Your Coat & You: Staying Warm Does Not Mean Sacrificing Style.

As a personal stylist for women, I talk a lot about your developing strategies to ensure you rock your authentic personal style everyday. Of course, most people love the sound of this. But, when life throws them a curveball, like late nights up with a child or an especially cold day, that style is thrown to the wind. 

I'm here to assure you, Dear Reader, you can look smashing and be comfortable. Shoes can be functional and hip. Dresses can be flattering and fitted. The mysteries of fashion are many and the goal on this blog is to decode them for you. 

As of late, the weather has been crazy cold. Perfect for kids, less perfect for those of us with an especially stylish (read: lightweight) coat collection. No need to revert to your down parka everyday (unless that's your style, of course). There's a solution. 

WANT: Warm, Stylish Coat that Isn't too Expensive.

Now, Please.

Step 1. The Strategy.

Lady, I've got you covered! The key is to supplement your stylish jackets and coats with cozy layers underneath. You'll still look like your hip self, but you'll be significantly warmer.

 Kate Spade Polka Dot Fur Coat. Kate Spade. $848. Additional 30% off with code: SPRINKLES.

Step 2. Identify the Champions.

You really need to have a stylish jacket or coat to start this process. If you don't, it's time to invest in something stylish and warm. If you do, grab your selection of coats and jackets that you love and pull them out to identify the needs for each. Are they shorter? Do they fit really tightly in the shoulders or bust? If so, layering something thick may not be an option, but a thinner choice could work. Are they seasonally appropriate? If it looks like a lightweight spring jacket, layering will be a mismatch.

 Patagonia Lightweight Fiona Coat. Available in three colors. Patagonia. $349. Patagonia has an impressive corporate social responsibility policy & lifetime guarantee on products.

Step 3. Find your Ideal Partners.

Now that you know what you've got and what you need, it's time to shop. My warmest pairing is a long vintage coat with a fur collar and my Calvin Klein down parka from Costco. You know the one. I mentioned it here and I've seen it in closets all across the PNW. Right now, a similar option would be the Mark New York coat. If you have a stylish coat and a down jacket, see if layering them is an option. The hood sticking out can add to the style, depending on the pairing. If down is too thick, try a fleece liner. This is when a trip the REI website or Patagonia is a solid move. 

Think about your lifestyle. Do you travel either on a plane or on the bus daily? If so, packable options are best as they can squeeze into your bag when the weather warms up, leaving you with only your stylish coat.

Another approach: Make sure you are warmer before it's time for your coat. If you are someone who runs cold, consider silk long underwear underneath your clothes throughout the day. There are now low neck options that can be discreetly hidden under your outfit. If you are warmer from the get go, your coat doesn't need to be as warm.

 REI Silk V-Neck Shirt. Available in white, black. REI. $44. Local company REI has a strong  stewardship program  supporting employees and the world.

Step 3.5: Know what You are Looking For.

When searching for the right base layers, it's helpful to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each material. I love this guide from REI for choosing the right fabrics.

Top differences in base-layer materials

Synthetic: Wicks moisture, lightest materials, quick drying time.
Wool: Exceptional moisture management & temperature regulation. Odor resistant.
Blend: Moisture management, soft and very stretchy, excellent drying time.
Silk: Wicks moisture, thin and very lightweight, comfortable on skin.

  Fownes Brothers  Long Leather Gloves. Nordstrom. $188. Hometown Hero Nordstrom gives back in a major way.  Here are a few.

Step 4: Complete the Look.

Accessories are everything. They can elevate your outfit in a snap. Consider leather gloves, an attractive winter hat or a luxurious scarf to seal the deal. I like a coat with 3/4 length sleeves and leather opera gloves. I'm also obsessed with the new Combat Flip Flops hats that are made by Syrian refugees in a refugee camp. The hats provide income for women and an opportunity for kids to go to school. 

The point is, find the accessories that up your game and keep you warm. 

And you're off! Let me know how it goes. 

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