We’re about to head back into a national lockdown, and though some will be thinking about stocking up their larders, here at GQ, we’re naturally more focused on all the comfortable clothes we can fill our wardrobes with before Thursday.
A winter lockdown, after all, presents a prime opportunity to hunker down and swaddle up in layers of cashmere, wool and down. With going out officially off the menu for a month or two, it’s all about pyjamas, sweatpants and hoodies.
So here, to help inspire your own winter working-from-home wardrobe, the world’s most stylish men and women reveal the items they rely on to keep them warm during times of crisis.
1. Brunello Cucinelli
“I believe that during this period, which I call ‘new time’, everyone has had the opportunity to ponder over the great themes of life. Personally, I have reflected a lot on what is most important to me: the balance between profit and giving back. I believe that we have internalised the concept of not consuming, but rather repairing and reusing, thus feeling responsible for everything around us. When I am absorbed in these great thoughts, my brown cashmere pullover takes on a sense of eternity for me.” Brunello Cucinelli, fashion designer
2. Eric Underwood
“When I’m going through moments of tribulation, I find comfort in wearing garments that are soft, warm and generally oversized. Normally that means you’ll find me sitting on my couch wearing Liberty pyjamas pants, a Nike hoodie that’s two sizes too big (with the hood up, of course) and bright and colourful thick socks from Happy Socks. There’s something about wearing colour that I find very uplifting. A few years ago, my go-to outfit during difficult moments would’ve been a onesie, but I’ve realised that wasn’t helping me stay optimistic – it just made me feel a bit defeated and sloppy. So it’s all about separate pieces for me: they make me see the light at the end of the tunnel while I’m kept cosy, warm and hopeful. If that doesn’t work, a warm cup of tea goes a long way!” Eric Underwood, dancer and model
3. Mats Klingberg
“Cashmere is my material of choice when I feel the need for something cosy and comforting. While not super-practical, I think it’s great to put on a pair of cashmere socks, a cashmere sweater and a cashmere scarf and, depending on the temperature, a cashmere hat to top it all off! The Trunk Chester classic cable knit crewneck is one of my favourite go-to sweaters now that the temperatures are plummeting. It’s made in lovely Hawick up in Scotland from a soft and fluffy two-ply cashmere – what more could you possibly want?” Mats Klingberg, founder of Trunk Clothiers
4. Jack Guinness
“Dressing for a night out is an act of anticipation. It’s about looking forward. When I’m choosing an outfit for a night out, or even for when I’m leaving the house (which I haven’t done in months), I’m concerned with how I want to feel, how I want other people to look at me and what kind of night I want. In tough times, when you’re at home and you want to feel safe and relaxed, it’s about looking backwards, for comfort. Comfort is found in the familiar. I want to be swaddled in happy memories and cashmere. Or, failing that, my favourite old T-shirt that has moulded itself to the contours of my lockdown belly and drooping work-at-home shoulders.
“My favourite tee is a Batman top my sister gave me when I was 14. It doesn’t really fit – it’s torn to shreds – but as soon as I put it on, I instantly feel loved and safe. I look insane, but I feel great. Maybe that’s the secret to comfort dressing. On a night out, or at work, dressed to the nines, you can internally feel scared, nervous or anxious, but your tailored armour makes you appear strong, confident and put together. In tough times you want the exact opposite. Somehow the madder you look, the better you feel. So dig out that tie-dye hoodie you wore to your first festival, the Gap baggy boxers you lost your virginity in, those Pot Noodle-stained joggers from your student days and bed down for some serious self-love in front of series 27 of Below Deck Mediterranean.” Jack Guinness, model and writer
5. Dylan Jones
Jacket by Prada, £1,300. prada.com
© Getty Images
“Because I haven’t had to go to so many meetings or attend so many events or make sure I’m suited and booted, I have, like a lot of people, gone a bit mufti. Which means I’ve enjoyed being more casual than usual and not always worn a jacket to the office. I’ve been working every day since the first lockdown and since June have been going into the office most days, but have used this period as an opportunity not to be so obsessive about what I’ve worn. I suppose the item of clothing I’ve worn more than anything else is a black nylon Prada puffa jacket I bought about five years ago in an outlet store in upstate New York. It’s like a fancy MA-1 flying jacket, like the kind I wore in my twenties, only rather more expensive. I love it, although thinking about it the reason I wear it so much is because it’s one of the few things I own that my daughters try and steal.” Dylan Jones, Editor-In-Chief, GQ
6. Samuel Ross
“In terms of comfort relative to a garment, I’d have to say its typically knitwear I default to. In particular our cream merino wool robe shown in SS21. The weight is substantial, the handle is incredibly soft and it fastens via a single button closer hidden on the waist seam line, though I prefer to wear the robe open.” Samuel Ross, fashion designer
