Fashion this winter is distinct, with everything from tweed shorts to nautical themed shirts, but the old staples from last year are still making their way out of closets and into the streets. People are becoming a little edgier with fur-trimmed coats and daring brooches. But those prone to tradition should not fear, the old winter classic of a black North Face fleece paired with Uggs is here to stay, too. The girls need to get their money’s worth after splurging on last year\’s standbys, after all. One major winter fashion tip, however, is remembering the winter part – keep warm, because shivering is anything but couture.[uggs]
And for those on campus who dare to wear the aforementioned \”sorority girl uniform,\” 2006’s winter fashion has a nice assortment of new looks to suit just about anyone’s personal style. Whether you choose to embrace the 2006 template or pick out a few things to spice up your wardrobe, this is clearly the winter to use a little flair when heading off to class. For those 8 a.m.‘ers, you can either don the long johns and hoodies, or wake up before the sun rises and get ready (an easy choice if you ask me). Or perhaps you have a day that starts at 11:30? No excuses, people. Let’s see the winter fashion at its finest.
Of Fur-Trimmed Eskimo Coats and Fancy Jackets
“Fur trim is on so many coats right now,” said Chesshire Brooks, an employee at Forever 21. From peacoats to blazers to parkas and vests, fur is the hot new way to give a normal jacket a little panache. Several fur trims are removable, which is a nice option for those who sometimes just want to throw on a simple coat. This transformation is a grown-up version of the reversible coats that all the cool kids had in grade school (along with the laser backgrounds instead of traditional gray).
The main focus for blazers and dressier coats is textures and patterns. The more classic look of houndstooth, tweed and plaid are prominent on campus. No longer do you have to be in a country club or up for a big promotion to wear these usually stuffy trends. This winter, fashion is taking something from every culture. For blazers, in particular, velvet is making a comeback for those with a bold enough personality to pull it off.
“When it’s 20 degrees out, you are kind of forced to wear a huge down coat,” said Bethany Paczkowski, human biology freshman and Banana Republic employee. For those that don\’t want to look like you\’re in A Christmas Story, tailored coats can keep you warm enough. “I’ve noticed a lot more fitted peacoats this year,” said Paczkowski. [tweed]
Puffy vests, which would normally not be counted as part of winter outerwear, are getting extended use this year, thanks to global warming heating up our usually frosty East Lansing air. Layer a sweater under a striped puffy vest and you\’ll be styling!
Underneath the Coats and Boots
By perusing many Web sites dedicated to fashion, you might notice animal prints are also big this year. They can be found on everything from dresses to sweaters to boots. Most of these prints are more subtle so it’s easy to avoid the \”Jane of the Jungle\” look.
It’s fun to pair simple clothing with a bold print or color. By allowing yourself one pronounced piece of fashion and matching it with more subdued tones, you may be mistaken for Sarah Jessica Parker or Sienna Miller. “I feel like polka dots and stripes are on everything this year,” said Andrea Kiss, co-manager of Forever 21.
Colors this year are straying from the normal blacks and beiges usually so popular during the winter months. “The colors this year are awesome,” said Paczkowski. “There are a lot more pastels in the clothing.”
Even guys are picking up on the idea of bolder clothing. The distinguished vertical stripe button-down is slowly being phased out by some more audacious prints. Plaid, argyle, paisley and even floral are taking over the men’s boring blue and white striped shirts.
“I feel that there is a more classic look coming for the guys…steering away from graphic tees to a more sophisticated button-down,” said apparel and textile design student Tony Gianacakos. “This transition from college look to professional look will make it easier for graduates going into their professional careers.”
Women also seem to be going for the more sophisticated look with lace. Everyone is familiar with the “I-swear-this-isn’t-lingerie-it’s-a-tank-top” type of lace, but now it is also being incorporated into classy long-sleeved shirts and elegant cardigans. A little lace trim can make any girl feel sexier while still looking tasteful. “Lacy tights are really popular with lots of girls,” said Kiss. [lace]
Tasteful classy clothing, reminiscent of the \’40s, is also making its way back into wardrobes. “A lot of the styles are taking some of Jackie Kennedy’s look, the pretty jewelry and the big sunglasses,” said Kiss. “It’s like classy \’40s meets \’80s punky.”
