I've been in Toronto for most of the summer and noticed something that I notice every scorching, disgustingly humid summer in the city: women walking around in oppressive, sweat-inducing skinny jeans, jumpers and jackets - I even saw boots! I think there are two reasons for this masochistic choice of outfit, beyond the possibility that these people were born without sweat glands. First, some women simply don't do shorts and dresses. They have a kind of 'uniform' they feel comfortable in and they'll put up with the elements year-round to keep their look going. (This seems to be a theme in metropolitan cities; it's typical of London, Paris and New York as well. And yes, it does get hot in London!) Second, it's easy to get excited about the new autumn collections which hit the shops at the height of summer, and it may be just too tempting not to wear that soft, fluffy crew neck we've just bought, before it makes sense.
So while I'm out in the sweltering streets in as little clothes as I can get away with while maintaining my decency, I've still been keen to look at cold weather wear because I need a new coat, and a new coat is a great excuse to buy new accessories. I found one I love at Mackage, a Montreal-based design duo and one of the best outerwear brands around for high-end quality and styles to die for (see my previous droolings here). My dream coat for this season is a wool trench-style with leather sleeves that features a silver zipper that runs from the sleeve hem to the elbow, and it looks so sleek and polished, especially with the neck done up. A coat like this deserves accessories that are equally luxurious, and what's more lush than cashmere?
Pure Collection is a great shop for fine and sustainable cashmere, so not surprisingly I found the perfect colour block sweater in soft greys to go under the coat. It has a funnel neck which will keep the neck warm if you want to wear the coat open, and the softness of the cashmere looks and feels wonderful against the skin. You won't get a chill as it's made in a heavier gauge knit to keep you toasty in cold weather. (Also handy for wearing in your house in the UK where the insulation is not even clsoe to adequate!)
As for the accessories, it would be a shame not to carry through the theme to complete the look, so my pick for warm hands is a charcoal pair of cashmere gloves (the coat is actually a very dark grey) that adds a soft contrast to the slick leather sleeves but still blends visually. And the head cannot be ignored - you may think you are not a 'hat person' but I'll bet you are! They're essential not just for keeping warm on chilly days, but the right hat pulls a look together like nothing else. The outfit was monochromatic until now, and you know my love of colour, so I couldn't resist going for a pop of one of my favourite hues, a cashmere beret in winter coral. I haven't come across a complexion that coral doesn't complement; it's a colour that instantly brightens you up, and what better time than during the doldrums of winter?