Style Suggestion: What to Wear for the Polar Vortex

So, if you’ve checked your calendar — or the weather forecast as of late — you might have realized we’re likely getting closer to what some might call the dreaded “polar vortex.” I’m no meteorologist, but we’ve been through some pretty chilly cycles already — and January is a prime month for huge snowstorms slamming the country. With that in mind, we’re tackling a functional men’s style suggestion — a past entry in this site’s #OOTD series covered how to dress for the first snowfall, but a polar vortex or blizzard is a different beast entirely. It’s different than casually layering up for winter or dressing for a weekend coffee date, that’s for sure. For one, it’s colder, windier and sometimes, just plain uncomfortable to navitage. That’s why the gear below is harder-wearing, tougher and not quite office-friendly if you need to suit up frequently. But, what guy can’t use a durable parka or rugged winter accessories? Exactly. So prep to take on winter right this very second with the latest Style Guide suggestion — and weigh in over on Facecbook if you’ve got other #menswear situations you’d like to see covered.

The Parka: Outerknown Nomadic Parka — $195

Unique, functional and modern in design -- just what you want from a parka.

Unique, functional and modern in design — just what you want from a parka.

Outerknown is a bit of, well, an outlier in its approach to blending technical specs with modern takes on classic silhouettes — yes, it’s a pretty advanced approach. Pieces like the Nomadic Parka embody that blend perfectly — the mobile, ergonomic design and cool, not overly bulky M-65 silhouette are big bonuses compared to typically puffy parkas. The Indigo color of the Nomadic Parka  is sharp, simple and versatile — plus, the jacket’s silhouette provides ample layering room.

The Shirt: Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt — $68

A cozy base layer that's a bit dressier than a plain thermal shirt.

A cozy base layer that’s a bit dressier than a plain thermal shirt.

We’ll start with a warm, reliable and stylish base layer in the Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt. Granted, it’s not a cozy thermal by any means, but we’re going for a mix of form and function here — so, moleskin it is. The fit on this shirt is modern and crisp, and it’s got the same quality construction one would expect from the makers of pieces like the Flannel-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket and a heck of a pair of blue selvedge denim. This is a shirt that works for weekends or casual workdays alike.

The Sweatshirt: Flint and Tinder Reversible French Terry Sweatshirt — $68

A slim, crisp sweater that's really two for the price of one.

A slim, crisp sweater that’s really two for the price of one.

Told you we’d be layering up, right? Again, Flint and Tinder is the easy pick here for a standout blend of quality, style and affordability. The Reversible French Terry Sweatshirt is all of those things, and then some. In fact, you’re getting two sweatshirts for the price of one, really — one side is a classic sweatshirt design, and the other side is a textured loopback fabric for a look that’s a bit more casual. Either way, the crewneck collar and raglan sleeves frame your face and shoulders while layering nicely under the indigo parka. That’s a win-win … win.

The Denim: Abercrombie & Fitch Slim-Straight Winter Jeans — $39

Slim-straight denim with a brushed-back interior for comfort and warmth.

Slim-straight denim with a brushed-back interior for comfort and warmth.

Who said you had to throw on bulky snow pants to combat a blizzard? Certainly, if you’re stepping through feet of snow, you might want to reach for something a bit more weather-ready — but slim denim can work in a pinch. In fact, this pair of Abercrcombie & Fitch winter denim is quite unique — the interior of this pair of jeans is constructed of soft, brushed-back fabric for added comfort and a surprising amount of mobility (Santa brought me a pair for Christmas, as it were). Plus, the  slim-straight cut slides over your winter boots with ease.

The Boots: Woolrich Footwear Squatch Boots — $148.98

https://www.idevaffiliate.com/31555/idevaffiliate.php?id=607&url=12347

A tough Goodyear welt and moc toe, plus a lugged rubber outsole — as good as it gets.

OK, so this is perhaps the most crucial part when it comes to tackling a winter blizzard — right? These Woolrich Footwear Squatch Boots are the definition of toughness and durability, and they don’t look half-bad either. The Goodyear welt and comfort sock liner are big positives in terms of construction, and the durable moc toe and lugged rubber outsole are also critical when it comes to stepping through the snow.  Plus, to snag the Squatch Boots — which really can do just about anything in terms of winter adventures — for under $150 is a heck of a deal.

