denim-like appearance and is still an extreme popular fabric still used in trench coats today.
While Burberry continues making popular trenches today, Charles Mackintosh may be the name of greater use for this conversation. Charles Mackintosh, with the help of inventor Thomas Hancock, created the first waterproof trench coat in 1824.
By bonding fabrics with rubber using a vulcanization process, Mackintosh and Handcock were able to create coats that kept water from permeating the material, keeping the wearer nice and dry. To this day, single breasted trenches are all generically called “Mackintosh” or “Mac” coats, though the true Mackintosh coats are all waterproof and made only by the brand itself.
The Best Mac Coats for Guys
The ideal trench of today stays true in form and function to much of what of its predecessors innovated. There have been a number of technological advances that have made water – and weatherproofing jackets much easier. A good trench should definitely be waterproof – bonus points if it comes with a removable insulator for cooler temps.
Khaki is such an iconic color and pairs well with everything, so no need to deviate from the norm there. Look for a single breasted front, with side entry pockets, and (traditionally) a removeable belt.
When considering fit, it’s crucial to remember that a trench needs to be worn over different types of outfits. It’s useful to try on a trench coat with the bulkiest item you’d wear it over usually a blazer or suit jacket – as well as with just a simple shirt. The sleeves should fit trim with a high armhole; stay away from baggy wizard sleeves. The length of the coat should fall somewhere between the middle of the thigh and the knee, depending on preference. The shorter the coat, the more casual it will read; the longer the coat, the more traditional and dressy.
When all of the elements come together right, a khaki trench will go with everything. From jeans and a t-shirt on a day of errands, to a rainy morning commute to the office, your trench is there for you. Need to make sure a young lady gets on a plane and it leaves safely? A good khaki trench has your back.
Here are some great options to keep you looking cool and staying dry:
2. Automatic watch
We rely on our phones way too much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as anyone. Email, pictures, social media, even – gasp – phone calls, all on that little piece of handheld technology.
There are, however, certain functions that a phone should not tackle. At the top of that list? Human interaction, sure, but right below that? Telling time. A phone can never replace the look and feel of a great watch.
About an automatic watch’s movement
While there are all types of specialty watches for specific lifestyles, we are only talking about everyday watches and for everyday an analog watch is the way to go. Digital watches are way too casual. Sorry Apple Watch. Being able to tell time on an analog watch, instead of off your phone, is one of those things you’ll have to retrain yourself to do. But not to worry, you can do it!
The “movement” refers to the method by which the hands move on analog watches. There are two popular types of movement: Quartz and automatic. Quartz is the movement used in your standard, battery-operated watch. It’s the most commonly used movement in clocks and watches.
The big downside to quartz watches? battery life.
When batteries in quartz movement watches die, finding a replacement more like an epic quest then your typical arrand.
That’s why, if you’re going to have just one watch, go for one with an automatic movement.
Automatic watches are powered simply by the motion of your wrist. Unlike quartz watches with ticking second hands, automatic watches have second hands that quietly sweep. Ever wonder why Jay-Z rapped about “Rollie that don’t tick-tock”? It’s because those timepieces are automatic and not quartz movement. Now, if an automatic movement watch is left still too long (sitting on your dresser while you glance at your phone for the time day in, day out), it will stop. All it takes is a couple of shakes, however, and it’s right back going again.
Best styles of automatic watch
There are three stylistic elements to a watch: the metal, the face, and the strap. Metal is a personal preference. Some guys prefer gold tones, other silver.
Generally speaking, silver tones like steel are the safest bet for long-standing style.
As for the face, less is more when it comes to everyday watches. A simple face without a lot of bells and whistles – we’re talking, little more than a day and/or date window – will make sure you’re sporting a watch that looks as good with your suit as it does with your jeans.
As for a great go-to face color? Well, you can’t go wrong with white.
As for the watch strap, having a few different styles is the key to versatility. Say you have an interview or a formal event and you’re wearing a charcoal suit. A black leather strap is perfect for a dressier look. For a night at the bars where jeans and a white tee is the look, swap the leather band for a fabric one for a dressed down look.
