Men’s Winter Essentials – 2011

OHIO—Congratulations, JIs. After a semester’s worth of lineups, odd wake-up times, and hours upon hours of catering to those who came before, you are now among the actives. Enjoy your stay.

With that said, now is the time to truly build your identity as an active. Your Sperry Top Siders, properly hemmed shorts, and Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button downs (OCBDs) have taken you this far; though the uniform is tried, true, and tested, variations upon the classics will take you even farther. A wise man once said “Clothes don’t make the fratdaddy,” and, while the validity of this statement is debatable, quality threads will aid you in everything from garnering even more respect from the next pledge class to sealing the deal with that top-tier sorostitute at last call.

As noted, just as your pledge period has passed, so has the weather. Regardless of location, you are in for colder weather and therefore must build your wardrobe to fit the needs of Mother Nature. While there are those who steadfastly believe anything outside of our standard uniform to be “NF” or “GDI,” that belief system is inherently incorrect. We gentlemen pride ourselves as the cream of the crop, and an inability to walk the walk as we talk the talk will do nothing except make us look like geeds.

The first item to be addressed is of footwear. Examine any fratstar’s closet and the classics—Sperry Top Siders, Clarks Wallabees, New Balance 993s—will be well represented. While these are undoubtedly the foundation of fratting, two other options are both viable and desirable: the L.L. Bean “Bean Boot” and the Bass Weejun loafer.

The Bean Boot is a classic, having been produced by All-American outfitter L.L. Bean for decades. Bean Boots, often referred to as “duck boots,” are composed of a rubber sole and bottom combined with either a leather or canvas upper. Equally perfect for Northern brothers braving a blizzard to snag that next Natty rack or Southern brothers tracking wildlife in muddy conditions, the Bean Boot is versatile, well-constructed, and a quality option for the conditions that demand a bit more from us.

The Bass Weejun loafer, on the other hand, can enter your wardrobe with more frequency than the previously mentioned Bean Boot. Having first caught fire in the Ivy Leagues in the 1960s and again in the prep-idemic of the 1980s, the Weejun is to the fall and winter what the Top Sider is to spring or summer. Of course, there will be individuals who scream about the perceived frattiness of the item, but the debate is clear: there isn’t one. The loafers are versatile, appropriate anywhere from class to a grab-a-date, and the affordability (around $120) make them a more fiscally responsible choice than, say, a pair of Aldens. (Again, anyone who debates fiscal responsibility is obviously new money. Save it.)

With the evolution from shorts to pants, you’ll face a multitude of options throughout the season. For our brothers in the South, wearing your khakis is still a viable option. To diversify, however, look into Brooks Brothers Milano chino in either the navy or taupe options; they inject darker colors into your wardrobe while still maintaining a similarly proportioned fit and style. For the more formal events in the season, if you opt for a blazer/trouser combination, look again to Brooks Brothers for a heavier pair of either flannel or wool trousers. They can be worn with a classic blue blazer or a seasonal jacket; again, here, simplicity is key: opt for a flat front (no pleats) style, tailored to break (touch) at the top of your shoes.

Shirts, as with any season, stay nearly the same. Per usual, you should pursue OCBDs from either Brooks Brothers or Polo. Your oxford collection should be based in four colors: white, blue, pink, and yellow, in that order; to further build, look for options in a university stripe (often referred to as a banker stripe) or tattersall.

The final item is important yet inherently based on location. Coats should never be overlooked, yet the style desired will ultimately depend on your geographic region. If you have the benefit of hailing from an area with relatively mild winters, water and windproof options from The North Face, Columbia, or L.L. Bean are again wise choices. If winters are harsher affairs, or if you find yourself jetting out to visit relatives or ski, wool options are preferred. A nice topcoat from either a department store or individual clothier is wise, as it can be further used at a more formal event than just the Christmas season.

Alas, JIs, I hope this column has served you well. You are now among the ranks of men and must dress accordingly. While there will always be a time for frocket tees and Costas, changing seasons warrant changing options, and the items presented here will make the seasonal segue that much easier.

  1. Fratorious

    On coats, I’d prefer Mountain Hardware or Fratagonia over any of the brands you listed. Still, nicely written article.

    14 years ago at 5:42 pm
    1. 1839

      i agree completely, that would be my only criticism…guaranteed we’re in for a storm of negative comments though.

      14 years ago at 5:47 pm
    2. 1852

      Mountain Fratware is the brand I prefer when it comes to cold weather outerwear. I use wear my Mountain Fratware vest quite often.

      14 years ago at 5:50 pm
    3. mainstream

      Hating things because they are too mainstream ought to be one of the definitions of NF.

      14 years ago at 6:26 pm
    4. John Quincy Fratams

      Agreed, people are starting to sound like fucking hipsters and “indie kids” talking about how shit is too mainstream.

