5 Items to Help You Stay Warm and Chic The weather outside will soon be frightful—but that doesn’t mean your look has to be. BY MARLA TOMAZIN
Just because you're bundled under layers doesn't mean you can't be fashionable.
“ Even quality hats, scarves, coats, gloves, and boots can look like alphabet soup in the wrong combination.”
Despite the dropping temperatures, are you clinging to your light jacket and peep-toe pumps? Do you dread the day when you have no choice but to bundle into a bulky jacket and snow boots? Cold-weather layers may not look or feel as chic as many women would prefer, but like it or not, winter is coming—and it’s time to make sure your closet is ready. Fortunately, you don’t have to (totally) sacrifice style in the name of staving off hypothermia.
I see many women who dress meticulously in the mornings—only to cover up their carefully curated look with a shapeless parka and clunky insulated boots. You too may assume that outerwear doesn’t really matter, but I believe it’s important to put as much thought into bundling up as you do into building your outfit.
Not only does every layer of your look contribute to your sense of comfort and self-confidence, you may find yourself in situations where others’ first (and sometimes only!) impression of you will be based on your outerwear. Make sure your outer layers project the style and image you want to convey.
Here, I share five cold-weather staples to invest in:
Wrap yourself in a classic coat. If you don’t already own and love a warm, high-quality coat in a classic cut and style, start shopping for one. I recommend that you keep the following points in mind as you search:
* Don’t fall victim to trends. First and foremost, it’s important to choose a style that flatters your body shape. If you have a smaller waist, a belted style may be a good option. For larger waists, straight coats are a better choice. And if you carry your weight on your hips and thighs, look for an A-line coat.
* Avoid puffy, bulky shapes. If you live in a particularly cold area of the country, look for a coat with a lightweight thermal liner.
* While a tailored look is always flattering, make sure your coat is large enough to comfortably fit over a suit jacket or bulky sweater.
* Consider not only how a coat looks, but how heavy it is. Just as much as shoes and bags, coats can contribute considerably to the weight you carry around!
* Hoods can also be useful when rain and snow are on the forecast. (Detachable hoods are especially versatile.)
* Choose a coat that is a neutral shade (like black, brown, or beige). Neutrals will stand the test of time, are always professional, and are easy to coordinate with accessories. If you purchase a second coat, a bolder color will look great over neutral clothes.
Boot up! The right pair of black or brown boots can take you right from work to weekend, worn with warm leggings and a skirt to the office and with a great pair of jeans on Saturday.
If, like me, you live in a place where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, consider fur-lined or even waterproof boots. While generally more expensive, quality thermal footwear is worth the investment because you’ll stay comfortable and dry while still looking fashionable. (I recently treated myself to a pair of Aquatalia boots, which offers stylish, waterproof footwear in leather and suede.) And be practical—if the weather outside has made walkways and parking lots slick with ice, then leave the heels in your closet. There are plenty of stylish flat-soled options that are perfect for snowy days.
Snuggle into a stylish scarf. First on your list should be solid scarves in wool or cashmere, which are cozy and easier to wear than prints. (Though I find animal print scarves to be quite neutral depending on the colors you wear.) But if your budget allows, don’t be afraid to add a few scarves in unexpected patterns—this will give your basic blacks or winter whites a fun twist.
Right now fringed garments are popular, so look for fringed scarves as a way to work this of-the-moment trend into your look without straying too far from your comfort zone. And whatever style you choose, make sure it looks good with your coat!
Travel with a tote. No matter what the temperature is, I recommend carrying two bags: a handbag with your essentials and a tote for everything else. For the sake of your posture and muscles, it’s wise to break up the weight you carry.
For winter, look for a durable tote in a rich, saturated color. Saffiano leather is a great material because it is lightweight, won’t scratch easily, and can be cleaned with a little water on a towel. A zippered closure is a must-have because it allows you to secure your valuables and protect them from wet weather. Personally, I love Tory Burch’s York Buckle Tote, which comes in two sizes. The larger size can hold a computer, umbrella, files, water bottle, and more. The smaller size will hold a business file and an iPad, along with your other necessities.
Don’t forget to top it off. Yes, hats are tricky. On one hand, you want to stay warm—but on the other, What about my hairstyle?
It may be that you simply put a small hairbrush in your purse to combat the aftereffects of a knitted cap. But if you don’t want to deal with disheveled hair, a beret and—again—a coat’s hood are good alternatives.
Finally, make sure that each piece of your outerwear coordinates with the others. Even quality hats, scarves, coats, gloves, and boots can look like alphabet soup in the wrong combination. To save yourself time and stress getting out the door, hang scarves with coats, and keep color-coordinated gloves and hats in each coat’s pockets or in a convenient drawer or closet.
Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. From a successful career in the fashion industry, Marla gained expertise in retail buying, merchandising, sales, and marketing. She began with May Company in Denver after earning a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Denver. Marla moved to New York where she worked with several well-known Seventh Avenue design firms. The progression to Certified Image Consultant was a natural transition. Her clients include women, men, and corporations seeking external revitalization that mirrors their internal development. Marla has appeared on numerous TV and radio stations and programs. For more information, please visit www.marlatomazin.com.