Suffolk style: Creating the perfect casual wardrobe for a man

Emma Lloyd offers tips on putting together a capsule wardrobe

Emma Lloyd offers tips on putting together a capsule wardrobe

After looking at the history of men’s fashion, I am now going to guide the gentlemen of our region through the sometimes tricky waters of a casual wardrobe, specifically a capsule wardrobe.

At the moment shoppers are understandably wary of spending more money and ending up with fewer items, but with greater emphasis being laid on "investment pieces" than ever, the high street has got wise and is providing a wide choice of classic, quality pieces at affordable prices. Particularly for those men who have never been ardent followers of trends anyway, the capsule wardrobe is about to make dressing a lot easier.

If you want to look your best and appear to have an endless supply of clothes, yet your wardrobes will have room to spare, then read on. A well-planned capsule wardrobe is perfect for those of us who want a sense of well being because we will always have something to wear, saving time and money and the headache of the nothing-to-wear syndrome. It doesn't need to be stuffy or formal – just not faddy. And of course, it's crying out to be adjusted and added to so any impulse purchases, fly-by-night trends or quick fixes that the lunchtime shopper can't turn down will slide in easily and be diplomatically forgotten after a season or two.

Start with a good pair of straight leg, dark denim jeans and steer clear of overly distressed styles (a little fraying is fine, but definitely not those awful bleached stripes down each thigh). The Scandinavians are current masters of denim for men and women so try their Nudie and Acne brands. A pair of chinos works well as an alternative for smarter occasions too as they have none of the boating club stigma that they used to. Gap's modern versions are flat-fronted and don't have a leg-shortening turn-up either.

A plaid shirt in soft cotton is a cosy weekend alternative to all those stiff and starchy work numbers and keeps you looking genteel rather than grungy. Striped shirts work just as well here remembering the thicker the stripe or check, the more casual the look.

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If collars during leisure time aren't your thing, pick a fitted fine knit in a bright colour or a long T-shirt in a neutral colour. Your capsule wardrobe should also contain a thicker jumper for layering – you won't go wrong with navy merino wool or marl grey jersey, but make sure it's a different colour from your trousers, to avoid any unfortunate Milk Tray subtexts. Avoid also any ill-fitting and baggy items at all costs. Remember, you're relaxing, not regressing. And as for football shirt as casual wear? Only if you are playing or at the match please!

One of your primary purchases should be a waterproof jacket or mac for autumn showers or spring dews. The traditional trench is a foolproof option, but don’t dismiss wax jackets and nerdy anoraks which are making a comeback in sleeker urban forms thereby allowing you to crowbar function and fashion into your weekend wardrobe.

Accessories complete your look and should be dependable enough to dress up or down. The ubiquitous man bag should hint at your fun side but retain professional integrity. And gone are the days of imitative flattery, so bin your banker's Rolex and embrace the humble rubber wrist strap, which is much cooler – not to mention water and recession-proof. Loafers are casual but smart but please remember to match the colour to your belt. Some sporty high-tops keep your look preppy and youthful and are far more stylish than trainers, which you should definitely just keep for the gym.

The last hit of style, for those perfectionists among of you, is a great pair of socks but do watch out for motifs, cartoon characters or Argyle check. Spots and stripes are a nice finishing touch to make sure your reliable, capsule wardrobe doesn't get too dull.

Emma Lloyd

Marianna Boutique

33a St Peters Street, Ipswich IP1 1XF

Tel 01473 225666

Facebook – Marianna Boutique

Twitter - @MariannaIpswich

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