9 Winter Fashion Crimes You Should Be Arrested For

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Let’s admit it: if you live in a cold weather climate like Chicago and you are being completely honest with yourself, you would probably wear a chenille robe and sweatpants every day until spring if you could. Those mornings when you wake up and there are actually little ice crystals on the INSIDE of your windows, it can be pretty difficult to think of anything beyond comfort and warmth.

But the fact is, even when the Polar Vortex blows into town, life goes on and so must you. Just because the wind chill is negative one billion degrees does not mean you can or should give up on style. Start by making sure that you are not committing any of these unforgivable winter fashion crimes.

1. Shapeless clothes

There is a time and a place for the oversized grandma sweater, and that is Sunday afternoon on your couch. But if you’re going out into the world, resist the temptation to throw on layer after layer of shapeless, insulated potato sack garments. This look is the epitome of giving up and letting the Polar Vortex win.

 

2. Leggings as pants

OK, let’s just get this out-of-the-way – you’ve heard it before, but it may not have sunk in yet: leggings are not pants. Simply put, they are skin-tight and they reveal things that ought not be revealed. However, they are a level above sheer tights, so you can get away with wearing shorter dresses and tunics with them.

Here’s the rule: If your top/dress does not completely cover your nether regions, you need actual pants, not leggings.

 

3. Under-dressing for cold

If there is one thing that continually shocks and appalls me in Chicago, it is seeing women prancing around in freezing weather with little to no outerwear. We all get that you are going to a fancy club, but if you can afford a $14 cocktail, then you can spring for the $5 coat check so you don’t have to look and feel ridiculous in a strapless mini dress when it is 25 degrees out. Be a grownup and wear a coat!

 

4. Casual coat with dressy clothes

Nothing kills a gorgeous dressy outfit like pairing it with a casual, puffy coat. Stylish ladies should have at least two warm, winter coats: one for casual looks and one for when you’re dressing to impress. This harkens back to Winter Fashion Crime #2 – if you have a beautiful dressy coat, you won’t mind throwing it over your hot new cocktail dress.

 

 

5. Winterized summer clothes

Being a resourceful fashionista is fabulous, but seasonal wardrobe crossovers have their limits. There are certainly some spring and summer pieces that you can probably make work in the winter, but don’t go overboard by pairing a gauzy summer sundress with leggings and a sweater. Need help? Check out our handy guide to fashionably layering clothes.

 

6. Useless boots

If you’ve lived in a cold weather climate for a year or more and you don’t have attractive boots that are also hardcore snow-busters, you are doing it wrong. As much as we wish it weren’t so, Chicago sidewalks are often covered with snow, ice and salt, so unless you get door-to-door limo service everywhere you go, you need winter boots that actually keep you warm, dry and upright.

Before you go assuming that all heavy-duty boots are ugly, check out stores like Moncler, Barney’s and Scoop NYC – they have an incredible selection of warm-weather shoes that are remarkably stylish.

 

 

7. Dreary colors

Just because the colors outside are a sad mixture of grays and browns does not mean your wardrobe has to be. There’s nothing wrong with neutrals, but avoid a washed-out palette devoid of color. Go for rich jewel tones, creamy pastels and the occasional pop of something bright and happy.

8. Hat head

When it’s bitter cold out there, a hat is a non-negotiable. Plus, if you get the right one, hats look pretty darn cute too. However, the flattened hat head with hair sticking up all over isn’t a good look on anyone. To avoid it, choose a hat in a soft material like Angora or cashmere and make sure it’s not too tight. Also, your hair should be well moisturized and fully dry before putting your hat on.

Tip: pop a dryer sheet in the pocket of each of your coats – use it to smooth over your hair and remove static after you take off your hat.

9. Dry skin

Dry, flakey skin will detract from even the most put-together winter look, so be sure to go the extra mile with skin care in the colder months. That means exfoliating in the shower, using intensive moisturizer and adding a small humidifier to your bedroom. You may even want to splurge for a spa treatment.

Are you guilty of one of these crimes? You don’t have to tell anyone if you’re guilty of these cold-weather style offenses, but you do have to make an effort to rehabilitate yourself so you can look just as good when it’s 3 degrees as you do when it’s 83 degrees.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz Kores loves Chicago almost as much as she loves fashion and her two passions come together in her role as the managing director for the Oak Street Chicago Council, an association of designer boutiques, hotels and restaurants in the Gold Coast. She also sits on the board of the Chicago Fashion Incubator and enjoys blogging about style and culture whenever she can. To learn more, visit her website or say hi on Twitter: @onlyonOakStreet.

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