Winter is the time to bundle up, wrapping yourself in multiple layers of clothing. This provides an opportunity to layer many different fabrics and colors to create interesting outfits. For winter layering there are 5 fabrics I consider essential to have in your closet. Today I will discuss those 5 fabrics and why they appeal to my sense of style.
1. Donegal Tweed
A checked tweed may feel more like fall yet a Donegal tweed will remain stylish all winter long. If the Irish wore it to protect them from the rain and cold, then I’ll bet it will do the job of protecting you from the elements as well. The cloth gets its name from County Donegal in Ireland. Donegal is the area most associated with tweed fabric. It looks great in a sport coat or in a vest such as this waistcoat from J. Crew.
Donegal tweed is characterised by small pieces of colored yarn woven into the tweed. The outcome is random colored specks in the finished fabric. My favorite aspect of Donegal tweed is the numerous colors in the fabric can be picked up elsewhere in your outfit in accessories like a pocket square.
Twill dress shirts are thicker and warmer than their lighter weight counterparts. When the mercury starts to drop it’s time to hang up your poplin dress shirts and opt for something softer and warmer. Herringbone, serge, houndstooth, and garbadine are all types of twill weaves.
The pattern of twill shirts also ads a variety of texture to your wintertime outfits. The one above is from Hugh & Crye. If you’re feeling fancy look for a twill woven with two colors. A shirt with a textured weave will add much interest to a plain suit.
3. Camel Hair
The camel hair used for clothing comes from the Bactrian camel, native to Central Asia where they roam the Gobi desert and other arid locations in Asia. The hair used is the undercoat, which is extremely soft and highly insulating. The most famous camel hair fashion item is the polo coat, originally worn by polo players.
Since the polo coat was initially made to be worn in between chukkers (periods) of a polo match they originally had no buttons and only a belt in order to be taken off quickly. As such, I prefer the double breasted polo coats because they will look more like the original polo coat. Quality camel hair polo coats can be purchased from Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers.
If you don’t need or like to wear long coats you can opt for a camel hair sport coat. These come in many colors yet I prefer the natural golden color of the camel fleece. The natural color works really well with a pair of blue jeans and brown lace-ups. If you’d like to try the look of a classic camel hair sport coat, Brooks Brothers offers a well-made jacket.
Continuing with soft & warm fabrics, cashmere, the most well-known is a luxurious material. Everyone should have a cashmere scarf. I love the feel of cashmere wrapped around my neck. I’ve actually found cashmere scarfs at places like Target that have held up quite well. Of course I also have many from other sources as well.
My wife is a collector of scarves so it makes sense that I would have a large variety too. I think she buys them for me just so she can “borrow” them. That would explain why I have so many in pink and purple shades, with flowers. If you’re looking for something not in pink and covered in flowers, J. Crew has a good selection in both plaid and plain options.
Flannel trousers, like those below from Ted Baker, are a must-have for anyone living in a colder climates. The fabric is soft, warm, and durable. When some hear the word flannel they think of Kurt Cobain, ’90s alternative rock, and lumberjacks. However, flannel isn’t just for plaid shirts. A pair of wool flannel trousers will keep your legs and everything in between warm all winter long.
Stay true to yourself. Be kind to others. Define your own style.