Unlike summer, where many accessories are used to add something extra to a look and don’t serve any practical purpose, winter accessories really make a difference. A biting wind will be far more keenly felt by the man that neglects his hat and scarf, and there have been many times where a forgotten pair of gloves has left hands burning.
I’ve stated before that I don’t believe in the concept of ‘essentials'; unless it is something required to sustain life, or aids in protecting your life, it is never an essential. You don’t have to wear gloves during the winter, but it seems daft not to – especially when they can inject some much needed character and individuality into your outfits.
To help you choose the pair that is right for you, FashionBeans bring you the definitive guide to the winter glove…
The Leather Glove
The leather glove is the sartorialist’s bread and butter. A pair of black or brown leather gloves makes a fantastic investment and will become a great asset to any modern wardrobe.
Whilst black is arguably more suited to formal wear, brown is versatile enough to integrate within both smart and casual outfits. As with all your leather accessories, matching the colour to your shoes is advisable, but don’t fret too much about the tone – in fact, matching your leathers too closely can sometimes look a bit contrived, so opt for pieces that come from the same family but differ in exact shade.
When searching for your perfect pair, bear in mind that leather is not the most insulating material. Those with thin linings will do little more than keep off the wind, so it is definitely worth considering wool, cashmere or even shearling-lined gloves.
Plain gloves can also be a little uninspiring, so make sure yours stand out through details such as prominent stitching, wrist fasteners or even quilted construction.
Key brands for leather (plain and coloured) gloves include Dents, Reiss, Mulberry, Paul Smith and Ted Baker:
- Ted Baker Leather Gloves
- Topman Selected Homme Leather Gloves
- John Lewis Wool Lined Handsewn Leather Gloves Brown
- Reiss Thorman Leather Gloves Dark Brown
- Allsaints Yield Gloves
- Nn.07 Wool-lined Leather Gloves
- Carhartt Lined Leather Gloves In Black
- MULBERRY CASHMERE-LINED LEATHER GLOVES
- Ralph Lauren Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves
The Coloured Leather Glove
If black or brown seems a bit too safe – or you just want to make more of a statement – opt for alternative colours like green, grey, navy or oxblood.
Unlike shoes, coloured leather accessories are much easier to pull off and can make a real difference to your outfit. I’ve personally been wearing a pair of quilted oxblood gloves from Cos for the last couple of years now and they’ve received numerous compliments:
- Dents Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves
- Reiss Thorman Leather Gloves Mustard
- Deerskin Leather Glove
- Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Green Mozart Leather Gloves
- Merola Gloves Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves
- Gant Rugger Nappa Leather Gloves 166635
- Austin Reed Burgundy Premium Leather Gloves
- Leather Gloves
- Rocha John Rocha Designer Tan Borg Fleece Lined Leather Gloves
The Driving Glove
Although on trend for AW13, to me, driving styles seem a little out of place outside of, say, driving. They don’t perform well as an insulating glove and unless you’re Steve McQueen or a racing driver from the 1960s or 1970s, they can also be difficult to pull off.
They are very much an editorial item; the kind of piece that works on the glossy pages of a magazine, and less so whilst you’re buying a sausage roll from Greggs.
If you want to give them a chance, look to integrate them into clean-cut, streamlined ensembles. Obviously you don’t want to wear them when the temperature really starts to drop, so try combining them with a tailored jacket, shirt/fine knit and dark jeans/chinos.
Dents, M&S, John Lewis, Alfred Dunhill and Aspinal of London all produce excellent versions:
- Goatskin Driving Glove
- John Lewis Crochet Back Wool Lined Leather Driving Gloves
- Dents Leather Driving Gloves
- Dents Black Leather Driving Gloves
- Alfred Dunhill Perforated Leather Driving Gloves
- Dents Perforated Leather Driving Gloves
The Leather Glove Lookbook
The Woolly Glove
Even though leather gloves can be used casually, they will always retain a formal edge; an edge that can often make them unsuitable for those with a more relaxed style. Personally, I keep my leather gloves for when I’m dressing up and use a pair of trusty wool gloves with my casual, everyday attire.
The best thing about wool gloves is that they can make as much or as little of a statement as you like. A pair in navy, black or grey will slide seamlessly into your wardrobe, but you can also choose from the whole spectrum of colours if you want something a bit different.
