With Halloween passing, and the clocks going back, there can be absolutely no doubt that the seasons have changed. Summer is but a distant memory, pushed too forcefully to the darkest recesses of our minds, lest we lament its inevitable and untimely demise. Autumn is here and getting colder by the day, so roll down those chinos, wear socks with your boat shoes and embrace the colder days to come. The time has come to reacquaint ourselves with the winter coat, wrap a chunky scarf round our necks and tug on some gloves. We should all want to keep warm this winter, but how do we go about doing that, whilst still pushing our fashion boundaries? How can we stand out from the crowd and still be nice and warm? If these questions concern you, read closely, for I am about to present, for your delectation, another key A/W trend which should see you lifted well above the crowds, free to weave some fresh style into your current wardrobe and have you avoid the slippery slope to fashion obscurity (I’m punning again, I do apologise).
It appears to me that this year has been one of revival in the fashion world. The A/W season in particular has seen many items and fabrics return from years gone by. Once great British institutions such as Barbour are back on form and are now being pushed straight into the limelight, with their trademark jackets proving hugely popular with the fashion conscious public. Corduroy and tweed has come back in a big way, proving the best of British can still take on the best of pretty much anywhere else. But while this is all very well and good for the Heritage/Town Meets Country/Urban Bohemia trends currently guiding many a fashionable gent, we must all try and avoid getting swept up in all the tweed based euphoria, and consider for a moment, the other trends cropping up this season.
Ski wear, to my mind, brings up horrible images of the 80s and early 90s (and while I was still only a nipper back then, I have seen pictures); the hideously bright coloured shell suit affairs, tastefully paired with the classic mullet and earmuffs. A harsh and rather specific generalisation you could say, but one I feel is appropriate. However! This new trend is looking to change all that and turn ski wear inspired clothing into outfits that work on the slopes and around town. The D&G A/W 10 runway is a perfect example of the trend as a whole.
As with so many A/W trends, the key to creating an exciting and stylish outfit while still remaining warm and comfortable is layering. The images from the D&G catwalk are a good example of this; the use of layers not only creates the cut and shape of the outfit but also provides the practical element in terms of keeping warm and comfortable. This in turn allows you to abandon the big winter coat and provides the chance to incorporate a different style – such as a shearling or aviator jacket – keeping your look fresh and individual. Along with the jackets this trend makes use of many other key item trends. Thick knitwear (a winter wear staple) forms an important part of the layering process; it provides a very warm starting point and with both high street and high end designers producing items, there is no shortage of choice. The introduction of Fair Isle, marbled and patterned pieces means that it can become something of a statement piece, injecting a shot of colour into an outfit. Alternatively you could layer a waistcoat over a t-shirt or polo for a more tailored look and lightweight feel.
This trend also makes use of this season’s most popular footwear styles (hiking/military boot), by using chunky footwear to continue the ski wear theme and form a practical solution to chilly toes. One important thing to note is the use of fabrics. Moving away from the stereotyped nylon mix synthetics, we can see more tweed, corduroy and of course wool, which are traditionally winter fabrics because of their heavy construction. They also create a more formal, tailored and mature feel, something you need if you want your outfit to have a truly transitional use.
One thing I really like from this collection is the tailoring element. Although big chunky boots and ski helmets aren’t necessarily appropriate formal attire, it really does give tailored clothing a whole other dimension, even if it’s used in a more casual way. I probably wouldn’t go as far as wearing a dinner suit and a shiny white jumpsuit, but you could certainly incorporate some boots into your more casual work wear. You can of course dress down this formal look by pairing suit trousers or chinos with boots, waistcoat/cardigan, unstructured blazer and shirt/t-shirt, then top it off with your trapper hat, chunky scarf and gloves. This utilises your entire wardrobe (there’s that focus on transitional wardrobes again) and makes a very warm and comfortable statement outfit, perfect to wear out on the town or just to pop down the pub on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
So here is an outfit I threw together which really encapsulates everything this trend is about. You have on trend pieces such as Fair Isle, hiking boots and even a shearling lined jacket, mixed with the key avant ski styles such as a chunky winter accessories, padding and utility trousers:
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