The Socks: Wigwam Merino Lite Hiker Socks — $12.98

Well-made, comfortable and warm winter socks.

Well-made, comfortable and warm winter socks.

Next up in keeping you warm and comfortable during a snowstorm? A great pair of socks, of course.  And the Merino Lite Hiker Socks are just what the doctor ordered — starting with the merino wool and nylon blend and carrying through to extra-helpful design touches like the no-stretch and no-itch capabilities. Plus, the navy colorway is clean and simple and you’re getting a nice price for American-made construction.
NOV CAMPAIGN: Photo of tan boots with logo (no border)
The Gloves and Hat: Hestra Granvik Gloves — $180 AND Columbiaknit Watch Cap — $17

Handsome, essential and warm winter accessories -- crucial, right?

Handsome, essential and warm winter accessories — crucial, right?

Just as crucial as a thick pair of socks? A great pair of tough winter gloves and a stylish and warm winter cap. So, that’s what the good folks at Huckberry are giving us today. Hestra’s gloves are premium, well-made and yes … quite pricey. But, their gloves are still made in their own factories, and in this case, the blend of vegetable-tanned elk leather and wool terry lining is just about everything you need in terms of form and function (that phrase keeps coming up ‘cuz it’s so darn important!). And there’s nothing overly fancy or expensive about the Columbiaknit Watch Cap — it’s the right color and quality to keep you warm this winter.

The Watch and Belt: Huckberry Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT — $498.98 AND Arcade Belt Co. Guide Belt — $26.98

A handsome-as-heck watch and a tough belt -- the best you can do during a blizzard.

A handsome-as-heck watch and a tough belt — the best you can do during a blizzard.

If you think we forgot about tough, essential finishing touches for this cold weather-ready look, you’re mistaken. Because we’re dealing with cold, chilly and blustery weather, you need a watch that can take a beating. The Huckberry Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT  is that very watch, featuring a hard-wearing but not overly large 43mm stainless steel case, gunmetal titanium coating and Super Luminova materials on the dial for maximum visibility. So yeah, it’s up to the challenge. And when you need to navigate slippery terrain in comfort, a stretch belt made with comfort-fit elastic is the one way to go — so the Arcade Belt Co. Guide Belt is a reliable, easy-to-wear and durable choice.

Are you ready for that blizzard yet? In looks if not mentally, I hope this piece is useful to you — and if you find you need to stock up quickly, you best start shopping away! When you build your ensemble around comfortable, easy-to-layer pieces like the Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt  and top that base layer off with a reliable, easy-to-wear and American-made crewneck sweatshirt, you’re going to be primed for comfort and style. Plus, a sturdy winter parka  is as dependable a piece of winter outerwear as it gets — and durable moc toe boots are yet another item that’s going to get you through that polar vortex. Of course, you shouldn’t skimp on a versatile field watch like the Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT — no matter the weather.

OK, ready for winter now? Maybe a bit more? Good luck out there, stay warm and look for a new #OOTD post tomorrow.

Stay stylish!

-Beau

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#OOTD: How to Layer Up This Winter

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

So, first things first — I hope y’all had a great Christmas. I know I enjoyed spending mine with family in lovely, sunny Florida (you can check out the full trip recap here). And with that being said, it’s time to get back to dressing for a decidedly colder NYC winter — perhaps it’s chilly where you are as well, and if that happens to be the case, well … The Style Guide is here to help with the latest entry in our #OOTD series. We’ve discussed casual cold-weather style moves this fall and winter, from dressing for a weekend coffee date to layering up with a crewneck sweater. The below #OOTD builds on that approach with a bit more tailored flair. It seems there re a myriad number of ways to go about dressing for a cold day — either on the weekend or during the week — but what about when you feel like mixing more formal pieces into a casual ensemble? Say, when dressing for Sunday brunch and a stroll around town, or a nightcap at your favorite local watering hole — times when you could wear jeans but, well, don’t quite feel like it. We’ve all been there, right? The below #OOTD mixes in picks that are both classic and casual, durable and slightly dressier. I won’t ruin all the fun, though — the entire #menswear ensemble is below. As always, your comments are appreciated and welcomed — seriously!

