Huntsman cutter and resident tailoring columnist Matthew Gonzalez turns his attentions to the fits, fabrics and potential fashion failings of Christmas dressing
Christmas has never really been known as a stylish time of year. Let’s be honest, the decorations are pretty garish. Don’t just take my word for it, think of almost any Christmas film that you’ve seen, Buddy the Elf is funny, but I would hesitate to follow his sartorial lead. The Muppets Christmas Carol is another holiday classic though the clothing is perhaps too Dickensian for modern tastes. There are a few exceptions. The clothing in films like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas are aesthetically pleasing but they come from a stylish point in history rather than showcasing any particular influence from Christmas itself.
These days we seem almost overrun with novelty holiday jumpers that are plastered with cheesy puns and embellished with festive graphics so it’s hard to know how to be festive without looking like a bit of an idiot. Now with the holidays approaching here is a Savile Row tailor’s thoughts on how to dress well this season.
Winter is all about two elements, colour and texture. Fit is also essential but it’s not seasonal so make sure you wear clothing that fits. Just in case its needed here is a two minute masterclass on what it means for clothing to fit properly.
Regardless whether you’re wearing a tailored shirt, jumper or coat pay attention to the shoulder line. The seam at the end of the shoulder should finish where your shoulder does. It shouldn’t flare out or fall half way down your arm. A jacket collar should sit firmly on your neck, any gaps means its not fitting correctly. If you like wearing really fitted clothing check that the buttons are not pulling when fastened. If you prefer an easier fit just ensure that its not too baggy all around you.
When wearing trousers make sure that the waist is comfortable but firm, so it doesn’t slip, there is nothing worse then having to pull them up every other minute, if only because it ruins the break at the hem. If you like something fitted, keep an eye on your pockets, if they are pulling open your trousers probably are too tight. Tailors have a simple rule when it comes to how long trousers should be, the wider the hem, the more easily it will fall over your shoes so wear them a bit longer. Conversely, narrow trousers tend to look their best slightly shorter, sitting just on top or even a little above your shoes. That’s it!
So what should you be wearing this winter? Generally, we like to feel a bit cosy during the cold months so fabrics with texture tend to feel more comfortable to wear. Brushed cotton or flannel trousers in rich earth tones or warming greys are perfect to pair with a roll neck cashmere jumper in a burgundy or emerald. It’s the perfect look for a casual office party or a few drinks with friends. A nice pair of lace up boots will finish off your look.
If you have to wear a suit, go with flannel, something in a mid grey, dark navy or if you are feeling a bit punchy a rich earthy brown can be a show stopper. Whatever you choose make sure to find a shade that works with your skin tone. To keep it timeless pair your suit with a crisp white shirt, a tonal woollen tie and for a touch of colour pop a silk handkerchief in your pocket.
For a more casual look swap the shirt and tie for a roll neck in a deep seasonal colour. Finish it off with either highly polished black or dark brown oxfords.
Christmas Day itself can be a bit more casual but that doesn’t mean that we have to walk around in pyjamas and a bath robe. A slightly oversized cable knit jumper in ivory, grey, or dark navy paired with dark brown cotton trousers and some boots or loafers fits the bill perfectly. If you are up for a bit of formality try almost port coloured red or deep green velvet dinner/smoking jacket. Pair that with some black wool trousers and some black plain Albert loafers and you will look every inch the English gentleman.
Dressing for winter can be tough. The nights are long and the days are cold but if we take our time and think about what we wear each day we just might feel jolly long enough to last us till spring. So Happy Holidays. MG
Words by Matthew GONZALEZ