INSPIRATION AND ADVICE
WINTER WARDROBE ESSENTIALS
By Style Feed Staff, 14 November 2017
Moan all you like about winter, but, in style terms, it is the most wonderful time of year – principally because you can get away with wearing more clothes (layering, they call it). So, here’s how to get started with the core items of a classic winter wardrobe.
A common mistake is to try and ‘layer up’ to avoid having to buy a proper winter overcoat. Trust us – you do not want to be the guy shivering in three jumpers when the snow kicks in. Instead, invest in something thick in a versatile, neutral shade like navy, charcoal, dark green or – if you’re feeling a little more adventurous – camel, whether it’s a single or double-breasted overcoat, a parka, pea coat, trench or even a heavy-duty bomber. It’s your most important winter purchase (after your mum’s Christmas present).
Winter is the best time for knitwear because you can go all out: chunky cable-knit jumpers, thick luxurious roll necks, or cardigans that cover you like a duvet. As long as they fit well and don't have a Santa Claus stitched along the stomach, pretty much anything goes. Try pairing something in burgundy or olive with a quality pair of dark, straight-cut jeans.
While your pristine white trainers are obviously to be worn cautiously in winter, even desert boots, Derbies and brogues can struggle to keep your feet dry if the weather goes full arctic. To walk out the door with confidence no matter what, try something higher like a pair of Chelsea boots or lace-ups – in leather rather than suede, obviously – that can hold firm while still forming the basis of a strong smart/casual outfit.
The check jacket
It is an Englishman’s birthright to dabble in heritage checks from the time to time and winter offers the perfect opportunity. Worn under a roomy overcoat, the standout pattern of a classic check jacket makes it the perfect layering item. You don’t need to go ‘full landed gentry’, either – just consider it a nod to tradition and wear over a simple crew-cut T-shirt with dark jeans or chinos.
Jeans are an all-year-round essential, but a good pair really comes into its own in winter. The simple reason is that while woollen trousers and chinos will stain in the wet or sometimes leave you chilly in the cold, jeans can take everything the world has to throw at them with minimal disruption to your look or comfort. Keep things timeless with a slim-cut pair in dark denim that can be worn with literally anything.
The long-sleeved T-shirt
Your base layers are important, not only for keeping you warm – which is why long sleeves are a must – but for offsetting your outfit. Whether it's a shirt or T-shirt, the small part visible under whatever else you’re wearing will automatically become an accent to your look. A great choice is the Breton stripe, which looks cool under any blazer/overcoat combo and has your back if you’re stripping off once you get inside, too.
The practical need for a scarf is obvious (no one likes to be exposed to a potential snowball down the neck) but looking stylish while wearing one is less straightforward. The most important thing is not to buy anything too long so you end up wrapping it around yourself eight times like a python. The second is to make sure the colour acts as a complementary accent to the rest of your outfit. The scarf is also a chance to show a little personality, so why not embrace some seasonal cheer – it’s a tad subtler than a Christmas jumper.
Winter hats can be a sartorial minefield – a bad choice will ruin your outfit before you’ve even had a chance to walk through the door and make the universal ‘brrrrr!’ sound. The best rule of thumb is to keep it simple: flaps, bobbles and other dangly bits are best kept to a minimum. A beanie that isn’t too big for you, in a single shade, should cut it.