A mixture of rugged and refined pieces for winter layering.

A mixture of rugged and refined pieces for winter layering.

The Jacket: Grayers Montana Waxed and Quilted Parka, $225 — The jacket in this look — available via the fine folks at Huckberry — is exhibit A when it comes to a heritage-inspired, yet surprisingly versatile, piece. And if you live in a more temperate climate, the Taylor Stitch Rover Jacket also works in this instance.

The Shirt: JackThreads Plaid Poplin Shirt, $39 — The great folks at JackThreads do casual shirting as well as anyone in the business, and this slim-fitting plaid shirt provides a welcome pop of winter-friendly color. You could always throw on something like the Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt if it’s particularly cold.

NOV CAMPAIGN: Horizontal banner with shoes and logo (border)

The Pants: JACHS NY Navy Herringbone Suspender Pants, $125 — This is the part of the ensemble where high-low style comes into play — these nicely tailored cotton herringbone pants feature an eye-catching windowpane pattern that’s just different enough from the large plaid shirt to work.

The Belt: Tanner Goods Classic Belt in Hickory, $99.98 — First off, why a belt with suspender pants? Well, it’s nice to have the option, and not everyone owns a pair of suspenders — ya dig? And if you’re going to invest in a beautiful brown leather belt, one from Tanner Goods is the way to go.

The Boots: Thorogood Dodgeville Boots in Cognac, $375 — Maybe it’s just me, but I find it very hard to pass up a great pair of durable leather boots — and the Dodgeville Boots are equal parts handsome, tough and ready for situations both a bit dressier and more casual.

The Socks: United By Blue Ultimate American Sock, $29.98 — Lest we forget that it’s likely freezing outside when throwing on this outfit, you’re going to need tough, warm socks. The Ultimate American Sock  has all the comfort you need.

The Watch: Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph, $158 — If you haven’t acquainted yourself with the ongoing Timex + Todd Snyder collaboration, this is a great time to start. This particular watch is tough, durable and handsome.

The Scarf: Abraham Moon for J. Crew Wool Scarf, $59.50 — Even right down to your accessories, you can add a few dressier touches. This beautiful plaid wool scarf plays nicely off the orange plaid shirt and the windowpane trousers — and it’s relatively affordable for the quality.

Frank & Oak

So, do you feel prepared to take on the cold? Maybe? Just a bit? I hope so. The key with dressing for cold winter days is mixing tried-and-true favorites with unique pieces — that is to say, it’s nice to be able to wear your favorite brown leather boots with something a bit more eye-catching, like the Grayers Montana Parka. Tough and rugged accessories like the reliable-as-heck United By Blue Ultimate American Socks are going to provide nice contrast to dressier pieces (like the J. Crew wool scarf), and you can hardly ever go wrong with a heritage-inspired leather watch from the likes of Todd Snyder. Don’t forget that you can mix and match these pieces during the work week, too — particularly the navy windowpane trousers. If you’ve got questions or feedback on this #OOTD, let’s hear it in the comments. Layer up and stay warm out there!

-Beau

Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Winter Accessories to Buy Right Now

Editor’s note: To check out  more Online Shopping Picks posts, click this link.

Notepad? Check. Great sweater? Check. Gloves? Hat? Nope. Don't be like Mikael Blomkvist (AKA Daniel Craig).

Notepad? Check. Great sweater and scarf? Check. Gloves? Hat? Nope. Don’t be like Mikael Blomkvist (AKA Daniel Craig).

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

Two choices, two equally versatile pieces. Key for fighting the chill.

Two choices, two equally versatile pieces. Key for fighting the chill.

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

Minimal and classic at the same time for versatile style.

Minimal and classic at the same time for versatile style.

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

With touchscreen functionality and in a crisp color, it's tough to beat this pair from Nordstrom's in-house brand.

With touchscreen functionality and in a crisp color, it’s tough to beat this pair from Nordstrom’s in-house brand.

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

Back for round two with this JackThreads topcoat.

Back for round two with this JackThreads topcoat.

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

More than you'd pay for an average pair of socks -- but warmer and more stylish, too.

More than you’d pay for an average pair of socks — but warmer and more stylish, too.

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?