I have a cold. I’m one of those annoying people sitting next to you on the train or bus that splutters and sneezes his way through the journey. There is no solution, really. You can’t take a day off with a cold — sounds far too wussy, alas — and we’ve yet to adopt the odd-looking, yet wholly sensible, approach of Japanese commuters who wear paper masks over their noses and mouths.
You could, if it’s chilly, wear a balaclava or a giant scarf for the entire commute, but fellow travellers might worry you’re about to rob them. Otherwise, CP Company make jackets with hoods that have goggles in the front so you can zip the hood right over your head and still see where you’re going. It may sound bonkers, but the number of times I’ve almost been hit by a car as I attempt to cross the road when I have my Canada Goose parka hood zipped up...
’Tis the season of the down-filled waterproof, however, and there are many to choose from. Predictably, perhaps, I’m going to suggest you rely on the classics by Moncler, Descente and the aforementioned Canada Goose (you can opt for a style without the coyote-trimmed hood if you’re anti-fur).
But there are also a host of more niche brands that offer something a little different: Rocky Mountain Featherbed is one of these (sort of Brokeback Mountain meets sofa.com, which I know doesn’t sound too tempting, but check them out), as well as The Workers Club, a utilitarian-focused label that offers some neat handcrafted weatherproof pieces.
All of these brands are suggesting the gilet as the item you should be investing in this winter. And if you don’t mind having wet arms, it is indeed a great piece to have in your wardrobe. First, despite being armless, they keep you toasty warm. Second, they look as good over a suit jacket as they do over a chunky sweater. Third, they’re easy to slip on or off even on a packed commuter train, and finally, since there’s less material in them, they cost less. Hoorah.
The trick with the gilet is to get one that either has a design quirk to it, or to wear it with a not-too-traditional ensemble. Team a green padded one with moleskin trousers and a flannel shirt, for example, and you risk looking like someone who spends his weekends in Chipping Norton. Rocky Mountain Featherbed (I just like saying the name), does gilets with cowboy leather trim and shearling linings. The Workers Club, Tod’s and Barena all have handsome checked wool ones. Maison Kitsuné has them in quilted wool, while Missoni makes a zigzag crochet version that looks much nicer than it sounds. All of these, happily, will look out of place at Soho Farmhouse.
The other item of sartorial Lemsip, which, when taken out of “Sloaney Pony” context, looks good this winter, is corduroy trousers. These must be worn slim-fit and, if you’ll allow me to be particularly prescriptive, in black.
The best pairs I’ve tried on are by Tom Ford, Saint Laurent, Acne and Gucci. These look good worn with a grey textured wool or tweed blazer (also by Saint Laurent if you’ve got the dosh), and tan or mid-brown suede Chelsea boots (all skinny-fit black trousers or jeans should be worn with these coloured shoes or boots this winter). Alternatively, wear them with a grey-marl sweatshirt (Levi’s Vintage Clothing) and white trainers (Adidas Stan Smiths before we all get bored of them again).
My final germ-friendly clothing suggestion is — and I hesitate, as it sounds like something Khloé or Kourtney Kardashian might wear — a velvet hoodie. They are so comforting, and the best is the oversized deep burgundy version by Haider Ackermann, but these are hard to come by ever since Kanye West was photographed wearing one. Another option, and equally snug, is the soft, velvety-fleece hoodie by Japanese label White Mountaineering.
If you were a true man of fashion seeking comfort, you would also track down a pair of kangaroo fur-lined, backless leather Gucci slippers, which many style folk are wearing out during the daytime, too. Although I naturally scoffed when a friend of mine turned up in a pair, I have to admit that when I tried them on, it was like dipping my toes into a jar of warm honey. If you are tempted — and we won’t judge — they come in a furry loafer version that is mildly less eccentric.
Anyway, must dash — I’m off to buy an Hermès Vicks inhaler.