Category: Colorado

How to Dress with Vintage Style In Winter and Stay Warm

Since moving to Denver from Los Angeles, I’ve had to learn how to dress with vintage style in winter weather. As someone who never needed a heavy coat or sweater in LA’s year-round mild climate, this was a whole new fashion challenge for me. I wanted to be warm but not look bulky.

 

After two years of exploring Colorado and going out in the snow, I’ve learned some tips to share with my fellow cold-climate fashionistas.

 

It’s all about layers. One thing I learned is it’s not enough to buy a thick sweater and heavy coat. Colorado weather changes quickly from freezing to mild, and since I live close to the mountains and go into downtown Denver all the time, the temperature can vary by 10-20 degrees, snowy and wet on one end, dry on the other. So being able to dress for both is essential.

 

LAYERING IS KEY

It’s much better to wear several light layers than one heavy layer. Especially since you’re going to go from outside cold to inside heat and you don’t want to boil in your heavy clothes. For me, that means no sweater dresses! Instead, I opt for several layers, as follows.

 

THE ULTIMATE BAG

Your first purchase for vintage style in winter is a big purse or tote bag.  And I mean BIG. No little vintage handbags in wintertime. This will come in handy when taking off your layers once inside. You’ll see what I mean as we go along.

Large purses

TOP LAYERS

I start with a tank top. This will help keep the core of your body warm without much bulk. For an even thinner option, try a Thermasilk camisole. Silk makes a great, lightweight base layer that will keep you surprisingly warm, and it’s so thin, it doesn’t add any bulk at all. The brand is available in a camisole, long sleeve top and leggings. Plus, this is something you can easily go into a bathroom, slip off and tuck in your purse if you get too warm once inside.

Vintage style in winter: tank top layer

 

Next, add a blouse, or what I consider a staple of my wardrobe, a fitted crewneck t-shirt. A fitted turtleneck is also a good option as a warmer, go-with-everything layer that works as a top on its own.

 

For the next layer, almost every person I know who loves vintage style has a collection of cardigan sweaters in every color. This is a year-round staple that works in the summer when you go into air-conditioned buildings and works in winter as another stylish layer. Button it at the waist and add a belt to give yourself that hourglass shape. Remember, we want to avoid looking like a bulky blob!

 

dressing warm for winter in base layers

Vintage style in winter: cardigan sweater

On top of that, I will add a heavy sweater. Try to get one that’s a size up from your regular size. You want this to cover all of your layers and be a bit loose. You’re wearing this mostly for warmth while you’re outside. Once inside, just take it off and tuck it into your bag so everyone can see your cute outfit, and you won’t be too warm in heated buildings.

Vintage style in winter: thick sweater top layer

 

BOTTOM LAYERS

On your bottom half, a circle or a-line, vintage-style skirt is great for putting layers underneath and they look best with heavy boots. But these layers can also work with pencil skirts (if they’re not too tight!) Pick your skirts in a thicker material, such as wool, for maximum warmth.

 

Get yourself plenty of leggings. I have them now in three different levels of warmth: thin, medium-thickness and fleece-lined. You can also add a Thermasilk base layer or tights under them for extra warmth.

 

Add a pretty vintage slip. Like the Thermasilks, these add a super thin layer and the vintage ones are so pretty and affordable! You can get them in a full slip or skirt slip. The skirt version is easy to slip off and tuck in your bag if you get too warm when the heaters are on.

 

Vintage style in winter: vintage slip

Then get yourself a collection of leg warmers. I love these in winter! You can pull them over your legs when you go outside and slip them off once you’re inside, and they add so much warmth! Lastly, get some thick wool socks to keep your feet warm.

 

Vintage style in winter: leg warmers

BOOTS

Boots were a learning curve for me. I love heels, so I wanted to find snow boots with a heel. They also needed to have traction for walking on icy sidewalks – because there’s plenty of that in the wintertime. Thank goodness you can find some warm and fur-lined boots with a nice chunky heel and rubber soles with traction. Lace-up boots will be the most fitted on the leg and give you that vintage style in winter. Look for waterproof or water repellent for snowy days.

