At some point in the past, before there were terms like “polar vortex,” a man would rise on an exceedingly frigid day, survey the cold and forbidding landscape before him and then reach for the thickest wool pelt in his coat closet as he headed outdoors.
Wearing a fur coat was not only the best way to stay warm, it was the most elegant.
But somewhere along the line, possibly circa 1980, a man wearing a fur coat became an egregious affectation—no longer a simple matter of staying warm. And even more recently, it would seem that the tradition has fallen off almost entirely, even with older ladies and the less savory crowd it’s usually associated with. Perhaps that’s a good thing, because we’re making the case for a revival of gentlemen in fur coats. Especially with all of the puffy synthetic outerwear thick on the ground this time of year, we wouldn’t mind seeing a return to a more graceful way of staying warm.
We couldn’t help ourselves. With the Oscars only days away and awards season coming to a head, we felt honor-bound to weigh in on the subject of style, cinema and the intersection of the two.
So we collected our memories of the past year’s worth of handsomeness on film and tried to nail down exactly what made each film stylish—much like the actual Oscars, we’re breaking down the movie by individual garment performance, not just handing out awards willy-nilly.
We’re heading into the wintry deep and you’re going to need an overcoat ready to ward off any bone-chilling cold snaps headed your way. Preferably, something trimmed with animal fur.
This charcoal-green Lafayette Coat from Billy Reid Heirloom—his recently unveiled luxury line—should do the trick. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Billy Reid has been applying his Southern dandyism to spectacular effect over the past few years (he’s got the accolades to prove it). And he’s recently unveiled his Heirloom collection, which promises to represent “the highest level of American craftsmanship.” We believe him.
Who to Channel: Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October; the villain in a Dick Tracy movie; Joe Namath on the sideline.
When to Wear It: When the temperature has dropped below “hell freezing over”; on trips to the Russian countryside.
Degree of Difficulty: High and low. The fur collar is a statement, for sure, but it’s also removable, leaving you with a pretty classic winter coat. Add the high-degree-of-difficulty fur collar when you’re looking for some extra intimidation factor or heading to Studio 54 in the year 1975.
Winter has a way of sneaking up on us. (Happens every year.)
And waiting until the first day it’s genuinely freezing to get yourself a new winter coat usually doesn’t end well—you’re either digging through whatever’s left on the racks or subjecting yourself to another year with that old coat that never lived up to expectations.
In other words, the time to find your perfect winter coat is now. And since winter means different things to different people (someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest versus a steelworker in Pittsburgh, for instance), we’ve put together a wintry mix of coats that should have you covered for every occasion.
Anyone not living under a rock for the past few seasons has watched Club Monaco up its menswear game by leaps and bounds. The materials have become more hearty, the cuts more modern, and the vibe: less yacht-hopping-Euro and more #menswear-poster-boy. In the center of this monumental evolution has been a man by the name of Aaron Levine. Since he’s been handed the design reigns, things have taken off—and if these new snaps for fall 2012 are any indication, his star is still rising.
Get a look at more good stuff to come after the jump, and keep watching the throne. (Rest assured, there’s plenty more where this came from.)
Shipley & Halmos’s latest fall/winter lookbook just arrived in our inbox, and as usual, it’s pretty sharp stuff. It’s got at least two of 2012’s signature items—the shearling coat and the unstructured fedora, for those keeping score—and the whole thing is just a little bit brighter than real life usually is.
To give you a sense of what you’re seeing, we’ve broken it down look-by-look after the jump. Take a gander…
Ladies and gentlemen, the topcoat of 2012.
We know it’s a little weird recommending a winter coat just as February’s tailing off—even weirder since you won’t be able to pick it up until August—but this one’s worth it.
It comes from Ian Velardi, who just unveiled his fall lookbook—but if you can’t peruse the whole thing, we’ll save you some time: it contains one of the most handsome topcoats you’ll see all year. It’s a frontal assault against the cloud of gray overcoats that usually pops up in late fall, and the neutral pattern means it’ll fit with just about anything you decide to wear underneath.
Note: we do recommend wearing something underneath.
Wearing black is harder than you think.
It’s not just black suits either. Even in a more casual setting, you have to go through the minefield of assembling an outfit’s worth of matching-but-not-too-matching shades of deep gray, and then hope your complexion is warm enough that you don’t look like a corpse or a Tim Burton character.
But at last week’s W.E. premiere, Ewan McGregor pulled it off—and on a red carpet, no less. The fur collar on his coat keeps things from getting too severe, but the real trick here is the roughly textured sweater, which keeps him looking more rugged than gothic.
Add in some winter stubble and an Old Hollywood flourish of the hair, and he’s ready for his close-up.
