As you know by now, all too well, I live in Milwaukee where it gets cold in the Winter. Like, actually really cold. Not this whole, “I’m a model with my coat open wearing a thin button down under my flowy scarf along with my open toed shoes” version that people seem to have in their minds when pinning crap on Pinterest.
Remaining stylish in below zero weather (heck even in below 20 weather) is incredibly difficult. What shoes should I wear? Um, you don’t wear shoes, you wear boots with two pairs of socks. And not cute boots either because the salt and snow will ruin them. What outfit should I wear? It does not matter, you will have so many layers over that outfit you won’t even be able to reach it. Okay, well then what winter accessories should I wear? Uh, the warmest crap you can find! It will be ugly.
But, I still want to look good, you say. Like a human, maybe, instead of the abominable snowman.
FINE. Lemme help ya.
I grew up in Wisconsin and it’s only been in the past several years that I’ve learned to appreciate my coats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Growing up I was too cool for a coat. (Why do kids do that?) And then I started working in a barn in terrible weather and I was like, screw that! I’m wearing anything I can find! Which resulted in some pretty catastrophic ensembles (carhart jacket, lumpy brown scarf, and pink Packers knit cap, anyone?), but gosh dang it if I wasn’t warm.
Now I’m coming back around. I still want to be warm…like really warm. For example, I have become obsessed with long socks this year (I’ve turned into someone I don’t even recognize). But I also want to look like an adult human when stepping into the office in my layers. The closest I’ve come to looking decent was last year when I sported my black, long, DKNY wool coat with hunter green tall rubber boots (that I would change once I was in the office) and a matching knit yellow set of gloves and scarf.
This year I’m going with a tartan blanket scarf and black leather gloves. I think the combination is interestingly classic and will go with any coat I decide on. I’m leaning towards a long camel or ivory coat, but I’m not quite settled yet. Oh, and the boots are sticking around. Something like this:
P.S. This outfit is mostly acceptable except any form of heel in snow is laughable and no gloves is a death sentence. I give her a pass because she’s holding a hot coffee and you can’t eat a delicious pastry with gloves on. And it looks like her city salted the sidewalk well. (Also, no idea where this photo came from.)
So here are my recommendations for a warm, stylish winter:
1. A blanket or chunky knit scarf. These are cozy, incredibly warm, and actually acceptably fashionable. Any kind, any color. Wrap it around yourself and pretend you are somewhere else. Like still at home in bed.
2. Leather gloves or knit fingerless gloves with a pullover mitten. We’re all touch screen crazy, I know. I like fingerless gloves with the pullover because mittens tend to keep your fingers warmer since they are all bunched together and full finger knit gloves look so nerdy with their little dark patch for touch screens.
3. Tall, classic rubber boots. I’m not a huge fan of tall leather boots because they actually get really beat up in the winter. And also because I wore tall leather riding boots to actually ride horses and when they came into style it thoroughly irritated me that I’d been getting weird looks in public for so many years and now all those meanies were copying me. So, go for the rubber boots and really go classic like I said. A nice dark, solid color like hunter green is great because you can get away with them looking like a part of your outfit while outside, but you don’t have to worry about ruining them. I know it’s a pain to haul around an extra pair of shoes, but personally I do that all year round anyway so I don’t have to wear my heels while driving. Leather boots are for Fall people. I’m talking Winter here, REAL WINTER.
4. A long, wool, thick, well-lined coat. You don’t have to sacrifice style for warmth anymore. I highly recommend shopping for a coat in person so you can try them on and wear layers so you know if your coat will fit over them. Especially on super cold days, there is no way I’m not wearing multiple layers under my coat. Freezy central.
5. A cute knit hat. I’m not a huge hat person and don’t wear them often. That’s one of the reasons I prefer blanket scarves. They are so huge that they cover my face and ears so I rarely need a hat. Also, I have an excessive amount of hair on my head so I’m lucky like that. But, if you’re a hat person, by all means get one.
6. Long socks for under those boots. Like buy a million pairs of long socks for Winter. A million is an accurate number, I promise.
Embroidered Fox Trouser Socks, J. Crew, $12.50
7. Warm knit tights/leggings. This way you can keep your sweater dresses and thick skirts in rotation.
Fleece Tights, H&M, $12.95
Stay warm, friends!