I hope I’m not the only girl who’s prone to chilliness and tempted to despair of wearing anything pretty between the end of November and the end of May. During the dark, cold months of January and February, when Christmas is over and spring is forever in coming, it’s especially difficult to know what to wear that’s warm and pretty. And for a girl who has a reputation for wearing high heeled shoes for fun, well, getting dressed from a winter wardrobe can be a bit depressing.
The worst of it is that when I know that I’m wearing something dowdy, frumpy or ugly, I feel dowdy, frumpy and ugly. I do believe, however, that it’s possible to be and dress femininely in any weather. So here are some ideas for shopping and dressing to wear something pretty (and therefore feel pretty) when it’s cold …
1) Shop like a chic French woman. Rather than buying a huge quantity of cheap clothes that look cheap and wear out, save your pennies and buy good clothes. They’ll look better and last longer. I think this is especially important in the winter. Choose classic styles – think “country life” and “young professional”. Commit to keeping everything clean and tidy and the clothes should last for years.
2) Go natural. Cheap synthetic fleeces aren’t as warm or attractive as quality natural cotton and wool. Try to find a couple of wool or wool-cotton-blend sweaters. Try to find, also, a few baby corduroy skirts and trousers. Layer cotton tops under the sweaters and wear cotton tights with the skirts and you’re good to go feeling cosy and looking pretty.
3) Work the colours. It’s more than appropriate to wear cool, bright colours in spring and summer and even into autumn, but not so much in winter. Think of the colours of winter – the yellow, orange, red and brown of fallen leaves, the red and green of berries and evergreens, the baby blue and midnight blue of frosty days and nights, the white of snow and the twinkle of Christmas decorations. It’s a lot of fun, when shopping for winter clothes, to keep these colours in mind and choose deeper, subtler tones. It’s also a lot of fun, when the first frost comes, bringing out the winter clothes you haven’t worn for months and enjoying them again.
1) Start with the basics. The difference between fresh and shabby undergarments is huge. And so is the difference between the effect of the former and the effect of the latter on a girl’s feeling of prettiness. I don’t want to go into details. You know what you wear. You know the difference between fresh and shabby. Regularly assess and refresh your collection of undergarments. Buy things that are pretty. Wear them even if no one but you sees them and they’re a secret between yourself and your layers of warm winter woollies. You’ll feel pretty even on the bitterest of winter days if you know that the basics are fresh and pretty.
2) Layer, layer, layer. The disadvantage of layering, of course, is that even the slenderest girl can end up feeling like an overstuffed teddy bear! Be wise with what you choose to layer. Start with a thermal layer that is light and slim, but can’t be seen. Wear the smallest size you comfortably can to decrease the likelihood of bulges of fabric! Wear long, light summer tank tops that fit slim and low and cover gaps between tops and skirts or trousers. Layer a couple of cotton tops and complete the look with a sweater. Take advantage of the lightweight sweaters in style right now, but ring the changes with chunkier knitted sweaters on the frostiest days. Wear leggings under skirts and tuck them into the tops of boots. Wear an extra pair of socks inside boots. And for an extra bit of definition, wear a belt, which holds everything together and restores your natural waist.
3) Don’t forget the “extras”! Do your hair as nicely as possible. (Try a new style from Rapunzel’s Resource if you’re feeling creative!) Tuck a frosted comb or winter flower into your hair for fun. Having a good hair day is key for a feeling of prettiness! Choose a necklace or bracelet that matches or coordinates with your clothes. And don’t forget deodorant and a dab of your favourite scent. It’s sometimes tempting to think that you can go without when it’s cold. Don’t fall for this bright idea! Your body temperature is changing as you go in and out of cold and warm air and some central heating is a bit fierce for a girl who’s dressed warmly. Feeling fresh is essential for feeling pretty at any time of year.
4) Choose cute woollies. Don’t buy any old set of hat, scarf and gloves, but choose a hat that suits you and a scarf and gloves that coordinate with your coat and shoes. If possible, over the course of a couple of winters, buy or make a few sets of woollies in different styles (do you like beanies or berets and do you prefer lightweight fabrics or chunky knits?) and colours (are you a warm red-and-green girl or cool blue-and-silver girl?).
5) And take a look in the mirror before you leave home every day. What do you see? You. Now smile. You look pretty in defiance of the worst of the winter weather. Now have a lovely day!
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. ~Audrey Hepburn