Winter Essentials

Winter has officially settled in here in Chapel Hill, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe should suffer.  In fact, winter gives you even more opportunities to show off the looks and styles you love. Coats, hats, gloves, scarves and layering are all pivotal, not only for staying warm but for staying in style. As tempting as it is to thrown on your sweats and Uggs, which we know are needed at times, don’t waste these next few months of fashion fun! As the temperatures continue to drop, here are some of our favorite winter staples to get you through the season looking your best!

1. echotech Touch Gloves

Gloves are a definite winter necessity. They’re great for finishing off any outfit and they’ll keep your hands warm during those chilly months. But in the age of the smartphone gloves are a hassle. They make texting, using social media sites or apps, and all the other functions that make a smartphone fun near impossible. That is, until Touch Gloves came along.

From the company’s website: “Knit into the index finger and thumb of each glove, our eLink fabric interacts with touch screen devices, making them compatible with the iPod, iPhone, iPad and other touch sensitive digital devices.” The gloves come in every imaginable color and style, ranging from wool to cashmere, and with accents like ruffles, color blocking, patterns and bows. Keep your hands nice and warm, without sacrificing form or function!

Available online at:

http://www.echodesign.com/shop/for-her/gloves/

 2.  Socks & Tights

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you’re limited exclusively to pants for the next few months. Skirts and dresses are still in the game, but if you keep your legs bare you sure won’t be for long.  Tis the season for tights and socks of all kinds- never skip good hosiery! Tights aren’t boring like you may remember from when you were a little girl. Today, they’re one of the best ways to add detail to an otherwise simple outfit. Coming in a variety of patterns and colors, tights can not only keep your legs a bit warmer but also compliment the outfit you’re suffering for.

Sheer black tights are a classic and should be in your wardrobe anyway. However, patterned tights with polka dots or self-made rips can make a basic black skirt and sweater all the more interesting. Socks are also a must, whether in tights and a skirt or a good pair of jeans or trousers. In the drab winter season bright colorful and patterned socks can be a fun way to bring a little light in. A good pair of high socks will also be needed to keep those winter boots up.  A reliatvely new retailer Bootights makes tights with socks attached to the bottom! It’s literally the perfect pair of tights, invest in a pair and see what we mean.

The above socks and tights can be found at:

http://www.madewell.com/madewell_category/ACCESSORIES/sockstights.jsp?navLoc=left_nav

Bootights are available at:

http://www.bootights.com/shop-bootights.html

 3. Hats & Ear Warmers

If you’re having a bad hair day, whether it be due to winter winds or waking up late for class, or you simply need to keep warm, a hat is the clear choice. Even when the gloves and coat come off, a good hat can continue to make a statement in any outfit.  Beanies, berets and ear warmers are all in this season and are sure to keep you nice and warm.

Ear warmers are a great transition for those of us who love headscarves and headbands. They give you the functional benefits of the hat but with a unique twist. They come in a variety of styles and colors, much like their warm weather scarf counterparts, and you can easily find several to wear throughout the season. If hats are more your style, a good beanie or beret in a neutral like grey, black, navy or cream is sure to be a wardrobe staple as the temperature drops. They’re always a cute, comfy addition to any winter outfit. Plus, if your hair didn’t turn out quite right no one will ever know. Perks of the season, if you ask me.

All above products are available at:

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/category.jsp?id=W_ACC_HATS

 4. Scarves

Scarves are an important part of your wardrobe during any season but it’s during the winter that they take on a whole new meaning. It’s oftentimes hard to find a scarf that can keep you warm in the wind and snow, yet look cute when you’re in class or a meeting and want to look cute without the coat.

Infinity scarves and snoods have been on the rise for the past few years and are now a full on fashion phenomenon. Available in a variety of materials, ranging from cashmere to a chunky wool knit, and every color and size you could need, these scarves a great addition to your cold weather closet. However, when purchasing these be sure you don’t go too big, because yes with scarves there is such a thing and it is to be avoided. If you don’t want a trend and instead a classic winter scarf, there’s lots out there for you! J.Crew has an incredible scarf selection, ranging form affordable wool-angora color block to beautiful cashmere wraps. Find what works best for you and your wardrobe. Be sure to have a variety of both basics and fun prints and patterns- scarves should be fun accent pieces even if they’re there to keep you warm!

