Experience Effortless Winter Style with This Light and Neutral Outfit

Experience Effortless Winter Style with This Light and Neutral Outfit
Lighten up your winter wardrobe.

Winter is in full swing but that doesn’t mean you and your personal style have to be in hibernation. Not only is it possible to have a great outfit for the day-to-day that’s comfortable, you also don’t have to rely on dark colors and lots of layers.

Styled by Primer contributor and all-year-round rakish gentleman Daniel Baraka, this winter outfit is cozy, masculine, intentional, and casual – not an easy list of adjectives to nail in a single look.

As Daniel puts it, “What I really love about this outfit is its simplicity, there are no statement pieces, making it an effortless choice for any occasion.”

It boasts hearty textures, neutral hues, and a relaxed but put-together vibe. “It’s perfect for date night, for strolling around town, for going out for drinks. Pop the collar up as you're going through the terrible winds of the winter. But, it still works inside as you can take off the coat, and still stay warm in your sweater.”

a smart casual winter outfit made of neutral hues featuring a camel color over coat, an off white roll neck sweater, light wash jeans, beige socks, and tan suede loafers

Why the Outfit Works

The best part of this outfit is its universality, comfort, and timelessness. The natural and premium fibers used in the items provide warmth and texture, while the neutral colors make it easy to mix and match with other items in your wardrobe.

Daniel explains, “they're all very basic pieces you can get a lot of wear out of, especially in the cold months.”

This means you can not only wear this minimalist aesthetic for lots of different occasions, you can also adjust it with more formal, casual, or louder pieces to suit an even wider variety of destinations.

“Put together in a light palette brings an outfit that is so simple anyone could make it their winter uniform,” Daniel says, “I've actually considered making it my own winter uniform.”

Components of the Outfit

Let's delve into each item and learn why it's crucial to the overall look.

The Camel Overcoat

roll neck turtleneck sweater with camel color overcoat

“If you're having a difficult day where you can’t decide what to wear, you throw on an overcoat that fits well and is a nice color, and immediately you're the most stylish person in the room,” reveals Daniel.

While retailers toss titles like overcoat, topcoat, and more around without much concern for consistency, at Primer we use the term overcoat to refer to a coat that falls below the knee. This length, and other attributes like the double-breasted design shown in Daniel’s, generally have a more formal connotation. But with the lighter camel color, and the pairing with lighter colors all around, those attributes don’t read so much as formal, but intentional.

Daniel is wearing the investment (and drool) worthy Italian-made Max Stanco Double Breasted Coat tailored from wool and alpaca. If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, Daniel recommends this topcoat from Express which features large notch lapels and a recycled wool blend. For even more of the best topcoats, check our complete guide.

The Roll Neck Submarine Sweater

man wearing roll neck sweater
A roll neck sweater is a super comfortable option for colder weater

The roll neck jumper – or sweater in American lingo – is not technically a “turtleneck” as roll necks are usually heftier. Daniel admits, “I had been wanting to get one for the longest time, and this winter I finally decided to go ahead and invest in one. It's an amazing piece for cold months. The natural fibers keep you very warm. The thickness is perfect. The roll neck is amazing for keeping your neck warm and retaining your body temperature.”

The high-collared knit, which had various forms in the early 20th century, became the modern-day jumper during World War I when the British War Office ordered thousands of heavyweight roll-neck wool sweaters for the Royal Navy. Sailors needed warm clothing for harsh sea conditions, and the high neck and soft wool of the jumpers proved ideal. The submarine crews in particular embraced the general issue roll neck knit as it provided comfort in their cramped quarters. The heavy presence underwater earned the roll neck another nickname, the submariner's sweater.

Daniel’s 100% merino wool and Made in England chunky sweater is from Paul James. Check out this option for a cashmere roll neck under $100.

The Raw Hem Jeans

man wearing a camel overcoat with jeans and laofers

While many guys have eschewed lighter denim for the last 15 years due to baggage left over from the billowy Silver Tabs of the 90s, incorporating well-fitting light wash jeans into your rotation gives you a couple variables dark denim doesn’t.

Daniel explains, “The more contrast we add to casual outfits, the harder it is to make them work cohesively. It's just another factor that we're throwing into the equation. I don't think contrast should be avoided at all costs, but I think we want to get as far from extreme contrast as possible. And so, lighter wash jeans in this outfit work perfectly well.”

That makes sense if you think of the high contrast of the ultra-formal black tie attire: A jet black tuxedo with a snow-white collared shirt.

In a move that’ll make the dowdiest of men’s heads spins, Daniel elevated his light wash jeans by DIYing a raw hem. While ripped jeans are an obvious thing to avoid, a neat raw hem can give a baggy pair of jeans a nice, clean silhouette with no break. It limits your ability to dress the jeans up, certainly, but you probably weren’t going to do that with a light wash pair anyway. It’s a frugal and fashion-forward solution to paying a tailor to hem your jeans.

In a perfect example of High-Low these American Eagle jeans come in under $40 and still look unified with the splurge-priced coat. It’s why the brand has maintained its position on our best stores for affordable men fashion for the guy on a budget.

The Socks

crockett and jones cavendish loafer with jeans

Matching the socks to the beige of the sweater and maintaining the neutral color palette while opting for a more casual, chunkier knit than a typical dress sock keeps the whole look in balance. A patterned dress sock would look great here, sure, but it would also noticeably anchor the style in a dressier approach – something we’re trying to avoid with this casual outfit.

The Loafers

man wearing camel coat with light wash jeans and suede loafers

This outfit features Daniel’s beloved second-hand Crockett & Jones loafers, previously featured in our How to Pull Off a Smart Casual Turtleneck feature. There, he told us how he hunted for the $700 English-made loafers on used sites like Poshmark for over a year, eventually finding the perfect pair on The RealReal and getting them for his birthday.

A brand worn by Bond, the Cavendish is a versatile tassel loafer from Crockett & Jones, a renowned shoe manufacturer established in 1879 in Northampton, England. The company specializes in Goodyear-welted footwear and uses premium-tier European leather hides.

For a more entry-level version to try the style, check out this pair I have from Amazon.

The Sunglasses

The Persol 649, the company's first real icon, was created in 1957 with a specific goal in mind: to shield the Turin tram drivers' eyes from the elements. But it didn't take long for the 649 to become well-known due to its elegant design, punctuated by the iconic keyhole bridge. When Marcello Mastroianni wore a pair in the 1961 movie “Divorce Italian Style,” the 649 was firmly entrenched in history. The Persol 649 has established itself as one of the most iconic and sought-after eyewear designs of all time thanks to its seamless fusion of usefulness and aesthetics.

Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.