Anyone who has experienced winter in Rochester knows the temperatures aren’t exactly accommodating to the concerns of the stylish. At the drop of the mercury, everyone gains 10 pounds of down and fleece that don’t leave their bodies until March. Dozens of nondescript furry hoods and long, puffy jackets can be seen scurrying around the quad for months on end.

Everyone likes to look hot, but no one likes to be cold. Avoiding the latter is easy by piling on thick, baggy clothing, but then you look exactly like all the other overstuffed undergrads. So take off your North Face fleeces, oversized hoodies and baggy UR sweatpants and be original! Follow these three steps and you’ll be on your way to cold-weather chic.

1. Accessorize: This may be one of the most clichd ‘fashion” words around, but a printed silk scarf knotted around your neck, a wristful of chunky bracelets or a bunch of draping necklaces can add a much-needed dash of personality. In the winter, however, the ever-present coats, scarves, hats and gloves can make it hard to wear excessive accessories. So why not make accessories out of your winter gear?

Choosing stylish cold-weather accoutrements is one of the easiest ways to maintain your own style in winter. Arguably, the easiest exhibit of personality is a scarf. Do you favor preppy East Coast collegiate style? Buy a tartan or argyle scarf to liven up your cable-knits and khakis. Is comfort your main concern? A soft cashmere or silky pashmina will look beautiful nestling your neck. Will frilly feminine designs suit you best? Fringe and embroidery are a fashion-forward way to keep warm. Even the hipsters among us can have their pick of studded styles and buffalo plaids to add interest to their winter wardrobes.

Another accessory to pay attention to when dressing up is your footwear. When the temperature drops, half the campus can be seen sporting the bloated ‘boots with the fur” appropriately called UGGs. They add nothing in the way of a personal statement, and they are made of a decidedly nonwinter material that looks sad at the first encounter with dry salt and brown slush. Better options: sophisticated, tall leather boots that elongate the legs or edgy ankle boots. Sneakers are another favorable alternative, with companies like Nike Sportswear, Vans, Keds and Converse revamping the traditional trainer with materials including satin, pvc and color-blocked leather.

2. Layer creatively: As the prodigious Marc Jacobs has shown, layering is one of the warmest ways to inject adrenaline into your ensemble. Add interest to an outfit by varying the lengths of each garment to avoid looking bulky. Make sure each layer is a different length for example, a silky blouse topped with a long cardigan and a fitted blazer looks put together instead of piled on.

Another key is using different textures, prints and colors to stir up the mix. This is important in winter when dark colors can get depressing. Pairing a wool blazer with a lacy shirt, a fringed scarf and jeans is a simple way to unite textures, while a polka-dot paired with a plaid can be an unexpected aesthetic surprise.

3. Pay attention to proportion: Layers are great, but if they envelop your whole body, you’ll look much larger. Instead, be sure to isolate the layering to one half of your body, keeping the lines leaner on the other half.

Leggings and tights are a great way to balance proportions, but at all costs make sure your top covers your goodies. As should be nominally obvious, leggings are not pants! Make sure to stick to the darker colors and longer lengths to elongate the body. Layering two pairs of leggings or tights with warm socks and boots will keep you as warm if not warmer than a pair of jeans. They are also a great way to repurpose summer dresses and skirts. To ensure lean lines with jeans, make sure they are cut skinny or straight in darker washes.

Now, I am not suggesting that everyone look runway ready every wintry day. Sometimes it is just too cold to try too hard to look your best. But remembering these simple tips to keep yourself looking original, interesting and stylish will put you in a good mood despite the coldest of temperatures in Rochester!

Nicosia is a member of the class of 2009.



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