When it comes to planning for winter weather, what to wear is a huge component — especially in the Midwest, where Mother Nature can keep you guessing.
Luckily, braving the elements and staying warm doesn’t mean you have to kick your fashion sense to the snow-covered curb.
A few local experts offered their insight on how to stay warm and chic during the winter months, with a few bonus tips on what to look for in this year’s holiday party apparel.
It can be upsetting to plan a cute outfit, only to have to put on a bulky winter coat, covering up your masterpiece. There are plenty of ways to make bundling up a part of your fashion statement.
“I have been loving jackets and cardigans for the fall and winter months,” said Shayna Siegert, owner of Wardrobe Social, 409 Bluff St. “If you can find a great jacket, you can easily style it with a piece of jewelry.”
Selling “chic yet simple clothing,” jackets and cardigans are available at the shop’s Bluff Street location and at Wardrobesocial.com.
Layering is another trick you can try.
“I try to get quality jackets and cardigans that you’re able to layer,” Siegert said. “I think in the winter layering can be really cute and functional.”
Cardigans at Wardrobe Social are available at different price points as well, based upon the type of material it’s made from.
“The cardigans and sweaters in the shop right now are really fuzzy,” Siegert said. “They are really soft and cozy go to layering pieces. They can be dressed down with leggings or dressed up to go to work with slacks.”
Go big or go home
Carol Ann Boutique and Body, 3337 Hillcrest Road, gives similar advice on layers, layers and more layers to stay warm in a cute outfit this winter.
Lindsey Dohrer and Kristy Meyer, sisters and co-owners, offered a slightly different angle on dressing warm yet chic.
“Layer a chunky-knit cardigan with one of our graphic tees or denim tops.”
A winter fashion trend they also have noticed is over-sized sweaters.
“These give a fashion element, while being a cozy sweater still. You can pair this with a tall boot and leggings to stay fashionable but still warm.”
The boutique also sells accessories, such as beanies and fashion gloves.
“Beanies will always be a hit in the winter, especially with the pom on top. Use beanies to stay warm and coordinate your outfit or make a statement with a bold color.”
And for holiday parties …
“We offer a lot of fun fashion tops to pair with a fashion pant that can be worn again. We also carry casual dresses and accessories to dress them up, too.”
The boutique offers sizes small to 3x.
“We have all sizes available all the time. We have a full curvy section in the store.”
Trendsetters Boutique store manager Megan Hasken said her favorite pieces this season are on point with capturing fashion and function at the 3430 Dodge St. location.
“Jackets are a big piece for us — not the big bulky ones, but the slim leather moto jackets,” she said. “We cannot keep our moto jackets in stock. They are great for laying or just throwing on a jacket if you don’t want to put on your large coat.”
Another trend Hasken has noticed: Over-sized.
“Everything this winter is slouchy and over-sized — over-sized everything,” she said. “An over-sized sweater, with leggings and a boot, is very popular for any occasion.”
When dressing up for a holiday work party Kasken said, “We cater to busy moms. They are able to come in to get an outfit and go. We have a lot of holiday dresses and jumpsuits to wear to a holiday party. We offer casual dresses to pair with statement jewelry or we have formal jumpsuits to pair our more delicate accessories with. Our holiday dresses are beautiful and will go fast.”
When asked how to stay warm during these cold months, Ann Butzier, owner of Namaste Athleisure Wear in Dubuquer’s Millwork District, said few things top the popular leisurewear trend.
“We carry a range of winter coats and winter accessories,” she said. “We have many different styles of winter hats, scarves, gloves and waterproof boots that can make your outfit while staying warm.
“One of my favorite pieces is a cardigan to layer up, everyone seems to navigate towards those cozy wraps. You can pair a layered cardigan with a scarf, boots, and a beanie to complete a winter outfit while still looking fashionable.”
The shop also has a wide range of winter boots available.
“We have a lot of different styles in our winter boots right now. We carry tall boots or short booties, most being waterproof for trekking through the snow.”
Martha O’Connor, retail executive and buyer for Namaste, said that even for holiday parties, casual comfort doesn’t mean you have to skimp on being fashionable.
“We have a lot of comfortable dresses that can easily be dressed up to go to a holiday party,” she said. “The dresses we offer are fun and comfy and can be paired with a lot of our jewelry. We have fancier scarves to wear with our dresses or nicer sweaters that can really give a little ‘zipity’ to an outfit.”
“A lot of times I wrap our scarves around myself instead of having to put a coat on top of my outfit,” Butzier added. “Another piece for a holiday party that we carry is sweaters. We have turtle neck, chic and cozy sweaters that can be worn with a dress pant and some accessories to really wow your co-workers and family.”
Match the outerwear to
Rylynn McQuillen, owner of Fig Leaf, 345 Bluff St., said she thinks of outerwear the same way she does innerwear. She puts that philosophy to use in her shop as well.
“We have a ton of jackets and coats this winter,” McQuillen said. “For me, I like to have a fashion coat that matches with my outfit while staying warm. We have a lot of options in our fashion coats or indoor/outdoor coats that can be worn in the cold or inside to stay fashionable.
“We also are carrying Apricoats this winter. They have a fur collar and are handmade in Michigan. These coats fan out like a cape but are just beautiful. We have a lot of different coats with a faux fur collar — not just our Apricoats. You can find the fur collar on our pilot’s jackets or fashion jackets just to give you that extra warmth.”
If you’re scouting out the perfect “little black dress” for a holiday party, McQuillen said to go for something you can use year-round.
“If you need the perfect little black dress for a holiday party, we keep it in stock 365 days a year,” she said. “It’s just a little cap sleeve that comes to about mid-thigh, but its great for all year long, not just the holiday party. It’s truly the ‘little black dress.’ It comes in a size 2 to a size 18.”
After you’ve picked the perfect outfit and found ways to warm it up, don’t forget to accessorize.
“We have lot’s of holiday accessories, too,” McQuillen said. “Anything from jewelry to jackets to keep warm in your outfit.”
Vanessa Coffee is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.