I have had spent winter in Chicago. And I lived to tell the tale. (Of course I'm telling the tale from sunny LA, but that's another story. Wait, actually it's this story. So, never mind.) The freezing temperatures threw me for a loop. (And I don't mean The Loop, Chicago's downtown.) My first attempt to deal with the cold was to ignore it. I walked around in summer dresses and heels. (Do you know what salt does to heels? Actually, if you're from LA you don't even know that the city salts the sidewalks when it's snowy. See how much you're learning already?)
Clearly my ignore-the-weather plan was not going to work long term. On top of the near frostbite, everywhere I looked I saw grey. The snow that initially fell in romantic, white wisps of cotton, turned grey and slushy on the roads. The sky was grey, the streets were grey, the squirrels were grey, the lake was grey and the trees were grey. I swear even the Chicago White Sox started to look grey. Everyone was miserable and grey. Which is when I created my survival plan. While to others a winter survival plan meant stocking up on firewood and batteries, to me it meant finding ways to dress warmly but still on-trend.
First and foremost, don't shy away from color. Less sunlight can be depressing. When everything else is various degrees of grey, adding a touch of color can brighten your lookandyour outlook. (Is it any wonder the bandChicagoreleased the song "Colour My World"? Even they realized the need for color during the drab winter.)
Scarves and gloves are great ways to add a touch of style and fun to an outfit. (Just don't forget them when you walk inside a warm office. I swear they walk away by themselves. Is there some MeetUp club where they all are headed?)
Boots. Need I say more? (Well, if you're British and thinking Wellies, then I do need to say more.) There are so many delicious boots out there and you can't easily wear them when it's 90 degrees out. (Although apparently some LA girls think tank tops, short denim skirts and Uggs make sense. I blame too much hair bleach killing off brain cells. Stop the madness.)
A big cozy sweater or chunky sweater coat lets me imagine I'm in Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher or walking the Moors about to meet Heathcliff. (I'll take either the Tom Hardy or the Ralph Fiennes Heathcliff please.)
Turtlenecks are a great substitute for blouses (or even under a blouse) as a change of pace. Especially great if you don't like your neck (or need to hide a hickey. Which is a much better reason.)
Opaque tights can keep you warm and have become so trendy and fun. (Just avoid a fishnet tight which really only looks appropriate in the movieChicago.)