6 Holiday Style Tips For Men

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The holiday
season has begun, and for the next month many of us have a full
schedule. From work-related parties to the traditional get together
with friends and family, you’ll need to dress appropriately
as you mingle with the boss and trade stories with uncle Bob. With
many of these events scheduled for the same day, you’re going
to have to balance comfort, style, and versatility. And believe
it or not, this is easier than you might think.

1. Layer
– learn to overlap cotton and wool clothing appropriately

Whatever you
are going to be doing, you want to be comfortable doing it. A big
part of that is wearing clothing that doesn’t cause you to
overheat, allows your skin to breathe, and protects you from the
elements. Both cotton and wool are time tested fabrics that when
layered appropriately can help you make it through the holidays
without freezing or breaking a sweat.

Cotton, the
world most popular fabric, is what you want to wear close your body.
Cotton fibers are a cellulose based fiber whose natural properties
allow it to pass both heat and moisture, thus making this clothing
breathable and light feeling. Cotton briefs and undershirts are
inexpensive and provide you exactly what you need; 100% cotton dress
shirts are usually priced a bit higher than blends, but if you expect
to sweat there is no substitute for its wicking properties. A bonus
is that cotton is very durable and can be safely washed at home
with regular detergent, although acidic stains (such as those caused
by wine) should be treated immediately.

Wool (and other
protein based fibers such as cashmere), on the other hand, does
an excellent job of retaining heat; thus these natural fibers are
an excellent choice for a jacket, sweater, or overcoat. Wool also
has the unique property of being able to absorb moisture while not
feeling wet; thus the melting snow on your shoulders will disappear
quickly and not spread. Little things like wearing wool socks and
ensuring your knit hat is made of wool or cashmere (vs. cotton)
will help you stay much warmer without adding any bulk. However,
treat wool like the premium fiber it is. Water weakens wool’s
strength, and it can be misshaped if hung up on a hanger when wet
(instead lay out on a flat surface). Finally, never expose wool
to extreme heat such as an iron; if you need to work out wrinkles,
use a steamer so you don’t damage the fibers.

An ideal cold
weather holiday outfit would combine 100% cotton underwear and dress
shirt with a pair of wool trousers coupled with a wool sweater and
jacket protected by a wool overcoat. If you find yourself sweating,
you can rest assured knowing the cotton will wick the moisture from
your skin and your wool jacket will absorb it with no noticeable
effects. And by layering, you can always adjust your own personal
thermostat by un-layering (try to keep your jacket on….unless
the party gets lively!).

2. Invest
in an Overcoat

You iron your
shirt, polish your shoes, and adjust your tie – only to ruin
the entire presentation by tossing on a bright red ski coat or old
leather motorcycle jacket. Does this sound familiar? When it comes
to a professional looking coat, many of us look at this as a luxury.
But in the winter, your outerwear is the first and last thing many
people will see you wearing. If the event is outside, it’s
the only thing they’ll see. Far from being a luxury, a good
overcoat is must for any man living in a region that experiences
cold weather.

Unlike shirts
or even suits, most men need only one overcoat. As such, it’s
worth spending the resources to ensure it looks great on you. Start
with fit; a $200 overcoat that fits a man perfectly always looks
better than a $2000 overcoat that’s two sizes too big. First
ensure the shoulders fit well and have a style that compliments
your build – this cannot be altered. Next, look at the sleeve
length, and have them adjusted to cover your jacket and shirt cuffs
but not your hands. Finally, have a skilled tailor tighten the jacket
around the torso and have its length adjusted to your tastes. As
for fabric, as long as it is made from wool you are good to go.
More expensive overcoats utilize a wool & cashmere blend –
the added benefit here is drape and softness (not heat retention).

An overcoat
does not stand alone – ensure you supplement it with a wool
or cashmere scarf & knit hat and insulated leather gloves. For
reasons mentioned above, it’s worth spending a little more
for quality accessories made from the proper materials that will
do their intended job.

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the rest of the article

December
7, 2010

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