No other month allows you to dabble in the full spectrum of dress codes like December does. You go from Christmas party glad rags in the build-up to the 25th to head-to-toe slouchwear for the three days of turkey leftovers that come after.
Also in the mix are last-minute Christmas shopping, long boozy lunches and, depending on just how much booze you consume, carol singing. That’s a tall order by anyone’s wardrobe.
The key to unlocking it all is having a few versatile winter staples that do multiple jobs throughout Mariah Carey month. These are our go-to outfit ideas for December.
Denim And Shearling, Together
If there’s one reason not to hate three months of darkness and no feeling in your extremities, shearling is it. It’s a curious mix of practical and ridiculous, smooth on one side and shaggy on the other, basically a big ol’ bundle of luxurious contradictions. And, if you’re to get your money’s worth out of a real shearling, December is the time to buy.
To do the shearling jacket justice, make like the long line of menswear icons (Robert Redford, Alain Delon, Steve McQueen) who all knew very well that shearling’s natural bedfellow is denim. Whether you pair a tan shearling jacket with a thick blue denim shirt or contrast a black shearling jacket with some seriously sturdy selvedge denim, this pairing is made in menswear heaven.
One thing you’ll need to be wary of is how casual you err. A roll neck will do wonders for smartening up your look as will sneakers that are pristine and box fresh. If it feels sloppy, or casual it’s not your best bet to team with this iconic duo.
– Luke Sampson, head of creative
A Not-Terrible Festive Jumper
Ah, Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, and a naff Christmas jumper thrust upon you by your mum who just won’t take no for an answer.
So how do you style this situation out then? Well, you’ve got to turn up non-naff Christmas jumper in tow (relatives can’t thrust another one upon you, surely?). Fair Isle is our Christmas jumper pattern of choice, festive but without the novelty so you can still wear it right through to February.
It’s a busy pattern mind, so pick out a colour from the pattern and match it up with the shade of your trousers. We’d go with smart chinos over jeans, so you won’t get granny nagging you some more, worn with some Oxford boots so you can take the customary post-Christmas-lunch walk in style.
– Richard Jones, staff writer
Layered Workwear Pieces
If you want to be warm but don’t fancy being weighed down by a heavy overcoat, layered workwear could be the answer to cold-snap style. While they work well individually, layering and workwear together are an unstoppable combination come winter.
The very idea of layering is perfect for winter. You can pile on the garments for the outdoors, and as the day goes on you can customise your levels of warmth.
Workwear is also useful when it comes to the fabrics used, which are often durable and thick, and the amount of pockets featured on garments. Take a chore jacket for example, which tends to have an interior pocket as well as three large exterior ones, basically making bags obsolete.
The best thing about workwear though? How everything pairs so well together. Look for pieces in neutrals, navy or greens, and there’ll be basically interchangeable. Looking for a place to start? Layer heavy duty field jacket over a chore coat and a work shirt underneath that. If it’s really cold try a roll neck as your base layer, and you won’t feel wind chill ever again.
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
Work Attire That Doubles As Partywear
The problem with a tuxedo is that most of us, regrettably, are not James Bond and don’t have more than a couple of reasons to wear one a year. But if the party invitations are rolling in this month there’s another menswear staple you can turn to instead.
The corduroy suit is finally getting the credit it deserves after years being dismissed as a stuffy old thing worn by stuffy old men. Few materials can dress up or down as seamlessly as corduroy. You could wear a cord suit to the office with a tee or a tie and leave it on for dressy parties after dark because it has a similar sheen to velvet.
Play it safe with black or navy if you like, but the material also looks incredible in rust, green and burgundy tones. A crisp shirt underneath is fine, but for proper festive decadence lean into the seventies look with a roll neck.
– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief
The Most Luxurious Loungewear You Can Afford
The festive season is a time best spent at home, but that’s no excuse to spend three weeks of the year schlepping about in holey (or unholy) sweats.
While it’s perfectly fine to drink hot wine at 11am, letting overnight guests and visitors see you in a novelty T-shirt and gravy-stained shorts is not. To stay on the sartorial nice list, what to ask for this Christmas is quality loungewear.
The rules are simple. Opt for a matching set – whether that’s a pair of classic pyjamas or a series of seriously premium basics – in neutral colours such as navy, grey or black and prioritise soft, breathable fabrics like cotton, silk and jersey. Both of which will have you covered for lounging, lunching and everything in between.
– Luke Todd, deputy editor
A Dressed-Up Parka Jacket
A parka has always been considered a casual piece of outerwear, but that doesn’t mean you only have to wear it with super laid-back attire. The mods of the 1960s were the first to explore the parka’s true versatility when they wore them over sharp, three-buttoned tonic suits, and while you don’t have to replicate that look entirely, there’s no reason why a parka can’t be your go-everywhere, do-anything coat this season.
Dressing up a parka is easier to do on the non-furry, more militaristic fishtail style. But, unlike the mods, ditch the green army surplus look in favour of sharper blacks and blues, which are instantly more formal. Try wearing one over a chunky roll neck or crew neck jumper, some tailored trousers and black boots, for a look appropriate for both work or play.
Bonus tip: While many parkas come in a shorter length, try and seek out a long one. This will replicate the look and feel of an overcoat, further smartening up the look. It shouldn’t be too roomy, but if there’s a bit of bag, fishtail parkas often come with a drawstring waist to tighten things up.
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
A Puffer Jacket That Means Business
The puffer jacket was first born out of personal necessity when its creator nearly lost his life to hypothermia whilst on a fishing trip in mid-winter.
Alongside the practicality, the puffer jacket has also become a firm fashion favourite, with various iterations everywhere, every season from high fashion overlords like Balenciaga right down to the high street. Its popularity, discounting the insulation, is mostly down to the flattering contrast it creates with a slim bottom half, puffing out that upper body to maximum proportions.
Pick out a cropped version that cuts off just above your waist if you want to accentuate this point further, and take it in a bright shade (burnt orange is one of the colours of the season) to really get noticed with a dark jumper and jeans combo grounding the look underneath.
– Richard Jones, staff writer