The Wool Herringbone
I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 
Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 
The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 
The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.
Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

The Wool Herringbone

I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 

Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 

The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 

The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.

Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

Wear Heavier Fabrics

One of the things I really like about winter is the ability to wear heavier cloths. Heavy fabrics tend to hold their shape better and hang on the body a bit more nicely. This is especially important when you think about how a well-tailored jacket is actually quite three-dimensional, not just a flat, limp, two-dimensional piece that you put on over your own form. Trousers made from heavier cloths also tend to hang a bit better from the seat down, which is nice if you want to maintain an elegant, straight leg-line.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to find good clothing made from heavy cloth nowadays. Fabrics have become lighter over the years in order to accommodate the changes in climate, central heating, and air conditioning. Consumers have also just bought into the idea that lightweight fabrics are more luxurious. Thus, almost everything you’ll ever encounter in a store will be light- to mid-weight.

There are some makers, however, who still make nice, heavy things. Ralph Lauren, for example, will sometimes carry really thick, heavy woolen trousers as part of their “made in Italy” Polo lines. They tend to be very expensive though (we’re talking about $400 for a pair of pants). Obviously, the key here is to get them at the end of the season, when they’ll be discounted 40-50%, but not everyone can afford those prices.

The other possibility is to shop for vintage clothing. In the mid-century, men used to wear heavier cloths by default, purely because the technology to make the super lightweight stuff wasn’t around yet. If you happen to come across something well constructed, and made from a nice heavy fabric, find a reputable place who can hand press it for you (I’d recommend RAVE FabriCARE). Presumably that three-dimensional shape has been lost over decades, but it can be restored if you know where to send it. Note, a hand press is quite different from a machine press (the second of which is what most dry cleaners offer). The first will put in shape for you, while the second will take it out.

If you ever have a chance, check out the heaviest garments a clothier has to offer. Give them a try in the dressing room and see how they feel. I think you’ll be impressed.

Oh, and pictured above? Italian tailor Antonio Panico also recommending classic, heavy cloths. Those stills are from the film O’Mast, which is a kind of must see if you’re interested in classic men’s tailoring.  

Consider the Silk Scarf
If you’re wearing a wool coat this winter, consider pairing it with a silk scarf. Silk scarves aren’t as versatile as ones made from cashmere or lambswool, but they look amazing when worn with heavy dress coats. By that I mean things such as polo coats, Ulster coats, and Chesterfields – the kinds of things that you sometimes see labeled as “dress outerwear” in places such as Brooks Brothers. It’s just another way of saying outerwear that’s dressier than things such as parkas and leather bomber jackets.
A silk scarf can really soften up the look of a heavy wool coat. See Noel Coward above or Gordon Gekko in this scene from the movie Wall Street. In both cases, their scarves in lend a nice sheen to an otherwise matte ensemble. It’s not unlike how we use silk ties and polished shoes to counterbalance the flatness of a wool sport coat or woolen trousers. As I wrote earlier this year, I believe a lot of what it means to dress well is learning how to strike a balance between different elements of what you’re wearing (patterns, texture, hardness/ softness, sheen/ flatness, etc). Light silk scarves do that well with heavy wool coats, so long as the coat is as dressy as the scarf.
There are a few places to buy a silk scarf. My favorite is Drake’s, who sells them in a few different designs. I have two of their reversible dotted tubular scarves – one in navy and one in brown – which kind of look like this, but without the fringed ends. A navy dotted silk scarf is arguably the most versatile version you can buy, though I like my brown one for when I wear navy coats. The difference in color helps distinguish it from the rest of what I’m wearing.
You can also pick some up from traditional men’s haberdashers, such as Ben Silver, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Paul Stuart, and A Suitable Wardrobe. Additionally, San Francisco’s Wingtip stocks Edward Armah silk scarves, as well as a few under their own house label. You can also buy Edward Armah’s scarves directly from Edward Armah themselves.
Admittedly, all those are quite expensive. You could wait for them to go on sale, but they’ll still be on the pricey side. Alternatively, KJ Beckett sells silk scarves by Michelsons of London (also available through the manufacturer themselves), but I have no first hand experience with their products, so I can’t speak about their quality. You can also try eBay. This seller, for example, regularly stocks them, but his/ her scarves are often short and narrow. That’ll limit how you can wear the scarf. You may be able to get away with wearing it like a muffler underneath your buttoned up coat, but it may look silly if you try anything else. Better if you can get something 64” or longer, but those will typically cost you considerably more. 

