Regardless of whether you’re a complete beginner or sartorial connoisseur, the fact remains that, with the changing of the seasons, your wardrobe will always need, and benefit from, some new additions. Not only does it help stop your personal style from becoming stale, but it also allows you to have a bit of rotation in what you wear – ultimately meaning your clothes last longer.
So with that in mind, we present a primer on the versatile pieces you’d be wise to pick up this season, conveniently divided by price range. We’ll start with a £300 budget that focuses on simple, classic and versatile staples that will see you through this spring/summer and many more to come.
Then, it’s on to the £600 upper limit in which we’ll list some slightly more trend-led pieces you can buy that will complement the basics.
Finally, the £1,000 margin will include niche on-trend clothing, accessories and other items that you may not have otherwise considered.
Let’s run these beauties down, shall we?
£300 Or Less To Spend
A typical budget for most students or young professionals, as well as those who have other priorities that come first: rent/mortgage, bills, family etc. When confined to a modest limit such as this, it’s important to prioritise value for money.
Summer Neutral Chinos & Light Wash Jeans
Think of these as a blank canvas on which the rest of your outfit can be painted. To wit, opt for chinos in summer-ready neutrals such as stone, lighter shades of beige and white.
Keep the cut straight or slim for maximum versatility and prioritise styles made from lightweight cotton and cotton-linen blends to ensure comfort in the heat.
Alternatively (or even additionally), you could consider a pair of light wash jeans. Denim is – by most accounts – the material of the season, and lighter washes will work in both relaxed, Bohemian-inspired outfits and smart-casual looks.
Recommended Budget: < £80
- Asos Slim Chinos
- Allsaints Stive Chinos
- He By Mango Cotton Chinos
- Wrangler Jeans Bryson Skinny Fit The Angler Light Wash
- Zara Colored Slim-fit Jeans
- Cheap Monday High Slim Jeans In Blue
- J.crew 484 Slim-fit Washed Cotton-twill Chinos
- He By Mango Slim-fit Garment-dyed Chinos
- J.crew Urban Slim-fit Lightweight Cotton Trousers
- River Island Light Wash Dylan Slim Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Light Wash Jan Jeans
- Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans
Dark Denim Jacket
The denim jacket is set to be THE outerwear silhouette for SS15, so what better time to invest in this menswear classic?
Go for a trucker style and don’t be afraid of wearing it too often – this is one piece that will easily transition into autumn and could even be layered underneath an overcoat or mac as the temperatures drop in winter. In fact, just wear the hell out of it – the more beat up it looks the better.
A word of advice on double denim: if you’re worried about a potential Justin Timberlake Canadian tuxedo moment, then remember to opt for a lighter wash on your bottom half (the jeans recommended above would be ideal).
Recommended Budget: < £60
- Asos Denim Jacket In Skinny Fit
- Asos Denim Jacket In Slim Fit
- Asos Denim Jacket In Skinny Fit
- He By Mango Dark Denim Jacket
- H&m Denim Jacket
- Topman Dark Blue Stretch Skinny Denim Jacket
Printed Or Knitted Polo Shirt
Whether you opt for a contemporary geometric motif, vintage seventies-inspired pattern or timeless Breton stripe, a printed polo shirt will help set you apart from the sea of guys whose go-to look in the summer consists of an oversized, block-colour version teamed with three-quarter length cargo shorts.
Not a fan of prints? Consider a plain knitted option instead. Oozing Riviera charm and a slightly retro vibe, a knitted polo shirt offers a subtle differential when compared to classic pique cotton designs. Team with your white chinos or a pair of tailored shorts for an effortlessly chic warm-weather ensemble.
Recommended Budget: < £70
- Reiss Knitted Polo Shirt With Window Pane Check
- Zara Short Sleeve Top With Striped Shoulder
- Zara Short Sleeve Knitted Polo Shirt
- Only & Sons Polo Shirt With All Over Floral Print
- Selected Jersey Polka Dot Polo Shirt
- Topman Blue Knitted Stripe Polo T-shirt
- Reiss Folio Geometric Knitted Polo Shirt
- Reiss Hector Open Weave Polo Shirt Ecru
- Uniqlo Men Washed Short Sleeve Polo Shirt By Michael Bastian
Brown/Beige Suede Derby Shoes
Boat shoes and espadrilles may get the lion’s share of attention, but these are the real essential summer footwear silhouette. Ideal for hot weather, suede Derbies are breathable, comfortable and will slot seamlessly into both smart and smart-casual looks.
