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Winter Wonderland Wardrobe

Jess Shaffer | Monday, December 8, 2008

It’s is undeniably that time of the week again. It’s snowy and, windy and cold and simultaneously Uggs, Northfaces, and sweats have become ubiquitous on Notre Dame’s campus. The three “S’s” are on the rise: sloppiness, shapelessness, and sleepiness. It’s an unfortunate development that we should just not settle for! Fashionistas on this campus deserve more than permanent ponytails, never ending stints of sweats, jeans and pjs, and other tired looks. But you don’t necessarily need a Paris size budget to manage a sharp, current, and exciting wardrobe. Here are some winter styling tips for those of us confined by student budgets and South Bend weather.LAYERING LOVEThis might seem like the most obvious ND fashion advice ever. It’s probably a message that has been crammed down your throat since Frosh-O. But that doesn’t make it any less true. This is the easiest way to (A) stay warm and (B) make you summer pieces last longer. You save body heat and cash, who doesn’t love that?Summer tops, dresses, and skirts are all excellent candidates for your winter wardrobe. Simple, neutrals, and cool tones are all ideal qualities to look for when trying to transition a piece from a sultry summer look to a chic winter style. Using these pieces, add tank tops, long sleeve tees, leggings, tights, and sweaters build off your summer piece. The possibilities are endless, and it’s easier than you’d think to create a completely new look. Break away from the heard and ignore Gap ads and American Eagle models, instead have some confidence and look through magazines for inspiration. Mix and match with confidence, and layering can be a novel way to stand out in a wintry crowd. NOT SO STANDARD STAPLESScarves, mittens, and hats are obvious choices – cute and comfy. It’s nice when the elements coordinate, but not necessary. Overall, pick colorful, vibrant accessories, like a patterned hat, bright gloves, and a funky scarf. Or combine neutrals like cream, grey, navy, or tan. But winter accessories do extend outside of the standards. Scarves are not just for cross campus treks. They can be used a nice accessory over sweaters and tees to change it up. Look in LaFun and check out the recent craft fairs (Haitian crafts are being sold tomorrow in the Sorin Room) and free trade sales. Sarongs can also be used as colorful, bright scarves. Just because South Bend is bleak doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be. Scarves and accessories can provide the pop of color needed to keep your outlook bright. NOT YOUR TREE’S TRIMMINGSDeck your trees, but don’t forget to deck yourself in shiny, fun baubles. Headbands, as per Blair Waldorf, are very in right now. But the trend does extend outside of preppy, clean-cut looks. If polo shirts and plaid float your boat than fat patterned or solid colored headbands are for you. If you’re more on the trendy side, look for headbands with lace, sparkle, feathers, and vintage frill. Looks like this add interesting detail in an intricate but contained way.Bold bracelets, earrings, and necklaces can also add some detail to tired looks. Bright, big accessories can hold their own against chunky sweaters and other heavier winter pieces. Once again sparkle, knit (yes knit, they make knit earrings and such), and vintage are crucial to sing a worthwhile accessory that is fresh. BEYOND NORTHFACE AND UGGThis is clearly a beloved staple of the collegiate population, but there is a whole world to explore outside of these overused standards. Pea coats with fun details like toggle buttons or cool patterns are not just for Northeastern whalers. Additionally, parkas are fantastic for keeping warm and are far more practical than Northface fleece. And there is also winter shoe ware outside of UGG boots. Casual boots typically are flat and therefore perfect for dashes to class. Flat boots should be knee highs and can come in a multitude of styles, colors, and fabrics. So there is something out there for everyone. And for the weekends, heeled ankle boots are adorable and fresh when paired with patterned tight and leggings. HAIRY SITUATIONWe’ve all done it. We’ve all gone just a bit too long with that messy ponytail. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even gym-junkies have to let their hair down every once in a while. So braid, create cool quaffs with bobby pins, curl, straiten, clip. Whatever it takes give your hair a chance to escape the confines of rubber bands.Fashion should be fun, even when the weather isn’t. So don’t limit yourself by following the crowd. Have confidence and follow your inspiration. No matter the weather, style doesn’t take a snow day! So keep it fresh, hip, and cozy while rocking ’round the Christmas tree and the Bend.