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Wear it Right

Vancouver can be cold, wet, sunny and mild all over the course of one day. This unpredictable weather can make dressing for it challenging. As a wardrobe consultant I’ve learned the best way to handle Mother Nature’s curve balls is layering. If you dress for the coldest you’ll always be warm and when the sun comes out, the hat and gloves can come off, if need be.

Wool coat by Via, sold by Victoria's Secret

Wool coat by Via, sold by Victoria's Secret

This means finding easy inter-changeable pieces that can work well together or on their own. One option is a mono palate, like black, just be vigilant as black is a great canvas to show lint and light hairs. Alternately you can be more colourful with your winter apparel. A coat in a bold hue is sure to get a lot of attention so it’s best to play down the rest of the accessories. Choose neutral accessories or ones that have a pattern that includes the bold colour.

Just because we’re bundled up doesn’t mean forgoing one’s shape. Winter coats, like all clothing can work to accentuate a body’s best features and camouflage others. To emphasize a small waist pick a jacket with a belt that draws focus to the narrowest part. To play down a fuller bottom half, pick an a-line coat with pleating that gives the impression that it’s the coat with the volume not the body underneath.

Gloves from Winners, Hat from Urban Outfitters

Gloves from Winners, Hat from Urban Outfitters

Heat is lost through the extremities. Find gloves that keep your hands warm. Leather insulated gloves are really good for this. Make sure the fingers fit snugly (extra space will only make your fingers colder). Pick a pair with soft, inviting lining. Fleece does this really well. Have the colour and style work with your coat and other accessories. You want them to blend into your look.

Umbrellas by Marimekko

Umbrellas by Marimekko

Buy an umbrella that works. This is Vancouver, after all and rain can come any day, anytime. Have the umbrella be a size that you can carry it around EVERYDAY. A tote-sized umbrella is perfect for stuffing into your purse/bag and forgetting about it until the rain shows up. This small size can also fit in a man’s jacket pocket. If rain is certain on the forecast, or it’s already raining when you go to leave the house, bring your heavy-duty umbrella. This is a larger one that’s more awkward to carry around if it isn’t raining but perfect for when it is. There are automatic versions that are great when your hands are already tied up and wind-resistant ones with vents so you don’t have to deal with blown out umbrellas on those windier days. With so much rain and so many options, the pattern on your umbrella can be a way to show your personality. Pick a pattern that makes you smile and then even when you get caught in the rain, you’ll have your own ray of sunshine tucked away, at the ready in your pocket.

Marimekko automatic umbrella

Marimekko automatic umbrella

Hunter rain boots

Hunter rain boots

Invest in rain boots. In Vancouver they are a must and they might just become your best friend. Get a pair that is comfortable to walk in. Buy a larger size if necessary and add a padded insole. Pick a pair that you can stuff your pants into to keep them dry and protected from puddles when it’s really coming down hard. It doesn’t matter if you invest in designer boots or cheap wellies so long as they keep you dry. As for patterned boots, leave them for the kids. Pick a solid pair and you’ll look stylish no matter the weather.

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