Two looks have captured the coming-of-winter zeitgeist – polar opposites, you might say.
While the Danes have hygge, and the Swedes have lagom, we simply call it cozy. Voluminous, cuddly sweaters and coats, pants and jeans that flair and swish, and boots that comfort and warm toes with plush linings.
Meanwhile, the exact opposite is having its day: sleek, slim, utterly chic from boots to leggings to satiny dresses with plenty of attitude.
We bring you some beautiful possibilities from both, plus ways to mix them together: say, pulling on a fabulous faux fur coat over a slinky dress or wearing a fluff of mohair sweater under your Jane Bond trench.
Best of all, such indulgence needn’t break the bank. Every one of these looks can be had for less than $300.
Here’s Looking at You, Cozy
Does anything say cozy quite like Ugg? Look at the vertical lines in the back of the Gertrude Long Teddy Coat, which gives a slightly slimming effect (though with fleece, big is kinda the point). In white, black, pink, and tan. $268.
I haven’t thought about mohair sweaters since sleep-away camp when all the girls but me had piles of these cloud-like sweaters. Oy, the envy! Mohair is pricey, beyond our $300 budget at every major retailer I scouted. But Etsy? Get a load of this shrug with the voluminous sleeves, hand-knit in just about any color you want. $99.40. If you’re wary of the site, Etsy offers reassurance with check-marked suggestions.
Ohhh, this waist-length, polar fleece anorak at Zara. My husband would hate it. “Your rear end will freeze,” he’d say. He’s ridiculously practical, but this jacket is so cool; who cares? $69.90 in black only.
Well, that jacket calls for fleece-lined leggings, doesn’t it? Keep the buns warm with these top-rated beauties. 25 colors, over 28,000 positive reviews, a pocket for the keys/credit card/phone – and they promise to keep you toasty when the temp drops below 40. $29.99 on Amazon.
Big sweaters make great toppers for leggings, especially if you’ve waved adieu to your ballet body. Technically a minidress but perfect for the purpose, this slouchy, v-necked, mid-thigh-length sweater comes in four colors and is just $69 at Nordstrom.
Gap Factory gets comfy with wide-leg cords that land somewhere between sweats and pants. They’re mid-rise with loose legs, pockets, and an elasticized drawstring waist. In tan only, and a steal right now at 50% off. $34.99.
Really, is there anything cozier than cashmere pants? Well, yes, if you add a matching hoodie. Bloomingdales has the purrfect pairing in a collection of colors bright and dark to mix and match. On sale for just $138.60 each piece.
Are Uggs…ugly? Maybe. But when it comes to warmth, there’s nothing like their plush sheepskin (or lambskin) detailing, wool lining, and suede outer boot. This pair has a 2” platform, which you need if you’re wearing wide-legged anything. The Ultra Mini Belted Roller is $170 and comes in 12 colors.
LL Bean’s Wicked Good Bean Boots are handmade in the USA, but they have this hiking-through-the-Yorkshire-moors-with-your-Corgie feel. A tiara wouldn’t be out of place. Leather and suede uppers, fleece lining. Maine knows the cold. $299.
Also up on their cold-weather know-how, The Vermont Country Store and its catalog of nostalgia (Evening in Paris? Tangee?) also offers flannel granny gowns and rubber-soled, shearling-lined, suede ballet slippers you can wear in – or out. $89.95. Get the catalog for the memories, if nothing else.
Everlane has become well known for its way with cashmere – not just the quality, but the chic. Take this oversized boxy crewneck sweater in black and white stripes. So quintessentially French, it exists on the border of cozy and sleek, which is where we’re now headed. $198.
Keeping it Sleek
Reefer coats are the very definition of sleek, and luckily, there are plenty to choose from at every price point this year. I’m loving this oversized number from Zara, which has such swagger. Toss it on over pajamas to hit the grocery, or drop it over an evening gown. Always perfect. And remember, don’t comb your hair – it’s very French to be a bit undone. In brown or black. $299.
Pencil skirts are everywhere; ones with stretch are the best, particularly if you like to eat. Or sit. Or walk. This one at Saks Fifth Avenue hits just below the knee, a great length for high boots or delicate pumps. Plus, it has such a delicious French name, which alone boosts the value by at least a hundred bucks. $290.
A ballet wrap sweater is sexy as all get out, whether it tops a pencil skirt or wide-legged pants. This alpaca number from Everlane is soft as thistledown (not sure what that is, but it sounds great) and comes in light blue, snowy white, and tan. $148.
A boxy, cropped sweater is surprisingly slimming, especially over a high-waisted, slender skirt. Coz has some beauts, including this drop-shouldered, cable knit, utterly delicious, chocolate brown number in a mix of wool and yak. $190.
A cropped sweater can also work with wide-legged pants, like these from Ralph Lauren. Drapey satin crepe makes them easier to wear for shorter folks, and they’re gorgeous for the holiday season in knock-em-dead red, sapphire blue, or cream. Bargain-priced at $157.50.
Have you managed to avoid seeing ads for the $50 cashmere sweater from Quince? Everyone deserves nice things at an affordable price, they say. And they do it. Their crewneck Mongolian cashmere sweater comes in 17 gorgeous colors. Get it oversized like a glam sweatshirt, or go slim and pair it with a suit jacket.
A New Day, one of Target’s favorite in-house brands, offers a long-line cardigan sweater that elongates your lines, comes in four neutral colors, goes from itty bitty to size 4X, and tops just about everything in your closet. $28.
If you crave a classic riding boot, get one that’s fit for the saddle as well as the coffee shop. The Dover Saddlery offers these Moretta Ventura Riding Boots by Shires. Rich brown leather, fleece lined, weather repellant uppers, and absolutely dashing. $197.99.
For a high boot with a bit of a heel that also happens to offer arch support, a cushioned footbed, and is orthotic friendly as well, Easy Spirit has you covered with the Tony Heeled Boot in brown or black leather or suede. Regularly $199, on sale for $79.60.
But if you say the heck with comfort (or words to that effect), I want a killer boot to go with that faux leather coat; these are for you. Fine pointed-toe, high-heeled leather boots from Zara are guaranteed to have a masher on his knees. Take a photo, please. $199.