Dressing Practically & Comfortably Without Sacrificing Personal Style
If you've been reading any of my style posts lately you will be all too aware that I'm really into my practical fashion at the moment. It's something that I've been way more conscious of over the last few years as I've slowly been spending more and more time outside and got to the point where I just care about being warm and comfortable rather than being considered fashionable. But something that is quite hard is dressing for the weather and being practical whilst still maintaining your personal style and here are a few thoughts on the topic.
PRACTICAL DOESN'T HAVE TO MEAN HIDEOUS
I have to admit that when I think of really practical clothing I automatically think they're pretty hideous. But things have come along way over the years and now there are some really beautiful items that will keep you warm and dry but aren't like wearing a giant sack. And it's all down to your personal preference and what you love in your clothing but there are some really lovely items out there. Of course, there are a few limitations within the practical arena and it is all a matter of personal taste but I don't think you have to sacrifice on style at all now to be warm and dry now.
PRACTICAL ISN'T CHEAP
We live in a world of fast fashion and this means we've become so accustomed to seeing a coat in Primark for a mere £20 and that's become the norm to us. And there is a reason why those pieces are so cheap and it's not a positive thing. Of course, it's a privilege to be able to spend more on my clothing pieces and I'm all too aware that not everybody is able to do that [this is why outlets are so wonderful]. But buying things that are really meant for the colder seasons and will keep you warm and dry does mean you're more than likely have to spend a little more but you're paying for something that is well made and will last. Cheap clothes, for the most part, don't last very long and I'm very much a big believer in you get what you pay for a lot with style.
PRACTICAL PURCHASES WILL LAST MORE THAN A SEASON
Did anybody else get a lecture from their parents about getting a practical Winter coat every year? And like most things, your parents say they were right and a good purchase can see you through the years. And if you haven't guessed by now I'm really not a fan of fast fashion. And I'm not a shining example of sustainable fashion because I will still shop in Primark for the odd thing but I think being aware and making more sensible choices is something I constantly work towards. Something that I have noticed is that when I buy more practical pieces they can really stand the test of time, that means they wash well and you can wear them for years without them looking tatty. Whereas I know that when I buy something that maybe isn't such a good purchase that I can't wear all that often I always end up regretting it or not wearing it for more than a couple of months.
FAVOURITE PRACTICAL PURCHASES
A WATERPROOF WINDPROOF COAT
If you're not going to get anything else that is super practical I don't think you can go wrong with a good coat and if you live in the UK you will know how often we have to reach for our outerwear. Having a coat that is warm is wonderful of course and after all that is the main aim of a coat, they aren't just for draping over your shoulders. But when it rains and you're wearing a coat that isn't waterproof it's not long before you're wearing a soaking wet soggy sponge and if you then have to put it back on, ugh it doesn't even bear thinking about. A waterproof coat that is still pretty darn chic is, of course, the classic Barbour. They are not cheap but they are a piece that will last years and years in your wardrobe.
I'm really into boots at the moment and when it's a little too nippy to have bare ankles they're what I reach for with a good pair of socks. Something that I always try and make sure is that my boots are waterproof. I have 'fashion' boots that I like to wear when just going out into town or doing food shopping etc but when out in the great [very cold] outdoors I need something a little more sturdy. I've had a pair of Hunter Wellies for years and they are without a doubt one of the best things that I've ever bought. I found them in the Office outlet on eBay so they were really affordable. They're like the Audi of the wellington boot world and they're so sturdy, I'm sure we've all worn cheap wellies at some point and they're so uncomfortable and cold. If it's not quite Hunter weather then I absolutely love my little Sorel boots* which are perfect for general wear and in the rain. They've been an absolute life saver in the recent rainy weeks and they're so easy to clean too.
A/W is the season of layering after all and an item of clothing that doesn't leave my body until at least April is a thermal of some sort. And granted, they're not the most glam purchase you can make and I do feel a little bit like a Grandma when I pick up my new ones for the season. Having a good set of thermals is vital as they allow you to wear some of the more lightweight pieces in your wardrobe throughout the cooler seasons. And then of course when it's really cold they give you that vital base layer.
WAYS TO MAKE PRACTICAL PIECES MORE AFFORDABLE
Like I mentioned earlier the really practical pieces that I've bought for my wardrobe haven't been cheap. But I don't think I've actually paid full price for any of those pieces which makes them way more affordable. As much as I am a practical shopper I'm also a sucker for bargain shopping too and I'm always trawling the sales, outlets and just generally searching Google to see where has the item that I want for the cheapest price. Stores I love to shop from are Ultimate Outdoors [seriously, they have the best sales], T K Maxx and then outlet stories.
MIXING IN PIECES YOU WOULD WEAR ANYWAY
When it comes to maintaining your personal style and dressing practically something I've found to work really well is to mix in little pieces that you would wear anyway as well as the pieces that really make you feel awesome. So for me, it's things like still using my tote bags and wearing my striped Bretons and just making them work in a more practical way. And another thing is mixing in colour, it's all too easy to think that to be practical it's all dark shades and of course, if that's your thing you can totally do that. But I love to mix in lighter shades, dark forest greens, and rich burgundies. Another super easy way I've found to do this is also with your accessories which is probably why I adore my blush pink bobble hat so much.
IT'S NOT BORING TO DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
This was something that I caught myself saying just the other day, as now I don't tend to purchase anything that can't be worn outdoors and keep me really warm I always feel like I need to say sorry that I don't dress in a more exciting way. But actually, deep down I don't think the way I dress boring at all and I don't think dressing sensibly so your warm and dry should be deemed boring. Sure, it's not going to be at fashion week but realistically how many of us do dress in that manner? I'm such a big believer that the most important things when it comes to clothes are that they keep us warm and then they should be something that makes you feel absolutely awesome when you put on an outfit. And I do think now we're in a time where we can have both and don't have to say goodbye to style to be practical.
What are your favourite practical weather purchases?