The Elements of Winter Menswear
Embracing love for layers
Photo by J. Christopher Little
When discussing winter fashion, the answer to the question “What trends can we expect?” usually begins with “layers.” That’s at least partly because it’s winter, obviously, but it’s also a popular way of approaching fashion, inasmuch as outerwear is just as important as the shirt or sweater underneath. For Jamicia Wylie of Gil’s Clothing and Denim Bar, it comes down to texture, as well.
“I love layering plaid or printed shirts under chunky sweaters, paired with slim jeans or soft twill five-pocket styles,” she says. “A great jacket layered over a raglan sleeve knit is a good look, as well. Winter is all about layers and texture.”
Beyond the simple practicality of layering for winter, this season will continue a trend that Nichols Hills men’s clothier Spencer Stone has noticed in recent years.
“Younger culture wants to dress up,” he says. “I think the business casual style of the 1990s hurt fashion – the polo shirt and khaki look. It’s almost as if young people have rebelled against that look, and they want to dress up at work and for winding down.”
Stone said he sees more people wearing suits to work, and he’s also noted an uptick in sport coats and jackets – especially of the style he calls “deconstructed” – being worn with jeans or chinos for after-work social events.
“Everything is deconstructed,” he says, “unlined, with soft shoulders. It’s the jacket you can throw across the back of a chair. It’s comfortable, and it’s presentable at dinner.”
We asked Wylie and Stone, as well as Seth Heckart at Q Clothiers, what to expect for this winter.
Heckart emphasized the trend of softer fabrics, even in the formal category. “I definitely think dark velvet jackets for tuxedos are awesome,” he says. “Black satin show collar with black pants and satin stripes, with a black velvet loafer. The colors are dark maroon, especially for weddings, and navy.”
Formal Business Wear
“Since men are buying dressier suits, they don’t need as many for work,” Stone explains. “I don’t like black; it’s too severe. Dark gray or navy are good choices.”
Heckart agrees. “Dark charcoal for the suit,” he recommends. “A faded white windowpane pattern is versatile, and not cheesy. I’d pair it with a white shirt and navy tie – solid or pattern – and wingtips or dark brown Magnanni loafers.”
“It’s almost as if young people have rebelled ... they want to dress up at work and for winding down.”
Heckart recommended a navy blue check sport coat with a blue collared shirt, dark denim jeans and the Magnanni loafer or lace-up.
Stone said he recommends a variety of looks, and likes chambray with a tie, or even a sweater with a tie. It’s back to that idea of dressing it up a bit for work.
Denim shirts and sweaters are both recommended, and leather or suede sneakers are very popular, in addition to loafers or lace-ups. “I expect that the premium sneakers are going to stay popular,” he says.
Over against the “athleisure” trend, all three recommended a little more serious approach to casual attire.
“Being in the denim business for 20-plus years, I’m happy to see Oklahoma guys embracing the straight-leg jean,” Wylie says. “We’ve been in a boot-cut world for so long. We’re going to see a lot of 5-pocket styles in twill, in shades like navy, khaki, olive, burgundy and gray. It’s a way to switch it up from jeans, and it’s easy to understand because it’s a 5-pocket jean body.”
Heckart likes a look with navy jeans, a white Henley and a charcoal vest with navy or gray trim and tennis shoes with dark brown leather and white soles. Also, for colder weather, a black V-neck tee with bomber jacket, gray jeans and white, lace-up tennis shoes.
“Most clothing lines are offering what they call ‘street wear,’” Stone says. “They’re basically joggers in luxe fabrics or wool. I still like a pair of trimmer-fitting jeans or chinos, too.”
Outerwear and Accessories
Heckart recommended a really nice leather travel bag as a business accessory, and cuff links for formal wear.
For winter coats, Stone said multi-use is very popular, especially the thee-tiered jacket: shell, vest and liner, simple vest. “Scarves are still popular, too,” he adds. “I expect we’ll continue to see lighter scarves that you don’t have to take off when you go indoors, made from luxe fabrics like merino wool.”