When it comes to dressing for the most wonderful time of the year, girls have it so easy. Looking Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s-ready is as easy as donning metallics, sequins, or tactile velvet. For guys? Sporting one of the aforementioned fripperies will have you looking like a Liberace, which is not necessarily a good thing. Scrambling for something festive but not feminine, most guys will take the goofy route by throwing on a kitschy holiday sweater. The upside? It’s a great way to make your life’s Scrooge smile. The downside? If you’ve ever watched Bridget Jones’s Diary, you’ll know that these are not synonymous with stylish. But fear not — there is a way to dress festive without veering into “cheesy card” territory. Here, we feature several, fashion-forward alternatives that will put that overly-embellished pullover to shame.
1. Chunky sweater
Just because we’re insisting that tacky holiday sweaters should be saved for a themed party doesn’t mean you can’t sport a seriously chic (and kitsch-free) sweater. They keep you warm, require no ironing or steaming, and are a surefire way to mask any post-Thanksgiving poundage. Translation? They’re the hero piece for anyone’s winter.While we can always get behind a ski lodge-ready fair isle print, a bulging cable knit sweater in a dreamy solid is a sleek option that can be worn long after the New Year’s Eve ball drops. Red, green, and blue are obvious options for your preferred holiday; however, white is a nondenominational hue that will remind onlookers of an idyllic snowy backdrop. Pair this with jeans for a dreidel drinking game with your friends or style your sweater with a pair of wool trousers for your grandma’s extravagant Christmas Eve dinner. Either way, much better than your tacky alternative.
2. Flannel shirt
Forget those dreamy Berluti leather brogues that you’ve been lusting over for the past few months; the holidays are all about the simple things. Exhibit A? Even if you’re sipping margaritas at a luxurious, all-inclusive resort, you can’t help but think that the perfect setting for Christmas or Hanukkah is a remote, but sweetly homey, log cabin in the snowy woods. And no piece of apparel better captures that forest fantasy than a plaid flannel. Once popularized by woodsy style icons such as the Brawny Man, and made cool again by the hipsters of Brooklyn circa 2008, the flannel button-down is a cozy alternative to that uppity dress shirt you wore to work today. Not only does this pick look great with jeans, it comes in a slew of colorways that will bring some much-needed winter joy to your ensemble. Since flannels tend to skew more casual, save this for your cozy, yet intimate, holiday movie marathon with your significant other or grabbing pre-Thanksgiving beers with your buddies from high school.
3. Corduroy pants
Women have a vast variety of pants, skirts, and dresses to choose from. You, on the other hand? Winter bottoms are limited to jeans or stuffy wool trousers, neither of which are particularly spirited. Consider corduroy pants the perfect middle ground on the sartorial spectrum: You can dress them up with a formal dress shirt or tone down with a tee. If the touchable texture doesn’t have you dreaming of a winter wonderland yet, corduroy pants are available in versatile neutrals and festive hues such as green, red, and blue. Yes, they are the perfect way to give your pants a merry makeover, but be careful with how you style these. While your black ones can be coupled with a zesty top, stick with subtler shirt colors if pairing with pants of a more vibrant variety. After all, you don’t want your level of color to compete with your Christmas tree.
4. Patterned socks
When you were young, you could get away wearing virtually anything covered in snowflakes, menorahs, Santa incarnations, and snowmen. Hats, sweaters, pants, shoes — you name it, and it was precious. Now that you’re a suave gentleman? Not so much. But since the holidays always have a way of bringing out the child in all of us, we completely understand your urge to wear your heart (or that carefully embroidered reindeer) on your sleeve. Save those miniature Santa-adorned ties for your awkward boss or the uncle who has a few too many glasses of spiked eggnog each year and opt for zesty patterned socks. Perfect for any type of shoes, whether they are damp snow boots or sleek brogues, they offer a pop of jolly energy without looking like a former elf. Plus, they are the ideal accessories for warming up next to the fireplace (whilst drinking hot chocolate, of course).
5. Shearling-lined jacket
Truth be told, most guys don’t take many style cues from jolly ol’ Saint Nick: They purchase pricey gym memberships to avoid that large belly and usually keep their beards in check. But the one thing you could copy from Santa himself? Wearing pieces with furry linings. And for the modern day man, that means throwing on a shearling-lined jacket. Yes, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped up in your fuzziest blanket all day long (which is enough of an incentive), but a slew of top tier designers have also taken a liking to this garment over the past few seasons: Every major brand from Coach to Burberry Prorsum has sent shearling-clad models down the catwalk. Though these jackets tend to get a little pricey, keep in mind that you can wear them with anything: throw it under a formal top coat for a stylish mid layer factor or add a scarf on a peculiarly warm winter day. Just do us — and by that, we also mean yourself — a favor and stay far away from that red option with the crisp white lining.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs