The Lazy Girls Guide to Winter Dressing

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Don’t you just love Summer?

You leap out of bed in the morning, add a dusting of make up, sling on a pretty summer frock and wedge heel shoes and you’re out of the door looking like getting ready took you hours, not minutes.

Well tough.

Most of you reading live in the UK and unless you’re planning to emigrate any time soon you better get used to the idea that for a minimum of 6 months of the year getting dressed is going to be a bit more complicated than that. When the mornings are dark and cold and miserable the last thing you need to do is spend hours deciding what to wear. Which is why so many people spend that 6 months in a winter uniform of jeans and a jumper at weekends and black trousers, black opaque tights and yet more jumpers for work. It’s warm, it’s easy, but it’s not very exciting is it? Do you really feel good when that’s all you wear?

Vintage Lounging Woman

I think Lazy Girls can look good in the winter too, all you need is to plan ahead and invest in a few essentials. Take a look at the original Lazy Girls Guide to Looking Good for some more general tips.

The Basics

  • Make sure things match

This doesn’t mean you have to buy all your clothes in the same colours, but have an awareness of what goes together. If you own a pair of navy trousers and a black pencil skirt as basics then going out and buying a load of tops in green is foolish, as you’ll probably only be able to easily wear them with the pencil skirt. Choose cream, red, grey and pale blue and you can mix and match more. If you’re having trouble making your wardrobe coherent then back in 2010 I wrote a series on defining your personal style you might find useful.

  • Keep things clean

Yes, sooo obvious, but it’s no good having lots of amazing winter wear if none of it’s ever clean. Being lazy AND stylish is all about knowing your limits. If you are too lazy (or busy!) for regular dry cleaning trips then that wool dry clean only dress is a bad idea, especially if it’s in cream, or another “needs a regular clean” colour

  • Stock up

Keep your drawers full of opaque tights or over the knee socks in a variety of colours and styles. I wear stockings regularly in autumn and winter, but so far I’ve been too poor to invest in some decent heavy weight ones for winter, so opaque tights have sadly been a must (I really don’t find them very comfortable to wear!) Other things to make sure you have lots of to hand in a variety of colours are gloves, berets, snoods and belts. All accessories that can immediately add a little something extra to an outfit when you didn’t get out your cosy bed till 20 minutes before you had to leave.

  • Invest in a vest

Yes, it’s cold, but clever layering means you can get away with a much sleeker look and still feel toasty warm. Check out old lady shops for unattractive thermal knickers and vests.

Bestway Vintage Vest Knickers

For the more advanced Lazy Girl

So, you have a variety of clean clothes that match, you have enough tights and stockings to last you till Christmas 2013 and you have your unattractive but warm thermals. But how do you get over that 7am chill that makes you want to crawl into a fleece and jeans?

  • Plan Ahead

This is such yawn worthy advice, and seems to be against the ethos of laziness, but the key to looking like you’ve made an effort is to recognise your weaknesses and take very small, lazy steps, to overcome them. If you know you have an early start and it’s below freezing then lay your clothes out the night before.

When the heating is on and you’re properly awake you can pick your clothes based on their actual appropriateness and attractiveness, lay them out and then just fall into them in the morning. I lay out EVERYTHING, everything from knickers and socks to putting my make up on my dressing table in the order I want to put it on with a pair of earrings next to it. That way I won’t end up with VPL because I put the wrong underwear on in a hurry, and I’ll look “done” because I remembered my earrings and brooch.

  • Your ‘Go To’ Outfit

A bit like a longer term version of planning ahead. Have a selection of chic, warm outfits that you know you can call on at any time. Hang them together in your wardrobe. Mine are a black jersey dress and longline cardigan worn with a belt, opaque tights and a beret.  A mid calf length wool skirt worn with a polo neck and boots and a pair of high waisted trousers worn with short sleeve knit top. Even if one is dirty one of the others is bound to be clean in an emergency.

Lazy Girls Winter Essentials

Underneath

Glamour isn’t about whisps of frilly lace, it’s about looking and feeling good. Glamorous girls have a bottom layer that is comfortable and warm so they look cool calm and collected on the top layer.

