Tag Archives: Loehmann’s

Looking Cool While Staying Warm

Honestly, I thought Polar Vortex was a tenor from Eastern Europe.  Not until I saw the news last night, explaining the frigid temperatures that have gripped the country this week, did I realize it was a weather front visiting us like a late-date Santa, from the North Pole.  Today I’m feeling downright tropical because it’s heated up to a balmy 8.  I mean, I grew up in Schenectady but still!  Until I moved to central Vermont, fleece was a word I uttered once every seventeen years and usually in a nursery rhyme.  Now it’s part of my daily conversation.

But I’m finding after seven years of living here that it’s possible to embrace my inner Eskimo and dress chicly while fighting off frostbite.  And if your warm wardrobe isn’t complete, now is a good time to supplement it as most retailers are offering big after-Christmas discounts.

A few things I’ve discovered, well, actually two: long underwear top and long underwear bottom.  However, unlike the bulky, itchy things my mother made me wear as a kid, there are plenty of very thin but very warm options.  Winter Silks has a great line of lightweight long underwear that can really make a difference and they’re having a 60% off sale right now.  I also really love Hot Chillys, available on Amazon, and I’ve had good luck at Loehmann’s, when I can get to one, with higher-end-for-less-money silk long johns that have lasted me for years.  These garments are critical not only for staying warm once you’ve stepped away from the fire, but for preventing the itching of…

Heavy sweaters.  Now is a great time to buy.  Lots of sales, coupons and good deals from Banana Republic, J.Crew, Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, you name it.  Look for the cashmeres that are left over from Christmas.  Some great buys there and if that’s not enough, check out retailmenot.com which offers discount codes for many, many retail sites.

Because I happen to have bad circulation in my fingers and toes I’ve taken to wearing cashmere socks which sounds like a big luxury but is really pretty cost effective.  They’re warm enough for wearing with boots, but thin enough for shoes and they feel divine.  By January, prices have dropped and a couple pairs of these babies will keep your tootsies toasty.  If you wash them on the delicate cycle and hang to dry they’ll last forever.  For the fingers, I’ve found that mittens are the only thing that works for me.  These days many are made with glove linings and a mitten top that you can flip back when you need to use your digits.  The “Thinsulate” ones I got at Farm-Way, a local purveyor that is just what it sounds like, have special stitching on the fingertips so you can use an iPhone or iPad without removing your gloves.  Totally cool.

Outerwear?  Get down.  I don’t mean like “get funky.”  I mean, if you want to be warm, get down.  Not all down is alike, mind you.  If you look on the inside label you’ll see the percentage of down and the percentage of feathers.  More down means more warmth, so look for something like 80% down and 20% feathers.  I recommend a jacket that covers your fanny.  It’ll be warmer and it’ll look chic with a pair of skinny pants and boots.  You don’t have to spend a fortune but if you find a jacket you like and you see little feathers coming through the outer fabric, as Tanta Julia would say, fuhgget it.

Keep your feet warm with some Gortex or other weatherproof boots.  For stylish bootwear I really like Stuart Weitzman.  An investment, no question, but I’ve worn the same ones for nine years and they still look great, are warm and waterproof, so if you amortize the cost over that many years, they’re a bargain.  Aquatalia, same deal.  I store them in the off season stuffed with paper in an old pillowcase.  They are well worth the money to keep those feet cozy while looking cool.  And let’s face it; you can’t be chic if your teeth are chattering.

Don’t want to wear a hat?  I know just what you mean.  Five minutes in a hat and there’s so much static I could start a blender just by rubbing my head.  Get a pair of earmuffs.  Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) makes some great ones that go “behind the head” so there’s none of that nasty hat hair.  Mine are actually the Men’s version.  Makes no difference as the size is adjustable.   A nice colorful scarf (the rest of my outfit is black of course), a pair of shades and you are ready to brave the elements.

Lookin’ cool!

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http://wintersilks.blair.com/c/silk-long-underwear/long-underwear-for-women/pc/195/384.uts

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=hot+chillys&tag=googhydr-20&index=apparel&hvadid=32857959509&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11854992581682587622&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_25gcd1utux_b

http://www.softsurroundings.com/P/Cashmere_Socks/

http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12611006

6 Comments

January 9, 2014 · 8:44 am

In Formal

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JZ and I attended a gala a couple of weeks back for one of Boston’s cultural institutions.  Because it was a museum, along with the usual black tie dinner and dancing deal, there was an “open” party for the public where, for thirty bucks and a cash bar, anyone could come and enjoy music and dancing and lovely passed-around desserts, all while strolling through the exhibits in the evening hours.  It was a wonderful event but I must say the most intriguing displays were the outfits.  You cannot believe what passes for formal wear these days.  Or maybe you can.  Anyone who has watched the Academy Awards or, heaven help us, the Grammys, knows that men’s formal wear has become decidedly, well… informal.  Some of the things I saw at the event I attended: wrinkled shirts, no cummerbund or suspenders, brown shoes, buttons instead of studs, bad ties, NO ties.  Okay, okay, this is not the end of sartorial civilization, but there is a reason these events are called FORMAL.

