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

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The Perfect Fall Accessory

Temperatures have cooled considerably in the past few weeks—days that once fluctuated between hot and cool have now descended into slightly warm and cold. With the newly settled chill of fall, keeping warm is imperative. However, walking in and out of rooms of varying temperature, waking up to a cold morning but encountering a warmer afternoon, and changes in wind all affect our levels of warmth during the day. So layering becomes key during the fall, and the perfect fall layer is also an extremely fashionable accessory: the scarf. When deciding to wear a scarf, make the conscious choice not to simply throw any plain cloth around your neck. Pick out scarves with particular patterns, textures, and styles that make an outfit truly stand out, and experiment with different ways of tying a scarf to mix up your looks throughout the week. Below are 10 fun, interesting, and chic scarves to try out this fall.

Image courtesy of http://usa.hermes.com

To start off this list is the most classic of all scarves: the Hermès silk scarf. The French luxury brand is renowned for its sophisticated scarves that epitomize taste. This particular Casques et Plumets scarf mixes bright colors into delightful images.

Image courtesy of http://usa.hermes.com

This Kilim scarf, worn as a headdress here, is also classic Hermès. Try to emulate this style by wearing your hair down and wrapping a silk scarf across the top of your head. This slightly offbeat style is not only a standout, but it can also keep the front of your head warm!

Image courtesy of http://www.madewell.com

With Hermès scarves comes a hefty price, however, so for scarves in a lower budget range, try out Madewell. The new collection of Madewell storyteller scarves mirrors the sophistication of Hermès scarves without the same price tag. This black and white storyteller scarf from Madewell has a beautiful graphic pattern that could potentially be worn with many different outfits.

Image courtesy of http://www.brooksbrothers.com/

I love this cable cowl neck scarf from Brooks Brothers—it fits the All-American style of the brand but offers a unique blend of textures (lambswool and silk). This infinity style scarf is a popular one for this fall, so why not put your own spin on the style with a mixed texture scarf.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

This Michael Kors toggle neck warmer scarf is on this list for two reasons. First, the color is absolutely gorgeous and appropriate for fall. Second, the toggle clasp sets this scarf apart from others, adding an interesting design element that gives this scarf a laid-back but chic feel.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

Oblong scarves are also extremely popular for Fall 2012. This Eyeful Embroidered scarf has such a great blend of neutral colors with pops of pink and orange. The pattern is interesting, and the fullness of the scarf allows for all different kinds of scarf tying.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

For a sleeker look, try this Nicole Miller optical gradation silk scarf. This look is definitely unique and noteworthy for its tricky patterning.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

This Alexander McQueen tulip skull scarf works so well for this time of year, especially on a slightly warmer but still cool fall day. The playful pattern of skull and flowers creates a striking look.

Image courtesy of http://www.anthropologie.com

For much chillier days, try out this greyscale fringed loop scarf from Anthropologie. This particular scarf incorporates the fringe trend and will help you stay warm between classes.

Image courtesy of http://www.asos.com

Finally, this Spratters & Jayne Infinity Chain Scarf will also keep you toasty throughout the day. Designer Rachael Warner uses ultra-chunky Peruvian Highlands wool to create her fashionable scarves.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/scarf-video?origin=leftnav

If you want to find out more ways you can tie your scarves, check out this great video from Nordstrom. The instructional film illustrates all different kinds of scarf knots, from the “cowgirl knot” to more classic ties.

Tube Scarves: The Long and the Short of It

Tube scarves are an updated version of an old-fashioned look. These scarves are comfortable, chic, and the best part is: the styling is already done for you. All you have to do is add a worn-in tee and jeans or maybe your favorite knit dress and rugged boots. Urban Outfitters has several great options if you’re into these kind of scarves, whether you prefer them close to your neck, draped below your waist or somewhere in between. In the August 2009 issue of InStyle magazine, Rachel Bilson declared these scarves one of her favorite trends from the fall runway shows and called them “supercute and so easy to wear.” Now you can wear an accessory that is practical but still makes you look put-together.

Deena & Ozzy Eternity Scarf - Urban Outfitters

Deena & Ozzy Eternity Scarf - Urban Outfitters

Deena & Ozzy Macrame Jersey Eternity Scarf - Urban Outfitters

Deena & Ozzy Macrame Jersey Eternity Scarf - Urban Outfitters