Consider the Silk Scarf

If you’re wearing a wool coat this winter, consider pairing it with a silk scarf. Silk scarves aren’t as versatile as ones made from cashmere or lambswool, but they look amazing when worn with heavy dress coats. By that I mean things such as polo coats, Ulster coats, and Chesterfields – the kinds of things that you sometimes see labeled as “dress outerwear” in places such as Brooks Brothers. It’s just another way of saying outerwear that’s dressier than things such as parkas and leather bomber jackets.

A silk scarf can really soften up the look of a heavy wool coat. See Noel Coward above or Gordon Gekko in this scene from the movie Wall Street. In both cases, their scarves in lend a nice sheen to an otherwise matte ensemble. It’s not unlike how we use silk ties and polished shoes to counterbalance the flatness of a wool sport coat or woolen trousers. As I wrote earlier this year, I believe a lot of what it means to dress well is learning how to strike a balance between different elements of what you’re wearing (patterns, texture, hardness/ softness, sheen/ flatness, etc). Light silk scarves do that well with heavy wool coats, so long as the coat is as dressy as the scarf.

There are a few places to buy a silk scarf. My favorite is Drake’s, who sells them in a few different designs. I have two of their reversible dotted tubular scarves – one in navy and one in brown – which kind of look like this, but without the fringed ends. A navy dotted silk scarf is arguably the most versatile version you can buy, though I like my brown one for when I wear navy coats. The difference in color helps distinguish it from the rest of what I’m wearing.

You can also pick some up from traditional men’s haberdashers, such as Ben Silver, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Paul Stuart, and A Suitable Wardrobe. Additionally, San Francisco’s Wingtip stocks Edward Armah silk scarves, as well as a few under their own house label. You can also buy Edward Armah’s scarves directly from Edward Armah themselves.

Admittedly, all those are quite expensive. You could wait for them to go on sale, but they’ll still be on the pricey side. Alternatively, KJ Beckett sells silk scarves by Michelsons of London (also available through the manufacturer themselves), but I have no first hand experience with their products, so I can’t speak about their quality. You can also try eBay. This seller, for example, regularly stocks them, but his/ her scarves are often short and narrow. That’ll limit how you can wear the scarf. You may be able to get away with wearing it like a muffler underneath your buttoned up coat, but it may look silly if you try anything else. Better if you can get something 64” or longer, but those will typically cost you considerably more. 

daveshumka:

clubmonaco:

Winter has always been about the oversized cozy sweaters. 

It’s true. This is what winter has always been about. Always. That’s why, in most Christmas specials, when they find the true meaning of Christmas, they focus on oversized cozy sweaters and how that’s what winter is all about. “Always has been,” chimes in a mysterious old man. Guess what. It’s Santa. They say he died near a display of Club Monaco sweaters ten years ago this very night. But he’s been living on Fake-Your-Death Island with Tupac, having ghost prostitutes shipped in. Oh wait, they don’t need to be ghosts if they only faked their deaths. Ah well, too late now.

daveshumka:

clubmonaco:

Winter has always been about the oversized cozy sweaters. 

