Whilst the accessories market in the UK has always been a key driver of sales, it has started to dwindle during the last few years. In fact, shopper penetration in this niche fell markedly in 2017, with an estimated four million fewer customers shopping for accessories nationwide.
However, the demand for winter accessories remains healthy amongst both men and women, as these items tend to offer practical value to customers and help to protect us against the cold!
Below, we’ve taken the time to list the top 10 winter accessories on the male consumer market, whilst asking why every man should own these items this winter!
It’s a well known scientific fact that when the temperature dips to zero, the blood vessels in our extremities begin to constrict.
This means that our feet, hands and head are particularly susceptible to the colder weather, so we need to take steps to protect these body parts during the winter.
In the case of the head, this means wearing some form of hat, and in most cases we’d recommend that you invest in a beanie. Whilst this iconic piece of headwear may not be to everyone’s tastes, the benefits of a beanie are numerous so long as you purchase a naturally breathable products that made from high quality wool.
More specifically, it will provide a versatile accessory that can suit a multitude of looks and disguise more bad hair days than it causes, all whilst keep your bonce warm and cosy!
A Pair (or Two) of Thick-Gauge Socks
At the other end of the spectrum (quite literally) are the feet, which are equally prone to the cold and often tend to freeze no matter how many pairs of socks you can squeeze onto your feet.
The issue here is actually the type of socks that you choose to wear, however, with thick-gauge products offering added protection against the cold and forming a robust last line of defence against the indefatigable force of winter.
Often crafted from soft-cotton blends or wool and boasting a eye-catching textured finish, these socks come in an array of colours and designs and strike the ideal balance between warmth, comfort and style.
When combined with a pair of durable Utility Freeze boots from Salomon, these socks will keep your feet warm and toasty no matter how much the temperature drops outside!
We can’t discuss bodily extremities without referencing the hands, which are all too often exposed to the elements as we go about our daily business in the great outdoors.
However, we should remember that the manliest of men (including labourers and field workers) typically wear gloves to protect their hands, and there’s no doubt that you should follow suit this winter regardless of your occupation.
Of course, the key is to identify warm but stylish gloves that also offer functionality, as the last thing you want for your hands to be trussed up tightly like a Christmas turkey prior to being immersed in the oven.
With this in mind, aim for well-designed leather gloves that feature ribbing at the cuffs, as they provide a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing design that also locks in the warmth at all times.
If you’re a die-hard football fan, you may have been deterred from wearing scarves since the launch of those half-and-half monstrosities that now adorn terraces nationwide.
However, the simple scarf remains one of the most crucial winter accessories for men, both in terms of keeping you warm and add versatility to stylish, cold-weather looks.
The scarf also protects an area of your body that’s often left the mercy of the cold, with your neck bearing the brunt of sub-zero temperatures and biting cold breezes.
It’s also worth investing in different products to suit the changeable climate between October and December, with soft-wool garments ideal for the autumn and thick chunky knits capable of keeping the cold at bay during the winter.
Remember, scarves are the ultimate marriage of form and function, and it should be easy to invest in products that keep you warm and breathe fresh life into your winter wardrobe.
In general terms, we accept that over-the-ear headphones are an acquired taste. However, they can also be worth their weight in gold during the winter, when they double-up as effective ear protectors that help to keep the biting cold at bay.
Make no mistake; over-the-ear headphones become entirely multipurpose during the colder months, particularly during the daily commute to and from work.
In addition to enjoying the latest tunes and podcasts as you navigate the hustle and bustle of the city at rush-hour, for example, you can also keep your ears nice and snug as the temperature plunges towards zero.
This has the added benefit of helping you to avoid ear muffs, which arguably remain a huge fashion no-no for men even when they’re encountering near-Arctic conditions.
However, we end with a note of caution; as under no circumstances should you ever combine a pair of fashionable over-the-ear headphones with a classic beanie. Take it from us; this look doesn’t suit anyone, and it’s a great way to undermine even the most style-conscious winter look.
Sunglasses (as Winter Accessories)
You’ll have to bear with us on this one, as we recognise that sunglasses are more synonymous with the bright lights of summer and the cold, plunging depths of winter.
However, it’s a little known fact that men have actually been wearing sunglasses for thousands of years, whilst the first, rudimentary products were originally invented by the Inuit to protect their eyes from the glare of the sun on the snow and the cold wind.
Yes, you heard us right, sunglasses actually started out life as winter accessories, and there’s no reason why the logic behind this should be any less relevant in the modern age.
Just remember to invest in larger frames that protect your eyes more effectively from the sun as it sits lower in the sky, while also prioritising darker-coloured products that suit the prevailing hues of winter.
So, although wearing sunglasses in the winter may seem counterintuitive and draw some good-natured ribbing from your mates, it can prevent your eyes from drying out and add a unique dimension to your standard winter looks.
A Good Winter Cologne
Let’s face facts; whether the cold is biting or the sun is shining high in the sky, it’s always important to smell fresh and wear an appealing fragrance as a man.
However, your preferred choice of scent may change throughout the seasons, and we’d definitely recommending investing in a winter cologne that’s durable and capable of boasting a strong projection (which refers to how far away people can smell it).
The reason for this is simple; as you want the scent to be detectable from beneath layered clothing, so you’ll need a fragrance that can catch the attention of others from a distance.
In terms of the precise smell, we’d favour woody and earthy scents that have a distinctly masculine presence. Top notes of angelica roots and cypress help to soften this somewhat, whilst contributing to a scent that’s ideal during the winter.
OK, we hear you ask, is an umbrella really as accessory? The short answer is yes, particularly during the relentless British winter when you’re likely to spend more time with an umbrella that you are with your spouse.
By considering an umbrella as a permanent winter accessory, however, you’ll need to move away from cheap and disposable products and instead invest in premium alternatives that offer far greater value for money.
Not only will this provide a strong and sturdy canopy for your finest clothes and garments, but it will also offer you access to a more diverse product range that enables you find an umbrella that matches an array of outfits in your wardrobe.
If you really want to invest in a high quality brolly and make something of a positive fashion statement, opt for something with a full-length handle or a textured, tasteful pattern.
This also makes it less likely that you’ll lose your umbrella, which always seems to happen with small and more compact designs!
The Last Word
Whilst the male accessory market is packed full of accessories that have been designed for the winter, not all of these have been created equal. As a result, there’s only a few that count as must-have items, and adding these to your wardrobe can really make a difference during the biting winter months.
Most of these accessories tread a delicate line between form and function, as they help you to inject a genuinely unique sense of style into your wardrobe whilst also providing practical protection from the cold, wind and rain.
As ever, the key is to identify the key accessories that will add to your own unique wardrobe, as you look to take into account your circumstances, budget and the clothes that you like to wear during the cold weather seasons.