Do you live somewhere that is cold in winter and warm is summer!? If you do, I envy you! There is nothing as confusing as a Brisbane winter for deciding what to wear in the mornings. As I sit here writing this, the Katy Perry song Hot and Cold just keeps running through my head – it describes a Brisbane winter pur.fect.ly!
It was a cool(ish) 13 degrees this morning when I got out of bed – for us Brisbanites that means at least two layers of clothing (well we do only wear cotton up here in the Sunshine State!). I pulled on raspberry opaque tights, a striped mini dress and added a fitted blazer with some chunky blue jewellery and ballet flats. Sounds nice huh, the only problem was, by lunchtime it was too hot for the blazer! So I my first thought is “oh no! How short is my dress? Is it acceptable to see the light of day on its own? Does it cover my bum?!!” because as we all know girls (say it with me) LEGGINGS AND TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS!
My attempt at winter layering. Jacket by Sacha Drake, dress by Witchery and tights by Voodoo
This is a typical process I go through each Brisbane winter! (You think after over 20 of them I would learn). Although when I lived in Sydney it was almost as bad in the other direction! I spent whole winters freeeeeeezing my not-so-little behind off because ALL I wore was cotton, there may have been six or seven layers of it, but it was all cotton.
My boss at the time, who was originally from Melbourne, said to me one day, “Honey, if you want to be warm in winter, you need to wear wool!” This was a new concept to me, but I bought a wool dress and wore it to death for three years!
The other thing I love about Brisbane people, is when we get a sniff of cold air, we all jump into our jeans, tights and boots straight away! It’s almost as if we know it’s only going to be cold for three days before the thermometer hits the high 20′s again so we all need to wear our winter clothes before it get hots again!
So how do we dress for this schizophrenic weather?? Here are my tips for laying as it gets a little cooler.
1. Make sure that you are happy with the first layer of clothes you are wearing. If your bottom layer is a tight white singlet – have you got the right bra on? Is your T-shirt long enough to cover your behind if you take off your cardigan or jacket?
Tunics and mini-dresses worn with tights or leggings are great for this. Find one that is still made out of a lightweight material (cotton or jersey) but also looks great with a fitted blazer or long cardigan over the top. This trapeze top from Sussan (www.sussan.com.au) is the perfect example.
How to layer for winter from Sussan
2. Leggings are a girls best friend as it gets a little nippier. But please remember (say it with me) LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!!! (no I will never get over that!). Ok, now that’s out in the open, Leggings are my staple for winter. I’m not a jeans girl (although I am intrigued by the new Levi’s 3 bum sizes!), pants don’t really suit me most of the time. Leggings are a great alternative, you are still covered up and keeping warm, they are super slimming because they show off how slim your ankles are and they cost a LOT less than a new pair of jeans.
Now we also need to distinguish between leggings and opaque tights. Leggings generally are quite a bit thicker and normally finish at the ankle. Opaques are great for adding a pop of colour (raspberry is my new favourite hue) but are probably more appropriate for wearing under dresses that are a little longer, more than long t-shirts etc as they are not as thick and not as supportive (so that means more on show ladies – more is not always best).
My favourite brand of leggings at the moment are from a wonderful Melbourne label called SpencerLacy. Now you will pay a little more than your regular Target tights (and we all know how much I love Target for a bargain) but there are some things that are worth paying a little extra for, and something that reveals as much of your shape as leggings do are worth paying for. Leggings have become a staple for me in the colder months – they are great for bringing your summer wardrobe into winter. Use leggings to layer under summer frocks and add a cardi, denim jacket or blazer to keep warm.
SpencerLacy leggings RRP $69.95 - WELL worth the price
Other quick ways to add layers to your winter look:
Scarves. Wool scarves, silk scarves, cotton scarves or $12 animal print scarves from Supre (my current choice for winter – see here) all add an extra layer to your outfit.
You can also layer more jewellery in winter (not as hot and sticky on your skin. Long, beaded necklaces (layer a few in the same tones to get a scarf-like look with jewellery), chunky bangles that make a statement or big, bold earrings. You are wearing more clothes in winter so don’t be afraid to wear bigger accessories to match that.
Condura 'Cloche' hat in olive felt. RRP $39.95
Hats are great to hide a bad hair day (come on, we all have them, even Jennifer Aniston has them and we all know how perfect her hair is). I’m lusting after a broad-brimmed burgundy felt hat I saw in David Jones last week so I am saving my pennies, but a beanie, a felt fedora or even a scarf tied in you hair will keep you warm and add another dimension to your wardrobe.
So what did we learn about layering?
1. Make sure ALL layers are acceptable to be seen in public
2. Invest in good quality leggings or tights, you will reap the rewards in the long run
3. Leggings are NOT pants
4. Use accessories to keep you warm and add another layer to your outfit
What is you best layering tip for winter? Do you live in a colder climate? How do you keep warm if it’s freezing outside?
UPDATE: One of my gorgeous friends just read my post and sent me this hi.la.ri.ous picture so I thought the best thing was to share. Enjoy!
Am I wearing pants?