Fabric bands come in a range of styles, from canvas to chambray. The nylon NATO strap is the most popular, however. They come in a range of colors and patterns and are great ways to inject a bit more personality in a subtle way to your casual looks.
Shop SG’s picks:
4. Upgraded umbrella
Few things get lost or (worse?) forgotten in cabs more often than sunglasses and umbrellas. The difference between forgetting sunglasses and umbrellas is you never have to change into something dry when you get home after forgetting sunglasses. Which is exactly why a stylish umbrella is a must-have fall “finishing touch” every thoughtful stylish guy needs to own.
History of the umbrella
Umbrellas have existed in different iterations for thousands of years. The collapsible umbrella as we know it originated in China, dating back as far as 1270 AD. Europe was introduced to umbrellas in the 17th century, usually from people showcasing Eastern wares. Traditionally, these umbrellas had wooden shafts with silk or paper canopies, that were often hard to fold when wet. Not surprising to anyone who’s used a newspaper over their head in a pinch during a downpour.
In 1852, British Industrialist Samuel Fox invented the steel ribbed canopy umbrella that we use to this day. Today, we have a range of styles to choose from when it comes to umbrellas.
Just say no to golf umbrellas
I get it. They are big and sturdy, and you already own one if you’re a regular at your local course. But the golf umbrella has its place and it’s not on city sidewalks.
First and foremost, golf umbrellas aren’t attractive. It’s just that simple. They’re also extremely cumbersome. As bothersome as toting an umbrella can be (especially when skies are still clear), golf umbrellas are that much worse. When collapsed, they look more like walking sticks than umbrellas. When expanded, they take up so much real estate that you end up wet from knock everyone else’s umbrellas into you. Also did I mention they are unattractive?
When it comes to umbrellas, you get what you pay for
Often we buy cheap umbrellas because we are certain that we will lose them. But think about what you see after every big rainstorm – no, not a rainbow, we’re talking about sidewalks littered with broken cheap umbrellas.
It’s time you pay a little more money for an umbrella that will hold up, and pay a little more attention to keeping up with the umbrella. Look for umbrellas with very sturdy hardware. All umbrellas today use similar nylon canopies, but it’s the hardware that separates them. Chances are if you need to put a little extra effort into opening the canopy, it will take an even stronger wind to flip it inside out. If the handle is wood, make sure it’s a solid piece. Wood handles that aren’t solid are more likely to split open once they become wet.
A classic cane style umbrella with a wooden or leather handle is sharp and complements any style well. Just make sure you aren’t getting into golf umbrella territory. Anything more than 3 feet in length is just unruly.
If you travel often, many brands make tall umbrellas with collapsible handles and points to fit more easily into a suitcase. For convenience sake, nothing beats a telescopic umbrella but their smaller size can make them easier to forget them, so keep a close eye on it.
The canopy of the umbrella should be wider than your shoulders but not too wide. Ideally, there should be enough room for you and a date to huddle closely as you walk down the street (romantic, right?).
Black, navy, and hunter green are classic canopy shades, but if you’re a man of personality there’s nothing wrong with a simple pattern. Wood and leather handles are great, but stay away from handles that are overly ornate: you don’t want to look like Jafar from Aladdin when you hold your collapsed umbrella.
Now check out this great assortment of sturdy and stylish umbrellas perfect for damp days.
5. White pocket square
History of the white pocket square
The history of the white pocket square is less so a history of the accessory as we know it today and more so of napkins in general. That’s right: white pocket squares are simply cloth napkins. But they’ve had many functional uses throughout history and even to this day.
Pocket squares, or handkerchiefs, were used regularly during ancient Greek and Roman times for the same functional reasons we use them today. In the Middle Ages, they were used primarily as head covers, coining the name “kerchief.” “Handkerchiefs” then, is a combination of French words: couvrir, which means “to cover,” and chef, which means “head.”
