When one of you (hi, Amy!) suggested that I talk a little about bundling up for winter, I got pretty excited. The truth is, winter is my season! While I hate the cold, I absolutely adore cold weather style. So, today I thought I’d dispense a few of my favorite tips for staying chic no matter the weather. Read on
Why is it that men are always the trickiest to buy for? I don’t know about you, but I spend most of December stumped when it comes to gifts for husbands, dads and brothers. But this year, I’m feeling confident…and you should too. Whether he’s into food, drink, gadgets or the latest hipster craze, I promise each and every one of the picks in this gift guide is 100% guy-tested and approved, and sure to be a hit with any man on your list.
Especially those steaks. Trust me on this…they’re unreal.
I have always been a fan of understated (bland) rain gear. Best to blend in, look sophisticated, and all that. But all of these grey April days looking so very beautiful against the bright, happy flowers of spring have made me reconsider. So, last month, I treated myself to my first “bright” umbrella: navy with hot pink hearts from J.Crew (alas, not available online, but well worth a trip to the store). It’s changed my entire outlook on this dreary spring weather.
Now, I’m traipsing around town with my bold umbrella and a bright, puddle-stomping pair of Sorel rain boots (how could I resist that polka dot lining?)…and, though I may not look sophisticated, I’ve still managed to cling to stylish. And I can tell you it’s done an immeasurable amount of good for my attitude.
While I’m rambling, a word about that lovely trench above. It’s by Hillary Day, a designer based here in Portland, and it’s possibly the most flattering – and utilitarian – trench I’ve ever tried. No buttons to pull uncomfortably when you layer (or sit down), and the fabric is the highest tech thing I’ve seen since the iPad. Hillary’s favorite party trick is to dump a glass of water on one when you walk in the shop. By the time you leave, that water will still be in a puddle on top of the trench. Unreal.
Oh, how I adore reader mail….
Dear Shopping’s My Cardio:I have a fabulous trip to Iceland planned for February (yes, February) and I will be spending a few days in Reykjavik. I have heard that Icelanders are very fashion-forward and I don’t won’t to look like an American tourist in New Balance sneakers and a Helly Hansen fleece while I am there. Any suggestions for winter chic in a cold cold land? And no, I also don’t want to look like Lisbeth from Dragon Tattoo….~ A Loyal Reader
While I question the timing (brr!), Iceland has become the hot new destination (pun sort of intended) for adventurous jetsetters. A few months back, Iceland’s tourism board ran some amazing travel specials, and several of my friends jumped at the chance to be exotic on a budget.
But then, there’s also a fair contingent of SMC friends who reside in the Great White North, so I thought perhaps they wouldn’t mind a little primer on staying warm in style.
To start, spend some time on Google Images looking at celeb style at Sundance. Sure, it’s aspirational, but it’s also a great starting point for chic cold-weather wear. For the most part, it consists of skinny jeans tucked into Sorel boots, down parkas or shearling, great chunky scarves and a fabulous pair of sunnies to shield your eyes from all that sunlight bouncing off the snow.
Pack your bags with staples like denim (I’d take one boot-cut and one skinny/jegging) and a couple of great sweaters (one pullover, one cardigan). Add a few classic layering pieces, like a plaid flannel shirt in a modern color combo or a perfect long-sleeved tee (my favorites are from LA Made). Take a pair of Sorels – I love the aprés ski vibe of this grey flannel version – and a second weather-friendly pair (thick-soled Fryes would be perfect, or a biker-style rain boot is a fun upgrade). For good measure, toss in a long-sleeved sweater dress that can double as a tunic during the day and a dinner dress at night.
To top it all off, you’ll need a couple of knockout scarves, a great pair of sunnies (aviators are my current favorite), and the perfect down parka to keep you warm – just be sure it has enough shape to keep your curves intact. I love the idea of opting for a white parka over the usual black – it instantly adds a hefty dose of style to your look. Brooklyn Industries is genius at making a puffer that flatters – the waistline on this version is unbelievably slimming, and the super sale price doesn’t hurt.
Brooklyn Industries Zermatt puffer coat ($139) / Pendleton cardigan ($100) / Sorel Norquay ($150) / Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody ($138) / LL Bean flannel ($40) / Cashmere henley sweater ($107) / Juicy Couture rain boot ($125) / Guess aviators ($50) / Muk Luks convertible gloves ($21)
A few bonus tips:
- Layer – after all, you’ll be inside a fair bit too, and you’ll want to regulate that temperature. And make sure the coat you pack is lightweight, so you can tote it through indoor venues without breaking a sweat.
- Take a tiny crossbody bag like this one from Marc by Marc Jacobs ($138), so that when you’re carrying that down coat around, you won’t lose feeling in your arms
- Warm socks are key. Do yourself one better and pick up a pair of fleece-lined tights (I found mine at Nordstrom Rack for under $10). Use them at night to keep your legs warm in that dinner dress, but you can also layer them under denim if the cold is too much to take.
- Don’t be afraid of prints. A bold pattern on a cardigan will make repeat wears more pleasant – just steer away from trite Nordic themes. Go with tribal, stripes or mod, and you’ll be ahead of the tourist pack. (Plus, you’ll want to score a Fair Isle knit as a souvenir, no?)
