Last time we looked at how to maintain a sense of glamour whilst tackling heavy cleaning or dirty jobs. Today’s post is all about how to deal with super chilly weather and not come out looking like a crazed Arctic explorer. I really feel the cold and finding ways to dress well, especially on those mornings it has dropped to a chilly one degree in my bedroom, used to prove a big challenge. From the responses I received on Twitter as well as comments on the last post and a number of personal emails, it seems that dressing in cold weather is an issue for many of you.
Firstly, let me preface this by saying that my experience with cold weather is mostly limited to the type of weather we have here in Australia. This means that I’ve never lived somewhere that it snows all the time during winter, and although I have spent quite a bit of time in the snow it was only for recreational purposes where heels and snowboards don’t mix. So the advice I can give you on this one is really aimed at anyone who finds that their winters get to lows of about zero degrees and not more. To check out how to look gorgeous in absolutely freezing conditions check out Freelancer’s Fashion blog from Helsinki ( I have quite the love affair with this beautiful woman).
Back to Basics
Keeping warm on the worst of cold days has forced me to remember things I wore as a child that, somewhere along the line as an adult I forgot all about. Mum would always bundle you into a singlet and thick woolen tights each day before beginning to add the outfit. As an adult, wearing a singlet was something I’d forgotten about until a few years back, but their rediscovery was an absolute revelation.
- Thermal underwear. It may sound like the reserve of invalids, old ladies and story book hillbillies; but these are about the best things ever invented. When dressing in winter I always begin my layering with whichever style of thermals will work for my outfit. I keep singlet types and long sleeve tops that are made of a super fine knit merino wool that breathes well but traps that layer of warmth as close to your skin as possible. One of the mistakes people make when layering in winter is to layer up on the outside only. The best way to trap heat is to keep it close to the skin and thermals are the best way to make this happen (well, short of spending the day wrapped in cling film). You can buy these pieces everywhere – KMart, Harris Scarf, Target etc.. and each singlet top will set you back $9-$20 depending on the composition and whether they are on sale or not.
- Leg wear. Winter doesn’t mean that you have to live in pants, there are other sneaky ways of keeping chill at bay. I love my opaque tights in winter and mixing up an extreme contrasting colour palette is one of the things I love about the season. The trick to getting the best opaques is not to scrimp on these. Buy the best denier (that is closest weave) you can afford. Not only will it help stop the chill factor, but the higher the denier the less likely you are to put a hole in them. Brands I like and wear quite often are Voodoo, Jonathan Aston, We Love Colours (online store with amazing range of colours, patterns and plus size hoisery). Both Voodoo and Jonathan Aston make knitted tights too, so if you need to up the warmth factor, going for a wool blend, close knit, really works.
- And here is a secret that you will most likely only hear on Super Kawaii Mama – what about if you need to wear stockings that are flesh coloured for your outfit? How do you do that without loosing a leg to frost bite? My secret weapon is compression tights! I buy the kind of flesh coloured support hose that are worn by Air Hostess’s to keep DVT at bay and their legs from aching. You can get these in a variety of qualities, colours and grades of compression, but the benefit of these is two fold. Firstly, they are lovely and thick but don’t appear so. They cut the wind chill factor significantly and still look good. But the best part about these is the compression factor – it keeps up the blood flow in your legs keeping you nice and warm,more so than any other style of tights will be able to do. They aren’t an expensive option either. The ones I wear for day to day (only a relatively light compression, you can find much stronger) are found at supermarkets and retail for about $7, “Sheer Relief” and from memory come in a variety of shades including black opaques.
- Hats. This is pretty self explanatory as we’re all taught that 90% of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so wearing a hat is kind of a no-brainer (ha ha)! Once again though, choose a stylish version that will carry you through each day without the need to remove it indoors. For me, this means a knitted beret – please no beanies unless you are in the snow. Choosing something simple like a beret is a good, gentle option for those of you that find wearing a more dramatic style of hat attracts too much attention. They are easy to customise to your outfit or the occasion – adding brooches for fancier days or leaving them plain for stay at home or simple days. Note- Berets are also a brilliant ‘I haven’t had time to do my hair’ solution to. Pile it all up in there, pitch it at a jaunty angle and you’re good to go.
- Scarves. No doubt we all have the woollen, knitted versions of these; but they don’t always cut it in the glam stakes making us look more like snowmen than ice queens. A big, good quality, square silk scarf (or even an imitation silk of heavyweight) works just as well but has more versatility. There are infinite ways to tie these for extra glamour factor, but if you find yourself out in the freezing wind they can be tied around your hair and ears for a climate chaser of the more stylish variety. Wrapping your head in a knitted scarf is more homeless chic that Grace Kelly, hence always having one of these scarves around will save you both from the cold and having to carry a paper cup for change.
- Gloves. Oh Winter, how I love you for you opportunities to over accessorise! Again, this is an easy one with gloves being available everywhere. And once again it is all about making a stylish choice in the first place. Having one pair of soft red leather gloves is far better than half a dozen acrylic ones from the $2 shop. If you like the soft, fluffy feel, be on the look out for felt gloves with feature stitching. The number of place now also making fingerless gloves and arm warmers have also come to my rescue as sitting stationary, typing for hours on end used to cause my hands to turn blue with cold. If you find yourself in the same predicament, then arm warmers will be your saviour. There are wrist length frilly ones or simple, over the elbow lengths that can be worn underneath your sleeve for extra stealth warmth.
- Footwear. Boots are the obvious winter choice, but as Miss Lizzy who asked me about the cold in the above comment, can’t wear them, I thought I’d offer you another on of my winter secrets. If you’ve followed all of the previous advice and want a little extra something for the feet, lambswool inner soles are magic! Most of the versions of these inner soles are actually acrylic (aka Vegan) and can be purchased in supermarkets. You can cut them down and fit them into just about any shoe or boot, providing you allow for the fact that they will take up about 1/4 of the shoe size point. Eg – if you wear a size 8 shoe, adding these will make them feel more like a 7&1/2 to 7& 3/4. You can find actual lambswool inserts at specialty fleece stores and they have a better wear factor than the acrylic. So for about $11, you can feel like you are wearing your fluffy slippers about all day and no-one is the wiser!
And there you have it – my secrets revealed! I’d like to know how these tips work for those of you suffering from cold this winter and if you have any other brain waves to add, please let us know in the comments section. Remember, if there are tips and tricks you’d like to know to help you overcome the roadblocks in your path to living more glamorously – Write to me and we’ll add it to the list.