The season’s big sales have already started to pop up and, while you’re probably planning on shopping for your mom and whoever else is on your holiday list, there’s no harm in treating yourself, too. After all, you’re going to be seeing a lot of people over the next few weeks–and you want to look your best. But what exactly are the key pieces you need to take your winter wardrobe to the next level? Celebrity stylist Luke Storey, who’s worked with everyone from Kanye to Wilmer Valderrama to Marilyn Manson, clued us in.
Most guys are comfortable trading in their jeans for something less laid back-looking, but many are still afraid of adding some color when it comes to pants: “Most guys opt for the classic, yet easily boring khaki or navy color, when buying chinos,” Storey says. “Don’t be afraid to mix it up on the bottom by expanding your color palette.” If you’re not ready for bright red and are trying to “avoid looking like a Justin Bieber groupie,” Storey recommends sticking to warm earth tones, like rust, mustard, forest green, or brown.
“A bow tie can quickly turn an otherwise boring outfit into the life of the party,” says Storey. “If you’re one of the lucky few that can pull this off, you’ve got an instant fashion upgrade and a conversation piece around your neck.” Not quite ready to take that kind of fashion risk? A pocket square or learning a new tie knot works just as well. Do a quick search on YouTube for some how-to videos.
Obviously, a good pair of brogues never hurt anyone’s holiday attire, but according to Storey, the “missing link” for a casual gathering is “cocktail-worthy sneakers.” “Save those hiking-stained foam feet for workout days and invest in some legit designer sneakers,” he says. Some brands worth the big bucks? “Think Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Prada. These babies are going to cost you, but if you don’t choose anything too flashy or trendy, they can last for years.”
A mix between two great pieces, a cashmere hoodie is a versatile piece that can take any outfit to the next level. “Leather trim or suede elbow patches are a nice detail to look for,” Storey advises.
Once you’re dressed up and ready to go, the last thing you want to grab is an overly puffy down jacket. “Don’t muck up an otherwise impeccable outfit with a winter parka,” warns Storey. “A long wool pea coat is the perfect solution when some extra insulation is in order,” he says. “If you shop smart and get a tailored, black, military-style coat, you can count on up to five years of use before you have to retire it to the local goodwill.”