Winter clothing. Can you be practical, warm and stylish?
You want to keep warm but that shouldn't mean you have to sacrifice your style, right?
In this article, I'm going to show you 6 things you need to add to your wardrobe to keep stylish and warm this winter.
Without further ado, let's get into the 6 casual cold weather clothing essentials you need when the temperature drops.
1. Long-Sleeved Henley Shirt
Henley shirts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘grandad collar shirts') were the traditional rowing uniform for those competing in the English Henley Royal Regatta.
Think of a Henley shirt as a t-shirt with a bit more character. The Henley is collarless and has a round neckline with a buttoned placket which is usually around 4 inches long. It's available in long and short sleeve – with the long-sleeve Henley shirt as our choice for winter.
In terms of formality, the Henley sits between a t-shirt and a polo shirt.
I know what you're thinking. How does the Henley shirt fall under ‘winter clothing'? The Henley shirt is perfect for winter layering. It makes a great base layer, onto which you can add cotton, flannel or denim shirts. For a great triple layered look (and extra warmth), you can add a sleeveless insulated coat on top of these two layers.
Keep your outer layers open to show off the Henley's buttoned placket and to draw attention to your chest.
You can also use the Henley shirt over a button-down shirt as a great casual alternative to wearing a sweater over a dress shirt.
Always remember the golden rule: get a good fit. To rock the Henley shirt, go for plain neutral colors and use the layers to add contrast and interest to your outfit.
2. Winter Clothing – Button-Down Shirt
The button-down shirt meaning can be confusing. The difference between button-up and button-down is this: a button-down shirt has buttons on the collar which fasten it to the shirt.
The button-down was originally worn by Polo players who became tired of their collars flapping up in their faces while riding and it's also worn by cowboys – presumably for the same reason. Its athletic pedigree makes the button-down a great casual alternative to the traditional men's dress shirt.
Men's button-down shirts have a soft collar made from casual, rugged materials like flannel and denim. Flannel in particular will keep you warm and stylish this winter when layered over a simple fitted white t-shirt or long-sleeved Henley shirt.
Layering a button-down shirt over a Henley shirt is a stylish winter look but remember to keep the top 3 or 4 buttons undone to show off the buttons on the Henley.
Stay warm and casual this winter by wearing your button-down under a sweater – letting the collar, sleeves, and bottom peak out.
Button-down fabrics are often patterned and come with pockets and epaulets. You wouldn't see these features on the traditional dress shirt and they add to the casual look.
Go for a looser fit but stay away from too baggy – your shirt should still be tapered at the sides. If your button-down has a flat bottom hem, you can wear it as an untucked shirt but make sure it doesn't fall any lower than the bottom of your back pocket. Any longer and you're veering dangerously into dress territory).
3. Hoodies For Men
The hoodie was introduced in the 1930s as a way to keep laborers from freezing in harsh conditions. It was popularized by Rocky and hip-hop culture.
There are no two ways about it – hoodies for men are casual, but worn in the right way, the hoodie looks as good as any casual sweater.
Your hoodie should fit snugly with no bagginess around the waist and it should never be any longer than the seat of your trousers.
Hoodies for men are available in a huge range of colors, fabrics, styles and patterns – with and without logos. For the best look, go for simplicity – opt for a solid color and avoid visible branding. A zip-up style will give you a stylish, slim fitted look which is perfect for layering.
You can partner your hoodie with a leather jacket for a warm, comfortable and stylish look or you can wear it with a parka or pea coat for an urban, contemporary look.
4. The Man's Knitted Sweater
Sweaters with a texture like the chain or jacquard knit give your outfit visual interest and work well under an outer layer like the denim jacket. A sweater made using unscoured wool retains its natural oils which means it is water resistant and wearable when wet.
Remember that wool shrinks in the wash so you may want to go for a larger size.
If you want to dress up your sweater, go for a triple layered look and wear your knitted sweater over a dress shirt. For extra warmth, add a sports jacket made from a rugged fabric like tweed or herringbone.
Knitted sweaters should be fitted to your body and not baggy or tight. When making your purchase, you may want to go slightly bigger because wool shrinks a little in the wash.
5. Men's Dress Sneakers
At one time, men's sneakers were unapologetically casual but now you can buy dress sneakers designed to be worn with a suit, chinos, and jeans.
