Ask the Fashion Police: How to stay stylish AND warm at the same time…

Military_jacket Nina asks…

"Now that autumn is approaching much faster than anyone would have thought, I find myself being cold ALL THE FREAKING TIME (I know you understand me, I read your blog). So in order not to freeze to death this winter, I was looking for some really warm yet stylish clothes to wear on Campus and in the city.

I wondered whether you could help me in my search for pullovers (and maybe skirts or dresses as well) that will keep me from dying without making me look like a fashion criminal. Thanks for helping me out!"

Oh Nina, Nina, we feel your pain! The Fashion Police HQ is located in the frozen north, which generally means that as soon as the leaves start to fall, the officers have to abandon all hope of looking stylish, and settle instead for doing whatever it takes to try to stay warm. That said, there are some ways to do both, and so here are our tips for cold weather dressing…

1. Get a good coat

This is so obviously we don’t really need to even state it, but a good quality winter coat should be your major purchase of the season, so take a look at our Coat Corner selection and pick something warm and suitable for your lifestyle.

2. Look for "knitted jackets" rather than cardigans and sweaters

The Fashion Police are addicted to buying cardigans, and this season we’re particularly loving the long-line boyfriend style.  The problem with this, though, is that pretty cardigans tend to come in a fine-knit fabric, or, worse, to have three-quarter length sleeves, so they’re not actually much use when it comes to keeping you warm. The answer? Knitted jackets.

The one at the top right of this page, for instance, is from Next, and although it looks like a jacket, it’s actually knitwear, so it’s soft and flexible. This is good news for anyone who’s ever sat huddled over their keyboard wearing a coat because of the cold. As those people will tell you, coats just aren’t meant to be worn indoors and they’re not very comfortable to sit around in, so the knitted jacket is a Godsend here: they’re lovely and warm, but look smarter than things like hoodies or thick sweaters so they’re perfect for times when you need to look reasonably smart, but don’t want to freeze. Plus, you can layer fine-knit sweaters or long-sleeved t-shirts underneath and take off the jacket if/when you need to. And speaking of layering…

3. Layer!

Another obvious one, but layering is the key to stylish winter dressing, and lots of thin layers will not only be less bulky than an oversized sweater, they can also be warmer, and look better too.

Thermal_vest 4. Buy thermals. No, really…

No, they’re not pretty, but given that you’ll be wearing them under your other clothes, it doesn’t really matter. Thermal vests (long sleeved ones are best, we find), leggings and even tights make great layering pieces and will allow you much greater freedom in terms of what you wear over them. So those fine-knit sweaters and cardis can be back on the agenda… The vest pictured is from Marks and Spencer, but you’ll get these in most major department stores and, if you’re in the UK, in Matalan, where they only cost about £5 per piece.

5. Knit fabrics are your friends

When it comes to buying dresses, there are always lots of knitted ones around during the winter season, and this is good news because they’re warm and flattering. We featured the budget options from Target last week, but again, you’ll find something similar in lots of different stores. Both of the dresses at the bottom of the page are from Victoria’s Secret – belt a longline cardigan over the top for extra warmth, and to bring the look up to date, and add a pair of opaque tights and long boots to finish it off. And while we’re on the subject of boots and legs…

6. Wrap up the extremities

You loose a lot of heat from extremities like hands, feet and heads, so hats, gloves and good footwear are a must. If you’re really cold, go for woolen tights rather than lycra ones (there are also lots of thermal tights on the market), or wear leggings with boots: they tend to be thicker and warmer than tights, and they can be more comfortable, too. Tights come in so many different colours and patterns now that they make a really cheap and easy way to make an outfit more interesting, while keeping you warm. This year there are also lots of over-the-knee socks around, which you can wear over tights for extra warmth.

So, there you have it – our quick guide to keeping warm and staying stylish. We’re sure our readers will have other tips we haven’t thought of, though, so over to you, folks: how do you make sure you stay warm without looking like you’re on an expedition to the North Pole?

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