It doesn’t matter if you plan on slamming the door on fall and accepting the frosty season for what it is, or simply just hiding indoors and spitting profanities at the winter, there’s no hiding from the fact that winter is a season that demands exceptional attention when it comes to dressing. Having said this, I’ve broken down some of the undeniable essentials to get you through the colder months.
Quality Winter Jacket/Coat
A good quality winter coat for men is the most conspicuous winter essential on this list, so it’s only right we tackle it first. If you’re planning to bankroll a significant amount of money into a coat, you need to make sure it’s made from durable materials (a cashmere-wool blend is usually a safe bet). Be versatile enough to go with a range of different outfits and most importantly, last you the entire winter.
Generally speaking, it’s always advisable to have different men’s coat styles; a good, thick winter coat, a rain coat, and a casual jacket or coat to easily don when the weather’s not as harsh. And if you’re in the market for something a bit more versatile while maintaining a casual look, a neutral coloured parka jacket is always a good choice. They have to be one of the best warm winter jackets around as they’re not only incredibly practical, they are also likely to come in a few different styles, allowing you to go for a slimmer fit design, or a chunkier one that reaches your hip.
If you are bound by a strict work getup, or you’re just a fan of the more ‘refined’ look (like myself for instance), then casual jackets and parkas might not be the best choice for you. You should be eyeing more streamlined and longer coats, like overcoats or trench coats to exude a more elegant look, and choosing them in neutral, subdued colours keeps them easy to blend in and complement a range of formal and smart casual outfits. Navy Blue, Brown and Beige/Brown are always safe bets.
The most important consideration when searching for a smart overcoat is the FIT! You need to make sure it’s the proper width across the shoulders, the arms are long enough and fits in comfortably around the waist without making an “X” shape when buttoned up.
A Warm Winter Jumper/Sweater
Now for the second most obvious of winter essentials, jumpers. Whether you’re locking yourself indoors or braving the cold outside, jumpers are simply easy to wear and make a practical addition to any man’s arsenal. Right now we’re inundated with bright, colourful ugly Christmas jumpers, but ask anyone who’s tried to get dressed in a hurry in the morning and they’d tell you simple, unprinted designs are much easier to work with.
If you like a bit of colour in your wardrobe, there’s nothing wrong in having a few bright jumpers, but also have a few neutral coloured pieces for when you don’t feel like, or have the time for colour matching. Even if you are working with bold coloured jumpers, it’s still better to work with an unprinted design, which gives a bright yet clean finish that will complement a larger range of outfits than a busier one would.
If you want to dress up a coloured jumper, there is often the temptation to immediately pair it with black to help tone it down. However for some colours (like a bright yellow or lighter tones), black creates too stark a contrast, and you’re better off pairing it with a softer, yet equally versatile colour like a grey or a navy.
And for everyday jumpers, black and grey are two colours that can easily work into any wardrobe. A good grey jumper will pretty much go with anything, from light to dark toned clothes, and is great if you’re looking for a jumper to wear with a more relaxed ensemble. Black is also as versatile and is usually best to give a smarter finish.
It’s also best to make sure that your jumpers are made from quality materials (like cotton), as simpler colours have the tendency to look worn and faded if you’re working with cheap materials.
Now I’m definitely not practicing what I’m preaching here because I personally stick to loafers (with thick socks) as opposed to boots, but for the sake of everyone else, a good footwear is essential when you’re out and about in the winter months. Contrary to popular belief, heat isn’t lost through your head, but through your feet and hands, so keeping them warm is necessary for the rest of your body to stay warm as well. Ideally, your shoes need to be both sturdy and warm, so you don’t fall flat on your face if you’re walking along icy pavements.
Boots are the sensible choice for a warm and sturdy footwear for the winter. Depending on what style you choose, they could easily go with a number of looks. If you’re looking for something practical and hardwearing, you should lay emphasis on the sole of the shoe. Ideally, it should be made from a thick rubber, with enough grooves to give you adequate grip.
For practical outfits, Lace up boots are ideal as you can easily adjust them to suit your size. This means if it’s a particularly cold day and you’re wearing thicker socks, you would still be able fit into your boots. For colours, it really doesn’t matter, you can pick whatever coloured boots you want, but if they’re meant solely for practicality then a black pair is going to match with a bigger range of outfits.
However, if you want something a little less practical and more suitable for everyday outfits, then you can go for something sleeker and a little less bulky, like Chelsea boots. Leather is always a good material for winter shoes because it’s durable and warm, and any water marks and scuffs can easily be cleaned up. Suede shoes on the other hand should be avoided unless you’re planning on driving everywhere, or have a very good suede protector spray, as water can potentially ruin the material.
So far, we’ve covered the basics but picking the right accessories could also make a big difference to your overall comfort in the winter months. Gloves, scarves and hats are accessories that could either make or break your outfit; depending on how you wear them.
Now to really keep your head as warm as possible, a beanie is really your best bet. They’re usually slim fit, so it wont give you a bulky look, and they also come in a variety of colours. Its always safe to avoid anything with a bold pattern. Colours like grey, cream, burgundy and black are good choices to go for because they are versatile colours and would go with a lot while remaining un-intrusive.
One should also have at least two men’s scarves in one’s wardrobe; one for smart occasions, and one for more casual affairs. If you’re trying for a smart look, choose a neutral colour with minimal patterns, or none at all. You want it to be an addition to your outfit, not the main feature, so keep things simple.
Finally, nobody likes frozen hands, and when you have a large selection of good pairs of men’s gloves on the market, there’s really no need to have them. It’s easy to get a basic pair of woollen gloves or some quality lined leather gloves, and they’re great if you’re looking for something cheap that’ll get the job done.
There we have it gentlemen, a selection of the most important wardrobe essentials for a man’s winter wardrobe. Make sure you have a couple of quality jackets, a good quality pair of insulated boots, a selection of comfy sweaters in muted colours and a decent beanie hat to keep the head warm!