Like many fellow sufferers of the chronic “wanderlust”, one of my favorite things to do is to travel and I am always thinking about the next big trip somewhere exotic or at least far enough away to feel the escape. Although, the problem when you're constantly dreaming and planning of the next dream vacation to somewhere on the bucket list, you tend to forget about the mini excursions that lay at the foot of your own backyard. As in my case, I live in the Toronto area in Canada and often take for granted the easy access to the vast wilderness and nature just minutes outside of the city. So this past weekend, we decided to ditch the city for a little hiking while the autumn leaves were still in full viewing bloom.
I don’t know what I would do without autumn because it’s the one time of year when it’s actually hard to choose what coat to wear. There’s an endless array of stylish options to chose from that are also light enough that won't get you mistaken for the Michelin man: trench coats, leather moto jackets, quilted jackets, the husky jacket, wool field jackets, bombers, suede blousons, etc. You get the idea. Read my article on trench coats for styling ideas.
Many men default to the rustic simplicity of a lightweight quilted coat – like the ones made by Barbour, Belstaff or Ralph Lauren. Of course these are right at home as they work with pretty much anything and provide a simple foundation to accessorize with hats and scarves.
A slightly sharper alternative to a quilted coat is a safari jacket. The one pictured in this article is certainly a far cry from the original versions that were designed for European explorers visiting Africa. In addition to all the pockets, one thing I love about safari jackets is they are often made in different types of fabrics, like cotton or wool. This one has a super soft wool/cashmere outer shell giving it a luxurious texture and feel, and overall sophistication. Even more importantly, natural fibers like wool have a unique ability to not just insulate, but rather regulate temperature, meaning less layering and delayering as you heat up.
A few of the other notable refinements on the coat are the stand collar, a concealed adjustable waistband and leather trim. The best thing about a coat like this is you can easily layer a vest or sweater under it if needed.
A flatcap, sometimes called a "cabbie" or a "bunnet" in Scotland, has roots going back to Northern England where it became associated with the working class. Eventually it was considered an acceptable hunting hat for the English aristrocracy, and made its way to the United States with European immigrants at then end of the 19th century. It was in America that Irish and Italian immigrants made them a staple of cab drivers and newspaper boys.
The flatcap is today an unexpected sartorial nod to the old days. If you pick one up, find one in tweed or wool so it fits right in its element in the outdoors, evoking images of hunting in the Scottish highlands. For me it’s more distinguished than a beanie and a bit more subdued than a trilby or fedora, which can be prone to blowing off your head on a windy day. It also has a practical purpose. Though it won't keep your ears from freezing when the temperatures plummet or wind appears, they do lock in some heat from escaping through your head.
Your most comfortable blue jeans, the ones you hate to wash, are a no brainer and perfectly compliment a rugged pair of leather derby boots. You want boots that are comfortable, durable and light enough to not weight down your feet. Naturally, my Wolverine 1000 mile boots fit the bill; the welted construction and thick, full grain Horween leather make them every bit as tough as they are attractive.
The key to dressing for outdoors is comfort and layering. You do not have to compromise style and look like a student by the sweatpants + flannel shirt + puffer vest + beanie look, or workout gear (unless you plan on breaking a sweat).
So if you live in a city, get out of the concrete jungle and explore nature in style.