Style Suggestion: Christmas Time

If you’re anything like me, the last few days before Christmas are a bit of a scramble to finish wrapping gifts and getting everything set for two special days — Christmas Eve and Christmas. Ideally, since this time is most often spent with family, it’s good to not have to think too much about what to wear on those days. And it’s wise to not overdo it too much, either — but you should still dress to impress (although Christmas is one of those days where it’s OK to wear your pajamas all day). Let’s take it from the top with an outfit that could work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas.

The Sweater

Elbow-patch wool crew (Alternative: Fair isle crewneck sweater)

Different texture, and with elbow patches for variety.
Different texture, and with elbow patches for variety.

In most parts of the country this time of year, it’s pretty cold (including New Hampshire, where the Siblings With Style operation has gone mobile this week). That’s why a sweater will work more than sufficiently to stave off the chill. But, use some more variety here than with a standard v-neck sweater.

That’s why a donegal wool crew (the above option pictured is from Frank & Oak) does the job nicely. The wool’s texture is subtly different from a classic merino or wool sweater (note the flecks in the fabric), and the crew neck means this can be worn more casually atop a plain t-shirt. The elbow patches break up the outfit by adding another subtle textural difference, and that touch is certainly a modern take on an older classic. The same holds true for the fair isle crewneck alternative. The pattern is perfect for the holidays — it’s certainly ‘of-the-moment’, but it incorporates a cold-weather feel, too. And in slim new iterations from places like J. Crew and even Old Navy, the fair isle sweater fits the mold of a nice modern update. Additionally, because that fair isle pattern is louder, it can easily be dialed down by pairing it with the perfect pair of dark denim.

The Shirt

Chambray shirt

Workwear details and rough cold-weather texture.
Workwear details and rough cold-weather texture.

Assuming you stick with a nice wool crew, it’s wise to keep your shirt in the same casual area. That could mean as something as simple as a charcoal or grey t-shirt, but if you’re stepping out of the house to visit family or heading to a casual party, a collared shirt is probably the more polished way to go. It’s easy here to turn to a simple white or blue Oxford cloth button-down, but the slightly unique texture of the sweater calls for a slightly more unique shirt. Chambray is the ideal in-between medium —a step up from an OCBD in terms of visual interest, and able to be worn in fall and winter with equal ease — the rough, workwear-inspired roots of chambray are the answer to colder temps in the later parts of the year, including around Christmas.

The Pants

Slim chinos

Hawkings McGill chinos from Urban Outfitters.
Hawkings McGill chinos from Urban Outfitters.

Even though Christmas is a decidedly casual holiday when it’s spent at home, the day before and the day itself present a variety of potential style situations. If both days are spent at home, a lighter-washed, more casual denim, kept slim and with some distressing (yes, some) could be your ticket to casual style. But in both instances, slim chinos in a neutral color (as seen above) work perfectly.  Something in a darker fall or winter shade (like burnt orange or burgundy) could definitely work as well. In this instance, chinos allow you to be a bit more polished at home or just as ready to jump up and head out to a movie or dinner, a place where jeans might not go a long way.

The Shoes

‘Classy’ boots

A high-quality boot with years of history behind it.
A high-quality boot with years of history behind it.

As with much of the day, this is one holiday where not a lot might be required of you in terms of errands, chores or, well, much of anything involving leaving the house. But, if the day involves trekking through some snow, a sturdy pair of boots is the way to go when the weather turns frosty.  When you add a different component (like a slightly different color) outside of a standard wingtip or ‘work’ boot, the right pair of shoes can work across multiple seasons and situations. That’s where the Red Wing Beckman boots come in. The cherry shade of this particular pair is beautifully rich in color and extremely high-quality, if reviews and anecdotal history are any indication (46 out of 51 reviews on Amazon were 4 or 5 star ratings). That red cherry color means that the boot could feasibly be worn with either a black or brown leather belt — don’t worry about matching leathers, here. And the boot’s deep color falls in line with the elbow patches of the sweater and the rough texture of the chambray shirt — all subtly different touches from typical items.

The Rest

Camp socks and casual leather watch

Thick and warm socks to stand up to the heat.
Thick and warm socks to stand up to the heat.

Is $16.50 a lot for a pair of socks, like the J. Crew option as shown in the link? Definitely. But, if it’s particularly chilly where you live, a nice, thick pair of socks could see a lot of duty in the fall and winter, so it’s a slight investment in the grand scheme of things. That particular pair has some notes of blue and black that would play off other colors in the outfit, like the sweater, shirt and chinos. That’s a little touch that can go a long way in complementing an outfit, something any good pair of socks should accomplish. Because the outfit is casual overall, leave the stainless steel dive watch in the box this time, and reach for a cheap (yet still polished-looking) watch like a Timex. It’s a leather strap but still maintains a field-ready look, and again, don’t worry about matching leathers with the shoes here.

There you have it. Enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends, and do your best to look your best in the process. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and thanks for reading!

-Beau

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