Some of you might remember a couple of articles Alex Woodhall penned last year identifying a series of mistakes men made with their summer wardrobes. Needless to say, there were a few.
But that was last year and during a completely different season. Unfortunately, we men aren’t perfect and some of us continue to make mistakes. As purveyors of all things fashionable and stylish, we here at FashionBeans would hate to think that anyone was trotting about wearing (or not, as you shall discover) something that is ruining their outfit or just entirely inappropriate.
Of course, what you consider to be a fashion mistake is a particularly subjective topic; we all have different notions of style so it is only to be expected that what we consider to be a styling faux pas could well be different. Although I think we can all agree that certain things are perhaps better left unworn or that it is foolish to go without.
However, as this is such a contentious issue and because everyone will have their own opinions, I would ask all of you readers, whilst scrolling through this article, to be thinking about what you consider to be glaring winter fashion mistakes. Those that prove popular I shall tackle in a second article.
So, without further ado, what heinous errors are some men committing?
As the mercury plummets wrapping up warm is paramount, unless you are a particularly big fan of frost-bite. We’ve got the coat (see mistake number two), we’ve got the scarf, we’ve got some lovely warm gloves and some of us – those lucky few of which one will suit – have a hat.
Sadly though, many men appear to also own what some would call an oversized beanie. (I prefer the term ballbag hat.)
As you might be able to tell from my preferred term of reference, I feel that they are more akin to a saggy, wrinkly, scrote. The idea of having that much extra material draped half way down your back seems quite perverse – is it actually doing something useful? Unless you are a squirrel and have a desperate need to transport all of your winter nuts (pun wizard here) on your person, I can’t really see the point.
Take into account the fact that they ALL seem to be grey, and you start to see that not only are they hideous to look at but they are also very boring and not at all inspiring.
Personally, I’m not a fan of wearing hats – but that doesn’t mean I can’t see their merits. With such a bewildering selection available, you’d be foolish to opt for something as horrible as an oversized beanie.
If heritage is your thing, why not opt for a furry trapper hat, a tweed driver’s cap or even a NORMAL sized beanie in a nice earth tone? Worker caps will finish off an American workwear look, whilst a fedora will be a fantastic addition to many formal outfits. There really isn’t any need to walk around with someone else’s sack on your head.
N.B: Please note that I would also extend this winter fashion mistake status to some of the larger bobble hats that have begun to infect the nation’s noggins.
Now, I know it might seem like everything on this list is a particular bug bear of mine, but I have a spectacularly massive problem with this little winter fashion mistake and is mostly down to the fact that not owning a winter coat makes no sense, whatsoever.
It’s winter, it’s cold (and getting colder) and I’ve never met anyone that has caught pneumonia and said: “yeah, yeah I’m actually quite enjoying this”. I have often found that, for the sartorially inclined, winter is the preferred season – the textures are soft, the colours are warm and autumnal and you get to wrap up toasty out of choice.
Your coat is a huge part of your winter wardrobe and anyone that is worth his styling salt should want to wear it every day and with great pride; knowing full well that it complements his look perfectly and makes him look suitably rugged and handsome.
Wearing a lightweight jacket (unless you have cleverly layered it) just isn’t going to cut the mustard.
The obvious answer to this fashion mistake is to go out and buy a coat. Problem solved. But buying a coat or, more to the point, buying the right coat, is much more difficult than you might imagine. My advice would be to buy the coat you need, rather than the coat you want. Obviously you have to love the coat you buy but there is no point in getting something that is completely at odds with your overall look simply because you really wanted the coat.
For maximum versatility, go for a classic peacoat or overcoat – navy or grey will be the most adaptable but you can certainly branch out if the mood takes you. For more relaxed styles, a parka or duffle coat could be the one for you.
Invest as much money as you possibly can; the more you spend the better the quality and the warmer the jacket will be. It’s simple (fashion) economics.
The autumn/winter season is a slippery time of year, common sense science tells us that you are much more likely to fall over when it’s icy than when it’s dry and warm (although I managed to fall over in the dry not that long ago). You can have as much confidence in your clothes, yourself and your image as you like, but as soon as you take a tumble, you’re right back down at the bottom again.
The biggest problem for us here at FashionBeans, and by association you readers, is that we all like proper shoes. We want refined and smart, class and distinction – and that, 9 times out of 10, comes with a leather sole.
Leather soles and cold weather do not mix. Leather soles and wet weather aren’t really the best of friends and suede isn’t particularly fond of it either. The risk of an embarrassing slip is increased immeasurably if you decide to totter out in your leather soles.
But this isn’t an issue restricted solely to the leather loving. Canvas plimsolls, lightweight trainers, boat shoes et al. are all guilty of being completely inappropriate during the winter. You could, of course, wear thicker socks, but this will only take you so far.
Change your sole (not the spiritual one, although I’m sure a few of you could do with a good cleanse). Look for shoes or boots with a rubberised sole to give yourself the best possible chance in our awful weather, whilst ensuring your feet are snug and warm in even the iciest of conditions. Reserve your suede and leather soled shoes for the sunnier days.
If trainers are your thing, look for something with improved insulating properties – a high ankle cut, padding or a thicker sole would be ideal.
I literally only know of one person I deem it acceptable to wear shorts during the winter – this is only because he has worn them all year round for years, he is quite a big chap (but not fat) and gets very hot, very quickly.
I should think that the problem here is fairly obvious, but wearing an item that is designed for warmer climes when everyone around you resembles the Michelin man is a sure fire way to be marked out as a bit of an idiot.
Not only is wearing shorts during the winter just plain ridiculous, when you consider the wealth of trouser alternatives you’d be hard pressed to find something that you didn’t like. Even if you take jeans out of the equation (which I shall be doing here, as they are really a given) there is still a huge choice of leg wear available to the modern gent.
Chinos are a menswear staple and you don’t just have to restrict yourself to basic colours, the current autumn/winter palette is fantastic and surprisingly easy to incorporate into a wardrobe. Cords are great for the current heritage trends and are particularly warm, the same applies to wool trousers, and even tailored trousers are a great option for the more formally inclined.
Just put your shorts away, no one wants to see your ghostly white legs.
Dealing with our perennially damp weather is a challenging task. Mix rain with our love of clothes and you find yourself locked in constant battle – how do your preserve your finely tuned outfit during the dash to work/uni/wherever?
I don’t think we can ever be surprised by rain, it pours all the time. The sight of a grown man, especially one that has clearly taken time over what he is wearing, skipping between puddles, half running, half trying to preserve his aloof ‘rain doesn’t bother me’ demeanour, is really quite ridiculous and totally unnecessary. Arriving at work soaked to the skin is a sure-fire way to ruin your outfit and your day.
You may argue that the umbrella is far too feminine, to which I would say, get yourself a manly one. A compact one is fine if you really do get caught out, but a proper, full length, non golf affiliated example would be much more appropriate. As with your coat, the more you can spend the better. A higher quality umbrella will be better able to cope with the wind AND rain – and it will also look fantastic.
So there we have five common winter fashion mistakes. Hopefully you will all agree and perhaps I’ve even given some of you some inspiration. But you don’t just want to listen to what I think, have your say in the comments below.
What do you consider to be a winter fashion mistake?