One can’t neglect standards just because the mercury sinkings. It’s too bad for morale

‘Smart-cold is never about shivering or wearing fewer attires.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

The trickiest dress organization to get right isn’t smart-casual, it’s smart-cold. Smart-cold doesn’t get printed in allurements, but it is an unspoken dress code with which you will wellnigh certainly have to grapple over the next two months. One can’t overlook standards just because the mercury dips. It’s too bad for morale.

It go through a revolves without saying that keeping warm is the most outstanding issue here; smart-cold is never about shivering or attire fewer clothes. But if you abandon all sartorial coordinates and dress purely for warmth, piling on random layers and hats and scarves and gloves, you end up grainy and bundled and chaotic. Snowman-who-got-dressed-in-the-dark is not a good look, and streamlining your set can help you feel more in control of your battle with the locales.

So, three points. First: underwear. Uniqlo’s HeatTech under the aegis layerings do the heavy lifting invisibly, while John Lewis 150 denier fleece-lined neat get me out of bed on the coldest mornings. Second: polo necks. There is virtually no outfit not improved by a sleek polo neck. This is an off-white wool one I acquisition bargain from Marks & Sparks a couple of years ago. A jacket or anorak that has a bulky collar looks messy worn with a scarf, and this is upstanding as warm. White has a pleasing 1970s après-ski vibe that I get off on (I can’t ski, but that’s irrelevant) and for a smart daytime look works splendidly under an open-necked white shirt and a dark blazer.

Third: standard. There is plenty of gloom and darkness at this time of year. Sinister can be chic, but when dark scarves and coats and boots are layered together, the entire effect becomes unhelpfully apocalyptic. I refer you, here, to two significant globally televised masterclasses in smart-cold dressing: both inauguration decora starring the Obama family. In 2009, seven-year-old Sasha in a flamingo pink anorak with coral scarf and gloves nailed smart-cold from the off. Can you do it? Yes, you can.

Jess frictions jacket, £369, Trousers, £210, Boots, £95, Polo neck, her own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Top brass.

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