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The best of both worlds are fabrics with a wintery look and feel to it and a weight of 400 g at most. And there is still the option of long underwear to make a suit just that trifle warmer that makes all the difference...

Winter Suits

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Global warming has the strange effect of winters getting real cold again. In the recent decades the idea of a wardrobe that is suited to icy winds seemed absurd. Presently men start to appreciate clothes again that keep them warm. But most will focus on either thermal underwear or the outer layer of overcoats and jackets.

The best thing to save a man from freezing is a proper winter suit. If it’s tailored of a really heavy cloth it may even save you the expense of an extra warm wool topcoat.

Most suits are nowadays made for all year round wear. Thus the fabric will weigh something between 230 and 320 g. A winter suit that deserves its name will be cut from a cloth twice that weight. A serious tweed will have 430 g, 560 g or even 680 g per meter. It takes around 3,50 m to make a two-piece suit for a man of average size, a wintersuit will feel accordingly heavy. In return you won’t get cold.

Heavy suitings were designed for people who lived in cold houses which explains why they are woven mainly in the UK. The lack of central heating is an almost proverbial quality of British homes although it has become a bit of cliché. Nevertheless you do come to houses on the British Isles that will make you want to keep your overcoat on.

I remember a November weekend in a British countryhouse. Central heating had been installed in the 1920s but it was wasn’t used to save money. Everybody crowded around the fireplaces and near the stove in the kitchen. I was really glad that I was wearing my heavy three piece tweed suit. I was even tempted to wear it in bed because the bedroom had more in common with a fridge that with a cosy place to rest. The problems start when I wear it anywhere else. As soon as the room temperature exceeds 18 °C I start to feel uncomfortable. In an overheated room it is unbearable.

There is no wintersuit that is equally fit for outside and inside wear, so you do have to compromise. You will either have a cloth that is not really warm enough outside or a cloth that is too hot to wear inside.

The best of both worlds are fabrics with a wintery look and feel to it and a weight of 400 g at most. And there is still the option of long underwear to make a suit just that trifle warmer that makes all the difference…

About Bernhard Roetzel

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Bernhard Roetzel, 45, is an expert fashion writer from Berlin, Germany. The first edition of his book 'Gentleman. A Timeless Fashion' has been translated in 18 more languages since 1999. 2009 saw the launch of the revised edition of this book which has since been translated in more than a dozen languages. He currently works on a new book on menswear which will be published in English in Spring 2012.

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