Author: Beth Aston
After a long summer that generously dished out sun-drenched days and balmy nights, you might have forgotten what winter actually is. Allow us to jog your memory. Do festive soirées, pints by the pub's roaring open fire and weather as unpredictable as the Central line ring a bell? Yes, we thought so.
Having become so accustomed to nonchalantly throwing together clothes crafted from linen, seersucker cotton and lightweight wool for weeks on end, you might be wondering how to see out the next few months in a similarly effortless manner.
The answer? Create a killer casualwear capsule wardrobe and become a pro at layering and accessorising. Covering both business and leisure, we'll talk you through the basics of both while suggesting ways to nail cold climate looks in various scenarios.
Make workwear the least of your winter weekday worries
When it comes to choosing what to wear for the wintry working week ahead, our advice is straightforward: let your diary dictate what to pull from your closet each morning. While it's likely shirts and chinos with a poker-straight front crease will feature heavily, there are plenty of ways you can allow little pops of your not-so-corporate personality to transpire when you've got meetings scheduled.
Master the art of layering and you'll dial up this otherwise basic ensemble in a matter of minutes. The merino jumper is of course an office classic, but we ask you to consider buttoning up a cashmere-blend cardigan over your Oxford shirt for a new season take on knitwear.
Woollen waistcoats are another item we're coveting this year. Why? Flattering and undeniably elegant, they'll give you a fashionable edge over your peers as you thrash out ideas in the boardroom.
There'll be times when you wish to lift your look even further with accessories. It's easy to get carried away so try to keep Leonardo da Vinci's mantra 'simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' in mind when deciding on finishing touches. It doesn’t take a 16th century universal genius to agree that a few strategically placed pieces, be it a tonal patterned tie or pair of socks in a burgundy, burnt orange or green shade are all it takes to transform your outfit.
If drinks with your colleagues are pencilled in on a Friday, you'll want to don something that's suitable for both client briefings and beers in a bar. Pick tailored separates over straight-laced suits and have fun playing around with print by teaming a statement jacket with muted trousers (and vice versa). We suggest trying a long-sleeved slim-fit polo too if you can get away without wearing a shirt.
When you know the evening will take you somewhere that doesn't require smart shoes for entry, unbuckle your monk straps and slip on the navy leather trainers you keep under your desk before heading out.
No discussion of winter work staples would be complete without a mention of outerwear. Thankfully, men's fashion has come along way since the days of 'one coat fits all' thinking and for 2018, there are plenty of sophisticated options.
A rain mac – we're talking about sleek structured cotton styles not zip-up anoraks - will protect your garms on drizzly days, while a belted trench will demonstrate your understanding of catwalk trends.
If there's one cover-up that's really worth the investment, it's a luxurious double-breasted overcoat. Practical enough to keep you cosy on cold commutes and so dapper it'll gain an appreciative nod from your MD, it's one of those pieces with real staying power. An added bonus? Its symmetrical design will help slim down your silhouette too.
Get winter weekend dressing right, every single time
After a hectic Monday to Friday jam-packed with presentations, conference calls and after-work engagements, you might be tempted to reach for joggers and a slouchy sweatshirt once Saturday *finally* rolls around. But ask yourself this - why would you want to let your style slip after such a successful sartorial week? Regardless of what you've got planned, we urge you to start viewing the weekend as a chance to demonstrate what a carefully curated, yet seamlessly interchangeable, winter wardrobe you've pulled together.
When outdoor sporting events are on the agenda, being prepared for all types of weather is key. With slim-fit trousers, a check shirt and knitted pullover as your base, you can add or subtract extra layers and accessories as and when it suits. If, for example, the forecast is unseasonably mild as you watch Sale Sharks take on Wasps Rugby at Ricoh Arena, a quilted gilet might be more favourable than a heavier coat.
Planning to discuss the tries, penalties and the ref's controversial decisions over a post-match beer? A scarf will be a welcome extra layer if the chill picks up at the stadium's open-air bar. A jewel-toned design will bring a touch of richness to your look, while stripes will give it a varsity vibe. A compact umbrella is recommended too as it'll make light work of an unexpected downpour.
Deciding on a winning outfit for a wintry date might seem like an arduous task – but it needn't be. If a relaxed lunch at your local, lazy stroll through the park or something cultural like an art exhibition are on the cards, dark bottoms, a chunky half-zip jumper, box-fresh white trainers and structured blazer will strike the right balance between low-key and luxe.
And finally, when you're ready to up the stakes and use your connections to bag a table at the city's slickest new restaurant, you'll no doubt be keen to dress to impress. A lightweight yet warm peacoat with notched lapels would perfectly complement camel, olive or stone chinos and a houndstooth shirt. Crown the look with a felt fedora if you're feeling particularly fancy.