Now that autumn is officially here, and old man winter is nipping at her heels, I thought that I would take our “Return to Glamour” series on a little detour.
On September 22, the official first day of fall, a collective sigh could be heard as women all over the (northern half) of the globe began to pack away their summer frocks to make way for warmer clothes. Take heart my dearies! While you may have to kiss your peep-toes good-bye, if only for a season, that doesn’t mean you must now start dressing like your 8th grade boyfriend… the one that fancied himself as Kurt Cobain, you know who I’m talking about! To me, cooler weather is the perfect opportunity to turn up the heat in the fashion department. So, before you drag out the flannel and puffy coats, let us find a few creative ways to stay warm this season… with vintage style, of course!
Leg Warmers (not the Flashdance variety)
I wear dresses and skirts all year long, and yes, it does snow where I live. The secret to staying warm in a skirt is what I’m wearing underneath. That’s right, kittens, your undies are wonderful insulators… starting with stockings. As you know, I have an affinity for fully fashioned stockings, but especially so in the fall and winter months. Not only do stockings help keep your gams warm, but they also hide leg stubble, an unfortunate side-effect of goose-bumps. When your fully fashioned’s aren’t enough to keep Little Jack Frost from biting your knees, tights are another option. Mind you now, when I say tights, I mean fishnets or opaque colored tights, NOT pantyhose, which are only appropriate for costuming and Hooters waitresses! If you don’t know the difference, please refer to “Stockings, the Daintiest of the Dainty, Parts I and II“.
|The lovely Lana Turner checking he stockings for snags.|
The next piece in your undergarment arsenal is the classic crinoline petty-coat. A full petty-coat under a full, heavy skirt is as good as a blanket on the lap! Pair that with tights or stockings and you’re cooking with spam! Bloomers also work nicely with full skirts. I have adorable little bloomers in flannel and fleece to keep my cheeks warm on autumn hay rides!
If a pencil skirt is more your speed, ditch the petty-coat and bloomers, but keep the stockings. The girdle is a wonderfully sexy way to layer for warmth. In a previous diary entry, we gabbed all about shape-wear. It’s not only a fabulous way to keep warm, but keep your stockings up, too!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
No need to pack away all of your summer dresses. Instead, look at your closet in terms of pieces rather than outfits as they are. Adding a cardigan to a sun-dress or a tight little turtle neck to an a-line skirt can easily transition pieces from season to season.
|Kim Novak’s black capri pants are a perfect transitional piece.
They’re made fall fabulous when paired with a cardigan and neck scarf.
|Want Kim Novak’s sleek look? Try the Super Spy dress from Heart of Haute.
Keep in mind that transitional pieces need to be appropriate for the season. Wearing white after Labor Day is perfectly fine as long as the weight and texture of the fabric are consistent with the season. A white sweater, white faux fur coat, or white satin gown are all winter wonderful, but a white linen dress or palazzo pants, not so much! Light spring florals can be difficult to pull off when leaves are falling, so do pay attention to color. Earthy palates and jewel tones are the perfect candidates for the fall/winter season. To keep things simple, if the color palate of a garment is light, then the fabric weight and texture should be heavier. Wearing a heavy cable knit sweater with a flimsy dress just doesn’t work in most cases.
So Long Sandals, Greeting Galoshes?
Saying so long to our beloved peep-toes and strappy stilettos is heart breaking, for sure! Kiss them a fond farewell and open your mind to other footwear. Often round (closed) toe pumps will keep your tootsies warm enough to traverse here and there while sexy snow bunny boots are fabulous for more inclement weather.
|These sweet little retro heels were found at Alternative Outfitters, a vegan friendly shoe depot!|
|Forget gross galoshes! These riding boots are super sexy with slim pants and a collegiate blazer.|
WWKD – What Would Katharine do?
When facing a fall fashion dilemma, I ask myself “What would Katharine Hepburn do?” The answer is almost always, “Trousers, silly!” One needs only to look at silver screen greats like Kate, Hedy LaMarr, and Marlene Dietrich to find inspiration.
|Katharine Hepburn looking effortlessly sophisticated in a pant suit that is both feminine and strong.
|Marlene Dietrich is an androgynous sex symbol in a man’s suit.|
|My favorite bombshell, Jane Russell is stunning in, well, anything really, but especially in trousers!
Warm? Yes! Frumpy? No!
Perfectly tailored trousers are a smashing way to stay warm and turn heads when everyone else is decked out in mom jeans. Trousers, when fitted properly, accentuate your positives while hiding winter’s indiscretions. Beware of boot cuts and flairs: unless you are six feet tall and 110 lbs, they’ll make your hips and thighs look bigger than they really are! Besides, that silhouette is far from vintage. A straight or wide leg cut is flattering on almost every body type and very old Hollywood!
Covering it all Up!
I can not understand, for the life of me, why a woman would put so much care into her wardrobe and then cover it all up with an ugly winter coat! Just think about it for a moment. You may be wearing the most divine outfit know to man, but no one sees it under a frumpy parka! One can not run around sans coat for obvious reasons, so, what’s a gal to do?
GET A GLAMOROUS COAT!
Your outer wear should be just as fashion forward as the rest of your ensemble because that is what your adoring public sees. Ditch the puffy parka and channel your inner Marilyn… think faux fur!
|The world’s most famous sexual icon cozying up on a blustery day.
You can find a similar faux at Fabulous Furs… or check sites like Etsy for more cost effective versions.
**I’ll save you the tirade on how horrible real fur is and the cruelty involved in the fur trade (and yes, only a little fur counts). I’ll just say this, I am a vegetarian. I do not wear fur or leather for that matter. If you haven’t noticed, all of the links I’ve sent your way have been to animal-friendly items. True beauty must always come from one’s soul.
Faux fur is warm and glamorous. Coats, capes, mufflers, wraps – there are endless possibilities!
If faux isn’t your thing, try revisiting a classic. The trench coat is an iconic symbol of mystery unmatched by any other garment I know of. I always feel like Ingrid Bergman in the farewell scene of Casa Blanca when I wear mine (even though its Bogie wearing the trench).
|Bogie and Bergman saying their good-byes in Casa Blanca.|
The trench, while classy, is fairly limiting. It’s marvelous when paired with trousers or slim skirts, but will leave you looking like a stuffed turkey in a full skirt.
When sporting a bit more fabric in your frock, a swing coat can’t be beat! Swing coats were made for those frothy New Look designs. Some swing coats come as clutch coats with only one or no buttons. This style is meant to be held closed by your dainty gloved hand. While not terribly practical, the imagery is romantic, is it not?!
|Kim Novak wears a clutch swing coat in Vertigo, my absolute favorite Hitchcock film.|
So, this fall and impending winter, do not fret! There is no need to encase yourself in a flannel tomb. Open your heart and closet to a new world of fabrics, colors, and styles. When all else fails, ask yourself WWKD?