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How to elevate warm jackets

How to elevate warm jackets

The warmest jackets don’t usually boast reputations for being sleek and streamlined. At worst they can spark comparisons to the Abominable Snowman, and that’s because most of them focus on insulation and end up looking robust as a result. So we understand that they might not be the first outerwear that comes to mind when you’re trying to look smart.


“If you’re wearing smarter pieces but it’s too cold out for your peacoat or wool overcoat, you might think a down jacket feels too casual,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “But on days when you just want to be wrapped up warm, you can still style up your favourite cosy coat to suit your whole look, rather than thinking of it as a stand-alone piece that you need to wear.”

It’s peak winter after all, and trading all your body heat for a sharp look just isn’t feasible for weeks at a time. And it shouldn’t have to be. Sure, voluminous outerwear can look bulky and unflattering when not styled thoughtfully, but that doesn’t mean you should banish them to the back of your wardrobe just because you’re dressing to impress. There are ways to style your heavy jackets without having words like “snowman” hurled at you, and it’s all about picking the right colours, playing with proportions, and pairing yours with the right formal pieces – a tuxedo for instance, is probably not the right match for an anorak, but a pair of formal wool trousers with a button-down shirt and a blazer can be.

Layering is also key, as you’ll end up looking top-heavy if you wear thin, minimal pieces and slim trousers – which work against the shape of the jacket – underneath. Instead, go for a smarter, straight-leg trouser, and chunkier top layers that create a balanced silhouette. 

“Make sure your big coat is longer than your other top layers,” Freddie says. “A waist-length coat won’t work over a longer suit jacket or blazer.”

As your warm coat is naturally more casual, also be sure you lean smart with the rest of your look. Darker coloured coats blend in to your winter wardrobe making them easier to dress up, whilst layering over brighter, more summery colours – like a yellow overshirt – brings contrast against more muted pieces, and a patterned rollneck knit makes an extra smart-yet-stylish statement.

On cold-but-dry days when you’re wearing a suit and a puffer jacket still feels a touch too casual, a sleeveless padded gilet under your blazer is a creative way to keep out the cold with a sleek, super cosy layer beneath your formal outerwear. It will keep you toasty while looking like a layering expert. But looking like an expert at whichever meeting you’re headed to, we’ll leave to you. 


Words: Ella White
Photography: Angus Williams
Styling: Freddie Kemp