Women’s Voices for Change recently asked a dozen fashionable friends to share with us how they manage to stay warm and still look stylish in this nippy season. We’ll be passing along their thoughts and suggestions in our new Fashion Friday series. The first set of winter wardrobe tips comes from WVFC Style and Fashion Contributing Editor Stacey Bewkes, author of the lifestyle blog Quintessence: Living Well With Style and Substance We are thrilled to announce that she and Colleen Caslin, WVFC board member and COO of Verdura, will be overseeing our  site’s new Style and Fashion section.Ed. 

My key to chic seasonable dressing is layers. Most of my wardrobe essentials are nine-month staples—lightish-weight items that I adapt to the season by adding additional sweaters, vests, and scarves to the mix. These midweight items are easy to mix and match and peel off if necessary in overheated restaurants and shops. If I had to pare them down to five, these would be my picks.

V-neck sweaters. I own a stable of them in mostly classic colors. For everyday in Connecticut they work with cords or jeans, with a short- or long-sleeve tee underneath. If I’m going out to lunch or into the city, I’ll dress them up with a white man-tailored shirt and a chunky necklace. Or if the sweater’s fitted enough, and with a deep-enough V, I’ll wear it alone, with just the jewelry, for a little more allure. Here’s a J.Crew version I like.    Pants. I am a pants girl, so this is a deep category in my closet. If I had to choose only one pair for winter, it would be black pants in a stretch wool, like these Piazza Semitone Marilyn pants. I know skinny is in, but for me, a slightly wider leg is more graceful and versatile. The pants should have no waistband and lie very flat, so you can wear things tucked in or over without any bulge. And this shape and material allows the pants to be dressed up or down. They’re too short in this photo, but you can disregard that.
A bounty of boots is a necessity, of course, since I spend most of my time in pants. My go-to pair is from the old Prada sport line, but these Stuart Weitzman Parttres would work well also. They have a neutral silhouette with a comfortable stacked heel that is great for walking, and they’re a perfect height to fit comfortably under pants. 
Coat. A coat’s the cornerstone of a winter wardrobe, and you should expect to spend a little money for one. My favorite style is one with no “hardware”— no buttons or zippers—but with the option of a belt. This can be worn open for a casual-chic look, and it’s the perfect shell covering the layers underneath. Now, given all the sales, is the perfect time to shop and get a bargain like this fabulous camel-and-cashmere Joseph coat Scarves. Of course! I have a collection of them and wear one every day, for both warmth and color. They can even stay on after the coat is removed, at the neck or over the shoulders as a wrap. Accessories in general are the perfect way to add a little spice to your life. The animal-print trend is still going strong, and you can find options at every price point. For those who’d love to add a little designer élan to their wardrobe, this Roberto Cavalli stole (on sale) would be perfect. 


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  • Elizabeth W January 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Aha, we’re spiritual kin in body type as well as taste, Stacey? That’s helpful to know.

    If I can find those pants in petite on sale somewhere, I might die and go to fashion heaven!

  • Elizabeth W January 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I think these are my favorite Fashion Friday suggestions so far. I’m always on the lookout for well-cut, classic pants, and am building a collection of v-neck sweaters and cardigans.

    The only snag is the proportions: I’ve got a long torso and an inseam the fashion industry thinks is “petite.” So- takes some brand sleuthing, and if all else fails, a stop at the tailor to get it right.

    • Stacey Bewkes January 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Elizabeth – I am also long waisted – that’s why I like these types of pants – they are a bit longer in the rise and present a long uninterrupted flow. And a little bit of heel helps to elongate the leg!

  • Beth Dempsey January 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Stacey…I can picture you in all of your choices.
    Chic, simple and to the point.

  • DivaDebbi January 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Way to start us off Stacey! I know you and Colleen will be bringing relevant fashion and style information to the site. I’m delighted that I will be contributing too. All the best!

  • Marisa/Stylebeat January 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Yay Stacey!

  • Dr Pat Allen January 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    We are thrilled that Stacey and Colleen will be adding style and fashion to our evolving ‘zine. Women over 40 do like clothes and accessories and often have found what suits them best, altering it from season to season with a touch of the “new”.

    Great introduction, Stacey!

    Pat Allen

  • Chris Lombardi January 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I LOVE those looks, Stacey – especially those pants. Look forward to many more Fashion Fridays to come.

  • Hamptontoes January 13, 2012 at 8:44 am

    What a fun topic to write about…how fun that you are a new editor over here! I’ll be checking in often. Love what you have picked and how you presented.

  • Stacey Bewkes January 13, 2012 at 8:41 am

    So excited to be overseeing this fun new section with Colleen – can’t wait for all to see the fun new pieces coming!!