The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, the artyologist

“But wait!”, you say, “It’s not Winter yet!” And, you are correct that it is not officially Winter yet. We won’t be officially in the Winter season for another 33 days to be exact.

Here though, it is Winter all right, and has been for 18 days now. It started snowing on October 31 (just in time for the little kids to go trick-or-treating out in the snowdrifts) and it hasn’t stopped yet. Well, it hasn’t gone away yet, and every morning when I look out the window, I see more snow to shovel off of my walkway. So, it’s safe to say that Winter is here, for now at least. Despite the fact that Winter comes every year, and that historically we get snow in October, every year I am caught off guard, and there are a few days there where I think to myself, “Wait- what? Snow? How do I dress for this?” And so I just end up throwing a winter coat, and boots and scarf over the top of everything without any real thought as to creating an outfit.

Now, the real question we must ask ourselves, when the temperatures have dropped below zero, is: how do you dress for the cold, when the aforementioned “hobo style” isn’t quite the look that you are going for? I present to you this outfit, which is a testament to the vintage lover’s desire to be dressed in some semblance of fashion, while also desiring to keep at least slightly warm. This is the first “real” outfit I put together since the climes dropped, and everything I wore here was chosen mainly because of it’s insulating properties. So, here are my cold weather tips for those who don’t want to sacrifice style for warmth. Yes, most of these are obvious, but I thought, why not share them anyways?

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, vintage coat and fur collar, the artyologist

  • Turbans are a good cold weather choice, because they can be tied over your ears, and are much prettier than your average toque. I actually wore two scarves here, one tied over my ears and the other over the top for decoration. You can tie a turban with a warmer fabric than a thin silk scarf, and you can also get pre-formed turbans which are knitted, or made of velvet, mohair, wool etc. and those would be very toasty warm! (I don’t have one myself . . . yet!) Other options for keeping your head warm are berets, worn pulled down over your ears like this, or thicker scarves worn over your head and tied under your chin. Sometimes, I wear my scarf and pull it up over my head like a hood, if it isn’t too cold out, but there is a bit of a breeze.
  • Wool coats are the best. Really they are. If you are at all thinking of going outside in the cold this season, get yourself a 100% wool coat, and you will not regret it. Lots of modern/reproduction winter coats are made of synthetic blends, and they do not even offer a fraction of warmth compared to pure wool. If you can, get yourself a vintage coat, especially a long one, and you won’t be cold. This one, from the 80’s, is made of cashmere and wool, and it is one of the best thrift store purchases I have ever made. On mild winter days, this coat is even almost too warm to wear.

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, vintage style, the artyologist

  • A fur collar. Does a fur collar keep you warm? No, not really, unless it’s a beaver hood or something known for it’s super insulating properties. But, it looks pretty! And it gives the illusion of warmth! And, if you aren’t going to wear fur in the Winter, just when are you going to wear it? I am not wearing it in these pictures, but I actually wore a scarf underneath the collar to keep warm, and threw the fur over top to add the “glamour”.
  • Nice winter boots. I love my pumps and thin leather shoes, but come winter, unless you want your feet to turn into blocks of ice, winter boots really are a must, and insulated ones are optimum. These boots I bought a few years ago, are lined with a layer of “Thinsulate” (which is essentially useless if you are actually out in a blizzard) but if you are just walking around town, they are great! They keep your feet warmer than shoes, and, they look a lot nicer than those clunky, rubber winter boots (that you will wish you were wearing if you get caught in an actual blizzard).

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, theartyologist, on-steps

  • Layers are good. Here I am wearing several layers: tights, a long wool skirt, (with a slip under that) and a long coat over top. There’s only about 2 inches of exposed leg (covered with tights, but not the skirt and coat, I mean). And on the top; a blouse, then a cardigan, and then the coat. Rather than getting a buffalo robe and swaddling yourself in that (which some days admittedly does seem like a good idea) build up warmth with layers so you don’t end up looking like a stuffed penguin.
  • Pockets are another wonderful thing. If your hands get cold, even while wearing gloves or mittens, you can just stick them in your pockets to warm them up. I once had a winter coat that didn’t have pockets- it was the worst coat because my hands were always freezing when I wore it! I also once had a coat that only had pockets over the chest. That was an awkward place to have pockets. I know they were supposed to be decorative, but what is the point of having only decorative pockets on a winter coat?!?!

Well, there are my tips for dressing for Winter, brought to you today from one cold Canadian! So, how did this outfit hold up during my walk to church that morning? Well, for the two blocks going south, it was great! The six blocks straight into the wind wasn’t so lovely, however 🙁 But, even though my face got a bit frosty from the wind, I was actually surprisingly warm and it was a relief to take my coat off!

So, what do you do to stay stylish in Winter but also warm? Is it “Winter” yet, where you live, or are you still enjoying Fall?

