Choosing a Winter Coat

Before winter ends, I’ve gotta talk about my coat. Black, down, puffy, beautiful; a match made in heaven.

big puffy coat

I found it in Denmark a few years ago. I was backpacking through Europe at the time and, before leaving the states, had spent a fair bit of money on a nice, versatile coat from REI. I loved that coat. And then Halloween in Berlin happened, and I found myself leaving a club with a British golf pro at 9 AM in a coat that was decidedly not mine. So, realizing the time, I gathered myself and made my train to Copenhagen, spending the journey wondering about the nights we forget and the ones we remember, and how they influence our growth respectively. Upon arrival in Denmark, in late October, en route back to Iceland and wearing a hideous, huge, and annoyingly not-warm jacket that smelled like cheap cologne, I searched for a coat.

puffy coat winter style

And look what I found! Isn’t she lovely? I remember being shocked at how cheap it was, but it was perfect – simple, sleek, functional, comfortable. I can wear it literally over anything, from dressed up pajamas to a fancy formal dress. I like the length because it works just as well with skinny pants as it does with a full skirt. The zipper, just for kicks, can zip my entire face away inside the brilliantly massive hood. I’ve worn this skiing and traveling and dancing and through the sub-zero Siberian winter of Harbin, and I have stayed warm. And I like to think I looked pretty fresh, too.

A coat is an important piece in a wardrobe. I came upon this one by chance and, until moving to Harbin, would only wear it on the coldest of cold days in Colorado. Using it daily here, I’ve been continually reminded of what a fantastic coat it is – but what makes a fantastic coat?

A coat, above all, is functional – it should keep you warm. Down does this most dependably, but wool and fur work as well if you don’t want to look like a marshmallow. But sometimes you need the warmth. Consider length, color, and style.

coat puffy winter style

Length – many coats hit around your thigh, and some go as low as the calf. What works best for you, what works with the clothes you own already? Or maybe the questions is what can you afford, and, as you can see, I got the cheapest option.

puffy coat winter style

As color goes, keep thinking about your current wardrobe. A coat needs to go with absolutely everything, so black is the easiest color to fit in with what you rock regularly. But maybe blush pink matches everything you own, or white, or brown – just don’t go buying a magenta coat that looks ridiculous over your favorite chocolate brown corduroys.

Finally, style. Do you want a coat with a cinched waist? A fur-trimmed hood? Bell sleeves? The options range as far as you can click your way into online stores, and I figure Burlington Coat Factory and Overstock.com are good places to start, but Google your vision

puffy coat winter style

Maybe you’ve spent this entire winter dreaming of a new coat and unable to afford one. Well, good news, kids, now is the time to buy! Coats everywhere will be on clearance as stores clear room for bathing suits, so make your way to the mall and get yourself excited about next winter.

Love, calm, & care –

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Sweatpants. Anywhere.

Who doesn’t want to leave the house in sweatpants? You’re lying if you don’t – they’re a dream. And aren’t we lucky, they’ve somehow become stylish. Personally, I am all in on taking advantage of it. I found this pair at Forever 21 for just ten dollars, and the selection was ample. Jogger sweatpants are so hot right now you could find them at Wal-Mart in exactly the style and color that suit you.

classy sweater comfy sweatpants winter girl style

classy top cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I went for pink. It’s a nice 90s dusty rose kind of shade, which plays nicely with most of my clothes – blacks, burgundies, corals, oranges – and I generally prefer to wear black tops with funky bottoms, although I do have a couple more wild shirts like the brocade you see here.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

As sweatpants, these are powerfully comfortable. They’re also versatile – just wait for the summer post. Still bangin. Here in Siberia, I do have to layer them with leggings or tights to stay warm, but can you even tell?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I’ve posted photos before of these paired with a pajama top – my cozy Christmas outfit. Here I’ve got three other options.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Start simple – these pants can sing, so let them. They rock well with a black t-shirt, boots, and a hat – perfect for when you don’t leave yourself enough time to get ready or just don’t feel like putting clothes on but have to go to work and haven’t washed your hair in far too long. This is the ultimate lazy person’s outfit.

t-shirt, hat, sweatpants winter girl style

Next we have this Victorian looking gem – a bit more elevated, like the next one. Something about the casual nature of sweatpants makes me want to class it up on top, and what says classy more than a high necked top made out of brocade?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

If anything can top the brocade, it’s this sweater – classy as hell, right? Boots in all three of these outfits keep it grounded – comfy, but still utilitarian.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Comfort and class, united in three outfits – what could be better? Sweatpants are now acceptable attire for work, for school, for errands, for life outside the house – with a single caveat. Style them appropriately. If this didn’t help you on that front, I don’t know what will, so now that you’re equipped, bust out those sweats. I hear Chancho has an extra pair. Stay cozy.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Love, calm, & care –

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Winter Mini Skirts and Sex Appeal

Ah winter, a time when the legs must always be covered and skirts seem inaccessible. But are they really? My tweed mini skirt is designated solely as a winter skirt – I don’t wear it unless there’s snow on the ground. Why? It’s too short to wear without tights, the fabric is too heavy for summer, and it’s black and white – my primary winter color combo.

