With temperatures dropping after a freakishly warm December, it’s finally starting to feel like winter here in New York City. Only now am I starting to pull out my cold weather essentials like my snorkel parka, my turtleneck sweaters, my wool hat and scarf, my Chippewas and my gloves.
These aren’t things that are “in” this winter or “out” because they were part of last winter. These are evergreen basics that will never go out of style and will, most importantly, keep me warm this year, next year and for many winters to come.
The N-3B Parka
Many things men wear today have their roots in the military. The N-3B is another one, originally created for USAF crews in polar climates and on aircraft carriers in the middle of freezing oceans. I used to hate wearing my orange-lined snorkel jacket as a kid. As an adult who likes to stay warm, I couldn’t love it more. It’s a classic, masculine, effective design that has been working well since its creation in the 1950s.
The one I wear is a dead ringer knockoff from 2014 by J.Crew. Alpha Industries makes the definitive version in classic and slim fit for $180 and $200 respectively. It has a nylon outer shell and lining with a super warm poly fill, a hood lined with faux mouton fur and trimmed with faux coyote, and inset knit cuffs and a full-length zip-up front with a buttoning storm flap to keep the cold out. Though it comes in a variety of colors, I’d go with the classic and versatile Steel Blue/Orange pictured above.
I’ve had a lot of winter coats over the years. This one is, by far, the best one I’ve ever owned. Tough, timeless and super warm. When it’s ridiculously cold, I even wear it over a suit.
Wool Turtleneck & Scarf
The turtleneck is is a winter basic. Cashmere is wonderful and warm, but merino wool is terrific, too. The only drag about wool or cashmere turtlenecks is the snagging from whiskers. These are best worn with a clean shave.
A basic wool or cashmere makes for a good scarf, too. I have both from Uniqlo.
A Good Pair of Jeans
You can never go wrong with a classic pair of 501® Shrink-to-Fits. The 511® is also a great slim cut without falling into the tragic “skinny jeans” pit. With both, I went with raw, unwashed denim, since I prefer to do my own breaking-in.
Chippewa General Utility Service Boots
These American made beauties are one of the best winter weather investments I ever made. They’re ruggedly elegant, handsome and crafted with a Vibram sole. I can’t rave about them enough. Get ’em in cordovan.
Hat & Gloves
A good wool beanie and good cashmere-lined leather gloves aren’t hard to find. In my experience, J.Crew and their less expensive satellite J.Crew Factory does a perfectly fine job with them. (J.Crew makes a pair that can be used with a smartphone!)
Ray-Ban Aviators. You can’t mess with the original.