The Commuter’s Guide To Style
As summer holidays draw to an end and the first signs of autumn appear, you’ll immediately notice the city streets becoming busier. But that back-to-work feeling needn’t be all doom and gloom.
September is the perfect time to invest in new office attire to take on both the boardroom and your morning commute with confidence. Whether you’re hopping on a train or taking the healthier route and going by foot or bike, we’ve got your sartorial needs covered.
Skipping a crowded bus and walking to work? We salute you, sir! Not only will this help burn off some of those weekend beers, but it’ll also save you a penny or two.
That said, autumn weather is unpredictable, meaning you could arrive at the office either drenched in rain or sweat.
Return of the Mac
When those unavoidable autumn showers kick in, you’ll definitely need to wrap up in something water-resistant for your trek to work. We’d suggest a mac or trench coat as these will not only keep you dry, but they’re also lightweight enough to stop you sweating if you need to pick up the pace for that early morning all-hands.
Opt for a classic grey, navy or camel style and pair with your monochrome suiting for a traditional approach, or consider a slightly more contemporary colour such as burgundy or cobalt blue if you’d rather stand out amongst your fellow commuters.
- MACKINTOSH CORDUROY-TRIMMED COTTON RAINCOAT
- BONDED COTTON MAC WITH STORMWEAR
- RIVER ISLAND GREY HOLLOWAY ROAD LIGHTWEIGHT MAC COAT
- AQUASCUTUM SHEERWATER RAINCOAT BLACK
- A.P.C. OXFORD MAC
- REISS GRAFTON CONCEALED PLACKET MAC NAVY
- BURBERRY LONDON MID-LENGTH COTTON-GABARDINE TRENCH COAT
- RIVER ISLAND DARK RED SMART SHORT TRENCH COAT
- HE BY MANGO CLASSIC COTTON TRENCH COAT
At First Sight
Just because winter’s on the way, it doesn’t mean we won’t still be treated to the odd sunny morning (‘odd’ being the operative word for those of us in the UK). In which case, it’ll pay to have a decent pair of sunglasses to shield against the low-sitting sun’s glare.
Wayfarers and aviators are indispensable on this count; both silhouettes are timeless and transcend trends. Go for matte black or tortoiseshell frames to maintain a sense of sophistication and always check they offer 100 per cent protection from both UVA and UVB rays before you buy.
And do us all a favour: make sure they come off before you step inside the office. Even if you are trying to hide the effects of last night’s client dinner.
- TOM FORD COLE AVIATOR-STYLE ACETATE AND METAL SUNGLASSES
- LINDA FARROW LF128 CLASSIC AVIATOR SUNGLASSES
- RAY-BAN TORTOISESHELL ACETATE AND METAL AVIATOR SUNGLASSES
- RAY-BAN CLASSIC WAYFARER IN BLACK
- HUGO BOSS ACETATE WAYFARER SUNGLASSES
- CUTLER AND GROSS 1166 SUNGLASSES
Last but definitely not least, when it comes to your walk-to-work style essentials, you’ll want to invest in comfortable footwear. Probably the most important purchase of all, we’d suggest slipping into a pair of well-crafted trainers which you can swap for your brogues or Derbies once you reach the office (unless your office is relaxed enough to let you try out the suits and sneakers trend).
There are so many trainer styles out there that it can be hard to know where to start, but you can’t go wrong with a pair from New Balance. The brand’s 420 model comes in a wide range of colourways and is just as stylish as it is practical. Crafted with a suede leather upper and breathable textile panels, it’s the perfect choice for pacing the pavement.
Alternatively, consider adidas’ Stan Smith or Nike’s Air Pegasus – both of which strike that elusive balance between comfort and style.
- NEW BALANCE 420 PREMIUM RIPSTOP TRAINERS
- NEW BALANCE 420 SUEDE AND MESH TRAINERS
- NEW BALANCE 420 SUEDE RUNNER TRAINERS IN BLACK
- ACNE STUDIOS ADRIAN GRAIN SNEAKER
- CONVERSE ALL STAR LOW-TOP LEATHER TRAINERS
- SAINT LAURENT SL/01 LOW-TOP TRAINERS
- ADIDAS ORIGINALS STAN SMITH ALL WHITE TRAINERS
- NIKE AIR PEGASUS NEW RACER TRAINERS 705172-410
- REISS 1971 DON PATENT LEATHER TRAINERS
Another way of skipping a crowded carriage and staying fit is by cycling to work. It might not be an option for everyone, but provided you can complete the journey within an hour and have a shower at the office, it’s arguably the ideal way to commute. Here’s how to do it in style.
Stretch Your Legs
If you’re biking to the boardroom, it’s important to wear jeans or trousers with a little give. This will allow your legs to move freely as you cycle, preventing them from overheating and ensuring your seams don’t burst.
For those of you who can’t quite get away with something as laid-back as denim in your office, then either pack your suit trousers in your bag or swap jeans for a pair of tailored trousers that aren’t restrictively tight, or have a touch of elastane included.
Topman and Burton both offer formal trousers with cycle-ready stretch, while Paul Smith has raised the standard with his newly-released ‘a suit to travel in’ – not only is this style made from 100 per cent high-twist worsted wool suit (ideal for moisture-wicking), it also features a little extra room in the back of the jacket for a wider range of movement.
