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Beauty Insider: Polar Vortex Style – Looking Chic in Frigid Cold

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Keeping warm and looking chic are not mutually exclusive, according to Donna Macdonald.

January has lots of invigorating energy and lots of challenging weather. And now we are contending with something called the Polar Vortex which has been bringing bone chilling temperatures, snow, wind, and ice. Here’s how to stay chic and comfortable while we hold out for spring:

Warm base

Invest in some silk long underwear. You'll manage with a one camisole and a pair of knickers. Don't laugh; the knickers are just short enough not to show under skirts and silk is thin enough not to add any extra bulk. Long underwear will keep you cozy no matter how cold and blustery it is. You can also find pieces made with soft flannel and thin microfiber. Wear them under everything including jeans. No one will know you’ve got long johns on but you!

Snowy palette

Put away your deep fall greens, burgundies, pumpkins. Feel winter pretty by mirroring the pale frosty landscape. A soft cream cashmere sweater with your workhorse wool pants will keep you toasty as well as illuminated. Winter whites are so unexpected and elegant in January. Try pastels too, in baby blue, ballet slipper pink or cool greys. Accessorize with silver and pearls in keeping with the snowy theme. Think Dr. Zhivago’s pale and lovely Lara.


Keep tubes of hand cream everywhere: kitchen, work desk, handbag, parka pockets. And use your favorite rich body lotion every day to keep dry lizard skin at bay. This time of year, it may also help to employ a water-less skin cleanser. Ponds Cold Cream, a centuries-old staple, is tissue-off easy and leaves skin moist, dewy, and happy. You’ll glow instead of shrivel.

Chic woolies

There is a plethora of adorable knit accessories out there and guess what? They're all on sale! Stock up on microfiber gloves that keep hands dry and warm. Leather gloves are great but make sure they have a knit lining for softness and warmth. Buy a hat and wear it. A black knit bucket hat will keep your head warm and minimize hat head. Or a beautiful cloche to match your coat. Ditto the stunning eternity scarves in the shops. They come in faux fur and knits. Pull it up over your chin when the vortex brings in extra low wind chill and biting winds. Think of these accessories as personal weather-stripping.

Hat head

Admit it: you ARE warmer in a hat. But what to do about hat head? Keep a small brush and spritzer in your desk. A little fluffing will revive your tresses for the office. Or try a beautiful crystal headband on days you know you’ll need your hat to walk across the parking lot. It will hold any lumps or bumps in place and look adorable if it coordinates with that new cashmere turtleneck you got for Christmas.


Find a shawl or pashmina in a yummy icy color and make it your best friend. Wrap it around yourself in the office or at home watching TV. An added layer never hurts and it will be like wearing a warm hug.


Ok, you remember peds, right? We wore them with our tennis shoes. Now they come in merino wool. They’re thin and work great OVER sox and tights, especially when you’re wearing boots. These little woolies will keep your toes toasty. Sporting goods stores and shoe stores carry them in black and cream. When feet are warm, everything’s better.

So let the Polar Vortex, the Polar Express, or even a Nor’easter do what it must. You know how to look winter chic and pretty and stay snug doing it!


Donna Macdonald is a freelance writer who enjoys covering topics of interest to women, especially fragrance, style, beauty. She has also written marketing material for a women's book that hit the New York Times Bestseller list and netted her an up close and personal discussion on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Donna currently writes her own personal blog, alovelyinconsequence.blogspot.com where she also writes about issues close to a woman's heart. Donna believes that when a woman finds beauty in the world, she will find beauty in herself.


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