Winter is coming, so prepare your wardrobe
Survive autumn-winter and look stylish doing it by following this handy guide
Today is September 1st and we all know what is on its way. As a nation we are well-versed in winter dressing and the difficulties it presents. There are, however, ways to prepare for the first frost and a few keys items that will help you to survive the dark months ahead (sartorially, at least).
One good coat
You will need a coat. Yes, I am spelling it out and, yes, it is necessary. Not a blazer, not a parka, not a trench, not a cape, not a slanket (blanket scarf), but a proper, grown-up coat. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. About the €100 mark will do you in most shops. Keep in mind this is something you will wear every day. Take your time over this purchase, avoid trends and instead go for a classic shape that nips in at the waist and ends just above the knee. A thick wool blend is best for warmth, and a hood is an added bonus for drizzly days. This belted coat from River Island will flatter most figures (Left, camel wool-blend coat from River Island, €113). The colour will mark you out from the crowd and the loose belt allows you to pull the waist in as much as you want.
Take care with faux fur
Faux fur always makes the rounds for autumn-winter, but this season it will be especially obvious, with the 1970s revival still in full swing. No shock, then, that the gilet will be making an appearance. Tread very carefully with this trend. With faux fur, less is more in terms of volume, and try to keep to a neutral, natural colour palette. Avoid highly synthetic faux fur with those little fibres that end up in your eyes.
Faux fur accessories, however, are a much safer area. Bag charms, scarves and hats are your playground; the more colour the better. This scarf from Asos is fluffy and whimsical, and we love it (€41.48).
To combat the frostbite, you need a good pair of flat, warm boots. Forgo anything peep-toe, or you will end up wearing them with tights underneath and convincing yourself that this is okay. It’s not okay. A good pair of leather ankle boots, such as these ones from Zara (Left, Carvela ankle boots from Brown Thomas, €205) will keep your tootsies warm and go with trousers and tights alike. If you are looking for something a little bit special, these Carvela boots from Brown Thomas are beautiful, not too high-heeled for everyday wear and will go with everything.
Hats are essential for keeping warm. They are also easy to grab when running out the door and they protect your hair in the rain. Fedoras, such as this one from Penneys, are more practical than a wide-brimmed, floppy hat that will get caught in the wind and have you running down the street in the rain. Beanies are also a great go-to.
Wide-leg trousers are here to stay. If you haven’t embraced them yet, now may be the time. Once reserved for summer dressing, voluminous trousers are now crossing over to the dark side. Think luxurious materials and a darker colour palette than before. These velvet trousers from Zara tick all the boxes and should have you feeling like a sumptuous boho-goddess.
Cowl, roll and polo neck
My dad always advised making sure your chest was covered if you didn’t want to get cold. I’m not sure his motives were actually health-related, but I have always followed the advice. There’s a variety of high necks available on the high street, and each one is worth a try. For larger-chested ladies, an oversized cowl neck will prevent “shelf syndrome”, and those who are looking to create some curves should give a roll neck – such as this one from Urban Outfitters – a go.
A cashmere jumper will keep you warmer than any other material, and will still flatter. They can be a little more expensive. If looked after properly, though, cashmere will be something you will love for life. A pure cashmere sweater can be worn alone, over something else or under a coat for an extra layer of non-bulky warmth. This sweater from J Crew is woven from Italian cashmere and would look great with skinny jeans or over a crisp, white shirt for the office. If you are looking for a cheaper version, Hobbs on on Opsh.com has a selection.
The key to warmth without bulk is layering. Thin layers of natural material will hold heat between them as well as thick ones. This also means that you don’t necessarily have to put away those summer clothes once the autumn arrives. One long-sleeved black top, or a crisp white shirt underneath a summer dress, and suddenly you have a new, winter-ready outfit. Tights do the same.