Different okes require different coats. Find your perfect jacket fit here
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Rudi Geyser
Winter works wonders for the man who considers flip-flops and boardshorts acceptable attire. When these things are replaced by trousers, boots, fur-lined hoods, scarves, tweeds, woolen hats, camel browns, jackets and coats, they’ll not only make you look good, regardless of body type, but the combos that you construct appear far more considered. Keep warm and on-trend by shopping our pick of the best winter jackets and coats for 2016. Even if you already have a few go-to classics in high rotation, you should look at adding something fresh, as your outermost layer will get you noticed before they even have a chance to look at your shoes. And if it stops you from shivering while getting double-tapped on the ‘gram or swiped right on Tinder, then it’s doubly good, right?
And don’t just take it from us, meet the menswear mavens we enlisted to assist you in your coat-buying decisions.
Jason Basson is the executive fashion editor at GQ magazine with a whip-thin frame that allows him to dress the same way he styles his models. “Fashion has to have substance,” says Jason. ‘That’s how I’ve always approached things. There has to be a narrative and some real substance. I work for GQ because I believe in the message, which isn’t chivalry, that’s expected, but gallantry.”
Wearing his streetwear with swag, Xzavier Zulu isn’t scared to rock a frock. “I was actually tempted to pick out Kelly’s oversized dress, that brown one from your dresses story last month. It’s how you carry it. It’s about confidence.” Part of The Sartists collective he recently published what he describes as “the high tea of Tumblrs."
A major player in Yeezus era Kanye’s uniform, the aviation inspired retro classic has soared to new heights via modern updates. The Bomber is an all-rounder working with both polished and casual looks.
Jason: Locally, KO wears the bomber really well and internationally I love Pharrell in one. I’d wear a bomber to work with a shirt and a tie underneath. I recently wore a Kim Gush Bomber on stage when judging the SA Fashion Week. Hers was longer in length and had varsity jacket sleeves, which shows you how versatile the style is. Hybridity is something we’re seeing a lot of in design right now.
Xzavier: I'd wear this street-meets-preppy outfit to the office. I'd look presentable to my clients and still feel comfortable enough for after-work drinks. The bomber is an essential that will see you through the whole of winter where you can just change up whatever you’re wearing underneath. The sock game changed everything. When men realised that they could wear pink, lime or no socks with a suit it led to this culture of turning, flipping, rolling and tucking. Which is why I’d encourage dudes to look at things differently. Why not try wearing the bomber with a suit?
A dressier outerwear option that conservative types have been wearing over their suits for years. Nowadays the timeless silhouette is being mixed up with non-work attire and is the outermost layer when worn over some of the other coat options on this page.
Jason: To get a lot of drama out of it I’d wear it draped over the shoulders like a cape. Throw it over your shoulders and make yourself look like a really posh twat. That’s exactly how I would wear it! This is a really practical item of clothing to have, especially in winter when it’s raining and you’re avoiding splash back or getting your ass wet when you sit. We’re seeing weird innovations with tech fabrics or typical womenswear fabrics like sheens, sheer and patchworks using different materials… but I still think an overcoat should be simple, clean and structured.
Xzavier: This is the safety coat you throw on when you need to get some milk down the road, because wearing a gown at 3pm isn’t exactly "normal". I like the detailing and the buttons, and you can wear it formally or dress it street style. I’ve also never owned many things in black and so now I’m trying to build more black into my wardrobe.
No longer strictly the signature of teenage rebellion, punks and petrolheads, the biker jacket may have gone mainstream but is still the best way to take a simple white T-shirt and jeans combo full-throttle.
Jason: For me that James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause, plain-tee-and-jeans thing is one of those classic menswear looks that’s simple and timeless. When it comes to the Biker I prefer a clean, simple silhouette with not too many zips or anything that’s trying too hard to be a badass biker. Because let's face it, we're not actually badass bikers and there’s a sense of integrity you need to have with your style and who you’re trying to be.
Xzavier: There’s nobody who wears all black quite like my colleague Nick Stanbridge. He actually wears his leather biker jacket with joggers, one of the few people I’ve seen doing that, and for me it’s scary, but that’s why I’m doing it here. Wearing a suede Biker Jacket with joggers? No! Any man can wear the Biker Jacket but it’s about who looks authentic in it.
The puffer is the lightest jacket you’ll ever own and great for playing with proportions and layering with. Tech fabrics make the puffer light and cool, but then it’s also warm when you need to be, waterproof when you need to be and immune to the wind.
Jason: The puffer always makes me think of Missy Elliot in the 90s, but it’s still probably one of the most practical pieces of outerwear: lightweight, waterproof, stops the wind and it’s comfortable. There's a big thing in men’s fashion now where we’re moving away from trend-driven fashion towards quality, stylish and comfortable pieces. Also, I’m a skinny guy, but when I walk into a room with my puffer on everyone is like, “Have you been working out?”.
Xzavier: This is the simple, clean look for any and all occasions. I’m a sucker for quilting and really like the textures of this. This fits really well and feels like it was made for me. I like wearing all navy and with the formal pants I’m just balancing everything. We’re not working in banks. We don’t have to wear a Carducci suit every day. So mix it up. Especially with our lifestyle where we’re working and then going out straight after. You need to look presentable in the office and then cool at Yours Truly afterwards.
With numerous variations on the theme - from lined traditional styles to updated versions constructed from the same tech fabrics you’d usually associate with the puffer – there’s a parka for every man and occassion. And while we’re all about layering, the simplicity of keeping this one-and-done coat at your front door makes it the go-to layer for town and country.
Jason: The parka is the streetwear version of the overcoat, but with a lot more utility. I enjoy seeing how skaters interpret it, throwing parkas over joggers and things like that. Practical and warm, this is the most sensible thing to wear in the height of winter. Winter is my favourite time of year as I was born in rainy, cold Bonn, in Germany. I grew up in misery and I love it. For me, summer is cheating and there’s nothing worse than slip-slops, shorts and a tank. That kills me. Rather layer up, try harder and have more things to work with.
Xzavier: There are so many theories on where clothing is going and how the future parka will have things like a charger in the pocket and a solar panel on the outside. Right now you have brands changing the materials to make them more breathable, or playing with textures, and we’re getting more colours where designers are trying to make them more unique. For this shoot I wanted to do something different. I dress for myself every day so why not do something new on a bigger platform? Seeing me in the Hunter Boots, people are going to be saying "WTF?" but they’re cool and I’d definitely want to try them with other outfits. This might not be the most perfect outfit but as long as you plant that seed, inspire and make people think.