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, vintage turban

windows- The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, the artyologist

The Obvious Guide for How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Sacrificing Style, vintage wool coat and fur collar, the artyologist

Interviewed for Alive Magazine

interview for alive magazine, the artyologist

In July, I opened my email and found an email from the Canadian magazine “alive”, asking whether they could interview me for an article about vintage fashion, and “turning old into new”. Of course I was interested! Get me talking about vintage and responsible fashion, and I can talk your ear off 😉 The interview, titled “Vintage Revives Fashion”, finally came out in this month’s issue. It was such a long wait and the funny thing is that enough time has passed, I only vaguely remember saying all of the things I was quoted on- well at least that way the article was all new to me too!

It’s a very good write up, and I hope that the article will get some more people thinking about ways to be sustainable in their fashion choices. Who knows, maybe some more people will catch the vintage bug too! You can find it here in case you are interested in reading it!

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, vintage camera, the artyologist

The majority of vintage wearers have, in their lifetime of wearing vintage, experienced various reactions from members of the general public. Sometimes these reactions can be simply genuine curiosity at an obviously different fashion choice, and sometimes, unfortunately, it can be negative. Probably one of the most universally asked questions, is “Are you wearing a costume?” or something to that effect. In my case (several years ago) it was, “So you are dressed like this . . . why?” – implying that there had to be some kind of external reason as to why I was wearing that 1950’s hat, fur collar, wool coat and high heeled pumps.

My answer: “Because I like it.”

Many people seem to think that anyone who dresses outside of the societal norm, simply must be wearing a costume. Someone wouldn’t be wearing a hat and gloves and a dress like, for real, would they?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, and trying to figure out my thoughts about it. I would suggest that, while I don’t really like the term “costume”, to some extent, anyone who dresses outside of the mainstream, is in fact putting on some sort of specific persona. It is easy to dress in the fashions of the day (look in every store and you’ll find some kind of iteration of the trends) but it is a conscious choice to dress differently than every one else. Whether you are wearing vintage style, goth, rockabilly or any other alternative style, you are saying something about yourself to those who see you.

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist

So what is the difference between dressing in a so called “alternative style” or wearing a costume anyways? 

After much thought (OK actually not that much thought, but some discussion with my mom!), I think it all comes down to your reason for wearing it.

How we choose to dress, tells a story about us. Your clothes can tell people, “I’m a rebel”, “I want to blend in”, “I want to be different” or even simply “I like old stuff”.

If someone were to look at me, they might not be surprised to learn that I also like classic novels, painting, antique furniture and old houses. My clothing has given them a glimpse into what kind of person I am; or at least the image that I want to present to the world.

Choosing to dress differently does raise questions, though, and like I said the most common one is, why are you wearing a costume?

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, vintage style

A costume is something that is worn for a specific purpose, for a specific time and place, and it is not worn, usually, outside of that event. It is not a reflection of the person who wears it, because the person who is wearing it, has put on a mask, either literally or figuratively. 

Wearing vintage, or another alternative style, though, is a lifestyle. At least it is for me, and many others. The decision to wear vintage style, as your “regular” clothes changes it from being a costume that you put on only at certain times, to being an expression of your own style personality. You don’t have to wear vintage 24/7 either, in order for it to not be a costume for you. While it might be a putting on of a persona, it is also a reflection of your own style and personality. To those people who question you, it is a costume to them, because they can’t imagine themselves wearing it; it is foreign and uncommon. To many people it is unheard of that these could be your “real” and “normal” clothes. (But, what is normal anyways?)

When I, and many others, wear vintage styles we are not just trying to be different. There are plenty of styles I could wear that would achieve the same purpose, but would definitely not be “me”. Wearing Steampunk is probably very fun- but it’s not something I would personally choose to do!

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist outfit

And you know what? I sometimes put together an outfit which I think looks great in my head, and doesn’t really come out that way when I wear it. Something is just not right with it, and so it does end up feeling a bit like a costume. This outfit here is one example of an outfit that came out as just too much. To me personally, I would like to stress. Even though others might think, “that’s so you- it’s got a vintage touch, pearls and a hat”- to me, this was a costume.

I look at this outfit, and I know that I was playing dress up. (Which I was; we just wanted to experiment with taking photos in this location, so I grabbed a few things and threw them on) I would never wear this outfit in real life; the twill trousers are far too casual to be wearing with this hat and blouse, and the hat doesn’t go with anything. If I were to tweak this into an actual outfit, I would pair the blouse with navy blue wool trousers or a skirt, my camel coloured blazer to coordinate with the hat, and I would probably take off the long strings of pearls replacing them with a single strand. That’s just me. Someone else might wear this, and they’d love it!

