Five Menswear Tips for Staying Warm

The first step to keeping warm is keeping dry. Peacoats are a fall/winter staple for good reason. Find a good one and you’ll be wearing it throughout all walks of life. Cheap ones will fall apart eventually — pointless for an item you can expect to wear for decades. Just make sure the fit is flattering.

Criminally under-worn, a good denim jacket will not only protect from most elements, but it’ll also get better with age and wear. The more you beat it up, the more personalized and form-fitting it becomes. Just avoid the classic misstep: wearing a denim jacket with matching jeans. Stick to different shades or pants with a different material altogether lest you look like a monochromatic, matchy-matchy block. The puffer vest is coming back in a big way. Normally dismissed because they make people look, well, unflatteringly puffy, these days you can find slimmer ones that look great either on top of a sweater or inside a blazer or coat. The puffer’s vibrant color lets you stand out among winter’s dull browns and blacks.

Leather or faux-leather jackets have been in since their conception, and this year isn’t going to change anything. Durable against the wind and rain, they also look slick with a pair of jeans and go well with boots and all but the most formal of shoes. Basically, the grown-up’s badass hoodie.

Wet socks are an invention of Satan. Red Wing, Wolverine, and Rockport are examples of brands who make good shoes in attractive silhouettes for trudging through snow and rain.

If you already have some good boots in your closet, make sure to take care of them. Water, heat and especially Amherst soy sauce can do a number to leathers. Dish soap is pretty benign for washing shoes, and when drying never use a heater or blow-drier. Stuff the insides with newspaper (only use The Amherst Student after you’ve read everything) or use a wooden shoe tree to absorb moisture. Waterproofing kits for leather and suede are great investments.

Scarves are a herald of fall: a signal that the season has begun. A collection of scarves adds a ton of flair to a wardrobe and are normally an outfit’s centerpiece when they’re the only thing popping outside your coat. Match them to your accessories for extra zing.

More scarf knots than you’ll ever need to know can be found online. If you’re wearing the scarf on top of a sweater or shirt, knots leaving two ends hanging like the loose wrap are recommended, while tucking a scarf into a coat is easier with one-ended knots like a slip-knot or four-in-hand.

There are quite a few layering options depending on your predilection for warmth. Cardigans are a personal favorite. These days, stores don’t sell your grandpa’s cardigans; modern ones are very slimming and add the illusion of some height if you have the right body type. Unfortunately they don’t normally get as thick as sweaters for when the cold starts biting. Sweaters and cardigans are especially reliant on fit, so take a good look in the mirror before you buy.

If you’re a rough enough dude to get by with just some flannel and an undershirt, just make sure your tee is a v-neck; you don’t want that crew showing under your collar.

Socks are the most underrated part of an outfit. If everything else is relatively plain, a bit of pop on your feet can visually add a ton without being too loud. They make very powerful accent pieces when matching your eyes, watch, or collar.

Wools are the warmest material, and these days many wool blends can be easily washed. More cost-effective variety can be found in cottons, and you’re also likely to easily find awesome argyles, stripes and what-the-hell-is-that made from cotton as well.