Effective ways to narrate your winter with textures + layering.
Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Images: Supplied
Layering is to winter what cereal is to breakfast. Skip this very vital step in your morning rituals and you might start feeling unwell as when Mercury enters its retrograde. Not only is layering a very practical way to stay warm, but it’s also a mark of a man who understands how to use his clothing to create dimension and tell a story. Here's how you can join the conversation.
With its distinctly retro cotton ridging, corduroy makes for a great winter staple because of the warmth it generates. This is dependent on the width of the ’wale’ or ribbing. The thicker the ribbing, the warmer the outfit. Corduroy is a nostalgic textile associated with the seventies, which only underscores its distinctive point of view.
Go retro with your look by layering your cords with other fabrics or motifs that offer a similar perspective: an argyle or fair isle knit, for example, or even a shirt with a ‘70s motif of some kind.
We have to thank the grunge movement and the subsequent embrace of it by mainstream fashion for the popularity of the plaid flannel shirt. Due to flannel’s napped texture, it makes it a no-brainer when putting together your winter look.
If worn in its standard plaid variation you get a grunge/lumberjack association and an effortless way to keep warm. Flannel goes well with dark jeans, distressed or not, worn with Timberland boots and a gilet puffer, to give an outdoorsy look and feel.
Although denim is not the warmest of the lot, its well-worn texture lends well as an anchor for your winter outfits. It makes any look accessible, be it a denim jacket over a suit or denim shirt under a puffer jacket. Denim’s texture adds personality against oft dull outerwear in muted tones. With a long history in workwear from the 1900s, denim adds utility to any ensemble.
Whether in jackets, jeans or shirts, denim works best as a base or mid-layer when throwing on outerwear. For effective style, go for indigo denim in similar shades and wear with a rolled beanie.
Generally lighter than wool, fleece is a soft and warm fabric worn by mountain climbers and businessmen alike. A high-performance fabric, fleece’s texture isn't as ’loud’ as shearling or faux fur. It reads as casual and uncomplicated and applies this to dressier materials when layered.
While fleece can look dated because of its roots in the ‘80s but one can offset this by playing along in sportswear and wearing fleece in flat colour for more formal messaging.
Synthetic fabrics are fundamental when attempting to combat the elements. With their matte finishes, technical details and athletic feel, weatherproof textures are most competent as shell layers in a styled outfit.
Think raincoats windbreakers or rubber boots. These state-of-the-art textures are often plain and unembellished but, as a boon, imply a sense of function or athleticism.