Traditionally, much like the corduroy, moleskin has suffered from an unfortunate association with middle-aged men who prefer practicality over style. However, this season a growing number of designers have managed to give the fabric a more contemporary edge, creating stylish and (most importantly) wearable pieces that would integrate effortlessly into any capsule wardrobe.
I would presume that the majority of our readership wouldn’t have many, if any, clothes made out of moleskin in their current wardrobe. But the benefits of the moleskin fabric, coupled with a modern slim fit, will hopefully change your perception of its ability to be worn in good taste, and cement it as an integral part of your autumn/winter looks.
The fabric moleskin is named as such because its heavy, cotton composition bears a close resemblance to silky fur of a mole. Moleskin has traditionally been used for constructing trousers and outerwear, as well as accessories like flat caps, but recently designers have begun utilising moleskin in more formal pieces – specifically blazers.
Outside of fashion, moleskin has been used as part of German military camouflage kit (since replaced with a cheaper, more lightweight cotton-polyester blend), as most variants of the cloth are densely woven, and therefore windproof, as well as strongly resistant against abrasion.
Further benefits of moleskin include its softness and durability, appealing to everyone looking to keep warm in the colder months. One of the main drawbacks of the fabric is its lack of water resistance – as essentially it is just thick cotton – which isn’t always practical in this country.
That being said, the benefits of moleskin far outweigh your standard cotton chino in the colder months, and its dense quality makes heat retention chief among them.
With all this in mind, I think we can agree that moleskin has the hallmarks of a fantastic winter fabric – but in what way can we incorporate it into our wardrobe?
From overcoats and cropped jackets to trousers and blazers, moleskin is extremely prevalent within both high street and designer collections this AW12. The lookbook below showcases a variety of moleskin items, and proves just how easy a moleskin piece can be incorporate into your current outfits:
Moleskin normally comes at a premium due the nature of the fabric, and the difficulty of creating imitation alternatives. This Howick blazer is currently in the sale, and here at FashionBeans, we always urge you to snap up a good bargain. Additionally, the neutral colour of the blazer allows you to seamlessly integrate it into your current smart-casual outfits.
Team with another autumn/winter staple – the grey wool trousers. Their versatility means they can be used in a variety of looks, and grey and navy creates a solid pairing, no matter the season. Of course, for those looking to make more of a statement, you could opt to inject some life into your outfit through a pair of on trend burgundy or burnt orange chinos/cords. Both of these would work extremely well as the focal point of your outfit, if you keep the surrounding pieces neutral.
However, personally I’m fond of a toned down, refined aesthetic, where a focus on quality and fit is evident. Consequently, a burgundy shirt layered underneath the blazer would complement its rich navy tone and add a more subtle point of interest.
A pair of tan brogues and matching belt (which you will all probably own) will finish off this look perfectly.
Cargo pants have been a prevalent style for a couple of seasons now, and their utility and stylish approach, combined with their obvious machismo, makes them the perfect trouser for the alpha-male. So long as Michael Bastian lives, cargo pants will be omnipresent in his designs, and his nod to moleskin in his latest autumn/winter collection signifies his appreciation of the fabric’s practicality in the colder months.
As one would expect, the current take on the cargo comes in a slim, contemporary cut, dispelling its previous dated connotations. It means that they can be dressed up or down as required, with cargos even being paired with slightly more casual, unstructured blazers in recent runway shows.
However, for those of you who still cannot get behind this style of trouser, many brands have released traditional moleskin trousers in a slim fit that would make a superb alternative.
A vogue chunky roll neck will keep you warm, while a leather-strap watch and belt (colours loosely matching) will see an elegantly rugged outfit working in harmony.
Finish the look with your choice of practical winter boots, so you remain sure-footed and masculine throughout the season, and match them with a coordinating pair of boot socks:
This double breasted military coat, with an archetypal high collar and grandiose buttons, may polarise a lot of you – especially if the comments on our recent military trend article are anything to go by.
However, while there is something said for keeping the vibe of your outfit in sync, overdone military can easily slip into costume. Therefore, grain leather brogues carry a similar rugged appeal but with connotations of gentlemanly attire, creating a gentle contrast that keeps the look grounded.
Getting the colours right in an outfit is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer, and the understated, but complimentary palette of grey, black and blue nails seasonally appropriate attire.
To lift the outfit, texture has to be utilised to the fullest, with the fiery leather gloves and a denim shirt with cord collar providing subtle yet noticeable contrasts against the moleskin.
Hopefully, I have made a case for moleskin to become the latest fabric to be added to the array of textures already in your wardrobe. The outfits and lookbook should prove its depth of versatility in pairing with many of the staple pieces you already own, but its unique, thicker composition brings a density to your attire and warmth to your person that is unparalleled.
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