The Mancunion

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What to Wear in a Winter Wonderland: The Christmas Menswear Edit

Kyle Zabawa gets up on his (tinsel-decorated) soapbox and suggests what to wear if you’re aspiring to a kiss underneath a poisonous holiday garland this festive season

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Although much too thin to stand in for Santa Claus as the invader of young children’s homes this Christmas, at a height of 5 foot 8 (on a good day, in a good boot), comparing myself to a helpful elf-like character, albeit a better dressed one, should not be too far a stretch for the imagination. So, with a flute of champagne in one hand and a canapé in the other, get yourself into the swing of the holiday season with a little winter wisdom and indulge in the following fantasies of my handy holiday guide.

As Christmas is a time when one is expected to leave the house looking well groomed at various hours of the day in order to visit friends and family in faraway lands (typically a short journey down the M6), it makes sense, at least in my mind, to offer to you a versatile compilation of clothing in order to combat any weather or style-related woes. As we dash through the snow in my one horse open sleigh, expect the usual blend of social commentary followed by my exclusively hand-selected, versatile collection of the season’s finest.

Winning In White

Christmas can be a stressful time and social occasions located indoors can get pretty warm—in order to remain dapper and debonair, always plan ahead to be able to remove a layer or two. There’s nothing worse than overheating in public and to combat this troublesome sensation, a versatile look should be high on your agenda.

Remember, the goal is to be neither the red-faced teetotal hypochondriac host, fussing over whether there are enough Marks and Spencer vol-au-vents to go around the room, nor the rowdy, red-faced uncle with a penchant for binge drinking who inevitably passes out due to mulled wine-related causes by approximately 10:30pm.

While remaining the perfect choice for those with a deep-rooted mistrust for the ornamental, a crisp white shirt, elegant yet relaxed, should always be a traditionalist main stay in the capsule wardrobe of the style conscious millennial. (Far from revolutionary, but that’s exactly the point.) Minimalist and modern, always opt for a tailored finish – neat and cut close to the body. Avoid the heat of the dance floor in a both lightweight and comfortable, timeless piece such as this excellent Topman offering.

Photo: Topman

Photo: Topman

Santa Baby, Slip a Blazer Under the Tree (for Me)

This year, expect to get back into the groove of party dressing with disco deluxe influences across the sartorial board. Finding the perfect blazer can often feel like an impossible task. In order to achieve your aims of catching eyes instead of door handles, the fit has got to be correct – the perfect cocktail jacket should never resemble a well-worn cast-off from a male relative.

Colour is also a very important consideration—arguments have even broken out at the usually tame Zabawa Towers when certain individuals (who shall remain unnamed) could not agree on the exact terminology for a shade somewhere along the navy-black spectrum—so my advice is to always stick to darker tones.

So, when the novelty of the festive season has worn off, but a bitter chill still lingers, channel the vibes of Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana—without the eye-watering price tag—this winter with the hypnotic sheen of this smart, black velvet blazer courtesy of Zara.

Photo: Zara

Photo: Zara

The Khaki Knit to do the Trick

Want to make an impression this winter but bored of seeing the same old pillar box red and pine green jumpers often sported by the average Joe or plain Jane? (My apologies in advance to any above-average Joes or even drop dead gorgeous Janes out there, offended by my generalisations.) Incorporating a festive touch to your ensemble without a sartorial compromise has never been easier.

Forget the headache-inducing tacky tinsel and gaudy bauble prints and instead effortlessly elevate your style by embracing a little tasteful knitwear. Avoid loud patterns and instead opt for softer pieces in neutral tones such as this lightweight olive sweater by River Island.

Photo: Asos

Photo: Asos

An Ode to Black Skinny Jeans

I love these black Topman jeans almost as much as the Santa who visits my home enjoys a Chatwins mince pie and a white wine spritzer. In fact, I can’t believe I’ve not written about them sooner—I even own two copies of the same style. If you don’t already own a pair of your very own, then it’s never too late to open your heart, mind, and wardrobe to the holy grail of denim.

With a tapered leg and a not too skinny hem, survive the party season in style by finding the perfect fit to instantly streamline your silhouette. Ideal for either a night out on the razz or even for a festive visit to the nearest Costa or Starbucks, black skinny jeans are a guaranteed, fail-safe statement.

Photo: Topman

Photo: Topman

Go Beyond the Fringe In Lavish Loafers

If, like me, you’re always looking for a boost in the height department, these shoes could be the answers to your prayers. A polished, easy-going classic; let your seasonal spirit shine with a stealthy footwear upgrade. The most feared phrase in the style lexicon ‘smart-casual dress code’ need no longer hold you hostage with a pair of luxurious loafers at your disposal.

Treat your feet to a festive facelift and head to the forefront of fashion in one polished step with these River Island loafers. Comfortable enough to dance all night without passing out in, and certainly worth hanging on to for many more midnights to come, they perfect a rich, retro aesthetic that translates from day to night at the mere flick of a switch.

Photo: Asos

Photo: Asos

The Perfect Pin

I could easily write an entire dissertation on why every single fashion follower should own at least one of these next pieces of regalia. Attach a unique finish to your lapel with a flash of silver and stand out from the crowd with a dash of glorious glitz. Your very own heirloom in the making (maybe even worn, perhaps, with the blazer featured above) could add a touch of discothèque twinkle and flair to an otherwise understated look.

These accessories du jour from leading menswear jeweller, Robert Tateossian, come in a whole host of styles ranging from whimsical woodland creatures (see the Swarovski-encrusted hedgehog pictured) to hardy perennials. Even the most reserved gentleman should be unafraid to embrace a little sparkle at Christmas time—a high level of attention to detail always turns heads.

Photo: Tateossian

Photo: Tateossian

Final Festive Thoughts

And so ends this wintery wonder of an article. Here’s to the most glamorous of celebrations, whatever they may be (flimsy paper party hats entirely optional). All I ask is that when those familiar first few chords of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ begin to ring at your festive events, you follow my advice to make sure that you look your best for your very own Mariah Carey moment.

Curate your winter wardrobe carefully, and I can almost guarantee that crackers aren’t the only things you’ll be pulling this holiday season. A very Merry Christmas to you, indeed.