January 25, 2011

What Are Your Winter Wardrobe Essentials?

1. stripey puff-sleeve top 2. duck boots 3. Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion 4. France and Hammer necklace 5. Benetint 6. gray cowl 7. jeggings

One of the few times I read Goop, I picked up a pretty sage piece of advice: build yourself a uniform. Uniforms remove the guesswork for those of us unusually pressed for time or short on inspiration. Give yourself the right pieces, and you can always look cute.

But what the hell are those right pieces? It can feel like a search for Waldo. Earlier this winter, over what should have been a charmed Saturday brunch, I remember feeling hopelessly dorky in my outfit. Elsewhere in the restaurant, I saw a young family eating with visiting grandparents. The young blond mom had a great, face-flattering haircut. The rest of her outfit was super simple: a comfy, but cool-looking top, well-fitting pants, and edgy earrings. It was all so easy it demonstrated one of my mom’s key pieces of style advice: let the woman, rather than the clothes, shine.

After many more badly dressed winter days, I decided to do a bit of shopping. You might share this particular thrifty girl bugaboo: even if I’ve been wearing the same clothes for years, I often have trouble biting the shopping bullet. I’m happy to spring for vintage summer dresses, but when it comes to wardrobe workhorses, let’s just say my closet has a few holes.

But a cute, warm coat and a new favorite sweater can––no matter how shallow it sounds––change your life. When you like your outfit, you feel good, and when you feel good, you project a confidence and irresistible energy that will come back to you like a boomerang.  And if that sounds too The Secret for you, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

I accidentally stumbled on a formula that works for me right now in my work-from-home life: jeggings, puff sleeve sweaters and stripey tops, a down coat and duck boots. If this feels a little utilitarian, it’s all about the accessories: a spritz of the marvelously green-smelling Gardenia Passion makes me feel like a harbinger of spring and a few touches of understated gold jewelry have me channeling Left Bank cool girl je ne sais quoi. Do you have a winter uniform? What are those magically easy essentials that make you feel pulled-together and chic?

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  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday: Wardrobe essentials:
    -Dark wash boot leg jeans
    -solid colour t-shirts
    -long black cardigan

    Done and done and out the door.7 years ago

  • Meagan: I haven’t selected a uniform yet, but I’ve been trying to find one ever since I read that edition of Goop too. Sometimes G.P. (that’s what I call her), can come across as a little tone deaf, but she was dead-on with that piece. I love your choices, maybe that can be my uniform too.. hmm…7 years ago

  • domestikate: This winter I’ve been all about the denim mini, cosy tights, slouchy boots and long cardigans. I love winter dressing!7 years ago

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams: My winter essentials include lots of tights (textured/patterned for wearing alone, plain for wearing under jeans), colorful pashminas (and a basic black one), a few cozy sweaters, trusty jeans, and a couple pairs of boots. Oh, and my down coat and lots of handknit caps/berets.

    I need a pair of waterproof boots though. Stat.7 years ago

  • Maria: I do – sort of! I have the opposite-to-you thrifty girl problem: I’m a star at buying long-lasting, high-quality staples, but leave no room for whimsy in my wardrobe. I’m working on it!

    My workplace is business casual: black wool pants, cashmere sweaters (Club Monaco makes a nice mid-range version in great colours – heather, a soft peach – and it wears very well …) and a couple sweater dresses that I love. And a go-to collection of heels tucked away in my filing cabinet.

    Off-hours, I’m a silk shirt and faded jeans with low leather boots kind of gal.

    This locket has been my go-to piece at work and play of late – just seeing it around my neck makes me smile: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62851322/the-origami-locket-vintage-verabel-fox7 years ago

  • Kanesha: The attire at my workplace is a bit schulumpadinka and I hate that.

    I’m all about color and scarves! I love my scarves (and bracelets).

    I like layering things too – with my skinny jeans (especially by chocolate pair) – and boots.

    We haven’t had much snow – so the duck boots (yes I have them) are in the closet.7 years ago

  • Bethany: This morning I noticed that I usually put on a pair of skinny jeans or black leggings, pull black boots on over them, layer a long scoop neck tee with a camisole over it, then put on a low v-neck sweater or jacket, then wear some kind of accessory for my head. This is usually in the form of a black beret. I wear a red wool military jacket over it, and feel so chic and easy, and can adapt from the freezing cold outside to the overly heated buildings at school.

    http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=275268957 years ago

  • La Chapstick Fanatique: The above outfit pretty much sums it up for me. Although right now I have rainboots instead of duck boots – probably should invest in a pair of those. And sometimes I switch from a lip tint to a lipstick to jazz it up a bit. Hey, it’s winter – you have to be creative.

    stop by and enter the Hickory Tree GIVEAWAY: http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com7 years ago

  • Samantha, You’ve got it down to a science, girl!

