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Be cool: Warm up to the winter months in style

Layering basics

Base layer: Moisture management

This next-to-skin layer helps to regulate body temperature by moving perspiration away from your skin. Keeping dry helps maintain a cool body temperature in the summer and avoid hypothermia in the winter. For outdoor comfort, your base layer should be made of merino wool, synthetic fabrics or, for less-active uses, silk. These fabrics transport — or wick away — perspiration from skin, dispersing it to the outer surface to evaporate.

Middle layer: Insulation

The insulating layer helps you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers such as wool and goose down are excellent insulators. Merino wool sweaters and shirts offer soft, reliable warmth and keep on insulating when wet. For very cold and dry conditions, goose down is best. Classic fleece provides warmth for a variety of conditions. It is lightweight, breathable and insulates even when wet. It also dries faster and has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than wool.

Shell layer: Weather protection

The shell or outer layer protects you from the wind, rain or snow. Shells range from pricey mountaineering jackets to simple windproof jackets. Virtually all are treated with a durable water-repellent finish to make water bead and roll off the fabric.


Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Don't let the cold chill your fashion senses.

Choose colorful, bold and fun accessories that trap the heat while showing your winter-weather style.

“Winter is dreary enough,” says Amber Coppings of Amber Coppings Designs in Lawrenceville. “Go for a fun color in a winter outerwear accessory to brighten your day and your mood, while staying warm as a bonus.”

Coppings, creator of Xmittens, a fingerless glove and recycled fleece line, started making gloves because her original studio was cold. She dyes materials, such as recycled fleece made from old soda bottles, to create gloves, hats, scarves, capes and jackets. Her prices range from $20 to $225. She donates 35 percent of the sales from one specific design of Xmittens to POWER, a local organization that helps women reclaim their lives from addictions to alcohol and drugs.

“When you wear a fun accessory in the cold weather ... like a red accent, (it) just makes you feel better when you wear it,” Coppings says. “It gives that pop of color and also keeps you warm.”

“Nothing brightens dreary winter days like cozy and stylish accessories with a punch of color,” says Andy The-Anh, design director for Lole, an active-wear company for women.

Items such as earmuffs are becoming cool again — no pun intended — says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. Some are more glamorous with sequins, while others have exaggerated fur. And there are hi-tech earmuffs into which you can plug your headphones.

A lot of current cold-weather accessories have a vintage feel, Andrews says, with a sense of heritage and old-school authenticity. Some winter hats look hand-knitted and have interesting patterns.

“They have a cozy feel to them that warms your body and your soul,” he says.

“There are some really great hats to keep the heat in,” Andrews says. “We are seeing cute bucket hats, shearling hats, beanies and trapper hats with the ear flaps.”

Marissa Rubin, senior market editor for People Style Watch, agrees that hats are on trend.

“Hats that used to be considered geeky are now chic,“ she says.

Hats can be found in everything from leather to fur, Rubin says. Leopard print earmuffs are fun, and snoods and infinity scarves in everything from faux fur to cashmere look great and keep wearers warm.

“Anytime you add an animal-print hat or scarf or red gloves, it puts a smile on your face because the color or pattern stands out,” Rubin says.

It all starts with proper layering.

“Layering isn't just about the top part of your body,” Andrews says. “Layering your top and bottom is a great way to transition from the cold outside to the warmer temperatures inside by removing layers.”

And, don't forget about footwear. Find fun boots that are waterproof and have shearling lining or decorative trim, or layer your look with socks or leg warmers, which are making a resurgence, experts say.

A bonus is, most winter items are on sale now, Rubin says.

The latest item to own is the headband turban, says Gwendolyn Covington, a style editor for It's a traditional knit or wool chunky headband that is meant to keep ears warm but is knotted at the front for a turban feel.

“This accessory is a funky, fresh way to stay warm this winter, and since the top of the band/turban is completely open, it is hair-friendly for most styles,” Covington says. “Go for chunky infinity scarves, fingerless gloves or leg warmers in bright colors and prints, and make a statement in your look.”

Covington says faux-fur scarves, hats, muffs and gloves feel good against the skin and make great layering pieces.

A ski shop is the perfect place to find items that are both functional and fashionable, says Donna Gagliardi, manager of Willi's Ski & Snowboard Shop in Castle Shannon.

“We have a lot of nice things from gloves with tips where you can use your smartphone without taking them off,” Gagliardi says. “And we have regular face masks, as well as some with pretty prints to match your outfit, such as leopard. They have fleece on the back, so they really keep you warm.”

After-ski boots are a really popular item, or just adding boot toppers to an existing pair can change the look of footwear and add some warmth, Gagliardi says.

“You don't have to be a skier to wear these items,” she says. “You can wear them waiting for the bus, walking the dog or just to and from the store.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.




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