Cozy & Stylish Winter Buys

Red and green lights are adorning your neighbourhood houses, classics like “Jingle Bells” seem to be playing in every store you go, and the beloved Gingerbread Latte has reappeared at Starbucks. I know what you’re thinking, yes, this all started the day after Halloween. But at this point–with December just days away–it finally has meaning: The holidays, and all the cold bitter weather that comes with them, are actually coming, and fast.

Here’s my advice on tackling that all too delicate balance between chic and frumpy as the temperatures start to dip, and winter finally sets in.

The Pea coat vs. The Parka Dilemma

After spending four winters in Toronto, I know that the pea coat–although stylish and very flattering–sometimes just doesn’t cut it when it comes to keeping warm. Some days are just too freezing, windy and horrible to prance around in a waist-clinching, dressier style coat. Sometimes you need a little extra insulation and the option of a furry rimmed hood to keep the snow and wind from messing up your hair and making your eyes water like they did the first time you saw Titanic (come on, I know it happened). Here’s where the parka steps in. Whether you’re making the snowy, nose-running-inducing grotesque trek to school, work, or just down to the nearest Starbucks to get your mitten-ed hands on a Gingerbread Latte, the parka-style coat has you totally covered–literally. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to look like some shapeless, plushy lump, waddling across the intersection. I understand completely. But thankfully there are some pretty adorable parkas out there–and if it’s the daytime, and let’s face it, you’re not in a gorgeous little cocktail dress, then there’s no need to look overly dressy. Save your beautiful, tailored pea coat for more upscale occasions than hitting the aisles of the grocery store, or doing some frantic xmas shopping. There’s also something undeniably casually cool about a well-fitting, quality-made parka. And guess what? This style of coat sure works for Sarah Jessica Parker (AKA Carrie Bradshaw), so why can’t it possibly work for you?

SJP looks fab in a parka.

TNA's Aspen Knee-Length Parka.

My pick? TNA’s Aspen Knee-length Parka. In black, because black is a classic. It goes with everything. Also you won’t stain it if you accidentally spill your Gingerbread Latte on it, and can therefore forgo an annoying dry cleaning bill. If you hate black, don’t worry, it comes in a variety of colours. It also boasts a removable hood, fur-rim and is insanely warm–I speak from experience. You’ll be walking around that sweaty, Christmas rush frenzied mall with this thing open. Another bonus? It’s long enough to give you a good amount of coverage if you choose to rock a skirt, or low-key dress. It’s one of TNA’s hertiage favourites for a reason: it can do no wrong. And no, I wasn’t paid to say any of this. I just happened to come to my senses this year and added a smart parka to my jacket collection.


The famous MK Bromley Flat Boot.

I love the fall and winter for many reasons, but a big one has to be the change-up in footwear. Namely boots. Yes, booties and moccasins have their place. But, boots. Boots are amazing: yes, they’re functional, but they’re also elongating, if worn right, and can keep you feeling chic even while walking through piles of disgusting dirty slush. Beyond that, there are endless possibilities–styles, colours, shapes, accents, the list goes on. Whether you want a heel, wedge, flat riding boot, suede, leather, the choice is yours. Personally I love to keep a more casual style on hand, along with something a little more put-together. Check out last year’s must-have, Michael Kors’ gorgeous Bromley Flat Boot, for inspiration. They’ll compliment both dressier and casual styles.


Last but not least, are the little finishing touches. A pop of colour from a great pair of gloves. The perfect camel-coloured chunky scarf. These are the pieces that quietly pull a look together and keep you looking effortlessly fashionable, even when you’re braving a blizzard. Mix it up, keep it playful and best of all, keep warm!

Up your style with warm accessories.

Add more style with warm accessories.


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About Melissa Hayes

Melissa is a freelance journalist, beauty/style blogger and ongoing contributor to and She graduated with honours from Humber College's Journalism - Print & Broadcast program in December 2010, and currently lives in Toronto.

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