Got Your Back
Briefcases are impossibly awkward to carry while cycling, so it’s a good thing backpacks are as practical as they are on-trend right now. Perfect for throwing on over your shoulder as you jump on your bike, choices currently on the market range from rugged canvas designs to luxe leather options.
Whatever your profession, it’s best to stick to smarter backpacks given that the silhouette itself is inherently casual. Choose a structured style with a squarish shape crafted from a hard-wearing material such as leather, coated cotton or cotton twill.
In terms of colour, neutral hues like black, navy, grey work best, although you could also opt for something like chocolate brown or bottle green if it complements your existing professional wardrobe. Also worth looking out for is a leather handle so you can carry it in hand when you’re not cycling (this also allows you to avoid your suit jacket getting creased by the back straps).
Most high street retailers offer genuine leather or leather look options these days, but something like a bag always offers better ROI if you bite the bullet and shell out in the first place. On that note, Master-Piece, Cambridge Satchel Company, Miansai and Sandqvist produce backpacks that combine high quality materials with simple, considered design.
IMAGE: LOTUFF LEATHER BACKPACK
- MIANSAI HARBOUR CANVAS AND LEATHER BACKPACK
- MISMO BACKPACK
- RIVER ISLAND GREY ROLL TOP SATCHEL BACKPACK
- REISS GIANI LEATHER BACKPACK BLACK
- THE EXPEDITION BACKPACK
- RAINS BACKPACK IN BLACK
Hand In Glove
As the temperatures continue to plummet, you’ll want to ensure your hands are kept warm as you ride to work. Gloves are the obvious solution here, so make sure to add a pair to your shopping list this season.
Traditional cycling gloves are fingerless to allow for a better grip on the handlebar and feature padded palms for comfort when riding longer distances, but they’re built for performance and are therefore not particularly stylish.
However, there’s no reason why you have to sacrifice aesthetics for practicality. A sleek pair of driving gloves (try Dents) offers the best of both worlds, while a luxe leather pair with a cosy lining such as fleece or cashmere are more than adequate for shorter commutes and will get good use throughout winter.
IMAGE: MANGO AW14
- HESTRA FLEECE-LINED GRAINED-LEATHER GLOVES
- DENTS DELTA LEATHER DRIVING GLOVES
- BARBOUR LEATHER UTILITY GLOVE
- PAUL SMITH ITALIAN LEATHER GLOVE
- COLLEZIONE LEATHER GLOVES WITH THINSULATE
- AUSTIN REED BLACK PREMIUM LEATHER GLOVES
By Public Transport
Alas, we’re not all lucky enough to be able to walk or cycle to work. Plus, let’s face it, even if we can, we don’t always feel like it – particularly when the weather’s acting up.
Here’s how to navigate your metropolitan network in style.
Cramped bus rides and subway carriages can be a sweaty business, which is why it’s crucial to opt for pieces that allow your skin to breathe easily when needed.
Lightweight cotton is perfect for this, so keep an eye out for shirts in Egyptian cotton (both M&S and Suitsupply offer a superb range) and suits in either cotton-wool blends or temperature regulating Cool Wool.
When the weather turns colder but your train or bus ride is just as muggy, small changes can make all the difference: slip off your suit jacket and unbutton your shirt (your tie can wait ’til the office) – after all, nobody wants to see sweaty underarms in a meeting.
While it’s unfortunately not possible to avoid all offensive body odours when commuting to work on overcrowded public transport, you can minimise your own – which is why it’s important to keep a decent deodorant in your bag at all times.
A quality antiperspirant spray is ideal for this, although you might want to invest in a roll-on deodorant if you have sensitive skin or need stronger protection.
A quick spray of your signature fragrance before leaving home will also overpower those unpleasant smells communing can create, and it’s not a bad idea to keep a travel atomiser full of your favourite scent with you for top-ups when needed throughout the day.
Just go easy, you don’t want your colleagues giving you evils for causing their fits of sneezing.
Keep it Brief
Finally, we’d suggest splurging on a timeless briefcase – the bag that shows you mean business. Whether it’s a traditional boxy leather design or a contemporary soft-sided folio, you’ll be able to keep all your documents and tech accessories safe in style during your journey to the office.
Black, brown and tan are classic choices while investing in a genuine leather briefcase in any other colour is – by most accounts – playing loose and fast with your funds: a quality briefcase doesn’t come cheap and buying one in bright red or stripes means you’ll be able to pair it with approximately 10 per cent of your wardrobe.
It’s also a bonus if the bag features both a hand buckle and longer strap to wear over your shoulder, if desired.
- CALVIN KLEIN BRIEFCASE
- DUNHILL CHASSIS TEXTURED-LEATHER BRIEFCASE
- COLLEZIONE LUXURY LEATHER BRIEFCASE
- MONTBLANC MEISTERSTUCK LEATHER BRIEFCASE
- HE BY MANGO EXTERNAL POCKET TOTE BRIEFCASE
- REISS SASH LEATHER BRIEFCASE
- MULBERRY FARRINGDON ZIP-AROUND BRIEFCASE
- FILSON ORIGINAL BRIEFCASE
- BARBOUR WAX LEATHER BRIEFCASE
Commuting to and from work can quickly become monotonous – which is why it’s worth keeping things as fresh and exciting as possible on the style front. No matter how you choose to make the journey, these tips will ensure you look your best while doing so.
What are your commuting essentials? Do you have any tips for arriving in style?
Let us know in the comments below.