Style Stories

An approachable, everyday winter uniform

Featuring 6! good! things!
by Leandra Medine Cohen
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What makes a uniform, uniform? My answer changes depending on the season but what remains important regardless of the time of year is the versatility factor.

It’s like, in the summer, you want to make sure that all the components are so plain that you could dress them up or down with the fell swoop of a different pair of shoes, or a necklace, or The Belt.

In the winter, I think the key question to ask is how many more ways you can wear the individual components of the uniform.

The components

What I’m finding makes for the best winter uniform this year includes:

1. A red turtleneck(mine is from Lauren by Ralph Lauren; I found it on the Macy’s website last year, and I like it because there is some spandex-y stretch to it, but here is one on sale for $12.95 at J. Crew Factory. I have a feeling I don’t love the roll neck, like it’s going to be too wide, but I might be wrong; this canary red (orange) one from Tory Burch is good too, particularly if you are/were a fan of how The Row’s Fall 22 lookbook was styled):

2. A simple white button downThe one I’m wearing is from a small brand called Ines. Of course, there is also always this one. I like both for the purpose of the fall uniform because they’re lightweight. This one in particular is a finer cotton and very slim, which makes it a good candidate to style under a sweater. Either would look great as a shacket.

The interior sweater is from &Daughter

3. A crew neck knit sweater. This one’s from Venstore; I’ve blown enough steam up its ass by now that you are likely well aware of its virtues: the extent to which it is soft, can keep you warm, and fit inside a coat/not make you feel like a snowman if you try to tuck it into pants with a waistline. It’s kind of like this one, with a better price.

4. Hiking boots! Like those (which I’d get a pair of red shoelaces for) or these. (Here’s the pair I’m wearing.) Really any pair of durable shoes/boots with a rubber bottom (it makes them a good foil to trousers too, as they’ll casualize an otherwise pair of formal pants).

These pants are fromLa Double J

Here’s the full look, I am feeling holiday unhinged:

A great jacket from My Dear Tejas

5. Comfy pants that are good with sneakers and boots, absolutely, but also work with fancy shoes. Mine are High Sport, you can try this pair from Tory Sport for a vaguely similar effect, although it’s really this shape that nails the look. And not for nothing, the print is good. Practically begging for contrasting hiking boots, no?

6. Then there is your coat. Mine’s shearling, and I can’t recommend this one (or, actually, this one too — just make sure you size up 1x or order very true, not at all small to size) enough (and I can’t vouch for the fabric quality here on this Lauren Ralph Lauren one but the shape is good; possibly the only time I will explicitly suggest an open lapel), but to produce the effect of this entire look, anything camel works.

Why it works

The Geriatric stance

Each component makes good sense in the broader constellation of my wardrobe.

The turtleneck looks good with a charcoal grey mini skirt or true blue jeans or layered under the button-down solo (a light blue one is great too), or under the sweater solo.

Ditto that for the sweater, great alone with the pants, also good with another pair, or over a dress then belted.

The coat’s also good for pants in partic, though if your camel coat is collared or you are planning to get one that is, it works much better with a (mini) skirt/dress. Versatile enough that it looks like a no-brainer with a casual outfit, and like an intentional contrast (and therefore thoughtful) with something more formal. Also warm!

It’s really the combination of camel, white, red and navy that feels so fresh for the season though. The colors are good when they’re together and when they’re split. This makes them versatile, adaptable, and independent even though they are also pretty solid team members. Like the ideal co-worker, you know?

The boots, I probably wouldn’t wear with a skirt or a dress, but they are great for the snow, and as mentioned, look nice with other kinds of trousers. Depending on the outfit, they are fab for jeans too. (I’d pair the boots and jeans with a dressier/unlikely top half, like the velvet shirt styled in Intuitive Outfits here, to create contrast).

Per the pantsthese are made from a technical fabric, which makes them applicable within the guardrails of like, “elevated activewear,” but then again, Alissa (the designer) talks about High Sport (the brand) as an American answer to Azzedine Alaia’s Alaia (which I am aligned on!). So in this way, they work as fancy pants too. I’d probably get them in black or a color like red if I were doing it again and factoring in how frequently I’d want to wear them the fancy way — its easier to wear them with heels in the second two colorways (stocking socks look less out of place and something about navy pants and formal black shoes rubs me wrong if I’m not also wearing navy on top, so the options are way more limited). I think they’re 10% off right now.

And then, not mentioned at all are warm weather accessories, which are getting their own post in a few weeks, but if you were going to wear a hat, I’d go for something red. In particular if you’re bought on my camel/navy/white/red thing. The key players in the combo are the camel and the red, and so even just the pairing of the coat camel coat with a red hat, but styled with other neutral colors (black, grey, ivory, etc) is a winner winner for one’s own vegan chicken dinner dinner. This perfect-shade-of-red Row beanie is on sale (thank you for finding it to cereal aisle reg Lecia Phinney) and the price is right on this guy.

This is The Row beanie (got it in the store, is 50% off there too), the sunglasses are from Delarge and those are Sophie Bille Brahe earrings

As a complete aside, I have also personally really taken to these Spanish knit numbers, under the influence of, I suspect, Blanca Miro.

In sum

There are ways to interchange variables within this template. If it feels comfier to have jeans as part of yours, that totally makes sense. I’d recommend a midrise, relative long inseam on straight legs in a shade of true blue like this (Jeanerica jeans). And the one thing I’d remain pretty steadfast on is, again, the combination of colors in use: khaki, white, navy and red. It’s not new science, any form of wheel of invention. It’s simple in fact, and somehow, still, seems so fresh. Plus the elements in these colors match with virtually everything else (barring the technical pants, which we went through), so it feels like a real bang-for-your-buck endeavor, a mature orange, ripe for full juicing.

Which is all I have to say on the matter. Hope you’re having a great week, aren’t getting emotionally, intellectually, or financially pulverized by the thrill of the sales (I really don’t need these boots, I’m not even sure if I actually want them, but they seem like such a smart choice!) and that your TG break was divine — like in the god way.