Oh boy, is it December already? Pretty soon, the holiday season will be over before we can say “Cyber Monday”, which, as you’ve probably noticed unless you’ve been living in a passé bubble over Thanksgiving weekend, has also come to pass. Yes, the chaotic whirlwind of bothersome emails about 30% off deals + free shipping and special offers spamming your inbox has come and gone, and it’s imperative that you find the time to delete them and make space for those generous Christmas and New Year’s sales. If you’re anything like me, this is the time of year when you start going through your closet and dresser drawers, questioning why you bought those beat-up Timberlands and that smelly cashmere sweater from the thrift store down the street … um, it was $2.00, don’t judge me! Additionally, you might want to ask yourself what kind of impression you want to leave people with as the year ends, or how you want to evolve in the coming New Year, stylistically speaking. After all, what better time than now is there to revamp your winter fashion game and construct a new ‘you’?
When I’m not distracted by Steven King film marathons with my mom or holed up in the kitchen obsessively cooking variations of spicy curry, I’m paying close attention to the types of trends that are coming into the spotlight this season. By no means do I consider myself a trend-follower, nor am I interested in jumping the fashion bandwagon, but I think there’s some value in taking note of what’s currently popular to wear via people watching. Occasionally, I peep at the Fall/Winter ‘14 RTW collections of the high-end designers who often serve as inspiration for me; off the top of my head, I think Saint Laurent’s 60s inspired F/W show was fabulous –velvet and miniskirts and go-go boots, oh my! But one doesn’t need to look very far to get an idea of what’s “in” these days. Why? Because it’s totally up to you, duh! Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, chic, intimidating, whatever – I’ve learned over the years that your personal style mostly comes from within. It’s both a physical construction and an internal reflection of who you are, your values and ideals, how you want others to perceive you, etcetera, etcetera. With that being said, I’m going to share some of my style picks for the winter season, which you can subsequently use to psychoanalyze me, if you so choose. Or, y’know, maybe just admire them like a normal person. Anyway, let’s begin!
Go With Grid
The first breakout trend I’d like to call attention to is the grid pattern. Elle magazine named it a Spring/Summer trend back in 2009, but this pattern is quickly making its way back into style, particularly in Korean fashion. A more minimal approach than the typical winter flannel look, grid patterns are made up of stark, clean lines and can be seen on symmetrically structured garments like the pencil skirt or oversized menswear-inspired blazers. Grid clothing is typically monochrome, so adding a gentle pop of pastel color, like mint green or salmon pink, or neutral accessories will not detract from the simplicity and gracefulness of the grid. I was never a huge fan of geometry class in high school, but even I can’t help by be hypnotized by the infinity of the lines, which remind me of paper dolls or graph paper. White has always been a questionable color to wear in the winter, with that old “don’t wear white after labor day” rule. However, I think that large amount of white space on a garment can be refreshing to the eye during any season. Pairing a grid skirt with opaque black tights, a form-fitting turtleneck, and patent leather shoes to add some shine amongst all the solid texture is something I would do, if I happened to own anything with a grid pattern. I currently have my eye on this Grid Print Lulu Mini Skirt from American Apparel, and this Topshop Grid Print Tunic Dress available at Nordstrom’s. And don’t worry about being cold – remember, layers are your friend. Wearing a cardigan, a fur coat, and thick wool socks is totally do-able and won’t look too heavy in combination with the grid pattern.
Beret Is Bae
Am I the only person who thinks hats are really underrated? Because hats are super underrated. I mean, it’s a sack that keeps your head warm and covers up your stringy bangs and stray bedhead hairs. Practical and stylish – what more can you ask for in an accessory? This impassioned rant brings me to my second style pick: the beret. This French-y, elegant hat goes well with almost any look you’re trying to achieve. Pair it with cuffed wool chinos, thick socks and a denim button-up for a paperboy look, or with a 50’s poodle skirt and a crewneck mohair sweater for a playful, femme twist. You can even add jeweled pins or buttons to your beret to give it your own personal flair. The nice thing about berets is that, while they look precariously tilted on your head, you don’t really need to concern yourself about the winter wind knocking it off. They’re also not itchy like wool beanies and can be gently machine-washed and air dried so as to retain the hat’s unique shape. You want to wear black-framed glasses and not look like a hipster? Don that beret instead of a beanie or baseball cap – you’ll look more like a laid-back, intellectual beatnik than a pretentious rich kid who lives on his parent’s savings! You can buy a beret pretty much anywhere for under $10, but I recommend trying eBay if you want a lot of options.