All of the scarves seen above are available at:

http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/accessories/scarvesglovesandhats.jsp

 5. Parkas & Pea Coats

The most important piece you will buy this winter is the coat. We may be in the south but that doesn’t mean that the walk home from the library at 2 am when you’re cramming for finals won’t feel like a trek across the tundra. Coats are pricey and for sure an investment, but one that is well worth it. Much like a life partner, once you find the perfect coat stop looking and settle down! I’ve found it’s best to have two winter coats- one for everyday and one when you need to dress things up.

The everyday coat should be some sort of parka or down jacket, one that can keep you warm no matter how bad it gets. The tried and true favorite across the board is any and all things North Face. The North Face ‘Metropolis’ Parka, coming in at $320 on Nordstrom’s site, is one of the brands most popular. The down coat with a detachable hood is lightweight but super warm! It also covers your butt- it might sound silly, but long term you’ll be glad you thought about that. Purchasing this coat was one of the best winter choices I’ve made. North Face has other great coats- find what works best for you! In terms of a fun coat for when the down parka seems inappropriate, well that’s up to you and your personal style. Find a coat that fits your personal style but keeps you nice and toasty. A pea coat is a classic choice that will likely work with any outfit for any possible occasion. They can be long or short, but in terms of color it’s best to stick with neutrals. If the coat is quality if will be costly so don’t waste it on a trend you won’t like during next season’s snowstorm.

All of the coats pictured above are available at:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-coats-shop?origin=topnav&cm_sp=Top%20Navigation-_-Women-_-Coats%20&%20Jackets

6. Boots

 A good pair of boots is one of the most important things to keep in your closet to survive the winter. You can wear them with jeans, pants and your tights and skirts. Walking through campus it’s clear to see that the knee-high camel leather boot will reign supreme once again this year and with good reason! A classic pair of leather boots will go with any outfit and keep your feet and legs warm no matter the weather. While many of you will likely will have a pair leftover from earlier in the year, it’s a good idea to buy a new pair in the winter.

Soles and heels get worn down, stains are likely to be rampant especially on suede, and the overall quality of the boot has gone down. Not only does this take away  polish from your appearance but from the warmth and protection of the shoe. With all the holiday sales now is the perfect time to get a new pair of boots to get you through the season. Pick a pair you know will work in your everyday wardrobe, but that can be dressed up here and there! Leather is the safest choice, especially with snowfall possible, as it is the most durable. Again, pick a neutral shade that can function with the wardrobe you have but don’t be afraid of fun hardware and accents! Also, don’t just go for the standard calf height boot. Whether they’re knew high, ankle, or calf height boots if they fit your style and the function you need, get em!

All of the above styles can be found at:

http://www.madewell.com/madewell_category/SHOESANDBOOTS/boots.jsp?navLoc=left_nav

http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-boots-shop

Lovely Leather

There is no denying that leather is a force to be reckoned with this season. Paring a leather item with any outfit is an easy way to give your look an edgier touch. While genuine leather is on the pricey side, there are many synthetic leather options that provide you with all the bang for fewer bucks. This trend has also been a huge hit among celebrities. A-list stars such as Beyonce´, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Kristen Stewart have all been seen rocking the trend. While you may be thinking that wearing tight leather pants or a tiny leather dress is a little too bold for you, there are a multitude of ways to tweak the trend to fit your personal style. Not a fan of black? No worries, there are plenty leather pieces available in this season’s hottest colors. All in all, leather is extremely versatile and should be a staple in every woman’s closet.

Leather Skirt

While leather skirts are typically seen as nighttime attire, this season feminine pleated option allows you to wear the trend day or night.  If you are looking for a sexier option, pair a leather pencil skirt with a peplum top and you’ve got the perfect mix of sexy and classy.