Hunt down a pair in brown or beige for optimal wearability; they’re perfect for everything from garden parties to summer weddings.
Recommended Budget: < £90
- Zara Brushed Suede Bluchers
- Selected Homme Latin Suede Derby Shoes
- Asos Derby Shoes In Suede
- River Island Light Brown Suede Smart Shoes
- Peter Werth Nesbitt Suede Derby Stone
- Frewick Lace Cognac Suede Mens Formal Shoes
- Asos Derby Shoes In Suede
- Bertie Buzz Suede Desert Derby Shoes Tan
- John Lewis & Co. Surrey Burnished Suede Derby Shoes Brown
£600 Or Less To Spend
As the budget increases, you should start to consider statement pieces that will add something extra to your everyday looks.
Lightweight Coloured Legwear
This could be a pair of trousers or shorts, depending on which you feel you’ll get the most wear out of.
Your top concerns in this case are material and hue: lightweight breathable summer fabrics like linen, cotton and seersucker are exactly what you need to stay stylish without breaking a sweat, while pastel shades such as pink, green, purple and yellow will team well with the neutral pieces you already own, introducing a welcome pop of colour to your outfits.
Recommended Budget: < £80 for chinos and trousers | < £50 for shorts
- He By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Cotton Trousers
- He By Mango Slim-fit Cotton Chinos
- Zara Colored Trousers
- Asos Chino Shorts In Mid Length
- He By Mango 5 Pocket Bermuda Shorts
- Cotton Chino Shorts
- Grayers Newport Slim-fit Cotton Chinos
- J.crew Broken In Slim-fit Brushed-cotton Chinos
- River Island Mint Green Slim Chino Shorts
Short-Sleeved Printed Shirt
The key to pulling off a short-sleeved shirt is in nailing the fit. It should sit comfortably across your chest, back and shoulders, end just below the beginning of your trouser fly and be snug, but not strained, around the biceps – with the sleeves ending roughly around the mid-bicep mark.
Much like their long-sleeved counterparts, short-sleeved shirts look good when paired with jeans, chinos or shorts, worn undone over a T-shirt or buttoned-up under a casual jacket in the evening. When it comes to print, look to this season’s abstract camo and muted floral styles for something that’s on-trend but still has some staying power.
For a true perennial though, opt for an all-over stripe, classic check or subtle pin dot design.
Recommended Budget: < £50
- He By Mango Slim-fit Short-sleeve Printed Shirt
- Asos Viscose Shirt In Short Sleeve With Polka Dots
- Zara Short Sleeve Top
- Uniqlo Men Geometric Printed Short Sleeve Shirt
- French Connection Vienot Rose Print Shirt
- French Connection Lunda Short-sleeved Floral Shirt
- Cos Printed Cotton-poplin Shirt
- River Island Blue Only & Sons Stripe Short Sleeve T-shirt
- Selected Homme Sley Denim Paisley Print Short Sleeve Shirt Medium Blue
Again, fabrics like cotton, linen, tropical wool and blends thereof are what you should keep your eyes peeled for, but the real key with a summer blazer is getting the lining right.
Put unlined and partially lined styles top of your list, as these are much lighter in weight and more breathable than fully lined versions. An unlined jacket is crafted from just one layer of material, allowing it to mould to your body and feel more like a shirt than a hefty piece of outerwear.
As for cut, don’t go too snug – the ideal fit is a little more relaxed than a formal suit jacket, but not so relaxed that you’re swimming in fabric.
Traditional patterns like checks and stripes are always safe bets but classic summer colours like cement grey, khaki and shades of light blue are also worth keeping an eye out for.
Recommended Budget: < £200
- He By Mango Linen Blazer
- Zara Basic Linen Blazer
- J. Crew Ludlow Sportcoat In Fine-striped Cotton
- Reiss Shannon B Slim-fit Blazer Stone
- Suitsupply Copenhagen Blue Plain
- River Island Grey Check Linen-blend Jacket
- Zara Check Linen Blazer
- Club Monaco Knitted Linen And Cotton-blend Blazer
- Beams Plus Striped Seersucker Blazer
The £1000 Budget
Still got some change spare after all of that? Now’s the time to consider luxury items, trend-led pieces and accessories that will help to individualise your look.
