When the weather dips below 60 here in sunny San Diego, we are all reaching for the boots and puffer coats. Of course, many of my clients are also traveling to cooler places in the winter and have a need for true winter outerwear. It can be daunting trying to find the perfect piece though. As always, I'm here to take the stress out of getting dressed.
Consider your lifestyle.
If you're anything like me, you might ooh and ah over a fabulous winter white ankle-length cashmere blend coat. If you live like me though, you know that coat wouldn't survive the trip to the car, let alone actual winter weather. Be practical and think about what you're doing, where you're going, etc. It's a similar mindset to packing for a trip. Where are you going in that? What are you doing? Are you hiking? Walking to work? Touring NYC? Attending a conference? The answers will differ for each individual.
You may need three.
Once you consider your lifestyle, you may find you need three coats: one for travel, one for work, and one for active wear. The coat you wear to the office isn't the one you'll reach for to go hiking. Even for my fellow San Diegans, I recommend having three outerwear options. If you live in a place with more inclement weather, you may want five. Again, this depends on your lifestyle. If you work from home and don't leave the house much in the winter, two coats would suffice.
Skip the black option.
I've written before about black not being as versatile as we've been led to believe. It doesn't always pair well with navy, brown, other blacks. Even when paired with white, black can be unflattering against white due to the high contrast. Generally, black near the face has a tendency to wash people out. If you absolutely must have a black coat, add a pop of color through a scarf or turtleneck to brighten up.
Try an alternative neutral.
Instead of black, try winter neutrals for a more interesting look. In particular, I adore an emerald green, cobalt blue, or burgundy coat. These colors are flattering on most skin tones and look sophisticated rather than childish. They are also quite versatile and pair with well with both navy and black based looks. If you tend to gravitate towards neutrals in all clothing, try a light grey or camel.
Update your accessories.
If you adore your old coats but you're feeling a little bored, try adding new hats, gloves, and scarves to your winter wardrobe. Skip the pre-packaged box sets and create your own unique look mixing brands and fabrics. I like to choose one item with a pattern, like a scarf, and then select the two other items, pulling colors from that original pattern, to make my own set. See example above.
With a busy fall on the horizon, this August I am taking a blogging break. I encourage you to take an end-of-summer break too, if you can. Take a few days, even a few hours, for yourself to rest up and recharge before fall madness begins. If you're craving some style advice in the meantime, I've rounded up my six most popular blog posts below.
My Top 6 Style Blog Posts
I am currently booking personal styling appointments from September 10 onward. I work with clients in person on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with limited availability on weekends. Please email me directly (email@example.com) to book, or visit the Work with Me page to learn more. Thank you!
Just as there are one million ways to make a sandwich, there are one million ways to make an outfit. This contributes to what I call "outfit overwhelm". It's that feeling of dread some women experience when looking at their closet full of clothes and finding nothing to wear. Fortunately, outfit formulas can make life easier. An outfit formula is similar to a recipe. We all know sandwiches usually contain two slices of bread and something in the middle. An outfit formula requires a top, bottom, and shoes. Take this concept a step further and prepare your outfits for the whole week ahead. I recommend doing this on Sundays. This level of wardrobe preparation will save you so much time, energy, and frustration. Over time, successfully implementing outfit formulas will help you craft a signature style.
Outfit Formula #1
Sleeveless Dress + Nude Shoes + Bold Earrings
Without even trying, you probably already have several "outfit formulas" in the mix. Look back through photos to see what you've been wearing recently. One of my go-to looks is a sleeveless dress, nude shoes, and bold earrings. You can make it as basic as "sleeveless dress" or as specific as "jewel-toned, solid color sleeveless dress".
Outfit Formula #2
Peplum Top + Skinny Jeans + Heels
Another one of my personal favorites, especially for photos and/or not shaving your legs is a peplum top + skinny jeans + heels. Again you can make this as specific as "light wash skinny jeans and patterned peplum top" or as broad as "skinny jeans and peplum top".
Outfit Formula #3
Button Down Shirt + Jeans + Heels
For my personal styling clients who have casual work environments, this is one of my favorite outfit formulas. I also recommend keeping a pair of sneakers in your car or tote bag. That way, if you need to take the kids to the park, a friend wants to go for a walk, or you must stop by the grocery store on your way home, you can be more comfortable. Wear a pair of stud or simple hoop earrings to keep it professional.
Outfit Formula #4
Blazer + Tank + Printed Shorts + Heels
For those of you with killer legs, this outfit formula is a surefire win. You can remove the blazer if you're making this a casual summer day or keep it on if you want to be dressy with your girls for a lunch date. Of course, the heels can also be swapped for sandals.
Outfit Formula #5
Blazer + Tank + Ankle Pants + Statement Necklace + Pointy Toe Shoes
Though I personally feel naked without them, not everyone can or wants to wear earrings. Statement necklaces are a great way to add personality to an otherwise boring, corporate work look. Of course, if you're in a creative environment you can make this look even more fun by wearing a printed blazer or a brightly colored heel.
Outfit Formula #6
Scarf + T-Shirt + Boyfriend Jeans
For weekend wardrobes and transitional weather, try adding a cute little scarf to basic jeans and tee ensemble. This accessory always gives personality and "put-togetherness". As a bonus, you will be warm if you walk into an overly air-conditioned environment.
Outfit Formula #7
Utility Jacket + Basic Top + Jeans + Sneakers
Wearing a utility jacket completes your outfit and helps prevent sunburn. I am basically a vampire living near the beach, so I get a sunburn if my shoulders are exposed for more than 10 minutes. If you don't have a utility jacket, this outfit formula also works well with chambray button-downs.
Outfit Formula #8
Pencil Skirt + Pumps + Shell + Tweed Jacket
Work separates can be so versatile. I love pairing tweed jackets with pencil skirts and skinny jeans. A tweed jacket typically has a boxy shape, so it is important to pair it with something more streamlined on the bottom.
Do you have any favorite outfit formulas? Let me know here in the comments, or over on Instagram.
Note: all images credit via Jaquelyn Wahidi's personal collection and/or Google Image Search.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I take the stress out of getting dressed. As a personal fashion stylist in San Diego, I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My blog features practical style advice for women everywhere. I've been addicted to blazers since 2004.