Material World

Winter is rubbish. You have to go home from work in the dark and the streets are covered in a lethally slippery leaf mulch. However, imagine how dull it would be if the seasons didn't change and we had to wear the same thing all year long, in some sort of summer-dress groundhog hell.

One of the few advantages to the bleak mid-winter is the chance to wear hats, gloves and scarves. It's the only time of the year when swaddling yourself up like a five-year-old Inuit is a fashion statement. A big scarf, even if it's cashmere leopard print and by Christopher Kane, still has the semblance of an ultra-practical purchase.

So when it comes to cosy accessories, what's hot (so to speak) and what's not? As anyone who listened carefully during GCSE biology lessons will tell you, most body heat is lost through the head, so a hat is one essential purchase that both Ranulph Fiennes and your mum would endorse. A classic woolly pom-pom is de rigueur, whether it's a single bobble or two ear-like bobbles as seen at Topshop. Bernstock Speirs' woolly hat with net veil juxtaposes Forties siren glamour and schoolgirl practicality, while Peter Jensen's polar-bear print hat with animal ears is downright adorable.

Next up, gloves. There are now gloves with missing thumb and index fingers that enable one to text away while limiting frostbite to just two digits (find them on, but if fashion rather than frostbite is your main concern, then opt for leather elbow-length styles or fingerless elbow-length cashmere such as Brora's armwarmers.

Finally scarves and snoods, as seen at Missoni, are the neckwear du saison. Choose between a short tube that looks like a big knitted neck brace and a long floppy scarf with the ends tied together which facilitates some flattering 80s-style swathing around the neck and face. Try Banana Republic's romantically named Infinity Scarf or Toast's lovely emerald green Tundra Snood. Net-a-Porter has a kit to make your very own Peruvian Snood by the brand Wool and The Gang, but by the time you've knitted it, it might well have gone out of fashion.