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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Winter Style Part 3 - Where's Your Head At?

Keeping our heads and faces warm and protected from the cold is key to staying comfortable and healthy during the winter months. It's not just about looking good, this one is about feeling good too.

In my final part of this mini-series about stylishly staying warm this winter, lets have a look at the range of headgear on offer.

The no-brainer option here is of course, the trusty hat. Hats are perfect for staying warm and for hiding bad-hair days! A bit nippy outside? Throw on a hat. Are your roots showing? Ditto. And there are so many hats to choose from, there really is no excuse to be complaining of cold ears. One of the most popular styles of hat this winter are very cutesy, animal beanies. It is fair to say that you will spot a lot of these hats on Buchanan Street on a Saturday (or any other day for that matter) at the moment.

These were very sought after by many ladies (myself included) last winter and River Island's polar bear style hat was sold out in several stores and online, particularly after Katy Perry was photographed wearing it. The 'Katy Perry' hat was being hawked on eBay for 4 times its actual price at one point. Clearly on the ball this year, River Island has a huge selection of similar hats with a kawaii style that will keep you cosy. Bunnies, bears, tigers, dogs and even raccoons feature in the range. Some people don't see what all of the fuss is about, some think the style is much too immature for grown women (and men) to be wearing - but the animal beanies tap into my love affair with Japanese street style in a big way. That, and I'm a sucker for anything with a cute face.

For those looking for something a bit more classic, Gap have a great range of knitted hats and this knitted beanie is guaranteed to keep you warm. Feeling like a lady? Check out this sophisticated leopard print beret from Urban outfitters:

Leopard Beret with Pom Pom (£22), Urban Outfitters

Topshop have an excellent collection of hats this winter, and top marks go to their trapper hats. A little tougher than beanies, the trapper hat is easier to pull off than you might think and looks great on. Topshop's selection comes in a variety of colours, styles and textures so most people will find one they will like.

The next two items on my list are making a comeback after a few years out of the limelight. The first is earmuffs, which are extremely popular and can be found in most shops this season. Primark are even flogging them for a mere pound. Urban Outfitters have some very nice fluffy earmuffs for £14. Earmuffs are light, fuss free and their main point of appeal is their ability to not leave the wearer with 'hat hair'. They are, to me the go-to accessory if I think my hair looks good but I still need to keep my ears warm!

Snoods, have been around (or so I am told) since the middle ages (and if my mum can remember them, there must be some truth in that) and are now enjoying another moment of popularity in the recent freezing weather. They are fairly inexpensive and can be worn in different ways - all with the bonus of keeping you toasty and warm. Snoods in the shops just now range from high end, like this Paul Smith snood (£115): the high street with Matalan's sparkle snood coming in at just a fiver.

One final quick tip for feeling and looking good this winter comes in the form of skincare. Make sure you are protecting your skin from the elements and moisturize regularly in order to soothe, calm and restore skin that is irritated by the cold. I recommend Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Skin Protectant. It might be an oldie, but it's a goodie.

I leave you with some pictures of the Botanic Gardens under the recent snowfall.

Remember, wherever you may wander over the coming weeks make sure you wrap up warm!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Winter Style Part 2 - Coat Yourself in Warmth

Continuing from my last blog, I'm still looking at my favourite ways to stay warm during what I am now terming the 'Snow-pocalypse'...

Sometimes I see people out at this time of year without a coat or jacket and think they must be mad. Yes, we can see that that t-shirt is pretty awesome, but accessorised with blue arms and a shiver? Not so good my friend. I move on now to winter coats, a basic wardrobe style staple that - if chosen well - will see you through a few winters.

Personally, I favour a good wool peacoat. Simple, chic and unfussy, a peacoat will keep you warm and with my own navy Anglomania princess peacoat well into it's third year now (and still looking in good shape) the style will always look current no matter what the current trends are. Topshop are doing a few on-trend variations on the classic coat, noteably this tweed Boyfriend style coat (£85) and their Premium Hairy Peacoat (£130).