      14 years ago at 7:37 pm
    5. Fratitize me Capn'

      Third. Talking shit on polo and northface (and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen people talk shit about sperrys on here?) is absurd. Just because “geeds have never heard of it” does not imply good looks, quality, or frattyness. Neither does a product being promoted on this site (aka: coast and neon trucker hats).

      14 years ago at 10:00 pm
  2. Lieutenant Fratdaddy

    TNF Nuptse puffer jacket zipped into TNF Triclimate shell…appropriate anywhere it snows.

    14 years ago at 5:58 pm
  3. ConfederateGeneralLee

    Southern Marsh, Southern Proper, Southern Tide and Coast. 4 things that the north will never know about because they’re GDIs. Ohio is poor and any more columns to JI’s is redundant. Hazing them should built in these lessons, not website “blogs.”

    14 years ago at 6:02 pm
    1. whisky

      You’re correct, General Lee. Nothing was more beneficial during my pledging days than a lengthy trip to the hazement to learn the ins and outs of cold weather fratwear.

      14 years ago at 7:01 pm
    2. Broklahoma State

      Just because it has southern in the name doesn’t mean it’s frat jackass . Southern marsh is good stuff southern tide is gay as hell

      14 years ago at 7:51 pm
    3. Ben Elli

      Wow Broklahoma someone from OSU would make that fucking comment. Southern Tide is frat as fuck. One of the frattiest brands out there. In my opinion frattier than Southern marsh. But you go to a fucking hick ag college, what else would you expect. Boomer Fuckin Sooner

      14 years ago at 12:22 am
    4. Bradley Fratshaw

      hick ag college = FaF. everyone driving z71 trucks, the best hunting in the state, a school owned lake to sail and fish. I think its pretty well known that we are more frat than OU, considering that is the most liberal school in the south.

      14 years ago at 12:54 pm
    5. Bradley Fratshaw

      Im backing up OSU not Southern tide when I say that I love southern tide. just saying that OSU is more frat than OU will ever be. They all drive honda fits

      14 years ago at 12:55 pm
    6. Ben Elli

      Are you kidding me? I have friends in multiple OSU fraternities and they all admit OU is frattier. Theres no arguing that, i thought it was well known? Stillwater is definitely not the best hunting in the state (i hunt all over the state at many different private ranches and lands so i think i can say this). Carl Blackwell is the shittiest lake in the state and its a joke. Im still in shock of you thinking that OSU is frattier. I will admit most of your students are nicer and not as stuck up as ours, but we are 100 times frattier than yall.

      14 years ago at 6:09 pm
    7. 1858

      Stealing OSU’s “Diamond” formation, admitting it, and then implementing it better than OSU. TFM. BOOMER SOONER

      14 years ago at 12:49 am
    8. Ben Elli

      What is up with TFM not posting my comments.

      Bradley Fratshaw i have friends in multiple fraternities at OSU and all agree OU is frattier. There is seriously no competition, you guys have a reputation for being nice down home dudes. We have a reputation for being fratty arrogant assholes. Carl Blackwell lake is a joke and is dirty and nasty. Also ive hunted and have access to hunting areas all around the state, (near stillwater as well) so i think i speak correctly when i say stillwater is far from the best hunting in the state. You must be a weekend hunter kind of guy if thats what you think. Those of us who hunt almost daily no where the real hunting is. On an ending note. Better luck next year. Boomer Sooner

      14 years ago at 2:33 am
  4. Fratmasters Classic

    I agree with “Game On” about Orvis being an honorable mention. As far as outerwear, I like some things from Woolrich. Also, a new pair of Bill’s Khakis will always be on my Christmas list. No disrespect to the brands mentioned in this article; these are just some more brands that sale quality frat gear.

    14 years ago at 6:11 pm
  5. Ryan FRATlet

    Might you add Southern Tide or Vineyard Vines? Some Coast and depending whether you it, Southern Point? Yes Brooks Brothers and Polo are great stuff, but poors wear Polo. As they stated Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear is way better than Northface and Columbia. They’re great brands, but Patagonia and MH are better.

    14 years ago at 6:14 pm
    1. SECs

      sorry dude but what the hell does southern tide or vineyard vines even make that we can wear in the winter? im a ST ambassador, meaning I get tons of free stuff from them, and once it started snowing, it doesnt even make sense to wear anything but the khackis

      14 years ago at 2:10 am
    2. Ryan FRATlet

      Where I live, you don’t need a real thick jacket or anything, so the 1/4th zip does fine. You do have a point if you’re talking higher than SC.

      14 years ago at 6:42 pm
    3. Jake

      its hard to even read your post. poors wear polo? depending whether you it? to me, FRATlet sounds like a geed trying way to hard to dress like a fratdaddy

      14 years ago at 6:42 pm
  6. Jake Nasty

    It’s about time that proper less-than-warm weather attire be promoted on TFM… only geeds venture out into the cold wearing shorts. Well done, this is FaF.

    14 years ago at 6:46 pm
  7. frat hard, frat often

    no one ever mentioned duck boots on here before, good shit. FaF sir, carry on.

    14 years ago at 6:52 pm