Life On Mars

How to keep looking cool while staying warm this winter

Although the first snow fall and hanging holiday lights is very fine and nice, it can often bring the dread of knowing that one is going to resemble Randy from A Christmas Story for the following five months.

As the temperature drops, leaving the comfort of home becomes a military exercise involving considerable skill and tactic; the bundled winter uniform is a necessary defence against bursting into tears and surrendering into the cold comfort of the nearest snowbank.

“Parkas, nice winter boots, big cozy sweaters, if you can layer smart you should keep warm,” says Amanda Remond, co-owner of Normandy Shop, about how to beat the chill. “It’s all about cutting the wind.”

Located at 791 Corydon Ave., Normandy Shop has been stocking up on weather resistant fabrics such as cotton twill button ups, solid leather boots with good grip (a critical detail), dark heavy denim, waxed canvas outers and of course, wool.

“People underestimate the warmth of wearing certain fabrics together,” Remond explains. “Keeping warm doesn’t mean you need to be wearing a big puffy coat where the second you get inside you want to check it at the door.” 

Venturing outdoors is tricky enough when you know you’re going to look like a sad sexless Michelin Man with a drippy nose. The knowledge that you could look half appealing to a fellow polar astronaut can be enough to lift those winter blues.

“I find that Winnipeg women always seem to be more comfortable with more of a classic, European feel,” says Beverly Kinahan, owner of October Boutique (currently located at Grant Park Mall, soon moving to the Corydon area). “We want to define ourselves properly and we don’t want to all look the same.”

Kinahan’s favourite wintertime look is a midi-skirt worn with a warm footed tight and an ankle boot, topped with a chunkier wool knit and a printed scarf. 

When it comes to coats, Kinahan notes that the technical, duck-down coat is rising in popularity but also mentions the importance of finding a coat shape that suits your body. Kinahan also recommends fighting the urge to shroud oneself in black.

“I always tell people to wear black from the waist down and to keep it away from your face,” Kinahan explains.

Judy Coy, owner of Osborne Village shopping mecca Silver Lotus, lists tawny browns, warm weathered leathers, blanket-like capes and fur - both real and fake - as trending items this season.

“Anything warm goes,” Coy says. “The oversized, layered look is also really popular because it’s comfortable and you never know when it’s going to get cold here.”

One thing that winter wear is not is fast fashion. Most cold weather gear are investment pieces that will last a lifetime.

“The pieces are often higher priced but the consumer will actually put more back into the economy if they shop small independent business,” Kinahan says. “Winnipeg shop owners work hard to bring product into their stores so that Winnipeg has a more global, interesting feel.”

Waiting at the bus stop just got a whole lot cooler.

Published in Volume 69, Number 14 of The Uniter (December 3, 2014)

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