What To Wear This Winter
Judging by the incoming winter 2015 collections, there’s a bit of a paradox at the core of menswear. On the one hand, designers such as Mr Christopher Bailey at Burberry and Mr Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta are espousing a bohemian style: distinctly loose, oversized and nomadic-looking. On the other hand, it all feels rather sturdy, with a resurgence of hard-wearing, traditionally masculine fabrics such as corduroy and pinstripe, and a preponderance of extremely serviceable coats in classic, straight-cut shapes. The fundamental question is: where exactly will your style sit on the spectrum of classic to spectacular? Will you be investing in a 1970s-tinged shearling jacket from Coach, or a sharp black suit from Saint Laurent? Will you be strutting around in Chelsea boots, or stomping it out in some mountain-ready footwear from O’Keeffe? Whatever you go for, MR PORTER is at hand to help. Read on to explore your options…
Corduroy is not just for trousers
You probably already own a pair of corduroy trousers. The sturdy, hardwearing work fabric is perfect for colder weather, and this winter is the time to broaden your corduroy horizons. Designers are now using it for blazers, jackets, coats and even shirts. With its rough texture and velvety sheen, it’s a heavy fabric, so the key to making it work is to pick one corduroy piece per look. Thanks to its long history in country sportswear, corduroy has a certain feeling of nostalgia, so works best when you mix it with retro, muted, colour palettes (such as brown, navy, grey, khaki and olive green). Here it’s been matched with an oatmeal-coloured sweater and tortoiseshell glasses for a warm, 1970s feel. Don’t be afraid of buttoning your corduroy jacket or shirt right up to the neck. In this trend, stiffness is a virtue.
A Chelsea boot can smarten up your jeans
Versatile, stylish and supremely easy to slip on and off, Chelsea boots had their first big pop culture moment in the 1960s as part of the mod movement. Now they are set for another – thanks to Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Berluti and R.M. Williams. Pair your boots with slim black jeans to make the most of their sleek, streamlined form. The central appeal of Chelsea boots is their minimalism, so if you want to show a bit more ankle, we would recommend cropped, wool trousers rather than turn-ups.
There's a better way to wear black
It’s not rocket science: black has always been a particularly flattering, impeccably smart choice. But this winter, the anti-colour is especially sharp, with a range of sleek black-on-black suits and separates that make head-to-toe immersion not just possible, but also extremely appealing. It’s an easy trend to pull off, as long as you mix a few different textures in your black pieces. If you don’t, people may mistake you for a member of the catering staff.
The above look works particularly well, featuring a palette of textures, from wool gabardine to cotton jersey, to sleek black leather. As long as you combine a few of these materials, it’s very difficult to go wrong with black.
Pair hiking boots with straight-leg trousers
Whether you’re walking up a mountain every weekend or predominantly spotted in well-heated restaurants, it’s easy to appreciate the sturdy functionality and distinct aesthetic of the hiking boot. And there are many varieties this winter.
For those who were previously on the fence: now is the time to act. Wear your chosen pair with straight-legged trousers (mountain boots are a little too bulky for skinny jeans), with or without a turn-up. The former is more youthful and stylish, the latter more classic and authentic. They also go well with other hardy pieces, so consider a corduroy jacket to complete the look.
Mix grey on grey for a cool smart casual
You may have spent a large part of your youth stuffed into grey blazers, shorts and caps at school, but it’s time to think again about grey. This season, it’s not just in the playground variety, but a deep range of shades and textures, thanks to the likes of Lanvin and Calvin Klein. Combining several of these different hues is a good way to add a stylish edge to your formal outfits, without losing smartness. Just make sure they’re all slightly different. Variation adds depth to the colour, as matching greys can come across as a little bland and conservative.
Try an alternative briefcase
Yes, you’re hard at work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax a little. Take a cue from this season’s briefcases, which adopt a softer, less structured shape than their rigid forebears, making them truly flexible for these hot-desking, multi-tasking times. The soft briefcase is a looser version of a classic, so the clothing you wear it with should be equally smart-casual. Above, it’s paired with a textured, unstructured blazer, jeans and a generous houndstooth coat for a sharp, on-the-town look.
Dress down your shearling
This ranch-worthy trend has been creeping up on us for the past couple of seasons, but winter is its time to shine. The key piece is the traditional, three-quarter-length shearling jacket, as offered by Tom Ford, Coach and Gucci, and as previously worn by a host of 1970s football managers. But that was then and this is now, so you need to do something different.
To avoid the Del Boy look, steer clear of classic tailoring (and hats or cigars!) and pair your shearling coat with gently washed denim, a plaid shirt and, if you need an extra layer, an unstructured jacket in cotton or corduroy. This makes for a look that’s simultaneously truer to the agricultural origins of the shearling coat, yet more contemporary – especially if you throw some sneakers into the mix.
Keep things versatile with a classic coat
It may seem a fool’s task to try and pin down the misty landscapes of the future, but we’re confident you’re going to need a coat in the next few months. Luckily, the latest offerings in that department are made to last, with a focus on a timeless slim and straight silhouette, in a classic colour such as camel. This really is a versatile and multi-functional shape that can be dressed up or down as required. One useful guideline is to pick a coat in a contrasting colour to the rest of your outfit. Camel works particularly well with denim. Black will nicely offset light or bright colours. And grey? Well that’s a whole other story this season…
Step out in a pinstripe print
Pinstripe has well and truly broken out of the bank, with brands including Givenchy and Alexander McQueen using the classic pattern for unexpected items such as shirts and coats, as well as a graphic element in prints. This has turned it into a more-than-viable option for casual eveningwear – the sort of thing you might sport for a friend’s birthday dinner. Pick one pinstripe item as the focus of your outfit, and combine with plain separates in black or grey for maximum impact.