This just in to the Siblings With Style Michigan hub: It’s cold outside. Bone-chillingly, windswept cold. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a warmer, more temperate climate, that’s fantastic — don’t let key style essentials go to waste just because the month on the calendar’s changed to “winter time.” On the other hand,for those of us in colder weather, there are some critical essentials to keep in mind when it gets exceedingly cold. In these instances, style doesn’t have to be sacrificed for utility. Many times, it’s about using pieces you might already have in combinations that maximize staying warm (like while walking across campus) with looking sharp. Accessories that hit the right price point while also keeping looks in mind are going to carry you through the colder months, without a doubt. Pull together all of these cold-weather essentials with the tips below.
Assuming you’ve already stocked up on layering pieces like v-neck sweaters or Oxford cloth button-downs, the top part of your outfit is the best defense when winter bites back. There’s debate on the formality of wearing a longer topcoat with more casual wear, however, in some cases, it definitely works. Yet, while a topcoat is going to look razor-sharp with suits and more tailored gear, a peacoat provides more versatility in that it, ideally, is long enough to cover a suit jacket but also suitable to throw on as part of a simpler uniform. In fact, a navy peacoat is about as classic an outerwear piece as it gets. It goes with black or brown shoes, jeans or chinos, and everything in between. When found on the cheap at a surplus store, it offers a ton of bang for your buck — affordable, comfortable, warm and able to be worn with everything from a cardigan and jeans to a blazer.
In places where it’s extremely cold (and even in milder locations), a peacoat still leaves some areas exposed. Namely, your neck. Don’t underestimate the power of a thick scarf in keeping out winter’s chill. The right scarves are (from a personal standpoint), versatile and neutral enough in terms of color to complement other looks. If you don’t have the cash lying around to afford multiple scarves with patterns, something with a more solid knit is a decidedly better option. Of course, cheaper patterned options definitely exist,but something in neutral shades (like this H&M option) goes will underneath a dark jacket.
Trekking large distances in the snow presents an extremely difficult style conundrum, a true function-over-form battle. Assuming you want to maintain decorum in an office or a classroom while making even a short jaunt from your car more bearable, desert boots work appropriately in some business casual situations — particularly in waxed leather, which can take more of a beating than suede options. If the softer crepe sole of many desert boots is concerning, you could stick with a sturdy pair of Wolverine boots similar to the ones pictured above, although that price point is quite high for many, and those wouldn’t pair as easily with, say, dressier wool trousers. For battling the elements on cross-campus walks, the Wolverine boots are a great option. There’s no silver bullet for dressiness and functionality, but the Allen Edmonds Dalton wingtip boot is the envy of many —a boot with killer looks to spare, appropriate for just about any office and easily wearable with a suit or jeans. On that note, however, places like JC Penney offer a more casual boot with a functional rubber sole without sacrificing looks. Like much else, tailor your boots to the weather in the air (and on the ground). Dressing up? Go for a wingtip boot. Braving a few inches of snow? Those Wolverine 1000K’s are your best bet. Here, having multiple pairs might actually come in handy.
The chunky ski gloves you have for hitting the slopes work perfectly well in rugged outdoor conditions, but throwing on that same pair to hit the town or even walk to class or the office just doesn’t vibe as well. As with the scarf, sticking with a simple, practical combination (without patterns or wild colors) can help you save money. And, a sleeker pair of leather gloves looks good on most guys, quite honestly. Ask James Bond. Now, there are numerous options as far as glove types go, and many fit certain situations perfectly. For maximum versatility though, a leather pair will likely dress up the outfit to an appropriate degree when worn in combination with a suit, and complement even a more casual sweater-and-jeans pairing suitably. In all honesty, splurging more on a pair of gloves is a great option for the long-haul — paying the price up front could keep your hands warm for years, although it might hurt a bit at the time.
In the truly, truly cold climes, sometimes a knit cap is the only way to stave off high winds and snow. There are definitely ways to wear one without looking ragged, have no fear. In fact, the same spot where you picked up a scarf or gloves might have a nice, incredibly affordable option. With something like a suit, it’s probably best to brave a bit of snow and wind if you want to maintain a crisp overall look. But when the situation calls for it, a knit cap can compliment, not detract from, your outfit when in a neutral shade like charcoal or black.
With these essentials in mind, getting dressed and then staying warm should be as easy as reaching into your closet. Stoke the fire and bundle up.