Today—and I’m guessing it’s because we’re getting some real, blustery cold here in New York—I’ve gone all nostalgic for the first real winter of my life. I was 16, and had decamped from my huge high school in balmy Texas to a small boarding school in frigid Western Massachusetts, where everyone—students and faculty, male and female, hippie kids and straight-up preps alike—seemed to rely on the same handful of classics to get through the season. By far most ubiquitous were these LL Bean boots—which I wanted desperately but feared I was too much of a poser to pull off. I still feel this way, somewhat.
Technically a men’s item even though all the cool girls had one too: this blue and white Norwegian sweater.
I never uderstood the appeal of the down vest the way people wore it back then—jacket-less, with flannel shirts—but now I’m liking the idea of layering one under a nicer coat on days when I just can’t face my puffer.
My style could probably be described as tomboyish a lot of the time, but in the warmer months, I try to throw a little bit of sexiness into the mix. Once winter comes along, however, all hints of this fall away and I just start dressing like a guy. Which used to bother me, and feel like something I had to fix, but now I’m at peace with it. For a while I just missed what it was like back when I was fancy, when I wore pretty dresses with tights almost exclusively the whole season through. (I also had a car and driver, which made doing so substantially easier.) The pressure to look the part in my old job was huge—no matter what I was wearing, I never felt stylish enough—but these days, I’ve got no one to impress. Comfort is key, and my best-loved pieces are ones that not only deliver on that front, but are also made well enough to look pulled-together, not sloppy. Like for instance this Nili Lotan cashmere sweater, whose purchase I rationalized back in August by telling myself I would wear it every day once it got cold—which has turned out to be truer than I’d like to admit. It’s got the exact-right slouchy-but-not-boxy fit, and works with everything. Even though most days “everything” is either a pair of black jeans or a pair of blue ones. (Here’s an also-quite-nice V-neck from Everlane for a lot less cash)
I bought a couple of cashmere-and-cotton black and white striped tees—one long-sleeved, one short—at Barneys on sale a couple of years ago, and even though they were pretty pricey even marked down, I have not regretted it. Black and white stripes are easier to wear year-round than blue or red—at least they are for me—and almost nobody gets them exactly right. But I do like this one from J. Crew—with its nice, flattering neckline—rather a lot.
These Church’s wingtip Chelsea boots have turned out to be one of my better purchases of the season—they’re hugely walkable, give me just an eensy bit more height than most flat boots do, and are snappy as hell. (Here and here are some less-expensive options.)
Sometimes, it feels like every other person on the street in New York is wearing Canada Goose. But so great is my affection for my newish Canada Goose Rideau parka that I don’t even waste my time feeling like a sheep. In large part this is because it’s a style you don’t see everywhere: the company doesn’t offer the Rideau on their site for some reason, and the version I bought—an excellent army green—is all but sold out on Net-A-Porter (it sold out at Shopbop too). I did manage to track the jacket down at Nordstrom, where they’ve got it in this lovely, subdued navy, as well as a few other colors. And I found it here, too, in a very good grey.
Recently, I unearthed a rather perfectly reddish-orange scarf I’ve never gotten a lot of wear out of for whatever reason, and it’s been just the tiniest bit life-changing. Not only is the bright hue a lively counterpoint to all my dark neutrals, but it makes me feel—no matter what else I’m wearing—like I made an effort. Attempting to find a reasonable facsimile to show you here proved challenging—and I was resolved not to go to the Chan Luu site, since I’m always banging on about Chan Luu—but finally I just gave up and went there and sure enough, they had a pretty perfect version.
I have no shortage of hats, but this little confection—which I wrote about a while back—is pretty much the only one I’m interested in wearing right now. The main reason for this is that I think I look cuter when I’m wearing it. In addition to which, like the scarf, it girls things up a bit. And it’s fiercely warm. And also on sale, and how good is that?
The temperature dropped hideously overnight, and today all I’ve got on my mind are fluffy warm things, like these lined Birkenstock clogs, which would work quite well for padding around my woefully under-heated apartment in the morning.
A shearling-lined boot in a color that strikes me as quite cool.
More streamlined and office-friendly: this stealthily-lined bootie.
I think one day soon I will do a post on really excellent and very loud winter hats—because there are few other accessories we can have splashy good fun with when the weather turns frigid—but today we turn our attention to beanies in subdued shades of black, white, and grey. First up: a splurgy option from German brand Wommelsdorff that is equal parts deeply stylish and seriously adorable.
The combination of space-dye and solid here makes for a nice—but not too statement-y—statement.
I love Mischa Lampert’s super-thick knit hats: they hit flatteringly high on the forehead, and the pom-poms are delightfully (almost comically) oversized. I bought this exact one a couple of years ago and put it on when I want to be really warm and cute at the same time.
I’m rather crazy for the mix of textures on this Missoni option.
And finally: a streamlined choice in cashmere, the lightest of light grey and just as simple as you please. And it rings in at just a speck over $50.
Briefly—and for those of you just joining in—the Party in a Top is the top so good it makes the outfit. A top with enough versatility to go with jeans or skinny black pants or a skirt, depending on the dressiness of the event. Some Parties in a Top force you to go a bit sexier or louder than you might typically, but isn’t that half the fun of dressing for a party in the first place? I am in love with this off-the-shoulder blouse from Tibi: it manages to be seductive and bare and keep the upper arms under wraps at the same time.
The tie front here is so easy and flattering, and the silk has a just-right amount of sheen.
I feel that this option has superior dress-it-up-dress-it-down powers.
Here’s the Party in a Top I want to be invited to.
I am not the biggest fan of the one-shoulder top, but this is just so good: the grey is the most elegant shade, and the silhouette so very feminine.
Nothing sexier than a woman in a tux shirt.
This material would be altogether too much on a flouncy-type top, but I love it here as a straight-up button-down.