The finest men's dress sneakers use top quality dress shoe materials like calf leather. You can embrace the fall/winter look with suede but make sure it is water resistant (a waterproofing spray is essential).
Go for a minimalist design with a monochrome or subtle two-tone upper and minimal branding. Make your outfit pop with a bold neutral color – brightly colored sneakers risk clashing with your outfit and can look childish. You can't go far wrong with a pair of white, classic leather sneakers but black is a more practical color if you're walking in snow and slush.
The key is to avoid looking sloppy and of course to avoid the dreaded ‘dad sneakers'. A dad sneaker is chunky, usually has a logo and is synonymous with badly fitted faded jeans. These sneakers are acceptable in the gym but nowhere else and please – no Velcro straps. Ever!
You should choose a low top sneaker (showing the ankle) rather than the high top (covering the ankle). If you need ankle support when it is slippery underfoot, consider a casual ankle-high boot like the chukka boot.
6. Men's Leather Boots
The work boot is a sturdy, practical lace-up leather boot originally designed for manual work. Work boots are perfect durable winter footwear.
Think of work boots as the Chelsea Boot's rugged cousin. They look great with dark slim fit indigo jeans and a knitted sweater.
Find a work boot with durable rubber soles that will grip the slippery winter terrain and keep you vertical. And feel smug as someone in Chelsea Boots glides by on the seat of their pants.
Water resistance is high on your priority list. Look for a Goodyear welt and full grain leather which will allow you to apply waterproofing treatments like dubbin wax to protect you from the elements.
If you have been out in wet conditions, stuff your boots with newspaper to soak up the moisture and allow them to dry out before wearing them again.
And there we have it. 6 winter clothing essentials will allow you to dress casually, stylishly and warmly this winter.
Winter Outerwear for Stylish Men – Bonus Ideas
Insulated Goose Down Vest
The layers closest to your body are the most important for warmth and a down vest is the perfect option. Goose Down is the layer of warm feathers found under the bellies of goose and other fowl. A vest provides a durable layer of warmth. Inferior vests use polyester filling but they don't get the job done quite like goose down.
Vests come in many varieties like soft shell and quilted. A soft shell vest has a soft outer shell that is worn close to the torso with no down filling. It is usually composed of man-made materials like polyester. Pick a thin, lightweight version and wear it as a third layer under a gray flannel blazer or suit jacket.
A quilted down vest uses down goose feathers and has a sectional pattern where the filling is sewn in. This is a warmer but more casual option. Today many down vests are made thin and sleek and can be worn under a suit in a professional environment. Just keep the colors muted.
The Navy Peacoat
A classic option for any well dressed gentleman. This hip length 100% wool coat was originally introduced by the Dutch and adopted by British sailors. This double-breasted coat with slash pockets gives a man ample protection from cold and an element of style with a reversible collar which can stand on its own when turned up.
The original comes in navy blue, but don't be afraid to choose one in gray, or even a plaid. Shop Schott for the original peacoat.
Most men are familiar with the overcoat and topcoat but few make the leap to the Chesterfield. This coat, so named after the Earl of Chesterfield is a stylish option with a trademark black or brown velvet collar that originated from paying homage to French revolutionists who lost their heads to the guillotine.
Today the coat has lost its warlike affiliation (unless your last business deal went bad) and it will help a man stand out from the rest of the pack at the office. Pick up this J. Crew version for an instant style upgrade.
The Duffle Coat
The duffle coat is a casual option that was originally inspired by Belgian fisherman who needed protection from the harsh elements aboard fishing ships and was eventually adopted by the British Navy.
The original comes in 100% wool but can be had in wool/cashmere blends. Its trademark toggle horn buttons and extra large hood for warmth make this coat a wardrobe essential in any mans winter coat arsenal. Gloverall makes a classic version.
The Barbour Jacket
A hallmark for stylish men – the Barbour coat only gets better with time and has a history of keeping men warm and dry for over a century. Its waxed cotton outer shell makes it water and stain resistant and a causal option that can be worn on the weekends and in the country. Maintenance includes waxing the coat once a year but this annual ritual will keep your Barbour in tip top shape for years to come and is a worthy investment. Check out the menswear line.
These classic pieces will add style and warmth to any man who takes his winter wardrobe seriously.