While fair-weather fashionistos might mourn the passing of summer, any man who truly loves clothes looks forward to winter. There are more chances to wear the best garms (and more of them at once), but unfortunately that means there are also more chances for things to go awry.
As we get ready to hurtle headlong into the eye of the storm, We have grimly compiled 10 of the worst winter style mistakes. (Onesies should go without saying.) Think of it as your sartorial naughty list and make a resolution never to commit any of them.
More often an afterthought than a finishing touch to a harmonious outfit, hats strike more wrong notes than carol singers. A trapper can look fierce with a plaid shirt and jeans, but will be wildly inappropriate as part of a tailored look. Similarly, a flat cap may fly with beefy tweeds, but not with refined wools.
Your safest and most versatile bet is a plain, neutral-coloured beanie that’s generous enough to cover your ears but not so oversized that you could be mistaken for a Smurf.
NB. A bobble or pom-pom can be light-hearted; it can also make you look like a man-child.
You can spot them a mile off: draping like cardboard, cut from a manmade material with all the thickness and textural interest of a Rizla paper and fastened with waiting-to-snap plastic buttons.
A quality overcoat is worth saving up for, because you’ll wear it all the time and besides, it’s the only part of your painstakingly constructed outfit that most people will see. Even if you’re not blessed with a generous budget, you don’t have to spend a fortune: there are some great, reasonably priced options on the high street.
Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-great ones, which should be avoided at all costs.
Peak or no, it’s hard to argue with the logic of some additional ‘chinsulation’. Until, that is, you let it get so overgrown and dry that it resembles something used to line a rabbit hutch.
As a rule of thumb, you should be trimming your facial hair every two to three weeks, or paying a barber to do it for you. Maybe even use that moisturising, scented beard oil that Santa brought you. (Take the hint.)
There is a fine line, of course. The only thing worse than an out-of-control beard is one that has been trimmed to the point of looking glued – or drawn – on.
These are literally and metaphorically pointless unless your objective is to look like you’re operating a network of Dickensian pickpockets.
Fingerless gloves don’t even keep you properly warm. You might think that the name derives from their design, but they’re actually so called because when you inevitably get frostbite, your cold, blackened digits will fall off, like charred pigs in blankets.
Here’s a tip to replace the ones that you just lost: buy some proper wool or leather gloves that cover your whole hands. Or have one of your street urchins steal a pair from somebody more sensible than you.
The word ‘puddling’ is typically used in a menswear context to refer to the phenomenon of your legwear collecting on the top of your shoes: a sign that you need to take things up with your tailor.
In wet, wintry weather, it takes on a new and scarcely less vibe-killing meaning: when your trews are so long that they cover the heel of your shoes and dip in the puddles as you walk.
This is not a good look, not to mention grossly unhygienic. If your jeans get any more infested with bacteria, they’ll stand up and walk to the washing machine by themselves.
Related to the above fail, except the puddle is on your crotch, and you look like you’ve wet yourself.
There are many advantages to the athleisure revolution, but wearing light-coloured sweats in rain is not one. It’s like God Himself has splashed back on you, necessitating the need to spend half an hour in a public toilet with the hand dryer directed at your genitals.
If you can’t bring yourself to swap your shopping bag tuxedo for a Texan (i.e. denim) one, then at least opt for a darker colour like black or navy that won’t show damp patches quite so visibly.
The humble umbrella is not the sexiest precaution to take against the elements, especially if you spend $5 on a plastic canopy that almost immediately breaks or gets lost.
Budget brollies are a false economy of Ponzi scheme proportions. Think how many times you’ve effectively poured $5 down the drain over the years. Chances are you’re probably most of the way to making it rain on a decent, wooden-handle umbrella that won’t turn inside out at the slightest breeze.
In summer, a flash of naked ankle says ‘louche’; in winter, it says ‘pretentious try-hard’. If you don’t want to increase the already high odds of your close relatives buying you socks for Christmas, then put it away.
As well as looking daft, releasing the mankle out of season is highly impractical, and can play havoc with your ability to thermoregulate. As with your wrists, there are a lot of blood vessels near the surface of the skin at your ankles: exposing them to a polar vortex will send the temperature of your claret tumbling. You won’t look cool, but you will feel it.
This covers a multitude of sins including but is by no means restricted to canvas trainers, plimsolls, and espadrilles…basically, anything that isn’t remotely waterproof. Even if it looks dry, you will get caught in a downpour and you will develop trench foot.
On the plus side, you probably won’t make this mistake very often, because your shoes will be trashed quicker than an unwanted gift.
Practicality aside, summer-appropriate shoes also tend to be slimmer in profile, and thus lacking the requisite heft to balance out the top half of your layered-up winter silhouette. It is bulking season, after all.