Vintage style in winter: lace up boots with heel

 

ACCESSORIES

Don’t forget all the little add-ons to keep you warm when you’re outside. Once inside, you can peel them all off and tuck them into your big bag. (See why I started with the big bag now?)

 

Scarves – you can go for long scarves, infinity (I like these when I wear my hair up) or cute little vintage-style knitted ascots that you can find from some crafty folks on Etsy.

 

Gloves –  basic knit gloves or mittens usually do the trick. For extra cold days, add glove liners. ThermaSilk makes some. I got mine from L.L. Bean and they can be worn as sleek gloves on their own. For snowy days you’ll want waterproof gloves or mittens – great for making snowballs!

gloves liners and mittens 

Hats – now I absolutely hate the look of ski caps, which everyone in Colorado seems to wear in winter. They smash your hair and make your head look small and flat. Instead, I opt for earmuffs, which will keep your ears warm (the main reason I need something on my head) and they won’t mess up your hairdo! I also like wool berets as a warm and stylish outfit accessory. I have a few in different colors and they give you that great vintage style in winter.

 Vintage style in winter: beret hat

 

COATS

There are so many choices for coats. For someone new to cold climates, it’s hard to know where to start. I did a few impulse buys that I’m now finding don’t work for me at all. But here’s my best advice.

 

Vintage – there are beautiful coats available in vintage stores at great prices. Most are made of wool and will keep you warm, but not dry if it’s raining or snowing. Many have real fur collars, as was the (uninformed) style a few decades ago. So watch for that if it’s something you wouldn’t want to wear. I have a good basic black vintage wool coat with no fur that goes with almost everything. If it’s wet out, I have a light, hooded rain cape I can throw over it, but usually an umbrella will do. And yes, I use an umbrella when it snows.

 

Vintage reproduction – there are lots of coats out now that are vintage-inspired and they can be dramatically beautiful. I’ve had the princess coats from Collectif on my wish list for a while. While these coats are gorgeous, I’m debating spending the money because I usually take off my coat once inside, so nobody sees it. Then I have to carry it around. They can be a lot of material and quite heavy to deal with. But they are temptingly gorgeous!

 

Utilitarian – You can’t walk around Colorado and not see almost everyone dressed in the adventure-wear brands of The North Face, Patagonia, REI and Columbia. These are the puffy parkas I swore I would never wear because I thought they made me look like the Michelin man! However, I bought a Patagonia jacket a few years ago for travel and I found out why everyone wears them. They are super lightweight. They keep you warm on lightly cold days as well as snowy days and some styles are light enough that you can smush them up into your bag to easily pack or carry around. So instead of a princess coat this year, I opted for a long coat from The North Face that is fitted at the waist and very light to carry. My thinking was I’m going to be taking it off once inside to reveal my cute outfit. Plus, I can wear it day or night as opposed to the vintage-style princess coat that I would only wear with dressy outfits. It’s been a good decision so far. I still might add that princess coat one of these days!

Girl in vintage coat

I hope these tips help you stay warm with vintage style in winter! Be sure to check out my Instagram for photos of some of my winter outfits!

Cheers,

Kastle

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Category: Colorado

Vintage Fashion for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the holiday season! Time for dressing in holiday-colored vintage fashion and for chilly temperatures, as the Denver area has had its coldest winter in almost 20 years! We had several early snowfalls that gave me the white Christmas feels I never had in warm Los Angeles. Plus, we’ve had SO many fun holiday events happening around town. Here are a few of my adventures and the festive outfits I wore.

Camp Christmas

If you could cross a funhouse and Christmas, this is it. This mega installation, in the Hanger at Stanley Marketplace, features holiday lights galore and over-the-top décor in a variety of settings. It puts those houses in Hallmark Christmas movies to shame and adds a touch of sass. I loved the punny Christmas trees, such as the Gum Tree, decorated with packs of chewing gum, of course! We had so much fun walking through the different areas, taking photos and having a Christmas cocktail. It was the perfect place to wear my latest thrift-store find – a red fair isle-pattern sweater with a vintage Santa Claus brooch. Plus, I picked up some adorable teddy bear gloves.

