New Style Tricks For WinterIt’s a yearly event: that morning when it dawns on us that the weather has changed, and we’ve entered the cold season. There’s a discomforting chill inside our still unheated home, we leave the shower and hesitate before unwrapping the towel, and as we get dressed, we know it’s time to dust off our overcoat, check our jumpers for moth holes and search for the wool scarf we haven’t seen since March (it’s usually inside a coat pocket, by the way).
You already know your wardrobe response to the new temperature will be exactly the same as last year: it’s time to return to comfort layers – those that keep you warm and protected against the elements.
However, this can quickly make our looks appear boring and unimaginative. Is it because we think it’s bad taste to take sartorial or stylistic risks when everyone else is curling up in uninspiring layers and walking about with cups of hot watery soups, shoulders shrugged, depressed due to the weather?
Just as the soup could be swapped for a hearty, imaginative hot sandwich, there are ways to keep warm in the colder months without blending into the crowds. To help, we’ve come up with a few simple tricks you can try, to ensure your winter ensembles aren’t dull.
It’s all about rethinking your layers and adopting new ideas that often get ignored when you’re trying to remain warm and comfortable…
1. Swap Outer LayersIf you, like many of us, have a puffa jacket for weekends/casual outings and a tailored overcoat for work, try inverting the game:
Wear your puffa over the suit. You might want to invest in a slightly roomier version to accommodate the jacket. It’s less expected and won’t raise eyebrows in the office, where it will be removed. The same goes for other traditionally casual outerwear silhouettes such as your fur-collared parka or bold coloured duffle coat.
As for your great-fitting overcoat, it shouldn’t retire: let it drape casually over your t-shirt and jeans while off-duty (extra points if the look is finished with trainers).
Juxtaposing your inner and outer layers will bring new energy to your winter outings.
2. Switch Your Middle LayersThere are clear guidelines: knitted jumpers for smart-casual wear and dressing down your tailoring, sweatshirts for casual getups. Break this rule.
A classic grey crew neck sweat over your shirt will revolutionise casual Friday, and, whether you agree with me or not, wearing cashmere to the gym is just too cool for words.
3. Adopt Unapologetic Cold-Weather AccessoriesA sensitive subject, as it might take you back to school days of being bullied for sporting leg warmers, dorky beanies and patterned scarves.
Guess what? Now that you’re all grown up, well put together and hopefully haven’t seen a school bully in a while, those same knitted winter staples your mum wrapped you up in will look great paired with your carefully curated attire.
In order to pull the look off with panache, stick to high quality materials and sensible colours/patterns (stay away from brights, Technicolor or silly motifs). A break from the skinny striped scarf alone will do you good.
4. Boot UpPerhaps the greatest thing about winter is the freedom to explore extreme footwear, with your alibi provided by the weather.
Army boots, unusually thick lug soles, shoe-trainer hybrids – they’re all fair game. You need your soles to grip on the wet, icy pavement, to keep your ankles warm and such.
Strong, confident boots that will give your brogues a break are a definite ‘yes’ for a winter pick-me-up.
5. Sunglasses In WinterNo, they’re not just a summer item. No, they don’t look silly on a cold day. They protect your eyes from light, and bright winter days (particularly after it has been snowing) can be just as blinding.
From a style perspective, shades finish off your winter look, add mystery and act as efficient shields – when people are cranky due to the weather, or when you’re tired, have a cold or just don’t want to be too accessible.
However, stay away from bright, summery frames. Keep them neutral or in classic tortoiseshell to avoid looking like a douche.
6. Try An Alternative Outer LayerThis is the boldest piece of advice in this guide, and should only be followed if you feel 100 per cent sure of what you’re doing: skip your coat and go for an on-trend blanket, poncho or cape-like piece that will bring attention to you.
Big time. Can you handle it?
7. Skilfully Embrace Your Sloppy StaplesThere’s a worldwide fashion movement which, to put into one sentence, is encouraging people to ‘dress real’ by utilising ‘unfashionable’ items. Call it 21st-century grunge if you like.
This means pieces such as sweatpants, hoodies/sweatshirts, light wash ‘dad’ jeans, old t-shirts and other very casual items (Birkenstocks being the ultimate symbol of this movement) are more than welcome in your autumn attire.
However, don’t take this trend too literally. You’ll be better off incorporating a few select garments into your look, offsetting them with more considered, refined pieces.
8. Look At Misunderstood Materials With Different EyesAnother trickled-down aspect of Normcore: it has become acceptable to finish off your smartest looks with synthetic fleece, acrylic wool and other man-made materials, all for the sake of combating the snobbery of quality (and high price tags).
Good news, since it means you won’t have to spend as much to refresh your cold-weather wardrobe this year. On the other hand, staying true to quality staples (even if they’re very low key) should be a non-negotiable habit. Start slow, maybe with a fleece polo neck worn with your tailored trousers.
If you miss cashmere and merino wool too much, just ditch this trend altogether.
9. Loosen Up On The Accessory FrontYour heavy framed briefcase in vegetable-tanned leather may be your pride and joy, and will always be there for you, finishing off your most dapper looks. This fall, however, do you think you can sport a canvas backpack instead? What about swapping your monk-straps for trainers?
Look at the most formal items in your wardrobe and pick one to completely turn your back on, replacing it with the most relaxed, nonchalant substitute you can get away with.
Remember: if the change is within your comfort zone, it won’t create the desired effect.
10. Make Inner Layers WarmerYour outer layer doesn’t necessarily have to be long and heavy. You can keep warm with a chunky jumper, thermal underwear or extra layers and finish off the look with a denim, leather or bomber jacket, for example.
Just make sure that your under layers are somewhat visible to combat the dreaded ‘sausage’ effect, which can happen when you look stuffed into multiple layers that cannot be seen.
Final WordThere you have ten easy tricks that will ensure your autumn/winter style is anything but boring this year.
Have you got any styling tricks of your own that you care to share?