In sales, as in life, timing is everything. So 24 hours after one of the coldest days of the year, Unionmade has put up the best winter sale we’ve seen all year. That means $100 sweaters from Howlin’ and Scott & Charters, along with winter coats from Perfecto Brand, Patagonia and Mt. Rainier. If you’ve got any leftover lucre from the holidays, now’s the time to stock up.
Winter is a challenge.
As always, you have to maintain your gruff-but-impeccable appearance, but you also have to navigate cold snaps and abruptly unseasonable weekends without getting too bulky. It’s a tightrope.
The good news is, we’ve got three hard-and-fast rules to keep you unencumbered through the season—and able to navigate any unexpectedly warm days that might pop up along the way.
It’s very cold in Antarctica. At McMurdo Station, it can reach as low as -60 degrees, with 30-degree wind chill and dust-dry snow blowing from every direction. So when the US Antarctic Program sends some poor soul out there, they send them with one of the warmest coats money can buy—a synthetic monster known around the station as Big Red.
And as gentlemen with an abiding interest in warm coats and extreme temperatures, we felt honor-bound to track down exactly where they get them…
In case this morning’s coat-fest wasn’t enough, here’s a late-breaking addendum: wintry Brit Nigel Cabourn and Americana mainstay Eddie Bauer have teamed up to make a very handsome, very warm winter coat. Score one for diplomacy.
Just in time for winter, Hypebeast tipped us off to the latest crop of Nigel Cabourn coats, which arrived recently at End Clothing. We’re particularly taken with the Eddie Bauer collaboration, which lands somewhere between a quilted jacket and the warmest coat known to man—not a bad place to be once January rolls around.
The word “essential” gets thrown around a lot, but when winter sets in, having a big, warm coat in your closet is exactly that. And since it’s likely to be a wardrobe staple for a few months running, you’ll want one you won’t get tired of anytime soon.
The first entry of the season comes from Pendleton’s newly unveiled Portland Collection. It’s their stab at the perfect Western overcoat, the kind of thing you might see on an Alaskan oil baron. (He might also be wearing a bolo tie.) And since the wool is the same thing that’s been going into their blankets for the last century-plus, it should be plenty warm.
The only downside is, you’ll have to trek out to Austin to pick it up. But you’d never let a road trip stop you.
It hits close to home—we did just write a post about sweaters and tweed jackets in 80-degree heat, after all—but we’d like to offer a mild defense of the topsy-turvy fashion calendar.
We’d like to suggest an underrated criterion for winter coats: coziness.
The way we see it, there are plenty of great looking wool overcoats (hey, here’s one), but it’s hard to overstate the joy you’ll get from a few yards of fuzziness once November rolls around.
This Mark McNairy version is a pretty good example, thanks to that faux fur lining spilling out over the collar. It’s on the casual end, but the military vibe makes it pretty near timeless—not to mention the fact that warm fuzzy feelings tend to transcend style.
Billy Reid has been a fair amount of backwoods jackets in his catalog, but this is the first bit of outerwear that looks like it could take you through a northern winter.
It’s dubbed the Mountain Coat, and while he doesn’t say which mountain, it seems like it’s built for chillier places than his native Alabama. Our favorite part, aside from the tweedy check pattern, is the comfortingly fuzzy lapel, both of suggest Mr. Reid isn’t afraid to dip into thrift store style, and come out with a sturdy, beautiful garment.
It’s coming in a bit too late for this winter…but there’s always next year.
If you were wondering about the other half of the bubblegoose/hunting coat equation we outlined yesterday, we may have something for you, courtesy of Vancouver’s finest men’s shop, Roden Gray.
This bubbly jacket was stitched together by Wings & Horns, and it’s a lot less synthetic than it looks. The material is quilted chambray, a good deal softer than the petrochemical alternatives, while keeping a certain monolithic style borrowed from flashier North Face items.
The down stitched into the middle will keep things warmer than most chambray garments, but it’s still a long way from the toastiness of Woolrich’s opposite number. Hopefully you’ve got a few sweaters handy.
Outerwear tends to fall into one of two camps: there’s the traditionalists (think toggle coats, tweeds, anything equestrian) and the futurists (goretex, stretch-enhancing weaves, chemically treated waterproofing). So when a collaboration crosses the aisle, it’s usually worth a closer look.
In this case, the workwear cred comes from Woolrich who borrowed some indigo gore-tex from Nanamica for this Mountain Parka. It looks the same from afar, but the inside is goosedown instead of classic cloth, making it both lighter and warmer than you’d expect. Throw in some plaid lining and a few wooden toggles to keep the Americana spirit alive, and nobody’s the wiser. It might be the best of both worlds: retro on the outside, hi-tech on the inside. Take notes.
A lot of brands talk about bringing function to style, but when you’re talking about your outer layer, that function means a whole lot more than just a cleaner stitch or a tougher fabric. It means keeping you dry during Manhattan’s monsoon season, shiver-free through your next heli-skiing jaunt, and thoroughly protected from any element you happen to run across.
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