Winter is coming and, we mean, it’s really coming. Experts in the UK have warned that we could be facing four months of heavy snow, brutal ice storms and Arctic gales. For the sartorially minded gent, these extreme weather patterns mean one thing — it’s time to get out the heavy duty fashion!
When it comes to dressing for the inclement weather, you need to consider both practicality and comfort. Shivering and soggy is never a good look.
In this post, we’ll show you how to dress for the cold, without compromising your style.
Layers Are Your Best Friend
Winter weather is a great opportunity to go to town with your wardrobe. Unlike the stripped back look of the summer, winter dressing is all about clever layering and consolidating multiple items into one look. For the gent with a bulging wardrobe, it’s time to get creative.
The key to warmth is wearing multiple light layers that can easily be added or removed. Not only will layers keep you warm, but they also look a lot more stylish than one heavy-duty item. But don’t be fooled, layering isn’t as easy as it first appears. There’s a fine line between dressing for the cold and looking like a padded-out Michelin man. Layers should be well put-together — if you can’t move your arms or have a peg-leg walk, you’ve committed layer overkill.
How to Layer Effectively
When it comes to layering, simplicity is key. Most of us can make do with four layers (weather dependent, of course). This usually includes:
- Base layer: A simple white undershirt will keep your chest warm without causing unsightly bulging beneath your dress shirt
- Middle layer: A shirt, cardigan or vest
- Middle layer: take two: A jumper and/or jacket
- Top layer: Overcoat
As a general rule of thumb, each layer works from the thinnest material to the thickest. You’ll want to have the lightest layers closest to your body, with your clothes getting progressively heavier as you move out.
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The Rule of What to Layer
One of the most common layering mistakes made by gents is to bundle a load of miss-matched items together. You may think that no one is going to see your bottom layers, but you never know. Winter is a season of mixed temperatures — one minute you’re battling the gales on your commute into work and the next you’re sweltering in your office. Keep coordination in mind. Each layer should consist of something you would wear on its own, which means no moth-eaten, stained undershirts please, gents.
Get Creative with Winter Accessories
Winter dressing is all about smart accessorising. Here are our winter must-have accessories.
Warm Head, Warm Body: Hats
You’ve probably heard the myth that you lose 70% of your heat from your head and, while the jury may still be out on the exact figures, wearing a hat is a sure way to regulate your body temperature.
Winter is the time to invest in some practical and stylish headgear. However, there are some unspoken rules to be aware of:
- Avoid bright colours: Luminous green and yellow hats are perfect for catching people’s eyes when you’re skiing down a mountain or staying visible in the dark, but, for everyday use, muted colours are the more stylish and elegant option.
- Hats that cover your ears are more informal: In general, if you’re dressing up in a suit, avoid hats that cover your ears. However, if the weather is bitingly cold, we’d forgive you for transgressing on this one. Consider it more as a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule.
- Match your hat to your purpose: Generally, crowned hats such as fedoras, homburgs and bowlers are considered more formal and better suited to times when you need to look extra sharp. Soft-top hats, like stocking caps and newsboy caps, work better for more informal occasions.
Knitwear caps are great for insulating both your head and ears. Just give the pom-poms, tassels and other embellishments a wide berth. Keep your headwear simple and refined.
Newsboy caps and flat caps are also a great option. Channelling the heritage cool made popular on shows such as Peaky Blinders, the newsboy cap is made of strong stuff and works overtime to keep you feeling warm and looking good.
For formal affairs, opt for a dress hat, such as a fedora or bowler, in a thicker felt. Some even have semi-circular ear warmers to keep you looking dapper, without sacrificing your ears to frostbite.
Protect your Extremities: Gloves
Frozen, stiff and reddened fingers are the bane of our lives during the winter, so protect your precious extremities with a pair of well-made gloves. There are just four rules you should consider when purchasing gloves:
- They must withstand the cold — This means no silk gloves!
- They must be waterproof — They shouldn’t function as a sponge soaking up all the snow and rain
- They must not be mittens — No self-respecting gent would rock up to work or a date wearing mittens, so leave them to the school boys
- They must fit properly — Tailored is always best, but if you’re going for off the rack, make sure that they fit snugly, without straining the material. The length needs to cover the wrist and they should fit properly between fingers.
Leather gloves are always a good bet for all-round wear. Not only do they protect your hands from the cold and the wet, but they’re stylish too — what’s not to love? Just remember to coordinate your leather gloves with the other leather items in your ensemble. For example, if you’re wearing a black belt and shoes, your gloves should be black too.
Cover Your Chest: Scarves
We have a whole post about the humble scarf — including how to tie it and when to wear it — so we’ll keep this short. Scarves are a winter essential and no man’s winter wardrobe is complete without a few high-quality scarves. Not only do they protect your chest and neck, but they also provide a visual counterpoint to offset your look and make adding a dash of colour and vibrancy to your outfit effortless and fun.
Invest in a Winter Coat
The most important item in your winter wardrobe is your winter coat or overcoat. Your overcoat sets the tone of your entire look. After all, it’s the first thing that people will see. Today, there are thousands of winter coats out there that effortlessly blend sartorial cool with practical warmth, so making the right kind of statement becomes easy.
Winter coats are often pretty costly. To get more bang for your buck, steer clear of coats that come and go with the seasons and opt for something timeless and classic. For maximum versatility, choose neutral colours that work well with most of your outfits — grey, navy, black and khaki are all good options.
Stay Grounded with Slip-Proof Shoes
It’s hard to look cool when you’re slipping and sliding all over the place, so slip-proof shoes are a must in icy winter months. Make no mistake: this doesn’t mean you have to stomp around in industrial strength, clunky boots. There are plenty of options to choose from that bear practicality and style in mind.
When shopping for winter-proof shoes, you need to be aware of the following three factors:
- Interior lining: In the winter, your feet can freeze. While socks provide some insulation, opting for a pair of shoes or boots with a cosy, warm lining will help to keep your toes toasty.
- Waterproof: Throughout the winter, your shoes are permanently submerged in puddles of sludge. To stop all that stuff from leaking into your shoes, opt for waterproof shoes. Stay away from the wellies and opt for a fabric that is robust, weather-resistant and stylish.
- Soles with traction: Don’t slip up by choosing sleek, slippery soled shoes. Instead, go for shoes that have a decent amount of grip and traction.
Browse our full collection of hardy winter suits to look cool and stay warm this winter.