Friend Request: What is Winter?

4:00 PM

One of my friends from high school recently made the move from Texas to Washington D.C. and last week's Nor'easter and the first signs of snow have her at a loss:

"What is "winter" and what kind of shoes do you even wear and how long can I pretend it isn't snowing and how do I survive. help. plz & thx!"

After 5 years in New England I think I finally got the hang of this cold-weather dressing game and I've learned there are a few essential "L-ements"  so to speak: Leather, Leggings, Layers, and Luxe Fabrics.

Leather: Leather is not only durable and timeless but it's also extremely warm! I have a leather jacket, two leather skirts, several pairs of leather gloves, and a few pairs of leather boots. Black and brown are the most versatile, but the gorgeous oxblood hues popping up in shops are a great neutral alternative. If  your budget allows, invest in a quality pair of leather boots. Nothing is warmer than a boot! I purchased my harness boots from Harley Davidson four years ago and they have proven extremely effective in slush, snow, wind, and rain. Another great thing about leather is how easy it is to polish and repair. Those Harley boots are still in fantastic shape because of visits to the cobbler. I recently had a leather jacket repaired and my boots polished for under $10! 

Leggings: I know some of you are already rolling your eyes and thinking, "leggings aren't pants!" Hear me out!! I, personally, say leggings are pants if your top covers your butt. But agree or disagree, everyone should own a pair of American Apparel's Winter Leggings. I layer them under loose dress pants, silk pants, skirts, and dresses. I even double up and wear two pairs on really cold days! You can even sneak them into the office over a dress paired with an ankle bootie or go casual on the weekend with an over-sized sweater. However  you wear them, you will be comfortable and your legs will be warm.

Layers: The first piece of advice you'll get from any native Northerner is layer, layer, layer. There's no denying this one, layering is key.  Basic layering is fairly standard: tank + long sleeve tee + sweater + scarf + coat on top, and pant/skirt/dress + leggings or tights + socks + boots on the bottom. Keep in mind your lifestyle; I find that I need to be able to easily peel off layers. Often times the subway can be uncomfortably warm during rush hour and you will be thankful to ditch that cashmere sweater before you hop on a crowded train.  Sometimes you may even find you need to layer coats or a coat and a vest. If it's cold and raining I know I need to layer a waterproof trench over my down coat, and if it's really windy I'll layer a fur vest over a leather jacket. 

Luxe Fabrics: Fur, wool, and cashmere are your best friends (allergens permitting). Cashmere is more expensive, but with the holidays looming there's no better time to add something luxurious to your wish list. A great cashmere sweater is a worthwhile investment in any wardrobe. Wool is another cozy fabric, whether blended with other fabrics or a pure Merino, wool is not just warm but durable. Look for wool in coats and socks. Both are extremely warm fabrics even when used in blends. From coats to scarves, I find that just one piece is enough to add style and warmth. If you're still feeling chilly, add some fur. Fur has made a comeback this winter and it's everywhere from boots to hats. I love layering my faux fur vest over dresses and jackets. From more natural colored vests to out-there leopard print coats, there's something out there for every style.

If you still need more ideas check out NYC Fashion Girl's Fall Fashion Pinterest Board. She's got a great selection of looks you can draw inspiration from. I hope this helps some of you stay toasty this season! It certainly isn't easy transitioning from a totally different climate. It's been over five years since I moved to Boston and I still feel like I don't own enough sweaters or long sleeved shirts. Do you have any winter style tips for us non-natives?

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