Eye On Apparel: On The Coat-Tails Of Winter

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As the coolest months of the year approach, wearable accessories such as gloves, scarves, hats and earmuffs shift from being worn as fashion statements to becoming everyday essentials. No longer do the lightweight, packable appeal of windbreakers and the grab-and-go convenience of cardigans do the trick; wearers need the heavier-weight and thicker materials offered by puffer jackets, parkas and down jackets to brave the cold. With the majority of U.S. states and in countries across the Northern Hemisphere experiencing cool weather at least six months a year, seasonably suitable, high-quality outerwear is a smart choice for marketers and advertisers wanting maximum visibility for their brands. 

In 2018, coats and jackets accounted for more than half (52.2 percent) of the $267.3 billion global winter wear market, according to Grandview Research. While the demand for winter wear dropped in 2020, likely due to the pandemic that kept people indoors, it still totaled $114.6 billion. 

The good news is that many Americans have transitioned back to an in-office or hybrid work schedule, or are in the process of doing so, which means more time outdoors and also more use of jackets, scarves and other seasonal wearables. In May 2021, a survey conducted by Partnership for New York City revealed that about 62 percent of Manhattan’s office workers, or approximately one million people, could return to the office by late September, up from 45 percent in March. Not only are they returning, but they’re looking forward to doing so. According to the Eden Workplace Return to Office Survey, published in March of this year by Wakefield Research of 1,000 full- and part-time U.S. office workers, more than eight in 10 (85 percent) said they were looking forward to returning to the office in some capacity this year. Travel is also predicted to be up this winter. In January, a survey by TripAdvisor of consumers in the U.S., UK, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore found that nearly half (45 percent) of respondents were planning on traveling internationally during the second-half of this year.

Whether end users are going out or staying put, choosing the right product can also help them to be more active and mobile this winter—a factor that particularly affects older age groups during cold-weather months. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, “The Impact of Weather on Mobility and Participation in Older U.S. Adults,” which collected data from 502 older adults, concluded that winter weather can affect health, well-being and mortality, and also led to greater isolation. Another study published in 2019 in the Journal of Health and Sport Science, “The Impact of Weather on Summer and Winter Exercise Behaviors,” found that cooler weather affects the health and well-being of all age groups, adversely influencing one’s decision to exercise or choose healthy eating habits. With one of older adults’ greatest worries being ice-related falls (47 percent), providing target audiences with items, such as special non-slip shoes equipped for the snow and ice, and which feature a protective coating to keep feet dry, can encourage more movement. Offering recipients the right product during these darker, colder months may not only help them to better navigate their daily tasks, but also to do so safely, and while being able to remain active year round. 

When selecting which wearables to choose for brand customization, buyers can consider the greatest winter inconvenience for their intended audience and appropriately select top-quality promo apparel to offer them. For example, a 2018 survey of 2,000 Americans, age 18 and older, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Trane® Residential, found that nearly six in 10 (59 percent) Americans will suffer from wet feet (from snow-soaked socks and shoes) in the winter. “Winter can be brutal in many parts of the country, and while some things like wet socks and cold hands are inescapable, there are significant ways Americans can ‘winterize’ their lives ahead of time to save money and hassle,” Mark Woodruff, product manager for Trane, told The New York Post. The top hassle? According to the OnePoll survey, Americans most-often cited cold hands and toes. Brands can step in and provide a curated product selection that considers factors such as the amount of time the intended recipients may be spending outdoors, and the conditions they are in—and provide some much-appreciated relief with appropriate outerwear and accessories. 

For outdoor workers, such as those in the postal, construction and forestry industries, and those who make house calls, such as service technicians and some beauticians and health-care professionals, having a first-rate jacket and matching accessories as their cold-weather uniform, and one that matches standards set by OSHA when appropriate, can help ensure that workers are able to sufficiently perform their jobs, and convey that the company cares about its workers’ health, safety and well-being. Those who primarily work outside in the winter are advised by OSHA to dress in layers, which helps guarantee they stay warm while avoiding perspiration, which can lead to hypothermia. Workplace Safety North, a nonprofit health and safety association in Ontario, Canada, advises workers to wear four layers. In order from closest to the skin, these include a moisture-wicking layer, a light insulating layer, a heavy insulating layer and a windproof-waterproof layer. 

