Practical Winter Layering vs Faux Winter Styling | Slouchy Knit, Coated Jeans, Metallic Brogues | Caramel, Black & Bronze

How do you dress or layer to cope with Winter weather?

Although we’re past the shortest day thank goodness, mid Winter has wrapped its icy grip well and truly around us now.  Snow fell in London last week – the first snowflakes this Winter.  I woke up on Thursday morning and our car was a delicate white, instead of its normal blue colour!

And even in France, on our New Year break it wasn’t exactly warm!

Layers, layers, layers, duck down, wool, cashmere, beret, gloves and scarf; all kept me warm on a day out.

The drop in temperature these past few weeks has definitely been a challenge to find ways to do Winter layering that is realistic and contemporary whilst staying true to my style personality that likes to have fun.  Cue trawling blogs and fashion sites for outfit inspiration.

Now not everyone experiences Winter in the same way.  Winter in California sure ain’t the same as Winter in Copenhagen. However, living in the UK where Winters can be very cold, I do want to see realistic winter styling that I can relate to.

I love the sage green coat over the slouchy knit.  This stylish lady looks like she can take on some snow with ease.

Winters Looks from New York


Or how about a double turtleneck?  Slip a thick wool turtle over a thin striped one for a simple yet interesting look under a winter coat.  Even if you overheat once inside, you can easily take off the jumper and the striped turtle will still look stylish.

Double Turtleneck

However, not all the styling I’ve seen has been practical or even realistic.  Lots of emails from bloglovin’ have been dropping into my inbox lately with catchy titles such as

‘7 Cosy outfits to stay warm this Winter’


’15 Layered looks to beat the Chills’

And only this afternoon another one landed exclaiming 5 Stylish Looks to Combat the Snow.

I had to chuckle as only the first photo features snow.  In the second photo the lady has bare ankles and sneakers which wouldn’t combat the snow at all, none are wearing hats or gloves and three are wearing boots that would seriously slip on actual snow and ice.  And I’m not alone is thinking how silly that title is in relation to the outfits shown.  At least half the comments echo my thoughts exactly,

I’ve clicked through all these emails and the pages of uber fashionista bloggers and street style sites with initial excitement at the prospect of gaining inspiration and yet… and yet that initial excitement quickly, sadly turns into frustration, as all too often I’m presented with what I call ‘faux winter styling‘.  There are a few gems amongst them but so many of the outfits wouldn’t past muster if worn in climes where Winter is experienced with a capital W!

If I see one more example of supposed winter styling of unstructured coat, shirt, distressed jeans, bare ankles and pumps I will scream more loudly and ear piercingly than a banshee!

I can’t tell you how over I am at seeing faux winter styling.

Why, why, why would you wear socks with heeled summer sandals in Winter???  Someone please explain.

I dig the vinyl trousers but WTF with the sandals???

The Fashion Easters

Or bare ankles in New York when there’s snow on the ground?

Yes, it can still be Winter in March in New York (when this was posted) as I can very well testify. I’ve battled my way down 5th Avenue when the wind has been so howlingly cold in March, it’s penetrated my bones and turned them to ice!

Bare ankles in minus temperatures?  No thank you.  I’ll keep frostbite to polar explorers.  Wet soggy toes when it rains.  I’d rather not.  Yet both photos were recently included in round up posts showcasing Winter styles.

And here we have the classic ‘2 seasons in 1’ outfit.

Autumn/Winter top half.  Summer bottom half.

The Atlantic Pacific

Don’t get me wrong.  I love all 3 outfits in the main.  Take the last one.  Top half is ticking all the boxes.  I love the grey cable knit sweater with the brown biker jacket and the plaid scarf tones beautifully with both.

Then we get to the lower half and the leather skinnies and I’m still going, yes, fabulous, rock that pose with the half tilt of the head and those to die for sunglasses BUT then it’s

Open toed sandals???  Again?

Call me pedantic if you will, but my logic says that if it’s cold enough to wear a shirt, a sweater, a leather jacket AND a scarf

it sure as heck AIN’T warm enough to be wearing open toed sandals!!!

With so much choice of funky footwear to wear with such a cool outfit, I mean let’s for a second muse on how awesome some snakeskin ankle boots would’ve been with this …

… Have you mused? … Wouldn’t they, right?    … then I don’t understand the sandals.

Faux winter styling.

Now before anyone says I shouldn’t be bashing other bloggers, we’re all in the sisterhood together, yadda yadda yadda, I get it, I really do.  However, the flip side to that is, I see nothing wrong in pointing out the faintly ridiculous or the totally unrealistic.  

I don’t care that the big players have budgets waaaaay bigger than mine or that they are given an endless supply of clothes to wear on their blogs by brands beating a path to their door.  I really don’t. Of course I know they’re upping the ante to display a certain high fashion magazine aesthetic.  It’s all about creating so called aspirational looks.  However, I do want to see outfits that I can at least relate too, that are based in some reality of the season and the urban environment I inhabit.

