I thought it would never happen! But it is finally starting to feel a lot like winter. Which has come as a bit of a shocker TBH, seeing as I wore the exact outfit I am wearing today on Christmas Day - a long COS denim dress, since you ask - but minus the roll neck sweater and thick tights underneath.
I’ve been thinking about cold weather clothing all week anyway, since I’m off to New York Fashion Week for the first time next month and all anyone can say to me, rather than ‘OMG it’s AMAZING you will LOVE it!’ is ‘you do know it’s going to be FREEZING there at that time of year don’t you?’ So it would be foolish not to be prepared, and that has put me in the right mindset for the current cold snap we’re feeling in the UK. Keeping warm doesn’t mean you have to end up looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters (#layers). Here are a few tricks that I use to look cool when it’s freezing.
Invest in some sheepskin boots
Shearling lined boots are a brilliant way to keep your feet warm, but do be careful when buying them online. Some cheaper boots may only have the lining around the ankle or as a trim, or the lining might be synthetic. What you really need is wool/sheepskin lining that runs all the way to the toe on the sole of the shoe, because the majority of the cold your feet feel comes up from the floor. I love Penelope Chilvers’ Safari boots ( below, £285, penelopechilvers.com) because they’re really smart, as well as Sorel for severe weather, Palladium for that casual, Converse vibe and Seven Boot Lane for something a bit sporty.
Skinny rollnecks forever
I’m sad to say that my fail-safe much-loved Gap skinny roll necks of 2004 – one black, one grey - might finally have worn out. They’ve seen me through snowboarding holidays and cold city winters, looking equally as good layered under my sportswear as under a black leather dress. Thankfully, COS are doing really fine knit roll necks that are even nicer (below, £45, cosstores.com); I’ve bought one black and one grey, but they’re also available in fashion-forward camel, white and bright yellow.
Leather is your friend
I’m not a massive leather trousers wearer, but I do have one pair that have been with me for years, and they tend to come out when the mercury drops. They will definitely be coming to New York with me! I’m also lusting after these suede trousers from ASOS (below, £150, ASOS.com). Who am I kidding? I just bought them! I like that you can style them exactly like your boyfriend jeans – they are even cropped (they'll be longer than this on me though) which works well with my obsession with snazzy socks. Which brings me to…
Keep those ankles warm
If you’re short – I’m only 5ft3 – and don’t wear heels (you’ll only ever find me in flats, see EnBrogue.com), you might want to try my top tip of turning up your jeans or wearing cropped trousers to flash a bit of ankle. It’s just WAY more flattering. Of course, you won’t want bare ankles in this weather, but don’t just opt for plain black cotton socks. Ugh! My current favourite snazzy socks are woollen ones from Hirsch – I like them so much I just bought three more pairs (£12, thenaturalshoestore.com) – which I pair with Grenson brogues or Northern Cobbler sneakers. These shoes come up a little big so there’s plenty of space for snugly socks.
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Of course it matters how warm your coat is, but for me, it’s also important that it has a hood. Because you never know what the weather might do, and umbrellas just look weird in the snow. This winter I’m wearing a parka by Filippa K which I am totally in love with – it has all the pockets you ever need (big enough to stuff in your hat, scarf and gloves when you get on the tube), a two-way zip and goes with everything. Sadly it's not available anymore, but I’ve always found French Connection’s parka to be warm and toasty, too.
Good luck in the cold, everyone!