How to Have a Stylish January
January is a challenge isn't it? As if returning to work, pressure to lay off the booze and daily reminders to do your tax return aren't bad enough, one week in and the sub-zero temperatures arrive. This is nothing new, however in a cost of living crisis the desire to neither freeze to death nor look like a toddler in a snowsuit poses a problem no matter how stylish you are ordinarily.
So how can you look professional for a day at work or elegant on a night out and still stay warm?
Heat tech vests
This one has nothing to do with style or fashion but is a complete game-changer. I feel so strongly about Uniqlo's heat tech vests I even mentioned them on the back cover of my book. I have four in different colours; they also come in a variety of necklines and sleeves and are so lightweight you won't even know you're wearing one. I'm not joking when I say I have worn one under an evening dress before. This is £15 you will never regret spending.
Faux leather, velvet or corduroy
Sticking with fabrics, if ever there was a season with something for everyone, this is it. Need convincing that a faux leather midi skirt is a classic staple? Style with a simple cashmere knit or a crisp white shirt and suede knee boots and see what you think. If you really can't abide faux leather, there are other options that'll keep you toasty and stylish too; corduroy or velvet are alternatives that provide more insulation than regular fabrics while offering a bit of edge for a contemporary look. Dress a velvet blazer down with a casual jersey knit and elevate corduroy trousers with a silk blouse or polo neck sweater. Think Abba!
Wide leg trousers and jeans
The wide-leg styles that gained momentum last year may feel a bit scary for some, but you'll find they slip very nicely over a pair of tights in this cold weather which is a real bonus. Don't be put off by the extreme versions loved by teenagers - a super wide leg isn't the best choice if you're petite for example. I also feel cargo pockets are best left in the '90s if you did them back then, however I guarantee there's a cut out there for you. Pay attention to the rise of the waistline if you're under 5'4, a mid-rise is probably best for you and for a more streamlined silhouette, keep your top half fitted.
Never has a trend been quite so practical, comfortable and downright effortless! I bought this pink set from H&M last year and have worn it on repeat. It worked with bare ankles and trainers in November and now looks lovely with knee boots and an oversized scarf. Obviously you can mix and match it with other pieces too - great value for money, I wish I'd bought it in more colours. That said, you can still grab yourself something similar on the high street.
Finally, it's stating the obvious but don't forget your hat, scarf and gloves. If like me, you've accumulated a selection of mismatched bits over the years then buy a matching set, you'll save so much time when you're rushing out the door. Most of us sensibly invest in versatile neutral-coloured overcoats so a splash of the right colour around your face will not only break up the block tone, it'll brighten your face too.