7. Thom Whiddett
“It’s counter-intuitive to some extent but when times are tough we always say dress up and take on your troubles head on. It’s all too easy to curl up into a ball and shut the door, which is a solution, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the path we tend to take. I would personally go for a beautifully cut single-breasted navy suit with a crisp white shirt and navy tie, especially in these times of dressing down. It’s an elegant way to stand out and tell everyone (including yourself) that you’re ready for business and you’re in the fight.” Thom Whiddett, cofounder of Thom Sweeney
8. Teo van den Broeke
“When I started wearing Issey Miyake’s pleated Homme Plisse navy sweatpants with tailoring a few years ago, I was laughed at by some of the crueler members of the menswear fraternity. The reason? For all too long the Japanese loungewear had been the preserve of aging art teachers (with wealthy partners, one presumes) and immobile gallerists. How wrong my naysayers were. In the years since, an array of unimpeachably inspiring people have started wearing Homme Plisse on the regular (A-Cold-Wall* creative director Samuel Ross being one, critic Tim Blanks being another) and the brand best known for its pleats has regained a footing on the ever-slippery wall of fashion relevance. Which is good news for me, as I haven’t stopped wearing my navy blue Homme Plisse sweatpants since March. Comfortable, comforting and excellently machine washable, I quite literally can’t get enough.” Teo van den Broeke, style and grooming director GQ
9. Alfred Tong
“It’s a pair of stone bedford cord trousers from a small Japanese label called FOB that I got from John Simons on Chiltern Street, an orange geelong wool jumper from the now defunct label Several, a blue stretch jersey shirt by my tailor Adrian Holdsworth at Volpe, a pair of Adidas Lacombe, and a splash of Tuscan Tobacco by Santa Maria Novella. A fairly standard casual outfit that I would wear on a Saturday for lunch with friends.
“I put this outfit together when I got the call from my grandfather’s doctor at Kensington and Chelsea hospital. He caught Covid and only had a few hours to live. I’m super close to my grandfather and he’s more important to me than either of my parents in many ways. He was 101 and I knew that this day would come but not with so much drama. It was during the really apocalyptic early days of the lockdown and he was only allowed one visitor to say goodbye. I remember vividly how important it was to me that I felt put together and in control, even though I felt so awful in the car on the way there that I almost threw up.
“A great outfit can help you face the most difficult and trying circumstances with some sense of strength and bravery. We’re always told that fashion is frivolous and silly, but in this instance, I found it a great help during what was the most difficult moment of my life.” Alfred Tong, GQ Contributing Style Editor
10. Becky French
The garment I turn to in tough times is an oversized men’s cashmere jumper by T&A. It is a rich charcoal grey and the quality of the Scottish knit is bouncy and luxurious. It reminds me of wearing my Dad’s jumpers when I was growing up when the seasons changed and the house got cold. There is something comforting about pulling sleeves down over my knuckles and having the generous volume of knit to wrap around me. I have the jumper but still waiting to get the open fire in my life, for ultimate comfort.” Becky French, creative director Turnbull & Asser
11. Charlie Casely-Hayford
“Custom-made C-H drawstring trousers in Italian navy flannel are my go-to lounge wear piece. I can dress them up with my matching unstructured double-breasted jacket, a tee and trainers and dress them down just as easily when I’m at home. They’ve very much doubled up as travel uniform when I’m flying between London and Tokyo to work on new collections, I love that I don’t have to even think about. I have the exact same look in several fabrics so it makes everything from relaxing at home to a long-haul flight travelling much easier and all with the comfort of a tracksuit.” Charlie Casely-Hayford, fashion designer
12. Oliver Spencer
“I have a really old velvet jacket that I wear around the house no matter what I have on – be it jeans and a t-shirt or tracksuit bottoms. It is an old Favourbrook piece from when we first started and is in fact what I wore at my wedding to the evening party so it is over 24 years old… I suppose it is my comfort blanket, but a grown-up one. In its current incarnation it is best described as somewhere between a dressing gown and a jacket; I have almost worn through the lining and the collar is starting to fray but I’d never get it fixed.” Oliver Spencer, Founder and Creative Director
13. Oliver Jackson Cohen
“Embarrassingly, I have spent more time wearing this combo than any other item in my wardrobe this year. I love them (potentially more than anything else I own). Raey’s clothes are always excellent but they have definitely created the perfect comforting all in one with these two pieces. It’s the biggest cliché but ‘shmere will always sort you out.” Oliver Jackson Cohen, actor
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