Fashion Flirting with It’s Effing Freezing Outside. Now what?

The snow in Winnipeg has recently flown. We’re now enjoying weather hovering around and below -15oC (that’s 5oF for you Yanks).  Let me tell you, there is nothing better than being warm.  I’ll sacrifice style for warmth, but I don’t feel good about it when it happens.

In the last three years or so, I’ve started investing in winter coats that are both warm and stylin’.

The Funkified Shearling Winter Coat

This jacket is all about having fun.  This season, shearling jackets are 100% in style, and wether they are faux or real, shearling is hella-warm.  The best thing about shearling jackets is that they also come in oodles of styles.  A long Penny Lane inspired vintage cut not your style?  Check out a shorter bomber jacket.  Not into that?  There are tie-waisted cardigan-like shearling jackets.  Aviator style shearling jackets.  Hip, warm and they provide wicked soft fur right next to your face.

The Classic Jacket… With a Twist

Pea coats are stylin’, classic and flattering.  They are also kind of boring.  I like pea coats that have a bit of a twist.  The above jacket, from Melanie Lynn, has a classic cut, but the buttons are off center, making the jacket just a bit asymmetrical, keeping it interesting enough that I’ll never be bored.

Ways you can twist your classic pea coat?  Colour is huge – bright reds, yellows, greens.  Fun and funky patterns.  The bonus of a patterned pea coat is that it is often very slimming.  I used to wear a white pea coat, and would twist it up with amazing brooches, scarves, and accessories.

The Sausage Jacket

I affectionately refer to this jacket as my caterpillar coat.  It might not be the most figure-flattering jacket, but let me tell you what you should be looking for in a puffy jacket.

  1. Length: My tush and thighs HATE winter more than any other season.  I’ll take ass sweat over frostbitten butt ANY day.  Wearing a puffy jacket that covers your ass will make a huge difference in how warm you will be – especially if you know you’ll be sitting outside for any reason.
  2. Warmth: If you’re going to invest in a puffy jacket, make sure it has the right fill power.  The fill power is the loft, or fluffiness of the down in a jacket.  The higher the fill power, the better the quality of the loft, the warmer the jacket.  Go for the highest fill power you can afford.  And don’t be fooled, fill power isn’t specific for feather down, it also applies to synthetic down.
  3. In Da Hood: Faux or real, buy a puffy jacket a hood that is either lined with fur, or just has fur framing the face.  This actually has nothing to do with a fashion choice, and everything to do with warmth.  You want fur around your hood because it cuts the wind that hits your face, and goes down your neck.  In a city where sometimes the windchill drops to alarming lows, it is really important to think about wind as you put on your winter jacket.  A hood is going to be warmer than a toque because it encases more of your neck and head.
  4. The Neck: How high does it go?  You’ll obviously want to be wearing a scarf regardless, but the higher the neck, the warmer you will be!
  5. STORAGE! I loath carrying a purse in the winter months, especially with a parka or puffy jacket.  Why?  The straps cut me in half, and I look ridiculous.  I always choose a jacket with lots of pockets so I can store all my things in them.
  6. Belt it: Look for jackets that have belts on the outside or drawstrings on the inside.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is so that you aren’t doomed to a winter of shapelessness.  The second is that the closer the jacket fits to your body, the warmer you will be.  And, if wind goes up your jacket, if the jacket is belted, the cold air won’t hit you on your sensitive lower back.

Be My Vest, Be My Vest…

I’m not even going to bother explaining vests, because College Candy has an awesome post on how to wear a down vest without looking like a stuffed puff.  I will say, however, that my vest is my most versatile winter jacket.  I wear it from fall to spring, and just change what I layer underneath.  Your core is the most important thing to keep warm in the winter months, and sometimes I cannot abide being wrapped up in layers and layers of warmth.  Some days, my arms are warm, and my chest is cold.  It happens!

Other Stuff

Outer wear that you should probably invest in:

  • A wind and waterproof shell.  You can layer anything you want underneath, and it can keep you warmer than any of the above jackets.  They’re great for skiing, skating, urban hiking, you name it, it is good for it.  I have yet to find a stylish wind and waterproof shell, so if you know of any, please let me know.
  • Earmuffs!  Retro, hilarious and dead useful.  My ears are always the coldest part of my head, and I spend a lot of time trying to perfect my hair.  I have no interest in messing up the time I’ve spent creating the perfect coif with a warm, all encompassing toque.  Earmuffs get the job done, but aren’t always the best for the freezing cold or long periods of time outdoors.
  • Hats, scarves and mitts, OH MY!  Go to town.  Wool, acrylics, fleece, fur, all good.  So long as the knit is tight, and they are warm, buy and wear with pride.  Hats, scarves and mitts are the best way to jazz up a boring coat.
  • Sunglasses.  Snow reflects light.  Light hurts your eyes.  Eyes deserve sunglasses – even if you can only wear them for a few hours during the day.

And don’t forget…

Know what everyone seems to forget about during the winter months?  Moisturizer with sunscreen.  Oh my gosh.  The sun comes from the sky, the sun reflects off the snow, the sun winds up on the only part of your skin that is consistently exposed to the elements: your face.  And don’t forget about the freezing, moisture sucking wind that can chap the thin, sensitive skin of your face.

I always buy an industrial strength nighttime moisturizer for the winter months, and Vaseline the heck out of my lips and hands before I go to sleep.  And drink oodles of water.

Also, check out this awesome post on layering without bumps, from Already Pretty,

Mostly, enjoy winter.  We’re stuck with it, so find a way to celebrate it, even if that means curling up in front of a fireplace with a warm cup of cocoa and a good book!

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