The short-sleeved shrugs that were all the rage this summer have grown arms to long-sleeves and are turning out to be just as chic during the colder months. A shrug can be dressed down with a favorite T-shirt for class and can also easily be paired with a dainty tank top for a night on the town. Just make sure to remember we’re still in Michigan – bring a coat!
If you’re the type who’s missing the summertime heat, you’ll still have an opportunity to throw on a sailor-inspired shirt — this time it can be long-sleeved or even a sweater. “There’s a whole line of nautical clothing coming out right now,” said Brooks.
Sweater vests can always find a place in a winter outfit. Layered over a cute shirt or under a fitted blazer, sweater vests are timeless. These pieces have always been hip, but tuxedo vests minus the tuxedo are now in vogue. A close-fitting tux vest worn over a vintage T-shirt or simple blouse is the new thing to do.
As far as pants go, the darker the denim the better. The kind of jeans that come with warnings about how the dark denim may dye your other clothing in the washing machine after several washes is the kind of jean to grab. The dark denim provides a classier look than the beach bum look of acid- and stone-washed, beaten-up jeans. “Straight leg jeans and pants are coming back,” said Kiss. Both sexes are wearing boot cut and slimmer fitting jeans; just make sure they don’t drag on the ground too much to avoid unsightly salt marks.
Jeans aren\’t the only material gracing legs. “Tweed and wool shorts are really selling,” Kiss said. “Girls put on leggings underneath.” Well, maybe this trend is yet to be seen on many of us, but it is apparently cutting edge. The trend must still be on the brink – it’s hard to picture leggings being cool except on yoga instructors, and even that\’s a stretch (pardon the pun).
Baubles, Galoshes and Scarves, Oh My!
Because knee-high boots are a must-have, girls can wear capris and gauchos in the winter while staying warm. “Cropped pants with boots is huge,” said Paczkowski. “A lot of people wear that to class, even if they just tuck their jeans into their boots. You can get the same kind of look with tailored gauchos and nice boots if you want to go out.”
Winter is all about the boots. Who knew they could even be called “strappy?” The term “strappy” is usually reserved for summery sandals, but with new leather boots that have several straps wrapping up the calf, boots have turned sexy.
As I mentioned, girls on campus just cannot seem to get enough of their Uggs. “Girls are wearing them with casual attire all the way to going out to the bar,” said Gianacakos. “To me, Ugg boots are too overpowering for an ensemble. It makes everyone focus on the feet rather than the overall appearance.”
Although pointy-toed shoes were just as popular as Uggs in 2005, they are not turning out to be as fashionable this year. Forget the ultra-pointy shoes: round toe shoes are now found all over campus. Flats and heels are turning to the round toe for a more retro feel, working with the \’40s post-war inspiration.
Accessorizing yourself with hats and scarves is quite possibly the easiest way to make a statement without much effort. The looser hats that look a bit saggy are the most popular this year. They offer warmth, comfort and a promise not to leave any hat hair. Guys and girls are both wearing winter hats with a brim to give a little spunk to the regular wool cap.
Scarves this year are long, just like last year. They can be wrapped around your neck several times to stay cozy while still looking very stylish. Pick one out that has a little sparkle and it can dress up your whole outfit.[sweater]
“Bags are really oversized and colorful,” said Brooks. They can be slung over one shoulder and can hold most of your belongings. Many girls take advantage of the bigger purses and use them to double as a book bag.
Jewelry is chunky with an attitude. The mistake some people make is to overdo the jewelry because it is all so bold. One prominent piece is plenty, drawing all the attention to itself. Brooches, for example, can be better appreciated when not competing with huge, dangly earrings and a pendant.
“I’m the kind of person that if I wear earrings, I won’t wear a necklace,” said Kiss, who prefers to have one only focal point when wearing jewelry.
So there you have it. The semi-official guide to all things stylish in 2006. So what have we learned is \”in\” with the fashionistas this winter? Cute blazers, lacy blouses, long-sleeved shrugs, nautical themes, tweed gauchos, leather boots, sparkly scarves, floppy hats and a piece of bold jewelry.
But please, spare us – not all at once.