A warm welcome to winter: great hats, scarves and gloves

It’s the season for functional accessories, so you might as well have fun with them

Photograph: Thinkstock

Photograph: Thinkstock

 

As the evenings grow longer and leaves on the trees fall to the pavements and turn into a life- threatening, slippery mush, a woman’s thoughts turn to warmth. Cosiness is key and we’re all buying in. The ideal way to do this is to stay indoors next to a roaring fire with a bottomless vat of hot chocolate, but for all outdoor pursuits, it’s just a case of buying the right hats, scarves and gloves.

Hats

Wide-brimmed hats will blow off in the wind, and berets are an acquired taste, but a good beanie hat will suit anyone. This classic, close-fitting headwear silhouette is a no-brainer that can be worn almost everywhere and with everything. When trying on beanies, make sure yours is snug but not too relaxed, as the fibres will loosen up with continued use.

Black and grey are the best neutrals, but they don’t have to be dreary. Look for hats with interesting accents if you want to add a bit of whimsy. Eugenia Kim has a luxury mouse-like faux fur and wool bobble beanie, but Swedish high-street brand Monki has an acrylic approximation for a mere €10.

Of course, with beanies (and all winter hats) comes the dreaded flattening and crinkling effect of hat hair. While the only real alternative to hat hair is not wearing one at all and thus risking death by frozen earlobes, there are measures that can be taken. Wash and dry hats using antistatic dryer cloths before wearing, or very lightly spritz the inside of your beanie with hairspray, then leave to dry. Alternatively, knitted headbands that cover the ears but not the crown of the head are excellent for preserving updos. Fuzzy earmuffs are also a fun option.

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Scarves

It’s a rare and beautiful occurrence when the most stylish thing is also the most practical, so feel free to embrace the trend for fur (faux, of course) tippets and stoles. Sizes go from the smallest collars to several feet long, so consider the impact you want your outfit to make; the bigger the personality, the bigger the fur. These scarves draw the eye up and down the body, so pair them with coats that mimic those lines; wear with slightly open single-breasted or V-neck coats and not funnel necks or totally buttoned up.

For those who want maximum warmth in both the coat and scarf department, asymmetrically wrap a blanket scarf over a closed-collar coat. Blanket scarves are large squares that can be folded into multiple shapes, so experiment with yours. Plaid is a popular pattern. Try buying a plaid in the same colour family as your coat: green plaid for khaki coats, red for burgundy and so on.

When buying a scarf, it’s fun to play with texture as well as colour. Block colours don’t have to be sombre or dull when the material is exciting. Faux fur is a winner in terms of texture and tactility, but experiment with chunky, large-gauge knits, semi-sheers, sparkles and interesting woven materials to add an extra dimension to an outfit.

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Gloves

Gloves are the poor cousins of the winter warmer family. They restrict mobility and make executing daily tasks that little bit harder, especially now that more and more of us are constantly connected to phones and touchscreen devices.

While touchscreen gloves are available, they generally aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing of things. Instead, try Asos’s fluffy alpaca wool gloves, which come in a selection of colours and with gold zip hardware. The gloves have handy fingertip converters, which means you can pop the top of a forefinger or thumb out to type a text, then retreat back into the warmth.

For truly cold weather, a pair of black leather gloves can’t be beaten in terms of usefulness and versatility. It is probably best to keep your gloves a dark, neutral colour in keeping with the rest of the outfit, as gloves get grubbier and worn-out more quickly than any other accessory. Pops of detail on a glove can be great, though: these quilted leather gloves from Dune have a quirky leopard effect at the wrist.

The likelihood is that at least one glove will go walkabout before the end of the festive season, so don’t get too invested. Life is far too short to be matchy-matchy, so don’t be afraid to wear something that could be considered a little off-kilter. It’s great (but by no means essential) to match your hat, scarf and gloves, but where is the fun in that?

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