Stay warm but, still look fashionable

…Must-have winter wardrobe essentials for women

PATIENCE MUSA

The winter season makes fashion co-ordination hectic!

It’s easy to forgo style and go for bundling up with multiple layers on and staying warm.

Sometimes, a little voice in our heads tells us to throw care to the wind. It says let us just put on ‘whatever’ as long as we keep the cold at bay.

But, is that fair to our brands?

Are we selling ourselves short every winter?

We dread function invites and even dates because there is nothing suitable to wear.

In fact, deciding what to wear is extremely important.

In my early twenties, I had ‘nothing’ in my closet.

I would go shopping and get so frustrated because it felt like I needed every single piece in the store and more.

In my thirties, I had started to own some ‘necessary’ pieces. I knew exactly what I lacked and so it was easier to shop.

But, still, very frustrating.

What is important to keep in mind when one is shopping are the items needed to steer away from buying things we do not need.

The Zimbabwean winter is different to the European or American winter.

But, the thrust is the same- stay warm and still look fashionable.

It is important that we maintain the brand even in the cold months- wedding invites will come through, dinner invitations and of course with most of us back at the office after Covid-19 lockdown, there will be all sorts of meetings even if most of them are virtual.

Here is my list of the most vital winter pieces every girl should have in her closet.

At number one I have jerseys.

Jerseys have always been the way we have kept warm from the time we are infants, through primary and high school and they never get old.

There is a wide range of jerseys from slim fit light jerseys with open front and buttons to long chunky knits.

It’s ideal to have quite a few options here- the slim fit is perfect for very cold days because there’s room enough to throw a coat over it and leave the front unbuttoned and no one really notices the jersey inside.

A chunky option much longer and with pockets is perfect with a pair of skinny ripped jeans and boots and a scarf over is pretty stylish.

Another essential is boots.

I’m smiling as I write this because everybody screams high and low when it comes to how Zimbabwe women take out their boots at the sign of the smallest and fewest clouds.

We love our boots and why not!

There are four types of boots that make winter a breeze.

Thigh high boots for the past few years have been the most essential winter favourite.

They are perfect paired with another winter essential – the little form fitting black dress.

Knee high boots are perfect too for the office, they can be flat or high heel and in a lot of different colours and designs.

Army boots, ankle boots, plate form boots and Ugg boots have the different occasions and outfits where they work best.

One of my favourite winter pieces that every now and then require adding a new piece is the long-sleeved black top.

It can be V-neck or round neck.

These tops work with anything from jeans, formal pants to skirts and all one has to do is to throw a scarf over- another winter staple and then a coat or jack over both.

The long sleeved top also works worn underneath the turtle neck sweater for a particularly cold day.

Another one in the family and under rated quite a bit is the shell, that little woollen piece that was almost a turtleneck sweater but has no sleeves.

This life saver works on a day that isn’t too cold but there is a need to look well put together.

I do not like to wear it without a jacket over it; to me it feels like a fashion faux pas.

A very big NEVER for me, but if it works for you: different strokes for different folks.

I love coats.

I love them in all their different styles, lengths, shades and thickness.

A simple coat can do so much for a winter outfit.

These days with the various stores in the country there is a coat for everyone, but personally I’d like to own all of them.

When you invest in a really good coat you can wear it over pyjamas and no one will even notice.

Even the timeless trench coat works in winter too, throwing it over jeans, a beautiful skirt and blouse combo and it has a way of elevating any outfit instantly.

I know of quite a handful of ladies who will not be caught dead in sweat pants no matter how stylish they have become over the past few years.

Even though the pandemic even got us getting closer to our sweats that we probably never wore much, they became our staple at home and isn’t it such a beautiful thing that you can be lounging on your couch in them and a T-shirt get up and pull on some heels and you can take that look anywhere from the boardroom to a restaurant date.

Some years ago I discovered the warmth and style value of tights.

Most of the world calls them tights but some call them ‘pulling stockings’.

There are different types of tights- absolute opaque, opaque, sheer and fishnet.

Winter tights are absolutely opaque and there are thick thermal tights, fleece lined or some made from heat generating fabrics.

These work best with closed shoes or boots and mini-skirts or dresses, simply because the cold weather is here that doesn’t mean you retire your dresses and skirts.

Tights come in all kinds of shades from black through to white and yellow and all those sassy shades in between, when you do own a few purples, reds and blue’s they will brighten up any winter outfit.  

In 1916, Coco Channel, a French designer revolutionised the jersey market by introducing a jersey fabric.

Today the jersey fabric is available in assorted varieties and different types of dress styles – turtlenecks, knit styles, hoodie dresses and sweater dresses.

These can be styled with anything from boots, heels through to sneakers.

Midi skirts are an all-year round hero.

Dress them up or down and they shout style queen.

Metallic pleats have been making rounds for a few seasons and they are a keeper however you choose to style them.

Another midi winter favourite is the Godet skirt; I also cannot leave out the Bell skirt.

We need to stop making the three months of winter in Zimbabwe the three months of mere survival.

It’s important to look over our clothes and see what it is we can carry through from the summer months to the winter months.

Pick out pieces you can layer and sometimes it takes just one piece to drag your outfit out of 2019.

It can be that belt, buckling it over a double breasted blazer.

A colourful beret makes every difference, a panama hat with a matching blanket scarf or even a woollen hat and matching scarf always comes in handy in winter.

Another winter must have is gloves, in leather of woollen these should always be kept in the handbag.

Now that we spend so much time on our smart phones, designers have come up with ‘smart gloves’ which allow us to use our phones without removing them. Isn’t that nice!

Those are my winter essential, what are yours?

However, if we chose to stay warm this winter, always stay true to your own individual style but never let that keep you from experimenting and taking risks.

Stay warm and keep it classy!

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