Secrets to Being Glamorous for Every Occassion – Dealing With Cold

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Last time we looked at how to maintain a sense of glamour whilst tackling heavy cleaning or dirty jobs. Today’s post is all about how to deal with super chilly weather and not come out looking like a crazed Arctic explorer.  I really feel the cold and finding ways to dress well, especially on those mornings it has dropped to a chilly one degree in my bedroom, used to prove a big challenge.  From the responses I received on Twitter as well as comments on the last post and a number of personal emails, it seems that dressing in cold weather is an issue for many of you.

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Firstly, let me preface this by saying that my experience with cold weather is mostly limited to the type of weather we have here in Australia.  This means that I’ve never lived somewhere that it snows all the time during winter, and although I have spent quite a bit of time  in the snow it was only for recreational purposes where heels and snowboards don’t mix.  So the advice I can give you on this one is really aimed at anyone who finds that their winters get to lows of about zero degrees and not more.  To check out how to look gorgeous in absolutely freezing conditions check out Freelancer’s Fashion blog from Helsinki ( I have quite the love affair with this beautiful woman).

Back to Basics

Keeping warm on the worst of cold days has forced me to remember things I wore as a child that, somewhere along the line as an adult I forgot all about.  Mum would always bundle you into a singlet and thick woolen tights each day before beginning to add the outfit.  As an adult, wearing a singlet was something I’d forgotten about until a few years back, but their rediscovery was an absolute revelation.

  • Thermal underwear. It may sound like the reserve of invalids, old ladies and story book hillbillies; but these are about the best things ever invented. When dressing in winter I always begin my layering with whichever style of thermals will work for my outfit. I keep singlet types and long sleeve tops that are made of a super fine knit merino wool that breathes well but traps that layer of warmth as close to your skin as possible.  One of the mistakes people make when layering in winter is to layer up on the outside only. The best way to trap heat is to keep it close to the skin and thermals are the best way to make this happen (well, short of spending the day wrapped in cling film).  You can buy these pieces everywhere – KMart, Harris Scarf, Target etc.. and each singlet top will set you back $9-$20 depending on the composition and whether they are on sale or not.
  • Leg wear. Winter doesn’t mean that you have to live in pants, there are other sneaky ways of keeping chill at bay. I love my opaque tights in winter and mixing up an extreme contrasting colour palette is one of the things I love about the season. The trick to getting the best opaques is not to scrimp on these. Buy the best denier (that is closest weave) you can afford.  Not only will it help stop the chill factor, but the higher the denier the less likely you are to put a hole in them.  Brands I like and wear quite often are Voodoo, Jonathan Aston, We Love Colours (online store with amazing range of colours, patterns and plus size hoisery).  Both Voodoo and Jonathan Aston make knitted tights too, so if you need to up the warmth factor, going for a wool blend, close knit, really works.
  • And here is a secret that you will most likely only hear on Super Kawaii Mama – what about if you need to wear stockings that are flesh coloured for your outfit? How do you do that without loosing a leg to frost bite?  My secret weapon is compression tights! I buy the kind of flesh coloured support hose that are worn by Air Hostess’s to keep DVT at bay and their legs from aching.  You can get these in a variety of qualities, colours and grades of compression, but the benefit of these is two fold. Firstly, they are lovely and thick but don’t appear so. They cut the wind chill factor significantly and still look good.  But the best part about these is the compression factor – it keeps up the blood flow in your legs keeping you nice and warm,more so than any other style of tights will be able to do.  They aren’t an expensive option either.  The ones I wear for day to day (only a relatively light compression, you can find much stronger) are found at supermarkets and retail for about $7, “Sheer Relief” and from memory come in a variety of shades including black opaques.
  • Hats.  This is pretty self explanatory as we’re all taught that 90% of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so wearing a hat is kind of a no-brainer (ha ha)! Once again though, choose a stylish version that will carry you through each day without the need to remove it indoors.  For me, this means a knitted beret – please no beanies unless you are in the snow.  Choosing something simple like a beret is a good, gentle option for those of you that find wearing a more dramatic style of hat attracts too much attention.  They are easy to customise to your outfit or the occasion – adding brooches for fancier days or leaving them plain for stay at home or simple days.  Note- Berets are also a brilliant ‘I haven’t had time to do my hair’ solution to. Pile it all up in there, pitch it at a jaunty angle and you’re good to go.
  • Scarves. No doubt we all have the woollen, knitted versions of these; but they don’t always cut it in the glam stakes making us look more like snowmen than ice queens.  A big, good quality, square silk scarf (or even an imitation silk of heavyweight) works just as well but has more versatility. There are infinite ways to tie these for extra glamour factor, but if you find yourself out in the freezing wind they can be tied around your hair and ears for a climate chaser of the more stylish variety.  Wrapping your head in a knitted scarf is more homeless chic that Grace Kelly, hence always having one of these scarves around will save you both from the cold and having to carry a paper cup for change.
  • Gloves. Oh Winter, how I love you for you opportunities to over accessorise!  Again, this is an easy one with gloves being available everywhere. And once again it is all about making a stylish choice in the first place.  Having one pair of soft red leather gloves is far better than half a dozen acrylic ones from the $2 shop.  If you like the soft, fluffy feel, be on the look out for felt gloves with feature stitching.  The number of place now also making fingerless gloves and arm warmers have also come to my rescue as sitting stationary, typing for hours on end used to cause my hands to turn blue with cold.  If you find yourself in the same predicament, then arm warmers will be your saviour. There are wrist length frilly ones or simple, over the elbow lengths that can be worn underneath your sleeve for extra stealth warmth.
  • Footwear. Boots are the obvious winter choice, but as Miss Lizzy who asked me about the cold in the above comment, can’t wear them, I thought I’d offer you another on of my winter secrets. If you’ve followed all of the previous advice and want a little extra something for the feet, lambswool inner soles are magic!  Most of the versions of these inner soles are actually acrylic (aka Vegan) and can be purchased in supermarkets.  You can cut them down and fit them into just about any shoe or boot, providing you allow for the fact that they will take up about 1/4 of the shoe size point. Eg – if you wear a size 8 shoe, adding these will make them feel more like a 7&1/2 to 7& 3/4.  You can find actual lambswool inserts at specialty fleece stores and they have a better wear factor than the acrylic.  So for about $11, you can feel like you are wearing your fluffy slippers about all day and no-one is the wiser!

