6 Annoying Winter Fashion Problems—Solved!
Along with freezing temps, winter brings plenty of clothing issues—salt stains, sweater pills, and bulky, unflattering clothing, to name a few. So we went to the experts to get their best tips for winter woes.
Wearing Pants With Clunky Boots
It might seem impossible to pair work pants or trousers with your big snow boots (or even regular leather boots) and still look polished, but it’s all about proportions. “If you need to wear a trouser with a snow boot, I would recommend a dressier, waterproof ankle boot and a skinny, ankle pant so the proportions work well,” says Allison Berlin, co-founder and stylist at Le Curate. When there’s snow slush, you might want to avoid wearing a wide-leg trouser and opt for taller boots with tights or leggings.
To prevent the legs of your jeans from bunching up when you wear knee-high boots, try investing in a pair of clip-on stirrups. “They keep every style of pant securely tucked into your footwear,” says Alison Freer, costume designer and author of How to Get Dressed. Freer also suggests giving wider-legged pants a slight pinch roll (pull the seam part of the jean leg tight, fold over and wrap around your ankle, and then roll up the hem) before you use the stirrups.
You don’t have to look like the Michelin Man all winter long. Again, proportions are key. “A slimmer silhouette on the bottom half balances out a bulky top half,” Freer says. So think big puffy jacket with skinny pants, leggings, or tights. “A big puffer coat can often end up looking like a sleeping bag, so finding one with some shape is important,” Berlin says. “Look for a style with a belt to highlight your waist, or add a belt yourself—something that’s leather and about two inches wide.”
The salt may protect the sidewalks, but it can ruin your favorite pair of leather or suede boots. Take some preventive measures and apply waterproof spray to your boots when you first get them, or before you stop out in the slush.
If you haven’t thought that far ahead, you can still salvage your stained boots. “Always clean shoes and boots at the first sign of stains with a leather cleaner, like Hide-Bracer,” says clothing care expert, Steve Boorstein. “Once dry, apply a silicone-based water shield spray. Then, clean and re-apply as needed, or whenever stains or dirt form.” Freer also suggests carrying a soft rag, like a bandanna or washcloth, in your bag to give your boots a quick wipe down after you’ve been outside.
Balancing on High Heels in Slippery or Snowy Sidewalks
If you’re going somewhere where heavy winter boots will make you stick out like a sore thumb, you’ve got two options. You can stick with a tried-and-true trick: keeping your nicer shoes in your bag to change into at the office and wearing your snow boots while you’re commuting. But if you want to be adventurous (and the sidewalks aren’t filled with ice), ditch the pointy and narrow heel and opt for a wider one or a wedge. “Look for dressier styles with a stacked heel, which will make walking around a bit safer than a stiletto heel,” Berlin says.
24/7 Static Cling
We’ve all been there—you take off your winter coat and that flowy dress is bunching up in weird places thanks to static cling. It’s smart to prep your wardrobe as you’re getting dressed in the morning. “There are three products you can employ: a dryer sheet, aerosol hairspray, or the gold standard, Static Guard,” Freer says. “Just spray or wipe them on the offending item. If you have issues with your tights sticking to your skirt or dress, do yourself a favor and wear a slip, which provides a barrier between the two garments.”
Or you can put your dryer to work. Boorstein suggests putting the clingy fabric in the dryer with a damp washcloth for a few minutes, but don’t over-dry because that will just encourage static.
Pilling, Stretchy, or Shrinking Sweaters
Use a fabric shaver to get rid of pills. “Most people tend to over de-pill, which can thin the fabric. These devices can also snag or cause holes if you get too aggressive,” warns Boorstein. “The best and safest way to remove pills is to put the sweater over your palm, or on a firm surface, and press lightly until you get the right amount of pressure to remove the pills.”
To prevent over-stretched or shrunk sweaters, be mindful of the material and clean according to the label. “It’s best to dry clean or use dryer sheets for wool and cashmere pieces,” says Berlin. “Anything in cotton should be washed in a gentle cycle with cold water and laid flat to dry.”