Jess Cart­ner-Mor­ley

How to nail cold-weather chic

The Guardian - Weekend - - Front | Contents - Jess wears jacket, £369, whis­tles.com. Trousers, £210, cefinn.co.uk. Boots, £95, of­fice.co.uk. Polo neck, Jess’ own

The trick­i­est dress code to get right isn’t smart­ca­sual, it’s smart-cold. Smart-cold doesn’t get printed in in­vi­ta­tions, but it is an un­spo­ken dress code with which you will al­most cer­tainly have to grap­ple over the next two months. One can’t ne­glect stan­dards just be­cause the mer­cury dips. It’s too bad for morale.

It goes with­out say­ing that keep­ing warm is the most im­por­tant issue here; smart-cold is never about shiv­er­ing or wear­ing fewer clothes. But if you aban­don all sar­to­rial co­or­di­nates and dress only for warmth, pil­ing on ran­dom lay­ers and hats and scarves and gloves, you end up lumpy and bun­dled and chaotic. Snow­man-who-got-dressed-in­the-dark is not a good look, and stream­lin­ing your out­fit can help you feel more in con­trol of your bat­tle with the el­e­ments.

So, three points. First: un­der­wear. Uniqlo’s HeatTech un­der lay­er­ings do the heavy lift­ing in­vis­i­bly, while John Lewis 150 de­nier fleece-lined tights get me out of bed on the cold­est morn­ings. Second: polo necks. There is al­most no out­fit not im­proved by a sleek polo neck. This is an off-white wool one I bought from Marks & Sparks a cou­ple of years ago. A jacket or coat that has a bulky col­lar looks messy worn with a scarf, and this is just as warm. White has a pleas­ing 1970s après-ski vibe that I en­joy (I can’t ski, but that’s ir­rel­e­vant) and for a smart day­time look works well un­der an open-necked white shirt and a dark blazer.

Third: colour. There is plenty of gloom and dark­ness at this time of year. Black can be chic, but when dark scarves and coats and boots are lay­ered to­gether, the over­all ef­fect be­comes un­help­fully apoc­a­lyp­tic. I re­fer you, here, to two his­toric glob­ally tele­vised mas­ter­classes in smart-cold dress­ing: both in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­monies star­ring the Obama fam­ily. In 2009, seven-year-old Sasha in a flamingo pink coat with coral scarf and gloves nailed smart-cold from the off. Can you do it? Yes, you can

Fash­ion jour­nal­ist of the year

1 Pink jumper, £24.90, uniqlo.com2 Scarf, £69, sto­ries.com3 Boots, £65, next.co.uk4 Check trousers, £42, riveris­land.com5 Jacket, £79.99, zara.com

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