It’s true. This is what winter has always been about. Always. That’s why, in most Christmas specials, when they find the true meaning of Christmas, they focus on oversized cozy sweaters and how that’s what winter is all about. “Always has been,” chimes in a mysterious old man. Guess what. It’s Santa. They say he died near a display of Club Monaco sweaters ten years ago this very night. But he’s been living on Fake-Your-Death Island with Tupac, having ghost prostitutes shipped in. Oh wait, they don’t need to be ghosts if they only faked their deaths. Ah well, too late now.

Thoughts on Buying Good Sweaters
The best time to purchase sweaters is at the end of the season, when the fall/ winter stock gets discounted by fifty percent or more. The best time to shop for sweaters, however, is now, so that you can give yourself a few months time to figure out what you want and not be rushed into impulse buys come January. So, if you’re out browsing for sweaters, I’d suggest the following:
Low- to mid-tier purchases: If your budget is limited, I recommend aiming for sweaters made out of lambswool, Shetland, or merino wools. The first two, all things being equal, are harder-wearing. I also think they can often have more visual depth in their texture and color than most, lower-end merinos, which can be useful if you want to wear the sweater without a jacket. The sweater pictured above really shows off the nice lofty nap on lambswool, I think. 
High-end purchases: If your budget is over $350 or so, consider cashmere. The problem with cashmere below this mark – at least at full retail prices – is that they’re often poorly made. Cashmere is expensive, so when a company is selling a cashmere sweater for under $350 or so, it means they’ve likely skimped on the construction. That can mean shorter fibers used for the yarns, which will result in more breakages and pilling, or thin, loosely knitted fabrics, which will lose their shape over time. Better, I think, to stick to lambswool, Shetlands, and merinos, rather than be tricked into the allure of “cheap” cashmere.
Checking for quality: It’s difficult to determine a sweater’s true quality without having actually owned it for a few years. Nothing can substitute for experience. There are a few things, however, that you can do to make an educated guess. On cashmere, try rubbing the fabric between your fingers for a bit, and see if a light, oily residue has been left on your hands. If there is, that means the fabric was treated with a kind of emulsion, and is probably of low quality. On everything else, see if the sweater has been knitted densely, and check the elasticity of the collars and cuffs. It’s difficult to convey online exactly what level of quality to look for – which is why I think you should browse the inventory at a high-end store – but generally, if you think the sweater might lose its shape easily, it probably will.
Altering knits: Ideally, you should buy something that fits perfectly off-the-rack, but some knits can be altered if you have a good alterationist. On sweaters with side seams, I’ve found it’s easy to take in the body without too much trouble. You can read my post on knit alterations here.
Getting rid of pills: Every sweater, no matter what the quality, will pill to some degree. The question is just how much and how quickly. To take care of pills, I recommend using a sweater shaver. I use this one and it works decently well, though there are probably better ones on the market.
Where to buy: I can’t give a full list of every place that stocks good sweaters, but I can make a few suggestions based off of my experiences. On the high end, I really like Inis Meain, Drumohr, Drake’s, John Smedley, and William Lockie (the last of which you can buy through Heather Wallace). For more affordable purchases, I’ve had good experiences with Brooks Brothers, Club Monaco, and Howard Yount. The first two often do significant mark-downs throughout the season, which is when I think you should buy. Club Monaco also gives students an extra 20% off if they can show a student ID in-store or give a university email address online. I’ve picked up their basic v-neck sweaters before for about $45, and find them to be of a good value. 

Thoughts on Buying Good Sweaters

The best time to purchase sweaters is at the end of the season, when the fall/ winter stock gets discounted by fifty percent or more. The best time to shop for sweaters, however, is now, so that you can give yourself a few months time to figure out what you want and not be rushed into impulse buys come January. So, if you’re out browsing for sweaters, I’d suggest the following:

Low- to mid-tier purchases: If your budget is limited, I recommend aiming for sweaters made out of lambswool, Shetland, or merino wools. The first two, all things being equal, are harder-wearing. I also think they can often have more visual depth in their texture and color than most, lower-end merinos, which can be useful if you want to wear the sweater without a jacket. The sweater pictured above really shows off the nice lofty nap on lambswool, I think. 

