High Style: NWQ Winter Fashion

This winter’s fashions look classy and warm against the cool Chicago skyline, captured from the John Hancock Observatory. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images of our women’s fashion.

Zac Posen Matara velour sheared mink walking coat with Swakara lamb trim paired with espresso lamb leather gloves from York Furrier, Elmhurst. Shown with black leggings from Peter Daniel, Barrington. (Dustin Waller photo)

Temperatures are dropping and the snow is here to stay. Midwestern fashion is practical, so focus on items that are versatile, warm and comfortable.

First, consider embellishments. Creative patterns, embroidery and prints on any shoe, shirt or purse will do. The embellished top takes that plain jeans-and-tee look to a new level, adding character and edge.

Shoes are also catching the flair, with designers adding stud detailing to round-toe pumps. These go nicely with dresses, leggings and skinny jeans. Hot colors to try are gray, purple and royal blue, but black is most versatile.

Try embellishments on accessories, especially purses, for more charm. A large hobo-style purse makes a great day-to-night bag. Statement necklaces offer detail using a mix of pearls, sequins and studded pieces. Adding a statement necklace to your favorite dress creates a whole new look and saves money.

Boots are a staple for any winter outfit, and the trick is to be fashionable and effective in the winter snow. For that classic look with a riding-style boot, pair your jeans with a solid-colored sweater and your polished, knee-high boots. For an edgier approach, match your boots to some leggings or skinny jeans with a simple tunic, cropped leather jacket and colorful scarf.

Don’t forget about the slouchy knee-high boot. These are both stylish and flattering. For a fresh look, try grey or brown suede, colors that are bold and noticeable but also subtle and easy to color match. Add a long sweater dress with tights for a versatile outfit.

This brings up another winter essential: The sweater. Whether it’s a classic waist-length or a sweater dress, this is a must-have for every winter wardrobe. Sweater dresses come in a variety of styles (chunky neck, deep V-neck, cowl neck) and fits (tight, loose, baby-doll). Plus, anybody can wear one. Cable-knit sweaters with chunky or cowl necks pair nicely with your favorite jeans, dress pants or tights, and they even work with an office suit.

On the lighter side, lace and sequin tops are gaining popularity. Long-sleeved lace tops paired with a fitted cami make a go-to blouse. This combo works as easily under suits as it does with dark-wash denim and boots. Match a lace tunic with a long cardigan, leggings and slouchy boots for a girl’s night out.

Add some shimmer with sequin tanks, which come in many colors. Combine a bold-colored sequin top and a neutral-colored cardigan for a comfortable, fashionable outfit. Be careful about adding other accessories – sequins provide enough shine and shimmer. For an everyday outfit, try a mesh ruffled top in a simple print, paired with jeans and a colorful cardigan. Lace, ruffled, sequined and silk blouses are extremely versatile and match easily with cardigans, blazers and accessories.

For evening events, your go-to outfit starts with your favorite little black dress. Make sure that it flatters your body type, and that its length works for both night and day. Black isn’t the only sexy touch this season. For a splash of color, try crimson or emerald. A crimson-colored, one-shoulder dress makes a splash at holiday parties and works perfectly with lacy or patterned tights and round toe pumps.

Emerald is stunning, too. It’s a bold color, so focus on minimal accessories and understated pumps. Cinching the waist with a ribbon or small belt changes the look.

Don’t let cold and snow keep you locked up this winter. Let your presence exude style and versatility with a combination of dresses, jackets, shoes and blouses. Whether you follow hot trends or create your own, let fashion be fun.

*Editor’s Note: Hair by Ben Eash, Bella Salon, Rockford, Ill. and Make-up by Betsy Branca, Rockford, Ill. and Chicago.

Click thumbnails below to see larger versions of this winter’s High Styles.