We men have it lucky — simplicity is the key to a stylish life. All we've gotta do is make some good decisions, invest wisely, and go in with a game plan, and the rest will surely follow. The holiday season is fast approaching, so now's the time to come up with said game plan so we're not caught short whenever the occasion arises (office Christmas party, weekend away, and freezing weather included). So with that in mind, these are the five things guys need in order to survive the next six weeks in style.
1. A Warm Coat. It sounds obvious, but you're going to be wearing this thing a whole lot over the coming months, so make sure it looks good. Right now I'm living in a khaki barn jacket — it works equally well over a chunky knit sweater as it does over a sport coat, and it has the bonus of a removable woolen lining that zips up for added warmth. Other great options include duffel coats, chesterfields, and double breasted topcoats in nubby tweeds.
2. Solid Boots. I come from a country where Winter barely exists (shout out to New Zealand), so boots were not something I'd ever previously owned before migrating to the USA. This is my first proper pair – they're a beautiful leather, a fantastic color, and they'll look great with denim or a heavy textured suit. Perfect for winter, perfect for the holidays.
3. A Chunky Knit Sweater. Perfect for layering over a button-down and under a sport coat, jacket, or both, the chunky knit sweater is an absolute winter essential. And nothing looks better at the casual Christmas party than a sweater worn with the sleeves pushed up over grey flannel pants and leather lace-ups. If you've got the cash to drop and you wanna go fancy, choose cashmere, but I personally prefer the texture and rough look of lambswool. Extra points for anyone who dares to wear a bright red woolen sweater — after all, it's the color of the season.
4. A Knit Tie. Face it — you're going to be getting dressed up a lot in the coming months, so you better invest in a great tie (slash selection of great ties). I own a few, but I only ever wear this cobalt blue silk knit tie. It works with all my suits and sportcoats, and looks great with a pale blue shirt (which is my button-up of choice in formal situations). Lately I've been thrashing it with this club collar shirt and tobacco corduroy jacket, and I think — due to its professorial lean — that the look affords me a certain air of intelligence. (At least that's why my Mother tells me.)
5. And... A Great Overnight Bag. If you, like me, are visiting relatives for the holidays, but you want to ensure your stay is as brief as possible, an overnight bag is your best friend. Not only does it look rakish when carried through airports and train stations, but it also forces you to be sparing in your packing, and tells your host that you'll be out of their hair with due haste. This one is in my favorite color — forest green — and is cut from wool and leather, but other good options include all leather, and duck canvas.