The good thing about dressing well in the winter is that you have to buy more clothes than at any other time of year. The bad thing about dressing well in the winter is that, ah, you have to buy more clothes than at any other time of year.
Fortunately, both your wardrobe and your bank balance can earn a reprieve with some solid, budget menswear – stylish staples that scrimp on neither style nor substance, just the cost. Save the big-hitter brands for your Christmas list, and warm up your threads (and your finances) with our key winter pieces that won’t just last till spring, but for years to come.
A Chunky Roll Neck
When temperatures drop, a thick-gauge roll neck is a stylish no-brainer any day you don’t have to wear a suit. They flatter most shapes, bulk up your torso, and offer an easy way to mix up your wardrobe.
Few other knits flit so seamlessly between off- and on-duty looks, and with so many affordable options on the market, you can well and truly clinch a happy cost-per-wear ratio.
- Wine Rib Roll Neck Jumper
- Burton Cable Knit Roll Neck Jumper
- Topman Grey Salt And Pepper Twist Roll Neck Jumper
A Thick Scarf
Winter is often a catalyst for head-to-toe monochrome. Fifty shades of grey can border on boring, however, and accessories are often the easiest way to lift simple looks. Enter: a thick scarf.
A pop of green, burgundy or navy will add depth and give you some much-needed battle armour for when the cold snap bites. Which, all in all, is far better than the neon snowsuits of yesteryear.
A Parka Jacket
No longer restricted to South Park and obnoxious Gallagher brothers, parka jackets have grown into a respectable winter stalwart – providing you follow the rules, that is.
Opt for a clean, classic shape in a wearable shade (khaki, grey and navy are the safest); ban excessive faux fur, band patches and camo details. If those conditions are met, you’ll be quids in with a casual winter coat that will actually beat the cold.
Adult men can be sure of three things: taxes, wrinkles and the futility of cheap, polyester gloves. This season, convey some semblance of maturity (and add a few degrees to your thermostat while you’re at it) by slipping your hands into some quality lined alternatives.
Keeping the digits at the end of your arm warm doesn’t mean the ones in your bank balance have to freeze over. A number of high-street brands now produce quality, affordable leather and wool gloves lined with insulating fleece in a variety of muted, versatile shades.
- Uniqlo Men Heattech Lining Fleece Gloves
- M&s Collection Leather Press Stud Gloves With Thinsulate
- Asos Leather Gloves In Green Check
A Dark Coloured Suit
In winter, colour doesn’t die with your suntan. It just takes on a darker note, and that rule extends to your tailoring rotation.
Jewel tones like burgundy and forest greens are a key trend thanks to designers like E. Tautz and Craig Green, and the palette has diffused down into affordable price brackets. Simply team with a shirt, T-shirt or roll neck, and some more casual footwear like a Chelsea boot.
- Burton Burgundy Skinny Fit Suit Jacket
- Next Stretch Twill Skinny Fit Suit Jacket
- Topman Navy Slim Fit Three Piece Suit
It’s true what they say: you can tell a lot about a man by the shoes on his feet – especially if his idea of formal footwear is a square-toed loafer in tan that should never have made it past 1997.
If you’re wearing a dinner suit, you need some quality dress shoes, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. They should have a lacquered, shiny finish (known as ‘patent’) and can be purchased for a fraction of your threads up-top without dragging your look down.
- Holmes Patent
- Asos Derby Shoes In Black Patent With Panel Detail
- M&s Collection Leather Lace-up Shoes With Airflex
A Beanie Hat
For whatever reason, certain hats lay claim to some of the worst trend moments of modern times: bowlers, slouch hats, need we even mention the trilby? A classic, well-fitting beanie, however, has never been subject to such ridicule (assuming you’re not thinking about a Craig David number).
Enduring season after season, this simple winter accessory has become a menswear essential. And, like a scarf, it’s an easy way to introduce some colour to a look. Just stay well clear of anything Noddy might wear.
First worn by Queen Victoria for her royal garden jaunts, Chelsea boots are all the proof you need that gender-neutral dressing can be royally stylish.
As a solid anchor to almost every look on the smart-casual spectrum, Chelsea boots provide durable protection from sludge, sleet and snow as the weather turns, all without the added stress of buckles or laces. Fit for a queen. Or a king.
- Asos Chelsea Boots In Brown Leather With Black Contrast Sole
- Next Brown Waxy Chelsea Boot
- River Island Black Leather Brogue Chelsea Boots
Like all good crafts, the art of layering is a hard skill to master if you don’t have the right tools. Consider the humble overshirt your perfect starter kit for winter.
The workwear staple grafts over a T-shirt, under a jacket, over a sweatshirt or in any combination of those to create an outfit. Stick to staple autumn/winter colours for maximum versatility and prioritise heavier fabrics such as wool, denim or cotton twill to add some much-needed ballast to your cold-weather looks.
A Weekend Bag
Chasing the summer sun? Lucky you. But without the correct luggage it’ll look like you’re off to a Travelodge in Telford rather than a week in Thailand.
