Crazy rains, dull days, freezing cold. This is going to be pretty much our lives for at least the next two months or so. And knowing that things aren’t changing anytime soon could be the morale we need to adapt to the situation, huh? I know this season comes with more challenges than we are willing to handle, especially when we have to worry about important stuff like getting home before the wee hours of the morning, the kids getting home safe, cars that may require a fortune to fix due to floods, and sometimes, could that be my wake-up alarm I just heard while still stuck in traffic? (Apparently, true story…) Well yes the list of worries is endless.
Still beyond all the craziness, the tiny little vanity we have left after battling with all these depressing situations will have to worry about what to wear today. Which in fact IS still a big deal considering how life goes on no matter how much of a downpour is happening outside (as long as your building does not collapse of course), you have got to go to your meetings, meet up with the client for lunch, buy groceries, sit at your desk and work, pick up the kids from school, write fashion articles like yours truly and so on. So how about we take a break from the whole craze of rainy seasons and tickle our fancy just for a minute, by exposing some easy style hacks that will leave you looking so dashing you may even brighten your dull sunless days? I won’t bore you with details of what to wear when it’s cold or rainy because it is common sense that you will need warm clothes and this is where your boots and woolen jackets and scarfs will come into play. But how about a few tips and tricks on things you can change up a little that will not only transform your fall outfit from basic dull to bright and fabulous, but also make it more practical for the weather?
Pay attention to your layers
Yes there is a trick to wearing clothes that will keep you the right kind of warm without looking like your whole closet is on your back. You see, at some point during the day, the temperatures are bound to change. And what if it gets warmer while you are stuck with your heavy woolen coat that was perfect for the morning but then the only thing you thought to wear underneath is a slinky cami? It won’t work, right? Same way as when it gets even colder during the day, and since you saw a hint of sunshine this morning all you wore over your blouse/shirt is a light blazer. This is where learning the fine art of layering your clothes comes into play. And what we mean here is that you choose pieces of clothing that can not only be comfortably worn over or under others, but can work alone as well without spoiling your whole outfit gist. So maybe choose a light sweater to go with your pants, and wear your heavy jacket on top. This way if it gets considerably warmer during the day but still not warm enough to remain sleeveless, you can do away with the jacket and still be comfortable and chic. Same case applies to scarfs, gloves and even tights, which you can easily take off when you get into a warmer environment for instance your air conditioned office building. So when you are gearing up for the long cold and wet day ahead, pay attention to what you wear underneath because you may require it to be seen at some point as the day unfolds.
Since most fall clothes come in earthy tones most people will gravitate towards wearing dark and dull all the time. But that need not be the case. Try as much possible to add in some dash of color either in your scarf, your blouse collar, your jacket or even your belt. I don’t know about you but I do find wearing bright colors when the weather is dull and grey lifts up my otherwise weather-beaten spirits. Deep red especially is a good choice because it gives you a sophisticated look in addition to cheering you up. Also for jackets consider white, cream or beige colors for a clean fresh look.
Tweed, wool, leather
Tweed jackets and woolen skirts may be a hard thing to pull off in this day and age, especially in Africa where our weather conditions don’t get as extreme. So a lot of people may shy away from purchasing these clothes no matter how cute they might find them because they have no idea when to wear them. Leather is also a tricky one. Well here is the good news though, this weather actually does allow you to rock these pieces in style. You’ll find that today’s tweed jackets are now made with more style and design variations that can make you look very fashionable, as opposed to before when your idea of a person wearing tweed would be an elderly professor in round spectacles (yes I intentionally called them spectacles) teaching Caribbean literature. You need be careful though because tweed with all the patterns, may seem so versatile that you will be tempted to pair it with your casual sneakers. Don’t. The trick here is to keep your outfit more to the formal side. Pair the jacket with either black pants, or a black skirt, tights and your pointed leather ankle boots and you will look fabulous. However remember to avoid water and puddles if you wear leather shoes because you will ruin them. Same case applies to suede, by the way. You’d rather stick to your rubber rain boots if you think you’ll be around water. For wool, things are easier here because you will get a chance to rock it in your trench and it won’t be damaged by water. Of course remember the first rule of good dressing, ensure your jacket is a good fit.
Casual but elegant
The cold season need not, and will not be your excuse for looking like you just crawled out of bed at two in the afternoon. Some people use the crazy weather, especially when they are not required to dress up, to wear the most unflattering garments in the name of keeping warm. Come on seriously stop that. It is very easy to put together a beautiful casual outfit and still remain warm. A well cut jacket or trench coat, a bright dash of color underneath, your basic pair of jeans and good dry shoes and voila, you look great. The key here is to choose flattering colors, therefore don’t wear grey and brown and navy in the same outfit for instance. Try out some color block it is still fashionable. Ensure your jacket is not creased. Ensure your shoes are clean. Throw on a sassy scarf. It is that simple.
With the layers of clothing you have to put on your body you may end up forgetting the first rule of standing out from the crowd. Pay attention to your accessories. For instance your handbag may entirely change your outfit. This may be the perfect time to bring out your prized designer bag or any cute purse you own. Treat your umbrella as an accessory. Wear hand jewelry. Remember to wear your watch. It will make a difference.
For the guys
Of course last but definitely not the least, let’s talk about the other race of humans from Mars whose fashion rules we mostly don’t understand. The guy. Mainly because there are a few disturbing trends especially during the cold season that I feel the need to address. For instance the art of bundling up so much that you look like a walking sleeping bag? Stop that. For the man who likes to pay attention to what he wears, and every guy should anyway, just remember that most of the above applies to you as well. Layering for you is especially important. Choose your sweaters wisely paying attention to not only warm and comfortable material but also color because the two will matter. It is okay, in fact a good idea, to wear your suit jacket over a sweater if you think it might be colder than usual. Half sweaters are also a good option in case it gets warmer during the day. If you need to show off your dapper shirt and power tie under your jacket, wear a warm vest underneath and add on scarf that you can easily lay aside if you’re going into a meeting for instance. For your outer wear, nothing looks as good as a guy in a tailored over-coat or a slim fit trench. So invest in one and stop wearing your hoodies to work. This is also your chance to spruce up your broken suit in that sassy blazer you have been keeping for years and have no idea when to wear it.