“Winter is coming”, a phrase well known for its association with the infamous show Game of Thrones but also something cold climate veterans have to accept year after year. As we find ourselves at the doorstep of winter, frigid temperatures and a generally morose outlook are expected and one can only get depressed at the thought. For all its worth, menswear in the fall and winter is my saving grace and I’d like to share my thoughts to lift your spirits. Creativity and a bit of experimenting goes a long way in helping me build ensembles for the cold seasons, but practice makes perfect of course! Not to mention, a keenly developed sense of style and your gut instincts will guide you well towards achieving a sprezzatura all your own.
Autumn’s beauty can be heartfelt and the natural colors we see create a cohesive beauty, which is why we mimic them in our wardrobes to create the same effect. Where does that leave old man Winter? Not the same beauty and with much colder temperatures, one can easily shy away from dressing the part. Down-filled parkas and heavy-set jeans tend to be an easy out but there are elegant methods of respite from the cold. The tried, tested and true way of keeping warm is something I like to refer to as the ‘layered cake’ approach. While not exactly built up like the cake, a winter outfit is constructed of multiple layers providing some varying degrees of warmth. Heavyweight woolen flannel, soft (but warm) cashmere, and rugged tweed all have inherent properties that provide warmth especially when worn in some combination thereof. The heft of these fabrics contribute to a better drape overall as well and provide for a more flattering silhouette.
For colors, I largely stock up on pieces containing blue, brown and gray which I find work well in concert and as stand-alone with a navy worsted being my personal favorite. Resist the urge for a heavy color palette and keep things graceful, unless it’s a show of pea-cockery you’re after. Winter is about keeping warm and dressing practically will keep the cursing at bay. Not to be forgotten, textures. Whether Scottish Tweed or English Flannel, their inherent textures create a three-dimensional effect allowing them to be worn irrespective of color, for an elegant monochrome look. Patterns can add to the confusion so be weary when building and consider the overall look rather than the individual flair. I find that a simple glen plaid or herringbone adds visual interest and can downplay or amplify the rest of your outfit, depending on the look you’re after. All this aside, choices for layers are plenty and include sweaters, cardigans, roll-necks, blazers and overcoats to name a few. Lest we forget, accessories have their place as well and a good scarf and pair of gloves will pay dividends.
Ensembles with an intricate and well balanced interplay of patterns, textures and colors will lend themselves well to the makings of a rakish gentleman. It may take some time to develop a seasonal palette of your own but once you have, you can take solace in that sprezzatura.
Photos: Casa di Sartoria