Go Brogue Or Go Home
We’ve come to my personal favorite topic of any fashion-related conversation: shoes. Specifically, chunky brogues are on my list of breakout winter style picks. Why chunky? Because practically everybody has those flat, wingtip oxfords … yawn. Now, it’s all about the chunky, clunky, and spunky heels. Add those thick soled babies to a men’s shoe and you’ve got one powerful Achilles’ heel … wait, isn’t an Achilles heel a weakness? Ugh, nevermind, that metaphor doesn’t make any sense.
Anyway, back to things that matter. Chunky brogues have been around for quite some time, but mostly overseas in the UK and Australia. That’s also the place where the rather bulky yet fortified Doc Martens were popularized, if you were unaware, so I’m unsurprised that they’ve become the “it” shoe this winter. What I am surprised by is the amount I’ve seen worn by my fellow Americans in my Obama voice, since they’re fairly hard to come by unless you order them online at someplace like The Whitepepper or ASOS. Nevertheless, I’m glad to see such a statement shoe making rounds! Women shouldn’t be afraid to rock a tall, ass-kicking platform shoe. Sure, you might fall to your death if you’re not careful, but at least you’ll look hot doing it. And so what if you end up being taller than your s/o? If they diss the shoes, they’re ultimately dissing you, and do you really want to be with someone that basic? You can replace them with a nice pair of cute legwarmers to accentuate your platforms, or some cuffed and distressed skinny jeans to make your legs longer and your look more edgy.
Speaking of cuffed jeans, I want to briefly touch on a tiny style tip when it comes to pants. That is, cuffing your jeans will make you look 10x better. No, really, it will. You’ll thank me. Not only will you save the bottom of your pants from ruin, but you can show off your cutely-patterned socks and shoes. Whenever I recommend to a friend that they cuff their jeans, their main concern is that it will make them look shorter (think Mario, or any other Italian plumber). It won’t, usually. If you’re wearing ankle boots, make sure not to tightly lace them all the way up so as not to cut your leg length off. Also, wearing your pants or jeans high-waisted with a belt can also help to prevent Short Leg Anxiety Syndrome and make your legs longer and your torso thinner. And that concludes this style tip!
Dun-cha Want A Dungaree Dress?
Last but not least, the dungaree dress. I’ve been seeing this trend everywhere this year because it transcends seasons and even time itself, crawling back from the grungy 90’s and into our jaded millennial generation. What I mean by that is that dungaree dresses come in all sorts of styles, fabrics and lengths; from acid-wash denim to smooth velvet, long to the ankles or short and dolly-like, pleated or hip-clinging, with the back completely out or covered, etc. In the summer, it’s acceptable to wear just dungarees with nothing but a bra or bandeau underneath. But when it’s already below freezing, I recommend pairing your overall dress with some funky chunky knits or sweatshirts, oversized long-sleeved t-shirts for a country cozy look, or button-up shirts for a more professional spin. As always, make sure to wear wool or opaque tights (perhaps along with thick ankle socks) and comfortable shoes, like these sporty Nike Roshe Runs or New Balance 996 Trainers. A puffy down jacket or a longer peacoat would be a great choice of outerwear to layer over top of the dungaree dress, but of course this all depends on the style of dress so get a feel for what looks right! Oh, and to buy an actual dungaree dress, I encourage you to hunt through thrift stores and Goodwills to find one that has a worn-out charm to it, but places like Zara and Etsy also carry them.
You can be sure that I’ll be on the lookout for these five breakout trends when I’m holiday shopping this December, and I’ll likely be wearing all of them at the same time. It’s my hope that my passion for winter fashion will inspire you to pursue and discover a number of trends that appeal to you and your personal style philosophy. A good trend is started when one wears it with confidence, but it only survives the years if people feel good about themselves wearing it. Never succumb to the pressure to conform to what society tells you is attractive or cool, because not only is it always changing but it’s not necessarily who you want to be. You know yourself and your body best, so flaunt it however you see fit and happy hunting!