Winter 2014 Fashion
1: Oversized Coats
The famous fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once said “Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life.” If anything in the fashion world comes close to armor, it’s oversized winter coats–they reign supreme in winter wardrobes and you owe it to yourself to find a perfect match for your particular style. Oversized wool coats with cavernous hoods are popular this season and offer a good bit of warmth—just make sure they fit well on your shoulders. If you prefer to look like a vampire queen, low-cut Edwardian jackets are for you. They’re warm enough if you layer and strike a fine balance between bohemian and aristocratic. Of course, an army green parka will both keep you warm and remind everyone of how great the show “Freaks and Geeks” was.
2: Toggle Coats
Do you know what a toggle coat is? Because I didn’t. As it turns out, toggle is just another name for the more traditional duffle coat, which was originally made from the same material as duffle bags, with toggles on it. They’ve made a huge resurgence in the last few years as the hip new replacement for the more traditional peacoat, complete with—get this—a hood. Plus, they swap out those pesky buttons with nice, folksy-looking toggles–those little rods of wood you see people casually unclenching as they peruse Elliot Bay Book store. Now, I know I already mentioned coats above, but toggles deserve their own mention because they’re so ubiquitous these days. Considering that fashion—like all art forms—is half inspiration and half blatant thievery, you’re going to have to grab one of these bad boys if you plan on keeping with the times. Plus that Oliver Tate character in “Submarine” wears one and that movie is crazy good.
3: Moody Florals
If the weather is going to keep flowers from beautifying the city, just cover your body with them. Stick with darker colors to keep it seasonally appropriate, but other than that, integrate floral print into your style however you like. This might just be a colorful collar sticking out from beneath your sweater, or full-blown floral palazzo plants or high wasted jeans. All that matters is that you look like a walking flower garden, but just a little bit more in-tune with the weather outside.
4: Faux fur jackets
Alright. This is the last time I mention coats. I promise. But like I said, jackets are the most important part of any winter wardrobe. I don’t know if it’s because Macklemore wore one in his “Thrift Shop” music video or if some celestial arrangement has reignited our bourgeois aspirations to mimic the nouveau riche without offending our animal-loving ethics, but faux fur jackets are all over the place these days. If you think you can pull this off without looking too outlandish, then go for it. Try some interesting designs in black and white just underneath the coat and you’ll look classy without seeming ostentatious.
If you’ve lived in Seattle longer than three years, wearing plaid shouldn’t be too hard; you probably already have plenty of flannels at your disposal. If you’re feeling a little zany, try to mix a plaid skirt or maybe even plaid trousers into your outfit. A lot of jackets and boots are now coming out with hints of plaid, if head-to-toe plaid seems like too much. You could also spice up a relatively somber outfit with a plaid belt. Either way, you’ll end up looking like a Scottish warrior, which is all we really want, isn’t it?
6: Boudoir Fashion
According to Trendspot, something called “Boudoir fashion” is very much “in” this year. For those who don’t know what “boudoir” means, it’s an 18th century French term for a woman’s bedroom. For those who aren’t afraid to show a little skin, this style can be a fun way to trick your body into thinking it’s summer. The style is mostly defined by pieces that reveal or allude to the presence of undergarments beneath your outer layers. While a breezy, semi-transparent chiffon blouse might seem unrealistic when it’s 20 degrees outside, just complete the outfit with a thick coat (one with toggles, perhaps?) and you’ll be fine. Plus, you’ll have the added satisfaction of looking like a sensual dynamo the moment you remove your tame winter parka. If full visibility is a bit much, you can take my advice on digital prints and get a shirt or blouse with some lingerie printed over top. Surprisingly, there are a number of these available that don’t come off as tacky or like one of those t-shirts your uncle picked on vacation that has a bikini bod on it.
If your wardrobe is currently bereft of tweed, you’re missing out on one of this winter’s most academic delights. Tweed pants, tweed jackets, tweed caps—try it all. Tweed is always a nice way to flirt with a more refined wardrobe without looking too much like you stumbled out of a J. Crew catalogue. While traditionally a fall or spring fabric, tweed can work just as well in winter, particularly on a dry, cold day. If you’re trying for something more traditional, wear a bow tie, vest or soft, luxurious cashmere sweater beneath a tweed coat to remind everyone that you’ve read “Ulysses.” Twice.
8: Digital Prints
Nothing says high art like printing Klimt’s “The Kiss” three million times on crew neck t-shirts in a factory in Bangladesh and selling them for 10 times their worth at Urban Outfitters. If the winter gray has you down, spice up your outfit with shirts and dresses that have beautiful designs or photographs printed on them. The look might be a little too timely for those who are seeking a more classic style, but if you’re the kind of person who wants to thwart the gaze of The Other by drawing attention to your knowledge of French impressionism, stock up on some cool items with your favorite artwork printed on them. Slap these underneath an otherwise drowsy outfit and the explosion of color and vibrancy may very well make the sun come out. Just kidding. The sun will never come out.
So, it turns out “punk” is now a bona fide fashion style. Despite my initial perceptions of the term “punk,” Vogue seems to think it means leather biker boots and studded jackets. Go figure. If you’re not interested in looking dapper this winter and want something more visually in tune with the way that morose Seattle weather makes you feel, up the ante by investing in a new leather jacket, some steel-toed combat boots, and very, very tight pants. This style also opens the door to some pretty solid accessories: bullet casings for earrings, bird-skull necklaces, and patches. Lots of patches. If you’re trying for something even more “punk” however, disregard all fashion tips and just wear whatever you want. Clothes are ultimately just our attempts to portray externally what we think we are internally; your style, whatever it may be, is the most immediate perception of yourself you present to the world. If you want to be punk, free yourself from fashion tyranny and do whatever you want with your wardrobe.
Sheldon may be reached at [email protected]