Why Men’s Winter Fashion is BS…and What You Should Be Wearing to Work This Winter
Google “men’s winter fashion” and you’ll find a bunch of pictures of the #menswear crowd in sweaters with their jackets open—or without a jacket at all—on sunny, snow-free streets doing their best to look cool. We call bullshit. In fact, we’ve got a few questions for the arbiters of men’s winter fashion.
When it snows we don’t take snow days,
so what’s with all the casual gear?
The office is still the office and we’ve got to dress for it even when it’s cold outside. The too-cool-for-the-room fashion types may spend their winter days holed up in cafes with their laptops looking like young Jack Kerouacs conjuring up the next scene of On the Road (although we suspect they are actually just teeing up their next Facebook statuses) but the rest of us are steady working our office gigs. We need something that fits the office dress code and won’t have us freezing our asses off. That means a winter suit.
For those who go from home to garage to car to parking garage to hermetically sealed office building you can wear all-seasonal fabrics through all seasons and be fine. But if you commute through harsh conditions and brave the elements for off-site meetings (or lunches), suits made from heartier fabrics can help you to keep the chill off while suiting up. The wool flannel suit you see here looks great altogether for the business formal setting or broken up into separates for a business casual sport jacket or slacks.
Is putting on a sweater the best solution to
the problem of dressing stylishly during the winter months?
We don’t think so. When we see all these sweaters, we respond the way Jim Mora responds to questions about the playoffs. Sweaters? You’re showing us sweaters? Now, don’t get us wrong, we’ve got no problem with a stylish sweater—hell, we’ve even celebrated them on this site—but the sweater is a fairly limited weapon of the winter style arsenal for the suit-wearing public. A V-neck can be layered under a suit jacket and help you stay warm. But the chunky, cable knit shawl collared sweaters or the trim cut, graphic crew neck sweaters with their collars rising too high and tight to allow for a tie, are especially difficult to wear if you’re a suit guy.
If you’re looking to shake up your layered look, try incorporating a thin down vest. This vest from Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down collection stops bone-chilling winds from penetrating your outfit without bulking up your look. Because it doesn’t have sleeves, it easily slides under a even a slim fit jacket giving even your most buttoned up look a touch of modern flair.
The weather in these photos…Where do you think we live?
Seriously, open jackets and sockless chinos on dry sunny streets. Peruse the photos you see when you search for men’s winter fashion and you’ll wonder what happened to winter. For many men winter means trudging to work under gray skies as equally gray snow, shaded by dirty plows and car exhaust, piles up on the sides of icy streets.
We’re not saying that clothes ought to be showcased in dank dreary settings, but let’s get real. Your winter style ought to stand up to winter’s cold and that means you’ll need a good versatile top coat. Single breasted coats that end above the knee in neutral colors like brown, gray and navy blue are formal enough to wear with a suit but still work on the weekend with your more casual clothing. These cold-weather utility players are a crucial part of the dapper man’s winter wardrobe.
Aren’t there any hats a man can wear besides slouchy hipster beanie?
Credit goes to the fashion crowd for understanding that, during the dead of winter, a head covering is a must. But does it have to be the slouchy? What’s next, mandatory beards and thick rimmed glasses? When is the march towards hipster-rule going to be stopped?
While there was a time when no self-respecting white collar worker would be caught dead outside without a fedora, the days of a sea of hat-wearing men crowding the streets of every business district in America are over. We get that. But you can still wear a hat that will keep you warm without taking extreme measures like donning an uber-trendy beanie or an old-school fedora. Enter the newsboy cap (aka the Flatcap or the Gatsby). These hats straddle the line between formal and casual allowing you to wear them with all but the most formal of outfits. We recommend getting one in neutral gray and brown, like this one, to get the most use outs of this winter style staple.
Ultimately you’ll define men’s winter fashion in a lot of ways but there’s one man whose style affects you the most, and that’s you. We hope we’ve offered a smart alternative to the prevailing winds of men’s winter fashion but we want to hear from you. Tell us how you’re staying stylishly warm this winter in the comments section below.
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