STAY WARM - LOOK COOL

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Sorry. I actually hate that header … “stay warm, look cool” … but it was too easy and I just had to use it.

Recently I heard someone use the expression, “Polar Vortex” in reference to the weather. Which sounds like some kind of fake news way of saying, “Hey y’all, it’s winter so sometimes it gets extra cold”. When the weather dips, it’s logical to choose function over fashion. But the thruth is, you can both stay warm, and style your wardrobe in a way that leaves your lady proud to walk next to you in public. It’s actually quite simple! Here’s the trick:

LAYER SMART.

I think what happens is as the weather shifts, fellas say, “I really still love this t-shirt I’ve been wearing for several months… so I’ll keep wearing it and just throw a heavy coat over it.” In so doing, two things happen: you look frumpy and unintentional in your wardrobe, and you are left being either hot or cold with little in-between.

Layering smart involves three things: a proper base layer, a removable mid-layer, and a sharp outer layer.

Base layers are the most important because they are what hold in the heat your body naturally releases, and because if you strip away everything else you’re wearing when you happen to be indoors and the room is quite warm, it’s what determines if you still look presentable. Great considerations for base layers are a long sleeve button-up henley, flannel, or oxford. In all cases, make sure it has a medium to heavy weight of fabric. If it’s too thin, it won’t keep you as warm!

Mid-layers drop overtop of that base as the “buffer”. It’s the optional element that helps keep you warm when you’re outside braving the elements, but can be removed when you move indoors and they have the heat cranked, or can be left on if you want to remain cozy. Obvious mid-layers are things like sweaters, but you can also treat a heavier denim shirt or jacket as a mid-layer! The convenient thing about this kind of mid-layer is it offers an additional option for styling and temperature comfort. Try this: wear a henley base layer, and a denim mid-layer… leave it on, but unbutton it and open it up for a bit more airflow. Right now as I type this I have a striped henley as my base, and a denim long sleeve shirt as my mid. And it’s worked just fine!

Outer layers are the final touch. This is one thing I like to remind people of when they think about what coat to grab: how long are you actually going to be braving the elements? If you’ll only be outside in the cold for a matter of moments when moving from one climate controlled space to another, it’s far less important to pull out that massive parka! Opt for a more sleek layer like a sherpa-lined denim jacket, waxed canvas jacket or chore coat, and include a scarf if needed.

If you plan to be outdoors for longer periods of time, sure, consider something with more substance. But for many instances, that huge layer is less crucial than one might think!

The final consideration is this: don’t forget to pay attention to patterns, color tonality, and fit. These are always good guidelines for styling success!

Now get out there, stay warm, and keep cool dear ones.

MIXED PATTERNS: MEN CAN DO IT TOO

HOW TO MIX LAYERS AND PATTERNS AS A DUDE

Mixed patterns is nothing new, and it’s growing again in popularity over the last few years. But that’s primarily only been the case for women. The thing is, fellas, you can do it too. If I, a man who often wears black on black on black, can break out colors and patterns every now and then, I swear you can do it. So whether you’re a man trying to figure out a new approach, or a woman trying to give your fella some new things to work with… here are a few considerations:

photography by  Ian Bell

photography by Ian Bell

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Think in opposites.
Stripes and camos are an easy starting place because they are diametrically opposed, so the eye doesn’t get confused by trying to lump them into the same category. One is linear, the other has no clear form. This is “why” it can work together. Other patterns can be far more challenging… i.e. two forms of plaid. You can try it, but the chances of getting it right aren’t nearly as easy. Just take two garments you’re considering wearing and lay them on top of each-other… look at them… and if your eye starts to get confused, you know it’s not the look.

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Focus on color tones and textures.
If the patterns are working well together, but one color is super primary and bold while the other is muted, this can pose a challenge because light reflects differently off of them and the colors won’t blend as well together. This same issue applies with textures. If one is synthetic and the other feels very natural, light will interact differently with them and it’ll just feel “off” — so find textures and tones that compliment one another.

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Fit still matters.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — make sure it fits correctly! If it doesn’t, mixing patterns can almost be counter-productive. If you wear things fitted, make sure it’s all fittend and works together. If you wear them loose, same thing applies. But make sure the fit is on purpose.

Add in details.
I love when you are rewarded by a closer inspection. Toss an enamel pin on that jacket or wear some kind of jewelry. Add just enough of a touch that when someone is close, they can say, “well that detail is interesting and I hadn’t noticed it before!”

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Mixing patterns and adding layers is a simple way to elevate your style game. These are just a couple considerations to get you started. Have questions or feedback? Let me know! Let’s talk, dear ones.