While we can't say we're fans of winter's countless rainy days and raging blizzards, we do have an affinity for the oh-so cozy clothing that accompanies such chilly temps. And now that the season is officially upon us, it's high time to focus on cold-weather essentials--think: thick knits, oversized coats, utilitarian boots, and plenty of scarves--and the best ways to wear these key pieces. Of course, since bundling up often results in blah outfits, we've rounded up a handful of exemplary ladies who know how to brave the inclement weather in wonderfully fashionable ways. Whether it's Mary-Kate Olsen's furry accents or Kirsten Dunst's lovely layers, today's What They Wear: Cold Weather has all the info you need to stay stylish warm all season long!
(Faux) Furry Accents
There have been some pretty amazing developments in faux fur this season, which fortunately for you, dear readers, means there are loads of ways to wear this luxe-looking material. If you aren't sure furry accents are for you or you prefer a subtler look, we suggest taking a tip from Mary-Kate Olsen and opting for a dark overcoat with monochromatic fur details. For example, Olsen was snapped grabbing coffee in New York a few months ago wearing a mid-shin length black topcoat with a shaggy fur-trimmed collar and a pair of The Row leather pants. Her black-on-black outfit is understated, yet interesting, thanks to the mix of materials and textures. Of course, for a more extreme take on this trend, you can always follow in Elle Macpherson's footsteps. To say the model/mogul adores furry accents would certainly be an understatement--at least based on the cold-weather outfit she wore shopping in Aspen late last month! The Australian beauty looked snow-bound chic in a fur-trimmed leather jacket and Sorel's Joan of Arctic Boots ($130) with faux fur trim. The contrasting furry accents keep Macpherson's utilitarian pieces from feeling too masculine or drab, which is why this look is noteworthy.
Whether you prefer Macpherson's full-blown interpretation of this cozy trend or are looking for something a bit more reserved, like Olsen's pick, recreating these flashbulb-worthy outfits is a cinch. Finding an exact alternative for Olsen's coat may prove difficult and expensive, but you can always imitate her monochromatic ensemble by simply grabbing a chic black outerwear option, like Tahari's Wool Blend Lola Coat ($224), and styling it with Lori's Shoes' Scrunched Faux Fur Scarf ($24). Just remember to pair both of these stellar finds with Nicole Miller's Faux Stretch Leather Pants ($330) for an Olsen-approved finish. For those of you looking to make more of a statement à la Macpherson, definitely check out BB Dakota's Manderson Faux-Fur Trim Leather Jacket ($300) or Best of British's Wax Sheepskin Short Coat ($460); either choice will pair perfectly with Aldo's Shamp Boots ($90) and will certainly keep you warm and stylish during the season's more biting moments.
If there's one thing we know, it's that a classic pea coat and cold weather go together hand-in-hand--no question. The timeless winter wardrobe staple not only keeps you toasty, but it also gives your outfit a perfectly polished finish. But to keep this piece feeling fresh each season, it's always a good idea to incorporate a few current elements, as demonstrated by yummy mummies Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. While out and about in New York two months ago, Paltrow was spotted in a beautiful navy Burberry Zip Waist Wool Felt Pea Coat ($2495, 800.284.8480), but it was her to-die-for Burberry Aviator Shearling Boots ($1095, 800.284.8480)--a nod to her superior taste in interesting footwear--that really caught our eye. We love that she contrasted her refined and tailored outerwear with edgier boots, resulting in a stylishly smart combo that's perfect for a day in the city. Of course, a pea coat can also work with more casual pieces, as Reese Witherspoon showed us earlier this week. The actress opted for a relaxed look when she paired a gray pea coat with flat brown boots, specifically Golden Goose's Charlye Pull On Boots ($1290), a beige beanie, and aviators for a wonderful California winter look.
Just in case you don't already have a collection of pea coats hanging in your closet, we've found a few additional options worth checking out. ASOS White's Elbow Patch Coat ($207) is a superb look-a-like of Paltrow's pick, while Forever 21's Herringbone Pea Coat ($35) is perfect for those of you who adore Witherspoon's choice. Now, if it's Paltrow's city-chic ensemble you're after, furry footwear is an absolute must; Aldo's Straughter Boots ($39) and Dolce Vita's Shearling-Lined Buckled Ankle Boots ($240) are two of our favorites. However, if Witherspoon's ensemble is more your speed, then Gap's Textured Beanie ($20) and Ted Baker's Mayra Knee-High Boots ($246) are must-buys.
Not to state the obvious, but most people tend to throw on loads of layers whenever they have to head out into the cold. Unfortunately, this also typically means lots of boring dark pieces, which is why you should look to Kirsten Dunst, Fearne Cotton, and Charlize Theron for some guidance on how to liven up your look. In a phrase: play with colors. For example, we certainly appreciate the way Kirsten Dunst livened up her outerwear must-have--a covetable trench coat--with non-black hues while running errands in Tribeca late last year. The All Good Things star gave her khaki coat a bit of flare via bright and interesting accessories--specifically a blue beret, plum-colored scarf, and Maison Martin Margiela's Cutout-Wedge Leather Ankle Boots ($885). A month later across the pond, we found Fearne Cotton enduring London's chilly temps with a different type of color play. The radio personality covered up with plenty of intriguing layers en route to BBC 1 Radio, starting with a blush pink dress worn under a gray cardigan and a statement-making printed black and white coat. Charlize Theron was also snapped utilizing numerous layers to keep toasty while making a coffee run in New York this past November. Instead of mixing in a few vibrant hues or prints, Theron opted for a neutral color palette, wearing a puffy white shearling jacket over a gray sweater and white tee, and finished her look with a large beige scarf.
Now that you've seen how the pros layer up in the winter, we've got all the necessary tools you need to create your own enviable outfits. To imitate Dunst's well-calculated use of color, you'll want to start with the foundation piece--a classic trench like Juicy Couture's Twill Trench Coat ($348) will surely do the trick--and then incorporate a few richly hued accessories. We are partial to Coach's Greta Glam Beret ($98) and Kenneth Cole's Cashmere Scarf ($88) in Plum. If Cotton's layering technique is more your cup of tea, then try Free People's Loving Lace Trapeze Dress ($108) for your bottom layer. From there, throw on Madewell's Postcard Cardigan ($68), and then add Forever 21's Checkered Woven Coat ($35) for your final layer and extra bit of warmth. Last, but certainly not least, for those of you who adore Theron's neutrals, simply pick up Calvin Klein's Triple Puff Sleeve Down Jacket ($100) and Armand Diradourian's Fringe Shawl ($295), which comes in a delightful array of neutral hues.--Jessica Baker
Photos of Mary-Kate Olsen, Fearne Cotton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kirsten Dunst, courtesy of Splash; Photo of Elle Macherson, courtesy of Wenn; Photo of Reese Witherspoon, courtesy of INF; Photo of Charlize Theron, courtesy of Bauer Griffin