Style Stories

The unlikely heroes of a winter wardrobe

by Leandra Medine Cohen
If you buy something, I might earn a commission.


#1: A lightweight red turtleneck.

Lauren RL turtleneck, Toteme sweater, Emi Mess pants, Falke socks, red sandals by The Row, but these from Saltwater are a perfect comp.

It’s a great baselayer that affords an otherwise muted outfit a pop of unexpected color that is functional too bc it’s a layer (warm!) and a turtleneck (warm.). I wear it mostly under button-down shirts (white, pink, light blue), or crew neck sweaters paired with trousers (the color pairings here are usually: navy with oatmeal, black with ivory, or very often recently, charcoal with brown)

What’s the best one? I have been wearing this cotton/spandex blend red turtleneck from Lauren by Ralph Lauren (this is the closest thing from the same brand). I found it last year on and would have ideally preferred less stretch in the material for a stiffer turtleneck (and probably also would have gone for a brighter red if I found one but am glad I didn’t — it seems like this shade [which is like a deep red with blue pigment in a lipstick] is the easiest to wear). 

This fleece one from Uniqlo reflects the best price, (but can’t vouch for material), this wool one from Outdoor Voices reflects the best color, but the neck doesn’t roll over, which might not work as a layering device. (It will be perfect worn as a solo-man though) and this ribbed one from Goldenbergh is a great fit (I’ve tried it), the right color and lightweight enough to layer, even though it’s very warm. Surprise option 4 is this one from Benetton, which is most like this number from The Row.

Carlus Wool Turtleneck Sweater
The Row
$1,690 USD
Mira Ribbed-Knit Turtleneck Sweater
$219 USD
Fleece Turtleneck Long-sleeve
$25 USD
Red Turtleneck In Pure Merino Wool
$47 USD

#2: A cable-knit cashmere polo sweater.

It’s good because it’s a warm, basic color that serves as a solid masculine foil to something more festive like brocade pants or a patent leather mini-skirt. It looks nice over a turtleneck (with pearls — coming up next) and works well with sweatpants on the weekend. 

Have also been wearing it with a poplin skirt or brown/khaki straight-leg pants. If I’m wearing khakis, I usually go for gold shoes, then realize I don’t wear most of the gold shoes I own unless I’m going OUT, and I’m not usually trying to wear khakis/a cable knit to rage, so.

That’s better! Am wearing a sheer Prada dress (Real Real find) with a belt from Sable. The combo styled under the polo with socks from Swedish Stockings and Camilla Elphick flats — let me close you up on them, it’s a tender little combo

See what I mean?

What's the best one?

J. Crew
Cashmere Cable-knit Sweater-polo
$248 USD
This one! I recommend sizing up 1-2x for an oversize fit.

#3: A long strand of pearls.

The final course! Does anyone get it when I say this? Wearing a black turtleneck from Vince (sleeveless, easy layer), a white and sage floral button down from a new brand by Rebecca Taylor (as in, the person), called A Court, a Loro Piana sweater (this one from Joseph is a t-neck, but does the same thing for the most part), Brock jeans (good dark denim, right this way) and Gucci slingbacks (I continue to stand by this patent leather shoe rec)

You know what I think it is that feels so right about this? We’re so covered up in the winter, it’s like layer on layer on layer, so a dainty and feminine add like a necklace that sways all the way across your chess and even down to your navel does something very soft to the rest of the look that somehow actually gives itmorepermission to be practical. Like the pearls make you want to wear big boots! Even though I’m not doing that. Basically, if you long for an unexpected twist, this is such an easy way to incorporate it.

What’s the best one? Etsy is a trove of reasonable finds. Came across these huge ones from Tory Burch last week too. And if you can swing a vintage strand from Chanel, here’s a loud option and a more discreet option.

Pearl Convertible Necklace
Tory Burch
$244 USD
Freshwater Pearl Long Necklace
$37 USD
Vintage Faux Pearl Bead Necklace
$378 USD
Long Natural Freshwater Pearl Necklace
$30 USD
Chanel Necklace
$1,230 USD
White Freshwater Pearl Necklace
$150 USD

#4: The personality hat.

Chin pimple: model’s own.