What Katie Did CC09 Rayon Stockings – £27.50

I am definitely going to invest in a pair of these 50 denier lovelies this year. I do prefer to wear stockings to tights, but when there’s snow on the ground my 20 denier retro seams aren’t really cutting the mustard.

what katie did cc09 rayon stockings

Tights

Black opaques aren’t the only way to go. Look for interesting back seam detail and interesting colours that tone with the rest of your wardrobe. For a vintage look ribbed or herringbone, or even a knit style works, no one know they’re not really stockings.

Thermals

Pull on a pair of thermal knickers over your suspender belt to keep the tops of your legs warm, a sleeved thermal vest under your silk blouse, or even thermal leggings under your trousers when it’s really cold. The link above is to British Thermals, but old lady classic Damart has some good ones too.

Petticoats

A petticoat will stop your skirt clinging to your thick winter tights, and will also add extra warmth. Marks & Spencer do some excellent waist slips. Under a full skirt you can wear a fuller (and warmer) petticoat for a 50s look that will not only be warm, but look like you’ve made a huge effort! Take a look on eBay where you can find a variety of styles from super poufy to some that will just add a little volume.

On Top

Once you’ve got a warm and sturdy bottom layer. You need something warm yet glamorous to put on top of it. Here are some essentials that will make winter dressing easy.

Heyday! High Waisted Trouser – £50

Buy a pair in every colour. They look smart and glamorous and you don’t need to faff about with tights and stockings.

heyday ladies high waist trousers

Cardigans

Layering is a handy winter tip that lets you overcome the tendency of every retail establishment, restaurant and cafe to turn their heating up to tropical in mid September. For a 30s look wear a long line cardigan with a belt over the top, Primark is actually the best place I have found for these with not too low a top a button. 40s and 50s styles can wear shorter waist length cardigans, invest in a good quality cashmere one from Jaeger or cheat and buy loads of cheap cashmere ones from Tesco. Wear them over dresses, short sleeved knitwear, basic t-shirts and button them up and wear them as a jumper.

Long Sleeved Dresses

You might have to look around a bit but they are out there. Whether vintage, repro or High Street a dress is still the laziest of all lazy dressing options. Cath Kidston has a few nice ones. If you can’t find a decent long sleeved one then don’t forget the magic cardigan can make short sleeves wearable, especially combined with a nice cosy vest!

On the Outside

A Coat

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best lazy girl investment is a smart knee length coat. You can put it on over your nightie to go to the shop and people will say “Oooh, you look nice!”

Hats & Gloves

To really top it off buy a selection of berets (try Village Hats) and matching gloves (John Lewis have a good range of colours in knitted and leather gloves). It’s almost funny how peoples brains can’t process matching as anything other than “massive effort”.

beret and gloves

Pashminas

I find these by far the best thing to use as scarves because they’re so versatile, they pack up small and can double up as evening shawl or headscarf. You can quite reliably find a range of these in Debenhams.

Remember, being a succesful lazy girl is about recognising your essential laziness and embracing it. It’s about developing strategies to look and feel your glamorous best at all times without giving up that extra half hour in bed or spending the evening ironing instead of wrapped in a blanket watching Poirot re runs.

Minimum Effort, Maximum Impact.

Do you have any brilliant lazy girl tips for winter?

 

36 Responses
  • cheryl hall
    November 23, 2011

    Many of these idea’s are already in motion in my small winter world.. just wish i had many £50’s to buy one in every colour of the lushious high waisted trousers.. and I wish I knew where my sexy thermals had gone.. this is a really REALLY good blog.. one slight teeny weeny comment i do have is that i would love to find some decent opaque, woollen or herringbone stockings and every hosiery section of every shop, internet site has been perused over the years in the hunt but to no avail (if u know somewhere let me know!).. so i kind of think everyone knows they arent stockings.. sadly! off to the grim world of uncomfortable tights bleurgh!

