Men’s Winter Fashion Guide: The Key Pieces, Trends & Looks For 2023
Master the art of cold-weather dressing with our seasonal cheat sheet for winter style.
Winter may be cold, dark and depressing, but there’s plenty to like about it from a fashion standpoint. No other season brings with it the sheer wealth of wardrobe options. The colder the weather, the more scope there is for adding layers, textures and experimenting with bigger, bulkier shapes. This means you can get more creative with your outfits and really let your personal style come through. But only if you know what you’re doing.
With a wider selection of garments, styles and seasonal trends comes increased potential for confusion, indecision and poor choices. What you need is a thorough guide to the key pieces, best seasonal fabrics and the trends worth taking notice of. This way, you’ll be exactly where you need to be going into the new season: clued up and feeling ready to tackle the colder months in style.
In this in-depth winter style manual, we’ll demystify cold-weather dressing, from the garments every man needs in his seasonal wardrobe to exploring some of the most notable new looks and foolproof styling tips. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know in order to level up your winter style.
Key winter 2023 pieces
A classic puffer jacket is one of the most effective (and stylish) tools for insulting yourself from frosty temperatures. They come in all shapes and sizes, from ultra-lightweight versions designed for alpine sports to big, bulky ones that hark back to the styles of the 90s and early 2000s.
Given its unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio, versatility and general practicality, a retro puffer with classic oversized baffles and a boxy fit makes an excellent everyday coat for handling dry winter days. Or, if you’d prefer something that you can layer on top of, why not shop for a low-profile down liner that can slot between a sweater and some heavier outerwear?
When the weather is at its worst and temperatures hit rock bottom, it’s nice to know you have a piece of outerwear on hand that’s up to the task. An insulated parka is that piece of outerwear.
These are the winter coats worn by polar explorers, scientists in Antarctica and wildlife-documentary crews filming in the Arctic Circle. Why? Because they’re warm. Seriously warm. The lengthy cut means they cover more of the body than other coats, while down or synthetic insulation traps heat and a tough face fabric blocks rain, snow and icy winds.
Canada Goose and Woolrich are two of the biggest names in the game, but be prepared to spend some serious money if you want to get your hands on one. For those on a tighter budget, Carhartt WIP, Everlane and Uniqlo have some excellent affordable alternatives.
The trouble with parkas and puffers is that they’re not exactly smart. Great with casual outfits, but they look awkward and unwieldy the minute they’re paired with tailoring. The solution is to invest in a smart wool overcoat. Something with a long cut and sharp lines that can be thrown on over a suit when the temperatures are at their lowest.
But that’s not where this piece of outerwear’s magic ends. Unlike more casual coats, a wool overcoat can float easily between smart and casual outfits. Style it with tailored pieces when you need to dress to impress, or wear it with a hoodie and jeans (or even sweatpants) for an off-duty look with an elegant twist.
Whether it’s a crew neck or a hoodie, everyone should have some sort of heavyweight sweater in their winter clothing rotation. By heavyweight, we mean a garment with a fabric weight of somewhere around 500-600GSM, which is thick, cosy and perfect for layering up to keep warm.
One of the best brands in the game when it comes to this sort of thing is Camber – an American label that produces high-quality ‘blanks’, which are made in Canada and weigh in as some of the heaviest on the market.
A thick, knitted sweater is great for adding texture to winter looks while keeping warm too. It’s an invaluable piece of kit when it comes to layering up and can really bring some personality to an outfit, particularly if you shop for something with a bit of detail, like a ribbed, cable or fisherman knit.
There are lots of brands making incredible heavyweight knitwear, but Inverallan is one of our favourites. It’s a small Scottish brand that makes some of the most durable traditional knitwear around, and has been honing its craft for a long time.
The flannel shirt is an excellent insulator against cold weather and just so happens to look great too. This classic workwear staple can be worn open over a T-shirt on mild days, or layered over merino knitwear with a big coat when the mercury drops.
A good selection of long-sleeved tees is the bedrock of any good winter wardrobe. This simple garment is the foundation of your winter outfits, giving you a blank canvas on which to paint your seasonal looks.
Search for one in a fairly heavyweight cotton that fits well and is free from excessive branding or detail. Then stock up.
Key winter 2023 footwear
Buy well and look after them properly, and a good pair of work boots will last you for life, not just for winter. This admittedly rather broad footwear category covers everything from Timberlands to Red Wing Mocs – essentially any hard-wearing stompers that are built to take a beating in the workshop.
