Fall is just around the corner, and our combined knowledge at Enzo Custom will ensure that you get into a custom suit that is not only stylish but also comfortable and warm for the latter part of the year.
While many professionals enjoy the freedom of more relaxed dress codes and brighter color selections during the spring and summer months, fall and winter can also be a time to shine from a style standpoint, as the number of accessories and suit pieces tends to increase with a drop in temperature. For all of our friends in the southern hemisphere, you may want to read up on our summer suit guide, as the hottest time of the year is only just a few months away for you. But for everyone else, the looming winter usually means scarves, overcoats, vests, and extra layers to keep you nice and toasty on those cold morning walks from the parking lot to your office building. For all but the most extreme temperature conditions (we're looking at you, Barrow, Alaska), there is usually no need to dress like the Michelin Man to stay warm, and there are plenty of stylish suit options to keep you comfortable as the days get shorter.
When it comes to staying stylish during the winter months, subtlety always goes a long way. Softer, more neutral colors tend to be very popular as opposed to bright pastel shades that seem to trend during the spring and summer. But the material of your suit is just as important, if not more so, as cold temperatures can really put additional stress on your body's mechanisms that maintain homeostasis. Here at Enzo Custom, we want to make sure that you stay warm without looking like you rummaged through a box that's been sitting in your closet for 10 years, and our style tips will keep you looking sharp, even when the weather is dull and dreary.
In terms of suit materials to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter, wool is going to be your best option. This natural material is superior to everything else on the market when it comes to regulating body temperature; not only does it pull away heat and moisture from your body during warmer parts of the year, but it also allows you to retain more heat during winter due to its superior breathability. A thicker wool is generally preferable for fall and winter, but wool/cotton blends are also acceptable. It is also one of the easiest materials to source and find as it is the most common used for suits year-round. Depending on the thickness of the wool that is used for your custom suit, overcoats, scarves, and extra layers may not be necessary if you're going for a sleeker, more minimalist look and the climate in which you live isn't particularly frigid. If, however, you find yourself in cities that have winters on the harsher side such as Chicago or Minneapolis, you may want to consider something with a little more insulation.
This is where flannel comes into play. Flannel is essentially just a thicker type of wool. Most flannel suits are made from wool or a wool/cotton blend, but sometimes other synthetics are used as well. But as we will explain shortly, synthetics should be avoided. The more loosely woven and thicker wool fibers found in flannel material will allow your body to retain extra heat, and this is obviously going to be more favorable when the temperature outside drops below freezing. As the material is woven more loosely, tiny pockets of air get trapped in between the fibers, and this provides a barrier between your body heat and the outside elements. Flannel suits are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and patterns to fit anyone's fashion sensibilities; while the word flannel tends to have connotations of truck stops and greasy diners, many articles of winter formal wear are made from this material, even if the word itself isn't used as often in how dressier clothing items are advertised. But when the snow begins to fall and the wind turns the stagnant air into a blustery vortex, you'll be thankful for choosing the softer, thicker composition of flannel.
In the realm of custom suits, we must always emphasize that synthetic materials should be avoided, and this is especially true in winter months. Just as synthetic fibers are not ideal in the summertime due to their propensity to be suffocating, the opposite problem can occur in winter where very little heat is retained. Synthetic fibers may be more durable in the short term, as they are able to withstand more rough handling than their natural counterparts such as wool, cotton, and flannel made from wool/cotton blends, but the difference is in the longevity of the piece of clothing. While a suit made from synthetic may have a lower price point and last for a number of years, a well-tailored custom suit made from wool can last decades with proper handling and care. When it comes to lighter natural materials such as linen, this is a perfectly acceptable cloth for summer suits but as you've probably gathered, it should be avoided in winter as it also is a poor insulator. If you do opt for a linen suit this winter to add to your collection, consider adding an overcoat or vest to your clothing repertoire as well.
