An alternative Winter palette

The Winter wardrobe is as a rule, and particularly so in the Northern hemisphere, associated with a darker color palette. Most people tend to feel more comfortable dressing muted in Winter as brighter colors might create a greater contrast when daylight is scarce. A reasonable ambition indeed, however, there are several ways for one to maintain a muted way of dress while still going slightly beyond the classic dark greys and blues.

In this Atelier Fabric guide we will be looking into what can be done in terms of cloth to add another dimension to your Winter wardrobe.


Adding texture

While linen and silk blends add a certain level of texture to the Summer wardrobe rotation, it can hardly compare to the level of tactility brought to the table by fuzzy cashmeres, sturdy tweeds and brushed cottons and flannels.

These textures are evidently associated with Winter as they are indeed designed and crafted to handle lower temperatures and bad weather. Hence, a brighter color generally feels less out of place and is more easily worn in Winter when the cloth has texture that is characteristic for the season.

In the lay up image above there are three examples of how a rich texture contributes significantly when working in brighter colors in Winter. The herringbone to the left is a 100% cashmere fabric from Caccioppoli. The fuzzy surface makes the pattern appear less distinct with a casual yet elegant appeal. The light grey sports jacket is a plain weave from Abraham Moon has a rich mélange effect that is derived from the diamond-like weft of the cloth. The mid grey flannel is part of a suit and is the epitome of semi-formal suiting for the Autumn/Winter season. All are, in our opinion, examples of how texture can be used to facilitate the integration of brighter colors in the Winter wardrobe.


Tones, not colors

Not seldomly, when we are referring to a color it is not actually a color but rather a specific tone of a color that we are having in mind. Confusing colors and tones of colors is an easy mistake and one that many of us do on a regular basis.

For example, one might have owned a jacket at some point in a particular color which felt hard to match. This might result in an unnecessarily stigmatized conception of the color as a whole although the problem might have been the specific tone of the color and not the color in itself that was problematic.

Our perception is that one is often more well off sticking to colder tones during the darker seasons. That implies that we, for example, focus on beige tones that lacks a yellow undertone and brown that lacks a red undertone. This means that these colors – that are often associated with Spring/Summer rather than Autumn/Winter – are leaning more towards grey and hence are experienced as “cold” rather than “warm”.

In the above example we have two fabrics from Loro Piana’s Pecora Nera collection, one overcoat and one jacket. The Pecora Nera is derived from darker colored sheep that are usually discarded by mills as the darker colored fleece is harder to dye than that of lighter toned sheep. This leaves the fabrics with a natural shade that spans from light beige to mid brown.


Working with in-betweens

Certain colors lands in a no-mans-land and are very hard to define as they balance a fine line between two or sometimes three defined colors. We call these colors “in-betweens”. As in-betweens are more difficult to pen down, they open for a certain level of experimentation.

A classic example of that would be taupe – one of our favourite jacketing colors – or greyish brown. Brown suiting is more commonly seen in the Summer time; mainly in fresco, linen or cotton. However, a cloth in greyish brown is more easily worn in an urban environment and hence gives a more muted appearance.

Pictured above is a brown suit in a 360gr cloth by Dugdale with a brushed finish. It is brown in its base, however, leans a lot towards grey which becomes more evident largely due to the brushed finish of the cloth.