Fashion freeze: handling cold weather

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By Alexandra Hehlen

As the first day of winter comes closer and closer, temperatures are dropping to below 32 degrees, and as Los Alamos begins to freeze up, our fashion inspiration often follows suit.


When the weather gets this cold, sometimes we’re tempted to call it quits and just throw on our skiing jackets, some UGG boots and fuzzy sweatpants.

But that’s not how fashion works. Winter is just another season, and rather than giving up on the cold weather, designers have always created a slew of clothes for their winter fashion lines that can keep us toasty and fashionable at the same time. Let’s take a cue from them; whether you’re in the shopping mood or need something to put on your Christmas wish list, now’s the time to talk about my six favorite winter essentials, which you can combine into an outfit that will keep you both warm and stylish.

• The peacoat. Just as warm as — and often more fashionable than — a ski jacket, peacoats come in a range of colors, shapes and styles. If you do a little digging, you’ll find one that accentuates your figure perfectly, which is especially satisfying when you notice that your figure shines through layers upon layers of clothes that you may be wearing underneath. If you’ve got a thin waist or big hips, consider a peacoat that ends just above the knee, and can be cinched with a tie to flair out from the waist. If you have a less-curvy figure, try a structured peacoat that uses seams rather than flares to play up your figure. For those of you who are short or petite, opt for a peacoat that ends at the hip to give you length.

• The sweater. Avoid frumpy or lumpy and tend toward either unique or simple. When the winter months get especially gray, a sweater that is vibrant or combines different types of yarns and knits can spice things up a little. Wear one underneath your peacoat, with a blazer to add structure or with a skirt if you’re feeling more playful. Some of my favorite sweaters have short sleeves, which can get bulky underneath a jacket. In this case, I suggest wearing a cape, which often looks a lot like a peacoat, but has more wiggle room for arms. Designers are also zoning in on clean and simple looks. Pair a cream cable-knit sweater, for example, with a structured black blazer, some skinny dark wash jeans and a pair of black ankle boots.

• Leg warmers. These come in endless colors and textures. Peek them out of a tall riding boot or bunch them over an ankle boot to add a pop of color and a bunch of warmth.

• Hats. Try a knitted beanie or structured hat, to both of which you can add a colorful pin for decoration. Faux fur hats, which are especially trending right now, may seem difficult to wear; however, sporting a neutrally-colored one with the clean and simple sweater look described earlier keeps the hat from looking outlandish and instead creates a New-York-City-chic look.

• Scarves. Neck scarves, infinity scarves, longer scarves; anything goes. I suggest a patterned scarf, which can easily spice up a peacoat while keeping your neck toasty. If you feel bored with your scarf, try tying it in a different way or clipping it with a stylish brooch.

• Leggings. No matter how cold it is, some part of me still wants to wear skirts and dresses in the dead of winter. Wear some thick or knitted leggings underneath your skirt.

The variety in which all of these pieces come gives me the opportunity to buy a few of each, which I can then mix and match. Wear your leggings under a chic dress and add a peacoat over the top, or wear the same leggings with a cute skirt, leg warmers and ankle boots. Sport your peacoat and a patterned sweater for warm layers, or drape a scarf over your sweater and add a matching hat.

The possibilities are virtually endless, so if you do find yourself in a fashion freeze, dig through your closet, find an accessory and revamp it by mixing-and-matching it with other pieces.

Get creative and experiment with what you’ve got. Though they may be a reality at this time of year, cold feet are not the answer.