I’ve had my nose up the ass of the internet looking for clever alternatives to this Jenny Walton hat and mainly I’ve found the same effect through crochet beanies (Victor Glemaud had the best one, but its sold out too; an expensive option is this from Loro Piana; for $400 less there is also this, which I love. 

Here’s what Bode calls their “loopy hat,” and oh shit, look at this one! These actually might be the closest to the Jenny hat and these from Nicolas Daley are still a pick I take seriously. Conceptually, this is such a good foil to a dark winter look because the material adds such a low-risk surprise. It’s refined maximalism as its least intense. 

And as an aside, I love this very expensive …thing from The Row:

Will she ever stop talking about the “final course” smores hat?

Crochet Cotton Beanie
Loro Piana
$600 USD
Asrid Cashmere Hat
The Row
$790 USD
Black & Yellow Crochet Beanie
Nicholas Daley
$223 USD
Fringe Check Merino Wool Hat
$135 USD
Loopy Wool Beanie Hat
$220 USD

#5: All black high-top converse.

Inspired by a woman I saw leaving the Guggenheim last month. I think these feel so fresh to me because they’re basically The Row’s sneaker boots, but like, as classic chucks. 

I’m wearing that Vince turtleneck again, this time with a plain white crew neck t-shirt and a sequined jacket from a Turkish brand called New Arrivals. All of this is styled under the overarching Toteme anorak, which now comes in a really nice shade of ivory. The jeans are Louis Vuitton (I’m sorry for this sentence! They were a #prepandemicgiftfromthebrand; but these from Jeanerica are similarly rigid, possibly better even because of that yellow stitching, a bit more flared at the hem though). Before we return to the shoes, I’m gonna show you a close-up of all the shit going on before the jeans:

The sequins offset the anorak and the anorak offsets the sequins which means I’m basically not dressed! Meanwhile, I have always really liked the combination of yellow cold with military green, it’s a similarly offputting balance of precious and utilitarian. Those bracelets are Paula Sighinolfi and Paco Rabanne. But back to the shoes:

Great with wool trousers, track/sweat pants and surprisingly, a white poplin mid-length skirt which is next on this list, you just wait.

What's the best one?

Chuck Taylor All Star Classic
$65 USD
There is only one!

#6: A white poplin skirt.

The one I’m wearing is from Tory Burch and I’ve been wearing the hell out of it — oddly seems to be the ideal bottom for a winter look that is not a pair of pants. Looks great with black tights and metallic sandals a la Miuccia Prada/Becky M., has a great time with the aforelisted high top converse and I love it with a plain white t-shirt, sweater and masculine ankle boots. Great styled under a single-breast coat too!

Arch4 sweater on shoulders, Khaite t-shirt, Tory Burch skirt, Toteme boots

What's the best one?

Tory Burch
Cotton Poplin Ballet Skirt
$419 USD
Tory Burch’s ballet skirt is structured enough to make it seem like it respects the winter as much as it will the summer. And it’s on sale.

#7: An animal print coat.

Rixo coat, Khaite bag (and jeans), Toteme boots and the underlayers include a white turtleneck layered under a blue button down, with a crew neck sweater over.

The finale unexpected item extraordinaire —this a-line, single breast Rixo collared coat has become the key man because of its shape: single breast, button up to the collar with an a-line silhouette. It does the same thing item #3 (the pearls) does to an outfit in that if you’re wearing something either plain, minimalist, or more masculine than you typically sway, it’s the precise unexpected twist that starts to wreak of refined maximalism.

What's the best one?

Milly Leopard-print Faux Fur Coat
$584 USD
I’m partial towards the Rixo one, which is reasonable for a coat at its retail price.

But the best part about the whole ordeal — as in the 7 good things — has got to be that independent of how good the pieces are deconstructed and styled as their own keymen, they are great accomplices to each other too.

Once again that’s a leopard print coat (1), a festive hat (2), a red layering turtleneck (3), a cable-knit polo (4), a white poplin mid-length skirt (5), all-black Converse (6) and a strand of pearls, which you can’t see because I just realized I forgot to put them back on! (7)

So there you have it — 7 great things.

Signing off yours,