Reader Question: Frigid Fashion

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mari sent over this question and I thought it required a full blog as opposed to a quick answer. Let's all thank her and enjoy.

"I'm experiencing sub zero temps and wicked wind chill factors of -30 with the recent weather. I want to maintain my adorable look, but I'm worried I may have to sacrifice fashion for frumpy in order to be safe. Help!"

YOU GUYS on the East Coast/Canada, I'm feeling for you. I talk to my family members up there every day or two and after going without power over Christmas and now dealing with a POLAR VORTEX up there, I am kiiind of patting myself on the back for not living there anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown and Canadians are the nicest ever, but I don't miss the winters at all. They conjure images of trying to get to school my my nose hairs froze together. It wasn't pretty.

I still live in a pretty cold climate, but the difference is the sun. Utah gets tons of winter sun, so it's usually more mild and not so soul crushing. Still, you have to know how to dress warmly either way.

Can I just say how annoying it is to see a "winter" spread in a magazine or on a blog (this one made me lol) and their ideas are in no way realistic. It's like what people in California would imagine winter was like -- slightly nippy and swathed in pumpkin spice lattes. The rest of know that they're silly, so let's talk ways about staying warm without losing all sense of fashion.

 Use Color

Yes, you have to cover your cute clothes up with a ton of warm layers, but if your coat is a bright color, you can fight off some of the sads that come with crappy winter slushy snow. I love a bright red jacket -- I have a red wool pea jacket that always makes me happy when I pull it out.

Belt that Sucka

One of the worst parts about warm coats is the fact that they can be totally shapeless and then you're just this marshmallow of nylon making your way through the awful, awful month of February (oh how I dread it). Adding a belt -- or buying a jacket that comes with a belt -- can help remind everyone that there's actually a woman inside there. Also, this with some jeans and warm boots is instantly adorable.

Layer Like Crazy

Another issue with cold weather is the fact that you're usually going from outside to inside pretty quickly, so you'll need to be able to ditch a few layers. I love down vests for this purpose: I layer them over a tank and a hoodie and then wear a thinner jacket over top. I'm warm enough outside and then I can ditch the jacket and vest inside if I need to.I also love vests for wearing over workout gear because we all know that the only thing worse than exercising is being cold on the way to said exercise.
Either way, layering is your friend in the winter. Stock up on thinner hoodies, sweaters and long sleeved tees and then use them as base pieces for warmer layers.

Actual Warm Accessories

Now is the time to put away those lightweight scarves and bring out the big guns. I hoard wool scarves because they're awesome to wear with leather jackets on days when the sun comes out to play. You're also going to need some good gloves (I like leather, but I also keep a pair of wool mittens in my car for emergencies) and a hat. Looking for accessories with patterns and colors brings a little bit of light to your outfit while still being functional. And if it's not functional you can just get out right now.

You can also layer up accessories. Extra socks and gloves are par for the course around here.

Cute, Weatherproof Boots

Yeah, your run-of-the-mill boots might be cute, but if they're leather or patent, they're going to suck in the snow. You need to invest in a pair of weatherproof boots -- extra points if they would look adorable with skinnies and a bomber jacket, like these would. Yes, they'll cost more than the $30 pair you picked up at Target, but they'll also keep your feet dry and that's worth the extra money. Because wet feet make everyone angry. EVERYONE.

Go for Pockets

When picking winter coats, I always choose one with tons of pockets for a few reasons. The first is that I don't usually wear a purse with a huge jacket. It looks weird and it's a pain and a hazard if you slip and fall. Not that it ever happens to me. Anyway, I stash everything in my pockets and then add a couple of those Hot Hands packets. I buy a ton at the start of winter and we use them all by the time March rolls around.

If you do choose to wear a purse or bag, look for something you can wear crossbody so you can go hands free.

I know I'm the judgiest when it comes to well, everything. But if growing up in Canada taught me anything, it was:
a) That you hold the door open for others or you might as well surrender your citizenship card like, right now.
b) The winter is no joke.
Therefore, being safe trumps being fashionable when it's colder than the surface of Mars. Color and belts and pretty scarves are well and good, but you need to stay warm above all.

Mari, hopefully that helps out. And I hope that it thaws out a bit there. Until then, button up, wear some gloves and cover your dang ankles.


Nora Bradshaw said...

I would like to add how helpful it is to layer under. Thermal underwear (otherwise known as "romance killers") will make it much easier to wear those cute jeans. It doesn't have to be that waffle-texture stuff, either. There are other, sleeker options. Just don't ask me for a link right now, it's been a rough day.

Yes, Jae, that's right, people come to your blog to hear me give advice.

Jae said...

Bahaha oh Nora. When I snowmobile it's thermals or bust for me! Mostly because I ALWAYS get the snowmobile stuck and have to wait around to be saved. So I need to stay warm. Also, I could use a few snowmobiling classes, apparently.


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