Autumn in the country is the opposite because the clothes boast colour, texture, weight, substance, depth and tactility. It’s time for chunky ribbed socks, solid leather shoes, thick corduroy trousers, oxford shirts, fuzzy sweaters and tweed jackets. Each garment is a joy in its own right, and together they represent a rich palette that can produce the highest expressions of male style; compared to this, dressing formally is easy because it involves simply chucking on a grey suit, a white shirt, a navy tie and black shoes.
Despite the fact that the elements that make up country dress are little changed since the end of World War II, they have a relevance that the tailored two-piece suit is arguably starting to lose. And that is thanks to their ability to be smart and casual at the same time. The country look is entirely comfortable, yet it lets the people around you know that you’ve made an effort. It’s also extremely versatile, because while the addition of a madder tie and a tweed jacket will see a man dressed for all but the most formal occasions, he only needs to exchange these elements for a Shetland sweater to be ready for work in the garden, or in an artist’s studio.
Corduroy is underrated, and not only because it bridges the gap between formal and informal better than denim. It’s no insult to say that jeans are always, unavoidably casual - that’s the whole point. Tailored cords, by contrast, have the ability to seem relaxed with a sweater, as well as smart with a jacket. They work with wellington boots, and with navy blazers (particularly when the navy blazer is made of Harris tweed). Add to this the depth of colour they achieve thanks to their texture, and the drape they offer, and you have trousers of unrivalled versatility. Of course, if you do need to be more formal then grey flannel trousers, which boast their own unique appearance, can take the place of the corduroys.