There’s an old axiom in fashion: there’s no bad weather so long as you dress the right way.
So many of us get caught up in the idea of attractive and fashionable clothes that we forget their original purpose: to keep us comfortable and sheltered from the elements. And when the temperature dips, you might find that a wardrobe full of summertime fabrics like seersucker isn’t yet complete.
What should you wear? If you do it right, you can layer many of your clothes together so that you don’t always have to worry so much about insulation. But if you’re focusing on one or two cold-weather pieces to add to your wardrobe this winter, it’s a good idea to think about the following:
Everything you need to know about wool can be summed up in one sentence: cotton comes from plants, wool from animals. The fact that wool is derived from sheep, goats, and even camels—depending on what you’re buying—should tell you a lot about wool’s function as a fabric: it’s a serious form of insulation and protection from the wind.
True, some wool fabrics can be tough and heavy, designed to trap in heat with maximum efficiency. But Merino wool can actually be light and comfortable, perfect for cool winter nights when you don’t want to sweat in a heavy wool overcoat. Wool also had the distinct advantage of retaining many of its insulation properties when wet, which makes it practical for camping, hiking, and outdoor use.
Cotton is something of a “universal” fabric material. It can be used to make hot weather items like seersucker…but it can also be spun for comfortable colder layers, as well. In fact, many of our heavier, cool-weather items are made from mostly cotton, including:
When the temperature dips a little bit, you usually only need to add a long-sleeve item to your outfit to stay warm; it’s rare to go from summer wear to wool overnight. What’s more, cotton is light enough to be easily layered with itself, which means you can wear the Cardigan over the Madras shirt when a cold front sweeps through.
Polyester often gets a bad rap, but the truth is, it’s one of the most useful fabrics for trapping the elements out of your outfit and keeping the heat in. It has a good relationship with moisture in that it can keep much of the rain out without trapping too much moisture inside. It’s also light, which means it layers well with other fabrics and doesn’t weigh you down the way wool might.It’s important to know your fabrics and pick the best ones for the season. Cotton is a year-round fabric that works in just about any season, but don’t be afraid to pick up a wool or polyester article, either. After all, you never know when the next cold front is going to roll in.