And just because winter outerwear goes hand-in-hand with multiple layers and heavier-weight fabrics doesn’t mean there isn’t room for play—and lots of it. A sharp contrast to the bubbly colors of summer, which feature bright shades and some with neon undertones, the colors selected by The Pantone Institute for this winter are deeper, richer shades, such as tomato cream, winery and red alert. The latest trends? WhoWhatWear, a fashion website, writes that trends in jackets range from leather puffers, quilted coats and “dad coats”—oversize wool, straight-line coats that reach to the ankle—with popular details including oversized pockets and fringe accents. And the most fashionable styles of all? Vogue writes that, as drawn from runway styles, top looks this season include “ski chic”—inspired by the garb worn on the slopes, such as parkas, puffers and balaclavas—along with faux fur and patchwork.

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Everyone will enjoy wearing a knit hat like the Richardson Chunk Twist Knit with Cuff. This 14-inch acrylic slouch knit features a chunky, cable-knit pattern and is topped with an adorable pom-pom. Made from a blend of 84-percent polyester and 16-percent spandex, it’s lightweight with a wool hand. Available in one size fits most in eight colors, shown in camel.

Kati Sportcap  /  PPAI 113758, S5  /  www.katisportcap.com 

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For buyers looking for something a little sleeker, look to the Richardson Cable Knit Beanie. Made from 100-percent acrylic, this eight-inch cable- knit cap features a six top-seam knit and offers a more tailored fit. Soft, lightweight and with a wool feel, it’s available in eight colors (shown in solid royal). Customize it with a woven clip label. 

Kati Sportcap  /  PPAI 113758, S5  /  www.katisportcap.com 

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The ultimate cold-weather coat, the 1.18-ounce AFP-1 & AFP-1W Gravity Thermal Jacket is ultra-lightweight but keeps wearers snug with 100-percent polyester heat-trapping insulation, elasticized cuffs and an attached insulated hood. An outer shell and nylon taffeta lining keep wearers dry with 600-milimeter water-resistance. Suitable for 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, decoration methods include embroidery, screen-printing and a laser-etched patch. Available in XS to 2XL in seven colors, shown in electric blue/black.

Stormtech USA, Inc.  /  PPAI 260245, S4  /  www.stormtechusa.com

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A jacket that draws its style from the latest in streetwear, the Zurich Jacket is designed to withstand rain and wind with H2XTREME® waterproof and breathable technology. Made from 100-percent polyester twill, the 5.16-ounce jacket features an adjustable storm hood with a face shield, and its outer shell features Stormtech’s thermal shell technology and a PFC-free water-repellent finish, along with waterproof zippers. Store small belongings in a zippered chest pocket, an internal zipper pocket and an internal mesh stash pocket, and keep hands warm with dual hand-warmer pockets. Also featuring an audio port, the jacket is available in sizes S-5XL in indigo and moss (shown). 

Stormtech USA, Inc.  /  PPAI 260245, S4  /  www.stormtechusa.com

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Fully customizable from hood to hem, the Synthetic Jacket is highly compressible for everyday wear, while offering core functionalities such as water- and wind-resistance. Made to retain warmth, it’s styled with a longer-length hem coupled with an elastic drawcord hem, and includes three optional sleeve lengths with elastic cuffs. Features include YKK-zippered hand-warmer pockets with an optional chest pocket, along with an internal storage pocket. The jacket is also filled with 60-gram polyfill insulation with the option to substitute recycled insulation. Choose any color scheme imaginable to complement your brand. Available in sizes XXS to 5XL in slim, regular and fit options. 

Hexa|Custom  /  PPAI 767010, S1  /  www.hexacustompromo.com

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What better way to call attention to your brand, and give recipients something that feels as great as it looks, than with this Winter Gift Pack Premium Knit Scarf and Beanie set? Made from a blend of 98-percent acrylic and two-percent Lycra®, it features a full-coverage, one-size-fits-most knit beanie and a premium knit scarf with optional fringe. Integrate the shades of your client’s branding using up to three thread colors.  

