If you’re a stylish gent, you’re acutely aware of each seasonal shift. Spring affords chances to wear lighter, refreshed colors; summer is time for light material and sunglasses; autumn means breaking out a chunky cardigan. But it’s winter when a man can truly shine. He can layer. He can sport rich fabrics and thick socks, overcoats and purposeful accessories. He can stomp around in hulking boots.
It’s the time of year when he dresses to defend himself against brutal weather, but it’s also a time to be comfortable and cozy. And it’s the time of year to get together with family and friends, to give and receive; it’s gift season. These two elements blend well, but when there is such a wide, deep array of options in the winter wardrobe world, what exactly do you give the man who lives stylishly? We’re here to turn that dilemma into fruitful present curation. So brew up some nog, get out the wrapping paper (even if you’re giving to yourself) and check out our top picks in these important categories of winter style for the well dressed man.
Anorak coats were invented by hunter-gatherer types to fight extreme cold and wind, their signature fur lining of the hood protecting well against the latter. “Parka” is a more recent, generalized term that refers to a longer coat stuffed with down or synthetic fill, though often they too utilize the fur hood look. But these don’t. We’re men of modernity, after all, and well-dressed fellas at that, so we need winter coats high tech enough to keep us comfy in the frost but that wouldn’t look out of place at a restaurant or party. After all, we’re more apt to hit the clubs than hit things with clubs.
Sometimes it’s just not cold enough to warrant bundling one’s self in a duvet-sized snowsuit. Sometimes a guy needs freer movement and must only fend off a moderate chill. You probably had enough carbs for breakfast to keep you warm from the house to the car (and during those seven minutes it takes for the heater to be reasonable) anyhow. The best material for this type of outerwear is that timeless standard, wool. It’s amazing, this stuff: thin enough to keep bulk down, yet incredibly warm and easy on the eyes the whole while. No wonder sheep are so enamored with the stuff.
Though your overcoat is quite warm and rather dashing, if we do say so ourselves, there will come a point when you’ll have to take it off; indeed, there will come a time when you have to look dashing indoors, too. For such an occasion you’ll need something classy that still projects how seasonally sensitive your tastes are. That means leaving the white linen jacket and seersucker duds in your closet and opting for a winter-appropriate blazer, probably in a wool or wool blend or, should you want to be no-holds-barred in your leaf-peeping, cider-sipping modus operandi, take a page out of the
Magna Carta the British gentleman’s style book and go for a tweedy affair.
Winter footwear is tricky. When it’s wet and slushy outside, wearing boots is nearly a necessity, but what’s a guy to do once he arrives at the office? We say wear those duck boots proudly (and maybe keep a pair of loafers in your desk drawer). However, if you’re the puddle-skipping type or the sort who gets chauffeured to work, the winter wet doesn’t necessarily apply to your footwear decisions. Still, this is boot season, boys, and we should take advantage while we can — from waterproof to rugged to classic, wear them well.
Crew Neck Sweatshirts
These days, a man wearing a sweatshirt isn’t necessarily heading to the gym. With refined materials and cuts, the classic crew neck sweatshirt of yesteryear has found a resurgence as perfectly acceptable casual wear. Paired with jeans and a button down, chinos and a jacket or, yes, sweatpants, the modern crew neck is at home in any number of environments.
It doesn’t make much sense to wear a heavy coat and thin slacks. Even your go-to jeans don’t really provide the kind of warmth you need when the elements rear their frigid head. No, for the winter you want legwear that’s a bit sturdier — hardy enough to keep in warm and keep out cold — but also cut in such a way that promotes a sense of style. If winter pants aren’t made of bulletproof-thick material, they should still at least exude that snowy, cozy attitude with color and fabric comfy and deep enough to not seem out of place at the lodge.
Let’s be clear: you should wear literally whatever you want, whenever you want. All the same, the norm during the wintry season is to tone down colors and patterns — not to depressing levels (though you might want to avoid overtly offending anyone with a touch a Seasonal Affective Disorder), but at least to muted, cooler tones that complement the light and conditions. When a man dons a tie, it’s often the focal point of his entire get up, so if you’re going for the winter look, it’s a good place to start.
Just because it’s winter and you’re constantly sloshing through snowbanks doesn’t mean you suddenly have less to carry every day. Hell, certain red-suited fellows have a lot more to carry this time of year. Short of a sleigh, you’ll at least need a great bag, be it for the workday, weekend, or otherwise. You’ll need a bag that can hold your gear and swallow discarded scarves and gloves or keep an extra sweater at the ready.
It’s tempting to make like a bear and hibernate all season long. It’s more common to let your face cover itself naturally — a beard keeps the heat in and looks awesome after an hour on the slopes. We’re not saying you shouldn’t let your winter whiskers do their thing, but might we gently suggest at least keeping everything tidy?
Don’t fret if you’re having a hard time reading and writing your naughty/nice list this year. Glasses have never been more stylish, and never before have so many pairs been so easy to procure. Grab a pair of thicker-framed specs, prop yourself up at the hearth and get snowed in with a good book — that you can actually read clearly.
If you haven’t been paying attention, we’ll reiterate that sometimes in these months surrounding the new year the weather can get cold. That’s science. Lest you feel like losing a finger or two to Jack Frost, consider for a moment some handsome hand warmers. They’ll keep your digits operational should the temp dip and make you look just about as put together as can be, whether you’re mushing a sled, riding a snowmobile, or relaxing in a cab on your way to dinner.
If there’s any time of year that totally throws us off, it’s the quickly-darkening winter days. One minute you’re eating lunch, then you blink and suddenly the street lamps are on. Stay on top of things with a timepiece. When the going gets dark and everyone’s panicking about nuclear dust clouds and the sun blowing up and the end of days, you need only tap on your wrist-worn beacon of truth and give a knowing, calming smile: it’s 4 p.m., folks.