Winter separates fashion followers into three categories – those who have thrown style into the summer storage bag and are seeking comfort and warmth, those who plough on in the pursuit of style (and heels in snow) and those who try to walk a tightrope between the two. This means that retailers’ offering for winter can be a bit of a mixed bag. I was in Zara yesterday seeking some basics (it seems that I’m rapidly descending into the ‘comfort’ consumer the older I get) and was met with turtle neck sweaters (the comfort over style), polyester crop tops (the style over comfort) and technicolour bomber jackets (the in-betweener).
Most women aspire to be an in-betweener, it’s the perfect balance between the two, but it’s near on impossible to get right. Take, for example, this season’s trend for oversized scarves and capes. I love this look, it looks fashionable whilst still seeming to produce warmth but it can be deceiving – on so many levels. Firstly, a chunky knitted scarf can be deceptive in terms of overheating, you might think that only your neck stays warm but a chunky scarf plays havoc with our cooling systems, leaving the majority of us, well, rather sweaty in temperatures that aren’t negative. On top of this is the cape option. Whilst wonderfully stylish the cape remains too gapey, and too flappy – you’ll feel like you have wings for arms and will, without a doubt, get it caught in a car door. It’s a tightrope that threatens to pull you one way at any given time.
The 90’s trend is one I planned on skipping altogether, I don’t believe that dungarees should be worn by anyone who is potty trained, but then the cord pinafore dress surfaced as a hybrid. I’d been mulling my thoughts over on this for a while since it would be the perfect (stylish) pair for a warm top and a chunky pair of tights, then it was reborn in this season’s burgundy and it became a no-brainer.
Speaking of the 90’s, the puffa jacket has been making somewhat of a come-back lately, with credible retailers offering a pretty competent offering of colours. I must admit I’ve been all over this, it’s not often that fashion says ‘comfort’ is fashionable. However, as the proud owner of two puffa jackets, I have to say they do not go far to inspiring confidence. Think of the last time time you wore a bright, puffy coat – it was probably at school! And no matter how I try I cannot shake that feeling of being in the playground. What’s more, I really struggle with what to wear under a puffa jacket and usually downplay my outfit to match my top and, before I know it, I’m just one step away from pulling a puffa over my PJ’s for the school run.
A huge trend for this winter is short sleeves (I know, right?) which just leads us to question what planet designers are on! Nevertheless, it’s out there and it’s up to us to make the most of it. It’s a difficult one, and one I set out to avoid (already owning a tonne of short sleeve summer stuff) but it really is everywhere (kidswear included). The most stylish will do something funky with a turtleneck underneath a short sleeve layer, while the rest of us throw a cardigan over the top and feel proud that we layered. The danger comes in thinking you can take all your short-sleeved-summer-wear and just throw a sweater over it, you can’t – since this season’s short sleeves are in winter colours and winter prints. I don’t know why fashion hates us so.