It’s near impossible to have not heard of Topman. The British clothing giant, with over 400 stores worldwide, is well known for wardrobe-filler staples to suit the needs of students, office workers, and near enough everyone in-between. Sure, Topman offer statement pieces like distressed denim and floral shirts, but their range is predominantly based on quiet basics that get the job done.
Their new Back to It range centralises the key essentials, including white shirts, plain weave trousers, and pared back accessories. Best of all, Topman are great for guys on a budget. Getting the basics shouldn’t make you default on your loans, and Topman have a range of discount codes and student promos on their already affordable kit. Good for looking smart on the cheap-ish.
ACNE Studious – Ambition to Create Novel Expressions – has quickly risen to the top of the hierarchy in minimalist menswear. Founded in 1997 by Swedish creative Jonny Johansson, ACNE has been celebrated for bringing the Scandinavian infusion of pared-back aesthetics and function to a global audience.
ACNE kit is about as Nordic as it gets: functional, unfussy, and probably more stylish than the obnoxious high-street experimental fashion could ever hope to be. You won’t find too many brand logos, graphics, or any loathsome marketing gimmicks. Their key items are jeans and leather jackets, and if your wardrobe needs a boost they do clean basic tees and shirts too. ACNE is a pricier entry-point into the minimalist world, but their influence and quality is such that there’s few other places we think you should start.
Norse Projects has its origin as a modest retail shopfront in Copenhagen, Denmark, before branching out into design in 2009 at the hands of business partners Tobia Sloth and Mikkel Grønnebæk. Norse Projects’ self-described approach is to ‘herald nature, simplicity, and functionality’, capturing the essence of cool minimalism in the process.
They leave Fashion Week prints, gimmicky patterns, and garish colourways to other labels, although their printed tees are a cult success. Look for essentials like pale blue cotton shirts, wool sweaters for winter, and a restrained colour palette overall that nods to their Danish roots. Their offerings are intended for all seasons wear, so expect to purchase investments that will see plenty of game time throughout the year. Norse Projects have dipped their toes in the collab pool, so keep an eye out for their joint sneaker project with Adidas among others.
AS Colour is an Australian retailer with the simple mission of creating basics with enduring wearability, that are sweatshop-free and affordable for the everyday bloke. Their collections are based around a strong foundation of plain tees, tanks, hoodies, sweats and pants. They mix it up a little with stripes and camo, but the basics are there and in plentiful supply.
You won’t be consigned to a single house cut either – there’s a few different shapes and lengths to keep things interesting. AS Colour are committed to ethical production and try to engage socially-responsible textile manufacturers and factories that offer liveable wages and conditions. They have a solid retail footprint of seven stores around the country and run multi-buy packages for those wardrobe-filling shopping expeditions.
In a departure from the Scandinavian minimalism that is becoming the market standard for cool and unrestrained menswear, Wooyoungmi’s experimental approach has captured interest well beyond their Korean origins. Founded in 2002 in Seoul by a mother-daughter duo, they offer tailored pieces for after-dark occasions, and staples like tees and knits for the everyday grind.
Wooyoungmi rely on darker colour palettes – lots of charcoal, lots of black – and splice this with experimental, but sophisticated, prints and graphics. Despite occasionally defying their minimalist side, the essence of Wooyoungmi is on understated wardrobe fundamentals which can be tastefully worn across the spectrum of formality.