Winter Fashion

by Derek Holser, Tastemaker in Residence

Since the early 90’s, I’ve maintained an essential element in my footwear collection. No, not the polished black monkstrap, which pops up every few years like a one-hit wonder from the decade before. (Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, anyone?)

I’m not much for the monkstrap, but I am a rabid fan of the quintessential soft-sole gear that came of age during the 1920’s. It’s found mostly in the Southeastern United States, particularly during the summer months. Of course, by now you must know that I am referring to the white suede shoe, known as the “buck”. If you didn’t, well, you’re probably from Nebraska or some other less fashionable Midwestern state.

In (yes, it’s a real website), Sid Mashburn gives some detail on wearing the white buck.

Conventionally restricted to accompanying a seersucker suit and a straw hat, the white buck is the signal that summer has arrived. But that’s so limiting. I say let’s flip the script. In our modern era, there is no required fashion convention that can’t be undone. Rather than following what’s come before us, let’s respond to what is yet to be. Want to exhibit some winter bravado? Try strutting through some fresh powder in a pair of white bucks. I just spent the weekend kicking up falling leaves in mine. Sure, they get a little dirty but maintenance is half the fun of shoe ownership. 

It’s liberating, really. Give it a try. Why stop at the shoes?  If we’re going to break fashion convention, why not go all the way and smash it to smithereens? 

Some of the typical fashions that are worn during the summer can also work in the fall and winter. When the cold wind bites, when the sun sets early, when the bears are snoring, pull one or all of these out of the far reaches of the closet, or the Rubbermaid container under your bed. 

Here’s a trio that are usually reserved for warm weather:

Floral Print Scarfs. After a few weeks of boring winter plaids and houndstooth jackets or skirts, you’re sure to look and feel as dreary as those barren branches in the front yard. Turn to a palette of pansies, a dash of daises, or bold stripes. Contrary to popular opinion, the scarf doesn’t have to be a big beige bundle of wool. Used as a headwrap, a purse accessory, or a neck embellishment, you are sure to “pop” like a premature perennial. Try these amazing silk beauties from Anne Touraine, an authentic Parisian silk scarf maker:

Wear Bright Pastels. Pastels need to be unshackled from the chains of springtime. They yearn to break out from the somber tones of the cold weather months. With less sunlight, wouldn’t it make sense to bring a little of your own light to the world by wearing a brilliant teal, a stunning sunbeam yellow, or a flaming pale red? It worked for Crockett & Tubbs, after all…

I kid because I like to laugh. And I just noticed that Don Johnson’s pants were see- through. 


On a serious note, here’s a fantastic pink winter coat to keep the chill away while catching everyone’s eye:

Sunglasses. The truth is, sunglasses are equally as useful in the winter as in the summer. In some latitudes, the sunset happens right around rush hour, making the evening commute a wretched experience if the driver can’t locate his or her shades. In addition to preventing accidents, sunglasses provide our tender eyes with protection from those celestial invaders, UV Rays.  Patrick Dempsey seems to be very happy with his. I suggest you follow his example:

Now, let’s put it all together and take a little trip. Let’s pack our bags, include our white bucks, our floral prints, our pastel coats and our sunglasses, and make way for a truly wintry spectacle. I’ve always been the type to fully engage in whatever I was doing, and the holiday season is no exception. I say to Old Man Winter, “bring it on!” 

Here we go – destination: Pure Frigid Paradise.  While you’re turning heads in your bright-but-not-garish ensemble, you’ll be turning in to a bed festooned with ambient lighting and layer upon layer of cozy blankets. Let’s go to a beautiful winter wonderland – The Hotel Kakslauttanen Igloo Village – in Saarislka, Finland.