Leather Dress

When it comes to leather dresses there are a wide variety of options available. For the bolder fashionista, who is not afraid to show off her curves, a bodycon leather dress will be perfect. Those who are more modest may prefer a dress with leather accents.

Leather Pants

Remember liquid leggings? Well, they have been replaced with far more stylish, and breathable, leather pants. These pants will give any outfit a chic and edgy twist.

Leather Jacket

The leather jacket is a classic piece that can easily transform and pull together any look. A fun way to wear this season’s biker jacket is to pair it with ultra feminine dresses and skirts to add contrast to your outfit

Erin Fetherston Spring 2013

Debuting her Spring 2013 collection in New York on September 6, Erin Fetherston gave a signature girly collection a, relatively, hardcore edge. This was a much-needed change of pace for the designer, whose label had grown a bit predictable. Known for her whimsical, feminine, and romantic work, Fetherston brought a new hardness to her pieces but still held on to what makes her a strong designer. Incorporating brighter hues, new prints, and a large amount of hardware, a major trend in the past few months, the designer brought her look forward. Though it should be noted, soft pinks and florals could not be avoided- this is a Fetherston show after all.

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The designer explained her inspiration for this season to be a photo she stumbled upon of icon Brigitte Bardot, stretched out on canary yellow ostrich feathers. She said, “Her feminine outfit contrasted with her tough eye makeup. I loved seeing her as a little French songbird — wild and sultry, with an air of unfussed glamour. I wanted to capture that spirit in my collection this season.” Bardot was an inspiration in not only the sets sexy, feminine nature but also in the stark lines and contrasts between black and soft pinks, harsh lines and soft colors.

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However, the pieces were not in all light pink and soft floral prints, reeking of romance- in fact it was quite the opposite. Fetherston utilized fabrics decorated by lipstick kisses from all the women on her team, others included a black and white sequined zebra pattern. Cheetah print was also popular in the collection, making multiple appearances and at times with the cat’s entire face on display.  Beyond that, Fetherston played with color in new ways- branching out from pastels to include neons and other bright hues to liven up her dress heavy collection.

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While remaining dress focused in the designer’s tradition, there was more diversity in silhouette and form this time around, as well as a wider variety in types of pieces. The collection included a variety of pieces, many of which could go straight from the look book to the street. Maxi skirts and dresses were some of the highlights, especially when paired with leather bodices. Leather made multiple appearances for the Spring line- part of the Bardot inspiration emerged here. This was seen in an impeccable pink jacket with silver embellishments and a pair of sick leather leggings.

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“I brought in a lot of hardware to balance out the froth and lighter-than-air fabrics,” the designer explained at the collection preview. The collection pushed her boundaries, taking her aesthetic to new places and challenging her customer to do the same.

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Source: http://www.style.com

Derek Lam – New York Fashion Week Fall 2012

Casual, wearable cool was the reoccurring theme at the Derek Lam Fall Ready-to-Wear show. A new take on 60’s mod, the collection features winter white separates, plush leathers, muted florals, and chunky knits.

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Image Courtesty of Style.com

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Image Courtesty of Style.com

Models strutted down the runway with mod eye makeup and teased updos, sporting ladylike, yet minimalist silhouettes. The collection was not over the top, but extremely accessible. Lam managed to take edgy black leather and turn it into a soft, feminine and almost work appropriate pencil skirt. He paired the ensembles with gold metallic oxfords and floral printed box bags to liven up the wintery looks.

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Photo Courtesy of Style.com

Lam’s strength was his ability to put a spin on casual basics, for a look that the everyday woman could easily wear. He dazzled viewers with a drool-worthy pair of red leather, straight-legged pants and surprised us with floral pants for fall. Lam anchored the collection with a series of perfectly classic coats. The show closed on a high note with a set of ethereal gowns worn under chunky sweaters.

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Photo Courtesy of Style.com

Although these looks may not be realistic for the college student, we can take away some tips. Wear a pair of metallic oxfords with your skinny jeans for a casual, yet unexpected look for class. When going out with friends, unleash your inner rock star and wear a leather dress. And, of course, don’t be afraid to rock florals in the fall. This collection is all about contrasting textures; so don’t hesitate to pair your most lightweight top with a leather jacket or a thick sweater.

