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What’s your morning routine like? With me, I’m usually rushing around a bit, firing off some tweets and really looking forward to my first cup of coffee. Right before I rush out the door though, I nearly always forget one thing even in the cold weather — my gloves. Impossible, right? It sometimes seems that the little things are the easiest to forget — and that’s too true when it comes to the matter of cold-weather accessories. Mixing form and function is absolutely critical here — like other style upgrades that I’ve written about, the right pair of gloves or a great hat can still be overlooked unfortunately. There’s certainly a difference between what you should likely aspire to wear and what you might have in your closet. Something like skiing gloves or sturdy work gloves do just fine for those types of activities, for example, but what about less strenuous work? That’s where the picks below come in — we’ll cover some nice gloves, a solid hat and the right scarf to wear, and we’ll do it with enough time left to order ’em on your lunch break.
A Warm Winter Hat: American Trench Merino Watch Cap — $85 OR J. Crew Factory Classic Cuff Knit Hat — $17
For potentially the most important piece of clothing you throw on in the winter (cold ears are NO fun), there are two really solid choices up to bat here. It all depends on what you’re willing to spend, or what you can indeed spend. American Trench crafts everything from its equally warm socks to this merino watch cap right in America, and the quality shows. The cap itself is quite warm and stylish, to boot. The J. Crew Factory Classic Cuff Knit Hat, on the other hand, offers style that’s just as versatile, but at a much lower price.
A Stylish Scarf: Frank & Oak Chunky Merino Wool-Blend Scarf — $52
Goods from Frank & Oak really hit it out of the park most months — the brand’s monthly Hunt Club crates always pack a punch, and while the January offering is a bit light on scarves, this Merino Wool-Blend Scarf strikes a minimal balance between being classic and modern. The light grey color should fare well with most stylish topcoats and peacoats, and the color is such that it’ll still stand out up against dark charcoal or navy suiting. If that price is too much, you could reach for a J. Crew Factory plaid scarf for an extra pop of color.
Comfortable Winter Gloves: John W. Nordstrom Leather Tech Gloves — $44.75
Normally almost $100, these leather Nordstrom tech gloves come from the brand’s in-house line and feature a few different touches. They have what the brand calls Precise Touch functionality, so no need to take off those gloves to send out a tweet. That should also make it easier to hold onto said phone or iPod. And you’ve got your pick of either black or brown leather. The brown pair is dark enough in color that you shouldn’t necessarily worry about it clashing with black dress boots or similar items. If mixed-media gloves are more your speed, Nordstrom also stocks these Topman Harris Tweed gloves.
An On-Trend Jacket: JackThreads The Topcoat — $229
This camel JackThreads topcoat claimed the second spot in Monday’s roundup of the best men’s winter topcoats, and if you had to go with only one jacket to pair with the rest of these accessories (and use almost daily), it’d be an excellent choice. As far as topcoats go, it’s cost-effective, for starters. The color is eyecatching and on-trend (if that’s something you want to try out), yet it’ll still pair with a range of bottoms, from navy wool trousers to burgundy corduroys. It’s not a super-technical piece, to be sure, so if that’s more your speed, you might want to drop some dough on an insulating (but equally on-trend) duffle coat or a hooded parka.
Thick Winter Socks: American Trench Fair Isle Socks in Merino & Cashmere — $25
If you’re not hip to American Trench by now, wait ’til you try out their socks. In addition to the merino watch cap at the top of the page, its variety of warm, well-made socks are enough to make you want to wear only pairs from American Trench — truly. When you consider that the quality and construction is such that you can wear one pair with tough winter boots or stylish dress shoes in a heartbeat, it’s an investment that pays off. While several patterns on their site would work just fine, the Fair Isle pattern is just different enough visually — plus the range of colors gives you some options. Its Wool and Silk Boot Socks are just as lux and a bit more pricey.
Looking to upgrade your winter accessories should be, above all else, a bit of an enjoyable and fun search. Yes, you want to combine functionality, style and price, and you want to do it pretty quickly — but unlike other categories in men’s clothing, there are many avenues on which to turn. Want some tweed gloves? You got ’em. Looking for some eyecatching socks? Shop away. Fancy throwing on a luxurious topcoat? That choice is yours, too. But hopefully the above staple pieces are enough to get you thinking before you shop — and before it gets too cold.
What cold-weather accessories do you find yourself reaching for the most? What pieces on this list do you still need to pick up?