Granted, you’re just as likely to find them milling around your local city centre these days as in any blue-collar environment, but that’s because they’re just so damn practical, versatile and easy to style.
Premium hiking boot
Hiking boots have moved on a lot over the last 50 years in terms of technology, and while the high-performance, lightweight boots of today are definitely better for scaling mountains, we much prefer the classic leather styles of yesteryear when it comes down to aesthetics.
Brands like Danner and Diemme make some superb hiking boots in premium leathers with thick commando soles that offer extra traction on slippery winter ground. Or if you’re lucky enough to have incomprehensibly bulging pockets, why not check out the really luxurious hikers available from the likes of Brunello Cucinelli and Manolo Blahnik?
Chunky Chelsea boots
With their laceless design and smooth leather uppers, Chelsea boots are perfectly suited to wet, winter conditions. Even more so if they’re equipped with a thick, treaded sole that offers a bit of traction on wet or icy surfaces.
They’re easy to style too, working well with both smart and casual looks.
You don’t have to forgo the sneakers just because the weather isn’t playing ball. Opt for a well-made, smooth-leather pair and treat them with a protective spray or polish to keep them in good condition.
White can work, but it’s probably a better idea to stick to darker colours if you’re likely to be venturing out in wet weather.
Key winter 2023 accessories
We lose a surprising amount of heat through our heads, so it makes sense to keep them wrapped up in something stylish during the winter months. Beanies are an ever-present feature on the winter-accessory landscape, and while sizes and styles fluctuate from season to season, it’s difficult to go wrong with a classic cuffed design in a ribbed, textured knit.
For added comfort, opt for a cashmere or merino blend to keep any potential itchiness to a minimum.
Textured baseball cap
Beanies are great for keeping heads warm, but there are a lot of men who either don’t suit them or simply don’t like them. If you fall into this category, we’d recommend investing in a heavy baseball cap in a textured fabric. Think corduroy, wool, tweed or even fleece.
Not only can this bring a bit of texture and personality to your winter outfits, it’ll also keep you insulated better than a regular old cotton cap.
We’d all love to have wardrobes filled with cashmere knitwear, but it’s a very costly fabric. If you invest in just one piece, a cashmere scarf is a good place to start. This way you can enjoy the warmth, softness and comfort of this luxurious material with every outfit.
If it’s still too expensive to justify, shop for a scarf in a cashmere blend instead. Go for a neutral design for maximum versatility.
Zingy, zesty, citrusy or floral fragrances are great when the sun’s shining, but their staying power diminishes quickly in the cold air. During winter, you’ll want something richer and more powerful to punch through the cold.
This is where woody, earthy, musky, leathery and smoky scents come in. They tend to boast better sillage and work well against the backdrop of dark winter evenings.
Pick one that works on you and stick to it.
Key winter 2023 materials
Cashmere is one of the softest fibres in the world. It’s an excellent insulator and feels fantastic against the skin. Unfortunately, it’s also very expensive, but if you can afford to invest in some cashmere knitwear – whether it’s a sweater, hoodie, cardigan or even just a hat – we’d implore you to do so.
It’s a quick way to elevate your winter looks and will serve you well for years to come.
Once the preserve of the elderly and the chronically uncool, corduroy has found its way back into the menswear spotlight.
It works well on soft tailoring like unstructured blazers and pleated pants, but just be wary of over doing it. We’d suggest limiting yourself to one corduroy piece per outfit. Any more than that and you’re in danger of straying into professor territory.
Forget about boring micropile fleece, we’re only interested in the fuzzy, heavily textured, thick-pile fleece – the sort found on old Patagonia jackets and the like. This stuff is great for keeping cosy in the cold and has the added benefit of adding depth and texture to outfits with its prominent textured finish.
Look for pieces like gilets, jackets and even overshirts cut from it.
This brushed-cotton fabric is warm, comfortable and excellent at trapping body heat. It looks great in plain colours, but is more commonly found in checked motifs that can be used to create a focal point within a winter outfit and bring a touch of personality to the table.
Just be careful not to wear too many patterns in a single look, as it confuses the eye and can look jarring as several pieces fight for attention. We like to keep it to one or two patterned pieces per look.
Denim is great any time of year, but it works particularly well in the winter thanks to its thickness and substantial weight. We like to go dark with our denim in the winter.
A heavyweight raw denim jean is a cold-weather staple and gets better with every wear. It’s more versatile than lighter denim too, as you can easily incorporate it into smart-casual outfits as well as casual ones.