A weekend bag – long a menswear necessity – is perfect for city breaks, overnight business trips and even as a carry-on for long haul. And if you go classic on the design, there’s no reason why it can’t join you for the nine-to-five. If your budget doesn’t stretch to leather, look for accents instead, and pick a shade that’ll chime with most things in your wardrobe.
A Patterned Shirt
Patterned shirts needn’t read over-50s single nights at your local. Shop wisely and you can craft a look that’s a long way off retirement.
By wisely, we mean a print that’s easy-to-wear, muted in colour and simple: microdots, geometrics and the like. Bonus: the repetition in pattern adds bulk up top – important if you’re also looking to broaden your romantic frontier.
- Topman Black And White Geo Print Stretch Skinny Fit Smart Shirt
- Zara Printed Stretch Shirt
- Reiss Provost Polka Dot Shirt
A Shawl Collar Cardigan
Dressing like your grandad is perfectly acceptable in the colder months. But while printed knitwear has made something of a comeback this year, a far safer ‘veteran’ look is the shawl collar cardigan.
Defined as a turned-over collar with lapels forming an unbroken, curved line, this cardigan update sits just as pretty with a shirt and tie as it does your weekend civvies. You’ll benefit, too: the neckline draws the eye downwards for a more flattering silhouette.
- River Island Khaki Green Shawl Neck Button-up Cardigan
- Light Grey Rib Shawl Collar Cardigan
- Gap Italian Merino-blend Shawl Cardigan
The peacoat is possibly the best thing we’ve ever gotten from the naval profession (apart from, y’know, daytime drinking and ‘mum’ tattoos).
Sailors from both sides of the pond have sheltered behind the peacoat since as early as the 1700s, and the double-breasted, broad lapelled design lends itself well to colder months (even if the only voyage you have planned is a poorly navigated pub crawl). Stick to true blue tones, and you have a staple that makes for plain sailing with jeans and knitwear or smart-casual commuter looks.
Bare mankles in summertime may be as divisive as Brexit, but the people are united for winter: put some socks on. Warm ones.
Tis the season for thicker materials – wool, or at least a robust cotton – to keep your tootsies toastie, as doubling-up does little for your circulation or temperature regulation. Look for a flecked pair that are much more eye-catching under some pin-rolled jeans than the stray hairs of your lower leg.
- Asos Boot Socks In Khaki & Stone Twists 5 Pack
- He By Mango 2 Pack Flecked Chunky-knit Socks
- Find Mens Waffle Texture Socks
Gilets have, quite unfairly, been labelled as toff-wear. But the winter-friendly piece has graduated beyond country manors and worryingly interwoven family trees.
Best described as a jacket without the sleeves, many contemporary brands have repurposed the gilet into something fit for purpose. Slot a muted, quilted number between your shirt and overcoat, and you can lord it over any country bumpkin.
Party season and hibernation season are, conversely, the exact same time of year. For every Christmas invitation, there’s at least a full day spent horizontal in your favourite loungewear.
Since your comfies see more wear than your party threads, treat your desperately hungover self to an upgrade. Quality loungewear – the type that boasts a high cotton content and enough warmth to complement your central heating bill – can be clinched for less, with several brands producing garments that cost about the same as your tuxedo’s dry-cleaning bill.
- John Lewis Pin Spot Pyjamas
- Topman Grey Burgundy And Navy Stripe Pyjama Set
- Navy And Green Check Brushed Cotton Pyjama Trousers
A Puffa Jacket
No longer the sole preserve of E17 and drug dealers, puffa jackets have been embraced as a contemporary menswear essential. That doesn’t mean you have to dress like a teenager queuing overnight at a Supreme drop, though.
Stick to block colours and proportions that complement your shape. Michelin Man silhouettes in a designer print may score Instalikes for some, but the Christmas family photos will be much harder to delete from your memory.
A Fair Isle Jumper
The once-jolly exercise of Christmas Jumper Day has soured in recent years, and worse, it’s becoming increasingly hard to avoid.
Rather than settle for a flammable novelty piece with a flashing Rudolph nose that’s not advised for epileptics, take the sartorial route and go Fair Isle. A knitting technique and pattern named after the tiny Scottish island where it was born, several strands of colour are woven together for a sweater that alludes to the festive period. Just without the dreadful ‘tickle my baubles’ slogan, so you can still wear it in February.
- He By Mango Jacquard Wool Sweater
- Barbour Case Fair Isle Crew Knit
- J. Crew J.crew Glendorn Fair Isle Wool Sweater
Thanks to geography teachers the world over, corduroy is viewed with some trepidation. By limiting it to just one simple piece, however, the fabric is surprisingly easy to wear.
A pair of corduroy slacks can slot into multiple looks and offer a tactile point of difference to jeans and chinos. Stick to a straight- or slim-leg (both guaranteed to flatter most frames) and keep your palette muted: anything other than neutral smacks of late-seventies kid’s TV presenter. A look nobody wants right now.
- M&s Collection Straight Fit Corduroy Trousers
- Topman Charcoal Grey Skinny Corduroy Trousers
- He By Mango Slim-fit Corduroy Chinos
If you ever needed evidence as to the pitfalls of double denim, simply watch Footloose. Thankfully, these days there are ways to rock a Canadian tuxedo without channelling Golden Era Kevin Bacon.
