December is upon us. That means the sunset-orange glory of Autumn is over for another year. Trees which once resembled Beyonce in mustard yellow Roberto Cavalli now look more like the child-catcher in his ragged black tailcoat.
Gone are the outfits where your scarf’s function was 93% aesthetic; layers are now essential.
You probably fall into one of two groups of cold-weather dressers: those who genuinely celebrate the arrival of winter by bulk-buying 70 denier tights and devouring an entire advent calendar in one sitting, and those who bitterly resent the impracticality of texting with gloves on, considering themselves adequately dressed in floral shorts (and possibly a flip-flop) meaning the temperature drop poses a challenge.
Even if you lurk shivering in column B year after year, there are ways to embrace the chill and discover wind, sleet and slush are actually enhanced by a well-chosen ensemble.
Here is a list of 6 female fashion designers who can help you dress for – and ultimately fall in love with – winter.
For colour in the gloom: Samantha Pleet
She’s a New York-based mother creating lovely clothes in collaboration with her husband Patrick. The simple shapes, regal colours, wide-frilled hems and whimsical embroidery are a recipe for winter wardrobe joy.
The bleakest cold-weather-clothing trap is an outfit as gloomy and dismal as 5pm in February, so Samantha Pleet‘s bold designs make a statement among the cloud-grey blazers and lumpy black hoods of the commute.
Queenly reds, harlequin diamonds, embroidered suns and Elizabeth Is are all good picks if you want to dress like royalty.
Unfortunately, the price tag is slightly more princess than Primark, but pro tip number 1 is: choose a plain item you can wear 365 times, combined with as many different (slash, cheaper) things you already own.
♥️👑❄️The Sovereign Coat is finally here and its Faux, no animals were harmed to make this magical Coat so you can be the cuddliest one of them all! A queen of your own world, take it over and own it, complete with Illuminated lining in both Ruby and Sapphire. Find one at samanthapleet.com & @shopbop @americantwoshot @bonadrag @shop_curio 📸 @briannewills hair @rubi_jones makeup @ktmell model @carcrashgirl
🚨 Statement coat alert 🚨 This probably will set you back on a month’s rent, but at least you’ll never have to turn the heating on.
To wrap up woke: Joanna Thangiah
This woman is excellent.
Joanna Thangiah is an artist based in Sydney, creating body positive, queer-allied art reminding women of every shape, background and colour that it’s OK to be fat, thin, hairy and mentally unstable sometimes/always/whenever.
She also sells bright sweaters in joyful colours, emblazoned with feminist mantras like ‘Anything you can do I can do bleeding’ and (importantly) ‘End the War on Bread’
Ideal for winter warmth and patriarchy-smashing in one simple garment. She is doing vital work for women; reminding us through her candy coloured portraits that feminism must include absolutely every woman.
For cute coats and collars: Holly Wang
The cat trend should never end. Holly Wang is the genius behind Miss Patina, which makes gloriously twee blouses and dresses in that whole ‘vintage’ style only truly feasible after September.
Holly got a BA in Business Studies from Greenwich University and now has her clothing stocked in boutiques worldwide, including a fancy section at Topshop in Oxford Circus.
Whether or not you approve of kitten-shaped collars (which you should because they’re adorable), Miss Patina is another good bet for a sensible coat to last you years. One that buttons right up to the neck will be draft-free: essential when the wind is howling.
For jazzy adornments: Rosy Nicholas
We have already discussed how dressing head-to-tie in black, blue and greige for winter is unacceptable. It’s lazy, unimaginative and can’t possibly be fun.
If you flatly refuse to light up the office in colours this December, Rosy Nicholas might be able to nudge you in a festive direction with her life-giving collection of accessories.
A graduate from Camberwell College of Arts, Rosy is an illustrator, a maker and now an author too, of a book called Dress You Up (*Christmas wish list klaxon*) which has simple instructions for hand-making accessories including pom poms which are vital for melting the wintry wardrobe ice.
Who cares if it’s dark when you leave the house and dark again when you clock off if your handmade bracelet is its own light source?
For snow-worthy sportswear: Melody Ehsani
LA-born Melody was raised in a traditional Iranian family and broke away from law school to design super-sleek jewellery.
Apparently, she’s created costumes for Erykah Badu and her signature piece is a three-finger ring (quite a strong #humblebrag for the school reunion).
She now has a collaboration with Reebok, bringing animal-patterned glamour to your early morning winter gym sessions. Even if you’re sane and would rather just live up a hill than pay for Zumba, this clothing line could be the most enthused you’ve ever felt about exercise come the January resolutions.
It also makes it totally acceptable to cancel all social engagements because you’re busy watching Strictly in leopard print trackie Bs.
For minimal effort/ maximum chic: Amy He
Amy is the face behind one-part-grungey, two-parts-cute clothing brand Mod Dolly. She grew up in the Northwest of England (the brand’s flagship store is in Wigan) before venturing to London as a fashion intern.
Amy started out designing clothes just for fun, posting Outfits-of-the-Day on sites like Chictopia and Lookbook. People began to ask where they could buy her designs (whose strength lies in Amy’s expert use of The Holy Trinity: plaid, pinafores and Peter Pan collars) so she decided to sell them.
Mod Dolly is a dreamy winter brand, thanks in part to the fir-tree greens and wrapping-red tartan fabrics used to make lots of the items. The most magical ingredient though is how easy these clothes are to wear. Night-time showers and the frosty morning drive are less painful when you’ve thrown on a PJ-level comfy dress which gets more compliments than your Mariah Carey lip-synch at the staff Christmas lunch.
Hopefully, this post makes you excited to button, zip and popper yourself into the winter outfit of dreams. Never forget: PUDDLE-PROOF SHOES ARE EVERYTHING.
Written by Annie Hopkins
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