- Skip the jewels. Pick a favorite simple pendant and a stud earring, and leave the rest home. Chunky bangles are a mess with gloves, and statement earrings will only get caught on your scarf.
Do any of you frozen tundra-dwellers have any words of wisdom to add for our stylish friend?
Why is it that men are so much trickier to buy for than women? I can’t explain it, but I can try to make the process a bit easier. Whether he’s metro or manly, there’s a gift here he’ll be stoked to see under the tree (or menorah, in my case).
- They might not always say it, but guys need a little luxury in their grooming too. Cade shaving cream and travel shaving brush, L’Occitane, $28 & $30
- Really, aren’t you tired of those threadbare socks he’s wearing? Richer Poorer men’s socks, any 3 styles for $30 with code HOHOHO, including gift box and shipping.
- A warm, weatherproof boot that looks good enough for going out. Ellesmere weather-resistant boot, Sorel, $160
- Captain Scott is the male equivalent of Amelia Earhart – his trek through the South Pole is the stuff of legends. This book of photos from the infamous trip are guaranteed to indulge his inner explorer. Lost Photographs of Captain Scott, by David M. Wilson, $21
- These natural leather belts are hand-crafted, and weather over time to a rugged patina. I’m so in love with them that the hubs and I both have one. Leather “Project Belt”, Wood and Faulk, $55
- Get him to ditch his drugstore shades – these aviators will give him instant street cred, and the classic shape will work on absolutely anyone. Oliver aviator sunglasses, Guess, $65
- Getting a tie for Christmas might not top his wishlist…until he sees this hip version from Pendleton. Just don’t mention your plans to borrow it. Grey mix Umatilla tie, Pendleton Portland Collection, $68
- This is a pick straight from the hubs, who tells me this matte, paper-style dial is “super cool.” Phosphor E-Ink digital watch, $195
- So, so many iPhone cases out there, but I love that this one’s made of wood and looks like a retro Leica camera. “Made From Raw Wood” iPhone case, $42
- If there’s a bachelor on your list, I’m pretty confident his house could benefit from a candle that isn’t at all girly, but still masks the smell of whatever’s rotting in his fridge. Silver skull candle, DL & Company, $88
happy sundance festival, everyone! it’s the season of bundling up beyond all comprehension, and finally seeing celeb style shots we can use: ways to look chic while sporting six layers of down and fur.
since park city is my hometown, i can’t help but get in the spirit – it’s the perfect time to show you my latest favorite find for bundling. i am an utter wuss when it comes to cold (those years in san francisco did wonders for lowering my tolerance for temps under 50 degrees), but i completely hate what most cold-weather gear does for my style. after all, the snow bunny look is fine on the slopes, but on city streets, you can quickly look ridiculous. my latest find, sorel’s joan of arctic boots, manages to make snow bunny cool again…and they’re so warm and cozy, i’m literally waiting for opportunities to wear them.
i admit, they’re not what you’d expect me to pick…normally, i go for the least practical option every time (ahem, i heard that chorus of laughter when i tweeted i was at REI to check these out). but i just love something about the style on these – they’re oddly appropriate to wear around town (when the weather permits, of course), and the faux fur keeps them looking more chic than utilitarian. plus, they’re sorel…so they’re as weatherproof as a shoe can be, and they’re going to last absolutely forever.
hey, if it’s good enough for elle macpherson and kate hudson, who am i to argue?
the trick, as always, is styling. too bundled, and you end up looking like the abominable snowgirl. if the pant choice isn’t right, they’ll bunch up in the boots, and look all wrong. ultimately, to do it right, you should focus on making your legs look as long and lean as possible (while covering your bum, as always!). that will show off your lovely shape, and allow you to layer a bit more on top. also, add a little pop of interest – a bright bag, or a touch of animal print – you don’t want the boots totally stealing the spotlight. a couple of ideas:
Steven Alan / Reverse Seam Shirt, $158; Diane von Furstenberg Sheer-stripe wool-blend cardigan, $300; Rebel Yell Bonjour Football Tee in Heather Gray, $69; Diane von furstenberg knitwear CAMEL, 178 GBP; Women’s Down With It Parka, $193; Citizens of Humanity ‘Elson’ Mid Rise Straight Leg Stretch Jeans (Star…, $100; DL 1961 grace straight in eclipse, $158; Yves saint laurent bags RED, 845 GBP; Rebecca Minkoff Cheetah Haircalf Covet Bag, $425; Franco Ferrari / Ambrosia Scarf, $138; Original Wayfarer RB2140 Sun | Official Ray-Ban Site – Germany
i also happen to love kate hudson’s idea of layering a fun fair isle knee sock underneath her sorels – it adds a bit of color, while staying weather appropriate. she picked a slightly more daring style than i did (of course), but she’s still rocking them with ease.
if you’re still freezing your tail off this winter, or just seeing all of these street style photos from sundance and wishing you were on a ski vacation, you should seriously consider a little sorel splurge. and in fact, because sorel’s doing a huge promo to promote their presence at sundance, you can get free shipping until the festival ends (1/30) with code SUNDANCE, always a nice benefit.