It’s easy to get lazy in winter. Just get a padded jacket and voice some pithy thoughts about the election and you’re set until spring, right? Wrong. It is possible to be cool in winter. All you have to do is pretend it’s 1996, dry-clean that suit you never wear, get a baseball bat and buy everything in XL. Or hell, even XXL. Just let us be your guide …
For a long time, it felt as if suits had been killed off – the casualty of casual dressing. But when Tom Ford talks, we listen. Apparenty, the designer and film director wore suits and boots on the set of his new film Nocturnal Animals, proclaiming he felt “weak in trainers”. Take note: smartening up is totally that strong-arm emoji.
Buy everything in XXL
The oversized trend is this season’s overarching look. It can be seen from Topshop to Balenciaga, from menswear to womenswear, and, because of its flexibility (you can apply it to coats, trousers, jumpers), it probably won’t peak. Fashion has caught on, though, so if you want an oversized Raf Simons jacket, expect to pay upwards of £3,000 (even Topshop Unique’s tent-like pink padded jacket is more than £100). Our tip is to buy everything in XXL. Comically oversized. Better still, try menswear XXL.
Granted, fashion tends to yo-yo on this one (sometimes it’s no logos on bags, sometimes it’s big logos on hoodies), but when it comes to underwear, in this post-capitalist, post-consumer, post-post world, logos are deeply cool. As long as they’re worn with a smidge of irony. And if flashing your Calvin Klein waistband feels a bit trite, try a designer name (Christian Dior) on your bra strap (like Bella Hadid) while saying something pithy about post-consumerism.
Wear Old Skool Vans
Yes, Frank Ocean wore Vans to the White House, and the popularity of the “Damn Daniel” meme saw a 30% spike in sales. But sorry, Frank, those aren’t the right Vans. The Old Skool – the black ones with the squiggle down the side, yours for £52 – are worn by the frow and on the catwalk for Off-White. They also date back to 1977, which provides that stamp of authenticity.
Don a Caballero hat
Everybody knows Prince’s Purple Rain look. Now it’s time to explore the rest of his fashion oeuvre. Enter the Caballero hat. Prince wears one in the bath in his 1986 black-and-white film Under the Cherry Moon, set in an unspecified era that is possibly the 1930s. Feel free to wear one, too.
Do Gucci on a budget
Love the new Gucci look but can’t afford the four-figure prices? Silken Favours is your friend. Set up by former model Vicki Murdoch in 2012, its designs include cowboy shirts with parrots, and blouses with leopards as standard. They might be £265 and up, but they are worth the investment. Not for wallflowers.
Style your hair like the Brain
The Brain is Zeljko Buvac, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s assistant; the Horatio to Klopp’s Hamlet, a quiet tactical force with a thousand-yard stare and dark, thick curtains for hair. It’s unlikely he sees himself as cool but, as the saying goes, the best leaders are those reluctant to lead. To pull off the sports luxe-Brain look, you also need a full head of hair, so it doubles as a great humblebrag.
Wear a choker
This year, no other TV show has been more on-trend than clammy angst fest My So Called Life. The shearling and layered look worn by Jordan Catalano (played by Jared Leto) brings a dash of 90s realness to 2016, while his signature accessory (a choker) has popped up as this year’s gender-fluid look. See: Louis Vuitton, Raf Simons’s Robert Mapplethorpe collaboration and the Harry Styles shoot in Another Man magazine.
Reference Janet Jackson …
After Trump’s “nasty woman” attack on Hillary Clinton propelled Janet’s 1986 hit Nasty back into the streaming charts, La Jackson herself was spotted in the tabloids heavily pregnant in a Y-3 male hoodie, challenging what we thought we knew about gender neutrality, modesty and maternity wear. It was a triple-whammy fashion moment from the woman who brought us athleisure boilersuits (Rhythm Nation), oversize boxy jackets (What Have You Done For Me Lately) and much more.
… or River Phoenix (men) and Nico (women)
Cooly detached, iconic and ultimately self-destructive, River Phoenix and Nico fit the brief for cult hero status. Designer Ashley Williams put Phoenix at the centre of her latest collection, which riffs on suburban adolescence, and Nico, a singer who went from statuesque Teuton to goth goddess, continues to inspire with a film of her life having started shooting this year.
