Ski season has arrived surprisingly early in California—and it's got us fantasizing about hot chocolate, snowball fights and, especially, ski sweaters.
A good ski sweater has to do two jobs well. Firstly, it must keep you warm on the slopes—fits under a jacket well, has a zip at the collar if things get too warm. Secondly, it should be lodge-worthy for a fireside après-ski amongst new friends. Like the St. Moritz sweater from Obermeyer. Here’s what else you should know about it.
The Story: Sixty years ago, Klaus Obermeyer left Germany to start a skiing school in Aspen, CO—nestled in America’s answer to the Alps—and decided he needed the sort of ski gear that was practical and handsome. (A man after our own low-tech-loving hearts.)
Who to Channel: Jean-Claude Killy; warm mugs of spiked coffee; a holiday party in a wood-paneled ski lodge in the ’70s.
When to Wear It: Aside from skiing, this should be your go-to for any sporty fall escapades: a bike ride through the woods, ice-skating, chopping firewood, carving pumpkins.
Think of This As: The Cadillac Coupe de Ville of ski sweaters.
We’re heading into deep fall—and here’s your refresher course on layering.
This snap comes from the recently released fall ’12 lookbook of Alexandre Mattiussi’s AMI line (you’ll recognize his houndstooth DB as a Fall Must Have) and is the spitting image of what you should be thinking for fall: layers, chunky knits and a shot of dark, rich color. (Though you might want to tuck in that shirt.) The entire lookbook is a good place to start if you need a reminder of how fall looks outside of a suit, so we pulled some of our favorite looks.
A heavy overshirt can do wonders for your layering strategy this time of year.
And this quilted Kemsey shirt from Penfield that’s just arrived at Austin outfitter Stag might be the finest specimen we’ve seen yet. It’s cut like your favorite button-down, but quilted like your favorite down vest (or, if you’re really up on the trends, your newest blazer). It makes for the sort of layer that can hold its own as outerwear but also low-profile enough to act as the insulating layer to a light jacket—say, a raincoat. Which means it’ll be getting more use than you might expect from something that’s neither a shirt nor a jacket (nor shacket).
Call it what you want, as long as it keeps you toasty.
The polo shirt doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
Especially during this odd uneven time of seasonal transition—when a cloudy morning could just as easily turn into a balmy afternoon.
If you look past the tennis court and summer power-brunching, the polo can be an essential layering piece. Throw it under a cotton sweatshirt and a blazer before heading out the door (ditch a layer or two depending on how the day unfolds). If you’re going to attempt bridging the polo-and-blazer gambit, we’d suggest a shirt with enough collar to lie flat under your jacket’s lapel without any inadvertent popping out (or up). The polo we’ve been reaching for most often in these situations is the Riviera polo from the Brits at Sunspel. The weight is enough to hold its own (and provide more than a T-shirt would) as the temps fluctuate, yet the warp knit will keep you cool should any unseasonable warmth creep up. But there are plenty of good ones out there (you’ve probably got a few in your closet already).
Though, as of yesterday, you’ll want to stay away from the pastels.
The fabric is the same heavyweight cotton you’ll find in their crewneck sweatshirts, but it’s been shaped into a snap cardigan that puts us in mind of a letter jacket. In other words, it’s only half outerwear—which is about perfect, given how shifty the weather’s been.
It’s also ideally suited for mid-level layering—say, between a white oxford shirt and a Baracuta jacket—if your jean jacket’s otherwise engaged.
Fashion Week has kicked off in earnest, and we’ve already spotted a few clever details we’re eager to see in stores. At the top of the list: the wide-necked sweater.
It’s like the boat neck on your typical Breton-striped sweater, but this one doesn’t taper to a point on the side. Really, it’s just a bigger, wider version of the crew neck. This one, seen at Hyden Yoo, doesn’t give away any nautical elements at all, aside from a knit that’s slightly thicker than usual.
Mostly, it’s more room for layering collars and ties—and good news for the Constanzas of the world.
This shot comes from Coggles in York, England, where things have apparently gotten cold enough that a gentleman needs a bomber jacket, cardigan, V-neck, shirt, tie and (presumably) undershirt just to walk down the street. And even more surprising, he pulls it off without looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
It helps that he keeps his baggiest layers on the outside, like the leather bomber, while the trimmer sweater and shirt end up a few layers down. They’re also pretty thin, so he doesn’t have to size up to accommodate anything as bulky as a puffer vest.
And, of course, a sharp enough pair of red shoes will let you get away with just about anything.
If you’ve been noticing a few more vests on the street, there’s a reason. A good vest is the perfect way to bulk up a fall outfit—and eke out a few more weeks without your full winter coat.
But if the standard puffer vest is a bit too woodsy for you, we’ve tracked down a better option from Schott. It’s modeled off archival garments from the ’20s, so the vibe is a lot more old-fashioned than the Reagan-era Lands’ End style. That also means swapping synthetics for old-fashioned wool, so it’ll fit under your blazer a lot more inconspicuously.
And just like the puffed version, it does wonderful things with flannel.
We’re just a few days away from September, which means it’s time to brush up on one of the most intricate, subtle skills in menswear: layering. So we’ve distilled a lifetime of layering wisdom into five simple edicts, laid out after the jump. Defy them at your peril…
Woolrich John Rich & Bros. just unveiled their fall/winter ’11 lookbook, and it makes for a pretty good clinic in layering now that we’re caught in the chancy limbo between winter and spring.
This gentleman, for example, manages to be thoroughly prepared for mid-March without wearing anything we’d describe as outerwear. The power of a pair of thick wool pants is also not to be underestimated, but the main trick is a scarf long enough for a scarf knot of almost Peskowitzian intricacy. (That means five feet at least.)
If the sun happens to come out in time for his lunch break, he can stash it in his briefcase and hit the streets unburdened. If not, he can button up that jacket and stand up to the last gusts of winter just fine.
Our old friends at Camo just released a new lookbook for next winter—and while you won’t get your hands on any of the goods for six months or so, the layering wisdom is evergreen.
Take this gent, for example. It doesn’t look all that brisk where he is (Italy has a way of doing that), but between the cardigan and the wool jacket, it looks like he came prepared. The invisi-tie is purely aesthetic, but we imagine it helps.
Throw in some hiking boots—appropriate whenever there’s snow on the ground, but less oppressive than work boots once the weather starts to turn—and he’s fully kitted out. Take notes, gentlemen.
Here’s another item for your layering arsenal. Behold…the chunky sweater.
This one from Folk is rugged enough to sub in for a blazer on a warm day—or, if you’re feeling adventurous, layer underneath one—and the checker-knit merino wool gives it a chess-player casualness that’s hard to come by otherwise.
Of course, it won’t do much against the wind, but all you’ll need for that is a raincoat or a Harrington over top. And a tie probably wouldn’t hurt.