While summer seems only yesterday, before we know it, we will be facing the cold and wet days of winter. Of course, there are some great reasons to enjoy winter from the cozy nights in with loved ones to the always fun parties and holidays, but the cold weather can put a real downer on our days. For those of us who like to take pride in our appearance, the winter season brings some challenges. How do we stay warm and dry without drowning in layers of shapeless garments? The answer is to choose the fabrics you wear very carefully. Heavy and water-resistant fabrics will be your best friend, and here are some of the best to look out for.
Gabardine is a tightly woven fabric, typically made from cotton, which has been treated before being woven. It means it provides protection from wind and rain but is also more breathable than rubberized waterproof textiles. It’s incredibly durable and holds its shape, so it is ideal for commuting on winter days. For a less formal option, consider a water-resistant Nehru jacket over a shirt.
It’s true that cashmere is a costly fabric, but in terms of keeping you warm, it truly is worth the investment. Just a relatively thin layer is enough to insulate you from the cold, which means you can avoid wearing multiple layers. High-quality cashmere is also soft enough to be worn on bare skin.
Flannel has been a favorite with hunters and cowboys for years because it’s hard-wearing and comfortable, but it also acts as an excellent insulator. Fine metal brushes are run over the fabric to raise the fibers and minuscule pockets that trap air.
Wool is nature’s answer to cold climates and has been used throughout history for clothing and homewares. Merino wool comes from the Merino sheep and sits at the finer end of the scale. It’s warm but also incredibly soft, breathable, and absorbent, which makes it ideal as a base layer such as a vest.
Fleece was created in the late 1970s as a low-cost alternative to wool. It is fantastic at both retaining body warmth and wicking sweat away from the skin. A fleece jacket is a great choice for casual occasions or active days.
Sheepskin or shearling
Sheepskin (sometimes referred to as shearling) was first introduced to clothing in the second world war. It was incorporated into the jackets of pilots to provide an extra level of insulation during the winter. While the military had practicality as a priority, over the years, sheepskin has become a staple of men’s fashions. It had its peak in the 1970s but has recently become popular again as a lining for jackets and coats, especially when paired with a roll-neck sweater.
While it’s often associated with less than trendy teachers or older generations, corduroy can make a real statement when worn well and has definitely earnt its place in this list. The fabric has a thick wale that traps heat and, when tailored, can help you cut a fantastic figure in the bar or the office.