  • Arabella
    November 23, 2011

    I can vouch for the M&S thermal camisole. I was wearing it during the UK summer (40 degrees cooler than a Texas summer) – and it kept me from an early grave! In fact, now it’s a bit like the old ’18 Hour Girdle’: I forget I have it on……

  • claudia atlantis
    November 23, 2011

    Marks & Spencers had some lovely leather gloves in red and deep plum, with little dinky buttons down the side. They also had matching berets and 20’s/30’s style hats (I’m not sure what they’re called but they’re shaped like little igloos with a ribbon round them!)

    • claudia atlantis
      November 23, 2011

      Cloche hats, of course!

  • Mim
    November 23, 2011

    My lazy tip is jumpers knitted from vintage patterns. Okay, the knitting takes time, but they’ll last for years, and if you get one with enough period detail (eg puffed sleeves and fitted body for 40s look / dolman sleeves for 50s) they really do look distinctive, even with plain skirts or trousers. They need no ironing, and nowadays can be machine washed with Woolite.

  • Isis
    November 23, 2011

    I live in Sweden, which is even colder than the UK and I can only agree with your tips. I usually wear knitted silk vests and knickers rather than thermal though- they are much warmer than they look and it feels a bit luxurious to wear silk next to your skin.

    My biggest problem are boots. When you wake up in the morning and realize that you have to wade through 10 inches of snow that has fallen during the night, then you need shoes that are practical. It’s easy to find practical boots, but if you want them pretty too, then it gets a bit more difficult.

    • Jackie b
      November 23, 2011

      RAIN BOOTS! trust me.. you can’t underestimate the value of a good, solid pair of rain boots and some very thick wool socks. you can always put a pair of thin socks on under them, and bring an extra pair of normal-people shoes to change into really quickly when you get to where you’re going.

      i mean.. unless you live in canada. then spring for the -30 degree boots. just make sure they don’t have a zipper as their only on/off option.

  • Sara Hook
    November 23, 2011

    I feel like throwing myself at your feet in a move of great thanks! I’m one of those people that goes ‘I’ve not nothing to wear’ but then people will point out ‘but what about that?’….I think I get really, really lazy in winter and I often feel like I look terrible because I’ve got ten jumpers on to keep warm….so am definitely going to be following some of your tips.

    Great post!

  • Perdita
    November 23, 2011

    I agree with all of these! Even though sometimes my ‘matching’ means black, black and more black…I kicked myself this week and put all my bright cardies and jumpers at the front of my wardrobe. Not to mention, as you say, I plan my outfit the night before.

    Some of my favourite tricks are: coloured/patterned tights (all the advantages of black opaques, but much less boring), too cold for a skirt? Smart boots + coloured leggings = warm version of an opaque look (useful for mod/goth/miniskirt fans) and having a ready stock of bright belts, scarves and hats (for when you DO end up wearing all black or grey).

    I also warm up Summer faves (for example some cotton wide-legged navy trousers) by wearing knee high socks like a schoolgirl, underneath. Sad I know, but again- no one can tell! And it’s one more not-all-in-black day.

  • LinaSofia
    November 23, 2011

    Excellent post! I actually quite like autumn and winter dressing because there’s more options to accessorise! My personal top tip if you prefer stockings is to buy a nice pair of wool tights and simply cut them off at the top of the leg. Yes I know they won’t have a nice welt at the top but still… I’ve done this with both wool and cotton tights and it works a treat. Then you can add warm or nice frilly bloomers or a silk slip or whatever you fancy to keep you warm outdoors. Another tip is a fur (faux or vintage) collar or scarf, it instantly adds glamour to any old jacket!

    • Gemma
      November 23, 2011

      Genius tip with the tights! Thanks!

  • LandGirl1980
    November 23, 2011

    I, literally, have nothing to add. I lied. out of the clothes-sphere – I usually leave my hair in my perming rods/rags/pincurls, under a hat until I *get* to work. I leave the house at 6.4O-bleeugh and it is usually cold, damn and foggy. I also have to spend time standing at a station with little cover. I see little point in brushing out and making it look reasonable, only for it to be trashed by the time I get to work. Or – if I have time I take the rods etc out and put the curls up under a hat and again, sort out when I get to the office. Takes 5 mins.