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And there you have it – my secrets revealed!  I’d like to know how these tips work for those of you suffering from cold this winter and if you have any other brain waves to add, please let us know in the comments section. Remember, if there are tips and tricks you’d like to know to help you overcome the roadblocks in your path to living more glamorously – Write to me and we’ll add it to the list.

Next time  in Secrets to Being Glamorous for Every Occassion- So little time, so much to do.

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Candice DeVille

Specialty Vintage Stylist, Blogger, and Presenter; Candice DeVille has been writing Super Kawaii Mama since early 2008. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she's always in search of the next glamorous adventure. Bringing you vintage style, glamour and inspiration for the 21st Century.
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32 Comments

  1. Agree, Sheer Relief are great. I wear them to work on ‘long’ days and they really do help. Some of my fellow flight crew hate that they sometimes can look ‘thick’ in the black colour, so Ambra also do a 20-denier pair called Legcare 20 which have a bit more stretch in them and slightly more sheen. You can get them in Myer and while they’re a bit more expensive Myer quite often do 30% off so they work out to around $8 a pair then.

  2. This is an excellent series! You are so inspirational and my wardrobe is grateful. Hats are a tricky item for ,although I love them so, the ones I love the most attract far too much attention. Subtlety is key, I suppose. I am especially excited for the next installment (busy mommy does not have to equal unkempt mommy!)

  3. Expect Cowgirls /

    Oh SKM thankyou for this post!! I’m extremely sensitive to the cold so I find it really hard to look my best during Winter (or even Autumn) and it doesn’t help that, even in July, magazines feature sleeveless tops, strappy dresses and a token beanie. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who actually needs warm clothes, so it’s lovely to see someone glamourous actually acknowledge this. And I’ll definitely be trying the compression tights and lambswool inner soles, thanks for the great tips!

