Winter can be anything but fun, but winter clothing doesn’t have to be as bleak as the weather forecast. It used to be the case that “winter clothing” meant parkas and snow boots, especially in areas with heavy snowfall and temperatures that dip well below zero. Today, layering key pieces for warmth, but without looking like a marshmallow is essential for braving the elements. The importance of each layer is not to be forgotten – each represents a different “outfit” that may, at one point throughout the day, be the one presented to the world.
The first step to effective winter layers is to keep the first layer light and comfortable. Short sleeved t-shirts made of cotton or a moisture wicking technical fabric in a neutral colour are key. This first layer will serve as the foundation of the look, so the shirt should be fitted, but not too tight. A classic black or white v neck is always a safe bet.
Following the foundation layer is a light outerwear layer, such as a knit cardigan or a slim fitting zip up. Don’t be fooled by the warmth of a fuzzy hoodie – those are for at home on the couch! Pick a slim fit in a fabric with a bit of stretch; stick with darker neutrals for the colour, such as black, dark grey, or deep chocolate brown. Stay away from logos, embellishments, and extra or decorative items; this is a base layer, so simple will suffice!
Following the two base layers is the final outerwear layer. What kind of outwear and how heavy duty it needs to be can vary vastly from region to region. It’s obviously going to be a bit different heading out for dinner in Alaska than keeping warm for a brisk walk to the car in upstate New York. Forget the parka, this isn’t an arctic trek, and leave the ski jackets in “interesting” patterns and colours for hitting the mountains. Outwear should consist of a basic leather or wool coat, preferably in bomber length. The leather is water resistant and acts as a barrier from wind and snow, while the lining is what will serve to keep the warmth in! Different levels of lining ranging from simple liners to thermal quilting are available for different leather jackets in different brands, so making a wise choice based on location is essential. A man in a leather jacket can be so many things – tough, daring, manly, the epitome of a bad boy, the sexy boyfriend, the rockstar……the list goes on. To achieve the ubiquitous “every man” status in winter, all it takes it the right jacket. Fitted but not tight, lined but not bulky, in matte or pebbled leather, without “trying to hard” embellishments like buckles, zippers, logos, or chains (leave the bling to the ladies, gentlemen!).
In addition to the basics, to keep warm with style, remember to add the right winter accessories. Grandma’s knitted scarf and mittens may be cuddly warm with sentimental value, but they won’t make the ladies swoon. A fashionable cashmere scarf and insulated leather driving gloves are just as warm and much more likely to impress. If the concern that style can’t mix with substance still remains, the layering method is still the best way to go. Remember that thermal leggings (aka long underwear) can be worn under jeans to cut the bite of the winter wind, just make sure to pick up a dark coloured pair in a quality material – the old grey and blue ones from childhood just won’t cut it. Price can vary from a few dollars at a local department store to almost a hundred at a specialty retailer like Lululemon. A long sleeved t-shirt can also substitute in for the short sleeved foundation layer, and a quilted layering jacket can be put over top of the slim cardigan or zip-up, but under the leather coat, for added warmth.
Style can have substance, even in the winter months!