Think about the season’s big colour trends: burnt orange, emerald green or frosty yellow will really stand out during the drab winter months.
Alternatively, go for something truly seasonally-appropriate with a Fair Isle or Nordic pattern. Unlike jumpers, Christmas-inspired prints can work extremely well on smaller accessories because they add a touch of quirkiness without making so much of an impact on the outfit as a whole.
Key brands for woolly gloves include traditional outdoor specialists such as Penfield, The North Face and Carhartt. High street brands like Topman, River Island and ASOS also provide a wealth of colour ways, prints and patterns for every taste:
- Penfield Lalo Gloves
- Fair Isle Knitted Gloves With Wool
- Uniqlo Unisex Cashmere Blended Gloves
- Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Cable-knit Cashmere Gloves
- Polo Ralph Lauren Merino Wool Gloves
- Allsaints Rook Gloves
- Oliver Spencer Cross Country Leather-trimmed Gloves 181168
- Topman Oat Twist Fairisle Gloves
- Paul Smith Twisted Stripe Gloves
The Fingerless Glove
Having two pairs of gloves – one leather, one wool – is definitely worth considering because it covers all bases. For the wool option, my personal choice is always the fingerless glove.
I would much rather put up with chilly finger tips and retain good dexterity than be permanently pulling my gloves on and off every time I wanted to use my phone or get something out of my pocket.
In a neutral tone and with a good pattern, fingerless gloves work excellently in casual outfits:
- Jack Wills Colbrook Fingerless Gloves
- Marled Fingerless Glove
- Topman Orange Fingerless Gloves
- Jack & Jones Victor Fingerless Gloves
- Fingerless Gloves
- Ted Baker Fairisle Fingerless Gloves
- Barbour Brodie Check Lambswool Fingerless Gloves Navy
- Knitted Fingerless Gloves
- Fingerless Gloves
The Woolly Glove Lookbook
For many of us, mittens are a fond remembrance of childhood: tied to the sleeve of your coat so they wouldn’t get lost; the feeling of warmth when you pulled them on.
There is something very special about warming your hands whilst keeping all your fingers together in one place, but mittens lack a certain practicality and, due to their connotations, maturity. Not having use of individual fingers can also quickly become irritating.
Despite all this, they are a worthy consideration – particularly if you are looking for something not many other people will be wearing. If practicality is an issue, consider hooded examples, which offer freedom of movement when you need it and extra warmth when you don’t:
- Burton Navy Fairisle Flip Mittens
- Superdry Seamaster Mittens
- French Connection Nordic Fair Isle Knitted Mittens
- Fair Isle Knitted Mittens
- Barts Fedde Fair Isle Mittens black
- Paul Smith Accessories Navy Stripe Knit Leather Trim Mittens
- Red Herring Red Aztec Knit Mittens
- Maison Martin Margiela 10 Men’s Leather And Wool Zip-around Mittens
- Thom Browne Patterned Mittens
The Smartphone-Friendly Glove
The smartphone-friendly glove is a relatively new introduction to the market, which has evolved from the need to be able to manipulate touchscreen devices.
It was only a matter of time before we started to see clothing/accessories that cater specifically to our desire to constantly use our phones. It is an understandable reaction to technological developments, but it once again emphasises the quite terrifying amount of time we spend looking at screens.
Still in its relative infancy, the smartphone glove hasn’t yet evolved into a particularly colourful or fashion-led item, so your options are quite limited. That being said, you can now find examples from highly desirable brands like Dents, which just goes to show how big this sector is becoming:
- Uniqlo Unisex Heattech Touchscreen Gloves
- Topman Black Lambswool Touchscreen Gloves
- Burton Grey Basic Smart Touch Gloves
- River Island Dark Grey Knitted Touch Screen Gloves
- Rocha John Rocha Designer Brown Touch Screen Gloves
- Fred Perry Fred Perry Touch Screen Grey & Black Gloves
- Topman Burgundy And Cream Touchscreen Gloves
- Topman Leather Touchscreen Gloves
- Dents Touch Screen Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves
So there you have a brief overview of the prominent glove types available to the modern, style-conscious male. Whether you prefer smart and refined leather or the practicality of a fingerless glove, there is an option for every personal style and taste.
Make sure you let us know what style of glove is your favourite and how you style them, in the comments section below…