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November 1, 2013updated Feb 14, 2014

Winter Warrior

By Chris Boyle

winter

From sporty furs to updated leather pieces, it’s time to take a closer look at the coats that will shield you from winter’s cold while sheathing you in style.

In winter, a man’s coat often creates the first impression, so the choice is an important one. It is critical to invest in a style that is flattering but also finds the right balance between “on trend” and “timeless”—something that will age well as a foundation piece in your wardrobe for a few years to come.

This season, menswear designers explored new and creative ways for guys to confidently wear fur, and they also experimented with the proportions of the classic silhouette of a straight wool and cashmere blend coat.

And that old standby, the leather jacket, appeared in a myriad of alternatives, making it easier than ever to find the one that fits just right.

A man in a fur coat is not an easy sell. Thoughts of the heavy full-length coats worn by 1920s money men or seedy 1970s street hustlers are often the first thing that comes to mind, but don’t dismiss pelts so fast.

A lot of progress has been made in the fur industry over the past decade to transform fur into a material as malleable as textiles without losing its supple “touchy-feely” appeal.

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This season designers offered up some interesting and very unconventional fur options, including a mélange of different types of furs in the same coat, and pairing fur with other materials to give it a trendy edge. Top fur options came from Lanvin, Alexander Wang, and Jil Sander, brands that cut fur in sporty styles.

For something a bit more over the top, it doesn’t get much better than the pieces mixing pelts from Maison Martin Margiela.

The go-to coat for most professional men is the classic straight and long option. But, just as we’ve seen in womenswear this season, there is a general move to make these coats more roomy.

Structure and fit have given way to a looser shape, one with minimal seams that cocoons the body in muted shades such as those seen on the catwalks of Alexander McQueen, Mugler, and Burberry.

But if there is one sure bet for outerwear this winter it’s a leather coat. Leather was all over the fall/winter 2013 runways, with everything from jackets, shirts, trenches, and even trousers shown in an array of colors, ready to add a touch of rocker glam to your wardrobe.

Leather jackets are a perennial favorite for men, rarely falling from the graces of the fashion world. Of course, the staple has been slightly updated for this season: In addition to coats cut in the oversized shapes that have become a major trend this fall, leather was bonded to other fabrics in hybrid outerwear pieces, as seen at the Bottega Veneta and Valentino shows.

So as temperatures drop, instead of dusting off last year’s winter coat, stay both warm and in style with new options that run the gamut from elegant to edgy.

Italian ingenuity

Gucci and Lapo Elkann are a match made in sartorial heaven. In the past, Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini and Elkann teamed up to launch a limited- edition Fiat 500 with Gucci interiors.

Car buffs know that Elkann is the grandson of Gianni Agnelli and currently a creative force at Fiat. But besides being an innovator in the automotive field, Elkann is also known for his uniquely Italian style of dressing—a style so distinctive it put him in Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed hall of fame by the time he hit 30.

Now comes a new collaboration between these two Italian icons of style. It’s a made-to-measure capsule collection by Gucci fittingly called Lapo’s Wardrobe.

It is filled with suave and timelessly chic pieces, like a double-breasted blazer in the perfect shade of navy with buttons crafted from titanium, and jackets lined in vintage Gucci prints that have an Italian bravado about them.

T-time

Remember all those message t-shirts that seemed to go out of date almost as soon as they were worn for the first time? Well, their evolutionary descendants have found a clever way to survive.

With Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci leading the way, highly artistic graphic design t-shirts for brands like Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons, and Lanvin are becoming a seriously cool Saturday night option for men.

Just pair with a well-cut blazer, and presto—art meets designer attitude.

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