How To Wear Bright Colours In Winter
The pop colours jumping out from the MR PORTER team’s outfits this season
Who says you have to spend all winter swaddled in gloomy black and greys? Certainly not MR PORTER, especially seeing as there is such an eye-catchingly vibrant array of what fashion types call “pop colours” on offer as 2018 draws to a close. Here’s our team’s favourite pieces of “hello, it’s me” winter brights, and details of how we’re planning to carry them off.
Was it not Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, who urged us to “be prepared”? I’ll be taking his words completely out of context this winter and preparing myself for the perils of the commute – a whole 15 minutes of which will be spent outside – by investing in some of the finest outerwear that money can buy.
Sitting pretty at the top of my Wish List is this banana-yellow plaid overshirt from Aspesi, which is made in Italy, but takes its design cues from the rugged style of the Pacific Northwest. If the temperature drops, I’ll throw a gilet from Brunello Cucinelli over the top, and for a final, subtle hint of colour I’ll pull on these red-laced hiking boots from the same brand. It’s a look I like to call “urban lumberjack meets Italian luxury”.
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We like to forget it, but, sometimes during the winter, New York City somehow manages to migrate up to the arctic, and, even if it doesn’t always entirely freeze over, sure feels like The Day After Tomorrow. At which point, there’s sort of nothing better than a hardcore puffer – over casual clothes or even your workaday suit and tie, much the way Mr Jim Nelson wore it, to shows, dinners and parties during his incredible tenure at the helm of GQ here. And at the end of the day, it really is the end-all of ease. Layers be damned, one stop at the coat check and you’re breezing through to the bar.
Early on in his career, Mr Matt Dillon was drawing a lot of comparisons to Mr James Dean, and, I don’t know if it was subconscious or what, but I wore this, my new red Valstarino, when I went to talk to him for our recent story in The Journal. I’m not sure it made me feel any closer to him or gave me any insight in what it must be like to be a silver-screen legend, but it made me feel pretty cool. And as the warmth begins to wane here in New York, throwing this over a T-shirt or a henley is kind of the greatest feeling – not to mention that the brick red colour is, um, attention-getting.
Wearing white jeans in the winter is pretty punk rock. And not just because the rules against doing so are a little classist and about a century out of date (thank you, Clorox). The contrast of brilliant white jeans with the otherwise drab and dark layers you need to get you through the cold adds an incredible, Blow-Up kind of charge to a winter wardrobe. These Mr P. selvedge guys– made in the denim capital of the world, Okayama, Japan – have an incredibly rich, velvety hand, are heavy enough to keep you warm, but slim enough to work with your more elegant boots.
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I’m seeking approval by my inner sensible self here, but this Prada cardigan will be great at keeping me warm on the brisk walks to the Tube station (although, honestly, I need it for the print – just look at it!). And this Balenciaga pouch is perfect to add a dash of summer vibrance to any outfit to really counteract the dullness of winter and is the perfect size in which to house my sunglasses and suncream (too soon?)
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It’s a little-known fact that not all hoodies are built equal. Some, like this yellow Aries one, are constructed with double-faced jersey that not only give it a heavyweight feel, but also a premium look. Team it with this unstructured and unlined wool Mr P. overcoat and a set of faded cut-off jeans, for that very on-trend grungy look. Trapper hat optional.
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Red is often a colour dismissed as difficult to wear, but it’s actually a quick way to make a bold statement that can be worn with black, grey and most shades of denim.
For work, go for a rollneck, such as this one by Tom Ford, to wear under a black blazer or suit jacket (let’s face it, you probably own several in black already). At weekends, Saint Laurent has cleverly knitted a flame pattern into this sweater, which gives it a bit of depth (and pattern to sneak in another trend). If I still haven’t convinced you that you can wear red, then take a look at Saint Laurent’s checked overshirt – a muted and classic way to add colour to your winter wardrobe.
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Recently, there’s been talk in the MR PORTER office of how to match colours to your skin tone. Apparently, there’s science behind looking better in certain shades, and how far you can amp up the variegated brightness much depends on the complexion you were blessed (or cursed) with. Sometimes though, a nice red sweater is just that, and I reckon even someone as tissue-white as me can pull off this Shetland wool one from Anderson & Sheppard.
As well as wool sweaters, this time of year also calls for wool trousers (Club Monaco’s are an infallibly good go-to, and a charcoal-coloured pair will complement rather than compete with the red of that sweater). For the feet, these AMI sneakers are suitably stompy, and dip a toe into the ugly sneaker pool without drowning in it.
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Traditionally made at the end of December, New Year’s resolutions are an attempt to make good all the evils you have committed in the past 12 months, and to help you look forward with fresh enthusiasm. Because: next year will be a better year, and it will be in no way like the one that has just proceeded it (or the one before that). You are saying to yourself: yes, I have drunk myself silly, yes my presence on earth has been a burden on the environment, and no, I have not always acted with kindness and generosity to my fellow man – but this can all change if I just write a few things down on the notes App on my iPhone.
But before I get to work on my own resolutions, I intend to make the most of what is left of 2018 and act as irresponsibly as possible. So, while I’m drinking my body weight in whisky and pushing old ladies over in the street, I’ll be wearing some expensive “winter brights” in a truly obnoxious fashion. Which means dressing like this…