An important part of dressing for warmth is knowing what fabrics you’re wearing, because many are warmer than others. The two best fabric choices for dressing in cold climates are cotton and wool.
Cotton – Cotton Fabric is not going to be as warm as wool, but it will help keep you warm. Cotton is absorbent and very durable through washing and harsh weather. Consider a cotton dress shirt as one of your bottom layers when assembling your outfit. Cotton sweaters can be worn as well, but again, they won’t be as warm as wool.
Wool – Wool Fabric is the warmest fabric choice out there, and it’s an essential in cold climates. Wool sweaters come in a great variety and selection and they’ll absolutely keep you warm. Wool can be made from sheep, lamb, goat – cashmere, Moreno and angora, vicuna, alpaca or camel hair. Also, if you’re going to wear an over coat, wool is the best choice.
Layering Your Outfit
Perhaps the most important part of dressing for climate is comfort within your different layers. You want to be warm, but you also want to be able to move. You don’t want to have so many layers on that you can’t move, but at the same time you want to have enough to keep you warm. Finding the right balance is not too hard, but it’s very important.
Simplicity is the best formula in this situation. An undershirt (plain white), then a dress shirt, then a tie, then perhaps a sweater, a jacket and an overcoat should be enough to keep you warm. Accessories will help with other body parts, but for your chest and arms, make sure you have full range of motion under your layers.
Also, you want to make sure that your dress shirt and other men’s clothes that coincide with the season. Being aware of your surroundings and dressing accordingly will go a long way in how your outfit looks.
Your bottom layer of clothing can often times be the most important. To assure that you’re going to stay warm, wearing the proper underwear is essential. Wearing a t-shirt (plain white) under your dress shirt is a good way to add an extra layer to your upper body. Also, if you’re not wearing a tie, consider a v neck undershirt to wear under your dress shirt.
In terms of your lower body, long johns are a good option for frigid temperatures. They’ll ensure that your legs stay warm, and having a layer between your skin and trousers will make the wind less of a discomfort. Also, socks are very important for keeping your feet warm, and cashmere or just plain wool socks will be your best option for warm feet, and even if you don’t have a pair of wool socks, wearing two pairs of socks can provide you with warmth and comfort.
A more modern alternative that has introduced itself is the use of Under Armour to keep warm. Under Armour, when worn as your first layer, will hug your body which will not add on extra girth. It’s important to remember to no one is going to see what’s under your outer layers, so there is nothing wrong with wearing something like Under Armour as a bottom layer. It may not be very formal, but what matters here is staying warm.
Wearing a sweater is a great addition to an outfit, and it will also provide you with an extra layer for the cold weather. If you need to stay warm, the best way to go would be wool. It comes in many different varieties and it’ll keep you warm.
One of the most popular types of wool, especially for formal wear, is cashmere. Cashmere is a very soft and luxurious type of wool, and it is quite warm in cold climates.
There are many different patterns available when choosing a sweater, and the key when picking a pattern out if to remember that you’re going to have many layers and articles on, so making sure that the sweater compliments these things is crucial. Wearing an extremely loud, bright, or busy sweater will take attention away from the rest of your outfit.
Conservative colors that correspond with the season will allow you the best opportunity to put together a complete look. For winter, darker colors and heavier fabrics usually work best. Consider navy blues, forest greens, and browns.
Types of sweater patterns:
Men’s Argyle Sweater Pattern – offers a sporty, diamond pattern. Comes in a variety of colors to allow many coordination opportunities.
Men’s Cable Knit Sweater Pattern – Stitch that produces a vertical cable pattern by crossing groups of knitting stitches over each other.
Fatigue Sweater Pattern – pullover in firm rib knit, small v-neck yoke, round turnover collar (almost shawl) and a five button closing at neck. Fairly thick, so great for winter time.
Men’s Overcoats and Topcoats
People confuse these two types of coats and often use them interchangeably, but they each have a specific function and purpose. A topcoat is not meant for colder climates. It is to be worn in the spring or fall as it is thinner than the overcoat. A man’s overcoat is meant to be worn over suit and dinner jackets, and are worn outside.
I am seeing spots. More specifically polka dots, on a white maxi dress. Three women have walked by me – all wearing the same identical dress – in the half hour I’ve been sitting outside this café. I know it’s from Zara, I’ve tried it on, and now I’m seeing those spots everywhere.
He says “the most important thing is the idea of long-term relations with our suppliers” when it comes to keeping an eye on working conditions.
Fashion Revolution is an independent organisation which monitors where clothes come from and how ethical they are. They say Zara needs to provide more information about where their clothes are made to be held accountable for standards.
“Inditex, which owns Zara, remains one of the major fashion retailers that is dragging its feet on publishing a list of its manufacturers,” says Fashion Revolution policy director Sarah Ditty.
“Other brands have published a list and proved that doing so doesn’t hurt them competitively. ”
Back at headquarters, I wander through the pilot store built on-site – a perfectly-kept Zara shop where everything is in place – but there are no shoppers. This is where Zara test how everything should look and feel, from lighting to displays.
They are aiming to reach zero waste in store – all packaging is made from recyclable cardboard and plastic. Recycling is a big theme for the clothes too.
They have been working with the renowned US university MIT to develop ways of making fabric from recycled plastics. I take the opportunity to feel the texture of some of the latest recycled plastic clothes from their sustainable line. The cloth feels silky to the touch.
Mr Isla has committed to 100% of the cotton, linen, and polyester used by Zara – and all of its sister companies – being organic, sustainable, or recycled by 2025.
Sarah Ditty from Fashion Revolution says that while it is great to see Zara taking steps to incorporate more sustainable material into its ranges, it is essential action that all brands should be taking.
However, she highlights that the real issue is all about the sheer volume of clothes they make.
Inditex reported putting over 1.5 billion products on the market in 2017 alone. Even with more environmentally-friendly materials, producing that many items each year is unsustainable for our living planet.
How much clothing we buy is a marker of just how much the industry has grown and changed in a short space of time. The UK has the highest rate of consumption in Europe, at 27.6kg per person per year.
Indeed, Zara has an enormous turnaround, fashion influencer Jasmine Jonas tells me.
“I feel confident walking into a Zara, [being] able to find something that will look good, fit well, and that I can afford. But across the board, demand for eco-conscience clothing is rising.”
It’s not just Fashion Revolution – many campaigners say the only way to truly tackle sustainability in fashion is to make and sell less.
But how can that be a solution for Zara and Inditex if they want to keep those record-breaking sales?
“It’s always the customers’ decision of how much do they buy of each particular product,” says Mr Isla.
“I think our responsibility as a company is taking care of manufacturing our products in a very sustainable way. Each customer, each person, is free to decide how much would he or she like to buy at any point in time, if this person wants to spend money going to a restaurant or buying clothes… this is the freedom that each person has.”
“Should I, shouldn’t I?” is the age-old changing room debate, but does it take on a new dimension if, as Pablo Isla says, it is ultimately in shoppers’ hands to decide the crucial sustainability issue?
In the meantime, Zara says it will do what it can to keep the environmental conundrum for customers to a minimum.