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, vintage camera

Ultimately, each person must decide for themselves what the line is between “different” and “costume”. Fashion is supposed to be fun, so if you feel like wearing a costume out and about, there’s no one stopping you! Sometimes you just want to dress up! But, if you are trying to determine whether something is clothing for you or whether it’s a costume, here are some questions you could ask yourself:

  • Do you feel more confident wearing this outfit?
  • Are you constantly thinking about what people are thinking about your outfit? I’m not talking about shyness, and sometimes feeling a little awkward because you look different. I mean: are you completely uncomfortable because all you can think about is what other people are thinking of your outfit?
  • Are you absorbed with your outfit and fussing with it constantly? Aka- you don’t actually feel comfortable wearing it. Once you put on an outfit, you should not be preoccupied with it, if it’s just clothes.
  • Is it an expression of things that you like? Or are you wearing it simply because it’s “vintage”, but not because you actually like it?
  • Are you just waiting for the moment you can get home and change into something else?
  • Are you drawn to a certain era or style, but this outfit is just too much? For example, someone might wear 1920’s styles, but they might not dress completely like a flapper with a headband, pearls, fringed dress and all.
  • Do you enjoy wearing this? Is it fun for you? Is it the right expression of your personality? For the same reason I wouldn’t dress goth, you might not want to dress a certain way either.

Well, I hope that these thoughts may have helped you to think through what defines costume vs. style for you.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this- have you ever been asked if you were wearing a costume?

What do you think is the difference between wearing a costume or just regular clothes?

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, hat details

Life Lately and an Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, on a chair

Well it’s been a busy month. October, I mean, not November. We’re only 5 days into November. Well, it’s been busy too, actually now that I think about it. . .  Anyways, I am finding myself sitting in front of this computer screen, again, trying to write this blog post that has taken me far too long to write. And I have been reflecting on how the changing circumstances in my life have changed my presence here on the internet, and how I have been neglecting this little blog. (Being a responsible adult is cutting into my creative time. Seriously, why so many dishes?!?) So, just some point form thoughts, bits of updates on things, and some links to blog posts, or articles that I found interesting.

  • These flowers were given to me as a housewarming gift from my sister at the end of September. I just threw the last of them out last week- I couldn’t believe that the cut flowers lasted 4 weeks!
  • Part of my busyness in October was because I was preparing for an exhibit that I have up for the month of November, at a local library. It’s not really an “exhibit” as it doesn’t have a single theme or inspiration, as it is comprised of anything I had ready to show, which was a mixture of photography and watercolour. I have a few pictures of that display, here on my studio instagram. It was a bit difficult to take the photos, because of the poor lighting, but at least I got a few!
  • I haven’t been very good at keeping up with my studio and shop lately, but I was able to set aside some time this weekend to plan and prep some things for that, and I’m going to (hopefully) be better at keeping up! I have some new pieces in the works, and if you’d like to stay updated on what I am doing art-wise, I would love it if you follow me over at my instagram @theartyologist_studio!

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, bouquet on chair and details

  • This little quiz that Mariam of the Petite Bijou shared in her instagram story the other day is fun. It’s only three questions, but I took the quiz and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I have been trying to create a more defined and cohesive wardrobe, as I’ve talked about before, so finding out which colours look best on me, was rather helpful. I got: “Rich, earthy shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown, peach, coral, and red violet, warm grays (mushroom, taupe) and off-whites, periwinkle and teal”. Well, most of those just happen to be colours that I am drawn to anyways! Did you take the quiz? What colours did you get?
  • This post by Bianca of The Closet Historian is a great one, about blogging and how she grew and then shrank her blog. This is something I have struggled with along the way too, with my own blog. Trying to stay true to what I want to share, but also trying to juggle what people want to read. And not getting too obsessed with the numbers. If you have a blog, do you struggle with “the numbers” too?
  • I have been feeling a bit discombobulated lately, and I haven’t been doing many outfit photos lately or even any blogging. Since moving, I have had a hard time coordinating with my sister to do photos. That and it’s basically winter now, and so it gets dark so early. But, I am trying to get back in the swing of things, and post regularly again! I have some ideas for posts, so now I just have to do them.

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, sculptural bouquet

  • This article about smartphones was completely eye opening. If you have 10 minutes, read this article. Seriously, do it. While I would not consider myself to be as addicted to my smartphone, as they talk about in the article, I do notice myself sometimes getting a little too attached to it, and am taking steps to reduce my screen time. (Hard to do when your job and your hobbies all involve computers!) Anyways, it is a great article, so I would definitely recommend it! Do you struggle with smartphone addiction- what do you do to reduce your time spent on your phone?
  • Fashion Revolution recently released a podcast about “Who Made My Clothes”. I actually have not found the time to listen to it yet, and I am planning to this week. If you’d also like to listen to it, you can find it here. UPDATE: I just listened to the podcast today, and it was a really great investigation into the garment industry. It kind of does a whole overview, then focusing on specific issues, and also gives some great examples of how we can enact change in the industry. I would definitely recommend listening to it! There are 3 episodes of about 25 minutes each.
  • Is it seriously only 50 days left until Christmas?!?! Not that I’m trying to jump things, but I am getting ready to do a couple of Christmas craft shows this month and next, and the Christmas season is just rushing at me! It’s a lot of work involved, doing Christmas sales, but it’s a lot of fun too, as I do them with my sister.

So, that’s a bit of what I have been up to, and I think that’s all I have to share for now. I hope you have had a lovely and relaxing weekend, and that this next week is a good one for you too!

Life Lately and An Everlasting Bouquet of Flowers, flower details