In contrast to the suit styles that permeate the spring and summer months, fall and winter styles tend to be more subdued, subtler, and more refined. When we're talking about the best fall and winter colors for custom suits, various shades of tan, beige, brown, and even dark burgundy are very popular choices that do a great job of complementing the shades of falling leaves and feelings associated with changing weather patterns. Classic black is also hugely popular, as it is the most common suit color for all seasons and events. A black suit made from flannel wool will keep you looking stylish and warm not only in the office but also for a night on the town. You may also want to try out some checkered or striped patterns. Soft nuanced color changes can really add a sense of tasteful subtlety to your fall ensemble. For a look that is even more reserved, consider opting for a charcoal grey pattern with very slight shade variations; from far away, your suit will look almost as if it is a uniform color until it gets closer in one's field of vision. The visual contrast that occurs at varying distances can add a very unique effect to your outfit that will stand out in a memorable and positive way.
When a custom suit by itself isn't quite enough to keep you warm during the fall and winter, especially when you get up into the higher latitudes, overcoats are a great way to add a bit of extra flair to your outfit rotations. As they are considered an accessory and not part of the suit itself, your flexibility in terms of picking out patterns, designs, and colors can get a lot more creative. With overcoats, you are certainly given more liberties to bend the unspoken fashion rules to a greater degree than you would when picking just a suit or tuxedo. As with a custom suit itself, you can't go wrong with wool for your overcoats. This extra wooly layer will keep you insulated and warm whether you're headed out to lunch or going for a quiet evening stroll. For colors, classic black, gray, or various shades of tan pair nicely with fall and winter attire, and as with most overcoats, you can feel free to wear them in both formal as well as casual settings. Chesterfields, trench coats, paletots, and even the more informal peacoat are all popular choices for that extra layer whether you're going to the office or meeting up with friends.
In addition to an overcoat to protect yourself from the elements, a vest can also add another layer to keep you warm as well as bring an extra component of style to your fall and winter look. This is especially true in the fall, as the temperature fluctuations from day and night can be quite pronounced. By adding a wool or tweed vest to your wardrobe, you'll have a leg up on your peers when it comes to sharpness and elegance.
While scarves are slightly less common today than they were in the past, they are still relatively widespread in colder regions of the United States such as the East Coast and the Midwest. The main purpose of a scarf, other than a bold style statement, is in its versatility and functionality. This extra simple piece is designed to keep your neck warm, and this is especially effective on those bone-chilling windy days. As it goes with most accessories, a scarf should match your suit as well as the rest of your outfit, but it's not an exact science. Go with black or grey if you feel more comfortable with a toned-down minimalist look, but there is also no harm in picking a color with a little more pizzazz such as red, burgundy, or even dark olive green. We would, however, suggest that the scarf should complement your suit rather than overpower it, so whatever color or design you choose shouldn't be overly loud or ostentatious, save a handful of more informal occasions.
Style guides don't normally talk about socks because it is always going to be the part of your outfit that is seen the least. But we're betting that anyone over 30 reading this is always excited around Christmas time to get extra pairs of socks stuffed into their stockings. Seriously, the only thing that tops it is an envelope full of cold hard cash. These seemingly standard items of everyday attire are particularly handy in winter, especially if they are made with extra thickness and insulation in mind. As your feet tend to lose heat very quickly compared to the rest of your body, you want to make sure that your toes don't freeze on the way to the office, and even a small layer of extra thickness will go a long way. Whether you prefer classic black or wacky designs is really up to you, but we would caution against anything too crazy for anything above a casual setting.
At Enzo Custom, all of our tailor-made suits are fabricated with natural materials and the highest standards in mind, ensuring maximum comfort in all the seasons. And this upcoming fall and winter are no different; we've got you covered. Don't hesitate to call us, make a private appointment at one of our showrooms, or browse our products online so we can tailor your next fall or winter suit just in time for the autumnal equinox. Your style will be on fire, even when it's freezing.