Striking the perfect balance of stylish and seasonally appropriate can be a difficult task, especially in the unpredictable climate of Columbia. There’s good news, though — your dream winter wardrobe is within reach (in fact, it may already be hiding in your closet).
Try out the following trends to stay comfortable on campus and keep your personal style at the forefront this semester.
The Power Puff
With temperatures dropping and those walks to class not getting any shorter, finding an outfit that keeps you comfortable and on-trend is more important than ever. For example, the puffer coat, a former staple of childhood snow days, has since evolved into one of the most versatile and fashion-forward pieces of the winter season.
Sophia Dudley, a third-year fashion merchandising and digital innovations student, said that puffers are “all the rage” this season. Dudley serves as the director of programming for Fashion Board at USC, a student-run organization that collaborates with local beauty and fashion retailers to help students grow personally, stylistically and professionally.
“Not only are puffers back and better than ever, they have new textures such as corduroy, satin, and some metallic fabrics as well,” Dudley said in a text to The Daily Gamecock.
Warm and Fuzzy
Winter is a great time to experiment by adding different materials to your wardrobe. From faux feathers to patent leather, there’s a wide range of fabrics you can mix into your closet to elevate your outfits. One of this season’s hottest textures is faux fur. Not only is it one of the coolest and most fabulous ways to bundle up this season, but it can also easily be incorporated into your winter wardrobe.
“Coats with fur lining and detailing at the cuffs and neck line are taking over social media,” Dudley said. “I believe that next winter, we will start seeing full fur jackets instead of just fur accents, and potentially some fur on our beloved puffer jackets!”
You may also see fur accents keep popping up in more winter accessories, like fuzzy earmuffs or gloves with faux fur trim. However you choose to incorporate fur into your wardrobe, it is sure to add an element of luxury and warmth to your winter looks. Staying warm has never looked so cool.
Living in Layers
Searching for a way to put your warm-weather wardrobe staples to good use? Grab some wintery basics and pair them with your sunnier pieces for an outfit that is ready to take on Columbia’s often erratic climate.
Sidney Halloran is a second-year international business student who works at Sid & Nancy, a buy-sell-trade store located in Five Points. She said that layers are definitely becoming an "overarching theme" in the Columbia fashion scene, especially during the winter months.
“It’s not a cold enough city where you’re throwing on the biggest winter jacket,” Halloran said. “But you’ll see people layering sweaters with a tank top over that.”
Columbia’s warm climate, especially compared to the frigid temperatures of winters in the Midwest and Northeast, makes local secondhand shops the perfect place to find lighter pieces to layer on top of your winter staples.
“I'm from Chicago — it's a lot of oversized, baggy sweaters,” first-year pre-law political science student Ella Michel said about her experience thrifting in Columbia. “I went thrifting here — it's tank tops, it's shorts. It's a very different dynamic.”
Experiment with layers by adding a sweater or cardigan over a favorite sundress. You can also give a classic outfit a fresh remix by layering a long-sleeved shirt or turtleneck under a graphic tee or light sweater to create a look perfect for the Columbia winter weather.
Make a Statement
Brighten up the winter by adding the vibrant hues of warm-weather clothing to your outfits. From color-blocked sweaters to a patterned skirt or pair of pants, featuring some bold pieces in your winter outfits can be a fun way to find your personal style.
“I feel like bottoms or pants can be the biggest statement,” Halloran said. “I really try to wear a bold color or prints on the bottom and then a basic on top.”
Whether it’s scrolling through current trends on social media or taking note of what other people on campus are wearing, there are plenty of ways to find fashion inspiration for the upcoming semester.
Step out of your comfort zone and experiment to find what you like best, and don’t be afraid to branch out and explore all the boutiques, thrift stores and other hidden retail gems that Columbia has to offer. You might just find exactly what you’re looking for to make your winter wardrobe shine.