I think a lot of the fashion infractions are committed simply because a lot of young men in particular, don’t know any better.  Dressing up is so rare these days that there are few occasions for a guy to learn what’s stylish and what’s stupid.  It used to be that a man’s first formal outing was the prom.  He’d go downtown with Dad to rent a tuxedo where the owner/tailor would ask about the event and explain all the necessary components.  Not anymore.  Now some part-time, pimply guy, in a tee shirt no less, offers you an outfit right out of Costumes-R-Us, the more outlandish the better so as to one-up the classmates, and hands it off like the basketball in the final seconds of a playoff.  I’ve even seen this with my own eyes at a wedding fitting.  You can bet THIS mother of the groom was saying, “Hold on just a minute.  You can’t be serious!”

So what should I look for, Mom?  First off, if you can possibly afford it, buy a tuxedo.  Even if it’s worn once a year, or even once every five years, you’ll look so much better in your own clothes.  And really, you can find one for not that much do-re-mi considering you’ll only need one.  Pick a classic look and it’ll last for a LONG time.  But if to rent is your bent go for something traditional.  The best dressed man at the Oscars is always George Clooney.  Why?  Because he wears a simple black, shawl or slightly notched collar tuxedo, white shirt and bow tie.  If you’re very trim pleated pants and a double breasted jacket are fine, but unless you plan to star in a Noel Coward play, opt for flat front trousers and a three button, single breasted jacket (only the top two are buttoned).  Pants, which should be worn at the WAIST, should graze the top of the shoe with a slight break in the leg.

Of course you need the accessories!  Choose an all-cotton shirt that will be professionally laundered with light starch.  A pleated front is nice with what they call a “laydown” collar and don’t forget the collar stays!  (Ask the dry cleaner).  Few people can pull off the wing collar and tie so leave that for your local orchestra member.  A proper formal shirt has French cuffs and little notches for studs, so pick up a set.  You can find classy looking ones at any of the department stores and many of the discount outlets like Century 21 and Loehmann’s.  The cummerbund covers the button at the bottom of the shirt.  And by the way, cummerbund pleats are worn facing up, not down, (that was so you could stick your theatre tickets in them!) and it should be snug around your middle.  Go for a black or small patterned tie and if you can tie it yourself, even better.  It’s really not that hard.  Skip the patterned cummerbund and stick with black.  It’s more flattering in the belly area.  If you are buying a tuxedo, don’t bother with vests, pocket squares, long ties, patterned jackets or colored (especially black) shirts.  They go in and out of fashion and never look as stylish as the sales help want you to believe.

Lastly are the shoes.  Traditionally black patent pumps (plain slip-ons with a bow) were worn but let’s get real here.  A simple pair of black patent or polished leather will look great.  Leather soles please.  The better to spin you round the dance floor, my dear.  Don’t forget a white handkerchief and NOT in the pocket of the jacket.  Keep it in your pants pocket for when your date starts weeping at how great you look.

And see you on the dance floor, Handsome!

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Tuxedo:  http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/tommy-hilfiger-suit-separate-tuxedo-shawl-collar-trim-fit?ID=580327&CategoryID=17788#fn=SUIT_STYLE%3DTuxedo%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D15%26ruleId%3D78%26slotId%3D5

Shirts:  http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/john-w-nordstrom-classic-fit-tuxedo-shirt/3179673?cm_cat=datafeed&cm_ite=john_w._nordstrom(r)_classic_fit_tuxedo_shirt:360050&cm_pla=tops:men:dress-shirt&cm_ven=Google_Product_Ads&mr:referralID=86ff9e11-3fdb-11e3-a8bc-001b2166c62d

http://www.amazon.com/Tuxedo-Shirt-By-Neil-Allyn/dp/B000LKETTM/ref=sr_1_8?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1382971494&sr=1-8

Shoes:  http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/florsheim-jet-plain-toe-oxford/3566467?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=1545&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_5_A

http://www.amazon.com/Giorgio-Brutini-Mens-17589-Black/dp/B007XVL10W/ref=sr_1_3?s=shoes&ie=UTF8&qid=1382971607&sr=1-3&keywords=mens+tuxedo+shoes

Studs:  http://www.cuff-daddy.com/tuxedo-cufflinks-studs-onyx-silver-tone.html?gclid=COKz0snnuboCFVOf4Aodb1EAOQ

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/david-donahue-brass-cuff-link-stud-set/3151659?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=White+Brass%2F+Onyx&resultback=272&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_1_A

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