As the alley behind my house goes from ice-covered death-scape to water-logged death-scape, I can feel spring coming. That means getting dressed isn’t as easy as putting on the biggest sweater I own, anymore. Transition months are some of the most exciting, but it’s easy to go too far into new temperature-inappropriate clothing. Layering is key. Here are 10 basics that I think are invaluable for transitioning from winter into spring.
1) Thigh High Socks
Oh, do I love thigh highs. These can be layered under pants when it’s rediculously, ungodly cold (like it is now) or with a skirt either over tights or by themselves when it’s not quite as terrible out. I love them because they’re subtully sexy but also practical and comfortable. If sweatpants had a love child with lingerie, it would be a thigh high sock.
I really llike American Apparel’s socks, but the company is pretty problematic because of it’s semi-pornographic ads. I like their stance on worker’s pay, but it’s not perfect. I’ve looked on Etsy and found many shops that make socks, but some seem like they’re just store-bought socks with alterations. One shop that seems to be truly hand made is Vacationhouse. They produce some cute socks, and also slouchy hats which are also key for winter wear. Finally, I found a fascinating website called Sock Dreams which makes their socks in the USA (which doesn’t mean much, but at least you can gaurentee the workers are being paid minimum wage (which is much too low)) with 85% reused fiber. It looks fairly small-scale and seems to coencide nicely with my prerequisites for companies worth supporting. I also enjoy that they make their socks to fit all shapes and sizes.
Not just for old ladies, I love my cardigans. Most of them are years old, but they last a long time.
Some are from Anthropologie, others I got from a department store I worked in. I love a lacy, frilly, flowy cardigan. They’re statement pieces that can easily be worn with anything else (if you’re like me, you just try to match black and neutrals). I’d like to learn to make my own, some day, but as I have neither tools nor skills, I”ll have to stick to finding them in strange places.
I don’t think I’m even able to reccomend any specific sweaters becasue I like unique ones. Usually hand made, thrifted, or random finds. The look I’m partial to is either heavy and chunky or drapey and feminine. I try to avoid tight ones because they’re meant to be layered over and under. I also avoid ones with lots of buttons because they’re usually more conservative and just remind me of preppy highschoolers.
I love my two capes. One is more of a cloak, the other is a demi-cape. What I love about them is how they’re easy to layer over a lighter jacket, achieving maximum layering. They’re also more interesting than coats (though I love my big coats, too). What’s funny is that I got both as Christmas presents. My grey one was from my boyfriend who found it in a small Celtic store that sells hand made items from Ireland and my plum one was a gift from my mother, who found it online on Nordstrom Rack. Both make me feel like a fairy princess.
I’d reccomend looking for wool or a heavy polyester if you’re a vegan. The range can go from boho wrap to something you might associate with British Royalty. Check out Etsy and small specialty shops for cloaks, or more high end designers for more polished looking capes or demi-capes.
4) Basic Tank Top
This is almost a no-brainer, but tank tops are great for under heavier clothing, especially if you are going indoors were the heat might be cranked up to tropical temperatures.
As I’ve said before, I love Michael Stars. His shirts are cut in very flattering ways and come in a multitude of colors. Other suggestions would be American Apparel (but there is that aforementioned problematic-ness) or Three Dots (which I believe to be made ethically, comment if you have found otherwise!)
5) Walking Boots
I’m not really sure what to call the ubiquitous laced up, faux-hiking boots seen on many 20-somethings, but they’re one of the more practical of footwear I’ve seen in the cold. Snow boots are nice, but aren’t appropriate with all outfits, and even look silly in some situations. I’ve hurt my feet on multiple occasions so I’ve given in to the boot trend in order to save myself from future flailing falls.
I say go to the thrift store for this one. I find it nearly impossible to find cheap, attractive, and ethically made footwear. I bought mine at a DSW out of frustration and necessity, as my banged up phalanges needed sturdy, flat-ish shoes to wear in the ice and snow. If you have some more money, check out Cri de Coeur, which is 100% vegan and claims to be made in a factory that treats it’s laborers in a fair way.
6) Black, Opaque Tights
Another simple one, basic tights look very chic, cover your exposed skin, and look good with nearly everything. I have seen very few skirts that I didn’t think would look good with opaque, black tights.
Though I’ve never bought them myself, this pair from Maggie’s Organics seems like it might be a great because it’s also made from mostly organic cotton. Anyone who wants to learn more about ethical lingerie and stockings should head over to The Lingerie Addict. I usually don’t push my readers to go to other sites, but that blog is so well run and well researched, that it has become an invaluable asset to my own search, being a lingerie addict, myself.
7) Leather Jackets
Leather is incredibly cool and incredibly warm. Even faux leather is very warm, and waterproof to boot. I have a leather skirt and a faux leather jacket and bustier. They’re all incredibly warm, even the skirt, which is a relatively tiny compared to other winter wear. If you want to channel your inner punk, incorporate some warm leather to your wardrobe.
I’d try looking in thrift shops and etsy stores for a jacket that’s ethical and within your price range. My skirt was from urban outfitters (because it was so heavily discounted, I gave into my baser desires), and my jacket was from Nasty Gal so I can’t offer much guidance as far as indie shops I have bought from in the past. The Sway makes some lovely looking jackets from reclaimed leather, which is very cool. I am of the mind that it’s better to re-use the old leather than just throw it away.
8) Loose-fitting, Lightweight Sweaters
I love loose knits because they’re chic, comfortable and can be worn fall through spring.
I like simple prints because they can be thrown on over or under nearly anything else. My go-to is a lightweight knit from Evil Twin clothing that I bought at a local boutique. It’s simple moon design is very “me.”
Wildfox is good for sweaters; I like their distressed ones a lot. There’s Evil Twin, whose clothing isn’t quite as witchy as the name would imply, but I’m very happy with my moon sweater. As with cardigans, I don’t really have a go-to shop in mind, and just advise people do to some sleuthing.