Every well-dressed adult knows that when the temperature drops from sweater weather to being cold enough to fart snowflakes, it takes more than a solid rotation of coats to stay warm.
Fighting the frigid outdoors requires an arsenal of accessories, from bad-ass beanies to thick-AF socks. Fortunately, beyond keeping your extremities from freezing off, these can also be used to instantly upgrade any outfit.
Winter may be coming, but here are eight cold-weather confidantes to make styling it out a piece of… yellow snow.
We hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing special about your head. The idea you lose most of your body heat from your bonce is a myth, but that doesn’t change the fact that a hat is an essential piece of kit when the temperature drops to near-Arctic lows.
Provided you get the right one – ideally made from naturally breathable and insulating yarns such as Merino wool – the benefits of a beanie are endless: it will keep you warm, disguise more bad hair days than it creates, add an easy accent to a look, and snow on and snow forth.
Styles are easy to get your head around, too. A deep or classic colour such as burgundy or grey won’t detract from smarter outfits, while brighter hues like mustard are perfect for adding a flash of colour to weekend get-ups.
There’s nothing fashionable about frostbite, so it makes sense to protect all your extremities from the elements. Though often an afterthought, your socks are the last line of defence your toes have against the urban tundra on the other side of your shoes, so they deserve some attention.
Even in the depths of winter, the right pair can put some spring in your step, particularly when on show poking out of the top of leather boots and worn with pinrolled denim.
To switch up your sock drawer for the cooler months, make invisible liners disappear altogether and replace them with thick-gauge designs, preferably in wool or cotton – fabrics that not only keep your feet warm but wick moisture naturally.
There are plenty of things all guys should try at least once in their life: Brussels sprouts, living abroad, even women’s clothes should the mood arise – but never, ever ear muffs. Unless your aim is to look like a Petr Cech impersonator, try a more technical approach to achieve lukewarm lugs.
Aside from giving access to the latest podcasts during a polar vortex – like the brilliant 30 For 30, which ironically covers an exploration to the North Pole – over-ear headphones double up as a way to fend off chilling winds on your own expedition to the office.
Of course, this raises the question, “Can I wear my cans over (or even underneath) my beanie?” The answer to which is the same as to the question, “Can I marry my cousin?” You can, but you really, really shouldn’t.
Out of the workshop and into the wardrobe. Over the centuries, sturdy gloves have been used to protect the mitts of manly men (labourers, field workers, guys who owned hawks), so it pays to keep a pair close to hand when the mercury plummets.
Ideal for giving cold weather the finger, leather styles with ribbing at the cuffs ensure the bracing breeze doesn’t blow a hole in your style by locking in warmth, while linings such as shearling guarantee insulation, even on the coldest days.
If leather feels a little too Mafioso hitman for your liking, try a tactile fabric. Aside from being more affordable, pairs made from cashmere or a wool-blend are still able to slot into most looks with relative ease and they won’t leave fingerprints, either. You didn’t hear it from us.
The scarf is the stout centre back of man’s winter defence. Nothing’s getting through. Perhaps if Ned Stark had thought to invest, he wouldn’t have kept banging on about the impending chill.
The ultimate marriage of form and function, this simple strip of fabric doesn’t just keep you warm, it can also turn an icy outfit into a fire one, adding personality through textural interest and colour.
It’s likely you’ll return to the same scarf winter after winter, so it’s worth getting it right first time. While thick, chunky knits are good for bundling up in, a softer wool example is preferable and will work with a greater number of looks – especially in a neutral tone or sleek Black Watch check. For a more on-trend take, score a winner with one of this season’s football-inspired designs.
Lint Roller/Garment Brush
Chances are, rubbing yourself with sticky tape has never ranked highly in your morning routine. But it should, because style – like the devil – is in the detail, and few oversights have the ability to satanically destroy a look like loose fibres or (shudder) pet hair.
This becomes even more pertinent in winter, when materials like shearling and melton wool will leave their mark on your wardrobe’s darkest garms, making you look like an extra from Sesame Street.
To restore your outfit to its original glory, use a lint roller (or, in a pinch, sellotape doubled-over) to pick up any strays; or for more delicate garments and suits, try a clothes brush. No one need know you spent Friday night at home with the cat.
We know, we know: you always leave your umbrella in the pub/cab/restaurant (delete as applicable), so you only buy cheap ones. But investing in a good suit then protecting it with a crappy canopy is the equivalent of buying a Ferrari then having it fitted with string seatbelts.
As with a haircut, spending a little more is surprisingly rewarding. Not only will a decent umbrella stand the test of time, but you’re also likely to take far better care of it by considering the accessory a part of your everyday look.
If compact styles tend to go walkabouts, opt for something with a full-length handle or covered in a tasteful pattern. If none of that works, consider covering the handle in superglue or just staying inside.
The Pope is Catholic, bears do their business in the woods and with winter comes rain. Light rain, heavy rain, annoying sideways rain, frozen rain. And lots of it.
Though there is an abundance of wet-weather products to keep your favourite footwear protected, at some point you will inevitably be caught out.
When this happens, your shoe care game needs to spring into action. You’ll want to soak up some of that moisture by stuffing your shoes with newspaper, before replacing this with a pair of cedar wood shoe trees which will take care of the rest by sucking up more than an intern on their first day. They’ll help your shoes maintain their shape and extend their lifespan, too.