Staying stylish during the brisk winter months is a trial in itself, but when a heavy Northeastern blizzard threatens to pummel anyone who pokes a Louboutin out their front door, achieving even a passable look requires herculean effort. I mean, how do you get salt off leather boots? Can I wear this cool suede coat in the snow? Every outfit poses a new sartorial query, and it's frankly exhausting. Residents of the East Coast are currently preparing for hibernation in the face of winter storm Juno, which is anticipated to blanket the region in up to two feet of snow. Between the frigid temperature, insurmountable snow banks, and inevitable slush to come, it stands to reason that even the most design-devoted should shelve their finest wares for the next several days.
However, the impending blizzard is no reason to resort to sweatpants and wrinkled t-shirts; in fact, I suspect co-workers would rather you stay home than brave the weather if you do so in such a slapdash ensemble. Warmth and comfort are key during a storm such as Juno, but there are shortcuts to maintaining your appearance even when you can't see farther than a half block in front of you. If you insist on facing the storm to commute to work or attend your weekly SoulCycle class, here are seven ways to stay unruffled and chic during the blizzard.
1. Keep Your Leather Footwear Polished
Though salt breaks down the ice on roads to make your travels easier in a storm, the saline mixture coats leather boots in a dull layer of grime. Of course, the best way to save your boots is to protect them ahead of time — a thin layer of mink oil (or a vegan alternative, if you aren't wearing real leather) applied at least 12 hours ahead of time will repel all sorts of weather. However, if bad weather catches you off guard, there are some emergency remedies you can apply after the fact. In order to keep your favorite pair in top shape, use a boot form or balled up paper to preserve the structure of the boots as they dry. Dust away any large salt particles that can be removed easily without scratching the leather, and once the boots are dry, wipe your boots down with a mixture of water and vinegar.
2. Rid Your Ensemble (And Yourself) Of Static Cling
A bit of static won't hurt your outward appearance, but when clothing you didn't intend to wear is adhering to your ensemble and strands of your blowout are standing on end, the effect is less than attractive. Static electricity develops from the friction of two materials brushing past each other in a low-humidity conditions, resulting in an electrical charge. As fascinating as the science of static is in the abstract, the reality is less visually compelling. If you're faced with the potential for staticky clothing after sporting several layers to journey to the office, try washing clothes with dryer sheets or patting down your ensemble with a sheet before skipping out the door. Running a wire hanger over clothing prone to static will also keep the phenomenon at bay. In addition, keep a humidifier running to reduce arid conditions near your closet, and make sure to keep damp towels on hand for quick fixes. In a pinch, hairspray and cream will keep your mane under control and protect against static.
3. Choose Winter-Friendly Fabrics
You likely know better than to wear your favorite suede boots in the rain or sport an excess of metal accessories during a lighting storm, but snow tends to catch even the most pragmatic individuals off guard. For the duration of the blizzard, set aside any hydrophobic fabrics for clear spring days. Suede, leather, silk, chiffon, and organza don't respond well to water exposure, and may not make a full recovery if faced with a barrage of snowflakes. Instead, create ensembles made of fabrics that won't wilt under water. Cotton and wool will endure even an impromptu hike through the drifts to stock up on supplies, and will do well to keep your body temperature above freezing if layered properly.
4. Lose The Heels And Try Shoes With Tread
No matter how graceful you believe you look weathering the snow in heels, a broken ankle doesn't paint a winsome (or intelligent) picture. You can engage in all the high-heeled hi-jinks you desire when the weather conditions aren't icy, but for the sake of your health trade your pumps for utilitarian shoes with tread during the storm. Waterproof lining and anti-slip rubber soles are two of the primary factors you should look for in blizzard-appropriate footwear, and make sure even your snow boots have a sensible heel. When the terrain is icy and unstable, keeping your center of gravity low is essential to staying upright instead of stuck in a snowbank.
5. Keep Your Head Cozy And Chic
A blizzard isn't the time to experiment with fussy hairdos or ornamental hats that do nothing to keep your head warm. If you wish to keep your locks off your face, try spring's slicked-back trend with a low ponytail or bun at the nape of your neck. If you prefer to let your hair down, recall that an encounter with your beanie will leave your locks flattened, so save the extra styling time for an ombre lip or duo-tone smokey eye. A blizzard is, however, the ideal time to debut a favorite faux-fur chapeaux or leopard-print earmuffs, so punctuate your puffer coat with a statement topper to stand out from the chilly masses and keep your head warm.
6. Maintain Your Technological Capability Without Giving Yourself Frostbite
Not even below-freezing temperatures can keep an Instagram addict from whipping out her iPhone in a flurry, but leaving hands bare below 20 degrees is a quick manner of giving yourself red, chapped fingers — if not a case of frostbite. Luckily, companies such as J. Crew and Burberry have debuted tech-friendly gloves to keep your hands tapping away at your smartphone without severe ramifications. Use your gloves as a pop of color or pattern against a neutral coat, or select a monochrome ensemble with corresponding gloves to create a seamless, urbane appearance.
7. Eschew Anything That Isn't Pristine, And When In Doubt, Dress In Basics
Because winter clothing is often tucked away during the spring, summer, and autumn, cozy items have a solid eight months to succumb to moth bites, yellowing, or other signs of deterioration. In addition, the materials that produce the most covetable fisherman sweaters and turtlenecks are often prone to unsightly pilling. When you're suiting up to battle a superstorm, step away from any item in your closet that looks as though it is falling to pieces. Layers of heavy clothing, blanket coats, and ski masks already make even the most innocuous fashionistas appear both terrifying and eccentric, but neglected clothing will further enforce the impression. If you must endure a blustery snowstorm with subzero temperatures, you may as well look good doing so.
Images: @eliza_sim/Instagram; Getty Images