Perfect Holiday Gift Guide

Tight on cash this season?  We’ve found the perfects gifts for the fashionistas on your list- all items $35 or less!

Essie Mini Polish Set
$17; essieshop.com


Essie’s winter 2010 collection creates an aura of mystique with a vision of wintery beauty that is darkly decadent and supremely elegant.

This 4 piece mini collection includes these fun hues:  masquerade ball, silken cord, hot coco, going incognito.

Sephora’s Black Studded Makeup Bag Collection
$24; sephora.com

A limited-edition ensemble of fiercely stylish cosmetic bags.  This range of chic makeup bags fuses attitude with function, to hold every aspect of your beauty arsenal. Four sizes and shapes, all featuring black faux leather and edgy studs, will get you organized and accessorized at the same time.

Ruffled Echo Touch Glove
$35; echodesign.com

Echo has combined two of their best selling styles from last year to give you the new and improved ruffled Echo Touch glove.  Keep your hands warm while you keep in touch!  Echo Touch gloves are engineered specifically with the new wave of technology in mind.  Adhered to the index finger and thumb of each glove, our eLink fabric interacts with touch screen devices, making them compatible with the iPod, iPhone, iPad and other touch sensitive digital devices.  Made of wool blend.

bareMinerals Keychain Kisses
$15; ulta.com


These mini shades contain a healthy infusion of 100% pure bareMinerals and a blend of exotic oils, botanical extracts and protective antioxidants for long-lasting hydration, superior shine and shimmering color – all without any stickiness. Plus, they’re keychain-ready, so you’ll always have your lucky lipgloss at your fingertips.

Studded Scarf Ring
$32; echodesign.com

Are you seeking studs? Echo’s studded scarf ring is trend appropriate and also looks great with any casual outfit.

 

lavish leather

A real leather jacket can cost an arm and leg, but with super fakes on the racks at nearly every mainstream store, there’s an option at every price. The sought-after luxury-look of a leather jacket is now a reality for the masses.

Jack by BB Dakota Empress Jacket, $50, Polyvinyl Chloride

A good faux-leather jacket keeps you warm, but looking sleek. A thrown-together look for class is instantly upgraded with a leather jacket.

Sparkle and Fade Faux Leather Hooded Bomber, $98, Polyurethane

The real dilemma is choosing which color to buy. Black is trendy, and conveys a “don’t mess” look. Dark brown is classic looking, and more down to earth. A lighter brown is bohemian and lighthearted. Then there’s grey, which is mysterious and playful.

I suggest buying a faux one under $200 and wearing it for a season or two before making the leap and splurging on a real one.

Another way to justify NOT spending hundreds of dollars on a leather jacket? Faux leather is animal-friendly.

And if you simply cannot choose which color, get all three. With such a range of prices and shapes, why not?

For now, a college girl can only dream about owning this beauty.

The Evolution of the Aviator Style

In the new movie Amelia, starring Hillary Swank, audiences will see classic examples of the aviator bomber style that has become an integral part of the fashion industry.  What began as a way for pilots to stay warm in high altitudes has become what some would consider an item that should be in every woman’s wardrobe.   But, where did this timeless item originate?  It was Amelia Earhart herself who, when she wasn’t breaking boundaries for women in the world of aviation, was designing her own fashion line.  She helped to adapt the typical pilot’s clothing for women – who knew that she was groundbreaking in the fashion world, too?  The great thing about the leather bomber jacket is its versatility.  It looks great with jeans and heels, but it can also create a cool combination when paired with a chic knee length dress.  So, here’s to Amelia!  Thanks for breaking ground for women in the aviation and fashion worlds!

Hayden Panettiere rocks a bomber with a chic dress and heelsImage from splashnews.com

Lauren Conrad pairs a cropped leather bomber with a unique belt and wide leg pants to create a casual, but classy, lookImage from bigpicturesphoto.com