    If anyone else out there likes to actually be warm in the Winter, I heartily endorse the Merino wool longsleeved tops from Glassons. They cost about $40 and they are nice and warm without being bulky. Target have some leopard print thermal tops in right now, which I am going to buy next time they have a sale – much more fun than the nana-style white ones. On really cold days I like to wear nude tights under my jeans too! Say what you like about this dorky move, at least I’m warm.

    This Winter I’m thinking of wearing fur as well (real or fake, I don’t care, mine’s always vintage anyway so the animals have been dead for decades); I’m just not sure if it would look too weird at uni with my jeans.

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Expect Cowgirls: I love the Merino tops from Portmans too and wear mine all the time. The leopard print thermal sounds fun, but I kinda like the nana appeal of my others. Kinky sexy ;)

  4. aurelia /

    LOVE my compression tights. In the depths of winter here in the American Midwest zero degrees centigrade is balmy. I wear them for weeks at a time under all my other tights.

  5. Thankyou so much for this post. I also live in Melbourne, and the nippy weather is really starting to get me down. These are some excellent, practical ideas that I will be putting into effect immediately.

  6. My best winter suggestion is silk thermals. Synthetics are grand, but nothing’s as warm and weightless as silk. Even a sleeveless top can add warmth on not-so-chilly days, and there are long-sleeved ones (and bottoms!) for when the mercury truly plummets. They’re almost sheer, so they don’t add bulk under clothes.

    I also rely on leg and arm warmers in chillier weather. They take up very little space in a bag, but cover places where veins run close to the surface, which are big sources of heat loss. Arm warmers are particularly nice for bridging the nasty gap between glove cuff and coat sleeve that the wind always seems to sneak into.

    Also, pile on moisturizer and lip balm in cold weather. Chilly winter air outdoors and heated air indoors wreaks havoc on skin.

  7. Sarah /

    Thankyou for this post SKM! very helpful as it’s just starting to get chilly here in Sydney.
    I must try those compression tights, they sound like bliss! my advice would be also gloves. I just bought a new woollen pair from peter alexander on the weekend and they are excellently warm! (and cute; red with bows and frills!)
    Now I’m actually excited about the cooler months!
    Also, I have to comment on that vogue cover! Amazing! I wish they still sold knits like that!

  8. Lorri /

    What excellent suggestions. Your mention of a knitted beret had me searching ebay and google for styles and I found this site. I thought you or your crafty readers might be interested, (I’m more of a novice and persistent knitter): http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory/hats.php

    It has a huge list of links to knitting patterns to knit your own hat – the first pattern appears “free”, but for subsequent ones you’ll need to register (still free).

    Looking forward to your next installment :-) Lorri xx

  9. jaja, buen post!

  10. Target have merino long johns in at the moment. Well they call them long johns, I call them footless tights for winter :) My podiatrist also told me to wear compression tights – not for health reasons but they last longer without laddering.

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Kathryn: Yes, that brand is very effective. I wear them when I’m snowboarding and they are just the ticket!

  11. Those compression tights are a great idea! I will definitely be looking out for those at my next trip to Kmart or whatnot.

    I’m lucky that I don’t feel the cold too much, so over-layering has me sweltering especially if I’m moving from hot indoors to cold outdoors frequently throughout the day.
    But some great tips on staying warm – another one that is fun is layering tights – eg I just bought some super cute knee-high socks and I intend to wear them layered over thick tights when it gets super cold.

  12. bec /

    omg i had lambs wool insoles when i was in high school & they were awesome!!! i did also wear wool blend tights with knee high socks underneath! i have to say singlets rock! not only do i wear them under my work shirts, i love soft cottony ones to wear to bed! i’m glad i moved from bendigo to the gold coast, a few good cardies, a decent jumper & a jacket (for nite time) will last for years! thanks for all the great tips i really enjoy reading them, it’s great to have a different point of view of fashion instead of being told ‘ must have’ :)

  13. Melissa /

    SKM: I love these posts. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and secrets.

