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Winter Fashion Basics

Posted on 20 September 2008

No matter how frightful the weather outside gets, a more terrifying thought for some people might simply be figuring out what to do with their winter wardrobe. Maybe those cool cargo pants you bought in college just don’t cut it at your new job. Perhaps you’ve moved from a temperate climate to a cool one and have to start at ground zero with your seasonal clothing. Or you may feel that if you have to look at last year’s array of turtlenecks and corduroys one more time, you might run screaming from the bedroom.

Not to worry. Piecing together a winter wardrobe that looks sharp without being too expensive isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

Layering It On

Layering your clothing in the cooler season is key to keeping warm, but it’s also a fashion necessity. Wear vivid colors against neutral ones for an attractive contrast, or build part of your outfit from monochromatic colors for a classy, understated look. Layering is also the perfect way to get the most out of the clothing you purchase: While your turtleneck could go solo one day, next week it could reappear under a cardigan or sweater coat and look like a completely different wardrobe component. Plus, this type of outfit touts versatility–go from business to bar by simply shedding or adding a layer.

Mara Davis, 24, VIP manager at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, had to build a business-attire wardrobe in a short amount of time. “I buy a lot of different blouses so I can wear one suit in a number of ways,” she says.

Layering essentials for women: Sweater coats, belted cardigans, leather jackets, and v-necks can be paired with turtlenecks, stretch-cotton shirts, and oxfords for depth and dimension. Don’t forget to shop below the waist, too: Find a plaid skirt or a pinstriped pant on which to build the upper half of your outfit.

Layering essentials for men: Look for a basic zip-front cardigan (more updated than your father’s button-front version) to pair with a knit turtleneck and wool gabardine pants. You also can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true button-down shirt under a sweater. But don’t shy away from adding one extra layer–a wool pinstriped jacket or a leather jacket will make you fashion forward.

Boosting the Basics

Once you’ve found some separates to mix and match, putting together your daily dress may seem fairly routine — and, well, almost boring. That’s why it takes one additional step to add flair to your fashion. Accessorizing means adding a handful of unique items to your wardrobe, which will boost your confidence as well as your appearance. And, Davis says, don’t be afraid to save up a little extra cash to make sure those items stick around for more than one season. “I purchased some long black winter boots, which cost a little more than I’d usually spend,” she says. “But there are certain things you don’t want to skimp on.”

Accessorizing essentials for women: Add a touch of sparkle to your clothes, whether it be a shimmering stretch top or denim jeans with a hint of glitter. Extra-wide belts, knee-high boots, silk scarves, and faux fur are just a few other ways to give your wardrobe a pick-me-up without leaving a dent in your bank account.

Accessorizing essentials for men: Hats and scarves may sound mundane, but this year’s styles are meant for more than keeping warm. Choose these accessories in subtle gray flannel or plaid wool when it’s time for business, and pick up a brightly colored, striped knit version with tassels for snowbound play.

Create a Comfort Zone

Let’s face it: Fashion should never hurt. We all want to look good, but there’s no need to forego comfort in the process. And you can certainly achieve this goal, especially if your workplace is business casual.

Casual essentials for women: Soft cowl-neck sweaters, fleece tops, and knit v-necks can fill your comfort quota. Pair them with a relaxed-fit pant that is made from a cotton-stretch blend.

Casual essentials for men: Try a striped cotton pullover or jersey or a loose-fitting turtleneck sweater. Khakis are always a safe bet when you want to look good while staying comfortable. And don’t forget to look for wrinkle-resistant options–half of your comfort will come from knowing you don’t have to iron.

So as you head to the stores in search of the right look, just remember that it takes a little time to build a wardrobe that will get you through the long, cold winter. But it doesn’t take any time at all for people to notice that you’re looking good.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Fashion says:

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