The origin of the pocket square stuffed in sport coats around the world today comes from men using handkerchiefs as a pre-Kleenex sneezing solution and simply needing a place to put them. For ease, the breast pocket was an obvious choice and shifted from function to fashion over the years.
The best styles of white pocket squares
A white pocket square elevates any look with a blazer or suit, which, now that the weather’s cooled down, you may find yourself wearing more often.
And a good white cotton pocket square is far more versatile than a silk square. While white silk pocket squares are best suited for the most formal of attire (i.e. tuxedos), a white cotton square looks just as great with a blazer as it does with a tux. Cotton pocket squares also hold their shape better, making them more forgiving when it comes to folding them.
Much like tieing a tie, you only need to know 2 folds: the Presidential fold and the Cooper fold.
The Presidential is simply folding other the right angles of the pocket square to make a rectangle that fits into your jacket pocket.
The Cooper, named after actor Gary Cooper, is essentially the opposite. The Cooper is loosely folding and shaping a rounded puff, with no edges, that peaks out gently from the jacket pocket. With both of these folds, you should show somewhere between a half to a full inch. Anything more would be uncivilized.
6. White sneakers
Let’s be real for a second: while a tailored suit and dress shoes will always be a great look, nothing really beats the comfort of kicking back in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers in gorgeous fall weather. Just like a bad pair of dress shoes can ruin a great dressed up look, a terrible pair of sneakers can take a casual outfit from “still stylish” to “so sloppy.” Thankfully, there are plenty of sharp sneakers for the discerning, comfort-seeking gentleman this autumn.
The tennis shoe
First up? The humble tennis shoe. While most people refer to all sneakers as tennis shoes, we are talking about sneakers specifically inspired by classic shoes worn by famous tennis players. The most iconic tennis shoe of them all is the Adidas Stan Smith. With its leather upper, clean shape, and iconic green heel, it’s the forefather of so many other styles of sneakers you know (and love!) today.
Classic minimal tennis shoe styles like the Stan Smith or Common Project Achilles are great for guys with more urban/city sensibilities. They are the perfect sneaker to pair with a suit and t-shirt for that relaxed suit look.
Along the same lines, a trainer (also sometimes known as a “runner”) finds its inspiration in the running world. Shoes like the New Balance 574 or the NikeCourt Tennis Classic AC are examples of sneakers that at one point in time were the most technologically advanced of their time that are now casual staples. Now, brands like Our Legacy and ETQ Amsterdam are making elevated versions of these classic silhouettes with luxurious materials in places like Italy and Portugal. Clean white trainers are great for the guy that’s constantly on the go who wants a sneaker that’s a little more sporty. You never know when you need to chase down a taxi, right?
The canvas sneaker is a great no-nonsense sneaker for any guy. They are super lightweight, breathable, and, best of all, machine washable. The most iconic canvas styles are the Converse Chuck Taylor and the Vans Era. Both these styles, one basketball the other skateboarding, revolutionized footwear in their respective sports and became style staples on the streets. Canvas sneakers are great for the guy that’s not really a “sneaker guy” so to speak. They are easy to maintain as well as style casually.
The last style is the German Army Trainer, or GAT as it’s commonly known amongst sneakerheads. The name sounds really daunting and heavy, but the style is actually the inspiration for another popular style for Adidas: the Samba. Characterized by their gum sole and suede toe accent, the GAT style as we know it has been the basis for indoor soccer shoes for decades. More recently, the style has been popularized by fashion house Maison Martin Margiela, which has been making luxury versions of the sneaker under their Margiela 22 footwear line. Stylistically, the GAT combines the urban sophistication of the tennis shoe with the ease of the canvas sneaker. A pair of white GATs go with everything from suits, to jeans, to dress slacks.
How to wear your sneakers
Any of these sneakers goes with any of your standard casual outfits, but for more advanced sartorial moves some sneakers look better than others. In particular, when attempting high-low looks like suits with sneakers the cleaner and sleeker the shoe the better. Styles like the tennis shoe and GAT work better for these sorts of looks because of the streamlined silhouettes clean designs.
