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Winter is here. I know, I know i’ve been saying that for weeks but NOW I have evidence of snow and legitimate weather reports to back me up!! We were in Innsbruck for the first snowfall in Tyrol this weekend – so gorgeous, so exciting. Its here, its happening and I am completely unprepared.
Essentially, i’m not trained for a European winter. Last winter in Söll I was happy to get by on my H&M basic bits and pieces and a jacket sent from home. Fortunately my employer was providing my ski gear as uniform, so in the village no one really cared what anyone was wearing, all that mattered was dry socks, warm gloves and whether you could wear your ski boots into the next bar (you always could…aaahhh the life of the ski bum).
This year is a bit different. I’ve got the chance to rebuild my wardrobe from scratch, and this time ’round I feel the need for decent fabrics, a cut that fits, outfits instead of just clothes. Pretentious? Maybe, but after 2 years of wearing whatever wrinkled least in my beloved backpack, I can justify the desire for something a little more ‘pulled together’. Either that or I’m just getting old and picky! The question is, how does one do this when its freezing? Devoid of inspiration, I took to the streets to find out.
Mariahilfer Strasse, or as the locals call it ‘the Mahu’ is home to all your big name brands, H&M, Zara, Mango, Peek&Cloppenburg, the works. Do you know what I found on my search for warmth and comfort in style? Floaty tops. Light blazers. Short dresses. Breezy shirts. What the hell??!! Were these European women so acclimatised to the cold that they didn’t need layers? The theme was the same in every shop – one or two chunky knit jumpers available, which have the unfortunate side affect of making me look like a potato sack, and racks and racks of light clothing. I didn’t get it. I’m clearly too used to the Melbourne weather-wear which is; warm jacket, warm jumpers and layers upon layers. The reason for this is you never know if a day starts out cold, if it could get to 24 degrees and sunny at midday and pissing rain and 10 degrees by 5pm, so you layer up!! Here however is a different attitude. After a few days of confusion and surreptitiously spying on women all around the city, on the train and in cafe’s I figured it out. They don’t need to layer. Once the cold hit properly the temperatures in all inside buildings, vehicles and spaces ratcheted up by 5-10 degrees. So outside its freezing, but inside its positively balmy.
The key it seems, is that you can wear a perfectly light, trendy, fabulous outfit as one layer and create the necessary warmth with one staple warm winter jacket (long cut is a necessity) and winter accessories. Once you’re inside a building, layers peel off to reveal the fashion plate beneath. Tah-dah!!
This may seem obvious now, but I spent a good week trying to nut out how to keep warm (I am TERRIFIED of the bleak cold winter everyone keeps describing) so this revelation was a breakthrough. My fashion inspiration now compiled, I’m hoping that when I get work and have some spare cash I can get my winter fashion on. Check some ideas out here: http://pinterest.com/carlyehulls/style-inspiration
Or, if you have any suggestions please feel free to comment!! I clearly need the help as a winter fashion newbie =)