Now that you’ve sprung your flannels from suit storage, what you wear them with needs a cold-weather tweak. Leave the matte-wool-with-shiny-silk look to men on the campaign trail. To give winter a sartorial two fingers, you need a smarter approach to colour and texture.
Colour rules summer. But come the cold, you need to dial down your brights to avoid clashing with the cloud cover. It’s time to turn your attention to texture instead. “Flannel or boiled wool can add that winter touch,” says Alex Field, head of menswear design at Reiss. “Or go for a silk knitted tie as a less risky but still textured alternative.” T.M.Lewin’s blunt-bladed navy take (£31.50) will lend your workwear some seasonal insouciance. Muted needn’t mean black, according to Matthew Zorpas, founder of The Gentleman Blogger: “Just give prominence to darker tones.” If you’d ordinarily reach for crimson with a particular shirt or suit, switch for burgundy instead (again, T.M.Lewin’s got your back) and let the texture lead. “It will give any of your existing business attire a whole new dimension.” A third dimension.
Those carrying the #menswear flame may still have a penchant for a statement square, but anyone who doesn’t think that ‘flaneur’ is a justifiable job description should have torched theirs by now. And in winter, even less is more. “Avoid anything jazzy,” says Field. “Classic colours with a contrast border work best. Just don’t over-think how you wear it.” Put the origami book down and know that a straight line is your chest’s equivalent of a four-in-hand tie knot – the original, and always the right choice. As with what’s hanging next to it, prioritise texture over colour. The shades should complement, not match, says Zorpas, but twinning fabrics can unify your look; a silk square erupting against a wool suit and tie may as well be emblazoned with a sore thumb print. Something like this from Reiss (£30) is a spot more cohesive.
Flimsy backpacks won’t weather a deluge. Unless you like soggy sandwiches, you need something hardier to cart your kit to work. Totes are functional and on-trend, says Field. To pair with your suit, look for something crafted from rugged leather or canvas, with a zip top. This tote, from Canada’s WANT Les Essentiels De La Vie (£185), will outsmart showers and your propensity to not spot puddles.
If you’ve streamlined your life to a wallet and iPad, give your luggage a similar trim. “A zip-up folio is ideal if you just need to carry key essentials,” says Field. River Island’s document holder (£25) is the ideal place to stow all that tech that’s replaced actual documents. And slots inside your coat should you not use it to check the forecast.
Wet pavements pose a predicament. Those leather-soled shoes are the office-ready choice, but they’re destroyed getting there. Don’t be tempted by commuter trainers (unless you’re doing that sneakers-and-a-suit thing, in which case, we dig). Dainite soles offer rubber’s grip but look like leather from anywhere but underneath. And because they’re welted, not glued, they weather the wet without flapping off your feet. Loake’s Hyde boot (£230) will tackle ice rink station concourses without revealing your fleet-footed secret.
We’re all for being literally suited-and-booted – lacing up above the ankle is practical and lends your tailoring some ruggedness – but if your boss doesn’t read FashionBeans, look to something that takes rain like a duck’s back. “Cordovan leather wears brilliantly over time,” says Field. “Especially in sharp, oxblood monk shoes, or a black Derby.” Reiss’ new collaboration with shoemaker Allen Edmonds (£495) has you literally covered.
The shrinking days may play havoc with your mood. But at least you’ve got more evening to play with. Even if you’re not rising from your desk to sink straight into a martini, adding some shimmer will at least convince colleagues you’re not just spending another evening with Netflix. Rose gold pops against dark cloth, so now’s the time to break out that Calatrava you’re looking after for the next generation. Or get bling on a budget with Triwa’s Rose Skala (£200) if you’re still waiting for dad to pass his down.
As with that tree that’s arrived in your office oddly early, some decoration will help your suit transition from desk to bar. “A collar bar adds power and sharpness,” says Field. Although it’s best with a bolder tie than that cashmere number we advised earlier. If you’re eschewing silks all season, he recommends a lapel pin instead. “They’re great for events. Lanvin has great options.” This wool-cashmere flower (£110) will marry nicely with all that texture you’re already rocking. Especially if you wear it to celebrate an actual marriage.