High-end purchases: If your budget is over $350 or so, consider cashmere. The problem with cashmere below this mark – at least at full retail prices – is that they’re often poorly made. Cashmere is expensive, so when a company is selling a cashmere sweater for under $350 or so, it means they’ve likely skimped on the construction. That can mean shorter fibers used for the yarns, which will result in more breakages and pilling, or thin, loosely knitted fabrics, which will lose their shape over time. Better, I think, to stick to lambswool, Shetlands, and merinos, rather than be tricked into the allure of “cheap” cashmere.

Checking for quality: It’s difficult to determine a sweater’s true quality without having actually owned it for a few years. Nothing can substitute for experience. There are a few things, however, that you can do to make an educated guess. On cashmere, try rubbing the fabric between your fingers for a bit, and see if a light, oily residue has been left on your hands. If there is, that means the fabric was treated with a kind of emulsion, and is probably of low quality. On everything else, see if the sweater has been knitted densely, and check the elasticity of the collars and cuffs. It’s difficult to convey online exactly what level of quality to look for – which is why I think you should browse the inventory at a high-end store – but generally, if you think the sweater might lose its shape easily, it probably will.

Altering knits: Ideally, you should buy something that fits perfectly off-the-rack, but some knits can be altered if you have a good alterationist. On sweaters with side seams, I’ve found it’s easy to take in the body without too much trouble. You can read my post on knit alterations here.

Getting rid of pills: Every sweater, no matter what the quality, will pill to some degree. The question is just how much and how quickly. To take care of pills, I recommend using a sweater shaver. I use this one and it works decently well, though there are probably better ones on the market.

Where to buy: I can’t give a full list of every place that stocks good sweaters, but I can make a few suggestions based off of my experiences. On the high end, I really like Inis Meain, DrumohrDrake’sJohn Smedley, and William Lockie (the last of which you can buy through Heather Wallace). For more affordable purchases, I’ve had good experiences with Brooks Brothers, Club Monaco, and Howard Yount. The first two often do significant mark-downs throughout the season, which is when I think you should buy. Club Monaco also gives students an extra 20% off if they can show a student ID in-store or give a university email address online. I’ve picked up their basic v-neck sweaters before for about $45, and find them to be of a good value. 

Arrow Moccasins: Handmade at an Amazing Price
I just got off the phone with the good people at Arrow Moccasins. They’re a small family company in Hudson, Massachusetts, who hand-make moccasins of every sort. There are traditional laced boots like the ones above, camp mocs, fleece-lined boots, big tall boots and even fur-trapper boots. They even make dog collars and leads.
My wife’s favorite shoes are a pair of their ring boots - but one recently went missing. We think my 15-month-old son may be the culprit. Lately he’s been really into putting things in the trash can. We decided to buy her a pair of double-soled lace boots to make up for it. I’ve already got a pair that I love wearing all fall and winter.
The best part is that these hand-made shoes are exceptionally reasonably priced. The lace boots, outfitted with double soles, are $169 for men and $165 for women. I’ve had no durability issues with the soles (they’re resolable, by the way), but some people prefer crepe rubber soles for city wear - they can do that, too.
Call to order - their number is 978-562-7870. They take a credit card and ship almost anywhere. You can find the full range of their products on their charmingly 1995-ish website.

Arrow Moccasins: Handmade at an Amazing Price

I just got off the phone with the good people at Arrow Moccasins. They’re a small family company in Hudson, Massachusetts, who hand-make moccasins of every sort. There are traditional laced boots like the ones above, camp mocs, fleece-lined boots, big tall boots and even fur-trapper boots. They even make dog collars and leads.

My wife’s favorite shoes are a pair of their ring boots - but one recently went missing. We think my 15-month-old son may be the culprit. Lately he’s been really into putting things in the trash can. We decided to buy her a pair of double-soled lace boots to make up for it. I’ve already got a pair that I love wearing all fall and winter.