Red sweater and Christmas display

Camp Christmas display

Camp Christmas Pink RoomChristmas fashion accessories

Sippin’ Santa Miracle Bar

The pop-up Christmas Miracle Bars have become an annual holiday phenomenon, drawing lines around the block to get in. They are a fun place to have a cup of cheer among some extreme holiday décor that includes walls lined with Christmas wrapping paper and literally hundreds of stick-on bows. This year Denver got a new themed bar that crossed Tiki and surf culture with Christmas and a drink menu from Tiki cocktail-connoisseur Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Who could resist? We rounded up a group of friends and went on a weeknight to avoid the crowds. We kicked back among the plethora of Tiki statues and twinkle lights with a delicious libation served in a Santa glass, of course. For the occasion, I wore a blue-trimmed vintage cardigan with yet another fair isle pattern, which I topped with a festive red, vintage reproduction pencil skirt.

Christmas outfit for Sippin' Santa Bar

Sipping Santa Miracle Bar Denver

1940s White Christmas Ball

If ever there was an event to dress up in your finest vintage fashion, the 1940s White Christmas Ball is it. Inspired by the classic movie “White Christmas” (which I finally saw for the first time the week before), this mega event draws hundreds of people ready for a classy night out dressed in vintage and vintage-inspired attire, some even in replica costumes from the film! There were big bands, dancing, picture-taking sets, and a buffet dinner. I had to bring out my vintage red lace dress and vintage bolero cardigan sweater with beaded snowflake detail.

1940s White Christmas Ball

1940s White Christmas Ball

I hope you enjoyed a peek into some of my holiday fun and vintage fashion. Wishing you a very merry season and a stylish New Year!

Cheers,

Kastle

 

Category: Colorado

One More Round of Fall Fashion Before Winter Comes

I’ve enjoyed the fall season so much this year I thought I would do another post of some outfits and adventures. Fall in Colorado is all about the changing of the aspen trees as their leaves start to shimmer with a bright, golden hue. The season begins the last couple of weeks of September, and if we’re lucky, goes through mid October as a beautiful gold sweeps from the tops of the mountains down into the foothills and the city.

 

One of the prettiest passes to see the aspen trees in all their glory is the Guanella Pass, the Scenic Byway off the I70 as you head west to the Rocky Mountains. We caught the color at the perfect time, so of course, we had to stop (along with everyone else) and take pictures. I dressed for the occasion by turning a summery vintage dress into a fall outfit by playing off the orangey tones in the pattern and teaming it with a beige cardigan, leather belt and purse, brown leather lace-up, chunky heeled boots and earrings with maple leaves.

 

Fall fashion vintage-inspired look

 

Guanella Pass

Fall fashion vintage-inspired look

When Thanksgiving hits, it’s officially the end of the autumn celebrations and time to get ready for the holidays. It also means winter is coming and with it, snow and frigid temperatures. I’m looking forward to hunkering down with some good books because I’m super scared of driving in the snow, so I won’t be going out as much.

 

Reading a book

Thank goodness I found an awesome bookstore, BookBar, in the cute historic shopping district of Berkeley along Tennyson Street. This quaint indie shop has a friendly staff, places to lounge and work and even has a wine bar inside! How genius is that? And even better, they have open mic nights for readings. Since I’ve been working on some personal essays and a memoir-in-progress in my spare time for a while now, I decided to give it a go. I did the first public readings of my work, and I have to say it felt pretty good! The crowd – a whole roomful of them that tested my stage fright – was also super supportive and welcoming.

 

BookBar Open Mic Reading

 

For one of my readings, I had to bring some fall colors. I’m currently obsessed with retro-inspired, detachable Peter Pan collars with gorgeous details that I’ve seen in the blog-o-sphere. So for this night, I wore a burgundy-colored collar with a gold leaf string tie from the Etsy shop, Fairytale Collars. I matched it with a plaid skirt and oxford shoes to create an academic yet stylish, book nerd look.

 

 

FairyTale Collars with leaf detail 

And lastly, as Thanksgiving is upon us, a perfect time to wear my new collar by Etsy shop, Leafling Bags. I’m giving thanks by baking a pumpkin pie for my wonderful hubby and being grateful for my new life in Colorado. 

 

Fall fashion, vintage-inspired look

 

Now I’m off to decorate and get ready for the holidays. More to come!

 

Cheers,

Kastle

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