Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Top Six for Winter

This week I thought I’d talk about hot picks for this winter and what I consider as “essentials” for the season. Hopefully you can appreciate these pieces, too.

I love incorporating metallic pieces in my shoes, accessories or handbags. This season it’s all about silver (I’ve seen silver handbags everywhere) and charcoal grays. If you don’t like bright, in-your-face metallics, try a pair of cozy flats in a gunmetal gray or warm bronze, some subtle bangles or a cute clutch that adds just enough excitement to your look. (Above: Rafe metallic clutch, picture courtesy of Twigs).

Trouser jeans
Now that workplaces have gone more casual, trouser jeans are one item that many employers will probably accept on a casual Friday. Found in affordable brands up to luxury lines, I predict that this is one wardrobe staple that won’t go out of style. (Above: Kasil jeans, picture courtesy of JC Madison).

Not only are they practical in our chilly Midwest climes, tights add pop to an outfit. Most of the fashion magazines are showing plain black opaque tights paired with holiday cocktail dresses and skirts. I also like patterned versions like argyle, subtle stripes or herringbone. Be careful with the wilder patterns—it takes the perfect outfit to match. Here’s a tip: If you want to walk on the wild side but the outfit you’ve chosen is neutral in color, turn up the fun with a funky, multicolored print.

A statement-making coat
Because I’m not Catherine Zeta-Jones, I don’t have an unlimited clothing budget. Alas, the pieces I buy need to be durable, yet fashionable, so they’ll last a couple of seasons. While a winter coat is a must for our weather, we don’t all have to wear puffy (sometimes unflattering) parkas just because it’s cold! Try a coat in a fun print (I recently received a houndstooth coat), a bright color, or one with unexpected details, such as cool buttons or a vibrant waist tie. Jazzing up your ensemble will cheer you up when it’s cold and dreary.

As far as the cut, fitted silhouettes are always better; you don’t want to add extra bulk to your frame. Coats that nip in a bit at the waist or tie around the waist are best to achieve a nice hourglass figure—even if you don’t have one.

Vibrant shoes
Have you noticed a trend yet? I’ve been discussing punching up classic looks with trendier accessories (tights, metallics) or picking out pieces that will never go out of style (a classic coat). Most of the clothing I like is more conservative, but then I’ll throw a loop in the outfit by wearing my favorite leopard-printed stilettos or my funky disco-esque gold wedge sandals.

Bright shoes are another way to add excitement to your outfits. Try zebra-printed flats, anything patent leather or a royal-blue platform heel.

A swing coat or nice blazer
This season’s mod inspiration is the reason behind the swing coat featuring an easy, A-line silhouette so it can work on virtually anyone. Try a cute cropped version with three-quarters sleeves. Or pick up a classic blazer in a texture like velvet or tweed and a cute bow to tie it instead of buttons.

Places to shop for trendy winter gear:
Dazzle, 8426 Old Sauk Rd., Middleton. 826-4455.
Jan Byce, 702 N. Midvale Blvd. 233-1606.
JC Madison, 1650 Deming Way, Ste. 106, Middleton. 824-9735.
Karen and Co., 309 State St. 258-5500.
Patricia Shoppe, 137 W. Johnson St. 256-1111.
Twigs, 1925 Monroe St. 255-4363.

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