Shop SG picks:
7. Casual brown belt
Casual belts live in an interesting space where function, fashion, and personal expression collide. What’s key is making sure your belt says the right things about you.
Sizing of belts
The most significant difference between a casual belt and a dress belt is the accessory’s width. Casual belts are wider than their dress counterparts. A good casual belt will generally be somewhere between 1 ½ and 2 ¼ inches, while a dress belt measures in around 1 ⅛ to 1 ¼ inch. Any wider and you’ll wind up looking like you’re sporting an old school weightlifting belt. If your style skews more towards the sleek and sophisticated, go with a belt on the thinner side of that range. If you like your style to be more relaxed and rugged, wider belts will compliment your looks well. Casual belts tend to be a bit thicker as well. If you wear jeans often, a thicker belt is preferred here as it will hold up better over time.
The quality of leather
As with all leather goods, full grain leather is the mark of a quality casual belt. Full grain leather is leather made from the top most layer of the hide, just below the hair. It is the most durable part of the hide. Corrected grain leather is made by buffing the top few millimeters off of the hide, giving the leather a uniform and even appearance. This is usually done with hides that have large amounts of scarring on them. You can tell full grain leather from corrected leather from its appearance and feel. Corrected leather will often have a shiny almost plastic look and feel.
Unless you are dedicated to a wardrobe of black, brown is the perfect color for a casual belt.
In addition to being a warmer, more relaxed color, a brown belt will also show age over time in a more interesting way than black. Every ding and nick can be worn with pride. Medium brown is a great place to start. The lighter the shade of brown, the more wear it will show. For the patient, a natural undyed belt can be a wonderful signature piece. Over the lifespan of the belt, it will pick up oils and dyes and age into a beautiful golden to medium brown.
As far as care, belts are extremely low maintenance. No need to polish or buff them like your dress shoes. The best way to store them is, starting from the buckle, to gently roll the belt up and keep them in a drawer.
Buckles are a touchy subject for some guys. For some, a large belt buckle serves as a style signature, not to mention a sign of regional pride. That’s totally fine, but the discerning man will recognize those sorts of belts are for special occasions, not everyday use – I’m looking at you southern boys. A good buckle should be proportionate to the belt. A good rule of thumb is make sure the width of your buckle is no more than ¾ inch bigger than your belt.
The metal composition of the buckle is a great place for personal expression. If you’re a clean cut guy, simple silver and or gold tone buckles work well for a simple sophisticated look. Small placard buckles are a nice touch here. They are clean and give you the option of engraving initials for a nice personal touch.
If you’re more rough and tumble, burnished pewters and brasses that look welded or reconstructed are a great expression of that without over compensating. A pounded or distressed copper buckle is another great rugged option. Buckles and straps can be purchased separately, and a vintage belt buckle is a perfect way to set yourself apart from the pack. eBay is a great place to find a great new belt and a one of a kind buckle that suits your taste and style.
A good brown casual belt compliments laid back looks really well. Brown is much softer and more relaxed than black, so when paired with a white sneaker it’s not as harsh. Obviously brown belt compliments raw denim, and the brown will wear in just like your jeans will. A brown casual belt with denim, a crewneck sweatshirt, and navy blazer really lightens up the work hard/play hard style.
8. Black dress belt
While all belts are designed to help keep your pants up, not all belts are equal. It’s important to have a belt that is a little more serious and understated for the serious events fall throws at you. From internship interviews to October weddings, a good dress belt will come in handy as a great finishing touch.
The difference between a casual belt and dress belt is all in the details. Dress belts are slimmer and sleeker than their casual counterparts. You should look for a dress belt between 1 ⅛ and 1 ¾ inch. Stylistically, your dress belt should follow the lead of your dress shoes: they should be simple and the same color. Look for a belt without any bells or whistles. Start with a black dress belt. This will pair with the pair of black captoe dress shoes we’ve already designated as a wardrobe essential.
