Posted on March 04 2013
Fashion shows and retailers are already selling spring, but most of us in the northern hemisphere still have at least one more month of cold to endure. Staying comfortable in the winter, for me, still includes liking the way that I look.
How to stay warm in cold weather requires planning, but feeling both cozy and stylish can be accomplished.There are no snow pants and not even any long underwear involved - I don't give up my skirts and dresses for the winter. The best clothes for winter involve smart layers, different fibers, and keeping your hands and feet warm. A few long camisoles in black and white are essential worn under dresses or other tops. Knit dresses, skirts, and tops that are cut closer to the body are the warmest to me. The Super Spy Dress and Classic Pencil Skirt are both great options. I also look for items in warmer fabrics, such as this Mitzi dress in lightweight corduroy, or anything with a wool or cashmere blend. An arsenal of scarves in solid colors that correspond well with your wardrobe can also be used as wraps (or even subtle lap blankets) in chilly restaurants or bars. I am a big fan of the large, rectangular "pashmina" type scarves that can be found 3 for $10 at an import shop near you. I don't invest in expensive winter accessories; scarves, gloves and hats are often forgotten, lost, and just plain absorb the maximum of winter's wrath. Wash your scarves and gloves frequently - their proximity to your skin can make them a host to a lot of icky things, from germs to oil. For the bottom half of my body, fleece tights are a must. They are a polyester blend that is a little thicker and warmer than normal stockings, but they look more refined than leggings. Over these (or other stockings), I layer a knee-high wool blend sock. Gold Toe makes a nice pair that is only 4% wool - warm, but not itchy. I then wear a flat, knee-high, lined boot. I buy cheap winter boots - Ami Club Wear has an enormous selection (and often has winter boots on sale). I have purchased more expensive winter boots in the past, only to see them get destroyed by the salt, mess and filth. A gray or tan color hides the inevitable stains better than black. If your look (or job) requires different shoes, just bring them. I keep a mid-heel pair of black mary jane pumps under my desk. These match with almost anything, and are there when I need them at work. Don't be shy about changing your shoes when out and about. I have attended business dinners at the nicest country clubs and restaurants in my city with my heels in a tote bag. I just take off my boots and socks in the coat room or restroom and check the bag with my coat. No one bats an eye, and I am not shivering or slipping on the way out. For the best winter coats, I like something that fits closer to the body. Baggy clothing in the winter just allows drafts in. A coat that is knee length or at least covers your behind is essential. I still have good luck finding vintage coats at thrift and resale stores. Tailoring is worthwhile as it is a piece that you will most likely get a lot of use out of over many years. When spring finally arrives, I make sure that all of my coats (and the scarves and pairs of gloves that survived) are clean before storing them. Don't be caught unprepared on that first cold fall night! I hope this has encouraged you to keep your style central to your winter life. Don't banish your skirts or dresses. My experience comes from 10 years of life in a city north of Chicago, so if I can do it, you certainly can too!