Winter Clothes

It’s autumn now: the weather has turned sour and cold, and the age-old problem of what clothing items will be the staples of our winter wardrobes has reappeared. It is sometimes difficult to know where to start with regard to winter clothes for men: there’s by and large less clear guidelines or running themes in the fashion media. We’ve put together some ideas for the kind of things you might want to wear, drawing on those timeless items like well-fitting button-downs, to the potentially more novel potential purchases like brightly coloured pairs of socks.

Tops

First thing’s first: the items of clothing that will first be noticed by other people, and the items of clothing that will keep your vital organs warm. It’s important to consider layers: whilst it might be cold outside, cafes and libraries often compensate for the drop in temperature by whacking up the thermostat. Thus, being able to remove your outer layers is a key factor, meaning that you should pay attention to what’s worn underneath your jacket or jumper as much as the style and quality of these items in themselves.

Shirts

Shirts are a really great option for all sort of guys and looks. Plain coloured button-downs are great for smart-casual looks, and in winter, more neutral muted colours like petrol blue and maroon are particularly good. If you’re dressing for more relaxed occasions, plaid works well. Shirts look great worn unbuttoned over T-shirts, which not only gives you extra warmth, but produces a informal but well-though-out impression.

When fitted properly, they are flattering for all body shapes and sizes, and give a strong impression that you’ve made an effort with yourself. It’s worth actually going and trying shirts on: sizing guides vary considerably between brands. Although the ongoing pandemic means that some trying-on cubicles are closed, most shops offer longer return periods, so you can go try the items on a home and decide whether they fit.

Brands to consider: Marks and Spencer, Gap, COS.

Jumpers

There’s no way of getting around it: winter is the season of jumpers. V-neck and crewneck types can be teamed up with a button-down shirt for more formal looks, perfect for dinner dates and low-key work events (online or otherwise).

A roll neck is also a good smart-casual option: they look great with a blazer and are good for the times in which you do not want to wear a shirt. There are many different types of roll neck to choose from: for those with shorter necks, go for something like a funnel neck; for those who are on the chunkier side, it might be worth considering a looser cowl neck.

There’s also great variation between types of knit. A cable knit (pronounced woollen textures, often patterned) makes for a cosy, wintery look. Fabrics like cashmere or acrylic are better for more formal and unobtrusive styles.

Brands to consider: Club Monaco, John Lewis.

Coats

Coats are probably the most important item that you’ll have to grapple with this winter. Usually they are considerably more expensive than your other clobber, making them a longer term investment and worn for years and years. Thus it’s important to get a coat that is versatile: stick to plain neutral colours. Have a look at the clothes that you already own: if warmer and earthier, brown might work better; if mainly blues and greys, black or similar would probably be best.

You also need to decide whether you want a fully waterproof coat: if not, you’ll have to make sure you take an umbrella with you when you go out. Some good waterproof coats include wax cotton jackets and long anoraks: they will pretty smart without being too formal, and will keep you very dry. Some not-specifically waterproof options include wool pea coats (perfect for wearing over a suit or a polo neck) and well-fitting duffel coats.

Brands to consider Urban Outfitters, Carhartt.

Bottoms

Trousers

The comfort and freedom of short-wearing is pretty much unviable for winter outfits that are to be worn outside. Trousers beckon. It’s advisable to have three pairs of trousers: a well fitting pair of denim jeans (in a blue tone of your choice), a pair of smart fitted trousers (wool is particularly good for winter) and a pair of chinos (or similar) for the events in between formal and informal.

Again, stick to fairly neutral colours: like coats, you generally own less trousers, so it’s important invest in items that will allow you the most flexibility. If you want a statement pair of trousers, make sure that the rest of the outfit is more muted: generally speaking, you do not want to look like you’re dressed as a traffic light or disco ball.

Brands to consider: Uniqlo, Basic Rights, Levi’s

Shoes

The question of waterproofing rears its head again. You’ll need a pair of smartish leather shoes, like brogues or Chelsea boots: the former would probably suit a thinner, more fitted leg; the latter, a straighter fit. The leather will be fairly waterproof, but it’s worth finding some care products that will make sure of this, as well as just making your shoes last for a lot longer.

But in terms of trainers — the other key piece of footwear — it’s a little more complicated. Straightfowardly canvas shoes will not be at all waterproof or particularly warm. Luckily, there’s often leather equivalents to the trainers you probably wore in summer: it’s worth having an internet search about this.

Brands to have a look at: Supra, Ted Baker, Office.

Socks

This is a really nice, low-stakes way to build your style. Although a colour-pop or a pattern adds a really nice twist to more formal outfits, don’t choose gratuitously garish or “funny” socks: no fluorescents or fried eggs with smiley faces on them. Buy a multipack of plain socks (including some black ones) that are fairly cheap, and then (if you want to, and are able to) buy some more spendy and noticeable socks for special occasions.

Brands to consider: MUJI, Happy Socks.

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