BamBams  /  PPAI 255565, S9  /  www.bambams.com

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An option that recipients can throw over a tee on milder fall and winter days, the Baja Hoodie, available in a complementary men’s style, is easy-wear in every way. Made from a comfy blend of 87-percent cotton and 13-percent polyester, the seven-ounce knit features a jacquard stripe, a three-button placket with a solid inner placket, a three-piece jersey-lined hood, self-goods cuffs and an open hem bottom with button-closure side vents. Available in women’s XS-3XL and men’s S-5XL in grey/white and navy/white (shown). 

Vantage Apparel  /  PPAI 113235, S10  /  www.vantageapparel.com

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A great choice to gift to or offer employees on a company store website, the Newport Jacket is made for the rain and light snow. Made from a blend of 92-percent polyester and eight-percent spandex, it offers a waterproof, yet breathable fabric, with features such as a mesh-lining, a three-piece hood, an inner storm flap, half-elasticized cuffs with a self-goods hook and a loop tab, all designed to shield wearers from the elements. Also windproof, this rain jacket conveniently folds into its own self-pouch for easy storage. Available in men’s S-5XL and women’s X3-3XL in six colors, shown in royal. 

Vantage Apparel  /  PPAI 113235, S10  /  www.vantageapparel.com

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A cool way to complete recipients’ cold-weather day-to-day look, whether that’s working from home, attending classes or working in a business casual office, is with the unisex Quilted Jersey Shirt Jacket. Part of the Quilted Jersey Collection, it features a diamond-quilted pattern and is made from a blend of 70-percent polyester and 30-percent cotton-quilted jersey. Details include polyfill lining and polyester filling, a snap-button placket with seven metal snaps, set-on chest pockets and side-seam pockets, and self-fabric cuffs with snaps. Available in sizes S-3XL in charcoal and black (shown). 

J. America (Wholesale Blanks Division)  /  PPAI 351699, S1  /  www.jamericablanks.com

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A new, lightweight jacket available for this fall, the Puffer Full Zip Packable Jacket isn’t only warm, but it’s travel-ready. Featuring a 100-percent nylon shell with 60-gram Polyloft®, recycled polyester insulation, it features open single-welt pockets, a full-zip front with a neck guard, and bound sleeve and bottom openings. Best of all, it comes with a bag for packing, and can be easily folded into a small pouch. Available in sizes XS-6XL in black, steel gray and navy (shown). Decorate it with embroidery, heat-seal and heat-transfer options.

Edwards Garment Company  /  PPAI 198530, S11  /  www.edwardsgarment.com

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Sleek, clean and green, The Innovator is an eco-insulated hoodie made from 100-percent fine denier, recycled nylon. Details include a three-piece, adjustable hood with spandex biding at the opening and elastic piping at the sleeve opening to keep wearers warm and toasty, as well as quilted side panels, zippered hand pockets and an interior chest pocket, and a drawcord at the hem. Available in sizes S-4XL in nickel and black (shown).

 

Storm Creek  /  PPAI 438091, S6  /  www.stormcreek.com

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A selection ideal for very cold weather, or for those who are out working in the cold, the 3-in-1 Border System Jacket offers the equivalent of three jackets in one. Offering a generous full fit, it features a Ripstop Supplex nylon/400D nylon outer shell and jacket liner with a shock cord bottom on both the shell and liner, and under-arm zippers on the outer shell. Additional details include a removable full-jacket quilt liner, an inside zipper pocket and hidden embroidery pocket on the left chest and back, a foldaway hood, and a Velcro®/elastic, adjustable cuff. Available in sizes S-3XL in petrol blue/black, steel grey/black (shown) and red/black (shown).

Saxon Leather Ltd.  /  PPAI  191585, S3  /  www.saxonleather.com 

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A one-size-fits-all, unisex option, the Graz mittens will remind recipients of your client’s brand every time they slip them on. Made from 100-percent acrylic knit and available in five colors—black, navy, charcoal, royal and red (shown)—customize these by adding an embroidered or knitted logo. 

 

Fersten Worldwide  /  PPAI 253779, S4  /  www.fersten.com

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Beautifully finished and entirely custom, these high-quality woven scarves are the perfect choice to gift students, employees or partners for the holidays, or to use as a way to leverage attention to a company or cause. Available in one-size-fits-all in two-color, three-color and full-color constructions, the scarves are made from 100-percent cotton in two sizes: 62 inches long by seven inches wide, and 72 inches long by seven inches wide.

Hudson & Company  /  PPAI 434414, S1  /  www.hudsonthrows.com

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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