Do you do that thing where you’re so impressed with your summer wardrobe because all you need to do is slip into a super-cute floral print and be on your way, but when the freezing months come around you’re filled with a slight panic? Winter is the time for nesting and going into full hibernation mode – warm puds, crackling fires, red wine, extending your book collection but you have to go out at some point. You actually have to consider your look, and of course, stay warm at the same time.
When I came up with this post, I was so cocky that I could just go to Pinterest, search for ‘cute, cosy and stylish’ and post links to hundreds of looks that worked for winter. Ha! I mostly found people standing in below-zero weather in denim mini-skirts, Uggs and Sherpa coats or towering stilletos and chincilla coats. While I found amazing drool-worthy looks, most were not indicative of anything any of us would wear on any given day. What works for JLo may not work for Jo-Anne. So I had to apply the “Would I wear that?” filter. More so, I believe that winter further proves that any style isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. Full-length coats may not work for petite frames any more than a cropped coat will show off pear-shaped bodies in the best way. And when it comes to winter looks – it seems you either have to sacrifice warmth, or comfort or style.
But, with a little reassessing of your wardrobe, some easy adjustments, basic winter buys that you probably already have in your closet, you can create several different looks that are cute, cosy as well as stylish.
Let’s start with a few tips.
Smart layering will keep you warm without adding bulk to your waistline and frame. Start with the lightest item and layer from there to create a look with depth but without adding bulk.
The secret to layering is actually a simple one: find a coat that sits comfortably around the shoulders. If it sits halfway between your neck and shoulder, it’ll scrunch around your armpits and pull up every item you’re wearing. You’ll do that constant shuffle to get comfy because there simply is nothing more intolerable than a tee sitting above your navel or an oversized knit scrunching around your arms. Pick something that doesn’t slouch at the shoulders, yet offers just enough room for added layers. A sleeveless option is also heavenly without being bulky.
Choose hefty not bulky
The thesaurus will tell you that ‘hefty’ and ‘bulky’ are synonyms but when it comes to fashion, they’re two different things. Hefty talks to the fabrics – thick wool, leather or even cotton, whereas bulky relates more to the detail. If it’s a streamlined silhouette you’re after, coats with additional pockets, epaulettes, faux fur collars and chunky buttons may add unwelcome bulk. The same goes for knits – in the pic above I’m wearing a cable knit jersey which usually adds unnecessary chunkiness, but I opted for a loosely-knit style that adds interest and depth without being too thick. Chunky doesn’t necessarily mean bulky – you can opt for thick, woolen ‘smoother’ knits or lightweight jerseys that have flowy cowl necks instead of crew. And don’t ignore the importance of boots. If it’s a stylish look you’re after, save the chunky boots for another day. Wider or slouchier legs, buckle detail or thicker soles, will move you into a casual space immediately. Try boots – whether ankle or knee-length – that flows with your jeans, have clean lines and a heel that doesn’t protrude too much. It will elongate your legs and add a touch of elegance. Simplicity is your friend here.
Now that have some tips on what to look for, here are my top looks.
The Shirt, Hefty Knit, Coat and Jeans Look
This is probably my favourite look of all time because anyone can create it with items you already own – a basic tee, classic shirt, warm knit and of course your favorite jeans, and a winter coat. It’s the fundamental look of every winter ensemble and has thousands of iterations. Smart layering is key. So start with the lighter fabrics such as your tee and work your way up to a woolen coat. Layering is for adding warmth, but it’s also made for shedding to suit your comfort. When you’re inside, you can ditch the coat and even the jumper or, add an oversized scarf, beanie or fabulous hat when the temperature drops outside. It’s so versatile and works for any frame. Plus it’s a dream with sneakers, pointy mules, high heels or boots – making it perfect whether you’re at headquarters or heading out!
The Knit Dress And Thigh-High Boots Vibe
I received a knit dress for Mother’s Day and while I was just about to be the asshole wife and return it because I already owned a similar knit, I hit Pinterest and stumbled upon this look by accident! I’ve been promising to get thigh-high boots for weeks and now is the time. You can wear it as is, or play around with a long coat or cropped leather jacket and scarf, it’s as stylish as it is adaptable. So, as soon as payday hits, it’s on like popcorn!
Knit Dress, H&M , no online store
Xoliswa Thigh High Boot, Superbalist R349
The Poncho, and Poloneck Dress Style
I live in Cape Town and almost every day – summer or winter – blistering high-speed winds have you looking like Batman. No-one wants that poncho vs wind fight. So much so that that this look almost didn’t make the cut. But if you choose a longer poncho and pair it with a slim belt around the waist it’ll beautifully accentuate your curves and beat the battle against the breeze. Pair with a knee-length dress knit or skirt (a longer poncho will weight it down) and thick leggings to keep the cold at bay. Black ankle boots will complete the look.
Grey Melton Poncho, Superbalist, R399
Knitwear Poncho, Mr Price R100
The Skirt and Chunky Knit Look
Another winter winner that loves every shape – curvy or petite. It has been my vibe all winter and I’ve received so many compliments on my skirt collection. In South Africa, we’re so lucky to have days like today that most Londoners would envy! Leggings are optional and can be added for much-needed warmth when Mother Nature isn’t as generous.
Your Winter Wardrobe Checklist
Creating endless winter options starts with having all the right basics. So, have a look at the list below for items you should own to create all these looks, then make a list of the items you need to help make shopping so much easier. Winter basics form the foundation of comfort – I hate having to escape to the bathroom every few minutes to tuck my basic tee into tights – it’s so annoying. So, Nikki and I are furiously working on a post about choosing the perfect basics, and infinite ways to style and wear them. A little something to look forward to.
That’s my take on cute, cosy and stylish winter looks. If you have any other looks you love and don’t see them here, please go ahead and share them in the comments below.