Keeping it Real: How to actually wear what you own

I wasn’t going to blog this week. It has been a crazy, busy month and for some reason October business spilled into November.  But I thought I would write a short blog and talk about what has been on my mind with fashion.  I just came back from a trip to the Southern United States. I can truthfully say they have absolutely no concept of winter down there.  Cold to them is 16 degrees celsius or 60 degrees farenheit and where I live that is down right balmy.  Fashion was all over the place in New Orleans.  They have humidity to contend with and the rain, well let’s say when it rains it truly pours. If you live in the Southern US and you are reading my blogs, please base your fashion sense on what I wrote for summer and early fall, really none of this blog will apply to you.

But for the rest of us, winter can be cold, damp and bone chilling.  I find myself layering these days so that I can keep winter’s chill at bay.  If you live on the West coast ( or wet coast) you do need boots that are both stylish and waterproof.  I found some great ones this year. Blondo 'Viva' Waterproof Tall Boot (Women)Blondo makes great boots and they are reasonably priced ( under $300) and they are all waterproof.  Nordstrom and Town shoes has an assortment of styles from basic ones like these to Blondo 'Isla' Waterproof Bootie (Women)booties and even a gorgeous over the knee suede bootBlondo 'Eden' Over the Knee Waterproof Boot (Women)all waterproof and you won’t break the bank.  I believe the over the knee ones are under $400. I know Nordstrom in Vancouver has a whole section of Blondo and I believe they are on sale as I write. The other brand I quite like is Andre Assous.  Now not all of his are waterproof but he does have some great styles that are waterproof leather. André Assous 'Saddle Up' Waterproof Riding Boot (Women)I have this version called Saddle up with laces down the back in a roughed up leather that I love.  I believe they are also available in black, but only online. They will run you a bit more than Blondo.  But I love mine. André Assous 'Seabiscuit' Waterproof Quilted Boot (Women)He also does other waterproof styles like this quilted knee-high boot. André Assous 'Mayra' Waterproof Over the Knee Boot (Women)Or this cute over the knee suede waterproof boot.  It is really important that if you live where it rains you invest in at least one pair of boots you can wear in the rain and look good in.  Hunter boots are great when you are walking the dog, but not at a social event or even at work.

We all have invested over the years in winter boots.  I have all the standard snow boots.  The ones you wear when you need to shovel the walk from the house to the garage just to get to your car.  But what about adding a bit of style there as well? Any of the boots above will work but when it gets below 0 or 32 degrees farenheit you need something that will keep you a bit cozy as well. A good insulated boot works here and the best place to go is to the Canadian brands.  I really like Santana boots for winter Santana Canada 'Andrea' Waterproof Boot (Women)they are cozy, insulated, have a rugged sole so you don’t slip on ice and you can wear them to work and not look like you just arrived from the North Pole.La Canadienne 'Tiana' Weatherproof Boot (Women)Le Canadienne is the other brand I think of.  Now they are quite a bit pricier than Santana but they are super warm, cozy and waterproof. And if you are spending the money for Le Canadienne you may want to look at Aquaitalia as well Aquatalia 'Reece' Weatherproof Bootie (Women) (Nordstrom Exclusive)They have lots of waterproof styles that are stylish like this charming red bootie. Even our old friend Stuart Weitzman has his share of winter boots that are actually waterproof and stylish every winterStuart Weitzman 'Bigfoot' Boot (Women)Like these lace up ones. Or there are some that are even more stylish Stuart Weitzman GORBY Weather BootsLike these gortex booties. I bought these a few years agoStuart Weitzman OTTAWA Weather Bootsand I still pull them out when it snows and I have to go somewhere that my Columbia snow boots just won’t cut it. But you don’t have to spend a months salary on stylish snow boots.  Check your favorite brands like Lucky and Clarks, they all have waterproof or weather proof styles in their collections as well.

The other thing that gets me though winter is layering my clothing.  I find that instead of wearing a hugely heavy sweater everyday, I just layer a cami or sleeveless t-shirt underneath almost everything.  You can buy them anywhere.  Joe fresh always has tons of camis and tanks, you just have to hit the time of year when they have them.  If you miss it you can still wither go into stores or online and buy tanks. Halogen® 'Absolute' Camisole (Regular & Petite)Nordstrom’s own brand Halogen has this tank in about 10 colors and it really makes a difference if you are warm. You can really find them anywhere. I don’t spend a lot of money on them.  What usually happens with mine is that I wear it as a tank top in summer, then under as a layering piece in winter. Sorry for the tiny picture but believe it or not for $12 or 2 for $20 you can get a warm tank in any color at Mark’s Work Wearhouse.  Those are the ones I wear when it’s really cold out and I need to layer under my cashmere sweaters.

Other things that work to keep you warm is wearing wool instead of cotton and cashmere is the warmest. There are lots and lots of cashmere sweaters in stores and online right now and at every price. Even Costco sells cashmere sweaters! I have a few basic colors in cashmere turtlenecks Cashmere Turtleneck usually red and black seem to get me thought the winter, although this year I think adding grey ( dark grey) would be great, or if you could find one in a dark burgundy that would work too. A great cashmere crew neck or ballet neck that fits close to the body Cashmere Crewneck Sweaterworks great when you need to be warm and a bit more dressed up. And let’s not forget about how far a black cashmere cardigan can take your wardrobe Nordstrom Collection Open Front Cashmere Cardiganyou can wear it from a casual look like this to over skirts and dresses.  Every wardrobe should have a good black cashmere cardigan.

So that’s what I wear under.  Now you need to be aware of what you need over everything.  I have done an outerwear blog already this fall but let’s just hit some of the highlights.  A great statement coat ( and you can say whatever you want in that statement) just make sure it keeps you warmCole Haan Signature Belted Asymmetrical Wool Blend Coatlike this Cole Haan asymmetrical zipper coat will.  Look for a dark rich color that will compliment what colors you have in your wardrobe.  I also love a faux fur Gallery Hooded Faux Fur Walking Coat (Online Only)something like this with a hood will keep you nice and toasty.  Faux fur is also surprisingly warm. I personally don’t wear fur. I have my mother and grandmother’s mink coats sitting in storage in my basement so if I was going to wear fur it’s just down stairs.  It is a choice I have made and no one should judge you if you choose to wear fur. LIke I said it’s a choice and with so many great faux fur coats and accessories out on the market I just never felt the need for real fur. But I love the look so I do faux!  And nothing says a great winter day better than a down coat!T Tahari 'Elizabeth' Faux Fur Trim Hooded Long Down CoatThese coats come in all sizes, lengths and colors.  And they come at all prices.  Find one you like, in a color that works for you and you are golden (and warm) for the winter.  Eddie Bauer has a great selection and in Canada so does Marks Work Wearhouse, and you don’t have to break the bank to shop there for a coat. The one I am showing is a Tahari down coat from Nordstrom. It’s on sale right now for just over $300 and that is exactly what I would expect to pay for a good down coat.

Enjoy the cold weather.  Next blog I will get back to talking about real fashion.  The kind that doesn’t care how warm you are.  One last thing: you know all the ads on TV and in magazines that show fall and winter clothes and the models are sleeveless or bare-legged, they actually make me laugh.  Because only the people who live in the southern US actually dress like that in the winter!

Stay warm and if you want me for questions, comments or to set up a personal styling appointment please feel free to reach me at suethefashionista.com.  Until next time!

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