Dressing for Winter

NEW YEAR, SAME STYLE

It’s a new year.. and I feel really content to be entering it with the same ‘style’ as last year. And the year before. Of course, I’m always weeding pieces out of my closet that no longer serve me or feel quite right, and adding new items that I think will fill in the gaps. But for the most part I don’t have any gnawing new year feelings to ‘refresh my wardrobe’. And it’s a relief.

Likely a combination of age and the fact that I’ve been really conscious these past few years about honing in on what feels most like ‘me’. Which is to say a mix of classics and more modern pieces, a balance of feminine and masculine, and things largely influenced by the 90s (think Carolyn Bessette not Courtney Love) and the late 50s/ early 60s. These days I try to collect items that are ‘forever pieces’ – even if they won’t physically hold up for as long as I live, they’re items that I can see myself wearing now, and in my 50s or my 70s.

This wasn’t always the case for me though. I can vividly remember standing in front of an overstuffed closet back in 2017/2018 and thinking I had absolutely nothing to wear. If you are in the same place now, or consistently fall victim to picking up trendy items that feel great in the moment but then feel tired in a year – I feel you. My best advice to combat it is to do a major closet cleanse, keeping only the items that truly fit and bring you joy. Then make Pinterest mood boards of the styles and outfits that you think you’d feel great in. From there, slowly and thoughtfully find pieces that will work with the items you already have and push you towards those mood board looks until you can cobble your closet back together.

I started this for myself in January of 2019 and now 3 years later I can reach into my closet nearly blindfolded and put together an outfit. It’s not an overnight process but it’s one that, for me, was well worth the effort.

So if you see me in this outfit again in a year… or a decade… that’s fine by me.

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Exact handbag, jeans, and white shirt are linked above, vest is vintage and exact blazer and heels are old.

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THE PERFECT PUMPS WITH SARAH FLINT

I rarely subscribe to the idea of hitting certain milestones by certain ages, but I do feel fairly strongly about the fact that by the time you’re in your 30s you should have a few specific items in your closet that are fail proof. A really nice blazer. A pair of jeans you feel great in. And the perfect black pumps that don’t hurt your feet.

My closet was, until now, lacking the latter. When NYC-brand Sarah Flint asked me to sign on to be a brand ambassador I jumped at the chance. I’m long admired the female founder’s mission of wanting to create high quality, timeless shoes that are *actually* comfortable. All of the shoes are handmade in Italy and has a legion of devoted fans that include Cindy Crawford, Meghan Markle and Amal Clooney.

I chose the ‘Perfect Pump 85’ in black suede because I knew they’d go with anything and everything and stay in my closet for years to come. And the comfort factor? Truly next level. I feel like it absorbed the shock of the concrete sidewalks and actually had arch support that nestled all the way up to my high arches – which has never once happened in a pair of heels for me.

Right now – you can use code SARAHFLINT-BASTEELE to get $50 off 1 pair, $100 off 2 pairs, $150 off 3 pairs or $200 off 4 pairs during their Black Friday sale. And even after that passes, my code will get first time shoppers $50 off a pair. The perfect pairs are waiting.

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WINTER OUTERWEAR WITH TALBOTS

I’m notorious for waiting too long into a season to think about winter coats. But with a little bit of pre-planning, I’m fully stocked this year thanks to Talbots, who consistently make outerwear that I truly love.

I find it nice to have a few options on hand each season that can hold up to a variety of weather, from crisp fall days to truly chilly winter ones. Plus ones that work whether I’m headed for a walk in the park, a day at the office or out on a date.

Exhibit A is this black and white wool coat. It’s a really nice, thick weight and I love that I can wear it with a simple sweater and boots for walking around the city – but I could also put it on over a dress and feel super chic for a night out.

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Next up is this ivory puffer coat. I like that it’s hip length so that it doesn’t totally overwhelm my frame (I’m 5’4″ for reference) and the big portrait collar makes it feel modern. Bonus points for fleece-lined pockets. Toss it on over your favorite fair isle sweater and you’re out to door for running holiday errands, ice-skating in the park or hot chocolate dates.

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Last – but certainly not least – is this veryyy luxe looking green velvet blazer. It’s also a really nice weight meaning it works for days that are cool but not cold. I can’t wait to wear this to work to feel festive or dressed up with a silky slip skirt and heels. Now who wants to meet me for a glass of champagne so I can have a reason to wear this blazer again?

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*Thank you to Talbots for sponsoring this post and to you all, as always.

