Don’t get us wrong; we treasure traditional menswear. Starched shirts and trimly tailored suits? What’s not to love. But times have changed — and so too has our style. In today’s 20th century world, most men’s daily wardrobes tend towards the casual side of clothing; and our more formal threads have been left hanging.
But it’s not all sweats and slacks. There remain some menswear brands who champion refined, cultured clothing — but have brought classic cuts and traditional tailoring up to date. That might mean a pair of sharply cut jeans, some effortlessly elegant knitwear or even a debonair bomber jacket. And no-one strikes this sartorial balance like Benedict Raven.
Fashionably founded in 2018, the British brand values quality over quantity, with all of its pieces made in limited numbers, using the finest fabrics from around the world. Stitched to stand the test of time, the label has curated a luxury collection of effortless everyday staples — and below, we’ve rounded up the five pieces of modern menswear every man should own…
Pick out a choice polo shirt
The polo shirt is nothing new — René Lacoste used the garment to circumvent tennis’ restrictive dress code in the 1920s. But, in recent years, the century-courting classic has become a menswear standard; replacing the humble button-down and carving out a smart-casual niche like no other shirt. Whether it’s knitted or cut from Terry towelling, a polo is the perfect stylish starting point.
And you’ll find a couple of excellent options over at Benedict Raven. Whether the crisp cotton ‘Monaco’ style or the piqué ‘Club’ design, you won’t go wrong. But the best is the ‘Harbour’ (£120), a regular fit polo crafted using organic cotton and finished with ribbed cuffs, hem and an endlessly versatile no-button neckline.
Pull on a fine pair of jeans
In years gone by, we’d have all been pulling on pleated, woollen trousers; sharply-cut strides to pair with shirts, or that came as part of our suit. Today, other options have wandered onto the menswear scene. From chinos to sweatpants, there are tens of trouser styles to choose from. But one do-it-all design is buttoned, buckled and belted up more than any other; jeans.
Practical, versatile companions, jeans were first patented in 1873 by Levi Strauss. And, while many brands offer their own bold blue take on the trousers, Benedict Raven’s denims are a step above in the style stakes. With a slim silhouette and cotton-stretch construction, the ‘Clifton’ jeans (£85) come in equally iconic indigo and black washes, and are assured to form a firm foundation of almost any outfit.
Zip up an everyday bomber jacket
The bomber jacket, like the polo shirt and the jeans above, represents a seminal style moment in menswear history. Born, once again, out of necessity, the first of these zip-through jackets were cut from leather and fur; created to tackle the cold, open-air cockpit temperatures of WWII fighter planes. Today, we use the smart-casual staple as a bridge between relaxed and refined dressing — striking somewhere between a blazer and a sweatshirt.
Made in England and created as the ultimate year-round layering piece, the ‘Bristol’ bomber jacket (£145) from Benedict Raven features an antique silver branded zip and practical side pockets. Cut from organic cotton jersey with a slightly textured finish, the ribbed trims and hem give it that all-important warmth — and the slim fit silhouette brings lashings of style.
Invest in a soft, sophisticated jumper
Knitwear can be a knotty topic. From cardigans to crew neck sweaters, there are plenty of woven, woolly choices — but we’d recommend trying a refined rollneck. Not only does this singular style make for a usual layering piece come wintertime, but it can also be deployed year-round under a suit or blazer as a formal stand-in for a shirt.
And, like every other modern menswear essential on this list, Benedict Raven has a stellar example of the style. The ‘Soho’ rollneck jumper (£80) is spun from a fine merino wool yarn, which gives it a lightweight, breathable quality. Available in colours including grey and black, our first choice would be ‘oatmeal’ — as this beige-brown-grey is a shade so versatile you could wear it with a navy suit, a tweed jacket or a twill trench coat.
Trust in the humble T-shirt
Perhaps the most essential essential in any modern man’s wardrobe, the unassuming T-shirt forms the foundation of many outfits. Often overlooked and underappreciated, it pays to invest in the best when it comes to this basic — as your T-shirts can be deployed as everything from pyjamas to thermals to dressed-down, day-off style.
As with the polo shirt above, Benedict Raven offers several styles of the humble T-shirt. There’s the laid-back ‘Lounge’ style and the ‘Bath’ design, cut from 100% Supima cotton. But we’d opt for the traditional ‘Timeless’ T-shirt (£45). Long-lasting in both name and nature, this reliable, regular-cut crew neck is the epitome of simplicity — as sophisticated as it is serviceable. No wardrobe is complete without it.
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