Dress Code

How To Look Good In Bad Weather

Battle the elements in style with these five practical outfits, fit for rain or shine

When the mercury plummets, sartorial standards often follow suit. But as this cold-weather style guide proves, function and fashion need not be mutually exclusive. It is possible to stay warm and still look smart, and the canny dresser who can maintain his appearance without compromising on practicality will stand out all the more.

As Snapchat’s DJ Khaled might say, the key to success in the battle against the elements is to top and tail your look with the right outerwear and footwear. Here are our style cures for the common cold-weather-dressing problem.

The all-weather commuter 

We all know those people who tramp to and from the office in Wellington boots when it’s slushy underfoot. Practical, of course. Stylish? Not so much. So we asked expert cobbler Ms Maud O’Keeffe to produce some office-appropriate Goodyear-welted shoes made from waterproof leather with rubber soles. Et voila! As for the coat, wearing a full-length down-filled parka with tailoring is very Milanese. The high/low formality combination helps prevent you looking too much like “a suit”, and military green combines easily with most other colours, meaning you’ll get plenty of wear out of it, any day of the week. This particular Antarctic parka from Nigel Cabourn is an absolute beast, featuring the double-warm combination of both down and shearling – which is like wearing a duvet and a blanket. Rather than having to remove your hat, gloves and scarf each time you step on to public transport (at least one of which you’re bound to lose), this is an all-in-one solution to anything winter can throw at you. Including missing the last train home after festive drinks. 

The Sunday bruncher

Not everyone wants to sport “performance-wear”. When all about you are buckling up their mountaineering jacket and hiking boots, there’s something to be said for maintaining your signature aesthetic by luxuriating in cashmere and merino. That way, you’ll stand out for the right reasons. This leather-trimmed shearling-lined coat from Helbers is quilted in the front for optimum heat retention. It’s worn over a Loro Piana virgin wool thermal T-shirt, layered with a cashmere cardigan that can easily be unbuttoned should you get a little too warm. Add a pair of robust yet smart leather Chelsea boots from Cheaney. Comfort without compromise.

The gala goer 

Whatever industry you work in, the end of the calendar year tends to be when the prizes are given out – normally by an underworked comedian compering a progressively raucous awards dinner. If the dress code is black tie – which it invariably is – then really you need a plain, smart long overcoat to go with it. And if it’s raining, better make it a waterproof one, because you don’t want stand up in a roomful of your peers looking like a drowned rat. A timeless Burberry trench, made from waterproof gabardine with a built-in storm shield and throat latch to keep the elements at bay, will be just the ticket for years – if not decades. This modern, mid-length take on the heritage design comes in a flash-friendly midnight blue (as with a tuxedo, don’t think you have to go for black). Take a sturdy broad canopy umbrella, too, to keep you and your dinner partner dry en route to and from the venue. If nothing else, you’ll pick up a nomination for best dressed.

The dog walker

A down-filled puffa jacket, like this one from Canada Goose, is a useful go-to for the Football Dad who spends 90 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday morning in all conditions, cheering on (aka bellowing at) his child’s team, while his Rhodesian ridgeback barks in unison. He’s also the one who is expected to walk said ridgeback in inclement weather. This quilted jacket features a wind- and water-resistant shell stuffed with 750g of duck down – heavy-duty enough to keep you warm and dry even in temperatures as icy as minus-15 degrees, but lightweight enough to pack down into its own pocket and be used as cushion when out and about. Wear it with thick denim jeans and chunky boots by Red Wing Shoes with toasty heavy-knit socks.

The winter weekender 

This is an all-purpose, all-rounder look to wear to a less formal office on a Friday before heading off for the weekend. It is a suitably practical outfit that will keep you warm and dry without the need to pack endless extra layers in your holdall. The smart windowpane-check grey raincoat is a partnership between the ever-dependable Mackintosh and Italian fabric master Loro Piana, which has patented something called Storm System: a breathable windproof and waterproof microporous membrane that won’t allow water in but will allow moisture out. Wear it with these durable, commando-soled brogue boots from Tricker’s.