I live on a commuter line and when I travel into London, I don’t see women on the trains sporting bare ankles, or parading tulle skirts worn with oversized jumpers that make the wearer look like a 3 year old playing dress up.

Below I’m wearing a very similar outfit to Atlantic Pacific.  And I wore this outfit last Winter, funnily enough also when visiting France in January and funnily enough also with the same pendant I’m wearing in my current outfit!  Ok, so my skinnies are coloured rather than leather but it’s still a shirt, a knit, a leather jacket and a scarf; polished off with purple suede ankle boots and some snazzy polka dot gloves.

Real, practical yet stylish winter layering.

So where does all this leave my original outfit?  Had you forgotten about that whilst I went on a rant?  

Well, it came about because I WAS inspired by a practical yet stylish outfit I’d seen on a blog.


In early December I read this post on High Heels in the Wilderness, by Susan, a Canadian blogger I can highly recommend, which had included this photo below.  And my eyes lit up!  

And why wouldn’t they be?  This is the kind of winter layering I was after.  Cosy knit, leather trousers, shirt just peeping out below the jumper, sturdy boots.  Easy, effortless and importantly, warm looking.  

Le Fashion

And Susan, the said Canadian blogger I can recommend, had clearly had her eyes lit up by it too.  Lit up to the extent that she styled a version of Camilla’s look, using existing pieces in her wardrobe.

I love Susan’s interpretation, using a silky turtleneck underneath which looks just as good as a shirt. Simple, understated, yet very stylish.

It set off a train of thought.  Just as Susan had done on seeing Camilla’s outfit, I too could shop my wardrobe and put together a similar styling to wear for my Winter holiday in France later that month. No shirt underneath mine, as I didn’t pack a suitable one in my suitcase – boring luggage allowances – and my jumper is more caramel in colour, and my hair isn’t quite long enough to put it up in a messy bun, à la Camilla’s!  You’ll just have to put up with my messy, curly locks.  

My styling has my own personal twists, obviously.  This is, after all, interpretation, homage, rather than copy-catting.  I wore my labradorite pendant you saw above and instead of boots, it was the perfect opportunity to showcase a fairly recent purchase – my metallic bronze brogues.  All the better to conquer the cobbled stones of ancient hilltop villages and keep feet warm.

And then I got rather carried away and played around with slipping my faux fur gilet over the jumper that I was originally wearing as a fun, textured layer over my down jacket earlier in the day.

And I’m totally in love with my new Winter shoes.  I couldn’t resist the dark burnt metallic bronze coupled with the sturdy soles to carry me forth through Winter weather.

And I’ve a wee wry smile on my face every time I wear them as this is the 3rd pair of brogues I now own.  I have a dapper white pair for Summer and you can read about how I bridged my brogues aversion here with my Autumnal pair.  Roll on Spring to buy another colour and I’ll have a full house – one for each season!

Tu Rollneck Slouchy knit (old) seen on the blog in my Rollneck & Riding Boots post.

Wallis Petite Coated Jeans (old) ASOS Coated Jeans

New Look Teens Section Faux Fur Gilet (sold out) but similar here

Down Jacket from TKMaxx.  Similar here

xti brogues currently reduced.  Or how about these ASOS Embellished Metallic Brogues

Winter Wrapping Up Warm Footnote

Now you might say, pah, copying someone else’s outfit isn’t exactly original is it?  

But that would be missing the point.  I’m not trying (and neither is Susan) to copy the outfit exactly. It was a starting point. We were both tantalised enough by the original blogger’s look to see if we could create something akin to it with what we already own, without making it a carbon copy.  One blogger’s practical yet stylish look inspired two other bloggers. And that’s what I love about blogging.

But the real beauty of this is that despite two bloggers taking a leaf out of another blogger’s style book, each of our outfits still showcase our own style personalities.  Yes, the basics maybe the same – cosy knit, leather trousers/coated jeans – but even with each of us using those two basic pieces, both looks have a distinct styling.

What winter looks have inspired you?  And are you bored with seeing unrealistic, non practical, faux winter styling?

And lastly, a thank you

I wanted to thank everyone who’s sent me messages, emails, and/or written comments on my previous post about my blogging break due to my Mum dying last year.  It’s not even been 3 months yet.  I miss her terribly each day yet your kinds words have helped me through what continues to be a difficult time.  It’s baby steps back towards blogging.  I know she would want me to continue doing activities that bring me joy.

Linking with  Not Dressed As Lamb / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /  Turning Head’s Tuesday  /  Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace /  JerseyGirlTexanHeart  / Living In Colour / High Latitude Style   / Happiness At Midlife  / Eleganceandmommyhood  / A Labour of Life /   Curly Crafty Mom  / Fashion Should Be Fun /  A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy’s Fashion Style / Fine Whatever /


  1. January 16, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    You look great in your layering outfit. Yes snow in London. My daughter told me about the snow. Unfortunately Sarah had a cold and stayed in bed.
    I love your brogues. I can believe that somebody wear sandals in winter, but stop, in London, in November we saw many people in shorts and sandals or flip flops !!! Incredible 🙂

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Thank you Tina. I'm really getting into brogues now after years of thinking that they weren't me. Silly really as they are very comfortable.

