Winter is officially coming. Days have become shorter, nights have become more crisp, and mince pies are cluttering the supermarket aisles already.
The silver linings to the gathering clouds are the opportunities it presents for our style – textured layers to combat the cold, huge coats with epic collars, rich and earthy colours to match the changing nature around us.
The more garments we need to suit the climate, the more expressive we can be with our outfits.
To find those garments we need not look too far. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to catering for our climate, homegrown brands know how to do it best – many of which have heritage stretching back well over 100 years.
Here are our top tips for this season – and beyond…
All good building is done on solid foundations, and your footwear is exactly that for your wardrobe. Two of England’s oldest makers bring us two of the best choices this year: Crockett & Jones’ Chiltern chukka boot is crafted from suede treated during the tanning process to make it repel water far more efficiently than standard suede boots, while the Dainite rubber sole offers comfort and grip on frosty mornings. The chukka style has been popular for years – this model in particular since the 1950s – thanks both its comfort and to the ease with which it transfers from day to night-time wear.
For a chunkier, more rugged look, the Tweed from Cheaney comes with a robust rubber sole and elaborate broguing to the leather. The leather from its new Eco line is sourced from a Yorkshire-based tannery which focuses on minimising water usage in the manufacture, resulting in oiled leather which stands up admirably to the weather but does not harm the planet. The Goodyear welting style for both means that your boots can be resoled time and time again at the same factory they were born in, further reducing environmental impact.
While these two brands have around 300 years of cordwaining experience between them, Baudoin & Lange represents the emerging talent in the sector. Creative director Allan Baudoin may be Parisian by origin, but he has made London his home and it was here he learned how to make bespoke shoes of the highest quality. The brand he co-founded with CEO Bo van Langeveld now proudly operates from a flagship in Burlington Arcade, bringing the attention to detail of the bespoke world to its ready-to-wear collections. Its Rover boots feature an active rubber sole which is unsurpassed for comfort, soft-glove suede which will moulds perfectly to the wearer, and are cut slightly below the ankle to interact more naturally with your trousers.
A good pair of weighty flannel trousers are an essential for the AW season. They are versatile enough to take you to the office or around the park, depending on how you style them, and cosy enough to withstand the bitter winter wind. A flat-fronted Caine model is perfect for the colder months. The trousers are fitted with side adjusters, allowing you to achieve the perfect fit round your waist both before and after a hearty seasonal lunch, and arrive unhemmed so your tailor can finish them to exactly the length you prefer. The brand recommends a two-inch cuff for the final classic touch.
For those who prefer a more generous fit, heritage luxury brand Connolly has the perfect answer in its Brown Slouchy Flannel Trousers . The material used for these trousers is a Connolly-exclusive stretch flannel and each pair features a single inward pleat and comes completely unlined, offering the ultimate in comfort. They form part of Connolly’s Shared Wardrobe edit – a collection of garments which will be at home on any body.
Drawstring trousers have seen a remarkable rise in popularity in the past couple of years as the lines between smart and casual become even more blurred. New & Lingwood are famous for its luxurious loungewear, and its Cream Stretch Corduroy Drawstring Trousers show exactly why. The drawstring can be worn outside the trousers or concealed beneath the waistband for a little more discretion, and the stretch fabric will move effortlessly with your body. Wear them with one of New & Lingwood’s signature Dressing Gowns to reach the pinnacle of luxury lounging.
Knitwear and Jackets
Layering quality knitwear will help combat even the coldest of mornings, and if the right pieces are chosen they’ll last a lifetime. The Sunspel collection for AW22 has plenty of options in wonderful, earthy tones of dark green: its Lambswool Rollneck is a chunky number which will keep you cosy on weekend walks (to the pub, naturally) while the Wool Twin Pocket Jacket provides a stylish top layer to wear over more fine-gauge knits. Even its legendary t-shirts – best on the market, for my money – have been updated in the same green tone.
The idea of knitwear being built to last is a core belief of Colhay’s . Its cashmere pieces are all made in Scotland, from yarn spun in Scotland, and intended not just to stay with you for years, but to remain in good enough condition to hand down to the next generation. Its Wine Cashmere Belmondo Rollneck is sleek enough to layer under tailoring for more formal settings; the Ecru Shawl Collar Cardigan has enough volume to even operate as a jacket on a crisp, sunny day. Both are crafted using the highest grade of cashmere that venerable Scottish spinners Todd & Duncan have to offer, meaning they are as soft to the touch as they are cosy, and will last for generations when properly cared for.
Another British brand with longevity in mind is Neem London . Many of its products are made using recycled fabrics, and all can be returned to the brand to be recycled again when their time with you is done. New for AW22, and also featuring the season’s trend colour of dark green, is the Recycled Italian Flannel Overshirt – mid-weight, so it can be used as a jacket or layered dependant on the weather, four pockets to the front for carrying all your weekend essentials, and the added peace of mind that you’re doing your part to make style more sustainable.
Big coats are my favourite thing about autumn/winter styling. Their sheer size allows them to bring drama and grandeur to any outfit, but they also serve the very important practical purpose of protecting us from the most harsh extremes of the weather. Burberry is an iconic British maker of high-quality coats, and its AW22 Runway Collection includes some magnificent examples. The Cotton Gabardine Harrington Jacket is a subtle piece presented in a neutral fawn colour, but livened up by the famous Burberry check pattern revealed to line the oversized chest pockets. It will layer wonderfully over a shirt and tie for the office on brighter days. The Plongé Leather Hooded Trench Coat is a great example of AW flamboyance – huge hood, classic English shape and perfect for making a real statement.
When it comes to making statements with your outerwear, few (if any) can surpass Edward Sexton for drama and flamboyance in tailoring. The huge lapels and spacious, spectacular cuts will catch the eye of most people you stride past, and the rock-star swagger infused in every garment will undoubtedly transfer to you every time you put on one of his coats. The Brown Chevron Raglan Coat is inspired by a pattern from the 1930s and has a louche, confident look to it; the Dark Green Bridgecoat has a more structured, military feel but still plenty of attitude thanks to a very generously-sized collar. Both are cut from 18oz wool, meaning they will block even the most bitter of winds all through the winter.
The accessories we choose can significantly enhance an outfit. A sharp pop of colour from a scarf not only brightens up a slightly severe autumn look, but offers extra respite from the wind. Johnstons of Elgin make some of the best, like this Madras Check Cashmere Stole . It’s available in a range of colours, made from 100% cashmere, and will bring a little extra character to your outfit. Johnstons have also collaborated with illustrator Sabina Savage, who has designed a stole which commemorates the brand’s journey from Scotland to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. The intricate artistry will make it a conversation piece when you turn up for festive gatherings.
Perhaps the most overlooked accessory in the British AW wardrobe, but probably the most useful, is the umbrella. It rains most days so you will get an enormous amount of use from it, and carrying a cheap plastic version can ruin the outfit you otherwise curated so carefully, not to mention leave you soaked when it turns inside-out after a mild breeze kicks up. Arterton is a London brand determined to make these problems a thing of the past. It has designed a Dismantlable Umbrella which is not only elegant and sturdy, thanks to luxury wood handles and steel frame construction, but actually folds down to fit in your suitcase when travelling. It comes in a vibrant green or classic blue, with a choice of polished chestnut or gnarled bamboo woods. It is the perfect finishing touch to any autumn/winter look, be it formal or casual.