In defence of the beanie
We hold our hands up for these winter warmers.
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Now that the festive part of winter is in the rear view mirror, we’ve officially transitioned into the stretch of seasonal purgatory known as deep winter. A time when, for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it gets so blisteringly cold that you may finally consider sacrificing style for warmth. To help you maintain your personal style without forgoing your body heat, we’ve compiled an assortment of core essentials – from puffer jackets to super-warm midlayers – to see you through these merciless months. Think of this as a sort of sartorial survival guide that will make your icy shuffle to work (or the pub) look a lot less dreary.
When you’re trying to brave the elements and keep shivering to a minimum, a non-negotiable item is a really, really good coat. “If you spend a lot of time adventuring outdoors, your ultimate option is Shackleton’s signature expedition-grade parka,” says Thread stylist Alice Watt. “This is what David Attenborough’s film crew wear to weather sub-zero temperatures, so it’s your safest best for preserving body heat.” If this style is a little north of your budget, there are countless puffer and down jackets that will serve as suitable alternatives. “For occasions when a puffer or down jacket looks too casual, go for a wool coat – maybe in an unexpected shade to liven up a dark, wintry outfit,” Alice advises. “This will look smarter, and will still keep you warm throughout deep winter.”
Exceedingly cold temperatures mean you’ll need to keep every part of you covered up, from your head to your hands, with gloves, hats, scarves, and the like. Consider this an opportunity to weave some personality into your look. Instead of playing it safe with cold-weather accessories in dark, solid shades like navy, black, and brown, opt for bolder, patterned accessories to elevate and add interest to your look. “A checked scarf in a bright colour or a cool, corduroy cap will put an irreverent spin on your winter outfits, and you’ll find yourself reaching for these elevated accessories time and time again to give your looks a lift,” Alice says.
There’s nothing worse than soggy socks. That’s why owning sturdy footwear in deep winter is paramount. “Invest in a pair of well-constructed, waterproof boots,” Alice says. “Even if this means spending a little more, it’ll be worth it because they’ll be hard-wearing enough to wear in any weather conditions.” A key element to look out for is a rubber sole, as opposed to a leather one, to ensure your feet are protected from the dreaded sogginess. It will also provide that extra bit of grip for slippery surfaces – because lying face down in a pile of snow is never a good look.
Instead of piling on half of your wardrobe, looking like the Michelin Man, and praying it all keeps you warm, wear pieces that are specifically made from winter-appropriate materials. The best cold-weather fabrics trap heat to keep you toasty, but are also breathable so you don’t sweat and overheat. “When it gets colder, turn to hard-working materials like corduroy, fleece, and merino wool to name a few,” Alice says. “They still manage to look great while keeping you warm.” What more can one ask for? For a comprehensive list of the best winter fabrics to wear, head over to our full guide.
Sure, we’ve just encouraged you not to bulk up with layer after layer, but the exception is if you do so thoughtfully. “When choosing your winter outerwear, don’t buy a size that’s too fitted – consider the fact that you’ll be packing in a couple of pieces underneath it,” Alice says. “Then, invest in key midlayers like knits, overshirts, and gilets to add in underneath.” If all your layers are the same colour, you’re more likely to look bulky, whereas if you incorporate different colours, textures, and patterns, your layering choices will look more streamlined and thought-through. “You can even be a bit more experimental with layering by throwing a cable knit over a rollneck knit – but, once again, contrasting the colours is the key to getting it right,” Alice says.
Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Alice Watt
Styling assistant: Alexander McCalla