My other favourite kind of coat - and perfect for this kind of weather - is a glorious, warm faux-fur coat (preferably in leopard print, not that I'm fussy...). Faux-fur coats are fun, glamorous and allow you to channel your inner forties screen starlet while staying toasty at the same time. Second-hand/ vintage faux-fur coats are (usually) very good quality and well-priced (or at least they used to be). A rummage through your local thrift store, vintage emporium or Urban Outfitters (thanks to their Urban Renewal initiative) might result in finding a gorgeous and warm piece.

A selection of vintage coats available at Urban Outfitters (various prices).

Alternatively, many high street stores have caught on to the genius of the faux-fur coat. Mango, Lipsy, River Island and Topshop all have very nice and affordable coats, but full marks go to French Connection's collection of furry beauties. This little number (£175) makes me just want to dive in and snuggle up.

Of course, these are just two of my favourite styles of coat, there are several other options available too. This means that there is no excuse and we should all be trying to stay warm no matter what style of coat we choose. Awesome t-shirt or not.

What is your coat of choice this winter?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Winter Style Part 1 - Best Foot Forward

Like most other people in the UK, a little over a week ago I woke up to find myself under a blanket of dense, relentless snow. I like it when it snows, especially leading up to Christmas. Even though the snow no doubt accentuates my sentimental feelings towards this time of year, it has to be said that the drop in temperature as well as wet conditions calls for a rapid re-assessment of those three words that a lot of us think to ourselves daily: what to wear.

Now, it is looking increasingly likely according to all forms of reliable media that the snow is here to stay for the coming weeks. Brrilliant (sorry), I say, as it means we will probably have a white Christmas. However, it also means that I will have to be a bit more sensible when it comes to selecting my choices in outfits, more weather appropriate I think! It is important that we are well-protected against the freezing weather conditions, but there are lots of stylish yet practical options to consider. These next few posts will take a look at some of my favourite ways to stay warm and stylish during the winter...

Lets start from the feet up. In true Scottish tradition, we have the humble welly. A necessity - let be honest - at most times of the year in this country, our wellies are trotted out during the April (or any other month) showers, the summertime festivals and in the winter snow. Mocked by some fashionistas, yet championed by others (Kate Moss, Kelly Osbourne and the Geldof sisters have all been photographed wearing theirs) it cannot be denied that wellies are one of the most appropriate choices to keep your feet warm and dry. The favourite wellingtons du jour for style mavens are undeniably Hunter Boots, with prices averaging around the fifty to sixty quid mark. They are the most popular brand in the UK (producing wellies for over a century I'll have you know), even creating boots for the Royal family.

Last year, Hunter collaborated with Jimmy Choo to create an exclusive range of wellingtons that proved to be very popular, and are still selling well to this day.

A pair of luxurious Hunter & Jimmy Choo Wellingtons (RRP £275)

Another brand that deserves a special mention is Ness, whose quirky tartan Georgie wellies (£49.99) can be picked up in-store at their St Enoch branch or at their website.

Uggs are normally good for warmth, but I found that due to the volume of snow, my trusty Ugg Classic Shorts ( below, £170) were quickly soaking through (retaining the water like a pair of big sponges) and eventually my feet were wet and cold. Bad times. I would still recommend Uggs (or similar fleecy boots) to anyone when it is cold and dry, but this situation called for a 'welly emergency', and I needed a new pair (having literally worn my last pair 'til the soles came off) and fast.

Ugg Australia Classic Short boots (£170)

Trying to find a pair or decent wellies in the city centre a week ago was, quite frankly, a bit of a nightmare. With most shops selling out of sizes fast, it was clear that it really was slim pickings! It took a while but I got there eventually, and now I can brave the snow while keeping my feet warm and dry.

How are you keeping your feet warm and dry?