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The Classic Sartorialist: Bundle up in style

December 5, 2013

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Staying warm in the blustery cold of winter can all too easily translate into oversized parkas, ski gloves and orange-knit hunting hats. All of these have their place in winter hobbies, but they don’t belong on Massachusetts Street. When strolling across town, consider a few of these stylish updates for your winter wardrobe:

Hats

It’s a widely held belief that most of our body heat is lost through our head. But scientists have recently debunked this idea.

Beanie

Beanie

Flat cap

Flat cap

Scarf

Scarf

Leather gloves

Leather gloves

The myth originated from a flawed 1950s military experiment that exposed soldiers dressed in Arctic survival suits and no hats to extreme temperatures. The problem? Because their head was the only thing exposed, that’s where most heat was being lost. If the soldiers had been dressed only in their skivvies, heat would have dissipated evenly across their bodies.

That said, you should still wear a winter cap. When you choose one keep it basic to ensure sartorial longevity. Every man should own at least two styles: a beanie and a flat cap. Each should be in either black or grey, as these will go with nearly everything in your closet.

Beanies come in a variety of fabrics: wool, cotton, fleece, synthetics and blends. Everyone has their preference on which is the warmest. My advice: choose whichever you find most comfortable. Most importantly, though, ensure it covers your earlobes. The point is to be fashionable and warm.

Flat caps, sometimes called newsie hats or fisherman’s caps, originated in England during the 14th century. In 1571, the Brits passed a law that required men over the age of 6 to don one every Sunday to increase domestic wool consumption. When these folks immigrated to America, they brought their hats with them.

Today, after years of declining popularity, the flat cap is making a comeback thanks to highly visible British celebrities sporting the cap.

Scarves

With your head covered, don’t leave your neck exposed. Choosing a good scarf is very similar to choosing a hat. Keep the colors simple — greys and blacks — and the fabric comfortable. The trick is to find a versatile scarf that goes with your standard go-to winter coat and your favorite sweaters. As long as you avoid anything too flashy (that left-over Where’s Waldo scarf can stay in the closet till next Halloween) and keep the patterns subtle, you’ll be fine.

The last thing to think about when it comes to scarves is length and width. These measurements can restrict how you can fold your scarf (a simple YouTube search will reveal several styles of knots), but you’ll be fine with one around 60-70 inches long and 8-10 inches wide.

Gloves

Last but not least, you need to keep your fingers toasty. As with hats, every man should have two pairs of winter gloves: a casual sports glove and a dressier leather glove. Casual gloves should be black and well fitted. For smartphone users, be sure to get a pair with touchscreen tips. As to the leather gloves, look for a black or dark brown pair with cashmere lining.

— Nicholas Cunigan is a Ph.D. candidate in early American history at Kansas University. He blends classic fashion with modern details on a low-cost budget.

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