The best part is that these hand-made shoes are exceptionally reasonably priced. The lace boots, outfitted with double soles, are $169 for men and $165 for women. I’ve had no durability issues with the soles (they’re resolable, by the way), but some people prefer crepe rubber soles for city wear - they can do that, too.

Call to order - their number is 978-562-7870. They take a credit card and ship almost anywhere. You can find the full range of their products on their charmingly 1995-ish website.

Speaking of the military recreationists at What Price Glory, I’m enamored of this heavy wool cardigan. At $75, you can hardly go wrong.

Speaking of the military recreationists at What Price Glory, I’m enamored of this heavy wool cardigan. At $75, you can hardly go wrong.

voxsart:

Fall/Winter Day Shirtings, According To Flusser.
For evening?  White, of course.

Simply a useful guide.

voxsart:

Fall/Winter Day Shirtings, According To Flusser.

For evening?  White, of course.

Simply a useful guide.

Shell Cordovan for Foul Weather Boots
Pictured above is a beautiful pair of cognac shell cordovan boots, custom made by Carmina for Ethan Desu. As Ethan notes, these are his go-to wet weather boots, and they’ve taken quite a beating in their time. 
Shell cordovan is also my material of choice for rainy day footwear. Some men worry that harsh elements will ruin their “precious” shell cordovans, but it’s important to remember that one of the material’s main advantages is its toughness. You can walk through hail, rain, sleet, or snow in these things and your feet will stay bone dry. Yes, this may cause the leather to rise a bit in some places, but you can smoothen it out by rubbing it with a deer bone (or simply the curved side of a metal spoon), and giving it a vigorous brushing. If you wish, you can also help protect the leather by applying a bit of wax polish once or twice a year (any more and shell cordovan won’t shine up well). 
Just take a look at the gleaming pair of shoes above. Although Ethan uses these as his rain boots, and has put in a lot of wear, he’s taken a stiff brush and a little bit of water, and made them look better than most people’s pampered dress shoes. 
Don’t be afraid to use your things. 

Shell Cordovan for Foul Weather Boots

Pictured above is a beautiful pair of cognac shell cordovan boots, custom made by Carmina for Ethan Desu. As Ethan notes, these are his go-to wet weather boots, and they’ve taken quite a beating in their time. 

Shell cordovan is also my material of choice for rainy day footwear. Some men worry that harsh elements will ruin their “precious” shell cordovans, but it’s important to remember that one of the material’s main advantages is its toughness. You can walk through hail, rain, sleet, or snow in these things and your feet will stay bone dry. Yes, this may cause the leather to rise a bit in some places, but you can smoothen it out by rubbing it with a deer bone (or simply the curved side of a metal spoon), and giving it a vigorous brushing. If you wish, you can also help protect the leather by applying a bit of wax polish once or twice a year (any more and shell cordovan won’t shine up well). 

Just take a look at the gleaming pair of shoes above. Although Ethan uses these as his rain boots, and has put in a lot of wear, he’s taken a stiff brush and a little bit of water, and made them look better than most people’s pampered dress shoes. 

Don’t be afraid to use your things. 

It’s On Sale: Smartwool Baselayers
Campmor has some good prices on Smartwool baselayers right now. Midweight crews are $40 and long johns are $50. These aren’t the most stylish garments around, but they’ll keep you very warm and toasty in the winter. Wear them underneath sweaters and trousers, and nobody will know the difference anyway.
Also, consider picking something up for the missis. She’ll appreciate it come wintertime. 

It’s On Sale: Smartwool Baselayers

Campmor has some good prices on Smartwool baselayers right now. Midweight crews are $40 and long johns are $50. These aren’t the most stylish garments around, but they’ll keep you very warm and toasty in the winter. Wear them underneath sweaters and trousers, and nobody will know the difference anyway.

Also, consider picking something up for the missis. She’ll appreciate it come wintertime.