La Belle Vie: 2012 Winter Style Guide

By Isobel Markham | 1/9/12 3:54pm

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Courtesy Of North News & Pictures Ltd

In the north of England where I was an undergrad, girls are renowned for their lackadaisical approach to keeping warm while out on the town. In fact, it’s not uncommon for pictures of Newcastle girls braving the elements in next to nothing on a night out to make the front pages of tabloid newspapers.If, however, you are not in possession of rhino hide instead of skin — like me — you might want to start considering options for staying alive over the coming months without surrendering to sweatpants and micro-fleece. You can look chic and warm without resorting to hiking gear.

If you’re heading out to the "Real World" (South Main Street), then you have much more flexibility, thanks to the handy coat-racks found in most establishments. However, if Frat Row is your destination, you’re going to have to be a bit more imaginative. Here are my top tips for party survival during the Big Chill (and not a fleece in sight):


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Courtesy Of Longchamp.Com

1. There is almost no limit to what you can fit inside a Longchamp handbag. Almost literally. With the large-sized bag, the world is your oyster. Just make sure you clean all your stuff out of the bottom of it before you go out — spare pens, handouts and water bottles all take up valuable space.

2. Now you have all of this space in your bag, you can start layering up. A cardigan, knit sweater and a coat or a hoodie should to do it.


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Courtesy Of Uniqlo

3. Your regular black opaque tights won’t offer you much protection when it’s 1 degree outside. However, Uniqlo’s Heattech ribbed tights are tried and tested (by me) and will certainly do the job as you wander up and down Frat Row.


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Courtesy Of Saks Fifth Avenue

4. Boots. No, I’m not talking snow boots, I’m talking pretty high-heeled boots, like these Louboutins (No, I can’t afford them either). If you think you won’t be warm enough, try some cute wool knee-high socks peeking out at the top.


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Courtesy Of L.L. Bean

5. If you’re determined to wear strappy heels for tails, there is a way. It’s not pretty, but it works. Even I have to admit that cramming your snow boots into your Longchamp is unfeasible, but the next best thing to keep your feet toasty is L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good Mocs. They may technically be slippers, but whatever. Desperate times and all that.


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Courtesy Of Urban Outfitters

6. Make like the Russians and throw on some fur. If it’s head wear you’re after, look no further than this gorgeous Paul Smith sheepskin headband. For the last few years, a faux fur stole has been my best friend. Even when you’re down to a strappy dress, you can still keep it round your shoulders as a festive nod to the temperatures outside.

7. Don’t even think about going out without gloves. There’s two ways you could go with this, depending on your personality — the cute fair isle patterned option or the cashmere-lined leather

The most important thing now is to make sure you don’t lose any of it in a drunken haze, otherwise you might freeze to death on the way home. If you do have trouble locating your layers at the end of the night, you could always ask someone to lend you a sweater or maybe sling an arm around your shoulder. Who can say no to a damsel in a dress?

Isobel Markham