Anyway, we've covered military for both men and women and men's suiting, so I'd like to go back to covering both genders and talk about the newest fall/winter trend: alpine-inspired attire. Picture yourself in a cozy ski lodge with snow falling outside, a fire blazing inside, a mug of steamy hot chocolate and a good book. Just the idea of being up in the mountains in the winter is ideal, provided the power- or at the very least the heat- stays on.
When someone says "alpine inspired," I immediately think of bear skin rugs, thick woolen mittens, ski hats and those sweaters with deer and moose woven on the front. This falls alpine look pulls inspiration from all of those ideas, but in a modern and sleek manner.
Let's start with sweaters: they make a fabulous layering piece for both men and women. Yes, the reindeer and snowflake prints are "in," but that doesn't mean they have to be ugly or ill-fitting. If you like these kitsch-y designs for their sense of nostalgia, then go for it! But trust me when I say that there are tasteful, fitted versions out there. Right now they're a little harder to find, but as the months go by and the weather gets colder, they'll be out more and more. To help save you some shopping time, I found some suitable sweaters for both the guys and the gals out there:
7 for all Mankind Icelandic Sweater, 6pm, $93.15
Icewear Wool Sweater, Sierra Trading Post, $99.95
Energie Hayman Zip-up Cardigan Sweater, OptimusPrice, $298.99
Icelandic Wool Handknit Sweater, NordicStore, $196-$216
Reindeer Vest, Shop Say What, $25
Sierra Sweater, Amazon, $98.98
Some people aren't really into the prints on these sweaters, but even if you don't want to sport one, you can still look like a snow bunny in a lush cable-knit sweater instead:
Autumn Cashmere, Bluefly, $103
Icelandic Design Lansbury Sweater, Apparel Valley, $138
Chunky Blend Zip Cardigan, Fair Indigo, $22.25
Guys, I know you're not know bunnies- you're super hot ski dudes. Please don't be offended by the "snow bunny" remark. To make it up to you, I've found some amazing cable-knit sweaters for you:
Hand Knit Shawl Collar Cable Knit Sweater, Bloomingdale's, $265
Cable Knit Sweater, Buckle, $33.75
Cable Knit Sweater, Buckle, $13.50 (Discontinued- get it while you can!)
While sweaters are fabulous, they aren't the only "alpine" item out there. Remember what I said about the bear skin rug? Well, I don't think you should turn it into a trench coat, but I do think you should get on board the faux-fur express. Thanks to Rachel Zoe, faux fur is everywhere and the fur vest is a super chic way to participate in this trend:
BB Dakota Graham Faux Fur Vest, Revolve Clothing, $90
Juicy Couture Faux Fur Vest, Piperlime, $228
Gentlemen, I don't recommend fur vests for you. Not yet, anyway.
So, by now you're probably wondering, "How do I wear these bulky, alpine-inspired pieces and still look sleek and trim?" The answer is simple: if you wear a thick sweater or bulky fur piece, make sure all the other pieces in the outfit are slim and trim. Slender pants of all kinds are appropriate- skinny jeans, skinny cargo pants, skinny trousers, even thick woolen leggings under a longer sweater- all of these are appropriate. A fitted turtleneck, long sleeve tee or thin cashmere sweater underneath the fur vest will always be a winning look, too. Guys, wear a fitted straight-leg or boot-cut jean or a nice pair of wool trousers (flat front).
Now, let's not forget the accessories! For some, a sweater or vest is a bit too much and they might want to approach the alpine look with a little more subtlety. In that case, I recommend incorporating one alpine-themed accessory into an otherwise basic fall/winter outfit. Actually, the "one item" rule should apply to even the more substantial pieces, too. If you wear a reindeer sweater with furry boots and a ski hat and matching sweater, you'll just look like a cartoon. And now, for the accessories (my favorite part):
Smartwool Snowflake Scarf, Sierra Trading Post, $43.20
Nordic Peruvian Hat, Lids, $19.99
Faux Fur Lined Hat, Bravisa, $35.52
Naughty Monkey Faux Fur Boots, Zappos, $79.95
Lambswool Snowflake Winter Gloves, Fur Hat World, $24.95
The great thing about this trend is that you will likely have a few pieces already in your closet, but even if you don't, just one or two key statement pieces will work with your regular fall and winter wardrobe. A wool pencil skirt paired with an Icelandic sweater will be a perfect suit alternative for the office. Gentlemen, you can layer your Icelandic sweater over a button-front shirt and brightly colored tie and wear it with a suit or a pair of jeans- either look will be chic and put-together.
Let me know if you find any of these trends at bargain prices. Since it's a new trend, a lot of the great pieces will be in the high-end stores. After the trend has been around for a while, it will start to trickle down to the less-expensive shops. Let's cross our fingers and hope that happens soon!