Fashion vs function

Winter is coming. Don’t compromise your warmth.

Winter is coming. Don’t compromise your warmth. | Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Headwear

Wool is your friend. It’s a great insulator, it doesn’t retain sweat and it’s comfy as hell. You don’t have to wear dorky earmuffs or an outrageous toque to keep warm. Stick with a minimalistic beanie, toque or even a skull-cap to keep things simple. As far as colour goes, stick with solid or simple patterns and aim for neutral colours like black, grey, navy or even a darker red. As far as hats go, it’s best to pick something versatile that will match with anything.

Layers

Did I mention wool yet? Get that shit on lock — hoodies, sweaters, long-sleeve tees, tank tops, you name it. If it can be made of wool, put it on your body. All jokes aside, cotton and synthetic layers also work well in the cold weather. Cotton is arguably more comfortable than most wool pieces, but where it falls is in its tendency to retain water. Wool or cotton layers include flannel shirts, oxford cloth, waffle knit shirts and knit sweaters. These look best if you keep it simple.

There are plenty of choices at your disposal

There are plenty of choices at your disposal | Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

 

 

 

Jacket or coat?

I know that denim jacket looks tight, but trust me when I say it’s not worth it. This winter, opt for a jacket with a down or synthetic fill, or a more traditional cold weather option like the peacoat or overcoat. Down-fill jackets will warm you right up, but beware if it isn’t waterproof as down-fill insulation will lose efficacy when wet. That’s where synthetic comes into play, which perform better when wet.

Peacoats and overcoats present a formal alternative to the insulated jacket, but unfortunately don’t insulate as well and lack waterproof options. These jackets can definitely keep you warm with some proper layering. Grandpa made it, so can you.

Pants

You can normally get away with the same pants you wore in the fall — jeans, chinos or joggers — but there are few things you can do to make sure those legs are extra toasty. I survived my last winter wearing some heavy-ass jeans, 21 oz. per square yard to be exact. It felt like I was wearing cardboard half the time, but it was definitely worth it for the added warmth. You can also consider wearing a pair of cotton or wool long johns or a pair of synthetic pants underneath your pants on those extra cool days. If you’re poor like me, you can also slip some pyjamas underneath.

Footwear

Don’t get stingy with your sock game. If you’re going to splurge on one piece this winter, definitely invest in some wool socks. With the right socks, you can get away with nearly any shoe on a dry, winter day. When things get wet, reach for something that’s actually waterproof. If you don’t want to look like your uncle, opt for a winter boot that uses neutral colours and ideally a narrow profile. One favourite is the L.L. Bean “Bean Boot,” an iconic waterproof boot that pairs perfectly with wool socks for the winter and remain excellent rain boots for the remainder of the year.

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