Hey Alex. Happy new year. And great question.
The answer here depends a little on your climate and where your travels have taken you. I live in the South, but my closet has been influenced by spending most of my professional years in New York, plus all the time I've spent traveling back there and abroad. You don't want to be unprepared in New York or Italy in February. But it's been documented that Ann takes up a good bit of the coat closet space in my household, so my winter coat collection has to be a tad spartan, for real estate purposes. But regardless of where you live, it IS the season to be prepared. Breezy, chilly, cold, raining, sleeting, snowing, you get the picture. So with that, here are the 5 winter outerwear pieces I think every guy should have.
A VEST FOR LAYERING: Tough to find a better layering piece. And it's just as good over a sport shirt for the moderate weather, layered under or on top of a blazer, or in conjunction with a heavier jacket to help counter the extreme. I end up wearing mine a lot indoors as well. It just feels good. In Europe (and especially in Northern Italy), it is very common to see people wearing a down vest in the morning all year round, even in July – they treat it more like a light sweater. Maybe a good stylish alternative for our friends in Silicon Valley who want to punch it up a bit.
• Wool Down Vest in Navy or Chocolate Wool Melton (on sale!)
• Down Sport Vest in Navy Nylon (on sale!)
• Down Vest in a Windowpane or Herringbone Tweed (on sale!)
• Cashball Traveler's Vest in Navy Nylon
A TRENCH FOR ALL WEATHER: The secret weapon of outerwear. First, it's instant extended coverage, because it covers your shoulders down to your knees. Second, it's stylistically versatile, and can go with everything from jeans & Chelsea boots to a tuxedo (plus the silhouette is slimming.) And finally, we've got one that's water-repellent that folds up and packs within itself – the ultimate traveler. I actually showed up on my first date with Ann in a trench... I called it a duster but in retrospect it may have been a little J. Peterman. It was raining, but I was probably trying to impress her just as much as trying to stay dry.
• Travelers Trench and Cashball Travelers Trench in Navy Nylon
• Traveler's Trench in Navy Wool/Cashmere
• Traveler's Trench in Tan or Olive Houndstooth Tweed (on sale!)
• Kired by Kiton Pablo Laser Cut Trench Coat in Navy (on sale!)
A FILLED JACKET FOR HIDDEN WARMTH: Just a vest and trench will cover you for a pretty solid dance card. But you'll also want to have some kind of filled jacket in your rotation. And with all due respect to down, we've been really into cashmere insulation lately. If that sounds a bit over the top, stick with me. It's an alternative to goosedown or poly-fill, made of recycled cashmere fibers from garments & remnants.The mill collects and processes them, and the result is spectacular: wind-resistant, lightweight, and breathable, so it's NOT gonna act like a terrarium. It's the fill for the Traveler's Jacket, which is a grrrrreat layering piece in its own right.
• Cashpad Traveler's Jacket in Navy
• Cashpad Traveler's Jacket in Olive
• Kired by Kiton Cruz 2-in-1 Jacket in Khaki/Burgundy (on sale!)
A TOPCOAT FOR THE OCCASION: There are few more refined items in menswear than a topcoat. And while you won't need it every day, you'll be glad you have it when the temperature dips on the day of, say, your friend's wedding or an important board meeting. This type of coat used to be far more common – it was what a man wore over his everyday suit. I get the most wear out of mine when I am in a walking city. New York, Chicago, Paris, etc. At home, just hopping in and out of my car, I don't necessarily need the extra layer... but walking 20 blocks up Madison Avenue is another story. And let me just tell you – this could possibly be one of the chicest things in your wardrobe. I watched Bryan Ferry perform a whole show in a topcoat at an outdoor venue. It was cool.
A LIGHT CASUAL, JACKET FOR VARIETY: A jacket pulls whatever you are wearing together – that third piece usually makes it better. A light jacket is great for milder days, but also to add a little bit of variety and interest to your look. A military-style jacket, an overshirt, or even a denim or cord jacket falls into this category. And since these are three-season pieces, and they vary so much in style, you can never really have too many. I tend to use my jackets like Ann uses her purse, so the military style with lots of pockets is usually my go-to.
• Military Jacket in Persimmon Dry Waxed Cotton
• Military Jacket in Ink Heavy Twill
• Military Jacket in Indigo Rinse Denim
• Military Jacket in Khaki Heavy Twill
• M65 Jacket in Olive or Navy Cotton/Nylon
• Aspesi UT Shirt in Green or Corn Yellow Tonal Camo (on sale!)
So Alex, I think those are the right components for a winter coat collection. Depending on where you live or what you do, you could tweak the balance a little – add another serious lined coat if you live someplace especially cold, double up on the vests if you're a fan of the layered look, or go deeper on the light, casual jackets if your wardrobe leans pretty casual to begin with. I'll add a bonus category, in case you were also curious about wintry blazers, because those can work as outerwear, too. I think every guy should have at least one solid (the melange twill is nice) and one patterned (this Scottish camo is a killer) winter-weight sport coat with some texture to it. As much as I like versatility, it's nice to have a seasonal statement piece that makes watching the weather a little more fun.