Fashion trends affect menswear less than womenswear. The classic men’s style evolves slowly where women’s fashion changes tirelessly. It has not always been like this, one needs only look back into history where aristocratic men would flamboyantly pride themselves on their fashionable attire. But now, and during the last century, menswear has been evolving slowly and staying true to a specific style of understated elegance.
When cuts and style stay the same, the well dressed gentleman must look elsewhere to express their personal style in understated ways. One of the greatest joys in menswear is the great choice of fabrics available.
A tailored jacket can have a completely different look and use depending on the fabric it is made from. Just think of how useless an unlined white linen blazer is for a winter morning and how perfect it would be for an evening summer wedding. The following fibres and fabrics are the fundamentals of a gentleman’s winter wardrobe and can be a great source of excitement.
Flannel is the fabric that best combines warmth and formality, and is thus great for suit, jackets and trousers. Flannel is a fabric that is brushed so that it raises the many small fibres to create the “nap”. The nap is the soft texture of the many aligned fibres which gives flannel its warmth.
A charcoal grey navy flannel suit is perfect for autumn and winter. It can be used in a formal way while it remains interesting because of the texture. Furthermore, it is a pleasure to wear because it is soft and falls well on the body because it is heavy.
A flannel suit is a great start to a winter wardrobe and can also be warn as separate trousers and blazer. Because the fabric is brushed and the nap is exposed flannel is delicate and can look worn out after a few years of use, which is why many people buy an extra pair of trousers with their flannel suits.
Tweed it the most traditional fabric for the country side and is more practical than formal. Because of its hunting heritage it is associated with more casual and heavy tailoring.
It is both warm and durable and offers a myriad of colours and patterns to play with. It is often too rough to make comfortable trousers off and too informal for a suit, but you might fall in love with a tweed blazer. It is perfect for a weekend away in the country or an afternoon stroll in the city in autumn. You can choose a discrete herringbone or a strong plaid tweed depending on your personal style. Perhaps patch pockets will underline the casual style you want, but stay away from leather elbow patches unless you have torn a hole in the fabric.
You can wear a tweed blazer from early autumn and it will keep you remarkably warm during winter if you pair it with a nice sweater and a scarf.
The last essential fabric of a winter wardrobe is not a fabric at all, it is a fibre. Treating yourself to a cashmere garment is the most luxurious way to get through winter.
Where wool is sheered from sheep, cashmere is brushed off the cashmere goats without cutting the fibres and only the thinnest hairs are used.
Cashmere goats live in mountainous areas, especially in Mongolia, where the conditions are perfect to create a luxurious fibre. The extreme temperature changes in the mountains have forced the cashmere goats to adapt to freezing cold and hot summers. This evolution has given them an undercoat of extremely thin fibres that isolate so well that they keep the goats warm when it is freezing and cool in summer.
It is astonishing how well a light cashmere knit sweater can keep you warm on cold nights and the soft fibres are a delight to wear.
You can also look for tailoring with a cashmere blend in the fabric. Pure cashmere is nice, but even a small percentage of cashmere can give wool a beautiful soft touch at a reasonable price.
Hopefully this article has peaked your interest or confirmed your determination to add more interesting fabrics to your winter wardrobe. It is the best way to combine seasonal change with timeless style.