Dark denim looks almost monochrome when you pair several pieces together. Or, if you’re not sold on the double-D look, it contrasts nicely with lighter shades to dress down shirts and jackets up-top. All you need to do is pick the jean fit that suits your body type.
A Wool Blazer
Cold weather needn’t put Savile Row on death row. The winter remedy is to switch your tailored fabrics as the weather dictates – in this instance, to wool.
Expect all the same structure and shape as your summer suit, but with added insulation to combat the cold. Plus, a choice wool blazer in grey, brown or navy can combine with darker denim for a smart high-low combination.
- Uniqlo Men Stretch Wool Jacket
- Navy Merino Wool Blazer
- M&s Collection Charcoal Italian Wool Fabric Jacket
Yes, the temperatures outside call for an extra jumper, but that won’t keep your undercrackers warm. Some incognito thermals, however, will.
Standard undergarms have been given an upgrade in recent years, with several brands imbuing their fabrics with air pocket technology to ensure maximum anti-freeze. Just be ready to explain the long johns if you strike it lucky at the office party.
Bing Crosby was pulling a fast one with all this White Christmas talk. Yuletide festivities are, more often than not, dampened by torrential downpours and horizontal sleet.
It makes sense, then, to purchase an umbrella that won’t buckle at a mere sigh of wind. Investing a little more cash will see reinforced spokes, a robust, gentlemanly design and a handle that thankfully won’t collapse to ‘handbag’ size.
- Barbour Tartan Telescopic Umbrella
- London Undercover City Fleck Telescopic Umbrella
- Black Automatic Compact Umbrella
Hiking Boots With Chunky Soles
Even the shortest of commutes can seem like an Everest climb in winter, so invest in a pair of hiking boots to conquer the nine-to-five and beyond.
Okay, we get it: hiking isn’t the most stylish of pastimes. But if you consider recent trends – fleece, cagoules, technical backpacks – outdoorwear is becoming increasingly on point. Look out for chunky soles to keep feet dry, and you’ll be the Monday-to-Friday Marco Polo in no time.
- Brown Duane Milled Leather Lace Up Boot
- Asos Lace Up High Boots In Black Leather With Heavy Gum Sole
- River Island Grey Suede Lace-up Worker Boots
Yes, it’s cliché to bang on about the ‘new classics’, but camel is just that. Easier to wear than dark brown and a shoe-in with monochrome looks, the soft caramel-ish colour has found a permanent fixture on the menswear colour wheel.
Add to that the versatility of an overcoat and you’re onto a winner: a failsafe silhouette, shade and structure that’ll get along nicely with most things in your wardrobe. Just make sure your new purchase fits like a glove, or risk looking like a villain from Home Alone.
A Velvet Blazer
Party season dress codes are like party season drinking: dangerous, and nobody wants to look the fool. Consider the velvet blazer to be the smart man’s tipple of choice.
As a pivot from the usual black dinner suits, velvet blazers still follow the rules in that they’re polished, luxurious and in-keeping with formal events. Plus, you’ve got added texture and depth for a look that’s a lot more composed than you’ll feel the morning after.
Just as we thought the world had fallen in love with the ‘air tie’ (that is, the art of going without one entirely), there’s been a recent shift to an old favourite: the knitted tie.
As a guaranteed way to add texture, a knitted tie can lift even the most sober of looks – especially when it coordinates with the overall colour palette. That said, there’s no harm in opting for a louder shade to announce your arrival, either.
- Forest Green Wool Slim Knitted Classic Tie
- Reiss Ceremony Textured Silk Tie
- Moss London Navy Knitted Skinny Tie
A Watch & Lightweight Jewellery
A Swiss stamp is universally seen as a mark of craftsmanship, but it isn’t the only one. Respectable watches come from far and wide without the price tag of Geneva’s finest, and a simple, minimalist dial can slot beneath any shirt cuff.
The same goes for lightweight jewellery. You don’t need an appointment at Sotheby’s to secure the good stuff, and a reasonable karat can be had in the form of a thin necklace, bracelet or plated ring.
Don’t let the plummeting mercury fool you: winter still has plenty of sunshine. It just isn’t very warm.
Your eyes should be shielded from UV rays whatever the season, and a pair of classic sunglasses will easily carry you into the blessed summertime. Opt for time-proven shapes – aviators, Wayfarers, Clubmasters or softly-rounded lenses – in darker colours to ensure a smooth and much-anticipated transition to the warmer months.
A Grey Marl Sweatshirt
Grey marl sweatshirts: if they’re good enough for Robert Redford, they’re good enough for you. The athleisure staple is a no-brainer year-round but makes for a particularly good winter layer when everything, including the majority of your wardrobe, is dark.
A boxy shape should flatter most physiques, though how tight it sits is ultimately up to the wearer’s discretion/gym session frequency. Wear under an overcoat or worker jacket with jeans or wool trousers. One-hundred per cent cotton construction should prove comfortable on the skin and the pocket.