As temperatures drop and nights draw in, it can be all too easy to retreat inside and mourn the summer weather. The transition into winter can be harsh, but one way you can cushion the blow is by splurging on an investment piece that’ll make you look forward to getting outside, even in the blistering cold.
Winter has no shortage of expensive garments to drop a week’s or even a month’s salary on. From cashmere outerwear to proper handmade boots, there are lots of indulgent seasonal pieces that you can use to add a touch of refinement and luxury to your cold-weather wardrobe. And while they are expensive by nature, many of them offer a potential lifetime of wear and will have your back for countless winters to come.
That’s assuming you buy well, of course. Just because something is expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s built for the long haul. That’s why we’ve pulled together some of our favourite high-end winter purchases, along with a few suggestions of precisely which ones to buy.
Pure Wool Overcoat
It’s possible to buy a wool overcoat for around the £100 mark, but it’s going to be shapeless, mass-produced in a Chinese factory and will most likely fall to bits after a few seasons of wear. Spend a few hundred more and you’ll get higher-quality materials, superior craftsmanship and a better fit.
A proper wool overcoat from a respected brand can cost anywhere between £300 and several thousand pounds. It’s a lot of money, but you’re getting a lot of cost for it. Opt for a neutral colour and you can style it with everything – seriously, it’ll go with joggers and a hoodie at one end of the spectrum and a three-piece tailored suit at the other.
Check out Asket and Percival for entry-level options, Private White V.C. and Mackintosh for mid-range, and Loro Piana and Johnstons of Elgin if you want to take out a mortgage.
Winter weather takes its toll on footwear, so having something that’s built to take a battering is always a good idea. A proper Goodyear-welted boot is exactly that. The unique stitched construction is supremely strong and easy to repair and resole, which means you can keep wearing them for years to come.
There are lots of different styles of Goodyear-welted boots, but we’d suggest going for something with a sturdy lugged sole and a thick oily leather to help you deal with the worst of the winter weather.
Some of our favourite brands are Red Wing, Danner and R.M. Williams, with prices starting at around £300.
The down parka was created in the 1920s for an Everest expedition and has been a mountaineering staple ever since. It provides unparalleled warmth for its relatively low weight and just so happens to look great too, offering a uniquely bulky silhouette that adds something different to your winter outfits’ proportions.
Down parkas are, first and foremost, outdoor equipment, so unsurprisingly outdoor brands make some of the best versions. The North Face’s Himalayan Down Parka is a good option at a relatively accessible £360, but if you want to spend some serious money then take a look at Canada Goose’s flagship Expedition Parka.
For something less mainstream, try Japan’s Goldwin, which has a long history of producing skiwear and outdoor apparel, and makes some of the coolest down jackets in the business.
With its soft and silky hand feel, cashmere is one of the most luxurious knitted fabrics there is. It’s cosy, feels great against the skin and it’s perfect for layering in luxury when the temperature takes a nosedive.
Whether you go for a cardigan, a crew-neck sweater or a roll neck, a piece of cashmere knitwear is one of the most trend-proof winter wardrobe investments you can make. Not only that, it’s also highly versatile, meaning you can really maximise that cost-per-wear factor, dressing it up and down with lots of different outfits.
Gore-Tex Pro Shell Jacket
You haven’t experienced the meaning of the word ‘waterproof’ until you’ve watched the rain bead off a fresh Gore-Tex Pro shell in a torrential downpour. It’s like magic. Of course, the premier fabric from the first name in waterproof tech isn’t cheap, which is why a rain jacket cut from this stuff is one of our top picks when it comes to extravagant winter purchases.
As far as brands go, upscale Canadian outdoor label Arc’teryx is the one that immediately comes to mind, but it’s by no means the only option. If you fancy something a bit different, you could try Iceland’s 66°North instead. It’s similar in terms of price point and quality, but you’re less likely to spot several other people with the same jacket.
For something more casual, check out Japan’s Nanamica, which makes Gore-Tex versions of classic outerwear styles.
Lined Leather Gloves
If we had a quid for every time we’ve seen a decent winter outfit ruined by a pair of ill-fitting woolly mits, we’d probably have enough by now to buy ourselves a proper pair of lined leather gloves.
These smart winter hand warmers are perfect for braving the elements in style, with heritage brand Hestra making some of the best in the game.
As you know, cashmere is one of the most luxurious knitted fabrics out there. In an ideal world, we’d all have multiple pieces to call upon when the weather turns cold, but in reality this stuff is a bit expensive.
If you want to make a luxury addition to your winter wardrobe but find yourself strapped for cash, a cashmere scarf is a good compromise. It’s still pricey, but generally more affordable than a larger piece like a sweater or cardigan. Plus, you can wear it with everything, which really maximises the return on investment.
Expect to get a plain cashmere scarf for around £50 on the high street, but for premium options from luxury brands you can end up paying well into the hundreds.
In the same vein as above, a cashmere beanie offers an affordable route into the world of high-end knitwear. Check out options from Luca Faloni, Jonstons of Elgin and Begg x Co for some of the best.
Japanese Raw Denim
Heavyweight denim is right at home in the winter months. This is the perfect time of year to crack open a fresh pair of raw jeans, wear them daily and let winter work its magic on those fades.
A good pair of Japanese jeans is built to last and goes with pretty much everything. So while it might seem like a lot of money to drop on denim, the price tag becomes a bit more palatable when you consider the outlay over time. Repair them well and they’ll last you for life.
We’d suggest Samurai, Momotaro and orSlow if you’re looking for some brands to get started.