In mild, temperate weather it’s easy to put together a look that you love and that you know makes you look smoking hot.
But when the weather is really and truly frightful, it’s a much bigger challenge to look chic and feel fabulous. In northern climates, where the cold and snow hit hard, your biggest concern is often just making it wherever you’re going in one piece, dry and un-frostbitten.
So what is a chic, style-minded girl to do when she wants to paint the town red on a night when the temperature is in the single digits? Especially when Valentine’s Day is around the corner and fancy winter date nights loom. Well, the answer may be best summed up by the old Girl Scout motto: Be Prepared.
Armed with the right key pieces and a few smart tips, it’s easy to pull off a fabulous look on even the coldest of nights…
1. Don’t Be a Hero
One of the biggest (and most amateur) mistakes you can make when getting ready for a cold night out is to deny reality. Sure, your weather app says it’ll be 7 degrees out, but you’re tough, right? Wrong. No one is tough enough to withstand that kind of weather in stiletto heels, barely-there sheer tights and that cropped leather jacket you’ve been dying to wear. If you let your fashion sense trump your common sense, you’ll just end up a shivering mess by night’s end and that’s not a good look on anyone.
2. Boots & All
If you live in a place that gets Arctic tundra level cold, one pair of boots is never enough – you need a collection that includes at least one pair that is practical yet cute enough to wear to a nice restaurant. Polar Vortex veterans know that once your feet are cold and/or wet, that’s pretty much the end of feeling warm, so invest the time and money to find high quality boots you adore.
Your ideal winter cute boot should be insulated and have a sturdy, treaded sole that will keep you upright on icy sidewalks. But of course, wearing them should also make you feel sexy and cool. This gorgeous, over-the-knee pair from boot masters, Frye, is lined in shearling and has a rubber lug sole, but doesn’t compromise on style. Pair them with a short dress and tights or pull them over your best pair of skinny jeans for a perfect date night look.
3. Fur the Win
Just ask the ask celebrities and socialites vacationing in Aspen and they’ll tell you that the secret to winter chic is fur – and yes, faux fur does the trick just as well. The best thing about wearing fur anything is that, unlike pieces in most other materials, the bigger and warmer it is, the more fabulous you look. And is if that wasn’t good enough news on its own, fur is very much on trend this season, so cozying up under a big, Snow Princess hat or burying your entire face in a lush fur scarf will make you look hip.
4. Hat it Big
Speaking of hats, regardless of whether or not you think of yourself as a “hat person,” winter means embracing the accessory. The right hat goes a long way in keeping you warm while you’re waiting for the valet to pull around on negative temperature nights.
And if hats aren’t usually your thing, shop for one in person rather than online; the right hat for you is out there, but you may have to try on a bunch before you find it. Here are a few styles that are trendy and perfect for topping off your sexy date night outfit:
- Trapper – Lean in to the winter wonderland aesthetic with a fur trapper hat.
- Brimmed – If your personal style runs a little vintage, a brimmed design is perfect for you.
- Chunky Knits & Pom Poms – This trend may remind you of the hats you wore as a kid, but rest assured that a more updated version like this hand-knit, fur pom hat will look very grown up and cool.
5. Material Girl
Choosing outfits that are both warm and hot is all about materials. You can get away with wearing less if the items you are wearing are made of the right stuff.
For example, you can and should wear tights in the winter, but not the sheer pantyhose type that do almost nothing to keep the cold air out. Instead, opt for a pair that are lined in fleece, made of wool or cashmere, or 100 denier opaque. Wearing one of these varieties is really the only reasonable way to rock a dress or skirt in the winter. You ought to invest in a few high-quality pairs from brands like Wolford so that they look great and hold up over many wears and washes.
And when it comes to clothing, you don’t have to feel like a bulky snowman if you opt for lighter-weight pieces in wool, silk or cashmere – these are luxurious textiles that look beautiful but also do their job of keeping you warm.
There’s no getting around covering up your lovely outfit in the winter – no matter how door-to-door your plans are for the night; you should never forego a coat. So the trick is having one on hand that is just as beautiful as your outfit so that you’ll actually want to wear it. Choose one that sort of feels like a dress itself and it won’t be such a sacrifice to throw it on.
As you can see, it may not always be easy, but it is most certainly possible to maintain your style in the dead of winter.
About the Author: Liz Kores is fortunate enough to be a professional fashionista who enjoys sharing her expertise as a guest blogger on a variety of style publications. She also serves on the board of the Chicago Fashion Incubator and is the managing director of the Oak Street Council, a business association that includes the designer boutiques, restaurants and hotels in the city’s fashionable Gold Coast neighborhood. For more, visit www.oakStreetchicago.com.