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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Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Winter Boots

Editor’s note: Click this link to read the 2016 edition of this site’s best men’s winter boots.

So these past few weeks in NYC have delivered some of the coldest weather on record — not only in the city itself, but across much of the rest of Eastern U.S. and Midwest. That really puts things in perspective style-wise, because in cold weather like this, function is just as important as fashion, particularly in the footwear department when trekking through feet of snow (or even just walking through blustery, chilly winds). There are several options on the market that serve only functional purposes (like the famous Bean boot from L.L. Bean), but the best boots serve both stylish and utilitarian means — like the 5 picks below. Read on and leave your picks for your favorite pair at the bottom!

#1. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots in Brown — $360

An all-American original with rugged details.

An all-American original with rugged details.

Wolverine’s 1000 Mile line of boots is an all-time classic — revered for their durability and toughness, the brand has slowly built up a fashion following across the past five or so years as workwear and Americana themes have come back into vogue in men’s fashion. While this pair is particularly pricey compared to options you might pick up on a budget, the price is well worth it —the 1000 Mile collection combines toughness and dependability with beautiful leather styling and lots of attention to detail (read more on a pair from the line here). In a rich brown color like the pair above, they’ll work at the office with more rugged outfits as well as marching through the cold to get there. Note that these boots are also on-sale through Nordstrom for a bit less than the above price.

#2. Thursday Boots Captain Boot in Brown — $199

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

The second pick on this list drops the price down significantly from the Wolverine boots above, without losing too much quality. In fact, for being a very new startup courtesy of Kickstarter, these boots provide just as much top-notch styling potential as any other boot from the heritage brands on this list — and they do it for a greatly reduced price.  They offer a slightly sleeker-looking silhouette, a more office-friendly captoe and that same rich brown leather that should pair well with all kinds of outfits throughout the winter. And even more importantly, the company’s garnered some positive reviews around their initial collections, meaning it’d be more than safe to take the plunge on this pair.

#3. Frank & Oak Rubber-Soled Italian-Leather Lace-up Boots in Black, $175

From Frank & Oak's new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

From Frank & Oak’s new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

The first pair of black boots on this list is also, quite curiously, on-sale through Frank & Oak with plenty of sizes left. On top of that, they’re by far the cheapest pair on the list to date, yet if F&O’s other new footwear offerings are any indication, this pair should deliver in both quality and looks. They’re by far the dressiest pair on the list, given that sharp black color (a slightly resurgent footwear trend), and the brushed black eyelets and waxed cotton laces only add to their sleek styling. These would work best in the same manner that Bond wore his black dress boots in Skyfall — with a sharp grey suit or tailored navy trousers or cords. They’d also work to channel your inner Justin Theroux with slim dark denim. Given the rate of turnover on Frank & Oak’s site, the question remains as to how long these boots will stay in-stock, especially on-sale.

#4. Red Wing Beckman Boot in Black Featherstone — $340

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Yet another pair of black boots fills spot #4 on this list. Just like their Wolverine brethren, Red Wing has a long heritage of delivering sturdy boots made to last. This pair of Beckman boots knocks down the price compared to the 1000 Mile pair listed above, but that in no way detracts from the quality. These have that same reinforced sole and Goodyear welt construction that should make resoling possible down the line — practically like getting a new pair of boots for far less than full price. And in this case, the bottom sole is stitched to the midsole, meaning these boots can more than stand up to the abuses of winter weather. Notably, the leather on this pair is richer in color than your typical black leather — it has a luxurious, almost burgundy-like tint to it. Throw ’em on with dark denim, a henley and a shawl cardigan or pair them with slim burgundy cords and a crewneck sweater.

#5. Florsheim Gaffney Wingtip Boots — $150

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

The final pair on this list is the first and only set of wingtip boots on here —mainly because of the fact that while inherently stylish, incredibly nice wingtip boots (like the Allen Edmonds Dalton) don’t always do the best job of beating back the snow and slush. If you have a pair in your closet though, give them a try — after all, $400-plus boots don’t deserve to just sit around! The Florsheim Gaffney is a slightly more upscale replacement to JCP’s much-loved Stafford Camlin and Stafford Deacon wingtip boots, but in a louder “toffee” color. That makes them a little more eye-catching and slightly less versatile than the darker brown options on this list, as tan doesn’t necessarily sit as well under, say, khaki chinos or dark charcoal trousers. They would, however, pair just fine with dark denim and navy chinos, for example. And the sole on these boots looks to have a fair bit of grip as well, which is a definite positive for stepping outside in these chilly temperatures. The leather also looks to have some texture, a nice way of adding a bit of visual interest to fall and winter outfits.

Although many of these boots are up there in price, the benefits are well worth the extra dollars, as a great pair of boots can combat slush, snow and ice without needing a change for working hours — or dinner and drinks out later.

Got a favorite pair of winter boots? What other options would you add to this list? Leave it all below! 

Additional note: Look for a Reader Giveaway Opportunity coming up on the blog! I’ll be giving away a Linjer Leather Goods wallet! Details coming on Wednesday. Thanks for reading!