Deconstructing This Outfit I’ve Been Wearing on Repeat All Winter

Deconstructing This Outfit I’ve Been Wearing on Repeat All Winter
What I like, what I don't.

Sometimes wearing colors can feel hard. It seems too flashy or too bright, or you don't want to stand out too much. So you might not even ever try them. Here's an outfit that I put together with an orange sweater that I wore quite a lot over the holidays. “An orange sweater?” you say, “that sounds flashy.”

I think this outfit proves that you don't have to be scared of wearing subdued color. That's really the trick to this outfit: It's orange, but it's not flashy orange.

With color in general, if you find yourself not wearing a lot of colors, just start with some subdued colors like muted greens, blues, reds, even things like pink. I have a t-shirt that is kind of like gray-pink – so kind of like a a dusty light red, essentially. And it’s very easy to wear and pair with other neutrals for adding a pop of color.

A layout of men's clothing and color palette for a smart casual dress code. At the top, three color swatches in dark grey, rust, and beige. Below, a dark grey button-up shirt, next to a rust-colored crew neck sweater. Underneath, light beige pants are displayed, and to the right, a pair of dark grey lace-up boots with a thick sole. The clothing items are arranged separately against a white background.

In terms of color theory, this palette is quite versatile and grounded. The dark tones ensure a degree of sophistication and formality, while the earthy brown introduces a natural, comforting element. The muted beige offers a neutral base, since it doesn't overwhelm other pieces.

A man stands outdoors on grass with a black and white dog on a leash. The man is looking to the side and smiling, wearing a dark grey jacket, rust-colored sweater, and light beige pants. The medium-sized dog, possibly a Siberian Husky mix, appears alert and is looking directly at the camera with bright blue eyes. They are surrounded by a rural landscape with trees and a white fence in the background.

Shirt Jacket

I love this shirt jacket. I first featured this years ago when I found it at Target: So don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't buy affordable style that looks good and lasts. I really do wish I could link to this shirt jacket, though. I would tell everybody to buy it – it couldn’t have been more than 35 bucks, probably. Oftentimes, I wear it even less dressy than this outfit, I'll just throw it over a plain t-shirt. It makes for such an easy outfit.


man wearing an orange sweater under a charcoal gray shirt jacket

While the sweater is orange, it plays kind of like a burnt orange. In fact, Amazon doesn't even call it orange. They call it brown, but in person, it's clearly orangish-brown. What I like about it is the way that it elevates the neutral palette of the charcoal shirt, jacket and the tan chinos.

The sweater is the Amazon Essentials house line. I like the texture it adds to an outfit and it's not too dressy and not too casual for a sweater. Because it's 100% cotton, you can wash it and dry it normally, and you just have to be mindful about not shrinking it with hot water or a hot dryer.


man walking his dog in a field, he's wearing a charcoal shirt jacket, burnt orange sweater, tan chino pants, and gray suede boots

The tan chinos are just so chameleon-like. Obviously they have sort of a khakis vibe, so you can dress them up a little bit, but they're really easy to dress down too. In the Ghostbusters piece we did a couple of months ago, the khakis are like workwear, they're not dress pants.

I have a love-hate relationship with these chinos. They're from a brand called Relwen, which you may have seen if you’re a Huckberry fan. That's where I know the brand from, but they're not a Huckberry house brand.

This brand was started by a guy that used to work for Abercrombie and Fitch, and it's very much along those same lines. It sort of has that vintage American-inspired feel to it the same way Abercrombie and Fitch does.

I have a pair of their cargo pants and I bought these because I liked the cargo pants so much. So what’s the issue? I just think they make too much noise for how much I paid for them. I hate pants that make noise. Pants should be seen, not heard. You know what I mean?

And these have a lot of stretch to them, which I totally dig. But, when you’re walking you can hear them swish. It's not terrible to the point where anybody would say anything. But the first time I put them on, I noticed it and I was kind of bummed out about it.

But the reason I love-hate them is because I wear them all the time. I probably wore them like four days this week. Honestly. I'm wearing them right now. They're super comfortable and I like the color.

The one thing that I will say is they added these knee folds so that the leg stretches out when you bend down. This works great but the downside is you can’t really dress them up too much because of it. They're not dress chinos because of these folds – would anybody even notice? I don't know, but I know.


vince suede boots

If you cover up the suede boots, you'll see how much they're contributing to the outfit. You could go a lot of ways for footwear with this outfit.

You could do a chunky work boot like Red Wings. You could do a white sneaker here. You could do a pair of high top Nike's. But when you add in the gray suede boots, especially with that chunky sole, it really takes the look an evening outfit.

one outfit feature with 4 different shoe options. the outfit is the same charcoal shirt jacket, orange sweater, and chinos, shown with red wing boots, white sneakers, black high top nike sneakers, and gray suede boots

It goes to show just how much your shoes can futz with the overall look of an outfit.

I really like these boots. They're just expensive for what they are. They're they're like $200+ and, Vince doesn’t list anything about them. Where are they made? I don't know. What kind of construction? No information.

So my point is, I don't know what justifies the price. But the truth is, I do really like wearing these boots, I like the look, they’re comfortable, and the suede is soft. I dig the chunky sole on it. I've always had a thing for chunky boots and haven't gotten to wear them for a decade just because the lower profile stuff with the slimmer jeans has been in style.


Like the pants, the whole outfit is chameleon-like. And those are the outfits that I love the most. The shirt jacket should be rugged, but you put it in this context and it certainly looks more sophisticated. It's an affordable, cheap sweater, but it still pulls its way here and looks good. The pants are comfortable and the color is super versatile – they augment whatever you pair them with, whether that’s colorful or subdued, casual or dressy.

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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.