BEIRUT: Striking a balance between functional, versatile basics and bright statement pieces is the key to creating a winter wardrobe that will keep you looking your best in the worst weather, without spending a fortune. This guide seeks to break down what’s worth toning down and what can be turned up. Beirut’s fairly mild winter weather means one can generally prioritize fashion over function, but keep in mind it may not hold up in, say, Faraya, Helsinki or New York.
Statement Coats: Your first instinct when buying the outerwear you’ll be donning more than any other item this season may be to go for something neutral that can easily match with anything. Throw matchy-matchy out the window and consider a bolder choice, like a bright color or a fun retro pattern such as houndstooth. Long, full skirts are very on trend and add a dash of glamour. To really vamp it up, consider something with fur (or faux fur) trim around the hood, collar or sleeves.
Quality Boots: A sturdy pair of boots is a great investment, so don’t be afraid to spend a little more for quality leather and construction. If you simply can’t dish out $200, however, Souk al-Ahad in Sin al-Fil is a great place to find buried treasures for less than LL20,000. You have to do a little digging, but a reporter has two pairs of very nice European-made boots that have lasted over two years that she got from the Sunday flea market. Plus, Souk al-Ahad is always an adventure. Where else can you pick up your new favorite footwear alongside a wholesale box of Chinese hair oil and a monkey?
Fingerless Gloves: I love fingerless gloves because they keep my hands warm while leaving my fingers free to perform basic tasks. Fingerless gloves or arm warmers come cozy in chunky knits, or edgy in black (think biker).
Tights and Leggings: Tights and leggings can be worn either as basic or statement pieces. Thick black tights are a staple for winter, especially for nights out on the town when a lady likes to show a little leg without getting frostbite. Tights and leggings in neutral colors allow you to transition your summer and fall wardrobe into the coldest season. Alternatively, you can pair a pair of bright hued tights with a black dress and black boots to break up the monotony with a flash or color. Fishnets should be handled with care; a small mesh in a neutral color can be subtly sexy, while large mesh in bright colors is generally costumey and vulgar. Stockings are an easy way to completely change the tone of an outfit.
Rain Boots and Umbrellas: Functional rain boots and umbrellas are quite cheap, and as you will be wearing them on the ugliest, rainiest, grayest days of the year, don’t be afraid to get something super colorful and fun. Who can resist jumping in puddles with a pair of bright floral rain boots or a polka dot umbrella? If you must venture out in a downpour, fortify yourself with whimsy. Children’s umbrellas are inexpensive, cute and if you lose them, which you will, it’s not the end of the world.
Scarves: Scarves can also be treated either as neutral basics or statement pieces. As accessories, they are a good way to incorporate a bright accent into an otherwise subdued outfit. Scarves are a great way to express personal style, whether they are embroidered, patterned or plain; fine or chunky knit; long, short or infinity. The Internet is a good place to find funny, punny or unique scarves featuring animals, cartoon characters or your favorite food.