    I am rambling. And I lied. I am sorry :)

  • Debbie
    November 23, 2011

    Great article. I must try berets again – I tried my school’s uniform one once and looked like Frank Spencer and was rather put off. May I recommend Levante’s wool tights and stockings? Lovely and warm, not itchy and no static….not cheap either but one can’t have it all I suppose.

  • Michelle
    November 24, 2011

    Love your blog. I was wondering if you’ve ever come across this shop on Etsy (I’m in no way connected with it) but I love just looking at all her pieces, and thought you might enjoy it too.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/RococoVintage

  • Ruthanne
    November 24, 2011

    Try living in Canada! For me it becomes a test to see how much wool can be piled on to one body.

  • Laura
    November 24, 2011

    I always wear a thermal vest in the winter – it’s the secret to my success 😉
    I also have some lovely leather gloves and soooooo many berets
    When I was in Sweden earlier this year it became absolutely FREEEEEZINNG after nightfall. I found the best way to be out and about but still wear a dress (and not descend into jeans and a jumper territory) was to wear two pairs of tights over one another. So warm. It’s amazing the difference the second pair made :)

  • Georgina
    November 24, 2011

    I disagree about dressing being easier in the summer! It’s often very cold if you leave the house early in the morning, then baking by lunchtime, yet cool indoors thanks to air conditioning…! Nightmare. At least in winter you know it’s going to just be cold all day! I agree that winter dressing can be difficult, though, since it’s hard to feel stylish and glamourous when you’ve got about four layers of clothing on!

    These are some great suggestions! Did you know that Levante do a pair of 100 denier wool stockings?! Very cool. I also like fleece-lined anything and yes, thermal vests are a great idea!

  • Lea
    November 24, 2011

    Great post – some excellent tips that I already do and some excellent tips that I will be using this horrible winter. My vast collection of hats and scarves mean I often receive compliments on my winter wardrobe. To look stylish during the winter I find it helps to mix up texture – fur, suede, cable knit, tweed etc

  • Maria
    November 24, 2011

    Congrats on the article! Actually I live in the south of Europe but the cold winter is already here :( I don’t like it at all, and yes, I’m a lazy girl in those freezing mornings…so thanks for your useful tips! I’m keen on wonderful knee-length coats and long-sleeved dresses, but the ones that definetely rock my season are trousers and opaque tights with wool skirts too ^_^
    Greetings from Spain!

  • MB
    November 25, 2011

    My lazy-girl tip for cold weather is this: on mornings when I have to get up early for class (Pilates or dance, then acting), I go to bed in part of my next-day clothes: underwire sports bra, snug ribbed tank, long-sleeve tissue Tee, pajama bottoms or shorts, and socks. I put the rest of the daytime clothes: leggings/dance pants, extra t’s, socks, tights, dance sneakers or whatever, in the bathroom, laid out with grooming products and makeup. Everything else: shoes, gloves, jacket, purse, hat, dancebag, books, are all by the front door, ready to scoop up and put on while I wait for the elevator.

    If I’m dragging the night before and feeling extra-lazy, I set a timer for five minutes and make it a game, to race the clock and get myself set up for morning. It’s amazing how much I get done quickly, if I engage my inner six-year old!

  • Maxine x
    November 25, 2011

    what a great post, fab advice! I’m a real advocate for layering, just to hang onto those dresses a tiny bit longer! Love the blog xx

  • Brianna
    December 4, 2011

    At night, the thermostat is turned down a few degrees. Before bed, I am usually using my laptop, which overheats pretty quickly so I make use of it by putting my nightdress under the laptop to make it nice and toasty before I slip into it.

  • Chippy
    December 30, 2011

    I don’t really like wearing tights either. And I don’t like those elastic hold up things either (I had an incident when the elastic went as I walked down the street). I found a solution to the whole thicker stockings dilemma – it does involve a bit of sewing.

    I found this post about converting tights in to stockings – http://downwithclutter.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-stockings-from-tights.html

  • dayana
    January 2, 2012

    nice article with useful tips!

  • Sexy Lingerie
    February 16, 2012

    You can get 70, 80, 90 denier black stockings easily – I wear them all the time in winter because they’re sooo warm and not ugly like tights! Plus they are so much more ladder resistant than sheer ones.