    I’m especially looking forward to the next post.

    Thank you!
    Melissa

  14. Absolutely loving the glamour for every occasion posts. Brilliant!

  15. Hello Kindred Spirit!

    I have just discovered you… yesterday I found your post on simple pin curls and lastnight I tried it and slept on it.
    I had to let you know that it worked beautifully!!! I am beyond excited because I have been trying pin curls for YEARS without success….
    I kept ending up with a frizzy tight curled mess!! I’d wet it and wind it up with product in it, just like it said and it was awful!!

    Thank you, thank you….. I look forward to much more wisdom and inspiration!! (Love the scarf post too, tied off to the side, so simple…. why didn’t I think of that! xx
    xx Lucy

  16. Claire /

    I have the trouble with boots, a good website is fitted boots they are in the UK and make bespoke made to measure boots for about $200 -$300A. Very good for us girls with the bigger than standard legs but also good if you have thinner legs.

    I love thermals my nana always gives me looks when I say this though.

    • Claire /

      Sorry guys Fitted boots is now gone but there is also duo boots

  17. Alba /

    I already implement most of these tips in my Winter Outfits and boy – do THEY make a helluva difference! If I’d had to pick the ones I’ve found the most useful they’d have to be thermal vests and scarves! They really do keep you feeling warm in the chilly weather. Also – compression tights – who would’ve known! Will make sure to try them out next Winter :)

    xo

  18. Thank you so much for these posts! Getting glam while always freezing is one of my biggest fashion challenges. I live in New England where we have v. snowy & icy winters, and then as soon as it warms up, everyone blasts the AC and I’m freezing again. Some weeks I live in my coat, indoors and out, or walk around the house wrapped in a blanket! I’m looking forward to trying these tips!

  19. Loving ANY ideas you have.

    I personally LOVE my wool blend tights in pretty colours :)

  20. Loved the lambs wool inner sole idea! I’m spending my first winter outside QLD in ten years and really feeling it being on the central coast in NSW. I have four pairs of boots but this will extend my options a lot more, thanks :)

  21. Candice, you are… just a goddess to me. Thank you so much for recommending ‘We Love Colors’. I’m an AUS size 16 and it is, like, IMPOSSIBLE for me to get really cool stockings or tights in cool colours and styles. Seriously, plus size girls get little to no love as far as this goes, I always trawl Myer and specialty stores. I am so set for winter now, I’m going to rock this dreery season away with some bright pink tights!

    I will build a shrine in your honor!

  22. Kat /

    Oh wow!

    So often I’ve spent ages carefully curating the perfect outfit only to have to rug up under a big chunky coat! There are two week’s worth of photos in Japan that look like they were taken on the same day… *sigh*

    Thank you for your relentless pursuit to make looking fab so effortless :)

  23. Miss Lizzy,
    I’m also in Canberra and I absolutely LUUUURVE dressing for our chilly winters! Lovely warm tights and boots are perfect with skirts or dresses. I’ve been wearing an op-shop found fur jacket to keep warm (ahh it’s perfect) and it’s a bit more glam than the old parka! and don’t forget gloves and a cute hat.
    If you are having trouble with boots to fit your calves you should check out
    http://www.bootsforbroads.com local to Canberra – these are a revelation for those who have frustrations such as yours!
    And come visit me at Handmade Market (june 5th)… have I got some warmer accessories for you! xxx

  24. Sarah /

    Lauren, there are these tights called “curvaceous”at franklins, coles, woolies…. they are 70 denier! (yay!) for black opaques, but also come in 15 denier skin coloured and black sheer. They have sizes that fit right up to 160kg (i think) and they feel super soft. Maybe give them a go?

  25. So nice.
    Lilou

  26. Kawaii Mama is writing a fantastic series of posts on how to be glamourous for every occassion, even when it’s freezing or you are cleaning the house. Very inspiring right now –

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