  2. January 16, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    Layering – that is definitely the ticket. I never thought of wearing two turtlenecks, but it looks cute! Thanks for linking up and stay fabulous, xo


    • March 27, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      2 does actually look good, doesn't it. I'm going to try that next Winter!

  3. January 16, 2017 / 11:22 pm

    I'm so glad you're back Jacqueline!! You always know how to crack me up in unexpected ways!!
    I too laugh at the sandals in winter photos, but I am guilty of wearing flats without socks at times. In my defense, there wasn't snow on the ground, and the temperatures were in the balmy 50's!! Besides I was going from heated house to heated car!!
    But I do love layering. I know some people think it's awfully hard, but it adds so much fun & challenge to our outfitting!! Like your top photo—I've just recently started layering a vest over a jacket—and I love it. I can't quite figure out why I never thought of it before, but hey!
    I hope time is helping to heal your wounds with your mom's passing.

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:26 pm

      It's totally ridiculous, isn't it? Inappropriate footwear for the season.
      Thank you, it's still very raw and will be for some time. There are days when I can bear to look at her photo and days when it's too hard but it's a process I'm accepting. Thank you for your support.

  4. January 17, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    I'm glad you're feeling a little better and back to blogging! 🙂

    I share your thoughts on the weather-appropriate otufits too! The thing to remember is that with big bloggers they do editorials not personal style, and shoot multiple outfits in one day. If it looks like it would be too cold to wear that outfit that's because it usually is, they just wear it for photos! haha! Although sometimes the reason for the warm shoes is them taking pictures of seasons ahead of time. I read that on a few blogs last year, they were sad there was no autumn (fall) temperatures but they were going to go get bundled up in layers and shoot pictures like ti was cold anyway! If you can keep that in mind you can admire the photoshoots for what they are – street style editorial photos. And go to personal style blogs for real outfit inspiration 🙂

    Hope you are having a lovely start to the week 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:27 pm

      Very true Mica, they are a different breed to us, aren't they? And yes, I agree about going to personal style blogs for real outfit inspiration.

  5. January 17, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I adore the brogues! They are so comfortable and stylish wit anything! I always layer a lot in these cold days. I think I look two sizes bigger in winter!

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:28 pm

      I'm on the look out for another pair for Spring, Nancy. Something pastel perhaps!

  6. January 24, 2017 / 6:30 am

    So nice to see you back Jacqueline , take your time and remember to be gentle with yourself as grief is a process that can never be hurried.
    Totally agree about the often so unrealistic fashion blogs , certainly a different world than the one I live in.On the other hand you look stylish, warm and comfortable and I adore those stylish brogues.
    Take care my dear .Jill

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:28 pm

      Thank you for your wise words Jill. Indeed it is a process that can't be hurried and I'm just riding the waves at the moment.
      The brogues are a definite hit and I was really taken with the slightly unusual colour.

  7. January 25, 2017 / 9:56 am

    Wonderful post Jacqueline! Those faux winter styling outfits do annoy me…even here in Nepal, where winter day temperature is usually 10-14C, it is not possible to go out with bare ankles or bare midriff…I like your interpretation of winter layering: stylish and interesting yet warm and cosy.
    So sorry to hear about your mom. It is so hard to lose someone that close…

    • March 27, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Thank you Olga, I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds them annoying!
      Yes, it's very hard especially as we were like two peas in a pod but I celebrate that I had her in my life for 50 years. That is very precious.

  8. January 25, 2017 / 9:58 am

    Wonderful post Jacqueline! Those faux winter styling posts do annoy me! Even here in Nepal where winter day temperature is usually 10-14C, it is not possible to go out with one's bare ankles or midriff. I love your interpretation of winter layering: stylish and interesting yet warm and cosy

  9. January 31, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Glad to see you back, and I couldn't agree with you more. Some fashion experts do have some funny ideas that are really not at all feasible in some seasons!! I hope each day gets slightly better for you. x Jacqui

  10. March 28, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    I like your inspired outfit. And there is nothing wrong with a favourite kind of shoe for each season. It actually makes perfect sense. I find the outfit with the fur vest over your sweater really nice. Creates good vertical lines.
    And I am soooo agreeing with you on the topic of open sandals with socks. Or no socks in sneakers in winter. I suppose poor students with only two pairs of shos started this and a fashion designer thought: "Ah, I can make myself popular with the youth AND create a new trend. Let's call it Street Style"…

    • March 28, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Trouble is Greetje, I have too many kinds of favourite shoes for each season! But I'm still on a mission for some Spring brogues!
      I know, I just don't get the socks and sandals thing but I suppose anything can be made into Street Style but with some you need an armful of salt!

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