It's pretty special to be a queer person with a Lesbian mom. It's nice to have that in common, even as my mom and I are as different as you can imagine a Glitter Mega Femme and a Tomboy can be (or, in astrology speak I'm a Capricorn and she's a Cancer--we are literally opposite signs). Last year on a visit to mom in her Lesbian village in the woods deep outside of Seattle, she proudly showed me her TomBoyX bathing suit covered in jelly fish. She has never been this excited about a bathing suit in my whole life, so I knew it had to be special.
Something that unifies skirt and dress-loving people this time of year is how to stay warm as well as stylish. As a native Californian who moved to the East Coast ten years ago I have developed some coping mechanisms to maintain my stylish exterior as much as possible while still being a total cry baby about how cold it is outside.
First of all, I spend a lot of my winter being a Plus Size Party Girl. (Time Out New York called me that and I just love that descriptor.) This means that my base outfit needs to be as cute as possible while reflecting the fact that it is often really hot wherever I go out.
Take this leopard dress, paired with a foxy multi-chained necklace. If I wore this outside in NYC I wouldn’t last long enough to accompany a bestie for a cigarette.
So I start to layer it up. Sometimes I am inside and it is still chilly. I like to always have a contingency plan for potentially chilly indoor climates. Thus, a cardigan.
This is a lace cardigan, we have a bunch at Re/Dress right now. This is a contemporary lace cardigan, but I actually really love to use vintage lingerie as layering pieces. Those polyester beauties are really warm and also see through (which enables the cuteness of your layering pieces to shine through).
If I am further chilly, I incorporate Scarf 2 as a drapey piece.
The look is a little Mary Kate, but it works.
Now for leggings. Tights are cool for me in the Fall and Spring, but in winter I am so cold my legs need more warmth than that. I’m not afraid to layer with tights. (I actually learned in a Girl Scout wilderness survival training that wearing tights or pantyhose under pants was a great waterproof way to stay warm.)
Here at the Re/Dress we have this new fangled thing called a “Tegging.” It is a word we made up to describe that this legging is more of a tights material. They’re super stretchy and warmer than regular tights. We have them in tons of colors and they fit up to a 5X. I would wear it under these snakeskin shiny leggings for this outfit.
I am also not afraid to wear two pairs of socks under my boots. When changing at the club, I might take a couple of minutes off to the side of coat check to change out of my snow boots. I am terrified of falling in snow and wouldn’t even consider wearing heels in the snow, even from the car.
Also I have recently embraced the leg warmer for it’s layering magic. It is also my secret trick to transitioning socks to leggings with my mary jane TUK shoes. I just don’t like a sock over legging look. I think it’s awkward.
Here’s where the real fun comes in, jazzing up winter accessories. I am troubled by hats. My hair is delicate and I try to avoid them as much as possible. But sometimes when I wear a knit hat I like to make it more special with hair bling. I just clip it to the weave in the knit, or use a pin back to pin it onto a hat. I have a line of hair bling at the store that will soon be online as well.
I haven’t tried scarf bling yet but that’s forthcoming.
I also accessorize my warm scarf with a lighter more interesting scarf. I have a couple of sequin scarves for this purpose.
Here I have put a lightweight sequin Scarf 2 over a heavier boring but warm knit scarf.
I also believe that the best thing a stylish person can do to stay stylish during the four months of snow and cold in NYC is to get as many awesome warm coats as possible. I moved to Philadelphia with one lightweight jacket (I thought it was a real winter coat, it was maybe an early Fall weight) and I now easily have 6 winter coats. Actually, I probably have more.
I was trying to come up with a rubric of how many faux fur coats one should have. At least one black faux fur, one solid color, one leopard print and one furry vest.
I also always lose gloves so I am all about snatching up good glove deals whenever you find them.
In sum, I think the best thing you can do to make winter more stylish is to not be afraid to try a lot of different things, wear a lot of color and layer, layer, layer.
I’d like to thank Glenn Marla for his scarf inspiration and his unadulterated love of layering.