Use an analogue face mask
It is with a healthy does of scepticism that we pop this here because no face mask can ever replace the benefits of getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water, but they can come close. It started with the SK-II, a pricey, super-luxe mask that erased any extracurriculars from the night before, but similar masks are now available from Garnier for a few quid. Justin Bieber uses them. So does Cristiano Ronaldo. Downside: you’ll resemble a damp Michael Myers; upside: that’s very Instagrammable.
Light your Instagrams with pink and blue
Pantone’s colour of 2016 was Rose Quartz and Serenity, a sunset burst of pink and blues that perfectly articulates our gender-fluid age. The colour has appeared in the posters for Barry Jenkins’ drama Moonlight and Issa Rae’s HBO sitcom Insecure.
Raise your accessory game
Accessories are a natural entry-point into fashion. The thing to remember is that not all accessories need to have a point. Why line Gucci loafers with fur if not for the lols? Why not pretend your phone is a packet of antidepressants? (Thanks, Moschino!) Beyoncé deployed a baseball bat effectively in the Lemonade video without ruffling a hem of her Gucci dress. Margot Robbie carried one in Suicide Squad, making her an antihero with an edge. And, of course, fans of The Walking Dead will know the part “Lucille” has played this season.
Customise your bomber jacket
Bomber jackets are the grey squirrels of fashion. In whatever form – badged at Topman, shearling at Louis Vuitton – they are so ubiquitous they risk taking over the coat world. If you don’t already have one, then customised bomber jackets are your way in. Try Cinq à Sept or Gabriel Bruce’s merch bombers, which come emblazoned with “Come All Sufferers” (Florence Welch is a fan).
Layer like you mean it
This season, menswear dressing is all about being an onion. Here, maximalism simply means wearing the same item twice. Try experimental layering – wear two shirts (one short-sleeved, one long) or play with double-jacketing.
Carry a Winona bag
This has been the year of Winona Ryder’s comeback, thanks to her standout role in Stranger Things. The understated way to pay tribute is with the Winona bag, created by Idea Books, the rare books store and publishing house set up by Angela Hill and David Owen in 2010, now boasting 265,000 followers on Instagram and a publishing deal with cult French label Vetements. Wearing the Winona bag (currently sold out) or T-shirt shows that you are a) a fan of Winona and b) in on the Idea books thing. Two cool boxes ticked.
Laugh in the face of practicality
Question: how do you turn a jacket that might be familiar to a Millets shopper into something fashion? Answer: wear it in a weird way. That’s the case this winter. Demna Gvasalia is the designer behind turning very sensible jackets into something that would be no help in a rain shower, as seen at Balenciaga. Basically, if you wear your padded jacket around your shoulders rather than doing it up properly, you’re sorted.
Swap the Kardashian clan for the Smiths
As the Kardashians’ collective starlight begins to dim and Anwar Hadid fails to happen, another fashion-royal family is set to make its mark. Lucky Blue Smith is “the Mormon model with a million fans”; now his sisters are everywhere. Daisy Clementine, Starlie Cheyenne and Pyper America (not My Little Ponies, despite their names) have collectively modelled for Moncler, were on the frow of Dolce and Gabbana and are in a surf-pop band, the Atomics. But which one’s the Khloé?
Don’t forget about the 80s …
From Stranger Things to Taylor Swift’s 1989 to Halt and Catch Fire, pop culture is saturated in DayGlo neon. In fashion terms, we’re hitting peak Sloaney party girl. Saint Laurent, House of Holland and Topshop Unique have not shied away from the lamé, puffs and power-pop video chic.
… but 1996 is coming up fast
Insiders looking for retro inspiration are gravitating to the 90s, specifically 1996 – the year cult teen witch movie The Craft came out, the Spice Girls ruled the charts and Britpop was still a thing. The fashion references are ripe for the taking: see chokers, trackie tops and those weird platform trainers, all back from the cultural dustbin and worn by those born in the year they were last popular.