Some are born with a sense of style that persists even through Mother Nature’s worst — others, with means, simply pay these people to dress them. The rest of us are on our own to craft a personal aesthetic that conveys our personality and interests. Instincts are always a key tool in this process, but a little knowledge can help expand your style horizons beyond your own life experiences. While everyone else is busy burying themselves under mountains of fabric, use this winter to sharpen your style into a far more distinctive look by incorporating the advice below.
Change Up Your Knots
There’s technically over 10 ways to tie a scarf and chances are you’ve stumbled on a few of them using only common sense. The four options above are the styles we’d recommend sticking to if you’re looking for an alternative to just wrapping one around your neck before heading out. Need instructions on how to get there? Search YouTube and you’ll find plenty of helpful walkthroughs. It should be obvious, but it bears repeating more complicated knots are better suited to longer scarves given the extra fabric they require to tie. What qualifies as long? Most men’s scarves tend to start around 60 inches in length and stretch to 80 at max.
EXAMPLES: A. The Parisian or Loop Knot: J. Crew Cashmere ($110) | B. The Overhand: John Smedley Helden Cashmere and Silk Blend ($265) | C. Reverse Drape Cross: The Workers Club Merino Wool ($170) | D. Four in Hand: Loro Piana Mélange Cashmere and Silk-Blend ($715)
Wear the Right Watch
The best watches are made with absolute precision and built to last, which is often reflected in their higher price points. As such, finding a versatile timepiece that’s capable of looking at home on your wrist in both casual and formal situations is always a plus. The Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Titanio-45mm is as technically savvy as it is classically stylish, and bound to draw glances even when glimpsed under the heaviest of coats. Its unique case is made of two different types of titanium. The first imbues the case band with the lightweight feel the metal is known for, in addition to corrosion resistance. The second type, used around the bezel and crown, provides a sophisticated level of polish. Its completely house-made P.4000 movement is also the first automatic calibre to ever be fitted inside the Radiomir 1940 line, and Panerai’s first movement to boast an off-centered oscillating weight, which allows the case design to remain slim. Aesthetically, the special Super-LumiNova ecru, alongside the brand’s traditional minimalist dial, gives this watch a timeless appeal that pairs with all manner of winter styles.
Know Your Outerwear History, Then Part from Tradition
Most coat styles we think of today evolved from a particular task or group, often from the military. The fact that many still meet the needs of their intended wearer is a testament to their ingenuity. As the examples above show, however, mixing outerwear styles to contrast with the rest of your look can be a good thing (think: wearing a more casual parka on top of suit). Knowing a bit more about the origins of various jackets can help you appreciate the reasons behind particular design decisions, and let you hold your own among the sartorially astute.
EXAMPLES: A. Topcoats: Theory Whyte Brushed-Cashmere Coat ($1,295) | B. Parkas: Sandro Mods Fur-Trim Parka ($787) | C. CWST Reversible Bomber: The Workers Club Merino Wool ($622) | Massimo Alba Wool Peacoat ($2,150)
The Bomber Jacket: Also known more generally as flight jackets, this design arose with air combat in World War II. Their streamlined silhouette was devised to give pilots reasonable freedom of movement and avoid interfering with flight controls, while still providing enough insulation to keep warm at high altitude.
Parkas: The parka, which literally means “animal skin” in the language of the Aleutians who developed it, was originally made with caribou or seal and built to combat subzero temps while hunting or kayaking. Some were imbued with water resistance by being coated in fish oil. While the term “anorak” is often used today to describe the same jacket, they are actually distinguished from a technical standpoint by their use of a pull-over design, as opposed to a front opening.
Overcoat: This sweeping category generally refers to longer, more formal jackets, made from heavier cloth or furs meant to serve as the outermost layer of an outfit, which themselves evolved from formal gowns. Chesterfields, duffle coats and trench coats are all more specific forms in this category.
Topcoats: A shorter external coat that ends at or above the knee, generally made from lighter materials, in many cases with water-resistant properties.
Field Jackets: The field jacket has a long-standing pedigree in military history. With many iterations over the years, none remains more iconic than the M-65, a style first introduced by Alpha Industries to outfit soldiers during the Vietnam War. With four front pockets — two on the hips, two on the chest — to carry excess cargo, the M-65 integrated a roll-up hoodie that fit into a zipped pouch around the collar, along with a hardy brass zipper in place of buttons for efficiency.
Peacoats: The popular form, characterized by double-breasted fronts, was originally associated with seafaring men. While origins of the name are debated, according to Indiana University law professor Donald Gjerdigen, the “pea” evolved from the Dutch word “pije,” used to describe the heavy wool material originally used in its construction. Its wind-fighting double-breasted front, convertible collar, close fit and typical length just below the waist offered an excellent compromise between warmth and movability for sailors tasked with climbing and rigging.
Break from the Basic Sweater
Sweaters become the de-facto foundation of style in the colder months, and while you’ll rarely go wrong with a basic solid-colored crew or V-neck, there’s plenty of other unique options for honing a more distinctive look. Focus on items that deviate from the rest of your wardrobe in areas such as neckline, knit, pattern, fit or color. Items that stand apart in two of these categories can push the effect further. Be cautious beyond that however. You don’t want to cross the line from cool into costume.
EXAMPLES A. Neckline: Michael Bastian Cashmere Turtleneck ($449) | B. Knit: Soulland Ricketts Honeycomb Sweater ($135) | C. Fit: Club Monaco Horizontal Shaker Crew ($229) | D. Color: Brioni Knit Cardigan ($889)
Think Beyond the Rain Boot
Heavy snow and rain boots will always be the smart footwear choice in a blizzard or downpour, but there are plenty of better-looking solutions for the days in between that can still protect your feet. The dress shoes, sneakers and boots above are all waterproofed. Buy a size up and pair them with thick socks on colder days. Products like Swims Galoshes or Yaktraks can also help add a waterproof layer or extra traction to shoes you already own, allowing you to integrate your entire footwear collection back into your winter style.
EXAMPLES A. Sneakers: Converse Chuck Taylor Rubber ($65) | B. Galoshes: Swims Galoshes ($136) | C. Dress Shoes: RainMan Barry ($280) | D. Boots: Red Wing Heritage ‘Ice Cutter’ ($390) | E. Traction: Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats ($27)