Over the next few days, the forecast in Jacksonville calls for temps nearing 80 degrees with no rain and no clouds. In other words, it’s going to feel like summer. We’re even planning to go to the beach, because who doesn’t love to throw on a bikini in the middle of that post-holiday, pasty-white slump? I mean, I know we’re lucky to live in a place that gets random bursts of summer in the middle of January. But therein lies a problem: our winters are so mild that investing in a lot of cute winter clothes just feels kind of wasteful. It reminds me of that threshold you reach at about 7 months pregnant: “I could buy more maternity clothes right now, or I could just wear this one pair of pants every day for the next two months, and no one can say anything because making fun of a pregnant woman is practically illegal.” In the same way, Florida winters make you want to just power through those short-lived cold months without dropping one more cent on an alternate wardrobe.
The fact is, though, within a couple of weeks we’ll have another stretch of 50-degree days, so we do need SOME cute, cozy outfits in our wardrobe, even if we can get away without investing in down parkas. But here’s the good news: by combining some summer wardrobe staples with a few key winter pieces, you can make can make some cute new outfits that will keep you warm when the mercury inevitably dips back down.
First, you’re going to need a turtleneck. Not a turtleneck sweater, but an old-school knit turtleneck in a neutral color. J. Crew makes some nice ones that are very thin, not bulky. Tuck your turtleneck into some nice opaque tights in a neutral color. At this point, you’re basically wearing a full-body unitard. Now here’s where the fun begins. Go to your closet and start piling things on top of this ensemble. For instance, I just dug out a romper that I wore all summer, sometimes even as a beach cover-up. I added a long, loose sweater, riding boots, a fun necklace and voila! A cozy, comfy, yet cute new outfit.
Let’s continue on the turtleneck theme. I bet you have at least one top that could become totally winter-appropriate with the addition of a turtleneck. That loose boho-chic tunic that’s just too light and drafty to keep you warm in the cool air? Throw it on over your turtleneck with skinny jeans and booties. That sleeveless date night top that was great in hot weather? Over a turtleneck, paired with jeans and ballet flats, it’s sweet and demure enough for daytime wear with the kids.
Beach cover-ups are a category in and of themselves. I bet most of us have at least one that could be totally transformed by adding leggings, boots, and a sweater or cute jacket over top. You could also substitute skinny jeans or jeggings (I still hate that word) to get the same effect. Let’s talk about length. Most beach cover-ups are shorter than the average dress you would be willing to wear. However, if you pair them with thick, wooly, opaque winter tights, that short length becomes totally acceptable. When trying this, booties are probably your best bet for footwear. Pair a short skirt with high boots and it’s a little too “Vivian meets Edward on Sunset” and with pumps or heels, it’s just trying too hard. To soften the short dress effect even more, top it with something less girly like a jean jacket, leather moto jacket or chunky sweater.
Well, I’m off to blind the neighbors with my winter skin and dodge Great Whites at my local beach. What are you wearing this weekend and how do you dress for our Florida winters?