How to beat the cold snap, one luxe layer at a time


In London we haven’t had a truly cold snap yet this year but I’m bracing myself. If the threats are true that we’re in for the harshest winter since 1949, then I plan to be thoroughly insulated.

For starters, I lay down my first layer of a Hanro shoestring vest. Admittedly Uniqlo’s HeatTech vests also do the trick but I find their boxy cut and thick straps less lovely to look at that Hanro’s slimmer, sexier offer. With Hanro you have the choice of cotton, silk or wool which is good if you’re more suited to natural fibres (athough the price then goes up accordingly). I wrote about my Hanro vest habit here.

On top of the vest goes the Hanro basic short sleeve tee. If you get the V neck one, it shouldn’t interfere with the neckline of whatever goes over it. These tops are superfine so they add an insulating layer minus the bulk.

I’m uber-fussy about my knitwear, especially cashmere which is so fashionable now and yet still so hard to get right. I like what ESK Cashmere is doing, a new knitwear brand that’s designed and manufactured in Scotland. Creative director Lorraine Acornly spent years at Joseph, Albam and Pringle Of Scotland and has transferred her knowledge and design aesthetic to these excellent year-round warmers. Alongside classic cashmere sweaters in easy neutrals (for men and women), there are contemporary styles too, like the oversized waffle cardigans and this chunky fuchsia-tipped number. If you suffer from perennially cold feet like me, you can also buy ESK’s big-ass cashmere-merino socks that come in a rich, country landscape palette…
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I also think the new knitwear line, & Daughter has the potential to be massive. Buffy Reid and her father Columba are the design and manufacturing talent behind this elevated basics line which is starting small with plans to add to the offer next year. This is the place to go if you care about quality, British-made goods, with a fashionable slant. Specialising in Aran (made in Donegal), cashmere (from Hawick) and woollen knits, London-based Buffy steers the design while Columba handles manufacturing from his base in Ireland. As gorgeous as the knits are, the styling and look book imagery really help to communicate the brand. I think the price point is pretty fair too for what you get (around £225-£265 for the cashmere sweaters)…
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Meanwhile, here’s a little tip if you’ve caught the J Crew bug and winced at the UK prices. I have discovered a men’s classic lambswool knit that’s perfect if you like your jumpers in a Hockney-ish hue and on the XL side in fit. My emerald green one was £69.50 in the Regent Street J Crew men’s store and I have my eye on at least three other shades. The beauty is that the generous cut allows for extra layers underneath.

Coat-wise, I’ve been living in my Woolrich parka with its vast furry hood. If you’re not into fur or parkas, (I notice a lot of people have these now, they’re almost ubiquitous *weeps*), then it doesn’t get better than the hardy British duffel by Gloverall. I love this two-tone one that Gloverall has produced exclusively for the Ace Hotel. These coats are made to last – but if a toggle does fall off, you can send it straight to the HQ for an instant repair…

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And for a waterproof coat that’s a little different from your average trench or down-filled jacket, let me introduce you to Norwegian Rain. This is a very interesting brand that’s all about functionality and technical detail with a sartorial bent (co-founder and designer T-Michael comes from a bespoke tailoring background). As it rains on two out of every three days in Bergen, where the founders are from, their challenge was to create all-year outerwear that’s windproof, breathable and properly waterproof. A bit of a cult buy, the Norwegian line launched four years ago and has just landed at Harvey Nichols. From now until the end of January, you’ll find it in the Knightsbridge store as part of a menswear pop-up showcase called ‘The Harvey Nichols Rain Project’. Selling alongside Norwegian Rain is a mix of product from creative collective The COAL Project that includes Lotho Eyewear, Super Duper Hats and Sebastian Dollinger’s special-edition Eton shirts…

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