These past two years it seems like Mother Nature has decided to skip fall and jump right into winter. If you’re living somewhere along the east coast, you’re likely familiar with the snowstorm that struck on Halloween 2011 and more recently the Nor’easter. It hasn’t been fun.
As we prepare ourselves for the dropping temperatures and wintery mix that’s bound to make getting places a sloppy endeavor—I’m looking at you NYC streets with your dirty snow slush puddles—I can’t help but picture the scene from A Christmas Story where Ralphie and his little brother are dressed in so many layers that they can’t put their arms down. I’ll admit that I’ve been there, but in recent years my tolerance for sacrificing mobility and looking like a bright colored walking cushion have led me to find some really neat items that look great without sacrificing warmth or comfort. So let’s take a look.
A few seasons ago, my big present was a pair of what I like to call, “Frankenboots.” These snow/winter boots were clunky enough that when I walked around the mall or stores, the thump of their three-inch rubber souls would scare families innocently checking off names on their gift lists. They did the trick in keeping my feet warm, but there is definitely a better option (namely one that allows me to bend my ankles and look suave while doing so). In came Converse, yes the typically thin canvas Chuck maker, with the Chuck Taylor Major Mills. These boots have a rubber grip sole with the classic Chuck rubberized look stacked on top. Match that with some sharp leather color ways and these high-tops are a nice mix of fashion and wintery wet function. Available online for $110.
To go with your stylish new boots, leave the snow pants at home and try out a pair of flannel lined jeans. A lot of brands are now venturing into the lined pant game, but one style in particular preserves that slimmer cut. The Eddie Bauer Classic Fit Flannel Lined Jeans don’t fall victim to the bulkiness that other brands are finding while lining their jeans and that makes them a great option for staying warm while looking good. Available online for $59.95.
“Put on your jacket!” Four words that every kid at some point in their lives has ignored. Why? Because jackets slowed us down—we couldn’t run as fast or jump as high or successfully practice our karate while embodying our favorite Power Rangers. No, I’m not as nimble as I used to be and my Green Ranger moves aren’t what they were, but I still like to be able to move swiftly by slow walkers on sidewalks and bob and weave subway platforms. Fortunately companies like Columbia Sportswear are making jackets that are thinner, lighter, and even more weather proof while shrinking in size. Made with patented Omni-Shield advanced repellency, insulated with 140g SlimTech, and featuring a hood and zip-closed chest pockets, the Lost Cabin Duffle jacket is a perfect cold weather option with zero sacrifices in the warmth department. Available online for $152.
Another winter accessory that’s made major headway over the years is gloves. At a certain point Gore-Tex might have reached the pinnacle of hand warmth technology and then touch screen phones and tablets had to ruin everything. Now companies are developing technology that no longer leaves you with a glove hanging from your teeth while you frantically type before your fingers freeze. The new North Face ETIP technology allows you to keep your big warm gloves on while still being able to type away. What’s even more special about this latest pair of gloves is the introduction of a waterproof shell. The North Face Men’s ETIP Facet Gloves are available online for $85.
Scarves aren’t for everyone, but if you’re in the market for a little fun to wrap up in, here are two unconventional options that are new this season. First up is the Jack Spade Hot Dog Scarf. That’s right, this neck warmer is sizzling beef-bun-mustard goodness to remind you that summer may be just around the corner. Available online for $165.
If that’s a little too loud, consider the DSquared Wool Knit Scarf. In a more palatable medium grey color, with yellow, red, and green accents, this 100% virgin wool Italian made scarf has ends that are fashioned as sweater sleeves. It’s an interesting little deviation from the traditional frilly scarf ends that set it apart as a sporty sweater look. Available online for $150.
It wouldn’t be winter without a fuzzy wool beanie. There are a ton of options out there, but one brand in particular has some cool color ways. Patagonia offers black, white, and grey or red, white, and blue retro takes on the beanie with a three-inch rib-knit cuff and pom-pom on top. Combine that throw back goodness with merino wool that’s designed to insulate even when wet and you my friend, have one cool winter cap.
This wouldn’t be Wear & Carry if we didn’t talk about, well, the “Carry.” All this snow has me worried of my tech gear and work supplies getting covered with snow on my way to the office. You’ve dressed the part to stay warm, but don’t leave your stuff out in the cold. The L.L. Bean Waterproof Duffle is a great way to have peace of mind when on the move this winter. Its lightweight polyurethane coated nylon has a traditional dry bag roll-top closure that keeps your things dry and is lighter than a regular old duffle. The olive color in particular goes great with darker winter colors, but make no mistake, it’s just as well suited for those April showers. Available online for $119.
Stay warm out there.
By Tom Caruso