The arrival of arctic temperatures just as the biggest shopping season of the year gets into gear can cause some serious sartorial issues for girls about town. The bane of winter shopping is that while you may be dressed perfectly appropriately for the weather outside, often department stores, malls, and even bars are heated to tropical conditions inside. The result is a pretty uncomfortable and inconvenient experience, and sometimes a rather unflattering look.
What’s the answer? Fashion designer, Marie France Van Damme says the secret is in layering. Here she gives five simple steps that will ensure you can run the temperature gauntlet in style.
1) Start with a staple. A basic white cotton T-shirt can be worn under most things, or if it is really cold, start with a black turtleneck.
Van Damme’s tip: “Go for cotton or cotton spandex but never wool as in an overheated environment you will quickly become hot and uncomfortable.”
2) Throw on a silk crepe de chine dress or an open shirtdress over the top and team with black stockings and winter boots—flats for the day, heels for the night. The look also works brilliantly with leggings—cotton spandex, leather or suede.
Van Damme’s top tip: “Make the most of your wardrobe across the seasons. The silk dress and the shirtdress are great worn alone in the summer.”
3) Add to this either a short cashmere cardigan or a long silk cashmere sweater—both look great over the dresses.
Van Damme’s tip: “This light layer ensures your silhouette stays sleek rather than bulky.”
4) The final piece is a little sleeveless fur.
Van Damme’s top tip: “If it really is chilly outside then you can add in an additional layer before the vest: a longer cashmere cardigan. But to keep the streamlined look, make sure you tie up the ends so the cardigan is the same length as the coat.”
5) As soon as you stroll into the department store—take off your coat. Don’t wait till you are hot to de-layer as you’ll already be uncomfortable and sticky. Then take off the longer cardigan (if you’ve opted to wear one) and simply wear the fur vest over the shorter cardigan or sweater. If it is super hot than simply wear the vest with the dress and T-shirt.
Van Damme’s top tip: “Keep the coat on your arm. The long and short cardigan and the fur vest are all delicate and small enough to fit in a large pocketbook.”