I found this skirt at a thrift store for a couple dollars. It’s originally Forever 21. I like the metallic threads woven through it, and it’s a nice weight – balancing the short length well for cold weather.

close up wool mini skirt

I think we can all agree that sexy becomes difficult in winter. Yes, it’s a way of carrying yourself that flows from an internal well of self-love, but, in clothing, it’s typically considered form-fitting and skin-baring. If this is a part of your style, winter can feel confusing, even stifling. Sometimes all I want is to wear a sleeveless crop top! But alas, my abs freeze with the slightest chill in the air, so I’m left to other means. This skirt, like my leather one, is the perfect combination of cute and sexy. It’s not too much, but it’s fitted, high-waisted, short – just the right dose of winter sex appeal. And, depending on how I style it, I can raise that up or down.

winter wool tweed mini skirt

If I only feel like being comfortable, I throw a roomy flannel over it – it’s more cute than anything since I’m mixing patterns and wearing a massive shirt. And, most importantly, I’m comfortable. And warm.

flannel and winter mini skirt

Medium appeal – a fitted t-shirt, layered with a beanie and, when I get cold, my scarf and cashmere sweater. I would describe this as relaxed sexy, if anything. I’m comfortable, I’m wearing a beanie and sneakers, my body is covered, but I’m wearing a mini skirt and I love it.

winter mini skirt comfortable sexy cool

If you’re not sure about how to stay warm in a skirt or what type of tights to wear, check out this post I wrote a couple months ago. It’s easier than you think.

winter pattern mixing sweater with mini skirt

For a little more, I pair it with a v-neck sweater. Even this is relaxed and adorable because I’m comfortable, I’m warm, and the sweater is kinda long – I like to balance emphases in this way. Since my chest is bare, my waist is a bit obscured. I am teaching children in these outfits, after all.

tweed mini skirt winter sex appeal

So I didn’t get crazy with sex appeal here, but honestly I never do – that’s not my style. And I’m not trying to impress anyone. At least now you know a mini skirt is possible this time of year and, if you’ve got a hot date for Valentine’s day, pop a lacy leotard under your skirt, pair it with some over the knee boots and a bold lip, and you’re set. My date is with myself in a gorgeous Chinese coffee shop, so I will be wearing this because I can –

YOLO hat, comfortable sweatpants, relaxed winter style

I found a couple winter wool mini skirt options online – a J Crew skirt on Tradesy that has some fun color to it and a black and white H&M one on Poshmark. Stay strong, friends, we’ve got a month or two left in winter and then we can toss out the tights! In the meantime, buy yourself some flowers and be your own valentine, because you deserve all the love in the world and it starts flowing when you give it to your self.

Valentine's Day roses self-love

Love, calm, & care –

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Cocoon Sweater

I love wearing black in the winter. Excessive color just seems wrong to me this time of year – I take a cue from nature, and let the color fade out of my wardrobe, blanketing myself in cozy neutrals. It’s easy and comfortable, and makes getting dressed a breeze. One of my favorite winter pieces is my big black cocoon sweater.

I found it at a thrift store a few years ago – the tag says 22W, so it’s massively oversized, and that’s what makes is so ideal. I can layer a shirt underneath if it’s really cold, but, even in these subzero temps, that’s hardly necessary. It’s roomy and soft, like wearing a hug, and it works with any pair of leggings or skinny pants in my closet.

cozy black sweater winter style

The sleeves hang low, giving it that safe cocoon feel, and the neck is fitted without being constricting. There’s a little zipper up the back to give it an extra bit of polish – zipping up a sweater feels far more fancy than just pulling it over your head.

sweater neckline zipper

I can throw on my loafers for a pedagogical look –

teacher loafers black sweater winter style

Or boots and leather leggings for a bit more swag –

maroon leather leggings winter style

Or if I just need to run out of my house to the market or something quick, it’s the easiest thing to reach for to be dressed in a hurry. Stay warm!

Love, calm & care –

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Cozy Cashmere Sweater

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Harbin it has been c-c-c-COLD. Like below 0. Constantly. Celsius or Fahrenheit. It’s just extra freezing, all the time. The redeeming quality of cold weather – apart from a constant excuse to stay in and read books – is the cozy clothing. Sweater weather. One of my favorite pieces is my cashmere sweater.

girl in cashmere sweater

Soft and roomy, with a pattern and color scheme that match just about anything – it’s a staple. I love having pieces that I can wear with my entire wardrobe, and this is absolutely one of those. It’s great by itself or fantastic for layering. Anytime I don’t feel quite cozy enough in my outfit to go outside, I throw this on under my coat and I feel like I’m wearing a blanket.

winter style girl woman

It’s the adult version of a blanky that I take with me everywhere. Because why does that have to end when you start 1st grade?

cashmere sweater

girl in cashmere sweater

I found this at J. Crew three years ago and haven’t looked back, but I found a couple similar ones online. J. Crew, of course, has a gorgeous one that is currently on clearance, Everlane has a couple mid-range price options, and Uniqlo has an okay one on the lower end. Cashmere won’t be cheap, but I swear it’s worth every penny – it’s warm as shit, and it lasts forever.

cashmere sweater winter style girl

When thinking of getting your own sweater – what are your priorities? I wanted to be able to layer, so I got mine in a bigger size. I wear a lot of black and white with the occasional pop of color, so I wanted something that would go with everything. Take into account the rest of your wardrobe, the type of silhouette you want, etc.

girl in cashmere sweater

And, once you’ve got your sweater, enjoy drinking tea in it and watching the snow fall. Because we still have three more months of this.

girl in cashmere sweater winter style

Love, calm, & care –

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