High Quality White Trainers
These aren’t your everyday knackered pair of Converse. These are the expertly soled, possibly handcrafted trainers you smugly break out when you need to dress down your navy suit or make a statement at a casual summer gathering.
As for material, canvas is cool, but leather will bring a luxury element to your outfit and is definitely a better investment if you want them to last. Just don’t forget to pick up some appropriate cleaning product to keep your whites white.
- Buttero White Leather Tanino Low Profile Sneakers
- Filling Pieces Mens White Leather Sneakers
- Garment Project Leather Trainers In White
- Converse Jack Purcell Leather Sneakers
- Mr. Hare Cunningham Leather Sneakers
- Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
You’re likely to already have a neutral pair of swim shorts in your capsule wardrobe, so why not branch out with a printed style that are designed to make a poolside statement?
Available at all price points, in a variety of shapes and cuts, and every pattern you can think of, there is bound be something suitable on the current market.
- Gap Palm Print Boardshorts 1
- J. Crew 6.5 Tab Swim Short In Blue Colorblock
- He By Mango Tropical Print Swimsuit
- Onia The Calder 5 Pencil-print Swim Shorts
- Reiss Burleigh Dark Bloom Swim Shorts Black
- Okun Ali Adinkra Swim Shorts Black/white
- Polo Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Swim Shorts Navy/white
- Vilebrequin Okoa Long-length Printed Swim Shorts
- Orlebar Brown Bulldog Roc Pool-print Swim Shorts
From tees to knitwear to shirts, brands are now using linen in a variety of innovative ways, allowing you to keep cool during the day and warm during breezy summer evenings.
Pick up a handful of linen staples in neutral tones like grey, navy, khaki and brown and you won’t regret it – although it is widely considered a single-season fabric in the UK, you’ll get use out of these pieces for many more years to come.
- Allsaints Faxley Crew Tshirt
- Eleven Paris Gatri Dark Heather Grey Linen T-shirt
- Allsaints Garrett Zip Crew Jumper
- Uniqlo Men Premium Linen Long Sleeve Shirt
- Reiss Manoli Slim-fit Linen Shirt Navy
- He By Mango Slim-fit Linen Shirt
- Sandro Striped Linen-jersey T-shirt
- Beams Plus Flecked Knitted Linen Cardigan
- Oliver Spencer Knitted Linen Sweater
Because can you really trust the British summertime? It’s always a good idea to have a piece of outerwear to hand just in case. Yet even though a jacket is designed to be functional, it doesn’t mean you can’t add a splash of attitude to it.
For optimal rain protection, try an unlined trench or mac, or for a top layer that keeps the first few drops at bay, a lightweight Harrington or bomber jacket. Yet whichever you choose, make sure it’s in a bold hue and you’ll stay dry without surrendering any style points.
- Asos Bomber Jacket
- Selected Hooded Raincoat With Bonded Seams
- Topman Green Harrington Jacket
- Zara Orange Trenchcoat
- Reiss Cannes Bomber Jacket Bright Blue
- He By Mango Snap Button Jacket
- Fred Perry Paper Touch Harrington Jacket Wallace Red
- Reiss Earlsworth Lightweight Mac Bright Blue
- Next Bomber Jacket
If you’ve shopped smart enough to have some budget left over, then round out your seasonal haul with some quality accessories.
Key pieces worth considering this SS15 include mirrored and coloured lens sunglasses, woven and canvas belts, no show socks, bold printed pocket squares for formal events and jewellery to add personality to your summer looks.
- Icon Brand Rope Ring
- Ted Baker Leather Plaited Bracelet
- He By Mango Suede Braided Belt
- Andersons Woven Elastic And Leather Belt
- Ted Baker Paisley Pocket Square
- Cutler And Gross Metal Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
- Miansai Rope And Gold-plated Anchor Bracelet
- L.g.r D-frame Acetate Sunglasses
- Falke Step Invisible Cotton-blend Socks
Making season-appropriate wardrobe tweaks needn’t cost the earth – look to these three budget levels to see just how far your money can go this summer.
What will you be looking to invest in this season? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.
Recommended Wardrobe Additions: Spring/Summer 2015
The menswear pieces worth buying this season, whatever your budget
Image: Massimo Dutti SS15