Winter Wardrobe StaplesWritten by Tigre Haller
Winter in the United States can be brutal, especially in the more humid areas like New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago. If you haven’t already, take stock of what cold weather clothes you have in your closet and beef them up if needed.
With the chilly temperatures, snow and ice comes the need to bolster your closet with winter wardrobe essentials. It’s never too late to take stock and refresh.
Use this handy guide to figure out what you have and what you might need to make sure you are well protected this winter.
Cold Weather Fabrics for Men
Wool is a natural material that is used in pretty much all sorts of winter gear. Think fuzzy wool socks. Comfy wool sweaters, jackets and pullovers. Even wool t-shirts. Light yet durable, wool is great for insulation and it’s water-resistant, making it ideal to stand up to Old Man Winter. However, coarse (or unrefined) wool isn’t as warm as fine wool. Many people consider Merino wool to be the best type of wool available. Shorn from Merino sheep, this fine wool helps to regulate body temperature, wick away moisture from the body and help to control odor.
Now, you might think silk is a little too delicate to be considered a cold weather fabric, but surprisingly it is. Silk actually helps to regulate body temperature and also wicks away moisture. Actually, it can absorb, like a sponge. 30% of its own weight in moisture. It is very light, flexible and fantastic to use as a first layer, such as in underwear and undershirts.
Flannel in winter is like… hot chocolate with marshmallows. They just go together. An excellent insulator, your body will stay warm thanks to the insulating properties. Now, there’s cotton flannel, wool flannel and synthetic flannel.
Despite the name which signifies the coat of a sheep, fleece - also known as polar fleece - can also be a synthetic fabric made from polyester. This lightweight material is created to mimic a natural feel and is an acceptable replacement for wool. Although it is warm, it isn’t water-resistant and can melt if it gets too hot. That said, a nice fleece pullover is essential for winter. You can also find fleece coats, jackets, hats and gloves.
Winter Scarves and Gloves for Men
Scarves and gloves might seem like a no-brainer, but they can also be afterthoughts. Especially when you look out your window and the sun is shining brightly. Don’t be fooled. Just because it’s a sunny day does not mean it’s summer. No, it is still winter and wrapping your neck (and sometimes head) in a nice, long, soft scarf is a sure way to keep warm.
Gloves can be thin or thick, thermal or not. It all depends on how cold your hands usually get. Mine actually tend to sweat so I prefer thinner gloves that still keep the chill away, but don’t smother me. Leather gloves are usually lined with cotton or faux fur. Wool gloves can be slender or on the bulkier side. And thermal gloves are must-haves when it is really cold.
Winter Coats for Men
A nice, warm winter coat or jacket is an absolute must. Actually, it’s a good idea to have a selection if possible to meet the needs of the day, and the occasion. These four winter coats is a safe number to go with as they will cover the basics:
The Parka Coat
Originally made by the Caribou Inuit people out of caribou or seal skin to be worn for winter hunts and kayaking on frigid waters, the parka has been a winter staple for many years. Usually this style of coat includes a fur-lined hood which will keep the heat in your head and protect your ears. Although still somewhat oversized, today’s parkas have been streamlined and modernized with high-tech materials. Parkas are known for being able to withstand extreme cold and wet conditions which is ideal when the heavy snow comes down, or the temperatures plummet.
This woolen coat was originally worn by European sailors, so you can imagine how warm and durable it had to be. Typified by a short length, plastic or wooden buttons, double-breasted panels, broad lapels and vertical or slash pockets and dark colors, the peacoat’s casual design lends itself to rugged winter looks. You can bet that you will always be warm and toasty with the peacoat.
Even though they are built to withstand the cold, bomber jackets can also be worn on warmer winter days. Originally worn by US Air Force pilots in the 1950s, this style of jacket became a fashion staple over the following decades. The signature silhouette is cropped, a roomy shell, knitted cuffs and hemline. The bomber jacket offers a lot of insulation and allows for layering.
A nice, long, wool overcoat is a must for the winter. You will need one for dressy occasions, and can find them in different colors although camel is perhaps the most popular.
Winter Shirts, Sweaters and Pants
For the colder months you want to go for heavier shirts like flannels and turtlenecks. You can also layer shirts on top of each other. Add a breathable sweater or hoodie on top and you will be sure to stay warm and dry through the season.
For pants choose wool, flannel, tweed and corduroy. Flexibility and breathability are key for comfort.
Winter Footwear for Men
Naturally during the winter you will want to wear shoes and boots which not only look god, but provide excellent protection against the elements.
Boots, like our Dowler Boots in Pull-Up leather, are the usual go-to footwear for the winter. They are rugged, warm, protect your feet and keep the snow and slush out.
You can also opt for shoes such as these substantial Dunham Derbies that offer a casual yet sophisticated look, and protect your feet really well.
Shoes or boots with rubber soles have great traction which is particularly important when navigating ice.
Leather sneakers are also suitable to wear in the winter so long as it’s not snowing or raining too heavily.
When safe indoors, snuggle into a nice, cozy and warm pair of Larsen Slippers. They will make your feet feel toasty in no time.
Layering Clothes in the Winter
I can’t stress enough the importance of layering clothes in the winter. It helps to keep you warm, but perhaps more importantly, layering will help keep you dry. When you are bundled up you will sweat and when you sweat your body will get cold if the moisture isn’t taken care of right away.
The base layer of clothes, like a long sleeve undershirt, should be made of a material that wicks sweat away from your skin. Cotton should be avoided since it absorbs moisture and stays wet.
The middle layer is all about insulation. Use lightweight sweaters, sweatshirts and fleece to keep you warm.
Be sure that your outer layer can block wind and rain, and that it is waterproof or water absorbent, like something made from Gore-Tex or SympaTex. You should be able to find some of the coat styles mentioned above made from these engineered materials.
Staying warm, dry and safe during the winter can be a breeze if you follow these tips. Please share your own ideas by sending a comment below.