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A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 1-12-21

I always find myself hitting reset on my wardrobe in January and going back to basics. Usually we’re coming off a season full of sparkles – and although it was more like a season full of sweatpants this holiday season, it still feels good to be getting up these first couple of weeks of the year and putting on a real outfit.

Below – the outfits I’ve worn this past week. If anything was older or unavailable to shop, I linked a similar item.

BACK TO BACK ZOOM MEETINGS:

This dress is quickly becoming my go to for instant polish. I found this lace blouse on major sale and I love the way it adds a little interest to the look while still being neutral.

MORNING WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

I got these boots and high-rise flare jeans back in the Fall and I’ve worn the combo countless times since. A navy sweater and silk scarf feels a little bit retro, a little bit modern.

LUNCH DATE:

Last weekend, we took advantage of a warm afternoon and grabbed lunch outside at one of our favorite neighborhood spots. I can’t wait to wear this dress with bare legs come spring, but until then – tights, boots and a headband for good measure. This print looks to be sold out now, so I linked two other prints still available.

AFTERNOON AT HOME:

While I like a pair of sweatpants as much as the next person, a stretchy pair of jeggings and a simple top is a nice alternative when you want to feel a little more put together. I love the subtle ruffle on the sleeves and peter pan collar details on this shirt.

CASUAL FRIDAY:

My no-fail combo is a simple pair of jeans, t-shirt and a great oversized blazer. I usually pair with my favorite lucky charms (mostly vintage charms and mine + my grandmother’s ring) and throw on a scarf if I’m heading out at lunch to grab a Diet Coke.

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SIMPLE JOYS THIS SEASON

From the general consensus that I’ve gathered on the internet – a lot of us are struggling right now. We’re tired from the election/news cycle, we’re missing our family and friends, we feel daunted by the thought of renewed Covid-19 restrictions (my dear friend in Minnesota just went into full lockdown again in their town), we’re sad that the holidays won’t look like normal this year. I get it. And I feel all of it too.

My family just made the tough decision not to gather for Thanksgiving this year – a first for us all aside from the year that Adam and I were in LA. My brother in law traveled recently so he needs to quarantine, my niece and nephew are still in daycare, Adam still works in the office – so even to have just my immediate family together (3 different households) would put my parents at risk who are in regular contact out of necessity with my two grandparents, both in their 90s. A meal together just didn’t feel worth the risk.

Which means Adam and I will celebrate here in the city for the first time. Since I wasn’t about to attempt to cook a full turkey dinner in our small kitchen, we ordered a multi-course meal from a favorite local restaurant (Friend of A Farmer) to-go. It feels like a great way to support a local business and also get something that still feels special. In a situation that felt like sort of a bummer, I’m now really looking forward to a small, quiet holiday – just the two of us.

It’s that approach of focusing on simple joys that I’m trying to take to heart for the whole rest of this uncertain season. I’m talking Little Women-era basics at this point. The things that you’re otherwise always too busy to slow down and really revel in. Things that feel cozy and content. Here are a few of the simple joys I plan on indulging in this season.

  • Pick up a holiday scented candle (this one is a favorite) and string some lights. Now that it gets dark early I find the warm glow so comforting in the evening.
  • Treat yourself to a new flavor of tea or coffee to make at home. I’ve been loving a cup of peppermint tea in the evenings while I read.
  • Take a long, hot bath – extra bubbles too.
  • Handwrite letters (or holiday cards!) to friends and family that you might not get to see in person this season. Mail like that really makes people’s day.
  • Bake something – even if it’s out of a box. We just got a gingerbread mix from Trader Joe’s I’m excited to try. I love when the whole apartment smells like something fresh out of the oven.
  • Devour a new show – I mentioned on IG stories but The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is incredible and I’m planning to dive into the latest season of The Crown today (Princess Diana here I come!) – or have a holiday movie marathon. Love Actually is always my favorite.
  • Play an old-fashioned board game. We bought Scrabble last year and it’s one of our favorite at-home date nights. We usually mix up a cocktail and put on our favorite records too. Finding an online game to play with a friend could be great too though!
  • Speaking of cocktails – is there anything a homemade hot toddy can’t solve? If whiskey’s not your thing – substitute a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
  • Pick up a new book and get lost in it for an afternoon. I’m currently reading Royal Holiday which is super sweet. And I plan on sharing a whole round-up of other cute holiday-themed books soon!

Sometimes simple joys are the best kind.

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(Wrap + Corduroys c/o Talbots, Ballet Flats c/o Margaux NY – enjoy 10% off your order with code: STEELE10)

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.