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Winter Is Coming: Now What Do I Wear?!

Image via Pinterest/I Left My Heart in Paris Tumblr
I've spent the better part of my life in New England, but if you were to look at my closet, you wouldn't know it. The majority of my wardrobe is devoted to warm weather staples, like breezy sundresses, three quarter length cotton cardigans, and sleeveless blouses so once the temperature drops, my choices shrink considerably. Last year, I unintentionally decided to go for a "chic maternity" look and wore the same three pair of black leggings for eight months straight with oversized shawl cardigans and tunics. There's no shame in that uniform -- I'm sure I'll be adopting it again soon! -- but this winter, I want to cultivate a style. Pieces that feel as feminine, retro, and whimsical as my collection of vintage summer dresses...I just don't know quite how to do it yet and am looking for advice:

What do you wear in the winter? How do you manage the tricky combination of requisite layers, practical concerns, and style during the colder months?  

10 Comments

  1. I've lived my whole life in VT. Style sorta goes out the window for true Vermonters come winter. Working in retail, I could tell a customer was from Montreal the instant they set foot in the store, they have style, they looked so well put together. The regulars would just be in their puffy coats or LL Bean parkas, practical snow boots, carharts and earflap hats. For advice I say if we must wear layers for warmth, than play into it, go for the "layered look" I keep seeing on fashion blogs. Let a lacy hem peek out under a long sweater or throw some open-knit legwarmers over tights. I like to wear arm warmers too with 3/4 or short sleeve sweaters for a break from everything being long-sleeved. I still haven't found the perfect stylish winter footwear though.

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    1. I've visited Burlington in the winter and ohmygod, I couldn't complain about how "cold" it was in Massachusetts after that!

      It's the same in Mass. though -- puffy coats, Uggs, and Northface are all you see for months and that's what I'd like to avoid, I'd like my style to get closer to the chic Canadians. ;)

      You and Ana both mentioned layering and playing with textures and I'm realizing that might be the key. Arm warmers!? WHERE DO YOU GET THOSE?! I needed those yesterday, my arms get terribly cold in the winter.

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    2. Winter in Burlington is legendary, everyone is so bundled up, usually only their eyes are visible!

      My arm warmers are all homemade. Some of mine are knit by friends and I made a bunch from knee high socks that I cut the worn out feet off. I have so many I actually layer them too! :)
      They are a necessity, my arms and especially hands freeze as soon as summer is over. Bad circulation, I guess.
      I believe Sock Dreams sells some cute ones and there are many free patterns online to knit them, some are exquisitely intricate and beautiful.

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  2. Fleece lined tights, scarves, heavy skirts, the ubiquitous sweater, tall boots or leg warmers....

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    1. Oh, oh. Heavy skirts! I used to have an awesome purple one from Anthropologie and it became too big, I had to give it away...you reminded me that it was a huge part of my "stylish winter" look in collage. Good thinking!

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    2. I've actually just discovered that it's possible to actually make my own winter skirts! Circle skirts turned out to be super easy, and with dark fabric, no one can see that I'm incapable of sewing or even cutting a straight line.

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  3. I don't tend to make much of a distinction between my summer and winter wardrobe, the biggest difference is that in winter I wear more scarfs and heavier jackets. I have a "leather" one, a velvet blazer which I love and wore (and still do!) so much it is falling apart and military style one from Aderlass, in addition to that I also have a trench coat that I also wore to death and is in need of replacement but being short I don't like the look of most trench coast on me.

    So basically what I do in winter is wearing the same clothes as in summer but with a cami underneath, a cardigan on top and a jacket/trench coat + scarf + leather gloves on top of everything else. Truth be told that Portugal doesn’t have that cold of a winter otherwise I would probably not be able to do that.

    I also like to use fun accessories: I have a polka dot umbrella and one of my pairs of gloves is red, I love to wear my purple scarf as well. Other thing that makes it easier to combine everything is that 80% of my wardrobe is black and the rest is either red or purple with the random grey and peacock blue tops, so everything goes together making it easier to mix. To compensate for the lack of variety in color I like to combine textures: lace, leather, velvet etc.

    Well, didn’t thought I would write that much, sorry for the testament Cecily, hope I didn’t bore you.

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    1. Ana, you didn't bore me at all! In fact, you gave me a lot to think about, I wear a ton of grey and muted colors in the winter and by January, I feel so bored by everything I wear so choosing bright or fun accessories would mix that up. And the mix of textures!!! Honestly, I've never thought of doing that in the winter or to add contrast. I've been staring at these Pinterest images for months trying to get inspiration and you're right on the money -- that's genius!! :)

      Testaments are always welcome.

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  4. I'm addicted to Uniqlo's Ultra Light Downs. They're so warm, thin and comfy (They might run a tad big, I've had one in M but my new one in S fits better, even over my 30FFs). Since I'm not really into puffy jackets, I've purchased a hoodless one I'll wear under my coats to keep me warm. And whenever I feel like it, I can put it back in its pocket. Almost everyone in my family has their own.

    I roll with 3 coats : a navy one with a hood, a faux fur collar and metal clasps; a leopard printed one in faux fur and another in a lighter fabric and houndstooth print.
    A typical outfit of mine would be a red fairisle jumper I got from H&M last year tucked in a black skater skirt, with burgundy tights and Dr. Martens (handy when it snows). I also wear my leather skirt a lot all year round.

    I play a lot with accessories, with prints and with colours. If I'm in all black and white, I add some bright mustard yellow (looks perfect with camel shoes). Burgundy and red are always winners. I tend to prefer navy over black (and I'm not afraid of mixing them). I'm literally unable to go out without at least one printed piece (usually it's more like 2 or 3, I'm a bit of a kamikaze sometimes). I add collars, belts, jewelry, a few thrifted designer pieces, scarves and cute jackets (not necessarily warm ones, I sometimes wear a kimono jacket with a merino cardi underneath), printed tote bags (they're cheap and cool looking), I borrow some stuffs from all my family and that's it.

    Sorry for this being so long, I tend to get a little bit over the top when it comes to fashion '(°v°)

    If you're in need of inspiration, you should check Louise Ebel (http://www.misspandora.fr/), her outfits might not always be the most practical but oh boy are they pretty. Everything I aspire to, really.

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