    Meagan, I’m with you. I never read Goop but that newsletter really stuck with me! I also love the pictures, which are kind of adorable.

    domestikate, you sound like you could be a model from the Boden catalog! I can practically see you tramping through English villages!

    Katie, Love the colorful scarves!

    Maria, Oooh, silk shirt, faded jeans and boots sounds so understated posh! I want to steal your uniform!

    Kanesha, You sound like a beacon of jazzy, colorful jangling bracelets in your office! Love it.

    Bethany, Ah! I love that you did a collage, too! You really excel at the layers which is something I need to get better at. Also, I think a pop of red is totally genius. Didn’t include it in my collage but I have a bright red bag that I love!7 years ago

  • wendy: No snow in Texas so that eliminates big and heavy anything!
    I do love long sleeved tees from Old Navy. Different colors, necklines bound to find the one that flatters. Sweaters! My Clark mules and socks that match my shirt, that little bit of the kid in me.7 years ago

  • Brie.: oh my word. duck boots! i haven’t seen those since i was puddle-jumping…could definitely do with a pair these days…

    my uniform?

    knitted turtleneck sweaters
    warm tights
    knee-high boots
    colourful scarf and a wool hat
    and a backpack (because i’m a “super-cool” commuter who realised that a heavy shoulder bag was weighing her down!)7 years ago

  • J: My winter staples when I lived in Canada and Germany were outerware: a pair of Wanderlust boots (basically a kind of Ugg designed for Canadian winters) and a fabulous long white leather coat. However, I just moved a week ago (to England), and my new winter staples are a pair of classic Hunter boots and a great red wool coat. Both pairs of boots look great with jeggings and skinny jeans, which I tried after you raved about them in an earlier post. I’m glad you did – I LOVE them!7 years ago

  • jackie: oh, but a winter maternity uniform….that’s what’s killing me! Waistbands be damned!7 years ago

  • Emily J: I live in Vancouver BC, and my winter uniform is an umbrella, a great coat (mine’s dark teal), waterproof boots, stovepipe jeans, a thin-knit sweater in a rich colour like deep sapphire, or poppy red, a handknit scarf (I have way too many to count), peachy-blush, and feminine, whimsical jewelry. The only exception is the standard Vancouver staple of yoga-outfit with mat strapped to my back twice a week for class. I swear I own other clothes, but during the winter rains, this go-to has never failed me.7 years ago

  • Christine H.: ***When you like your outfit, you feel good, and when you feel good, you project a confidence and irresistible energy that will come back to you like a boomerang.***

    YES, a thousand times yes! My birthday present from my parents last year was *the perfect* skirt from Anthropologie I had been in love with for months but couldn’t afford. Every time I wear it, I walk around with a “Yeah, I’m awesome” attitude that nothing can deter. I don’t care how “The Secret” is sounds—it’s absolutely true.

    Here I was thinking I was stuck in a rut, when really, it’s simply my uniform! 😀 This winter has been full of brown corduroys, plaid shirts, cardigans/sweaters that I think Remus Lupin would have worn, (haha!) and colorful and fun socks that don’t really match anything I’m wearing.7 years ago

  • Jazz: I know I sound snobby but its not winter out here Haha! I live in southern California. I wish I could wear these fun things but I have one pair of high boots that I got to wear while it rained for a few weeks and now its like 70 degrees at least everyday! So right now I wear a button down shirt, leggings and ballet flats. 🙂7 years ago

  • Sara Rose: Winter Essentials:
    (In no particular order)
    -Kiss My Face Lavender Shea Hand Lotion
    -Owl Coffee Mug
    -Dolman Sleeve Sweater from Anne Taylor Loft (got it in 3 colors- fuschia, navy, and black)
    -Modern Fit Trouser Cut Jeans, Indigo Rinse (also Ann Taylor)
    -Fab vintage shawl I found on Etsy in a purple and hunter green plaid
    -Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Lotion
    -Fair Isle Long cardigan (can’t remember where I got it) in reds, creams, and black for the pattern with a variety of thin, long sleeved tees
    -Gilligan and O’Malley PJ Pants from Target
    -Red Nails
    -Patchouli Candles
    -Endless piles of knitting and reading 🙂
    -Chanel Coco Madamoiselle7 years ago

  • A Simple Christmas « Pink of Perfection: […] Now on a crafting roll, I bought charming, old-fashioned scrapbook paper and watched The Goodbye Girl (watch it! so good!) on Saturday, looping the cut strips into long paper trains for our tree. It’s a giant douglas fir that stands tall next to me in our living room corner right now in front of a street-facing window. It smells like heaven and nearly touches the ceiling. We carried it home Friday night, Sebastian leading the way holding the heavy base and me trailing behind carrying the light crown. I still have a sap on my jacket. […]5 years ago

  • Coping with winter | My selfish existence: […] thoughts on surviving this cruel season, whether it’s seeking the light, plotting practical outfits, among others. Each has helped with the endless amounts of gray, cold, wet stuff that’s all I […]4 years ago

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