Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guest Post: How a Miamian Stays Warm in NYC

I am very excited to introduce to you the wonderful Cristina. She has been a big supporter of this little blog since Day 1 and the best editor in the world. She is the reason my posts are legible and fun to read! She inspires me to be a better writer every day. Now she's coming out from behind the scenes to share some of her fashion tips! Enjoy!

Dressing for winter can be challenging, especially if you spent the majority of your life in a tropical climate and what you learned about winter you gleaned from fireplace-lit rom-coms.

Here’s the hard truth: A light throw over a tube top won’t keep you warm and buying an all black winter wardrobe because you’ve never had to match mittens with scarves with boots with coats just isn’t fun. I learned this the very hard, very frigid way.

You see, after spending almost my entire life in the palm tree paradise of Miami, I up and moved to New York City, where I experienced my very first winter ever. It was cold. I shuddered. I slipped on a patch of frozen ice and fell. I sunk into snow that was actually an inch of snow on top of mud. I cried.

But! Winter thawed and in the few blissful months of summer, I worked hard at cobbling together a wardrobe that would actually warm me up. I only somewhat succeeded.

Now, six years later, I think I finally have the basics of a winter boudoir that doesn’t leave me a frumpy, frozen, teary mess. And, dear readers, because Iris Focused on Fashion loves you so much, she has asked me to share my list with you.

So here it is, including when to splurge, how often to buy, and when to go wild:

-     A stack of tank tops and cardigans, different colors. You’ll want to wear these under and over long sleeve sweaters, blouses, shirts, even dresses. Buy ‘em cheap, buy ‘em snug, and buy ‘em often. 

-     Tights, stockings, leggings. These are an easy way to liven up your outfit (and get out of wearing pants every day). Start out with basic colors (black, grey, navy) and then add on as your budget allows and get crazy with it! Play with patterns, bright colors, and contrasting materials – all for a few bucks. You will one day find an outfit to go with those wine colored fishnets. Trust.

-     Scarves: This is a must have. Your ears will sting, your lips will chap, your chest will freeze. Buy them wide enough to cover your neck (and then some) and stock up. They are relatively cheap and add a splash of personality to your outfit, especially if your outerwear is a solid color.

-     Coats: Bust out the credit card, block out an afternoon, and make friends with the Macy’s sales assistant. Depending on the severity of your winter season, I suggest at least one, knee-length solid color coat (made of a heavy material) with a detachable hood.  The fun is in the details: buttons, stitching, pockets, belts, zipper hardware, and lining. 

-     Footwear: Boots, boots, and more boots. Your feet need to stay warm and protected when the wind brings with it icy rain, hail, snow, or a hellish combination of any of the above. Stock up on rain boots (splurge, you need a sturdy boot that will last years), leather boots in different heel heights (the elements are not kind to suede), and wedge booties for weather appropriate but still-fashionable nights out.

-     Accessories: Gloves, mittens, hats, earmuffs, leg warmers, knee lengths socks. Get them all! Neon green, bright and plaid, flirty and feminine. And buy multiples - you’ll lose them on the subway on the way to work.

Fashion tip: Think of winter as a safe zone for fashion. People are cold and shuffling about with eyes downcast. They won’t see if you’re wearing a horrendous eyesore of an outfit – so experiment! Layer on different colors and materials and strip them off during the day, play up accessories people see (earrings, headbands, mittens), and make everything big and bold. Most importantly, have fun. It is a winter wonderland, after all.

Cristina is a writer, editor, and jellybean-lover living the dream in Brooklyn, NY. If you ever see a girl in a sundress trudging through a snow drift in Prospect Park, you’ve found her. Follow her at


  1. EverythingprettygirlsFebruary 9, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    GREAT post!! After moving to NYC from hawaii and san diego, i needed to stock up on winterized clothing. I bought SO many boots and scarves, and so thankful that i did :)


  2. I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that's at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.
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