How do you choose which winter fabrics to use when assembling your winter wardrobe? It’s a tricky one. Synthetic fabrics are growing in popularity and they can be very insulating and wind-resistant. Yet, I favor more natural materials that are less suffocating. The problem with a polyester or nylon wardrobe is that it will leave you stranded in one of two extremes. Either you will be freezing because the material is too loose or you will be suffocating from sweat because your skin can’t breathe. With natural fabrics, the fibers keep you warm while giving your skin the chance to breathe through tiny pores. These materials may be a tad more expensive than their artificial counterparts, but when it comes to ease and style they have no match. These 10 winter fabrics have what it takes to keep you warm and comfortable this season. Make sure they have a strong presence in your wardrobe before winter takes over.
When we think of tweed, we think of the “Old Country.” There’s a good reason for this. Tweed got its start in the upper echelons of British society during the Edwardian era. Since then, its wonders have spread worldwide. Tweed is strong, rough, tight-knit, and flexible. If you buy a tweed suit, you can easily wear the pieces separately without looking mismatched. It’s classy by reputation and rugged in texture. Who would turn down that sexy combination? For a warm, sophisticated look this winter, invest in something tweed.
Genuine cowhide has been an American classic for years. It’s a material you can use year-round, but the merits of leather in winter are especially beneficial. If properly cared for, leather can last for decades and still look good. You can be contemporary with a vintage edge, or vintage with a modern twist. In simple terms, leather is pretty timeless. It’s also super comfortable. The sturdy material molds to your shape without losing strength.
Velvet, Velveteen, and Velour
Velvet, velveteen, and velour all come from the same basic idea. Each is made with a cut pile. Yet, while velvet is woven, cut, and crushed to luxurious effect, velveteen is simply woven and more casual. Velour is knit and most often seen in casual settings. Any of these fabrics will serve you well at wintry weddings and cocktail parties. Be cautious of velveteen, which tends to be thin and a little blunted. As long as you keep track of what to wear when, V fabrics can be useful additions to your cold weather wardrobe.
Warm, flexible, and sturdy, this fabric is most commonly used to make pants. The cords in the fabric stretch vertically, following the structure of a long leg or arm. The biggest trick to wearing corduroy well is finding the designs that use cord subtly. Do not go near wale cords. Opt for a handsome sportcoat.
When it comes to fabrics with histories, fur is a champion. Mink, rabbit, fox, and beaver have been popular clothing even since some random caveman threw his prey over his shoulder to carry it home. You’ve got to use furs sparingly, but the right neck lining or furry sleeves will keep your body warmth close and comfortable. If you don’t want to wear real furs, go faux. Just be careful you aren’t getting duped into buying crappy fake fur.
You can’t just toss on the light silk pieces you wore in summer. Get something silky and wintry for the cold season. Silk is the strongest natural material out there. It washes well without losing color, shape, or strength. Find a good silk scarf and your neck will be warm and elegant for the holiday festivities.
You need to fill those holes in your winter wardrobe before the cold weather gets serious. Now, you know how to do it. I’m not saying throw away all your cotton shirts and denim jeans. Just know how to shop for scarves and jackets.
— Timothy Vest