Jersey cotton is the stuff sweatshirts and joggers are made from. It’s smooth on the outside and fleecy on the inside, which makes it super cosy during the winter months.
To get the most out of it, it’s best to go for the heavy duty stuff. This can be anywhere from 400GSM upwards, and will be that extra bit warmer and thicker to really seal out the cold on the frostiest of days.
Men’s winter 2023 fashion tips
Summer dressing can get really boring really quick. When it’s hot outside, you’re pretty limited in terms of what you can wear. Anything more than a T-shirt or short-sleeve shirt on your top half and you’ll be uncomfortable, and that can be extremely limiting when it comes to showing some flair.
Winter is the opposite. Cold weather calls for multiple layers, which allows you to get creative with your looks. When piecing together layered outfits, take things like garment length, fabric and colour into account. You can use these factors to create depth, contrast and cohesion, and really take your winter style to the next level.
Aiming for at least three layers per outfit is a good starting point, but you can easily expand on this if you incorporate pieces like gilets, sweater vests, overshirts and cardigans.
People get so hung up on colour and pattern when building outfits that they forget to think about texture. Harness the skill of textural dressing and it can allow you to add subtle contrasts to your looks by wearing different fabrics next to one another.
Winter is the perfect time to brush up on this skill as there are loads of tactile materials that only really work when the weather is cold. Think fleece, tweed, corduroy and heavy denim.
Look after your footwear
Winter footwear has to put up with some serious abuse. All of that water, grit, dirt and salt can be unkind to leather and metal hardware, causing dry, cracked uppers and rusty eyelets if you don’t keep on top of it.
Invest in a good wax or oil rub to keep boots in good condition, using it to bring the leather back to life whenever it’s looking dull and tired, and clean them regularly to get rid of the worst of the winter grime.
Save the suede
Got a pair of suede boots you love? The temptation to keep wearing them all year around is real, but if your local weather is anything like ours, you’ll know that a dry forecast doesn’t always mean there’s not going to be an unexpected torrential downpour.
Don’t learn this unfortunate winter truth the hard way: with ruined footwear. Instead, keep them on ice and stick to leather until you know it’s going to be dry.
Make an outerwear investment
If you sink a good chunk of money into anything for winter, make it a high-end coat. This is going to be your first line of defence against the cold all season, and hopefully for many more to come.
With this in mind, you should shop for something timeless, versatile and durable so that you can keep calling on it year after year and combine it with anything and everything in your winter wardrobe.
Get clever with colours
There’s a temptation to stick to dark, dull hues when the dark nights begin to draw in, but don’t let winter sap the colour out of your wardrobe. There are plenty of shades that don’t feel out of place against a wintry backdrop.
Think earthy browns and greens, and warming autumnal tones like burnt orange, warm mustard and rich burgundy.
Key winter 2023 fashion trends
The return of Ivy style
We’re loving the Ivy style resurgence that’s going on right now, bringing the preppy aesthetic back into the spotlight and filtering it through a streetwear lens. It’s colourful, characterful and even if you don’t go all in on it, it’s a great trend to borrow a piece or two from here and there.
Aimé Leon Dore, Noah and Drake’s are some of the key preppy brands of the moment, boasting classic pieces with off-kilter details, quirky patterns and eye-catching hits of colour. Think Ralph Lauren meets Stüssy meets Beams Plus and you’ll be well on your way to understanding what it’s all about.
Less sneakers, more shoes
Sneakers will never die out, but there’s been an obvious shift away from them over the past year. More and more men are choosing to style their everyday looks with casual shoes over anything remotely athletic, wearing loafers, Wallabees and Paraboots where once they would have opted for a pair of Nikes or New Balance.
It coincides with a renewed interest in tailoring, as well as the move back towards preppy pieces thanks to the aforementioned Ivy style revival. Is this smartening up a direct result of having spent the past two years in sweatpants and hoodies? Who can say for sure, but we’re here for it either way.
Good news if you’re the sort of guy who lives to get dressed up: you’re not going to look quite so weirdly out of place at social functions in a suit anymore. As the menswear community collectively pulls itself out of an era of Covid-19 ‘sofacore’ dressing, guys are rediscovering tailoring as a means of making themselves feel presentable again.
But we’re not talking ultra-sharp Tom Ford suits and shiny leather Oxfords. No, this time it’s all about personality and flair, so be prepared to encounter louche suede loafers, ostentatious double-breasted jackets and even the odd flared-leg trouser.