Most belts have 5-7 holes in them. You know a belt is your size if it closes securely and comfortably on the middle hole. A good rule of thumb is to get a belt that is one size larger than your pant waist size. i.e. if you wear a size 32 waist pant, start with a size 34 belt.
Like with your shoes, go for a full grain leather belt. They will last longer and age much better than corrected grain or synthetic leathers.
Full grain leather is leather made from the top most layer of the hide, just below the hair. It is the most durable part of the hide. Corrected grain leather is made by buffing the top few millimeters off of the hide, giving the leather a uniform and even appearance. This is usually done with hides that have large amounts of scarring on them.
You can tell full grain leather from corrected leather from its appearance and feel. Corrected leather belts will often have a shiny almost plastic look and feel to them.
Bad belts can be seen a mile away. Bad leather, an obnoxious buckle, all these things scream “I don’t care.” A dress belt should let you do all the talking. Buckles should be simple and clean.
If you’re not sure whether to go with a silver, brass, or gold buckle, here’s a hint: look at your wrist. If your watch metal is silver toned go with silver, if it’s gold tones go with brass or gold. This is the closest you’ll ever come to worrying about “matching jewelry.” Guys are so lucky…
Engine turned slide belts can be a great dress option if you don’t want to worry about holes. Just make sure you can wrap the belt all the way around your waist with a little extra and you’re good to go.
One of Tiffany’s best known products for men is their silver engine turned slide buckle. Often owners will have their initials engraved on them for a nice personal touch. eBay is a great place to find vintage Tiffany’s buckles for great prices.
As far as care, dress belts are extremely low maintenance. No need to polish or buff them like your dress shoes. The best way to store them is, starting from the buckle, to gently roll the belt up and keep them in a drawer.
Simply put, any outfit where you are wearing suiting elements should have a dress belt accompanying them. Even looks where you pair a blazer with jeans or a suit with sneakers should have either a dress belt or none at all. A dress belt is the cherry on top of a great suited look; the perfect finishing touch.
9. Signature fall scent
Smell is definitely an underrated scent. It can trigger so many things: happiness, fear, excitement, romance. And let me tell you: nothing is more sensual than a man in a scent that suits him just so. The memory sticks with us through the day. It’s part of why we steal your favorite clothes! Of course, buying a scent is easy, finding the right scent can be tough. But don’t worry; SG is here to help.
Finding the right fall scent takes more than just scooping up the first bottle you see at Sephora and heading for the exits…though I do understand the urge to flee – that place exhausts me, too.
Trust your scent sense
The soap you use will provide helpful clues as you search for the right cologne for you. Why? Because it’s much easier to decipher soap scents you enjoy, as their fragrances are more straightforward than a cologne.
If your chosen soap is very musky and woody, pick a scent with amber or oud. If you LOVE a fresh, minty soap, go with something boasting fresh, natural notes. It sounds simplistic, but trust your nose to point you in the right direction when it comes time to pick a cologne.
Eau du what now?
When shopping for proper cologne, you’ll notice that the same bottle is three different prices at the same store. This is not a test. What you’re choosing between is different concentrations of fragrance.
Eau du Cologne is the weakest (3-8%) and is good if you want something extremely subtle and not overpowering. Be aware that Eau du Cologne will likely need to be reapplied throughout the day. Most guys should start with Eau du Toilette (8-10%), which is your standard concentration and should last you most of the day no problem. And Eau du Parfum is the most concentrated (15-20%) and is your best bet for a memorable scent.
There are a couple of ways to ensure your scent lasts throughout the day without being overpowering. The first is applying to pulse points on the body: wrist, neck and chest. If you use an Eau du Cologne, also apply just behind the ears.
Another tip is to apply your cologne just after toweling off from a shower. Applying while the pores are still open allows the scent to really get into your skin.
Ready to overhaul your wardrobe with the best men’s fall style essentials for you? Team SG can help! Set up time to talk with a stylist about creating a customized shopping plan just for you.