Winter is coming, gents. That means it’s time to dust off the snow boots, heavy jacket, and wool scarf.
I took some time to chat with Leah Morrigan, a men’s image consultant from Toronto, about how we can optimize our look this year and stay warm without looking like a Sherpa on a mountain trek. Here are a few tips covering you from head to toe.
Lace-up ankle length boots are popular this year, and Morrigan is also seeing boots with chunkier soles and treads resembling car tires. These thicker soles provide better traction in the snow. Rougher materials are also becoming more widespread. Important note: don’t forget to apply a water proofing spray every four to six weeks to get the most life out of your boots and keep your feet dry.
Men’s fashion trends change as slowly as glaciers drift across the ocean, so there isn’t anything new going on in the pants department this year. But to stay warm, you generally want to wear pants with a thicker material than what you might wear in the spring.
“If you’re the kind of guy who wants to wear long underwear under your trousers, you have to take that into consideration when you put on new pants. It’s like wearing two pairs of socks when you go to put on winter boots,” says Morrigan.
The best kind of long underwear is of the silken variety. That’s because not only it’s thin, but it also warm and oh-so comfortable.
For this item, it can be smart to get a coat with removable liner. This allows you to get a little more utility out of your jacket as it can then double as a spring/fall coat when removed. Morrigan also cautions against wearing all black, not for style reasons, but for your own safety.
“So many people wear black, and when you wear black drivers can’t see you (as well). There are so many pedestrian accidents this time of year it’s mind-blowing,” she says.
“It’s nice to have a coloured coat. It allows you to incorporate more colour into your wardrobe. That’s all I want men to do. God, I’m on my knees for them to do this!” she laughs.
Another important point is to wear a coat that is close fitting. This will keep body heat close to you, rather than be lost as when you wear something loose and baggy.
The sweater is a staple of the Canadian wardrobe, good for all seasons and occasions depending on style and thickness. Morrigan says cardigans are always a smart choice because they can be layered with other garments, and layering is a great way to add style to your look and keep warm. The trick is to use thin layers so you don’t build up a huge bulky mass and look all puffed up. As with jackets, you want to wear close fitting shirts that trap body heat and keep you toasty.
Gloves, scarves, and hats can add a nice flourish to the winter you. They present more opportunities to add colour, and when pulled off well, make you stand out. Scarves are excellent for this, because there are so many different styles and ways of tying them up and keep your neck warm makes a big difference in chilly winter winds. Infinity scarves, (the ones that are like a loop rather than a strip), are particularly hot these days.
“The scarf is indispensible because not only does it add colour and warmth, it adds instant style,” she says. “Fabulous!”
Chris Riddell is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers art, business, and urban life for various fine publications. Also a poet and aspiring novelist, he’s busting his butt trying to get his name into a few literary magazines these days. He encourages you to check out his website for a look at what he’s been working on lately.
Photo courtesy of Proctor Archives.